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The Heretic

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  1. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 3 Picks   

    The line has fluctuated from Carolina -6.5 to pick due to Brees' uncertain status. At first the early report had him out for a few weeks, but now he's practiced on a limited scale, and claims to be playing. The Saints' coach Payton is being deliberately ambiguous, possibly to keep the Panthers guessing. Regardless of whether he starts or not, there's no chemistry or cohesion to the offense. But at least if Brees suits up, he will keep the Saints' offense closer than +6.5. Without him? Expect a shutout. 
     
     
     
    Washington will have a decided advantage over the Giants' left tackle, rookie Flowers. The Skins' defense is pretty stout, a,d they can bring pressure off the edge with Kerrigan, as well as inside with Hatcher and Paea. QB Cousins has to avoid turnovers - he's blessed with a solid OL and a reliable running game. But there's something about superstar WR Beckham in primetime.  
     
    My Rams pick is decidedly the upset pick of the week, because most people are taking the Steelers. The Rams have been exposed last week that they're overly reliant on that amazing defensive line, because their aggressive nature forces their linebackers to make tough decisions, and that breaks containment. Moreover, Rothlisberger is a genius in those situations, cuz he will force the Rams to cover the great WR Brown over the middle. Now, the Rams will stop the Steelers' running game, but that'll make things worse cuz that will force Rothlisberger to throw more against the weaker link in the Rams' defense. At the very least, take the over. It'll be a high scoring shootout. 
     
    Two things will happen: the Chargers will shred that Vikings pass defense. and AP will run allover that Chargers' front 7. The Chargers' pass rush, plus a healthy Melvin Ingram, will challenge the Vikings' OL with speed. But the Vikings have a solid pass rush of their own, with Robison, Griffen, etc., and they'll exploit the leaky Charger OL. 
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  2. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Week 3 Picks
    Dagnabbit and Fackaroley. After taking two steps forward with a solid opening week at 10-6, I fell ass-backwards and went tits up with 6-10.
    That clearly shows none of us can take anything for granted at any given Sunday. Super Bowl contender? You start 0-2 or worse. The capricious Goddess of Fortune must've laughed at my stubborn picking against the two greatest QBs of our generation in the same weekend.
    Regardless, onto Week 3!
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Washington Racial Insult @ New York Giants (-4.5)
    Twice already, the Giants have choked away double-digits leads in the fourth quarter. Luckily for them the NFC East is a godforsaken, downright shitty division that probably will slouch towards Gomorrah the rest of the season. While the Ethnic Slurs have been decent, and actually lead the NFL in total defense, the Giants are far more desperate.
    New York by 4
    Game of the Week
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
    There's nothing like a slobberknocker between two physical teams that hate each other. Yep, the Bengals did handily beat the same Raiders who turned around and stole the game from the Ravens in the next week. Moreover, the Bengals have owned the Ravens lately, 4 out of their last 5 matchups. However, the Bengals will be facing a desperate 0-2 team trying to get off the Schneid. It'll come down to the last play.
    Cincinnati by 2 
    Rest of the Week
    Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys (+2.5)
    Cowboys fans, this is what a Pyrrhic victory looks like - win the battle, but lose the war. After losing All-Pro WR Bryant in Week 1, the Cowboys lost QB Romo to yet another clavicle fracture. The same one he busted in 2010, but then again, this is a vastly different Cowboys team, with more depth and greater cohesion. It's entirely likely they'll keep their heads above sea level for the next two months, given that the NFC East is pathetic. That said, the Falcons, with QB Ryan and WR Julio Jones, will force the Cowboys into a high scoring shootout they cannot afford. 
    Atlanta by 4
    Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans (+5)
    Every Tom, Dick, and Harry picked the Colts to win the AFC this season. After all they did add veteran depth in WR Johnson, RB Gore, and LB Cole. But after gagging their way to 0-2, even Chuck Strong is throwing QB Luck under the bus. Luckily they're facing a shitty team in the Titans, whose rookie QB Mariota is fast realizing that he's in over his head.
    Indianapolis by 6
    Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns (-4.5)
    Both teams won last weekend behind their QBs, who are beginning to earn believers. Yes, QB Carr might be for real. However, the Raiders are historically weak the farther east they travel from the West Coast. But it's just too bad that the Browns are going back to their freshly concussed 36 year old journeyman in McCown over the more resourceful Johnny Football. And that'll be All. She. Wrote.
    Oakland by 3
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots (-13.5)
    Next up on the Patriots' hit list is everybody's hapless doormat, the Jaguars. And the Patriots are in Fuck You mode? No analysis needed.
    New England by 11
    New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
    It won't matter if QB Brees is healthy, because the Panthers' defense is quite stout. Moreover, there's nobody on the Saints' defense that can slow down Superman, aka QB Cam Newton, whatsoever, because they just proved that they couldn't stop rookie QB Winston. Despite all those offseason changes (trading away TE Graham and WR Stills to improve defense), that hasn't worked out. It's entirely possible that the Saints' season is over by October.
    Carolina by 6
    San Diego Chargers @ Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)
    If the Chargers were unable to stop RB Bernard last week, there's no way they'll be capable of stopping a rejuvenated RB Peterson. Expect QB Rivers to carve up that Vikings secondary and keep the game close, but QB Bridgewater will pull it out in the end.
    Minnesota by 3
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ St. Louis Rams (+1)
    Classic offense vs. defense. While the Steelers are number one in offense, the Rams' defensive linemen Donald and Quinn will make a long afternoon for QB Rothlisberger. RB Bell is back, and he must have noticed how the Foreskins ran allover the Rams last week. Moreover, WR Brown has become nigh unstoppable, but it'll come down to whether the Steelers' OL can block the savage Rams DL. And if rookie RB Gurley is as advertised...
    St. Louis by 3
    San Francisco 40 Whiners @ Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)
    Since both teams are physical, it'll be close, but QB Palmer truly makes the Cards a legitimate playoff contender. And with two OL starters back in the lineup, the Cards are peaking right now.
    Arizona by 6
    Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
    Both teams were humbled last week after winning in Week 1. There's some disarray in Miami, because they're now discovering how much DT Suh likes to freelance. After facing Luck and Brady, the Bills will be happy to see QB Tannehill.
    Buffalo by 3
    Chicago Bears @ Seattle Seahawks (-14)
    The Bears are starting QB Clausen? At Century Link? And the Seahawks are 0-2? Plus Kam Chancellor is back from holdout? 

