Monday, October 31, 2016

Week Eight Plays Whack A Pack

Week Eight of the 2016 season saw some things change yet others stay the same.

Before anyone could play Whack A Pack, first the Tennessee Titans hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars; the year before at Tennessee the two teams scored 79 combined points; there was no such shootout this time as Marcus Mariota and the Titans displayed some creative playcalling, and after getting rolled 36-22 the Jaguars thought they'd continue without coaching changes - then something changed and offensive coordinator Greg Olson was fired.   Last year the Detroit Lions fired their offensive coordinator and won six of the next eight games, so this change bears watching.

The Redskins and Bengals squared off in London, the final London game on the schedule this year amid scuttlebutt the league wants to increase the London slate next year despite inability to make any money with the game and ZERO evidence Londoners are really that interested.   The game itself was the most competitive of the London slate that anyone can remember but it ended in a hated tie (27-27) on yet more missed FGAs.   Josh Norman also got exposed by AJ Green.  

This week saw three standout games.  When it appeared the day would see two ties the Raiders pulled off their most spectacular win in memory in a thriller at Tampa Bay, a Superbowl rematch that lived up to the name Super.    The Raiders' reputation for playing dumb football and incurring plethoric penalties as a result came through in a big way with twenty-three fouls, while Derek Carr exploded to over 500 passing yards, the second guy to do it this season after Matt Ryan against the Panthers.   With that the Raiders are 6-2 with a showdown game against the Broncos coming up.

The AFC West is the deepest division in the league as the Kansas City Chiefs made history, beating the Indianapolis Colts for only the third time in the last sixteen meetings, this despite losing Alex Smith to injury and playing Nick Foles.   The slow-motion collapse of the Andrew Luck Colts - and potential collapse of Chuck Pagano's employment there in the first such coach opera since Wayne Watch with the 1990s Detroit Lions and Wayne Fontes - thus continues.

Speaking of Wayne Watch, Fontes' former team suffered another loss to the AFC South and fell to 4-4 while Brock Osweiler salvaged some pride from last week's embarrassment at Denver.  

This is the second of two Games Of The Week.  Aaron Rodgers did it again - when he had to stage a comeback, he failed.    And with the Vikings at present running away with the NFC North the Packers and Lions may be battling for a wildcard spot down the road.   For Matt Ryan the win ended a four-game losing streak to the Packers and offered renewed optimism for the remainder of the season.

Just when Bills Mafia thought it had a chance, it got crushed.   Tyrod Taylor did offer some good play but it was telling EJ Manual seemed to play a little better when he came in during garbage time.   The win is New England's 498th as they close in on becoming the first team originating from the American Football League to reach 500 career wins.   And yet the game wasn't even the big story.....

....and no, the big story wasn't the adult toy thrown onto the field.  The Patriots stole the show the day after by trading Jamie Collins to the Browns for a conditional draft pick.   As usual with Bill Belichick trades the specifics are left to speculation, but Mike Lombardi pointed to one play in particular against the Bills - the second play of the Bills' opening drive - where Collins freelanced his way away from making a play and thus the Bills gained 28 yards; such freelancing fails and because of that invariably gets players demoted and eventually cut from Belichick rosters.

The third Game Of The Week.  Any thought that Tony Romo would get back the starting job with the Cowboys has officially ended when Dakota Prescott clawed back against the Eagles and led the winning overtime touchdown drive, further cementing the 2016 Cowboys as a playoff contender.   

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Hillary Coverup Unravels

Hillary Milhous Clinton's coverup unravels

"Around every election, basic cable stations dust off their copies of All the President’s Men and start airing it. For better or for worse, Watergate is still central to modern politics and especially modern journalism. It's encouraging, of course, that we still want to believe no American, including the president, is above the law, and that all we need to stop corruption is for enterprising journalists to expose it. However, this year might well be the death knell of the Watergate mythos. In 2016, we learned that exposing prosecutable corruption at the highest levels is no impediment to a presidential campaign, nor is it a particular problem for the current president.

"Earlier this year, Kristian Saucier, a sailor found guilty of taking six photos of the interior of a nuclear submarine on his phone, was sentenced to a year in prison, along with six months' home confinement, 100 hours of community service, and a ban on owning guns. Such photos are considered confidential information, the lowest level of classification. When The Weekly Standard reached out to the Hillary Clinton campaign to ask if they could explain why Saucier was convicted, but Clinton was not prosecuted for mishandling 110 emails on her private server marked as classified at the time they were sent and 22 emails that contained top secret information—the highest level of classification—they did not respond. Nor have any other media elicited a response, assuming any have sought one. National security violations, it seems, are for the little people.

As another writer puts it -

"The investigation has been going on for almost two years, during which Clinton obstructed, stalled, and obfuscated at every turn. Hillary hid emails everywhere she could......This all started when Hillary lied about the dead Americans in Benghazi. To get out of those lies, Hillary ordered the deletion of thousands of emails that were under a congressional subpoena, leading to the discovery that she had recklessly risked national security by using her own personal, unsecured server. The lies and coverups have all been to keep the public in the dark long enough to win the election."

And in true hypocritical fashion, Hillary Milhous Clinton -

"......and her presidential campaign have discovered the virtues of transparency.   And all of a sudden FBI Director James Comey, formerly Eliot Ness in the eyes of Democrats and the press, is J. Edgar Hoover.........(the kind of transparency that would require Clinton to turn over all her emails - and thus expose just how dishonest and corrupt she is) might be hard to contain.  And with eight days until (the election) the Democrats need someone else to blame for all their previous lack of political transparency."

....lack of transparency illustrated here and here.

Also useful is this examination.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rolling Stone UVA Rape Story a Work of Fiction

NOTE: The following was initially published on March 24, 2015:

Rolling Stone magazine fabricated a rape story - yet another example of the magazine's inability to tell the truth.

And it's gotten worse because it exposed the dishonesty inherent in the entirety of the magazine.

UPDATE: Rolling Stone's writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely is now being sued for libel and it's clear she is not a credible writer, she is a demagogic hack.

Some Pieces On Charter Schools

Charter schools are getting more controversial - even as they prove themselves more effective. A compilation of pieces -

Unlike Their Neighbors: Charter School Student Composition Across States

The NY Times - as usual - is wrong, and how media coverage turned against charter schools. 

Students in NYC get more time in charter schools.

The left's war on minorities, from 2014 plus the demonization of Walmart support of charter schools.

A look at how they are reinventing local education control.

The Brookings Institute weighs in.

Bobby Hamilton And Richard Petty's Breakthrough

Twenty years ago this day Richard Petty returned to victory as Bobby Hamilton ended two seasons of promise and frustration with his breakthrough victory.

The IOU Of Social Security

It isn't of course actual "security."  It's a slush fund and it's bankrupt. 

California National Guard Members to Keep Improper Bonuses

The government tried to get back money that wasn't supposed to be given out

"After much controversy, the Pentagon is suspending its attempts to recover bonuses overpaid to thousands of soldiers in California more than 10 years ago.

