If You Had to Pick One Player In Your Rival Team’s History To Play For Your Team, Who Would It Be?

I just saw this question on Twitter, and it really got me thinking. You spend so much time rooting against the players on your rival teams that you never really consider, what if they were playing for my team instead? As a die-hard Yankee fan, my most hated rival team is clearly the Red Sox. I saw another Yankee fan answer this with Pedro Martinez, or perhaps Mookie Betts. For me, the answer is clear. I would have wanted David Ortiz on my team 100%.

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As a Yankee fan, I absolutely hate the guy. There has never been a bigger Yankee killer than David Ortiz. The Red Sox’ 2004 ALCS comeback doesn’t even start without his heroics in Games 4 and 5. So as much as I hate him for that, as well as the fact that everyone lets him off the hook for being named in the Mitchell Report, the guy was a damn good hitter. In my mind, he’s the most clutch hitter of all-time, or at the very least of my generation. If you don’t think he could’ve helped the Yankees win more than just the one title they won during his career (2009), you’re insane.

 

As for my other teams’ rivals, here are my “Honorable Mention” picks behind Ortiz:

Giants: Sean Taylor (Redskins); absolute savage, Rest in Peace.

Knicks: Kevin Garnett (Celtics); I guess they were kind of rivals for that like season and a half stretch where the Knicks were pretty good?

Rangers: Martin Brodeur (Devils); Why wouldn’t you want the best goalie of all time on your team?

UNC Basketball: Zion Williamson (Duke); I don’t care if he’s only played two games, watch this kid play for 30 seconds and you’ll understand why I picked him.

Rutgers Football: Our only rival is our coaching staff’s ability to recruit.

What about you? If you could have picked a rival player to put on your team’s jersey, who would it be?

Creed 2 Comes Out in a Week

I was always a big fan of the Rocky movies, and Creed just took everything about the Rocky movies and made it 100 times better. Michael B. Jordan is the best lead actor the series has ever seen (no offense to Sylvester Stallone), Stallone himself puts in his best performance in Creed, and modern technology made the fight scenes much better than in the older movies. All that being said, Rocky IV is also one of my favorite movies of all time. I mean, Rocky going to Soviet Russia on Christmas Day, in the middle of the Cold War, to fight a roided-up Soviet Ivan Drago, who he watched kill his close friend Apollo Creed in the ring? What kind of storyline could match that? How about Apollo’s son Adonis fighting Drago’s son? Well, that’s exactly what we get with Creed 2.

Throw in the fact that Adonis’ girlfriend, Bianca’s hearing is still deteriorating, and the two now have a child together, there is so much more on the line in this movie than the original. The original is already my favorite movie! Creed exceeded my expectations in every single way. I’ve never been more excited for a movie, next week can’t come soon enough.

 

Celebrating My Favorite Professional Athlete of All Time, Martin Brodeur

On Monday; Martin Brodeur, my favorite athlete of all time, will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Although I tend to spend less time thinking about the Football Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame than I do about the Baseball Hall of Fame, this is the most excited I have been about someone’s induction into any of the three.  If you watch any of the induction coverage, you will hear about Brodeur’s many, many records and his incredible statistics.  You will hear some people say that he is the greatest goalie of all time.  I happen to echo that sentiment, as he was dominant from 1993 to 2007 and very good from 2007 to 2010 (those endpoints and adjectives are, of course, subjective).  Patrick Roy was great, but he did not have a run of dominance nor consistency that lasted as long as Brodeur’s.  That said, my excitement for Brodeur’s induction stems mainly from the great moments of my life that he created.

To a non-sports fan, it is silly to hear that some of a person’s greatest moments in life involved watching athletes the person has never met.  I do not care.  Watching sports has given me many wonderful moments, and I want to touch on those involving Brodeur. 

*In 1993-4, the Devils had their best regular season to that point, and they won their first two playoff series of my fandom before falling to the Rangers in the best series I have ever watched.  The loss to the Rangers and “Matteau!  Matteau!” was devastating, but the joy in watching the Devils reel off 11 playoff wins before that loss was wonderful.  Though Martin Brodeur split time that regular season with Chris Terreri, Brodeur won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year and started all but three of the playoff games.  That playoff run was my “coming of age” as a hockey fan, and Brodeur was a big part of the run.