    Seattle by 17
    Denver Broncos @ Detroit Lions (+2.5)
    It is obviously true that QB Manning is no longer the Manning of Old (passer efficiency a lousy 74). He's been sacked 7 times already, but the Broncos are winning due to their opportunistic defense. They should feast on the Lions' turnovers and bail out Manning once again. QB Stafford is completely banged up, and will not last the season.
    Denver by 6
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
    After a tough loss to the Broncos, the Chiefs have to regroup and travel to Green Bay and face another Hall of Fame QB who almost never loses at home. Although RB Lacy might not be healthy in time, it won't make much of a difference.
    Green Bay by 6
    Monday Night Game of the Week
    Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Jets (even)
    The so-called genius Coach Kelly has overreached himself in trading away his best players for system guys. Yes, the Eagles were a machine in the pre-season, but then the regular season started, and it's been all downhill since then. In the NFL, the talent is far more important than some clever scheme. Always has been, always will. After dispatching the overrated Colts last Monday, the Jets are ready to embarrass another overrated team on Monday again. If QB Luck couldn't figure out that defense, neither will the immortal Sam Bradford.
    New York by 6
    Shame of the Week
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Houston Texans (-6.5)
    Yes, the Texans are struggling with the Hard Knocks curse, but there's no way the Buccaneers can block Unholy Terror J.J. Watt from cannibalizing rookie QB Winston.
    Houston by 4
     
    Last Week: 6-10
    Season to date: 16-16
    • 7 replies
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  3. The Heretic added a post in a topic Richard Dawkins, asshole   

    The most dangerous party member -- in every party there is one who through his all too credulous avowal of the party's principles incites the others to apostasy. 
    - Human All Too Human # 298
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  4. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL week 2 picks   

    Don Banks of SI.COM and Florio of Pro Football Weekly are 11-5, so they're worthwhile competition. 
    For week 2, Florio likes the Patriots and the Steelers. Don Banks like them both and the NY Giants. :roll:
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  5. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL week 2 picks
    Despite stumbling on both Monday Night games, I feel good finishing with 10-6. Week 1 is always the hardest of all weeks to predict, because teams rise or fall quickly after a long offseason. Onto Week 2!  
     Thursday Night Game of the Week  Denver Broncos @ KC Chiefs (-2.5)This time the Chiefs appear dominant on both defense and offense whereas the Broncos only have a dominant defense. Moreover, the Arrowhead is utterly inhospitable, and the Broncos are facing the top pass rusher in the league in Justin Houston with a patchwork line.   Kansas City by 4 Game(s) of the Week  New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills (+1.5) The Bills completely dominated a Super Bowl contender in the Colts and now they get to face the reigning Super Bowl champs. Coach Belichick doesn't have enough take on Bills QB Taylor to adequately game plan for him. As usual, always take the home underdogs in a division game.  Buffalo by 2 Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers (-3.5) Both teams have questions units: the Packers run defense was demolished last week. The Seahawks will exploit this mismatch &  unleash RB Lynch to 120 plus yards The Seahawks' offensive line was erased as well, and they are missing the Chancellor. QB Wilson is great but Rodgers almost never lose at home, and probably has something extra after that face plant in the NFC title game.  Green Bay by 4 San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)The Chargers are much tougher than the Raiders, so the Bengals absolutely must prevent QB Rivers from getting in a rhythm. They must keep him off-balanced with more than their DL - with stunts and blitzes by shoot gaps and dB blitzes.  Cincinnati by 4 Same of the Week  Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) The Cowboys escaped last Sunday but lost all-pro WR Bryant for a month. Plus the Cowboys running game looks nothing like last year, and they are facing a pissed off Eagles team. Expect a few angry runs from former Cowboys RB, Murray.  Philadelphia by 4 Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago Bears (+1.5)The Bears actually held their own against the Packers, gashed them on the ground to the tune of 170 yards. But that'll be much harder to do against a stout Cards defense, who stopped a much better QB in Brees than in Cutler.  Arizona by 3  New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts (-6.5)Falling behind 24-0 exposed the Colts' weaknesses: no running game and lack of pass rush. Although the Colts will restore things by beating the Jets they'll have to solve their organization problems immediately.  Indianapolis by 6 Lame of the Week Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants (-2.5)Despite having a horrible pass defense last season, the Falcons shut down the high powered Eagles machine and ripped their defense to shreds.  The Giants will not field anything better whatsoever.  Atlanta by 3 Houston Texans @ Carolina Panthers (-4.5)QB Hoyer got benched awful quick last week. Does that mean he will be looking over his shoulder all year long? As for the Panthers, they're in tatters: WR Benjamin is out for the year. LB Keuchly, the leader of the defense is suffering from concussions. But they are in a better shape than the darlings of Hard Knocks.  Carolina by 6 San Francisco 49ers @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5)There's absolutely no reason to have faith in the Steelers' short handed offense (missing RB Bell and WR Bryant) or their revamped defense to stop the newly christened Niners running game (168 yards and 2 scores against the Vikings) or even the wobbly passing of QB Kaepernick.  San Francisco by 6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints (-9.5)Yes the Buccaneers are much worse than I thought. But it's a long season and QB Winston will only go up from here. No, the Saints will not be as good as they look vs a rookie QB in his first visit to the Superdome.  New Orleans by 10 Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)Both teams totally shit the bed in Week one. Where the Lions gagged away a 21-3 lead, the Vikings just bent over on national television. Who will choke harder? I'll stick with the Vikings' ability to bounce back, cuz I suspect there's something truly rotten in Detroit.  Minnesota by 5 St. Louis Rams @ Washington Ethnic Slur (+2.5)The Rams are facing a crumbling team that lacks leadership and chemistry, likely due to some bad karma over the team name. Basically the Rams' blood soaked defense will gobble the Skins entire - players, coaches, fans, the stadium.  St. Louis by 7 Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+5.5)Pundits are complaining that the Dolphins didn't really dominate a weak Skins team. But they won't have much trouble with a shittier team in the Jaguars.  Miami by 7 Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders (no line) With an injured QB, and a destroyed secondary, the Raiders have no chance vs an angry Ravens squad, still smarting over the throttling last week in Denver.  Baltimore by 10 Shame of the Week Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns (-3.5)QB Mariota will have little trouble with another cream puff in the Browns, since they had trouble with mediocre QB Fitzpatrick last week.  Titans by 6
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  6. The Heretic added a topic in Influence   