In a Wednesday press release, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said:
I am ordering a series of steps to ensure fair treatment for thousands of California National Guard soldiers who may have received incentive bonuses and tuition assistance improperly as a result of errors and in some cases criminal behavior by members of the California National Guard.

While some soldiers knew or should have known they were ineligible for benefits they were claiming, many others did not. There is an established process in place by which service members can seek relief…. But that process has simply moved too slowly and in some cases imposed unreasonable burdens on service members. That is unacceptable."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Case Against Minimum Wage Redux

The case for ANY minimum wage - let alone a fifteen dollar per hour one - does not exist

"Many of us in the economics profession recognize that the minimum wage is a terrible and cruel public policy, one that reduces employment opportunities for the most vulnerable Americans.

"Much of Hanauer's argument in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is based on some questionable empirical evidence....(the study cited by Hanauer) has not been taken seriously by the economics profession..."

Wikileaks The Anti-Hero

Wikileaks has thoroughly exposed the duplicity of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party in general, but has the problem that it is stealing US secrets and not for legitimate purpose.

Phil Collins - I Don't Care Anymore

Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight

Obama's Denial Of The Truth About Obamacare

Barack Obama's failure as President is absolute and showcased with the failure of Obamacare, a failure further illustrated in the mammoth increase in insurance company profits - which Obamacare vaguely promised wouldn't happen, this as Obamacare supporters need to be honest about its failure and to put an end to subsidies for it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hillary Milhous Clinton's Email Coverup

NOTE: This was originally published on October 16:

With more and more of how much of a deceit Hillary Milhous Clinton's life is, the State Department helps Hillary break the law

"A senior State Department official repeatedly pressed the FBI to change the classification of emails stored on Hillary Clinton's private server, according to FBI interview summaries set to be released in the coming days. Patrick Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management, discussed providing additional overseas slots for the FBI in exchange for revisions to classifications of the sensitive emails.

"The 34 summaries, known as FBI 302s, will be released in connection with a Freedom of Information Act request and after pressure from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Two additional 302s are being withheld because they contain information classified at the Top Secret/SAP level.

"The summaries, described to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by five intelligence and congressional officials familiar with their contents, are sure to bolster Donald Trump's criticism of corruption at Clinton's State Department, the FBI and Washington, D.C., with just more than three weeks until the 2016 presidential election."

UPDATE: Obama's role in the coverup becomes more evident. Meanwhile the FBI's coverup gets worse.

Admission That Obama A Failure

A New York Times piece admits Obama's foreign policy is a failure. So now the next President has to reverse it.

Not All Immigrants Are Equal

Quite a few are in sober fact savages.

Washington Post Plays CYA For Obama

The Washington Post launches a partisan review of a reporter who doesn't toe the Obama line on the failed Iran deal.

Monday, October 24, 2016

New York's Stupidity On Housing

New York City houses a lot of stupid people - such as Mistah Mayuh Bill De Blasio. Hizzoner is at it again with foolish proposals to deal with the city's self-inflicted housing crisis.

UPDATE: De Blasio's anti-AirBnB law shows New York refuses to accept how economics have changed and also refuses to understand that landlords are the ones who can deal with AirBnB

At Talladega They Were Saying GREAT SCOTT

Talladega arrived and it saw memorable racing yet again.

The Chase orientation of NASCAR means Brian Scott's stunning finish at Talladega will be largely overlooked because of Joey Logano's win (overcoming - of all things - dragging his jack around the track) and the engine failures of Martin Truex and Brad Keselowski.   But that's become one of the signature annoyances regarding NASCAR, its obsession with the Chase format as opposed to winning or even contending for the win.

Scott's spectacular second is not a win.   It is, however, a needed eye-opener, this in a season that ended a 70-plus race run without a first-time winner in August.   It was also a reminder of the sport's history - Richard Petty's team fighting for the win has been NASCAR's largest single force almost since the sanctioning body's beginning, and it's no sleight to David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, the Allisons, Harry Hyde, etc. to say Petty personifies the growth of stock car racing.

Of course the ultimate rivalry in NASCAR's history was Petty and David Pearson, and the Wood Brothers Ford acquitted itself with aplomb under Ryan Blaney, leading three laps and finishing a respectable eleventh at a track the #21 won five times at.

The win by Logano and the runner-up by Scott went with Aric Almirola's eighth place and a stout (albiet quiet) fifth place by Ricky Stenhouse, his first top-10 since the Volunteer 500 in August and his seventh of the year (and the upshot is his girlfriend has yet to finish higher than 11th - with just four finishes 15th or better - this year).   It showcased needed strong depth by Ford in the final days before Stewart-Haas' team joins them.

Though Ford may wonder if it wants Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, both top-ten finishers at Talladega yet both at it again after the race.   Oddly the long-running Rumor Control Central claim that Chevrolet was working a package to get Harvick out of a Ford and into Hendrick Motorsports hasn't resurfaced.

The Chase format has eliminated the front-row starters at Talladega, Keselowski and Truex, both four-race winners (though the Chase's non-race winners have by now been eliminated) and both out with engine failures.   No one else going forward has more than four wins, and the most curious sight of the day was the decision by JGR to basically stroke it - Kyle Busch, Kenseth, and Carl Edwards made zero effort to compete, more scared of losing points than of losing, period.


The decision by JGR outside of Denny Hamlin to jake it was criticized and correctly so. NASCAR says JGR didn't violate the sanctioning body's "100% rule," made in the wake of Michael Waltrip's fake caution at Richmond. Kyle Busch's retort -
"Don't hate the player - hate the game

- only reinforces the frustrations with a race weekend that was good but which hasn't lived up to its competitive value for several years.   Once again it was - artificially - too hard to pass and too hard to push; the racing was good, it should manifestly have been more competitive, and it's the old story that is is NASCAR's fault between the smaller spoiler, crackdown on push-drafting, and of course the absurd yellow-line rule - all this apart from the overemphasis on points racing in the sport as evidenced by the JGR fiasco.

So it goes to Martinsville for the Winston Cup cars and the Truck Series; the Trucks saw a surprise winner in first-timer Grant Enfinger.    The most competitive division in NASCAR at present, the Trucks have outsparkled the Cup Series overall, so Martinsville will likely see a surprise or two.

NFL Fit To Be Tied In Week Seven

The NFL's most controversial week of the year ended Sunday Night with the most unthinkable outcome possible - a tie.  It was the first tie since the Bengals and Panthers raced to a 37-37 tie in 2014.

THIS JEST IN - The NY Giants will sign Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay to play special teams - they'll have to at this rate to wipe the egg off their face; regardless they clawed to the win in London as Case Keenum was picked off in the endzone in the final two minutes.    The London game is presented as a way for the league to reach a new audience - except that isn't happening with only one percent of England watching and the game never making any profit (a major part of the reason for the ultimate failure of NFL Europe).