*On June 24, 1995; I sat with my family in then-Brendan Byrne Arena as the Devils hoisted the Stanley Cup, representing the first championship for a true New Jersey team.  I was also present at the Meadowlands for a thrilling 1-0 overtime win over Boston in Round 1 (Randy McKay with the GWG), the Conference-clinching win against the rival Flyers, and the Devils’ Game 3 win over the Red Wings in the Finals.  Of course, the Devils ultimately swept the Red Wings in four.  Although I had been a casual Devils fan from Kindergarten (1987-8) through fifth grade (1992-3), it always seemed to me that the Cup was reserved for teams from Canada and the Penguins.  When the hated Rangers beat the Devils in 1994 en route to the Cup, I was upset but had hope that the Devils could someday win the Cup.  That “someday” came the very next season, and Martin Brodeur dominated for four rounds.  Thank you, Marty, for those nine glorious weeks of hockey.

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Image via SI.com

*On August 8, 1996; Martin Brodeur came to the grand opening of Garden State Plaza’s Lord & Taylor (only a few years after I had learned that the store chain was not actually owned by Lawrence Taylor).  My mom brought my brother, two friends, and me to the opening and to get Brodeur’s autographs.  My brother ended up with a picture in the newspaper with Brodeur.  We were all a bit jealous of him, but it was a great moment nonetheless!

*On April 17, 1997; I was sitting at then-Continental Airlines Arena (nee Brendan Byrne Arena), as the Devils nursed a 4-2 lead in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Canadiens.  My friend Scott said, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if Brodeur scored a goal here?”  Sure enough, he did.  We jumped up and down a whole lot; it was pure elation.  I have watched this highlight a million times, and I get chills every time.

*On June 10, 2000; less than two weeks before my high-school graduation, I sat in my living room with my family and some good friends.  We watched Devils/Stars Game 6 extend into double overtime, when Jason Arnott’s goal clinched the Devils their second Cup.  Pure elation yet again.  As was the case in 1995, Brodeur backstopped the Devils the whole way through the playoffs.  The playoffs were a very busy time for me, as I had many exciting moments involving my pending HS graduation; but the Cup run was every bit as exciting as the high-school stuff.

*On June 9, 2003; my family was in Continental Airlines Arena again, as Martin Brodeur pitched a 3-0 shutout in Game 7 vs. the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.  This was Brodeur’s third shutout of the Finals and seventh of the playoffs and gave the Devils their third Stanley Cup.  At this point, I had finished my junior year of college, and Brodeur was one of only five Devils remaining continuously from the team’s first Stanley Cup.  It was the 10th year in a row in which Brodeur dominated and the 10th year in a row in which the Devils looked like a Cup contender for many parts of the season.  I enjoyed the first half of the playoff run at Colgate, as I wrapped up my junior year.  Then, I enjoyed the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals back at home in Midland Park (NJ) with many of my high-school friends.

*On April 29, 2006; Brodeur earned the victory as the Devils finished off a four-game sweep of the Rangers in Round 1 of the playoffs.  While the Devils had already tripled the Rangers’ number of Cups in my lifetime, it was nevertheless a huge thrill to beat the Rangers in a playoff series for the first time.  While athletes sometimes have less passion than fans do, we Devils fans always loved that Brodeur hated the Rangers as much as we did.  That series win was big for all of us.  This win happened nearly two years into my working career (at the parent company of AvisBudget) but provided me with great revenge for the Rangers’ series win from when I was in sixth grade (1994).

*On March 17, 2009; Brodeur earned his 552nd win, to break Patrick Roy’s record.  While there was initially an asterisk here, due to Brodeur’s having opportunities at shootout wins; Brodeur would ultimately surpass Roy’s total by a greater amount than Brodeur’s number of shootout wins.  Thus, the euphoria I felt standing in the last row of The Rock (Prudential Center) was not phony.  I stood there with my brother and three friends as Brodeur cut the netting off the net to keep as a souvenir.  This was the first big moment at The Rock, and The Rock probably never would have even been built if it were not for all of Brodeur’s success at Continental Airlines Arena.  (The Rock opened in 2007.)  At this point, I was two years into my teaching career at Ramsey High School, and it was awesome to reflect on the 552 wins.  I thought of how many “great goalies” had come and gone from the NHL over Brodeur’s 15-17-year career (depending upon whether or not you acknowledge the few games he played at the end of 1991-2), yet Brodeur was the one constant great goalie over that whole time. 