    Explaining Donald Trump
    There's nothing funnier than watching the punditocracy twist themselves into pretzels in trying to explain why Donald Trump hasn't already imploded by now like they all thought.  
     Here are two recent articles on Trump that I found intriguing, if not quite accurate. The first one, "Trump: Politics of the Spectacle" by Natasha Maria, comes down to a simple formation: In America, people get the politician they deserve.  By relying on a passé French theorist from the sixties, Guy Debord on the Spectacle, Maria has not gone far enough, nor is she willing to concede how much the modern media has fettered communication by reducing the masses to mere consumers of information, never producers. That allows the ruling class to exert more control over the minds of the consumers.  It seems to me that the article is stuck between Debord's Spectacle, Marshall McLuhan's Medium is the Message, and Baudrillard's Simulacrum: the bleaky lucid perception that the society of spectacle is inescapable, and the horror of a shallow postmodern society where the sign has finally become the Simulacrum that signifies nothing. Nothing at all. The crucial step Maria has not taken is the admission that the media, be it the Internet, television, or the decaying institution of print, is a black hole that swallows all meaning and pukes them out as static noise, leaving us with nothing but a pessimistic view of grand fraud and universal imbecility, of general banality and omnipresent turpitude.  The article on Think Progress by Judd Legum, "This French Philosopher is the Only One Who Can Explain the Donald Trump Phenomenon", outlines the success of Trump over his more genteeled rivals according to yet another French theorist from the sixties, Roland Barthes. Basically the article claims that Trump is winning because he is applying the lessons of wrestling while his rivals are losing by relying on the traditional strategies of politics that is based on boxing: rules and decorum. No doubt this distinction is illuminating, but it fails to account for the reason why Trump is winning now, as opposed to in the past or why other larger than life candidates haven't been as successful until now.  Trump is winning because it is the end of Empire. There has been a cultural paradigm shift in America since 2005 in which the civil and well- mannered polite celebrity has lost all credibility. Audiences are no longer attracted to the well-rehearsed, perfectly polled interviews. Trump's unapologetic way of campaigning has struck a chord within the times : unscripted and unsupervised honesty in the realm of politics.  Bret Easton Ellis' argument is that the lies of Empire has lost all credibility. Instead of polite hypocrisy, Americans yearn for a new self-expression: raw and undiluted. Trump as the perfect celebrity of post-Empire America no longer gives a fuck and that's what makes the American public love him more.  Fame & politics has changed in America. No longer do people become famous for their talent; instead we see extremists emerge to relevance and disappear quickly. In this age of hyper-conscious social media, attention has shrunk to 140 characters, which shortens fame, forcing 15-minuters to possess something totally "amazeballs" or at least a YouTube clip to go viral.  Moreover the final proof of post-Empire culture is the resigned acceptance, if not total endorsement, of the media. No longer punching out the paparazzi, the celebrity or politician has to accept parasites like TMZ and play by the new rules, accept that mockery is the permanent currency. Trump had and he is winning. He has no shame, offers no apologies, and is ready to troll haters at the drop of the hat. Outdated relics and dinosaurs continue to delude themselves that we are still living in the Empire. They Bitch moan and whine that Trump and the other post-Empire guys aren't polite enough or say the "right" things or kiss appropriate ass. The Empire's tasteful, civil and well-mannered behavior has zero credibility in the post-Empire context. Pax Americana is so last year and good riddance to the patronizing political correctness. 
    • 7 replies
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  7. The Heretic added a post in a topic Site update problesm   

    I just tried to update my status on the main page and the software attempted to load a dialogue box, but it hung and then vanished. 
    So I went into my profile, hit the Status feed tab and only there was I able to update my status.
    also the board software refuses to show new posts if you try to return to the new post page after reading a new post, unless you wait for a minute.  In other words I read too fast.   
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  8. The Heretic added a post in a topic Site update problesm   

    Let me test it on my iPad right now. 
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  9. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 1 Picks   

    Speaking of Tennessee, Don Banks of SI.com also likes the Titans. 
    He likes the Jaguars over the Panthers, &  Bills over Colts.  
    Over at profootballtalk.com, Florio likes the Chiefs over the Titans & Bills over Colts &  Jaguars over the Panthers. 
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  10. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Week 1 Picks
    NFL Week 1 Picks
     
    After 6 months straight of Deflategate, I'm pretty sure that everyone's dead tired of it, and the biggest loser of that media created BS isn't the NFL. It's the Pittsburgh Steelers, since they get to face a pissed off Brady tomorrow night. After a solid but not great year of picks*, I fully expect a better year, if only because I posted a preview (5 teams left). Onto the Picks!
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
     
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots (-6.5)
    Although Pittsburgh will be missing their top WR and RB, as well as All-Pro Center Pouncey, I doubt it would've made a difference even at full strength. Moreover, they won't be able to handle a fully rested and healthy TE Gronkowski, rumbling through that laughably poor secondary. QB Tom Terrific will see nothing but a bunch of panciky Roger Goodell stumbling and fumbling on the field.
    Patriots by 14
     
    Game of the Week
     
    Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos (-4.5)
    QB Manning has made mincemeat of Baltimore since he joined Denver in 2012, because they have had success moving the ball. For some reason, Baltimore gets suckered into a shootout with him, which is almost always a bad idea.
    Broncos by 4
     
    Monday Night Game of the Week
     
    Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons (+3.5)
    After a crazy offseason overhauling the team, Philadelphia is a great unknown, although they were a complete buzzsaw in the preseason, encouraging pundits to back them for the playoffs. But it all depends on the ultra-fragile QB Bradford, who just cannot stay healthy. As for Atlanta, they are loaded on offense enough to stay competitive in high scoring shootouts. Because neither team has a legitimate defense, it might come down to whoever has the ball last.
    Eagles by 1
     
    Same of the Week
     
    Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears (+6.5)
    While Green Bay will be missing their top WR Nelson, the Bears' entire WR corps is decimated by injuries. Moreover, Chicago's paper-machie defense will not be able to slow down Green Bay's multidimensional offense in the slightest. Bottom line? It's QB Rodgers versus QB Cutler, and that's All. She. Wrote.
    Packers by 10
     
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans (even)
    Houston has confidence in QB Hoyer, that he'll hold down the fort until RB Foster gets over his injury. However, Kansas City seems improved on offense with WR Maclin. Then again, neither QB will have much room to work, because both of them will be running for their lives away from holy terrors in J.J. Watt and Justin Houston.
    Texans by 1
     
    Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills (+2.5)
    If Indianapolis cannot contain the ultraquick QB Taylor, they'll be in trouble. They might not be able to, since DE Jones is now on the injured reserve list. OTOH Buffalo has to slow down one of the best offensive machines in the league, but they do have the best defensive line, and a solid secondary to do the job. Take the points.
    Colts by 1
     
    Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams (+4.5)
    Yes, St. Louis shocked Seattle last year in Week 7, dropping them to 3-3. Then Seattle turned their season around and came a yard shy of back to back Super Bowl titles. Both St. Louis and Seattle have great defenses, going up against questionable offensive lines, which spells a low scoring game.
    Seahawks by 2
     
    New Orleans Saints @ Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)
    The Cards looked legitimate for most of the season, until they ran out of quarterbacks. Obviously, QB Palmer has to stay healthy, but his fragile offensive line isn't promising. At least they're facing a team on the decline in New Orleans, at home in front of a ferocious fanbase.
    Cardinals by 4
     
    Detroit Lions @ San Diego Chargers (-2.5)
    Difficult to pick between two consistently inconsistent teams in Detroit and San Diego, to say the least. Both are loaded with talent, with world-beating QBs, but neither of them has figured out the secret. Although Detroit was tough at home last year, they were average away from Ford Field. Lay the points.
    Chargers by 3
     
    Shame of the Week
     
    Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets (-2.5)
    After a solid offseason of upgrades to the offense and overhaul of defense, and a new intelligent coach in Bowles, there's hope in New York. Despite the loss of QB Geno Smith to a busted jaw, New York won't have much trouble against Cleveland, because they won't be disadvantaged at the QB spot. Moreover, Cleveland doesn't have strong receivers, allowing All-World CB Revis to wreak holy terror.
    Jets by 3
     
    Miami Dolphins @ Washington Racial Slur (+1.5)
    For the past few years, the circus at Washington has degenerated to farcical levels. The QB of the Future RGIII is still there, but he will likely never take another snap again. Fortunately, despite the cheesy carnival music and the elephant dung, starting Cousins at QB was a football decision. However, it makes zippo difference against a bloothirsty defense from Miami.
    Dolphins by 3
     
    Carolina Panthers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5)
    Carolina is decimated at WR, meaning they'll have no choice but start WR Corey Brown and Ted Ginn Jr. Who? Exactly. But Jacksonville will not be able to take advantage in the slightest, because they are still a godforsaken, shitty team.
    Panthers by 6
     
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Oakland Raiders (+3.5)
    Despite making the playoffs for the last 4 years, Cincinnati have as many playoff wins as say, Oakland. Yup, zippo. Moreover, Cincinnati has one of the toughest schedules in the league, so they have to get every cupcake possible. Oakland's QBs aren't horrible, but they lack a running game to balance things and keep Cincinnati's defense honest.
    Bengals by 13
     
    New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
    Yes, it's Super Bowl or Bust for the Cowboys. Just like any other year. Despite losing RB Murray, some pundits think the Cowboys might be better this year. New York has yet to recover from that Super Bowl hangover from 5 years ago.
    Cowboys by 6
     
    Lame of the Week
     
    Tenneessee Titans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
    The battle of two crappy franchises with two QBs of the future in Mariota and Winston! QB Mariota was slightly better in the preseason, but avoid this game at all cost.
    Buccaneers by 1
     
    Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 40 Whiners (-2.5)
    QB Bridgewater is converting believers everywhere he goes, and he has All-Day Peterson back. Moreover, the young Minnesota defense is poised to destroy the league. As for San Francisco? They have lost half of their guys, their coach, their mojo, their everything. A biblical Exodus, except the 40 Whiners are the Egyptians.
    Vikings by 7
     
    *2014 Season Total: 174-92
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  11. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

     
    Buffalo Bills: After finally achieving a winning season in 10 years, but missing the playoffs by a hair, Coach Marrone quit. Luckily the Bills replaced him with a great coach in Rex Ryan, and found a talented QB in Tyrod Taylor, and the same ferocious defense is back.
     
    QB Taylor was a backup in Baltimore for two years, and though he's undersized, he has blazing foot speed. After a brilliant training camp and preseason, the sky is the limit. Even if he falters, backup QB Manuel has similar style, meaning the offense won't have to change much. There are plenty of weapons handy in the RB and WR corps. Despite dumping longtime Bills Fred Jackson uncerimoniously, as well as CJ Spiller, they signed Shady McCoy – a versatile and productive runner.
     
    The Bills also signed WR Percy Harvin, who has brilliant speed and talent, but has trouble staying healthy and being a team player. Thankfully, Coach Ryan has experience with troublemakers. Moreover, the Bills are absolutely loaded at WR with Sammy Watkins, Woods, Hogan, Goodwin. They also signed versatile H-Back Charles Clay, who will thrive as an outlet receiver.
     
    On the offensive line, they signed disgraced LG Incognito, who was already the dirtiest bastard before that scandal in Miami took place. He will open the sea like Moses for Shady to scamper through. Rookie Millier will start at the other G spot, next to a solid center in Wood. The tackles Glenn and Henderson are either mediocre or underwhelming. Moreover, there's zero depth whatsoever.
     
    Last year, the Bills were formidable on defense. This year, they'll shift from a gimmick heavy scheme under Schwartz to a more blitzing type of defense under Ryan. DE Mario Williams will dominate, but it remains to be seen whether the other DE Hughes can be effective in the different formation where he will have to adapt to the larger distance from the tackle. The tackles Williams and Dareus are a brilliant duo up front, and they'll completely stuff the run. Rookie LB Brown will be capable against the run, but Bradham is a waste of space. Also there's nothing after outside LB Lawson at all. Safety Williams should be solid, but too much depends on rookie Darby at cornerback and practice squad washout Butler.
     
    Coach Ryan is successful with his type of guys, but there aren't enough of them here. He's a dominant coach much like Belichick, plus all that colorful personality. Meaning the Bills will be plain vanilla on offense, extremely physical on both sides, aggressive through the whistle.
     
    The schedule will be merciless at first, with two heavyweights in New England and Indianapolis right off the bat, then a trip to the swamp in Miami. Then a couple of gifts, then 5 straight road games in six weeks. On paper, the starters look great. But with a greenhorn at QB, and zero depth?
     
    Prediction: 7-9
     
     
    Arizona Cardinals: After a hot start at 9-1, QB Palmer blew out his knee (again) and the Cards collapsed faster than Jeb Bush's chances in the GOP Primary, losing 4 of the last 6 and got embarrassed in the playoffs. Coach Arians and GM Keim are brilliant at their jobs, but they need some breaks go their way this year.
     