The Patriots are now three wins away from becoming the first team that originated from the American Football League to reach 500 wins.   Their ownership of the Steelers - their eleventh win in the last sixteen meetings - also continued.

It's now becoming the same old Falcons after all.   In the game of the weekend the Chargers charged back from down 17 to stun the Falcons in overtime 33-30, handing the Falcons another loss, their second straight.   

While Jameis Winston has now won two straight for the Bucs, they picked a good foe to try and build more momentum against.   The quarterback efforts for the 49ers are quite ugly - Yo Gabba Gabbert  completed only 58% of his passes, but Kappa Kaepernick can't even reach 45%.   Only two words come to mind here for the Niners - Bend Over.  

The Chiefs have clawed their way back into the AFC West race while Drew Brees threw a killer pick-six, which helped the Falcons stay atop the NFC North.

The AFC East changed behind the Patriots, first as the Miami Dolphins busted out their old-school colors and logo design and Jay Ajayi joined former Buffalo Bill OJ Simpson (who did it twice) to post back-to-back 200-yard rushing games.   The game ended Buffalo's four-game win streak and gave Miami some potential momentum.

Meanwhile the NY Jets lost their starting quarterback, had to play Ryan Fitzpatrick, and they stunned the Ravens 24-16, leaving the Ravens with four straight losses and even bigger questions about their season going forward as they now look like a team that won't break 8-8.


You thought the Cardinals-Seahawks tie was ugly - the Eagles played poorly, the Vikings played worse, and as Scott Graham put it on Westwood One Mercury Morris and his 1972 Dolphins buddies busted out the champagne as another unbeaten wannabe bit the dust.  

What do the Titans have to do to beat the Colts?  This was their tenth straight loss and almost every game has been a bitterly close affair.  

While the Bengals got a much-needed win the Browns lost their starting quarterback again and suddenly it has become a real prospect to finish 0-16 - AJ Green's catch in traffic best symbolizes the failure that is the Browns organization.

With the Monday Night game still to be played, we've nonetheless seen enough to wonder what's next in Week Eight.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

For Roger Goodell It's Here We Go Again

The No More ad campaign against domestic violence was launched by the same people responsible for the Law & Order Special Victims Unit version - and now a lot of people have egg on their face with the New York Giants involved in controversy over former punter Josh Brown.

Here we go again.   Controversy erupted days before the New York Giants flew to London to face the LA Rams because documents related to Josh Brown were published.   Brown was charged in allegation of some twenty incidents of domestic violence with his now ex-wife; the charges were eventually dropped, and the NFL slapped him with a one-game suspension for 2016, this after their self-congradulatory promise to impose a minimum six-game suspension for incidents after the controversy over Ray Rice.   Documents from that previous investigation have now surfaced, including admissions on Brown's part to acts of abuse.

It led to an interview by Mike Francesca of Giants co-owner John Mara, and Mara's at-times evasive answering intensified controversy over the NFL's handling of domestic violence.   It intensified further when John Urquhart, the sheriff of King's County, WA that investigated Brown when he was with the Seahawks, angrilly responded when the league passed the buck of blame toward him in claiming he covered up for Brown when the league tried to investigate the allegation.  

It is of course impossible to do anything but call Roger Goodell a liar, having proven himself a liar in serial fashion in his multiple failures to objectively lead the league; when presented opportunity to lead, he instead launched aggression against the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints as well as numerous players and coaches, all out of personal spite.   As lawyer Peter Ginsberg now famously put it during the disinformation campaign against Tom Brady, "it's very difficult to have a genuine, authentic disagreement with Roger."  

Goodell's competence as commissioner has long been exposed as nonexistent.   Backstabbing and ass-covering define Goodell's governing philosophy, and complete inability to handle the inner workings of the game has more and more become the dominating characteristic of Goodell.   The league's operations department - and general command of situations - has dumbed itself down with Troy Vincent now Goodell's second-in-command, and the league's approach to investigations by now reflect Goodell's fundamental character - perfunctory and utterly insincere.


But the issue here goes beyond the manifest dishonesty of Goodell and the incompetence of Goodell and his underlings.   Even a competent commissioner would not be able to adequately handle the issue of domestic violence because there simply is no simple answer beyond dealing with individual incidents on their own individual basis based on what the law says about it.    What the law says about a situation can't be dismissed by the league - if the law says charges against Josh Brown are dropped, the league can't deny him employment.   And has anyone else noticed that Ray Rice has by all accounts been a legitimate law-abiding citizen despite being railroaded out of the league by Roger Goodell's ass-covering campaign?

As it is the government - not the most dependable of God's creatures, to coin a Spencer Tracy phrase - has multiple and conflicting definitions of sexual assault.   It of course is an old story - back in 1990 (October 12 specifically) the Christian Science Monitor claimed (through Marilyn Gardner) there were five million women assaulted per year with an assault averaging one every fifteen seconds; as Thomas Sowell noted in The Vision Of The Anointed the figure was grossly unreliable, first for not differentiating between unmarried sex partners and legally binded husbands, second for not differentiating actual violence from a minor push or shove (where the figure was roughly 500,000 - and as Mike Florio shows, the actual incident that got Josh Brown suspended was him grabbing his now-ex's wrist ) - and even the ratio was mathematically wrong, as it would in fact be one every 6.3 seconds.  

And unnoticed is the hypocrisy of the media's umbrage about Josh Brown as with the earlier jihad about Ray Rice, for the media once again has been in essence advocating double jeopardy - punishing the individual for the same incident again.   At what point do people figure out that double jeopardy doesn't work?   Or that it's an actual crime to re-punish someone for the same incident? 

There are no winners in this - Roger Goodell proves again he has zero competence to lead the league, the media proves again it is not capable of rational analysis.   And a lot of people have egg on their face as a result.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The German Left's Undeclared War on Israel

The German Left's Undeclared War on Israel:

"The historian Jeffrey Herf's profound new book shows that German-animated left-wing terrorism targeting Israel was not a tactic but rather part of a long-war strategy to destroy the Jewish state. Academic study and journalism on the now-defunct East German Communist state and radical West German groups hitherto failed to delve into their ongoing war against Israel (and against the United States, one could argue).

"Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left 1967-1989
is the title of Herf's monumental study. To understand the German Democratic Republic, one must understand its opposition to the founding philosophy of the Jewish state, namely, Zionism. 'The East German dictatorship was a different kind of dictatorship from its Nazi predecessor, but, albeit for different reasons, it became the second dictatorship to regard Zionism as an enemy,' writes Herf."

Kennedy At the Center of Hillary's Scandal Management

The State Departmen's denial is a proven lie.

