Category Archives: Football

I’m a Giants Fan and I Feel Bad for Eagles Fans

Obviously the biggest news out of the NFL yesterday was Eagles quarterback and MVP hopeful Carson Wentz having his season cut short by a torn ACL. Now, by no means am I an Eagles fan. Short of the Cowboys and Patriots, there is no NFL team I dislike more than them. Every time I see one of my South Jersey friends retweet the Miracle at the Meadowlands video I wanna blow my brains out, and living with an Eagles fan (shoutout Phil) during this particular NFL season, given their success and whatever the hell the Giants are doing, has not always been fun. But if your first reaction to the Wentz news is not to be a little disappointed, you’re not a true sports fan. Continue reading I’m a Giants Fan and I Feel Bad for Eagles Fans

McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 14

After a November full of favorites winning, there were plenty of underdogs who won to start December…

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…including my Cowboys, who I picked against.

I’ll be in attendance in the Meadowlands this weekend to see the Boys take on Eli’s team. Hopefully Eli Manning Day in Meadowlands before the game will remind fans why they have been hating on him for years by the end of the game.

To further comment on all of those upsets, I also saw a suffer in wins this in Week 13. While I still put up a solid 11-5 straight up, I went just 7-9 against the spread. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (winning team in red, spread winner in red):

Redskins (-1.5) at Cowboys

  • Cowboys 38, Redskins 14- After two weeks of feeling the Cowboys would play better after their poor performance the week before, I finally gave up on that. And then, they finally won. 10-6 is still not guaranteed to make the playoffs in the NFC, but if the Cowboys can get to full strength and win out to make it, that hypothetical hot streak would make them a dangerous team heading into the playoffs.

Vikings (+3) at Falcons

Lions (+3) at Ravens

  • Ravens 44, Lions 20- The Ravens have finally been able to put together consistent enough play to say that they are definitely a threat to go on a run to the playoffs. As for the Lions, they have completely fallen off after their impressive start to the season.

Patriots (-8.5) at Bills

49ers (+3) at Bears

Buccaneers (-1.5) at Packers

  • Packers 26, Buccaneers 20 (OT)- Are the Packers still a threat to make the playoffs? Almost everyone has written them off, but if they win week and Aaron Rodgers comes back, suddenly everything becomes a lot more interesting.

Colts at Jaguars (-9.5)

Broncos at Dolphins (+1.5)

Chiefs (-3.5) at Jets

  • Jets 38, Chiefs 31- I watched the majority of this, and what a game it was. The Chiefs had a chance to march down field and score a TD to win and cover, but a penalty on a Jets field goal led to a Jets TD, which led to one of the funniest things I have ever seen in a football game.

Texans (+6.5) at Titans

  • Titans 24, Texans 13- I would have nailed this spread and winner perfectly, had Derrick Henry not ran for a 75 yard touchdown on a play where the clock would have ran out had he been tackled.

Browns at Chargers (-14)

  • Chargers 19, Browns 10- The Browns came (somewhat) close to getting their 2nd win over the Chargers since the start of the 2016 season. They also came (somewhat) close to getting their second win overall since the start of the 2016 season.

Panthers at Saints (-4)

Rams (-7) at Cardinals

Giants at Raiders (-8.5)

  • Raiders 24, Giants 17- Geno Smith: 0-1 straight up as Giants QB, but 1-0 against the spread. Good teams win, great teams cover. Sign this man John Mara.

Eagles (-6) at Seahawks

  • Seahawks 24, Eagles 10-  GOD DAMMIT PHILLY! The one time the Cowboys need you to win all season, you let them down. The hot stat around the league this week is how the only win the Eagles have over a team currently above .500 is the Panthers. I won’t diminish what the Eagles have done this season, but keep note of this ahead of their matchup with the Rams, as well as going into the playoffs.

Steelers (-5) at Bengals

  • Steelers 23, Bengals 20- No one is talking about the actual game this week, only the violence that this game produced. But to stick to sports, this game was a great example of the vulnerability of the Steelers (down 17-0) as well as the dangers (23-3 run to finish).