    QB Palmer is 36 years old and has creaky knees, but he still can perform at the Pro Bowl level with great deep throws and sharp release. In fact, he has been below par in the preseason so far, so here's hoping that was a mirage because it all depends on him. There's no Plan B.
     
    At WR, Fitzgerald is getting long in the tooth, but he's still great on contested throws. Also, John Brown was awesome as a deep threat last year. Floyd hasn't reached his ceiling just yet, and has to get over a couple of busted fingers.
     
    Unfortunately, the Cards are crippled with a craptacularly craptastic running game. RB Ellington is a quick shifty back, but doesn't break enough tackles or churn out yards after contact. A great receiver out of the backfield, but hardly average as a runner. RB Chris Johnson is a shadow of his former 2000 yard self, but he still has the speed to get the edge on sweep plays. Moreover, the OL isn't much help. Decent RT Massie is suspended for two games, and Rookie Humphries can't be arsed enough to oust incumbent Bradley. LT Veldheer is solid, but they have nothing at center.
     
    Despite a great defense, the Cards lost DC Bowles. He was brilliant in turning around the Cards defense, so it remains to be seen if the replacement Bettcher will get the same results. The defensive roster is solid, with a great secondary. CB Peterson is a good cover, and hopefully his diabetes is a nonfactor. Bucannon, Jefferson, Mathieu are all excellent safeties. But the Cards lost Cromartie, a solid CB, and didn't replace him.
    DE Campbell is a great in the 3-4, and will bring the heat, but he has nobody else to help rush the passer. Rucker and Redding and Woodley are castoffs or at the end of their professional careers. Okafor, the outside LB, was inefficient last year, so he has to improve right away. The Cards were ineffectual in sacking the passer last year, and because most of their sacks were due to scheme, it doesn't look good this year.
     
    Thankfully, the Cards have plenty of cupcakes in the first 4 weeks, but then it becomes brutal with 4 roadies in 5 games, against 4 of the best defenses in the league. Then the schedule gets even more retarded in the final weeks, with 3 games against NFC finalists. Indeed, Coach Arians is great, but he can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit.
     
    Prediction: 6-10
     
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  12. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Detroit Lions: Last year, Coach Caldwell instituted a new era with a powerful defense and returned the Lions to the playoffs. In order to actually win in the playoffs, they need a more effective offense than they had in 2014.
     
    Despite a powerful arm, QB Strafford still has a legion of critics. He did step up last year, improved in key categories, and will be in his second year under Offensive Coordinator Lombardi. Strafford has been much sharper in camp and preseason, so expect another great year. At WR, the Lions have two number one options in Megatron and Golden Tate, and they improved at RB with Abdullah, replacing the vastly overrated Reggie Bush.
     
    At OL, the Lions moved on from longtime incumbents Sims and Raiola, and brought in rookies Swanson and Tomlinson, plus veteran Ramirez. Guard Warford is one of the best run blockers, but he got banged up in the preseason, They need to settle the Right Tackle position, and Waddle should help if he's fully recovered from off-season injury.
     
    Despite the loss of All-World Ndamukong Suh, as well as his partner in crime Nick Fairley, the Lions reloaded the DL and seem ready to dominate again. Free agent Ngata is an even better run stopper than Suh was, tho he won't accumulate as many QB pressures/sacks. Walker will aptly replace the vastly overrated Fairley as well. DE Ansah is an athletic freak who should wreak havoc, and LB Levy is complete in all phases of the game (on the ball, coverage, against the run). Tulloch is a great gap blitzer, and Whitehead is a solid backup.
     
    In the secondary, CB Mathis and Slay are terrific duos with length and ball skills. Safety Quin earned his Pro Bowl spot and his mate Ihedigbo is a powerful tackler. In other words, the Lions will be even better this year on defense, with health and a brilliant defensive coach in Austin.
     
    Last season the Lions were crippled by a horrific special teams (incompetent kicking, mediocre returns) that might've cost them 2 or more wins. They upgraded to disgraced kicker from Denver, Prater, who seems completely primed for a great season.
     
    The schedule is no picnic, though. If the Lions survive the early portion (San Diego, Minnesota, Denver) they can challenge the packers for the NFC North title.
     
    Prediction: 10-6
     
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  13. The Heretic added a post in a topic Site weirdness   

    looks like since the board went back to the default setting, the status updates link accounts to twitter, meaning the tweets of each "spammer"* is included in the status update feed.
     
    *drive by accounts
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  14. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Teams left:
    Buffalo Bills
    Baltimore Ravens
    Jacksonville Jaguars
    Kansas City Chiefs
    Philadelphia Eagles
    Detroit Lions
    Arizona Cardinals
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  15. The Heretic added a post in a topic Generation Wuss   

     
    DaveT,
    I am sympathetic to your point about the inveterate nature of generations putting down the next ones. However, the most interesting point about BEE's pseudo-old man rant is when he tries to puncture how all generations self-mythologize:
    My generation was raised by Baby Boomers in a kind of complete fantasy world at the height of the Empire: Boomers were the most privileged and the best educated children of The Great Generation, enjoying the economic boom of post-World War II American society. My generation realized that like most fantasies it was a somewhat dissatisfying lie and so we rebelled with irony and negativity and attitude or conveniently just checked-out because we had the luxury to do so. Our reality compared to Millennial reality wasn’t one of economic hardship. We had the luxury to be depressed and ironic and cool.
    But it doesn't quite get there, because BEE falls back on the same old Baby Boomer-ist bullshit in which he privileges his generation as something self-critical, utterly & cleverly ironic, totally capable of shattering illusions that Millennials cannot. He's trying to say that there are bad Baby Boomers, but he's not, and he hopes that the millennials need to be more cool and self-deprecating in the same way.
     