"Less than 24 hours after the FBI released documents confirming discussions of a bargain between the FBI and State Department over reclassification of at least one classified Hillary Clinton email, the spokesman for the State Department categorically denied that any such discussions ever happened.
“There was no quid pro quo even suggested or any kind of bargain laid on the table, said John Kirby, in an interview Tuesday on Fox & Friends. There was no bargain even suggested by these two individuals.
"This is false.
"Here is how the proposed quid pro quo was described in the FBI summary of its interview with an individual who worked in the FBI's International Operations Division [IOD]. 'Not yet knowing the email's content, [REDACTED] told Kennedy he would look into the matter if Kennedy would provide authority concerning the FBI's request to increase its personnel in Iraq.'"

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

NFL Week Seven Rolling Seven

With Week Six behind us, the NFL hits Week Seven and suddenly the season has gotten noticeably more interesting with quite  a few upsets and semi-upsets in Week Six.   A look at this week's games -

The New York Jets - well, they're the New York Jets again.   It used to be the Arizona Cardinals were the worst franchise in the history of the league; how times change for everyone except the Jets

Bears over Packers  -  Not that the Bears are any great shakes at 1-5, but they have gotten some decent play out of Brian Hoyer while the Packers once again faltered when they fell behind by two scores and didn't look like they knew where the ball was at times - of course they didn't since at the worst possible time they once again gagged it up (presently minus-3 in turnover differential). 

NY Giants over Rams (London) - Putting a team in Los Angeles was supposed to boost the biggest TV market without an NFL team - and the opposite has happened.   The Giants have begun to get something going and Odell Beckham's kicking net antics have now become a source of comedy, and not the low kind.  The Giants, though, are an atrocious minus-10 in turnover differential.

Chiefs over Saints -  The Chiefs got out of a recent funk beating the Raiders and they get a Saints team that can't defend anything despite being plus-2 in turnover differential but has scored at least 32 points three straight games.   The Chiefs are tenth in fewest points allowed and despite the padding by the Jets game still plus-five in turnover differential.

Vikings over Eagles -   Suddenly Carson Wentz has faltered the last two weeks and the Vikings come off their bye having advanced in the division without playing a single down in two weeks.

Titans over Colts - The Titans are now 3-3, have authored their first winning streak in three years, and are a respectable 12th in points allowed, though minus-3 in turnover differential.   They've also scored at least 28 points the last two weeks and catch a reeling Colts team that is 2-4, is 7th in scoring but 28th in points allowed (though oddly are plus-one in turnover differential), and is 0-2 in the division, and also 1-3 in the AFC.    They've been bitterly competitive a lot in their games against the Colts over the years, so playing them tough hasn't been an issue; finishing is the issue and lately they've been finishing.

Bills over Dolphins  -    Though the Dolphins stormed to an eye-opening win against the Steelers, they get a Bills team that is now flying, presently fourth in scoring, fifth in points allowed, and an eye-popping plus-eight in turnover differential, where the Dolphins are minus-six despite no turnovers last week.

Lions over Redskins  - The Redskins have clawed to 4-2, are plus-one in turnovers, and they get a Lions team that's minus-one yet has only five turnovers all season and is 3-3 with a two-game win streak.   Matthew Stafford's passer rating is now at 106 while Kirk Cousins has made good plays though his passer rating is 86.  There's no particular reason why the Redskins can't win this one; the edge the Lions would seem to have is homefield plus recent momentum, so this game should be a taut affair.

Browns over Bengals - Though the Browns are 0-6 they've actually played some good football with Cody Kessler and his 93.8 passer rating, four touchdowns, and just one pick. The Titans game last week showed there's fight in the Browns where the Bengals gave up and started playing dumb football again last week, though the much-condemned Vontaze Burfict hit on Martellus Bennett wasn't as egregious as some made it sound.

 Ravens over NY Jets - The Ravens have faltered the last few weeks and still don't look like a playoff contender, but they've played competitive football while the New York Jets now have a quarterback problem with the obvious flameout of Ryan Fitzpatrick, poor play in garbage time by Geno Smith (there's been a Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu sighting), and the question of why Bryce Petty hasn't seen any action.    Fitting that twenty years ago the Jets spent a then-record $70 million on free agent and rookie talent - and won just one game, and it's happening again.

Jaguars over Raiders - The Raiders pulled it off traveling to the East Coast at Tennessee and Baltimore, but this is a Jaguars team that pulled off a stunning comeback win on the road last week and one wonders how much, if any, starch has been taken out of the Raiders with the Vegas stadium confirmation.  

Chargers over Falcons  -  The Falcons came up short amid controversy at Seattle, so there is still fight in the Falcons, but they face a Chargers team whose defense is completely different with rookie Joey Bosa now up and running.   The Chargers still have issues with offensive playcalling and finishing games, so this could turn on a dime.

Buccaneers over 49ers -  Colin Kaepernick came out of self-important exile and promptly showed he has no clue with just thirteen completions out of 29 throws - five coming in his final eighteen.   The Bucs come to The Santa Clara Stick needing the win to regain some momentum, especially for the competitive well-being of Jameis Winston, who had eight picks the first four games.   Regaining of momentum started with Tampa Bay's 17-14 grinder over the Panthers where Winston didn't throw a pick.

Patriots over Steelers - Astonishingly people were scared of the Steelers even though the Patriots have won ten of the last fifteen meetings, six of them with a healthy Roethlisberger.   Now with Tom Brady back, the Patriots have exploded to 68 points the last two games and they are second in the league in fewest points allowed; the Steelers meanwhile are minus-two in turnover differential.   Roethlisberger struggled against the Patriots and with him out Landry Jones - good luck.  

Cardinals over Seahawks - The Cardinals have clawed to 3-3 after starting 1-3 and the Seahawks have quietly raced to 4-2.   Carson Palmer has been banged up lately and the Seahawks have erupted in points since being held to three against the Rams.   The Seahawks, though, do not appear to have the same fight they've had and still have a homefield frontrunner reputation, though that's nowhere near what it was under Mike Holmgren.  

Texans over Broncos - Brock Osweiler returns to the team he won five games for in 2015, and he comes after a statement comeback against the hated Colts. The Broncos meanwhile have faltered, unable to score (just twenty-nine combined points the last two games) and Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch both showcased flaws in their game in recent outings. This is the classic case of a team with momentum vs. one that's been in a slide.

So we await Week Lucky Seven.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Doing The Right Thing In Iraq

The US - astonishingly given Obama's throwing away of victory in 2009-12 - has a second chance to defeat the enemy in Iraq - something George W. Bush did and Obama threw away.

Fact Checking the 'Fact Checkers'

The work of PolitiFact is slipshod and generally less than honest, shown in its rumpswabbery for Hillary Clinton.
Readers of THE WEEKLY STANDARD have been treated over the years to countless examples of malpractice from so-called media fact checkers. Some of those fact checkers are worse than others. It's an open secret, and one the media don't want to acknowledge, that PolitiFact in particular is horribly biased. Surveys done by the University of Minnesota and George Mason University have shown that the supposedly impartial organization rates Republican claims false three times as often as Democratic claims.