2017 Straight-Up: 127-65, 2017 Vs. Spread: 95-91-6

Let the first quarter of the fourth quarter of the NFL season begin.

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Saints at Falcons (-2.5)

  • Huge matchup to start the week between the team leading the NFC South, and the team who was favored to be doing so coming into the season. While the Falcons took a step back last week, their defense found success against an improved Vikings offense. This matchup has been one over the years that has been won by the home team, especially when the visitor has been having the better year. I have the Falcons earning the win at home.

Cowboys (-4) at Giants

  • The Cowboys defense finally put together a great performance last week, holding the Redskins to 14 points and forcing four turnovers. Now, they get their defensive QB Sean Lee back. The Cowboys are definitely better with Zeke as to Alfred Morris, but the Cowboys are now as close to full strength as they will get without their star RB. Eli Manning day will only last so long as fans will be reminded “Oh wait, I forgot it’s not 2011 anymore”, and the Cowboys will win and cover in the Meadowlands.

Colts at Bills (-4)

  • After playing some okay football under Jacoby Brissett, the Colts have fallen off and have dropped 6 of 7. The Bills are clearly no threat in the AFC, but I like them to win and cover in this matchup. The Bills have been beaten up on inferior opponents at home this season, and the only win the Colts have on the road was in Houston in the Texans’ first game without DeShaun Watson. Bills Mafia will get this win on Sunday.

Vikings at Panthers (+2.5)

  • I think the Vikings are the better team here, but I like the Panthers to get the upset win at home to end the Vikings’ winning streak. Earning two straight road wins against good NFC teams is tough. The Vikings beat the Rams at home, then the Rams beat the Saints at home, and then the Saints beat the Panthers at home. Things will come full circle, and the Panthers will beat the Vikings in Charlotte.

Bears (+6.5) at Bengals

  • The Bengals are coming off a hard fought home performance against a good Steelers team. So while they played well, they got pretty banged up in the process. I think that this will show this week, and the Bears will keep it close and cover. However, the Bengals are the better team, and they will get the win at home.

Packers (-3) at Browns

  • The Packers have finally been playing some good football under Brett Hundley. They should have no problem beating the Browns, but Cleveland know that this may be their best chance to win in their four remaining games. The Browns will keep in close, but the Packers will win by less than a score, and enough to cover.

49ers at Texans (-3)

  • The 49ers got the win in Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start and he played well, but it is easy to forget that all 15 points came from the right foot of Robbie Gould. The Texans have played a little better of late under Tom Savage, winning at home before losing two close ones on the road. The Texans will return home and win by one score, and enough to cover.

Raiders at Chiefs (-4)

  • This game is very tough to pick, as the Chiefs have completely fallen apart, and while the Raiders have put together some wins, they have not exactly given anyone the feeling that they are a threat in the AFC. While it was their second loss, much of the Chiefs downfall began on that last second loss to the Raiders in October. I think they will get revenge this time winning at home. This one will be close, but I’ll give the Chiefs the cover as well.

Lions at Buccaneers

  • Note: This spread has not been announced yet due to the status of Matt Stafford. I will choose this game once his status is announced, and reveal what my pick was next week.

Titans (-3) at Cardinals

  • I think this game will be very similar to when the Jaguars went to Arizona a few weeks ago. Just like the Jaguar game, the Cardinals will play well at home against a better AFC South opponent. Except this time, they won’t get out to a 13-0 lead. The Cardinals will keep it close, but the Titans will ultimately win by less than a score, but enough to cover.

Jets (-1) at Broncos

  • Will the Broncos finally find their way this weekend? Nope! While I picked the Dolphins last week, I thought it would be a boring and low scoring game, not a blowout at the hands of the lowly Dolphins. The Broncos are hopeless on offense, and the Jets will continue their surprisingly good play and win in Denver.