    Edited to add: What i think BEE misses in his Wuss essay is that the middle class opportunity has rotted out from under an entire generation of people who grew up in its abundance. Therefore, people are anxious as hell, and in tension with the phony, shit-grinning skin-mask culture of social media. Meaning people (millennials) are even less connected than ever. But it's all mixed within BEE's posturing about some superior existential endurance, like every grandfather claims.
    Yes, he is right about the current generation's desperate need for total and constant approval, and the anxiety or rage they feel at the slightest hint that acclaim isn't universal.
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  16. The Heretic added a post in a topic Generation Wuss   

     
    Hugo Holbling,
    Yours question of accurate representation founders on just how rigorous are the generation labels: are they result of a sociology research? or something more cynical and manipulative, like marketing?
    The central thesis of BEE's "Generation Wuss" is this:
    My generation was raised by Baby Boomers in a kind of complete fantasy world at the height of the Empire: Boomers were the most privileged and the best educated children of The Great Generation, enjoying the economic boom of post-World War II American society. My generation realized that like most fantasies it was a somewhat dissatisfying lie and so we rebelled with irony and negativity and attitude or conveniently just checked-out because we had the luxury to do so. Our reality compared to Millennial reality wasn’t one of economic hardship. We had the luxury to be depressed and ironic and cool.
    IOW, the thesis restates how the Reagan revolution engaged in revisionist history of the sixties. There were plenty of serious people committed to radical social change in the sixties and the seventies as opposed to luxurious or ironic poses. Sadly, they were either co-opted, or violently smashed.
    That problematizes the "Generation X" mode of social analysis. In the seventies, serious sociology, the sort of fine-tuned studies of what people were actually doing in society, was severely defunded. There was no longer anything at the scale that allows policy decisions to be based on, leaving a void for marketeers to occupy and manipulate public consciousness with easy packaged labels like "Generation X."
    This recapitulates the difference between marketing and sociology. A category is valid in marketing if and only if you can demonstrate that your analysis leads to sales in that segment - in which marketing is essentially the inducing of your category to respond in a way that your analysis predicts will happen. Somewhat like acquiring a doctorate in research where you train people to behave in accordance to your hypothesis. Therefore we think in marketing terms because advertisting has succeeded in eliminating everything else from the marketplace of ideas.
    Certainly, there's room for serious critiques of sociology. But there's no room for serious critiques of artifice like "Generation Foo," which came from a pop culture book that defended the Mod movement in British youth culture, one that was based on buying certain fashionable items.
    Douglas Copeland in the 90s recycled the Gen Foo concept and it spread like wildfire, helping sell products to a certain market segment. The concept really does not explain anything but we in the public no longer have the intellectual tools to assess it. It is obvious that the buzzfeed-ization of pop culture, the reduction to inflated catchphrases, artificial concepts derived by advertising exercises, etc., are based beyond the internet.
    Bottom Line: Generation Wuss is BEE's attempt to don a Hannibal Lecter-styled flesh mask of a Reagan greednomics yuppy in order to draw attention from corporate media that'll sell his product.
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  17. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    [b]Denver Broncos: [/b]Despite a new coach in Kubiak, the expectations are the same with QB Manning and that studly defense: Super Bowl. But there are too many unknown unknowns for that to happen.

    The offensive line is decimated, losing 3 of their best linemen from last season (Clady blew his ACL, and Franklin & Ramirez left in free agency). Rookie Sambrailo will take over at LT, and he was pretty solid in college, if not exactly great. Luckily for the Broncos, the Eagles dumped Pro Bowl Guard Mathis, who will be fantastic in the run blocking game. Center Paradis is fresh off the practice squad, is a total unknown. Vasquez will be adequate at right guard, and Harris will man the Right Tackle spot.

    Despite a questionable OL, the Broncos have one of the best starting lineup on both sides in the league. But they've lost a lot of depth throughout the roster (Franklin, Knighton, Thomas, Irving, Welker). On offense, WR Emmanuel Sanders and DeMarius Thomas are one of the 5 best pass catching duos, but there's not much elsewhere. Veteran TE Daniels is expected to replace superstar Julius Thomas, but he's old and slow. RB Anderson exploded in the latter half of last season, and is expected to prove that was no fluke with consistence performance for 16 games. He's dynamic and powerful, and is backed up by solid options in Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman.

    On defense, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are absolute studs at pass rushing, and Jackson & Wolfe are excellent ends in their own right. They better hope DE Wolfe stays healthy, and veteran Ninja is solid, but at the end of his career. Trevathan and Marshal are sound at inside LB, but there's little depth beyond the starters (draft pick Ray needs to shed that bust label ASAP).

    The Broncos' secondary is world class with CB Harris and Talib, nickelback Roby and Safeties Ward and Stewart. Harris never gets beat deep, has a brilliant mind and is a sound tackler. Talib is a playmaker, but he runs hot and cold. Ward is a great tackler, hits like a linebacker. Stewart brings veteran playmaking from his days in St. Louis and Baltimore.

    Coach Kubiak is pretty much vanilla on offensive plays, but he will be a refreshing change from Coach Fox, with that calm presence at the sidelines.

    But as usual it comes down to Peyton Manning. Yes, Manning is an all-time great, first-ballot Hall of Fame QB. But he did slip some last year, at the midseason point. His stats fell in percentage, yards per throw, picks percentage, first downs a game, etc. When the very greatest of QBs start to lose their fastball, they fall down the slippery slope with increasing momentum.

    Since Manning won't be great anymore, and the schedule is insane, the Broncos will disappoint again and miss the playoffs.

    [i]Prediction: 8-8[/i]
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  18. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Tom Brady, to Roger Goodell in response to the Judge's waiver of his suspension:


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  19. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Carolina Panthers: Yes, that was Riverboat Ron who disproved that old adage where a leopard does not change it spot by turning around their season and made the playoffs. The Panthers have a fast and physical defense with a young talented QB on the rise.

    Despite a potentially great QB in Newton, there's even less talent on offense than ever. Top WR Benjamin is out, and the dropoff after him is precipitious. Crotchery moves up by default, but he's limited to short routes over the middle. Too much is riding on second round draft pick Funchess, a TE masquerading at WR. TE Olsen will again lead the unit in catches and yards. While he's good at the deep seams, has great body control and athleticism, he isn't much of a blocker.

    Too bad there's nothing left of the great RB corps today. DeAngelo Williams is gone. Stewart is banged up. and Tolbert is now a fullback. None of them can be a full time starter anymore.

    Then again, there's the OL: while there's no issue at all at Center in Kalil, one of the best and most athletic, and at RG in Turner, and LG Norwell is solid, the problem lies at tackle. Byron Bell embarrassed himself and his family last year, and got shipped out. Here comes Michael Oher, but he's more famous for a sentimentalistic film than he's been as a football player. He will have to protect QB Newton, and while Oher is okay as a blocker for guys within reach, he can't move in space before engaging.