But something even more troubling than liberal bias might be at work at PolitiFact. The Daily Caller News Foundation recently published a detailed investigation into a Clinton Foundation initiative to provide AIDS drugs in Africa and concluded that the program may have been responsible for dispensing ineffective watered-down drugs. PolitiFact turned around and fact checked the conservative website, saying it wrongly ties the Clinton Foundation to bad HIV/AIDS drugs. However, a subsequent response from the Daily Caller News Foundation pointed out quite convincingly that PolitiFact's critique was riddled with errors.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week Six: Brady Bombs While Kaepernick Delivers A Dud

Two weeks ago fourteen NFL teams were 1-3 or 0-4.    Two weeks later we suddenly have signs some of these teams have begun a turnaround from what is almost always the kiss of death for making the playoffs.

The first sign this weekend was going to be a little upside down was San Diego's upset of the Broncos on Thursday Night.   Despite a lack of scoring and some bafflingly conservative playcalling in the fourth quarter, the Chargers took down the Broncos, who no longer look as powerful as advertised, plus the Chargers look like a completely different defense with Joey Bosa now up and running.

A team with little worry about making the playoffs welcomed its Hall Of Famer for his first home game of the year.   Tom Brady responded with another F4 Phantom sortie - Brady delivered the bombs and shot down the Cincinnati Bengals, this amid some cheap hitting by the Bengals, who made a game of it until Andy Dalton got sacked for a safety and the Patriots erupted from there on - continuing the reputation of the Patriots as the machine of the NFL and continuing Cincinnati's reputation for lack of leadership, cheap hitting, lack of discipline, and insistence on winning with athleticism and talent instead of focused, smart play.

Contrast this with the other big story entering Week Six's slate of games - Colin Kaepernick's return to the starting job of the 49ers.   Kaepernick's spark lasted all of one half as the Niners clawed to a 14-13 halftime gap, then the Bills outscored the Niners 31-6.   Kaepernick finished showing his flaws as a quarterback are still there - he completed just thirteen of 29 passes and ran more than competent quarterbacks are supposed to run.    Fitting that T-shirts showing Kaepernick in a gunsight were sold before the game.

The sickest catch of the year so far was Jaelen Strong's catch of Brock Osweiler's bomb, a bomb worthy of Warren Moon and a dagger to the Indianapolis Colts.   The Houston comeback - from down two touchdowns - has suddenly made the AFC South a legitimate division race.

Easily the game of the day was another rip-roaring affair between the Panthers and the Saints, who fought to a 41-38 thriller last season and this time the result was reversed.   Though they fell to 1-5 the Panthers actually showed some reason for salvaging a decent season as they kept coming back and Cam Newton appeared to begin getting some rhythm back.

Marcus Mariota authored the first two-game winning streak of his career and authored the Tennessee Titans to their first win over the Cleveland Browns in the last three meetings.    Cody Kessler returned under center for the Browns and the Browns made a taut game of it despite falling to 0-6.   Kessler has played well overall even without a win, and the Browns may not get much of a record this year but I'm not seeing them going 0-16 now; Kessler has too much upside for that.   For that matter Mariota is also giving the league reason to believe the Titans will build to a playoff power down the road.

In addition to genuine promise from Cody Kessler the Browns are seeing play to be proud of from ex-Raiders ex-quarterback Terrell Pryor.    League fans should want the Browns to turn it around with the genuine talent we're seeing from Kessler and Pryor.

The AFC West just got a lot more curious as the Kansas City Chiefs shot down the rising Raiders and thus began to claw back into the playoff race.   It ended a bad week for Oakland fans with the Las Vegas Stadium now a fait accompli despite no credible evidence of any actual fanbase in Vegas.

Odell Beckham's sideline meltdowns have become the story for the NY Giants but against the slumping Baltimore Ravens Beckham erupted.   It was a taut finish as the Ravens scored around the 2-minute warning only to see Eli Manning explode with some 1:20 to go.    Combined with the Redskins' win over the Eagles the win puts the Giants back into the NFC East conversation.

But staying well out front in the NFC East is the Cowboys, whose rookie class of Dakota Prescott and Zeke Elliott is leading the Pokes on a rampage reminiscent of the glory days of Troy, Emmitt, Irvin, etc.   The Cowboys also continued the career trend for Aaron Rodgers, once again in over his head when he has to lead a comeback, perhaps best illustrated by his late-game fumble on 2nd and 6 before the follow-up fumble that effectively ended the game.  

Trouble in Pittsburgh?   One of my sources indicates a budding feud within the team involving coach Mike Tomlin; nobody did themselves well in getting humiliated by the struggling Dolphins.

Giving nightmares to the Steelers was Jay Ajayi, whose 204 yards further exposed the Steelers to be a dubious challenger.  

The Detroit Lions are making a case they're becoming a genuine challenger in a terrific game with the Rams, who've faltered after their early-season winning streak.    Matthew Stafford has struggled to string together consistent winning play over the years but Jim Caldwell, given up for dead by a lot of railbirds before the season, may be what Stafford has needed to go along with his talent.   Case Keenum meanwhile has also put together some encouraging play.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have quietly begun stringing together wins and erasing a two-touchdown gap in the fourth quarter at Chicago showed there's some fight in this squad.   

Oddly unnoticed have been the Seattle Seahawks, but they've surged ahead in the NFC West by edging a surging Falcons squad.   The Seahawks benefitted from a questionable non-call on Richard Sherman on Atlanta's last-gasp bomb.

So what does it all mean?   The Patriots, the Vikings, and - perhaps - the Cowboys and Seahawks appear to be the only sure thing in this season.   Six teams that were 1-3 won Thursday or Sunday and I suspect a number of formerly 1-3 teams will surprise people by December.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Further Duplicity of Hillary Clinton

The leaking of Hillary Clinton emails merely shows she is dishonest and incompetent - something universally known. It's the details that are interesting, notably a Wall Street speech where she seemed to endorse market-oriented solutions, and also just how maliciously ignorant she is of people.

UPDATE: The duplicity of Hillary Milhous Clinton is also the duplicity of the FBI (hardly a surprise after Whitey Bulger, Zip Connolly, Steve Flemmi, and Paul Rico) and her media defenders, notably fraud "journalist" Nina Burleigh, who famously offered Bill Clinton oral "sex" because he fought for abortion and now authors hit pieces for Newsweek.

It Isn't Police Brutality, It's No Lives Matter

First a look from September 21:

The rioters against police are not fighting police brutality - cases in Milwaukee and more recently in Charlotte show perps killed by police and their defenders lying about it - they're just killing for the sake of killing - because it's the same with leftism from time immemorial - no lives matter.

UPDATE: - We get a look at what really goes on with "police brutality" and convictions.

Budget Reform Means Eliminate Controls And Mandatory Spending

Two items illustrate the uselessness of government - first is the mandatory spending framework involved in federal spending, the other is a look at how California housing has become idiotically expensive thanks to government limits on building.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Is Unconstitutional

And the DC Circuit Court offers a slap-down of the bureau created at the behest of the dishonest Elizabth Warren that went after Wells Fargo basically out of spite.