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Image via Toronto Star

*On May 25, 2012; nearly two decades after Brodeur’s rookie season (and more than twenty years after his NHL debut), the legend managed to be involved in what I consider the greatest non-Cup moment in Devils history.  It was Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals – Devils vs. Rangers.  The Devils were up 3 games to 2, as the Devils had won earned their first two series wins in the era of The Rock.  I was in the 100-level of The Rock that night with my former roommate.  Less than two minutes into the overtime, “Henrique, it’s over!!!” happened.  Pure elation on the level of the Jason Arnott Cup-winning goal from 12 years prior.  In fact, this felt every bit like the Devils winning the Cup.  More than 18,000 fans, myself included, had out-of-body experiences of joy as the greatest goal song of all time (“The ‘Hey’ Song”) blared over the Prudential Center speakers. To knock off the Rangers in overtime in the Conference Finals was incredible.  Brodeur again rejoiced to a level befitting of knocking off the hated rivals in the Conference Finals.  He looked as happy as he would have if the Devils had beaten the Rangers in Game 7 in 1994, and the same could be said for me.  While the Devils would ultimately lose to the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals, the 2012 playoff run remains a wonderfully positive experience for Devils fans. 

*After 2012, Brodeur would play two additional seasons for the Devils.  In the latter, he split time with current Devils goalie Cory Schneider.  By the end of the 2013-4 season, Brodeur had comfortably set the records for wins, shutouts, games played, and many more.  For me though, it was most amazing to think of the amount of time I had this guy in my life.  He debuted with a few games when I was in 4th grade (1992).  He was a rookie when I was in 6th grade, and he was the Devils’ primary goalie from that year through middle school, high school, college, three years working at AvisBudget, and seven years teaching at Ramsey High School.  Fittingly, his last Devils season was my first school year teaching the legendary editors, Robert Sartori and Nick Costanzo, of this blog.  Thus, over 22 of my first 32 years of life, Brodeur left a mark. 

I should add that his on-ice success is not the limit of the mark he left.  He has also been the best interview of any player for whom I have ever rooted.  He has always been very personable, yet he has always managed to say things of substance.  So many NHL players speak solely in clichés, but this has not been true of Brodeur.  Additionally, as a Devils fan, it was a delight that an all-time great chose time and again to stay in New Jersey.  If the greatest goalie of all time had played in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, or any Canadian city, he would have been a mega-celebrity; but Brodeur was content to stay in New Jersey.  In New Jersey, he was celebrated, but he was never revered on the level of Derek Jeter or the other big stars of the NYC area. 

The only negative on his playing career is that somehow, the wonderful “Mar-TAN” chant from Continental Airlines Arena evolved into a “Mar-TEE” chant at The Rock.  You would think that, as he aged, the chant would move to the more dignified name, not to the less dignified name.  Plus, “Mar-TAN” accents the correct syllable, while “Mar-TEE” does not.  This turn of events has never made sense to me, but I do not blame Brodeur for that.  I am hear to applaud the man, the myth, the legend, that is Martin Brodeur.

Congratulations, Martin Brodeur, on your induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and thank you for being involved with so many great moments of my life!

They Might Not Win, But Let’s Appreciate the Yankees’ ROY Candidates

Major League Baseball will announce both their American and National League Rookie of the Year award winners tonight. In the National League, the finalists are the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr., the Nationals’ Juan Soto, and the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler. That is believed by many to be a two-man race between Soto and Acuna Jr. I have Acuna Jr. winning, but you can easily make a case for either of the two.