Redskins (+6) at Chargers

  • The Redskins looked awful last week, but they will come into this one on extra rest. While the Chargers won yet again last week, they looked less dominant against the Browns than they have in past weeks. I think the Chargers win again, but the Redskins keep it close to cover, and lose it in a Redskins way.

Seahawks (+2.5) at Jaguars

  • Even week Jaguars, underdog Seahawks, and Seahawks coming off a great win. Do you see a trend here? Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will go into Jacksonville and take care of business yet again.

Eagles at Rams (-2.5)

  • I’m not completely buying into the Eagles wins being degraded due to the lack of wins over good teams, but I think the Eagles will come up short on the West Coast yet again this week. In the first matchup of Jared Goff vs. Carson Wentz, I think Goff shows why he was the No. 1 pick, and the Rams win and cover at home.

Ravens (+5) at Steelers

  • You can throw out the record books when these teams match up. The Ravens have put together a few good wins lately, and just like the Bengals, the Steelers are banged up and missing a few key players. I’m expecting a great game on Sunday night, with the Ravens covering, but the Steelers getting the win.

Patriots (-11.5) at Dolphins

  • A division leader traveling to a division rival while shorthanded is bad for almost any team. Except for the Patriots. Tom Brady and Co. thrive in the face of adversity, and I expect nothing different this weekend without Gronk. The Patriots will win and cover over the Dolphins for the second time in three weeks.

That’s it for this week, be back for Week 15. Can the Steelers edge out the Ravens once again?

I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills Here!!!

When news broke on Tuesday, that Eli Manning would no longer be the Giants’ starting quarterback, I planned not to write a post about the matter.  I figured that my lengthy Eli post from two weeks ago allowed me to say what I need to say (John Mayer).  However, after the past four days, I need to make another post.

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!!  Nearly every person I know or have heard is ready to tar and feather the Mara family, Jerry Reese, and Ben McAdoo for what has gone down this week with Eli.  I, however, am fine with what the Giants have done.  Hard-core football fans, casual football fans, Giants fans, Jets fans, Patriots fans, adults, children, Mike Francesa, Michael Kay, Don LaGreca, Bill Simmons, Bill Barnwell, friends of mine, family members of mine, current Giants, former Giants, and lastly Michael Rapaport are all mortified by the Giants’ handling this week of Eli Manning.  Like when I told the world that I enjoyed Dumb and Dumber To, I am a man on an island, and that is ok with me.

Image result for eli manning benching
Business Insider Photo of Eli Manning press conference after the Giants announced his benching

That said, I am writing this post to express my shock at the level of outrage over the Giants’ decision.  I had hoped for several weeks that the Giants would eventually move to see what they have in their other quarterbacks, but I did not think they would have the courage to do it.  Eli Manning is likely the best human being in the NFL, and it takes a lot of courage to tell such a wonderful person that he has to ride the pine.  I figured that, if McAdoo/Reese/Mara could find the courage to make the decision, most people would react similarly to my view of “I feel terrible for Eli.  He has played his heart out as a Giant and has never missed a start.  The team around him this year was bad.  However, this is the right move for the future of the team.”  Wow was I wrong!

Obviously, all Giants fans will forever look fondly upon Eli’s work in leading the Giants to two Super Bowl Championships.  Much less obviously, apparently 99% of the world seems to look back fondly on his 32-43 regular-season record over the past five seasons and his 2-9 record this season.

Here are some common refrains I have heard this week and my rebuttals:

  • “How can you tarnish a man’s legacy like this?” I am sorry, but the 2-9 season and 4-of-5 seasons below .500 are tarnishing the legacy, not the benching.  QBs who go 2-9 and 32-43 tend to get benched.
  • “Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, etc. (fill in the blank with any great QB here) never got treated like this.” Again, those quarterbacks never went had years this bad or five-year stretches this bad.
  • “But the team around Eli is terrible!!!” This is true, but Eli has made a bad situation worse, not better.
  • “But the Giants will be even worse without Eli at QB!” They are 2-9.  Mathematically speaking, it is tough to get worse.
  • “How could they ask him to play just one half? That makes a mockery of the game.”  Oh yeah, I am sure you would feel sooooooo much better if the Giants had just flat-out benched him without at least giving him this option.
  • “How could they go to Geno, not Webb?” True story, there were multiple games this season when I texted people that “Giants would be better using Geno right now”.  I said this because a quarterback with at least some mobility would fare much better than Eli behind a porous offensive O-Line.
  • “But we saw Geno with the Jets, and he was terrible and a bad leader. He even got punched in the face, and nobody came to his defense.”  First of all, he did have some great games as a Jet, including wins over the Patriots and Falcons.  He was a second-round pick who has plenty of talent.  Yes, he was immature…very immature.  However, people can mature.  Is it possible that getting clocked in the face and then spending three years backing up class acts like Eli and Ryan Fitzpatrick can make him a better person, leader, and player?    I am not saying it is likely, but it could happen.
  • “If the Giants were gonna do this, how could they not have Webb ready?” This setup works just fine.  If Geno does well, the Giants can roll with him.  If he does badly, they can go to Webb.  If either one of them ends up looking awesome, the Giants will feel less compelled to draft a quarterback in the first round.  Drafting Saquon Barkley or an offensive lineman would not be a bad thing.
  • “If the Giants released him today, he would hardly last a second on the open market.” I disagree.

 

Anyway, among the many who have condemned the Giants this week, Bill Barnwell of ESPN is the only person who has an idea that would have made sense.  He says the Giants should have announced that next week’s home game against Dallas would be Eli’s last start.  That way, the Giants fans could have bid him farewell in a more respectable manner.  I like the idea, but I would have done that in the Chiefs game, so that the Giants could have gotten 6 games to look at their young quarterbacks.  However, I am not losing sleep that the Giants did not do this.  The Giants will give Eli his due when they put him in the Ring of Honor as soon as his career ends.

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Washington Post Photo

Lastly, I have not generally been a big fan of Ben McAdoo.  Some of that is because I did not love his play-calling as offensive coordinator.  (Whereas I was one of the few who was fine with Kevin Gilbride)  Some of that is because, when I look at his face, I cannot help but think of PC Principal.  That said, McAdoo has shown me something positive this week.  While everyone else is dumping on him, I praise him (and Reese and the Maras) for making a courageous decision.

 

I should add that I am not writing this post because I hate Eli.  I simply have been down this block before.  I have said goodbye to Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, and Mike Piazza.  I am stuck in what seems to be a 4-year-long goodbye to David Wright.  These things happen; it is inevitable.  Eli, you have been a delight to watch on the field.  Your humanitarian work is second to none.  As Bill Simmons often discusses, I would love to have you marry my hypothetical daughter or hypothetical sister.  In an era with many NFL scandals, you represent everything that is right with football.  However, Giants fans, it is time to look to the future.

McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 13

After a September and October full of upsets and inconsistent play by many teams, favorites have finally found their way in November.

Image result for tom brady vs dolphins week 12

Week 12 was the best Sunday for the betting public this season, and Vegas sports books have taken a beating as favorites have gone 37-15-4 against the spread this month. Just as Week 12 was great for the rest of the public, it was great for me as well. I went a season high 11-4-1 against the spread, and tied a season high at 14-2 straight up. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (winning team in red, spread winner in red):

Vikings (-3) at Lions

Chargers (-2.5) at Cowboys (Thank God I don’t have to justify what went wrong here)

Giants at Redskins (-7.5)

Buccaneers (+9.5) at Falcons

  • Falcons 34, Buccaneers 20- The Falcons are starting to find their groove at the best time possible. While its possible that they take a step back any week, it would not be shocking to see them go on a late season run somewhat similar to last season.