    On defense, 5 of the front 7 hail from the last three drafts, and they've grown together. Lotulelei and Short are a great duo at DT, and they have great backups in Edwards and Cole. DE Ealy will replace Greg Hardy and start in his second season, opposite of Charles Johnson. The entire defense is led by awesome tackling machine in All-Pro Kuechly, He's got a solid wing man in Davis, one of the top cover LBs in the league.

    On Safety, Boston has range and energy, allowing veteran Harper to move closer to the ball. CB Benwikere is reliable in coverage and on the run, and the other corner Norman is getting better every season.

    If Riverboat Ron keeps up the same formula that turned around the season in 2014, with better offensive balance and earn more turnovers on defense, they'll threaten to make the playoffs again. But there's insufficient depth to withstand any adversity or injury whatsoever. If Carolina fails to get off to a fast start in the first 4 weeks, the schedule turns absolutely brutal and there's no coming back. They'll improve slightly from last year, but it won't be enough to make the playoffs.

    Prediction: 8-8
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  20. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Tennessee Titans: after a horrible season, the Titans may have solved their QB problems with stud Mariota, as well as restocking the roster with playmakers. But that will not be enough to get them out of the AFC South basement.

    QB Mariota should be a good QB, given that size and intelligence, and decent arm. But he'll have to take the usual rookie lessons, because the game is much faster at the pro level even though he played for the fast-breaking Oregon Ducks.

    Moreover, there aren't enough proven talent on offense to bail out Mariota. WR Wright is easily the best of the lot, but he's actually a #2 receiver playing at #1. WR Hunter is talented (fast and athletic) but he lacks the fundamentals (catching and running routes). Green-Beckham is a complete wild card. He has the size of Megatron, but lacks on-field experience. RB Sankey is small & quick, and back up Cobb is a north-south runner who relishes contact.

    Thankfully, the OL is solid throughout: Lewan is the leader of the unit at LT. Guards Levitre, Bell, and Warmack are respectable, but C Schwenke is susceptible to pressure up the gut. RT Poutasi needs help with quicker ends, cuz he wasn't much in college at all.

    On the DL, the Titans have a solid unit, spearheaded by defensive tackle Casey, who has the ability to rush the QB from inside, collapse the pocket by shoving tackles. The rest of the line is stocked with solid guys in Lee Hill at the middle, Pitoitua at end, and second-year Jones. Morgan needs to get more than 6.5 sacks he got last year at DE. Free agent Orakpo will pressure from the other end, but he must turn around his career after 3 underwhelming seasons.

    If the Titans can't rush the passer, there's nobody else capable of making plays on pass defense (5 takeaways in the last 8 games of 2014, 12 interceptions the entire season). Top corner McCourty will miss some time after groin surgery. Safety Griffin must stop whiffing on tackles. Luckily, free agent Searcy is an upgrade at the other safety spot over last season, since he can defend and blitz and demonstrate leadership. CB Cox is another upgrade from last season, and is a fiery cover man. LB Williamson is a solid tackler, but he doesn't have straight-line speed, and has trouble forcing turnovers. Hopefully LB Zach Brown will be healthy.

    Their schedule is bizarre: they open the first 2 games on the road, then host 4 straight home games, including a bye, 7 of their 8 home games are within a 10 week span.

    Prediction: 4-12
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  21. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Minnesota Vikings: Coach Zimmer survived a tough season with suspensions and a rookie QB, and began a new era in Minnesota last season.

    Getting All Day Adrian Peterson back certainly will be a boon, but he's 30 years old with a lot of mileage on those Hall of Fame caliber legs. QB Bridgewater turned in a solid rookie season, but he will go only as far as his receiving corps can. Free agent WR Wallace will be a deep threat, as well as Charles Johnson. However, Patterson should be an absolute stud at 6' 4" and game-breaking speed, but he just doesn't run routes well or catch the ball naturally. That offensive line is nothing worth writing home about: the LT Kalil is a frigging turnstile, and the right side is entirely in flux.

    On defense, the Vikings have a great pass rush in Robinson, Griffen, and Barr, and tackles in Floyd. However, they're very soft at linebacker. In the secondary, they have two shrewd, savvy corners in Newman and Rhodes, along with two talented rookies in Waynes and LB Kendricks, who will play in nickel packages. Harrison Smith is one of the top safeties in the league.

    The Vikings have a great return man in Patterson, but they may be hamstrung by an inferior kicker - Walsh is below average (nailed under 75% field goals last year). Their cover team needs fine-tuning as well. It is true that the Vikings are on the upswing, but perhaps a year away from the playoffs.

    Prediction: 8-8
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  22. The Heretic added a topic in Influence   

    Generation Wuss
    In this link, Bret Easton Ellis describes the Millenials generation:


    I have been living with someone from the Millennial generation for the last four years (he’s now 27) and sometimes I’m charmed and sometimes I’m exasperated by how him and his friends—as well as the Millennials I’ve met and interacted with both in person and in social media—deal with the world, and I’ve tweeted about my amusement and frustration under the banner “Generation Wuss” for a few years now. My huge generalities touch on their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity, and, of course, all of this exacerbated by the meds they’ve been fed since childhood by over-protective “helicopter” parents mapping their every move. These are late-end Baby Boomers and Generation X parents who were now rebelling against their own rebelliousness because of the love they felt that they never got from their selfish narcissistic Boomer parents and who end up smothering their kids, inducing a kind of inadequate preparation in how to deal with the hardships of life and the real way the world works: people won’t like you, that person may not love you back, kids are really cruel, work sucks, it’s hard to be good at something, life is made up of failure and disappointment, you’re not talented, people suffer, people grow old, people die. And Generation Wuss responds by collapsing into sentimentality and creating victim narratives rather than acknowledging the realities of the world and grappling with them and processing them and then moving on, better prepared to navigate an often hostile or indifferent world that doesn’t care if you exist.
    The sixties generation was the last one to subscribe to the myth of the creative genius. In other words it was once thought to be beneath an artist to market him/herself. Flyers, invitations, cocktail schmaltz, a mentality for enterprise was thought to be alien to creativity. Baby networkers are hip to the value of the sleazy seduction come-on, likely developed at home with their parents, turn on older people by touching their hearts or stimulate their protective instincts or feelings of guilt.

    The millennials have to trade off between developing their original style and figuring out how to get noticed. Does all this self-promotion detract from creativity? Does that mean self-promoters have turned the market into an agressive competition in which the artists who spend more time on their work never get noticed? Have the rules changed between generations, creating an intergeneration dynamic?