The American League finalists include two Yankees in Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, as well as the Angels’ two-way star Shohei Ohtani. As much as I love the two Yanks, and think they’re both deserving (Andujar especially), I really believe Ohtani will win this award. I don’t like the guy, and I think it’s somewhat silly to go crazy over his pitching stats when he made only ten starts. But, there are a few reasons I think he’ll edge out both Miggy and Gleyber to win.

  1. His sample sizes are smaller, but when he did play he was exceptional, especially for the first pitcher/hitter since Babe Ruth
  2. There is a lot of anti-Yankee bias in the media when it comes to award voting, and they’ve had ROY candidates get snubbed before (Gary Sanchez in 2016, Robbie Cano in 2005.)
  3. Andujar and Torres will take votes away from each other

So yeah, I think Ohtani will be the Rookie of the Year. But this post isn’t about him, it’s for the two Baby Bombers. I’ll start with Torres.

As the main return in the Aroldis Chapman deal, there was a lot of hype surrounding Gleyber before he came up. There were talks that he could be an All-Star caliber player for years to come. He has certainly lived up to the hype thus far, earning his first All-Star nod in his rookie season. To me, the most impressive thing about him is that no moment seemed too big. Gleyber played with the confidence of a seasoned veteran, not a 21-year old rookie. He immediately made an impact, coming up clutch numerous times.

Just two weeks after being called up, he delivered a game-tying two-run single in the 9th inning at the defending-champion Astros in a game the Yankees would ultimately win.

 

He had a walk-off single against the Astros at home later that month

And who could forget his three-run walk-off homer to sweep the Indians at home?

Not only did Torres provide a flair for the dramatic, his power numbers were better than anticipated too. He blasted 24 homers this year after never hitting more than 14 in a season in the minors. He even launched five in four games at one point.

I love Gleyber, and everything he did. Red Sox series aside, you couldn’t have asked for a better rookie season from the kid. That being said, Miguel Andujar deserves the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year award.

Andujar was not only one of baseball’s best rookies, he was one of its best hitters down the stretch. He was the Yankees’ most consistent hitter all year long, and arguably their MVP. His .297 average led the team, his 27 homers put him in a three-way tie with Judge, Hicks, and Didi for second on the team, and his 92 RBI trailed only Stanton. The Yankees won 100 games this year; I don’t think that’s remotely possible without the production they got from Miguel Andujar.

Andujar was a consistent, doubles machine, and just seems like a guy who plays the game hard and has fun doing it. How could you not love him? I know his defense at third was bad, and even horrible at times. But hopefully he can work on that, because his bat is too valuable to have to take out of the lineup for defense late in close games.

Andujar’s name has also come up a lot in trade rumors, especially in potential deals for Indians’ ace Corey Kluber. The rationale behind that would be to trade Andujar, and then sign Manny Machado to take his place at third. While Kluber and Machado are two franchise-altering players, it would be tough to part ways with Andujar. His rookie season was so promising, and you have to think that as he continues to grow stronger, some more of those doubles will turn into homers. We’ll see what happens, but regardless I’m ecstatic that Andujar is part of this baseball team.

Ohtani will probably win it, but boy am I glad we have these two Baby Bombers. Hopefully Gleyber and Miggy are wearing Pinstripes for a long time. (It would be such a Stanzo thing for one of them to get traded like a day after I post this.)

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To the Remaining Eli Supporters, I Ask, “What Would It Take…?”

Hello, all.  It has been nearly two full months since I last wrote a post, and I know there has been a huge void in your lives.  TMZ has been all over me, trying to find scandalous reasons why I have not been posting.  No, nobody punted my dog Rex off a bridge.  The truth is much less exciting than that.  My wife and I moved into a house at the end of August, and it turns out that moving into a house while starting the school year (as a teacher) means that I have not had too much spare time.

Now that we have put that item to bed, I figured what better way to return to this blog than with my favorite topic: “Eli Manning”?  If you recall, I wrote two Eli posts last year – one in which I suggested that his time was running out and one in which I discussed what I considered to be the negative overreaction to his benching.  Of course, I was tempted to write a third about how I thought it was unfair that the Giants ultimately threw Ben McAdoo under the bus for the matter (although I generally did not like McAdoo’s coaching for other reasons).  I ultimately decided not to write the third post, as I would have come across as crazy writing three “Eli” posts during one season.  However, if I write a post this season, I would be sitting at 1.5 “Eli” posts per season over last year and this year.  That does not make me crazy, right?