Browns at Bengals (-8)

Titans (-3) at Colts

Bills (+10) at Chiefs

  • Bills 16, Chiefs 10- The Chiefs downfall from one of the best offenses in the league to one of the worst continues to make little sense. There’s only one way to explain it…

Dolphins at Patriots (-16)

Panthers (-4.5) at Jets

Bears at Eagles (-13.5)

Seahawks at 49ers (+6.5)

  • Seahawks 24, 49ers 13- The Seahawks continue their dominance over the Niners, as they have now won 9 in row against them (including playoffs), a streak that began during their incredible NFC Championship game. After 8 quarters, the Niners scored their first TD against the Seahawks this year with the clock reading :00, with the throw courtesy of new QB Jimmy Garoppolo.

Saints at Rams (-2.5)

Jaguars (-5.5) at Cardinals

  • Cardinals 27, Jaguars 24- After the Jaguars narrowly pulled out their first even week victory of the year in Week 10, they went back to their even week ways with a down performance in Week 12. Blake Bortles had two great rushing TDs, but then blew a chance at a comeback win with one of the worst interceptions I have ever seen.

Broncos at Raiders (-5)

Packers at Steelers (-14)

  • Steelers 31, Packers 28- Kudos to Brett Hundley and the Packers for their great performance in this one. The Steelers, despite their 9-2 record, continue to show vulnerability against weaker opponents, but still find a way to pull out wins in the end.

Texans (+7) at Ravens

  • Texans 23, Ravens 16- Vegas knew what was gonna happen before we did.

2017 Straight-Up: 116-60, 2017 Vs. Spread: 88-82-6

December football is here.

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Redskins (-1.5) at Cowboys

  • With Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee both still out, I don’t see much changing for the Cowboys. They finally got Tyron Smith back last week, but that offensive line health only lasted for so long as they lost Zack Martin to a concussion, and he’s questionable for this game. It’s hard to imagine the Cowboys playing as poorly as they have the last 3 weeks (especially in the second half) yet again, but that’s what I’ve said the last two weeks. The Redskins have played better of late and will earn a close win on the road.

Vikings (+3) at Falcons

  • I’ve been going back and forth on this one, but I’m gonna go with my original instinct of a Vikings upset on the road. The Falcons have looked great the last 3 weeks, but the Vikings have looked great for the last 7. They controlled the entire game in Detroit on the road, and I like them to grind out a win this week and establish themselves as a true threat to the Eagles’ top seed. Let the Vikings hosting the Super Bowl at home talks begin.

Lions (+3) at Ravens

  • Another road upset here. The Ravens have given us more of an image of who they are of late, and while they’ve won a few games, I still don’t think they are consistent enough to keep it rolling. The Lions have fallen off a little after their hot start, but I think they are the better team and will come in with a few extra days of rest, and will get the upset win in Baltimore.

Patriots (-8.5) at Bills

  • No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills, and that will stay true this week. The Bills looked much better last week after three straight brutal losses, and this is the perfect time for Brady and Co. to come in and put them back in their place. I don’t think it will be a rout like the Saints game, but the Patriots will come in and win and cover in Buffalo.

49ers (+3) at Bears

  • The Jimmy G era will get off to a good start. While it is too early to say he’ll for sure turn around the Niners, I think he will look good this weekend in Chicago. The Bears have fallen off and have dropped 4 in a row, and I think the Niners get the upset for their first road win of the year.

Buccaneers (-1.5) at Packers

  • The Packers looked great last week, but based on how they have looked under Brett Hundley prior to that game, I have to believe that is the best performance we are going to get from this team. Jameis Winston is back for the Bucs, and I think they pull out a close win in Green Bay, and enough to cover.

Colts at Jaguars (-9.5)

  • Never doubt the odd week Jags. The Jaguars defense dominated the Colts in Week 7, and while the Colts have played better since, I think this is a bad matchup for Indy. The Jags will rebound from their poor performance in Arizona to win and cover at home.

Broncos at Dolphins (+1.5)

  • The noise of a toilet flushing is all you need to know about my thoughts for this game. The Broncos are the better team on paper, but I can’t help but continue to think that they’ve been cursed since annihilating the Cowboys in Week 2. I have the Dolphins winning a close, low scoring game at home.