What Good Is Military Force?

Winning wars for starters

"An observer of this summer’s party conventions would get the idea that the use of military force is almost always and everywhere wrong and ill-advised. Any reference to the use of force was drowned out at the conventions by chants of America First and no more war. With the exception of Donald Trump's open-ended threat to knock the hell out of ISIS, there seems to be a political consensus that the use of force is almost never a good idea.

On the campaign trail both candidates have reinforced this view, often promoting a false choice between rebuilding America and being the world's policeman.

Is the use of force a defensible foreign policy tool and, if so, when and why? There are two main arguments against the use of force, either in specific instances or as a more general policy. The first is pragmatic. Are the goals of the use of force vital to America's national security? If so, are these goals important enough to justify the likely costs in terms of American lives and treasure? And if they are, can policymakers be relatively confident the use of force will achieve their aims, without unintended and destructive consequences beyond the immediate military objective? These are serious questions, to which we shall return."

Monday, October 10, 2016

NFL Where Are We Going Week Six

The New England Patriots tell us where they're going in Week Six and with Week Five wrapping up, we look ahead to Week Six.

Broncos over Chargers - The Broncos got exposed by the Falcons and Paxton Lynch showed a lot less as a quarterback than Trevor Siemian, rumored to be the starter. Regardless of which one starts for the Broncos they face a Chargers team that cannot finish any game, is minus-one in turnover differential, and is 47-54 this decade entering this game. Philip Rivers' volume stats are good, but he's not getting it done and really hasn't as shown in the 47-54 record.

Jaguars over Bears -  While Brian Hoyer has shown more and more improvement compared to Jay Cutler, the Bears continue to struggle and they get a Jaguars team that finally got some momentum entering their Bye week.   Hoyer's overall quality of play does offer reason for hope, but he has to start winning.

Titans over Browns -  The Browns have won the last two meetings with the Titans (and five of the last eight dating to the last year of the old AFC Central) including 2014's stunning comeback win from down 28-3 after Jake Locker, who'd been head-hunted by the Browns, got knocked out after whacking his throwing hand on a player's helmet.  Ironically present Browns quarterback Charlie Whitehurst took over from there and stormed the Titans to that 28-3 lead - and failed to stop the bleeding.   Now Whitehurst may have to face his old team that clawed to a needed win at Miami and is showing some improvement, this as the Browns at 0-5 are now staring at 0-16.

Steelers over Dolphins  -  The Steelers have it going all around right now, and the Dolphins don't have anything going.

Lions over Rams  -  The Lions pulled off the win over a good opponent last week and now host the Rams, reeling from an ugly loss to Rex Ryan's Bills.   Case Keenum's promising beginning has taken a turn for the worse when he threw two picks last week and now has five picks to just four touchdowns this season, though this matchup might favor him given he beat the Lions last season.

NY Giants over Ravens - The Ravens were the weakest 3-0 team seen in awhile and it showed with losses the last two weeks, enough that Marc Trestman was unceremoniously dumped as offensive coordinator.   Marty "I'll take the wind" Mornhinweg takes over as offensive coordinator; his career as such has been uneven at best, though his teams (especially when he was with the Eagles) have a good record against a Giants team that looks mediocre at best.

Panthers over Saints - Carolina's struggle against the Bucs shows how much of a mess the Panthers are, Cam Newton or Derek Anderson, but even with that the Saints are their own mess despite good offensive numbers.   They did get it done in a shootout at San Diego.

Eagles over Redskins - The Eagles despite the setback at Detroit remain in the top-3 in points and points allowed while the Redskins are stuck in the middle third in both.   The Skins do have momentum on their side having won three straight and are plus-3 in turnover differential, though the Eagles are better at plus-5.

Patriots over Bengals - The rallying cry of 2014 gets renewal as the Patriots have Tom Brady back and face a Bengals team that is just 2-3 (though plus-2 in turnover differential) and only 24th in scoring.   The embarrassment at Dallas showcased the Bengals are hitting another rut that has pockmarked Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton's careers.

Bills over 49ers -  Maybe we better start believing in the Bills after three straight wins, and they get a reeling 49ers squad that may make the mistake of putting the worthless Colin Kaepernick back under center, this after he basically blew off preseason preparation.   Believe it or not the Bills are actually decent in offense (15th in points) and Tyrod Taylor has been effective at quarterback with six touchdowns and just two INTs, though his yards per throw (6.7) leaves something to be desired.

Raiders over Chiefs - The Raiders have surged to 4-1 and Derek Carr seems to be getting ever better, presently at 11 touchdowns to just two INTs.   And lost in the shuffle is the Raiders run game is at a very healthy Five yards per carry.   The odd stat is they've been outgained in the air in yards and touchdowns.   The Raiders host a Chiefs team that's again off to a slow start;  though the Chiefs are plus-3 in turnover differential this number is skewed by the disaster that was the NY Jets.   The Chiefs are 2-2 and aren't scoring a whole lot (just 50 points the last three games).

Cowboys over Packers - Dakota Prescott and company have surged to a 4-1 start and take on a Packers team that's only 12th in points and points allowed (Dallas is 9th in scoring and 8th in points allowed) and has been mildly atrocious against passing attacks (1,098 yards at 6.9 yards per throw and seven touchdowns allowed; the differential between Packers passing yards and yards allowed is over 250 yards); the Packers are also minus-one in turnover differential.   The old saw about the Packers - they can frontrun like crazy and can't stage a comeback when they need one - remains true as they've outlasted the teams they've beaten rather than put them away.   The Cowboys for their part aren't great shakes against passing attacks either (1,303 yards, 6.6 yards per throw, nine touchdowns allowed) and are minus-two in turnover differential; their running game has accounted for eleven scores but goes against a Packers team allowing just two yards per attempt, so this game should be a taut one.

Falcons over Seahawks - having shot down both Superbowl teams - the first team to do that in over 30 years - the Falcons stay out west and head to Seattle's king of a semi-dome.    The Falcons bullied Denver's vaunted defense but take on a Seahawks defense that's noticeably better - third in points allowed, just 5.4 yards per throw allowed, and just one touchdown allowed.    The big gap is in points scored as the Seahawks are only 21st; their passing game is hitting seven yards per throw but the Seahawks are stuck on the ground at just 3.3 yards per rushing attempt.   The Falcons remains atop the league in points and their 25th ranking in points allowed is a little deceiving, as they're winning despite that, in at least part because they are plus-three in turnover differential.

Colts over Texans - Suddenly the Houston Texans don't look like a playoff team anymore.   The Colts rallied to their second win of the season and the Texans were dismal at Minnesota and have looked out of sorts since getting humiliated in Foxboro.   Start with a disturbing turnover differential - minus-four.  More and more Brock Osweiler looks not like a future star but a future washout, with sluggish throwing motion, only five net yards per throw, 58% completion, and more INTs (seven) than touchdowns (six).    Nor has Bill O'Brien lived up to the promise shown as Penn State's coach after the disasterous end of Joe Paterno's regime. 