Allow me to proceed…As we sit here today, the Giants sport a 1-7 record.  Given that I strongly wanted the Giants to draft a quarterback this past April; if you had told April-me that the Giants would pass on drafting a QB and would be 1-7 halfway through the 2018 NFL season, April-me would have assumed that November-me would be livid.  Fortunately, that is not the case.  Granted, it stinks being 1-7, but at least I was able to practice this situation last year.  (Not to mention, the 2012-2014 seasons gave me pretty good practice as well, even if those seasons were not quite “1-7 start”-level bad”)

No, the surprise to April-me would be that I am not mad that the Giants did not draft a quarterback.  Saquon Barkley is clearly one of the best running backs in the game, and none of the quarterbacks drafted are setting the world on fire.  Do not get me wrong – It is likely that at least one of the quarterbacks will develop into a great quarterback, but that has not happened yet.  If Sam Darnold were playing like rookie-year Andrew Luck, I would be beside myself on a daily basis….but he is not doing that.

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Image via USA Today

Therefore, the Giants now have the chance to set things right. They can either draft a quarterback with their high 2019 draft pick, or they can use the pick to build their core (hopefully using the pick on an offensive lineman) while picking up a veteran quarterback for next season.  I thought that the Giants should have signed Teddy Bridgewater last offseason.  He would have been a low-risk, high-reward player who would have pushed Eli.  However, the Giants astoundingly decided that, because they had benched Eli in December, it made sense to provide him with the least competition of any of the 32 starting NFL quarterbacks.  (Alex Tanney, Kyle Lauletta, and the since-released Davis Webb comprised Eli’s “competition”.)  Well, the Giants can right that wrong this coming offseason, whether with Bridgewater or someone else of that level.

The nice thing for me to see is that, after a second-straight deplorable season (OK, half-season in this case), many more fans are coming around on the idea that it is time from Eli.  That is comforting.  At the same time though, there are still fans out there who think Eli is not a problem.  The majority of these fans blame everything on the Giants’ offensive line, and that leads me to the main idea of this post.  To these fans, I ask, “What would it take for you to think that Eli is done?”

Honestly, what would it take?  Sure, the Giants’ offensive line is bad, but Eli supporters make it seem like Eli’s offensive line is a million times worse than any other offensive line in the league.  Eli’s supporters say that, because Eli is an immobile quarterback, it is imperative that the Giants drastically improve their line.  Well, the line this year is slightly better than it was last year.  Nate Solder has disappointed, and Will Hernandez is a work in progress, but the line is a little better than last year than when Ereck Flowers was prominently involved.  How much improvement does the offensive line need, in order for Eli to become even a mediocre quarterback, at this point?

When Eli’s supporters argue about him being an immobile quarterback, they have the argument backwards.  Every quarterback in the league other than Tom Brady is more mobile than Eli.  Therefore, it is Eli’s lack of mobility that is the big problem to address.  While the venerable Rob Sartori would know more about the Seahawks’ O-Line than I do, I am pretty sure that the group is nothing amazing.  At the same time, Russell Wilson’s mobility makes it such that the line is less of a detriment than it would be with Eli behind it.  Russell Wilson is generally considered a mobile quarterback.  However, even quarterbacks who we do not think of as mobile – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Philip Rivers, Big Ben (in his advanced age), to name a few – still show a bit more mobility than Eli does.  At a minimum, those QBs can take the necessary step or two after the snap to dance out of pressure.  That is all a quarterback needs to be able to do to keep the offensive line from being a complete liability.

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Image via NY Post

Unfortunately, Eli cannot do that.  For every legitimate case of Eli being sacked immediately after the snap (thus of no fault of his own), there is also a case of Eli either stepping into a circle of defenders (and being sacked) or holding the ball for too long while he gets sacked deep behind the line of scrimmage.  Eli’s defenders say that these last two scenarios are not his fault because Eli is so shell-shocked at this point.  Well, whether it is his fault or not, the fact that remains that Eli is one of the two least-mobile quarterbacks (with Tom Brady) in the league, and he is the most shell-shocked.  Therefore, if you were to take the backup quarterback on any non-Giants team in the league and have him start on the Giants, one would likely see a more mobile and less shell-shocked QB.  Thus, one would likely see a more productive Giants QB.