Chiefs (-3.5) at Jets

  • The Chiefs return to the Meadowlands two weeks after getting embarrassed by the Giants. The Chiefs should be better than the Jets, and with the Jets commonly playing well against better opponents this year, then losing a close one in a very Jets way, this spread is perfect. I think the Chiefs edge out a close win, and I’ll pick them to cover as well.

Texans (+6.5) at Titans

  • The Titans and Texans have played a lot of close games of late. The Titans are the better team than the Watson-less Texans and are home, so they should definitely get the win. However, the Texans did beat the Titans 57-14 earlier this year. Despite missing the key piece to that blowout, I think the Texans will play tough in a divisional matchup and cover.

Browns at Chargers (-14)

  • The Chargers are a team to watch out for as the playoffs near. They have been getting excellent play on both sides of the ball, as seen on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys. I think they continue their hot play and destroy the Browns at home. The Browns are searching for their first win since the last time they played the Chargers.

Panthers at Saints (-4)

  • Biggest matchup of the weekend right here. The Panthers have won 4 straight, and the Saints lost their first game since Week 2 last week, but they could have easily lost the week before as well. However, I’ll toss that all aside and look at how great the Saints have played at home this year. The Panthers have found a way to disappoint commonly in the last two years, and I think the Saints win a great game in New Orleans, and enough to cover.

Rams (-7) at Cardinals

  • After losing two weeks ago in Minnesota, the Rams came back to beat one of the NFC’s elite in the Saints. The Cardinals have had trouble putting together good performances in consecutive weeks this year, and I think they will fall back and the Rams will win and cover on the road.

Giants at Raiders (-8.5)

  • Despite the Broncos late comeback, the Raiders looked great last week at home. I don’t think Geno Smith is going to make the Giants THAT MUCH worse, but based on the turmoil in the organization and in the media, I don’t see him or the team playing well this week. I had the Raiders covering before the Giants QB decision, but with all this turmoil I have the Raiders crushing the Giants in Oakland. Rational Giants fans, don’t listen to all the moron Giants fans. Watch the video below.

Eagles (-6) at Seahawks

  • The Eagles continue to fly week after week, and I think the same happens this week against the Seahawks banged up defense. The Seahawks will stay in this game at home and with Russell Wilson under center, but the Eagles are too good right now, and they will continue this ride by winning and cover in Seattle.

Steelers (-5) at Bengals

  • The Steelers have played down to many of their opponents over the past two years, but they have always been sharp in division games. In this one on the road in Cincinnati, I think the Bengals keep in close. However, I have the Steelers pulling away late to win and cover on Monday night.

That’s it for Week 12, be back next week. What will Sundays be like without the comedy of Eli Manning?

Giants’ Season Reaches New Low, Eli Manning Benched for Geno Smith

Obviously, the news that the Giants will be starting Geno Smith in place of long-time starter and 2-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning took the sports world by storm yesterday. I’m utterly stunned by this move. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been actively rooting against the Giants in every game for the last few weeks because there’s nothing worse in the NFL than being mediocre. What’s the point in going 6-10 when you can go 3-13 and potentially draft a franchise-changing player, aka Saquon Barkley? But while I’m all in on the tank, not at this cost. Not if it means disrespecting the best quarterback in franchise history, and a guy who gave us Giants fans the most unforgettable Super Bowl runs we could ask for. I mean, look at this guy.

 

Just sickening to not let him go out there and do his job. He’s currently working with one of the worst offensive lines in the league and a group of receivers where what was supposed to be his 4th/5th target in Roger Lewis is now his number one, and he’s still going out there week after week trying to win games. Don’t get me wrong, Eli is no Derek Jeter in terms of his consistency or his New York sports legacy. Yeah, the Giants haven’t exactly been a perennial playoff team and he’s more than capable of throwing an untimely interception. But you could always count on Eli to get up from every brutal hit he took, and give the G-Men a chance to win every damn week. And we bench him for this?