    Moreover, the millennial generation demonstrates a callous approach to the established talent, fail to show interest in the previous generation's work. Idols are no longer worshipped - merely appropriated as targets. How is this the case? How can anyone of middling talent have the presumption to fool an established icon of the previoius generation? Does the answer lie in the unhealthy relationship between the millennial and the baby boomer parents, in which the parents did not provide an atmosphere of authority/discipline to be rebelled against? That is where all the productivity of the established generation came from, the need to defy and escape their parents' authority made the established artist strive for independence and self-reliance, as well as avoid from becoming a shameless suck up.

    The intergenerational dynamic must have been exceedingly intimate, ripe for feelings of entitlement on the part of the millennials. Since the baby boomer parents fraternized their children, the current generation are like pampered whores who are conviced that the older generation owes them a living.Lacking the tangible results of rebellion, the millennial is incapable of blaming anything on their overly permissive parents, and thus, his hatred is a buried, passive aggressive anger.

    What will happen when the millennial generation becomes the older generation? Will the subsequent one even bother to listen or read them, since their output will consist of publicity and little else?
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  23. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Pittsburgh Steelers: obviously, they're not your father's Steelers. With a powerful offense, but a laughably horrid defense, the Steelers stole the AFC North title and finished 11-5. But they fell to their hated rivals from Baltimore in the playoffs.

    It's exceedingly unlikely that QB Rothlisberger, RB Bell, and WR Brown will repeat their fantastic seasons from 2014. If they do stay healthy, the Steelers offense will still be crackling.

    Are there playmakers anywhere on defense? The Steelers are inept at creating turnovers, finishing dead last the past three years. Yes, the defense had gotten old and slow, but it's odd that Coach Mike Epps failed to reload this side of the ball. The rookie class does not show much promise, and there's scant depth whatsoever.

    LB Timmons is solid in coverage and stout against the run, but he ain't no playmaker. CB Gay and Allen are average, and Safety Mitchell can play the run but he can't cover. We'll see if Polamalu has anything left at the other safety spot. Luckily the Eagles gave up on CB Boykin, a solid nickleback.

    Sweet Fancy Moses, the special teams sucks. Both the placekicker & punter graded out negatively, so they must be upgraded.

    The schedule is brutal, particularly in the first half (8 games vs teams that finished in the top half of defense). With injuries and suspensions, the Steelers won't be batting .500 by midseason. Even then, the season gets even more unforgiving (5 straight playoff opponents). With a fragile defense, there's way too much pressure on the offensive talent to repeat their magical season.

    Prediction: 7-9
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  24. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Dallas Cowboys: Last season, the Cowboys finally broke out from the fog of mediocrity with 12-4 as QB Romo, RB Murray, WR Bryant all turned in the best year of their careers. Besides the dominant offense, the defense & special teams stopped embarrassing themselves long enough to be one lousy play away from the NFC title game. Therefore the Cowboys actually project plausible optimism for 2015 season.

    Now that Murray left, RB Randle will step in and produce. He was Murray's backup, and he was explosive out of cuts, decisive, and ran with power. It seems that the Cowboys are betting high on Joseph Randle, but they're actually betting on their awesome OL: LT Smith, C Frederick, RG Martin are Pro-Bowl caliber, and they're unparalleled as run blockers. Even the crappiest guy on the line, LG Leary, is above average.

    WR Bryant has finally realized his All-Pro talent, but the Cowboys must find a complimentary WR. Williams is solid, but inadequate as a #2 man. The rest of the corps is completely forgettable. Luckily TE Witten is still around as a reliable outlet.

    Despite being stuck with a crappy defense that neither covered nor rushed the QB at all well, they didn't shit themselves much last year. Now, after acquiring pass rusher Greg Hardy, they upgraded the DL. Look for some health and maturation from Lawrence at the other end - he's been awesome in camp so far. LB Sean Lee is back from injuries, and has the ability to change the entire team. But he has to stay healthy.

    Since CB Scandrick is out of the season, the Cowboys no longer have anyone reliable in coverage. Carr gets burnt on the daily, and Barry Church is a linebacker who thinks he's a safety, and Wilcox doesn't have the instincts of a cover man. A lot is riding on the second year corner Byron Jones, but he's rarely healthy.

    Now, if the Cowboys remain potent on offense, and the special teams continue to perform well, and the defense is plain average, they'll be a playoff team again. The schedule isn't too brutal. But the Cowboys aren't known for handling success.

    Prediction: 9-7
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  25. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    New England Patriots: after a magical year where the Patriots led the league in scoring and point differential and fewest turnovers, and clinched it with a clutch win over the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, they seem reloaded for another run. Unfortunately, there's some attrition as well as the fog of scandal that prevents the Patriots from being the prohibitive favorites.

    Deflategate is just proof that Roger Goodell needs to go. After suspending golden boy Brady for the first 5 weeks, the Patriots will rely on backup Garoppolo to step up: he has a solid arm, decent awareness. Either the Patriots will regroup under the notion that it is Us. against the World, or crack and fall apart. Then again, Coach Belichick is the best at insulating his guys from outside noise and getting them focused.

    The oversized TE Gronkowski is awesome, but he must stay healthy. However, there's almost nothing worth talking about elsewhere. There's no true #1 WR or dynamic slot receiver. Lafell is merely generic, Edelman is slow, and Amendola is mediocre in the slot. There's not enough playmaking after Gronk. This is asking way too much from a 38 year old QB Brady.

    The OL lost its best guy Mankins, and the other inside guys haven't stepped up yet. Ideal starters Wendell and Stork are injured, and Tre Jackson is just a rookie. Luckily, the tackles are solid (Solder and Vollmer), for they will keep Brady clean.

    On defense, the Patriots lost their two best players in Darrell Revis and Vince Wilfork. Without the unparalleled cover skills of Revis, the Patriots' secondary will have to rely on schematics more than ever. The massive cornerback Browner is also gone, leaving behind inferior guys in Ryan and Butler. Safety McCourty can no longer play freely - he must pay attention to both corner spots.
    Despite losing the quick DT Wilfork, the Patriots seem better suited on the DL: rookies Brown and Easley are talented and may be equally productive. The Patriots' linebackers and defensive ends are still excellent: Collins, Hightower, Jones and Ninkovich are all great, and will have to be be great.

    Besides the scandal, the lack of pass-rush and an inferior running back corps and crappy return teams prevents the Patriots from surviving the AFC and making another Super Bowl.

    Prediction: 10-6
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