It seems a heck of a lot easier to replace the Giants’ quarterback than it is to replace the entire infrastructure around Eli.  Saying that the line is the problem and that Eli is not is akin to saying that the problem with having a flip phone is that there are not computers with Internet capability 10 feet apart across the whole planet.  “If only there were computers everywhere, my lack of a smart phone would not be a problem anymore!”  That is the logic I hear from Eli’s supporters.  In a league in which every quarterback drafted nowadays has at least a modicum of mobility, maybe it is a bad idea that the Giants hold on to such an immobile quarterback.

Additionally, I hear people say that, when Eli has time to throw a good ball, he can still throw as well as anyone.  Stop it.  Even in Eli’s prime, he was never the most accurate passer.  Yes, he threw the most clutch/accurate pass in NFL history when he threw the bomb to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI, but most of his career has seen plenty of wounded ducks and plenty of passes behind big receivers like Plaxico Burress and Hakeem Nicks that the receivers were able to reel in.

I also hear people talk about Eli’s great game against Philly last December, his strong game in Houston in September, and his great finish in Carolina this October.  Some use these games as proof that he can still be great, but I see this as the ultimate case of confirmation bias.  Any quarterback this side of Nathan Peterman can have a few great games in the modern NFL; the league is set up for QBs to dominate.  Therefore, a quarterback is judged on how few bad games he has, more so than on how many good games he has.  Josh McCown had probably 5 or 6 very good games last year, and he has been on the bench this whole season.  Ryan Fitzpatrick has a few very good games seemingly every year but can never hold a starting job.  Those two career backups are held down because we have seen too many bad games out of them, yet Eli’s supporters refuse to hold the same standard to Eli.

Thus I ask again to our Eli supporters, “What would it take for you to say it’s over?”  Do you need to see three-consecutive seasons of three or fewer wins?  Do you need to see Eli be sacked 100 times in a season?  Do the Giants need to trade for Andrew Luck?  Do you need to see the Giants put nine players on the offensive line to block, so that Eli finally has enough time?  What would it take?

Lastly, for copyright purposes, I should come clean that I first heard this “What would it take?” premise when used by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.  He is a Republican who was using this question to criticize Republicans who refused to condemn then-presidential-candidate Donald Trump for anything.  Thus, since I am citing a Republican who is criticizing other Republicans, hopefully those two components cancel each other out…and you – Republican or Democrat – are ok with me using the line.

McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 10

Week 8 was the worst week of picks I’ve ever had.

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But as for Week 9? Right back on track.

While this week could have been much better had I not lost 4 of my last 5, just about anything was going to be better than my abysmal Week 8. I went 7-6, both outright and against the spread. I was sitting very strong at 6-2 through the early games before I struggled with the later ones. Here’s a look bad at the picks I made (correct pick in blue, incorrect pick in red):

Raiders at 49ers (+1.5)

Bears (-10) at Bills

Buccaneers at Panthers (-6)

Chiefs (-9) at Browns

Falcons at Redskins (-1.5)

  • Was very happy to be incorrect here.

Jets at Dolphins (-3)

Steelers at Ravens (-1.5)

Lions at Vikings (-5)

Chargers at Seahawks (Pick ‘Em)

Texans at Broncos (-1)

  • Absolutely brutal loss as the field goal for the outright win and push against the spread missed. Also the first time this year that the over didn’t hit in a game where one of the teams (Broncos) played the Chiefs the week prior. Over 46.5 was looking great when the Broncos went up 17-16 early in the 3rd, but all we got was 3 more points the rest of the way.

Rams at Saints (+2)

Packers (+5) at Patriots

Titans at Cowboys (-4)

  • Not gonna talk about how horrible the rest of this game was, just gonna note how different the game could’ve been had the Cowboys taken advantage early. Maher misses a 38 yarder and Dak throws a bad INT, the Cowboys could have been up 17-0 easily. The game was never the same from there and it fucking sucked. Oh well. At least I won my fantasy game over an Amari Cooper owner by .2 (sorry Tucc).