Cardinals over NY Jets - In the old days a down-in-the-dumps team could regain some confidence when the NY Jets came up on the schedule.   The Cardinals are top-11 in points and points allowed but only 2-3 thanks to some poor play by Carson Palmer and his three losses.   Drew Stanton is no solution down the road but so far he's kept it in a positive direction.    He and the Cards play host to the NY Jets, who have imploded - hilariously illustrated in their plus-NINE turnover differential, this despite not turning over the ball once at Pittsburgh.   The once-vaunted pass defense of the Jets has disintegrated with Darrelle Revis' career - twelve scores in the air, 8.2 net yards per throw allowed.   Meanwhile Ryan Fitzpatrick has played down to his quarterbacking competence with ten picks and just five touchdowns - no wonder Rumor Control Central now has it that the Jets are working on a package to trade to Dallas for Tony Romo.  

And so we're onto Cincinnati, Coach.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Brady's Back And Week Five's Back Breakers

Tom Brady returned to the NFL in Week Five and him being back was a back-breaker in Week Five

Tom Brady had no rust as he killed the already-moribund Cleveland Browns, who lost their promising young quarterback and had to rely on the inept journeyman Charlie Whitehurst

The Minnesota Vikings continue their unbeaten run, pounding the Houston Texans, who may be second-guessing getting Brock Osweiler as Osweiler has been shaky the last few games

No more win streak for the Broncos and while the Falcons didn't put up the monster numbers they'd put up their previous three games their offense bullied the Broncos defense convincingly.   This game also raised some doubts about Paxton Lynch, whose debut was woefully weaker than Trevor Siemian's

The Eagles finally fell and Carson Wentz threw a pick, but their start was a lot better than anyone expected and this setback shouldn't ruffle anyone in Philly.   It was also an encouraging win for Matthew Stafford, though a playoff berth remains unlikely

The Bears nearly pulled off the win at Indianapolis and put up some 500 yards of offense with better-than-expected play from Brian Hoyer; Hoyer seems certain to be the permanent replacement for the inept Jay Cutler

Marcus Mariota accounted for all four Tennessee Titans touchdowns at Miami and it was a promising effort toward long-term improvement, while the Titans broke out of a competitive game and broke the back of the Dolphins; the replacement for Ryan Tannehill should already be being scouted by Dolphins personnel people

The Bungles tried to get the number of the Dallas truck that ran over them - it was driven by Dakota Prescott and Zeke Elliott, who hasn't hit the wall (unlike Chase Elliott at Charlotte again) but instead is hitting the holes. The sight of a laughing Tony Romo on the sideline was pathetic as Romo's career with the Cowboys should be over

The surprise perhaps of the day was the Bills - written off when they were 0-2 they've now won three in a row while blunting the Rams' early surge in the NFC West; suddenly the prospect of the Bills making the playoffs for the first time since 1999 is for now no longer a joke

Also no joke is the Oakland Raiders as they surged to 4-1 in perhaps the most competitive game of the day.  The gagged FGA by the Chargers at the end and more INTs by Philip Rivers have become the norm for the Chargers - when they have to step up, they fail

NFL Redzone's touchdown compilation from Week Five

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Trump Was Right: Castro Did Send Criminals to U.S.

Looking back at Castro's murderer dump on the US in 1980.

Iran, Feminism, And The Fraud Of Sporting Diplomacy

A women's chess champion is refusing to go to Iran for a major tournament because the Iranians make women wear hijabs - headscraves mandated to women by men to keep them from being independent individuals.  It's the kind of cultural oppression feminists would attack with gusto.   Yet women in power from Australia to the European Union tacitly - or more - endorse Islamic cultural repression of women - and keep in mind it is realworld repression as opposed to the nonexistent type Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers self-servingly protests.

It illustrates both the idiocy of feminism and also of sporting diplomacy - as we saw with the Sochi Olympics it serves as endorsement of terrorist empires.

Kaine in 2012 Validates Trump In 2016

"Tim Kaine in 2012 — then a former governor and candidate for the Senate—was asked in 2012 what he would do about illegal immigration. Kaine responded that he would require illegal immigrants to identify themselves and force them to pay a hefty fine that would be used to pay for border security. The video from is above, but here's the key excerpt:

'What I would do on comprehensive immigration reform is this: I would require those who are here illegally to sort of raise their hand and come forward and say, 'we broke the law.' By admitting that you're breaking the law, you're going to have that as a criminal violation, as a legal violation, and you're going to have to pay a penalty and it;'s going to be a significant penalty that you will pay over a period of time. Whether it's a fine or an escalated tax rate, you're going to have to pay that. We would take that money that's being paid by those who have come here unlawfully, and we would use it to increase border security. ... I would take these fines and do even more border security.'"

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Obama Administration Gutted Iranian Ballistic Missile Embargo

Appeasement of The Ayatollahs got worse.

DOJ and FBI "Side Agreements" To Cover Hillary's Ass

The FBI and Department Of Justice acknowledge "side agreements" with Hillary Milhous Clinton aides for immunity
"Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has released a letter addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. In it, he asks Lynch a number of pointed questions about side agreements given to the Hillary Clinton aides who were also given immunity for cooperating in the email investigation.
As part of the side agreements, the FBI agreed not to search the aides' computers for documents dated later than January 31, 2015. Also, the FBI agreed to destroy the computers when they were done with the search.
As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy points out, that date is before some the most significant allegations of obstruction of justice took place. Further, the fact immunity was offered in the first place remains baffling and suggestive of corruption. Subpoenas compelling the aides to hand over their computers as physical evidence should have been standard procedure."

Can Western Muslims Be De-radicalized?

Efforts to purge Islamo-Arab imperialism from Muslim populations are examined.

Worth adding is the violence of Syrian refugee children in Calgary schools.

Obama's Self-Serving Fictions

Obama lies to cover his own ass when it comes to his refusal to work with anyone else.

Hillary's Bilking Of Haitians

A reminder of how the Clinton Foundation works - by ripping off Haiti, for starters.

The NY Times Attack On Trump Blows Up

NOTE - this was first published May 23, 2016 -

The NY Times launched a Clinton-esque hit piece on Donald Trump's attitudes toward women. That it is Clinton-esque makes it have zero credibility.

It is worth republishing here because the pattern is accelerating, first with the media falsifying Trump comments at a veterans event in Herndon, VA, and then with the NY Times publishing - in the usual crassly manipulated form - tax returns attributed to Trump.

Teachers Unions Continue To Prove They're Not Worth It

Chicago teachers are ready to strike for the third time in five years because they have to help pay for their own entitlements. It proves anew that teachers unions are not worth it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

PolitiFact and the Clinton Foundation Share Megadonor

PolitiFact is objectively inaccurate, and its rumpswabbery for Hillary Clinton extends to its relationship with Hillary's "foundation" slush fund.

