Monday, October 16, 2017

NFL Elects Rod Serling Before Week Seven


Tennessee ended a drought of eleven games against the Colts - and ended it emphatically - one of numerous games that made Week Six the most eye-popping NFL week in awhile

It was The Twilight Zone not just at Talladega the second weekend of October; Rod Serling was visiting NFL stadiums galore in Week Six.   Every year at least one week piles up bizarre finishes, eye-popping upsets, and other such weirdness.    Such was the case in Week Six as we look forward to Week Seven -

The call that will explode a lot of minds was the ruling that Austin Sefarian-Jenkins' bobble as he hit the pylon against the Patriots constituted a fumble and resultant touchback.   The league's definition of possession has long needed to be changed to give the receiver benefit of the doubt and this controversy shows anew why.

Chiefs over Raiders -   The Raiders are now in trouble as Derek Carr has been banged up and much-touted signee Marshawn Lynch is only 3.4 yards per carry for the Raiders offense.   Kansas City comes in smarting from yet another loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers while the Raiders have now lost four straight.

Panthers over Bears -  The Bears got a needed win against the mediocre Ravens while the Panthers are smarting from Cam Newton's multiple INTs against the Eagles.   The Bears, though, had to bust open the trick play book to help them against the Ravens and we doubt that will continue this week.

Titans over Browns -  Marcus Mariota's comeback from a hamstring issue happened with a comeback win over the Colts.  For the Browns the benching of DeShone Kizer screams that the Browns' season is already dead; this matchup, though, has been favorable to the Browns from 2001 onward.  

Saints over Packers - Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone the last time the Packers' non-conference rotation swung through the AFC North, and it's happened again.   He'd pulled off the rarest of rarities in his career - he'd beaten Cincinnati and Dallas from down two-plus scores, putting him at six career such wins in thirty-eight chances - and it would seem karma struck again with his recent broken collarbone, to where he may be out for the season, this as a rejuvenated Saints squad comes to The House That Curly Lambeau Built off a 52-point eruption against the Lions.  

NY Jets over Dolphins -  The Falcons raced to a multi-touchdown lead over an AFC East opponent - and the result was something of a repeat of the worst defeat in Falcons history.   In fact the Falcons are 1-6 in their last seven meetings with AFC East teams.   This may not help the Dolphins as they host a Jets team that already beat them this year and is livid over the touchback call in their game against the Patriots, this with the AFC East still a four-team logjam.  

Rams over Cardinals, London - The Cardinals traded for Adrian Peterson and Peterson immediately elevated their running game.   They face a Rams team off a win at Jacksonville that has proven well ahead of last season's subpar outfit.   The most improved quarterback in the league may be Jared Goff, while one is still suspicious of an aging Carson Palmer.

Bills over Buccaneers - Jameis Winston was knocked out of the game at Arizona with a shoulder problem; it appears not to be long-lasting, but even with a healthy Winston the Bucs face a Bills defense that has picked off opponent quarterbacks eight times so far.   Buffalo's offensive struggles, though, haven't yet been solved - a paltry 5.4 net yards per pass and 3.4 yards per carry as they challenge a Bucs team 12th in scoring and averaging 8.25 yards per pass and 3.9 yards per carry.

Vikings over Ravens - The Vikings got a big boost of a win over the hated Packers and now get the radically inconsistent Ravens next off their bitter loss to the Bears.  Joe Flacco's deterioration as a quarterback has continued with eight INTs and a miserable 5.4 yards per pass attempt.   In contrast Case Keenum has begun to build something in Minnesota, boasting five touchdowns and just one pick in four starts.

Steelers over Bengals - Cincinnati has never done well against the Steelers in the Marvin Lewis era (just 8-23 in that span).  Andy Dalton has accounted for just three such wins and while the Bengals have shown improvement since changing coordinators nothing has worked in the past fifteen seasons, this even as the Steelers look like the same overrated gang they've been for years.

Colts over Jaguars - Rumor Control Central claimed the Giants would trade Eli Manning to Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville; we doubt that will happen now.   The Jaguars still have Blake Bortles but Bortles hasn't shown the improvement perceived of him at the start of the season, and the Colts are only one game out in an AFC South like the AFC East sitting as a four-way logjam.

Cowboys over 49ers -  The 49ers are fighting, that's clear especially with bitter losses to the Rams, Cardinals, Colts, and Redskins, but at 0-6 they need a win to spark some kind of consistency, and they get a Cowboys team that's in something of a must-win environment itself at just 2-3.

Chargers over Broncos - Suddenly the AFC West may be changing.   The Chiefs losing to the Steelers continued a trend (2-7 vs the Steelers since Dick Vermeil retired) while the Broncos got upended by the formerly-winless NY Giants and now look decidedly vulnerable with a defense that teams may no longer be scared of (the vaunted No Fly Zone has allowed nine touchdown passes) and a less-than-inspiring offense with eight touchdowns and six INTs by Trevor Siemian.   San Diego meanwhile has won its last two games after four losses, three of them bitterly close affairs, and the confluence of trends bodes well for the Chargers.