2018 Straight-Up: 81-51-2, 2018 vs. Spread: 63-68-3

Ready to roll into Week 10.

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Panthers at Steelers (-3.5) 

  •  Steelers 52, Panthers 21 
  •  Well, that was easy. 2-0 to start the week!

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Bills at Jets (-7)

  • No spread is too big when facing Nathan Peterman
  • Josh McCown starting for the Jets, could be better than Sam Darnold would have been in this game (veteran playing one game vs. rookie QB)
  • Jets win easily

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Saints at Bengals (+6)

  • Even minus AJ Green, the Bengals are strong enough of a home team to make this too many points
  • Public hammering Saints who are coming off two very hard fought games against very good teams, could look past the Bengals
  • Bengals coming off bye
  • Saints win by less than a score and Bengals cover

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Patriots at Titans (+7)

  • Public hammering red hot Pats
  • Easy to forget but Patriots beat the Titans in last year’s playoffs- home revenge game for the Titans
  • Also a lot of familiarity with the Pats for the Titans in Dion Lewis, Malcolm Butler, and head coach Mike Vrabel
  • Titans build off Monday night to keep it close and cover but Patriots win

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Cardinals at Chiefs (-16.5)

  • The difference between this and the Vikings 17 point spread against the Bills is we know a lot more about these teams then we did about MIN/BUF in Week 3, and the Chiefs are much more consistent than the Vikings
  • Really nothing much else to say besides I think Mahomes and the Chiefs explode against the young Cardinals at home to cover in a rout

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Redskins at Buccaneers (-3)

  • After two wins against weak offenses, Redskins fell flat on their face at home against a good offense
  • Redskins may be too banged up to keep this strong play up
  • Gunslinger Fitzy and the Bucs win a high scoring game

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Lions (+7) at Bears 

  • The Bears are the better team this year, but the Lions have been beating up on the Bears for years- they’ve won 9 of the last 10 in this matchup
  • Lions undervalued after bad performances against better teams the last two weeks
  • Lions keep it close to cover but Bears win by a field goal

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Falcons at Browns (+6)

  • Public hammering Falcons and spread has moved from -4 to -6 after last week’s blowout win
  • Browns offense played better than expected last week, did not get blown out nearly as bad as most thought they would vs. Chiefs
  • Second game under Greg Williams against a similar but less talented team as the Chiefs, I think the Browns cover but the Falcons win
  • Also: not gonna let last week’s loss discourage me. Browns played the Chiefs last week- bet over 51. They gave a shoutout to this stat I have been telling you all about for a few weeks now on Pardon My Take

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Jaguars (+3) at Colts

  • Jaguars played a little better the week before the bye- there’s no way the 2017 Jaguars are not possible of breaking out
  • Granted they were much better and Luck was out, but the Jaguars pummeled the Colts in both matchups last year
  • Jags look a little stronger off the bye and pull the upset in Indy

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Chargers at Raiders (+10)

  • Look I’m not saying this is a great pick, but hear me out
  • Raiders are coming off a game in which people are saying they quit, expect a better performance in front of their home crowd
  • Public hammering Chargers
  • Teams who lost the previous week on Thursday Night Football are 6-2 against the spread
  • Chargers win easily but Raiders show some fight and cover the big spread

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Dolphins (+10) at Packers

  • Packers are coming off two road games against very good teams, could easily look past this home game against the Dolphins
  • Niners covered similar spread in Green Bay a few weeks ago, and the Dolphins are much better than the Niners
  • Packers win but Dolphins cover this large number

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Seahawks (+9.5) at Rams

  • Seahawks had a down week last week, but I’m still convinced they’re a good team, and they always play teams tough
  • Rams are 1-4-1 in their last 6 against the spread, and the majority of their games have been close this year
  • Haven’t heard this, but have to assume the 12th Man will be taking over LA
  • Rams are the better team and win by a TD, but the Seahawks cover