Francesco De Masi - Altalena Party

Some relaxing bossa nova.

Hillary Milhous Clinton's Dysfunction Junction

The attempt by the Justice Department to cover up for Hillary Clinton's serial lawbreaking has nonetheless illustrated that lawbreaking and the utter incompetence and dishonesty of Hillary, her aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and Jake Sullivan among others, and everyone else associated with her.

"What also comes across is how Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and Jake Sullivan simply didn't think they should be prevented from doing things because of rules. Their sense of self-importance - that hubris that often seems to go along with government power - mixed in with the Clintons' characteristic belief that their self-proclaimed good intentions allowed them to do as they liked. These are people who think they are so important that they should not be constrained by such minor considerations as the possibility that stepping outside the government's secure system compromises American security.
The problem is that what it omits from the story of the email more important."

One of the things omitted is that Hillary used the State Department as part of her Clinton Foundation extortion racket - and being a racket is shown in the foundation's tax return.

Ninty-Eight Percent of Hungarian Voters Reject Muslim Migrants

This is a sign of what constitutes accountability

For NFL Teams Week Five Is To Thrive

Julio Jones and Matt Ryan suddenly have firepower, and they'll need it to try and knock down the unbeaten Broncos   

Often over the years Week Five is gut-check week for NFL teams.   A rally to make the playoffs usually has to start now.  But for fourteen teams entering Week Five with just one win - or winless as the Cleveland Browns are - the task seems unrealistic, so focusing on just winning the next game and trying to build something would seem the more prudent course. 

Not that a rally for a 1-3 team can't happen, but maybe fifteen of the eighteen teams with two or more wins coming in appear ready to start a springboard with a Week Five win.   So we try again with picks -

Cardinals over 49ers - Two 1-3 teams clash on Thursday Night and injury to Carson Palmer throws a wrench into the works for the Cardinals. I'm not confident as of Tuesday that Carson Palmer will play, which leaves things in the hands of the unimpressive Drew Stanton. Working for the Cardinals is the Niners have plummeted after their Week One win and Blaine Gabbert has fallen to earth. Inevitably the talk of starting Colin Kaepernick will start; having proven he is not a leader or a competent quarterback (doing so with his publically poor work ethic) Kaepernick is not the answer.

Vikings over Texans -    The Vikings continue to prove they're for real with another dismantling of an opponent, and now they get a Texans team that got the win after getting embarrassed at Foxboro; however the Texans didn't show much in the way of closing power, blew a 14-point lead before a punt-return score put the game just out of Tennessee's reach, and are in the bottom-five in points scored with six INTs by Brock Osweiler - suddenly we may be relearning why the Broncos didn't fight to keep him.   Contrast this with Sam Bradford, with a passer rating over 100 and this gives a defense better than the vaunted Broncos defense (the Vikings are second in fewest points allowed) what it needs to work with.

Falcons over Broncos - Yes it's a rash prediction given the Broncos are defending champs, fifth in both points and points allowed, and unbeaten going against a Falcons team 29th in points allowed.    The Falcons, though, do not turn the ball over and have forced five turnovers, the same number the Broncos have given up so far - with both teams at plus-three in turnover differential.    Assuming Trevor Siemian is out after getting carted off on the meat wagon at Tampa Bay, Paxton Lynch showed he can pick right up where Siemian left off, so there should be no worry at quarterback.   Keep in mind when the Broncos faced the Panthers, a better offense than what the Bucs, Bengals, and Colts delivered - the Broncos escaped with a win as opposed to decisively defeating them.   If Matt Ryan pulls it off he will finally have taken that true next step.

Redskins over Ravens - Joe Flacco got it done - barely - the first three games but failed when he had to get it going against the resurgent Raiders. Now he, his below-80 passer rating, and the Ravens' minus-one turnover differential face a Deadskins team that's plus-three in turnover differential and has won its last two. 

Titans over Dolphins -  The 1-3 Dolphins are minus-five in turnover differential; the 1-3 Titans are minus-four.   The shocker stat is Ryan Tannehill has a better passer rating than Marcus Mariota -     while Mariota is just 73.9, Tannehill is at 87.3.   Yet every week the Titans fight to the very end where the Dolphins have shown little fight outside of a surprising and ultimately futile rally at Foxboro.   The Titans also have an edge in rushing the ball with over 500 yards and a very healthy 4.7 yards per carry against a Dolphins run defense that's already allowed over 500 yards.

Colts over Bears - This battle of 1-3 teams may be tougher than it looks after the Bears pulled off the win last week. Brian Hoyer is now quarterback and has surged past 100 in passer rating with four touchdowns and no picks, outclassing the incompetent Jay Cutler. Hoyer gets the chance to continue his redemption facing a Colts team that failed to finish a rally against the Jaguars.  

Steelers over NY Jets - The Steelers exploded last week and now get fresh meat in a falling Jets team.  Ryan Fitzpatrick's collapse was expected, but not necessarily this quickly or this graphically at nine INTs the last two games. 

Eagles over Lions - Carson Wentz has yet to show any weakness with five touchdowns and no picks, and he faces a Lions team off to yet another dismal start.  Matthew Stafford's passer rating has been good - 93.9 - and he's cut down on turnovers, yet he's not getting the job done, and he faces an Eagles team that leads the league in fewest points allowed and is second in points scored.    

Patriots over Browns - The wildcard aspect of this game is the Browns won the last meeting in Cleveland (in 2010) and the Patriots needed to rally in preposterous fashion against them in 2013.    The Browns also are seeing some legitimate quarterbacking out of Cody Kessler.   Getting Tom Brady back is just in time for a Patriots team angry at getting embarrassed by loudmouth Rex Ryan and after he sent his players to disrupt Patriots pregame warmups; that indignity usually leads to a Patriots win the next game.

Raiders over Chargers - Derek Carr is getting it done and Philip Rivers is not, and it's more and more looking like he can't anymore.   This should be a high-scoring affair.

Rams over Bills - The Rams are 3-1 and Case Keenum, despite some subpar numbers, is overall getting it done.   The Bills have rallied for two straight wins but Rex Ryan's culture inevitably flames out, and usually in rather spectacular fashion.  

Cowboys over Bengals - The Cowboys behind Dakota Prescott look more and more like the real deal, and they face a Bengals squad that is still good, but not up to being great.

Packers over NY Giants - Eli Manning's encouraging start is history and while the Packers are still frontrunning phonies the Giants do not look good enough to make them pay.  

Panthers over Buccaneers - The Panthers are now a mess, with injury to Cam Newton, but the Bucs have faltered with eight INTs by Jameis Winston and a disasterous minus-nine turnover differential.   The promise of Winston's rookie season hasn't translated to anything, and that's a shame.    With both teams 1-3 playoff promise likewise appears gone.

The season thus proceeds.