The Heretic added a topic in InfluenceYo! Star Wars!By next week, some of us will have succumbed to the hype and attend an overcrowded theater in meatspace. It's expected to break all sorts of records at the box office. Some pundits are going as high as $220 million domestic for opening weekend.
I fearlessly predict a 191 million debut, on account of lower-than-expected number of screens (3,900). Too many external factors constraining the maximum potential results.
As for the film itself, I hope for something closer to the first three films than the latter three, where Lucas' ambitions exceeded his grasp repeatedly. Of all the films within the next 12 months, this one appeals to the kid in me the most, because I was a Star Wars fan before I got into comic books or video games or mythology. Moreover, I've actively ignored all spoilery material up til now. Here's the trailer, if you haven't had the pleasure.
What do you expect from this event film?
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The Heretic added a topic in Play2015 NFL Week 14 Picks
NFL Week 14 Picks
10-6? Another tough week demands tough answers. And the tough get pickin'! If this season has been a rollercoasting, yo-yo'ing whiplash between great weeks and mediocre ones, then week 14 promises to be the opposite. Right? Right?
Game of the Week
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)
The Steelers' offense have been nearly unstoppable this season, with QB Rothlisberger and his galaxy of receiving weapons averaging 36 points per game in the last 4 weeks. While QB Dalton hasn't been anything to scoff at, since he's 14-1-1 in 1pm games, I suspect this game will go to the last team with the ball.
Cincinnati by 3
Thursday Game of the Week
Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals (-7.5)
The closer we get to the money season, the stronger the best teams get, and is there anyone playing as well as the Cardinals? Plus the Vikings have been horribly exposed in the last few weeks, a weak 1-3 against teams over .500, and they're banged up on defense. Not a good time to face off a high-powered offense in the desert.
Arizona by 7
Rest of the Week
Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles (even)
Was the Eagles' victory over the Patriots a fluke, or was it cuz QB Bradford that much better than QB Sanchez? Luckily they're facing a classic consistently inconsistent team in the Bills. Since they won last week, they should lose to the Eagles. Then again, Shady McCoy is coming to town to exact revenge on his old team.
Buffalo by 3
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers (-7.5)
While it is unlikely the Panthers will finish 16-0, it won't happen this weekend at home to a team who never recovered from that beating in the Superdome. Of course it'll be close, like any division game on the road, so take the points. But the Falcons are in complete freefall, mostly from self-sustained injuries.
Carolina by 7
New England Patriots @ Houston Texans (+3.5)
While the Patriots are hobbled due to a bevy of injuries, it looks like QB Brady will not let this be a legitimate excuse. Not even against a resurgent Texans defense. But Brady has been hit like 36 times in the last 3 weeks, after being hit for only 4.6 times a game up till that point. Brady was getting off his passes quickly when WR Edelman, Lewis, Amendola, and TE Gronkowski were available. Now only Amendola is left. Plus Coach Belichick just said that J. J. Watt is as good as Lawrence Taylor ever was.
New England by 3
Lame of the Week
Seattle Seahawks @ Baltimore Ravens (+5.5)
Are the Seahawks back for good? That won't be answered this weekend cuz the Ravens are having the Season From Hell, and nothing they can do will slow down QB Wilson. Even QB Schaub will be forced to throw a pick-six to help out.
Seattle by 7
Detroit Lions @ St. Louis Rams (even)
The Rams have fallen off the face of the earth no thanks to their failure at QB. The Lions OTOH are still treading water, and should eke out a win here. They have suffered some tough losses this year, but they haven't quit yet.
Detroit by 6
Tennessee Titans @ New Jersey Jets (-7.5)
That was one hell of a QB run by Mariota last week. But it won't be as easy to run on the Jets defense. Plus QB Fitzpatrick and WR Marshall are overdue for the playoffs.
New Jersey by 6
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (even)
The Colts don't have a healthy QB and they're facing Jaguars, who can score on anyone, and they'll score easily on the Colts defense. Expect QB Bortles to throw well. But the Colts have been in this situation before this year, and they came through.
Indianapolis by 1
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5)
Both teams were dead in the water a couple of months ago. Only one of them rose from the watery grave with a fierce defense and a QB that refuses to turn the ball over. They might be the dark horse in the AFC playoffs, if they do get in.
Kansas City by 13
Washington Racial Slur @ Chicago Bears (-2.5)
The Bears are nothing but an inconsistent team that can look like world beaters one week and a lottery team the next. While the Bears are horrible at home, the Racial Slurs are even worse on the road. Plus they're playing on a VERY short week after that bad loss against the Cowboys.
Chicago by 3
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)
The Saints have dominated the Bucs in the Payton era. That the Saints showed up last week against the Panthers is proof that they haven't rolled over and played dead yet. But the Buccaneers are still in the playoff hunt and QB Winston is getting better every week.
Tampa Bay by 3
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos (-7.5)
Ever since the Broncos switched to QB Osweiler, they've been unstoppable. Moreover, their bloodthirsty defense will shut down QB Carr like they did in Oakland a few months back. The Raiders have plenty of talent to keep the game close, but they're really playing for next season.
Denver by 6
Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
Injuries have decimated the Packers to the point that they're an average team - one that needed a Hail Mary to beat a weak team last week. Since the Cowboys are laughable without QB Romo, they won't even be in the game after halftime.
Green Bay by 11
New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins (even)
Both teams are just playing out the string, but at least the Giants are still alive for the NFC Least division title. Whenever pressure is on, every team in the NFC Least rolls over and plays dead.
New York by 3
Shame of the Week
San Francisco 40 Whiners @ Cleveland Browns (-1.5)
The 40 Whiners were bad on offense, but the Browns are even shittier on defense (allowing 399 yards a game). And hey, QB Johnny Football is back. That spells another loss for the Browns.
San Francisco by 3
Last Week: 10-6
Season to Date: 119-72
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