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Cowboys (+7) at Eagles

  • “Oh Mike come on the Cowboys suck, the Eagles are home and in prime time, this is a obvious blowout” is what 82% of the public (as of Thursday night) is saying right now
  • The Cowboys looked real bad last week, but what have the Eagles done? They’ve underperformed all year, and while the bye may help, people are acting like they’re back on track after hardly edging out the Jaguars, who the Cowboys beat 40-7
  • Every Eagles game besides the one against the Giants has been decided by a score or less
  • Cowboys show some pride after last week’s performance and keep it close, but the better team at home gets the win

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Giants at 49ers (-3.5)

  • I don’t see myself taking the Giants ever again
  • Giants may be coming off the bye, but the Niners are coming off a Thursday night game, not too much of a difference
  • I don’t like to overreact to blowout wins, but there was a certain feeling last week about what the Niners did that has me thinking they’ll grind out a few wins to end the season
  • Niners win by a TD

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See you in Week 11. Who wins the 3rd Dak-Wentz Sunday Night battle?

Giants Fans Ruined Their Chances of Moving On From Eli Manning

The Giants have started this year worse than anticipated, and their dreadful past two seasons were highly unexpected. I remember at the beginning of the 2017 campaign, they were placed at #2 overall in Bleacher Report’s NFL Power Rankings. Later that same year, they had the #2 overall pick in the draft.

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Most of it can be blamed on Ben McAdoo, who was a dumpster fire of a football coach. I could probably have thrown my mom out there on the sidelines and she could’ve won 4 or 5 games. And she still asks me every year when the Seahawks are going to be in the Super Bowl. They’re not Mom, let it go and let’s move on.

The other percentage of failure can be blamed on injuries, the offensive line, defensive inefficiencies, and of course, Eli Manning.

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Image via Radio.com

I have really never seen anybody personify the quote “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain” more than Eli Manning. I mean, this guy was a king. He was the face of the NY Giants. Manning beat the greatest quarterback of all-time TWICE in the Superbowl in miraculous, comeback fashion. He had an MVP caliber season in 2015 and was/is on his way to being a Hall of Famer.

But in Week 13 of 2017, McAdoo benched the Giants’ legend, and it caused an uproar throughout the league…especially in New York. Fans were absolutely outraged and horrified that anybody could blame Manning for the Giants atrocity of a season.

One year later though, it looks like McAdoo was just ahead of the curve.

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Sorry for all The Dark Knight references

He had the guts to bench a guy that was underperforming and didn’t work for his offense, much like Shumur did with Erik Flowers earlier this year. Problem was, nobody gives two shits about Flowers. But people care about Eli Manning, and McAdoo’s choice got him fired (and so did being a really bad football coach, don’t forget that). Giants fans defended Eli, got him his job back, and preached that he was capable of leading them to the Promised Land one more time with the right pieces. The front office listened to them.

Now here they are one year later, sitting at 1-7 with Saquon Barkley in the backfield instead of having Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, or Josh Rosen under center. Giants fans are screaming at the organization and at Eli for screwing their season up, but I think they have to put some of the blame on themselves. I find it wild that Giants fans were in agony at the fact that Eli was benched last year, and those same fans are calling for him to be benched this year. Yes, there are some different situations now, but what has really changed about Eli?

You have to imagine that the front office is confused. When the season was ending last year, the fanbase was saying “How could you do that to Eli? He still has talent, this isn’t his fault. He’s our guy”. Then they’re like “Okay, sure, let’s take Barkley then”. Then the Giant fans are like “Wooaahhh, wait, Eli’s not good anymore. We need a quarterback for the future”.

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It’s like when a girl says she’s fine. She’s not fine, and she wants a franchise quarterback. Don’t listen to her.

To all those people who wanted the quarterback of the future, I say that you had your chance to move on. But when that Week 13 benching came, everyone was stuck in the past and didn’t want to accept the fact that maybe their hero had overstayed his welcome.

It is time for a new quarterback in New York. Manning isn’t the right guy anymore, but I’d be extremely shocked if you saw somebody else under center this year. The Giants are losing a lot right now, but one thing they can’t afford to lose is their loyal fans who still want to see Eli ride off into the sunset like so many other New York legends have done.