NY Giants over Seahawks  -  The Seahawks have lost seven road games with one tie in the last two seasons and come out of their bye going to face a rejuvenated Giants squad.   With injury knocking out all the diva receivers, the Giants have hit something unexpected - yet familiar with their 2007 season when loudmouthed Jeremy Shockey was unavailable for their stretch run and the team got better as a result.   With players who seem to be paying attention to Eli, the Giants suddenly look like a different team, while the Seahawks still look like the bubbling cauldron that can win at home but not on the road.

Patriots over Falcons - The comeback win in the Superbowl will be replayed all week before this game and it is doubly bitter for the Falcons after blowing a 17-0 gap to the Dolphins.   New England's defense has come under fire all season and even with victories where they didn't allow 20 points scored seemingly no one believes in the Patriots defense, but after the demolition of Denver's vaunted defense the criticism lacks a certain sting.   The Patriots offense is strong but the lack of production from Dwayne Allen remains disconcerting and Brandin Cooks has produced but the Patriots haven't yet gotten out of the Edelman Offense they want to run and Cooks is not that kind of receiver.   The return of Gronkowski is welcome for New England and there is need for Jacob Hollister and Philip Dorsett to be integrated more into the offense.  

Eagles over Redskins -  A battle for the lead in the NFC East, the Skins come to Lincoln Financial Field two games out of the lead and after a bruising win over the 49ers.    Carson Wentz so far has hit thirteen touchdowns and LeGarrette Blount is at 5.6 yards per carry; curiously veteran TE Brent Celek has been all but phased out of the offense with just two catches.   Defensively the Eagles are ninth in points allowed.   The Skins come in midpack on both sides of the ball but have cleaned up the turnover problem that plagued them in Week One and Kirk Cousins' 106.4 passer rating (to Wentz's 99.6) comes wrapped in nine scores to just two INTs.   We expect a closer affair than Week One's mini-blowout.

So we await lucky Seven.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Chaos Is Kez And Kligerman At Talladega

The 2017 Diehard 500 weekend at Talladega lived up to its reputation for attrition and exciting racing, yet no doubt no one will be happy from this one thanks to even more crashes than usual.   When it was over Parker Kligerman lived up to the track's former reputation for darkhorse champs and Brad Keselowski kept building his Talladega win total.

The Freds 250 was bizarre in that everyone ran single file for the first two segments then suddenly figured out how to push-draft and thus began hammering for the lead.  Parker Kligerman stormed into the fray, having won here in 2012 - his only other Truck Series win.  The continuing idiocy of NASCAR's yellow line rule showed in Kligerman's late pass and the fact it was even debated as to whether there was any justification for a penalty.   Kligerman fought off a last-lap challenge before Noah Gragson swerved into the top five and the result was the race-ending melee.   The win was especially enjoyable given the Charlie Henderson #75 is one of the smaller teams, finally able to give the finger to the larger outfits.   It was also enjoyable seeing Grant Enfinger in the Curb-backed #98 slugging it out.

The Diehard 500 showcased the downside to segment racing and the overall Chase concept - teams were more concerned with outstrategizing each other - and the scheduled segment yellows - as opposed to going for the lead.    Brad Keselowski was able to steal Segment One and then stole the race win.

Cody Coughlin's crash.

Over 75% of the field crashed out of the Alabama 500 - yet no crash was inevitable; they were all caused by certain foolish moves by drivers; Chase Elliott won the Ernie Irvan Dimbulb Of The Race award and raised more questions about whether he's really capable of winning.  

The race also showed anew the weakness of NASCAR's suppression of push-drafting at the Cup level, as passing the leader was almost impossible and the need for the push-draft was glaring all race. 

Interesting as well is this weekend came after Tommy Joe Martins' interesting treatise on team economics in the context of NASCAR's TV deal.   The issue of costs would be less burdensome by smarter team spending and application by the sanctioning body of TV deal money.  

But the standout issue is how hard passing was - all the result of NASCAR's crackdown on push-drafting.   It was far less an issue in the Trucks as the drivers finally started getting serious about it, and it showed why racing needs push-drafting, by far the strongest power to pass conceivable in motorsports. 

With so many darkhorses in contention note is worth being given to Aric Almirola's fifth place, this despite struggling all race to where the #43 seemed not up to pulling up to anyone or pushing anyone; the melees were the proverbial Red Sea parting.   His third top-five in a plate race this season is a needed balm for the Petty team preparing for 2018; it is worth noting presumptive 2018 driver Darrell Wallace ran stout in his one plate start in the #43 in July.

So ends the Talladega weekend and the sport's latest surge into Talladega's Twilight Zone. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Harvey Weinstein, Rapist

Media mogul and - natch - Democratic Party high-roller Harvey Weinstein has been exposed as a rapist. His many Hollywood friends did not speak out about it until he was outed by - of all people - the New York Times. So it begs the question of what they knew. It also begs the question of how much people sold out themselves to cover up for him. It's also a telling comment about lack of accountability in Hollywood and with leftism and the Democratic Party in general (Weinstein paid Bill Clinton's legal fees) - Ronan Farrow is one of the few - perhaps only - heroes in this Whitey Bulger-esque fiasco, especially as we now find out how Weinstein wrote enabling of his sexual predation into his employment contract.

And BTW leftwinger Ben Affleck - aka Ben Asskiss - is being exposed as well while being completely overlooked is director - and child-molester - Bryan Singer. Also being exposed - again - is the fraudulence of NBC News.