I mean I guess they wanna ensure the tank, but this is crazy. Also, props to Eli for not taking the pity “start” just to keep his streak alive. Shows you that the guy is way more concerned with the team’s performance than personal records. Just LOOK at this stat.

What a weird season and what a weird way to go about it. Fire McAdoo, fire Reese, fire freaking everyone. Eli Manning will always be my quarterback, and there’s no two ways about it.

My Favorite Thanksgiving Football Moments

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  One of the great thrills of Thanksgiving is that we get football on Thursday.  I know, I know – we now have football every Thursday, but that was not always the case.  Still though, this is the only Thursday when we get to watch football all day long.  Plus, we get to eat massive amounts of food.  Most people look forward to turkey on Thanksgiving.  I actually think turkey is the least-delicious meat I have tasted. For me, spaghetti pie is the main event of Thanksgiving.  It is a Walker-family special that all of ten people on Earth actually enjoy.  Essentially, it is spaghetti baked with eggs, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and lots of spices (garlic, pepper, oregano, etc.).  My friend, Jeff, aptly refers to the delicacy as “pasta brownies”, as one eats them by hand.  Mmmmmm, I love spaghetti pie.

Anyway, enough about food.  Let us get back to football.  To pump you up for tomorrow’s games, let us reflect on the four most memorable Thanksgiving football moments of my football-watching career (which dates back to 1990).  Why did I choose to go with four?  It is because only four are legendary enough in my mind to merit discussion, and I do not want to force a “Joey Harrington covers the spread”-level moment on here just to get us to 5.  Here we go.

 

4) The Coin Toss  In 1998, the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves tied at 16 after regulation.  In those days, overtime was pure sudden-death.  Therefore, the coin toss was of enormous importance.  The Steelers’ Jerome Bettis and Carnell Lake clearly said, “Tails”, during the flip.  However, referee Phil Luckett heard it as “Heads”.  Therefore, Luckett awarded the toss to the Lions.  The Lions obviously chose to receive and ended up winning the game on Jason Hanson field goal on their opening drive.  The Steelers were none too pleased.  The Steelers would finish 7-9, two games out of the playoffs.  Therefore, this game did not directly cost the Steelers a playoff berth, but the space-time continuum tells us that we do not know if the incident cost the Steelers a berth.  Meanwhile, the Lions finished 5-11 and were largely irrelevant, this game aside, in 1998.

Image result for the coin toss 1998

3) Leon Lett 2.0  Entering the 1993 season, Leon Lett’s name already lived in infamy.  In Super Bowl XXVII the previous January, this play happened.  Fast forward to the 1993 season, and the defending-champion Cowboys were rolling along with a record of 7-3 when Thanksgiving approached.  Their opponent that day was the 8-2 Miami Dolphins.

The Cowboys would ultimately take a 14-13 lead into the latter stages of the game when the Dolphins’ Pete Stoyanovich lined up for a game-winning 40-yard field goal with 15 seconds left.  Oh by the way, the field was covered in snow…in Dallas…on Thanksgiving.  I suppose that was a “convenient truth” for the Cowboys, and it proved especially so when the Cowboys’ Jimmie Jones blocked the field goal.  Yes, the very same Dallas Cowboys who were coached by Jimmy Johnson under owner Jerry Jones also had a player named “Jimmie Jones”.

After the blocked field goal, the game – by all accounts – should have been over….except that Leon Lett ran after the blocked kick and touched the ball.  This turned the ball into a “live ball” that was recovered by Miami at the 2-yard line.  Actually, the ball was likely recovered in the end zone, but the snow and lack of instant replay that year meant the ball would stay at the 2.  After much debate about where the refs would spot the ball, Stoyanovich calmly kicked a game-winning 19-yard field goal.  As for the momentum from this game, the Cowboys ended up winning their last 8 games of the season, including the Super Bowl.  The Dolphins ended up losing their last 5 and missing the playoffs.  Go figure.  As for the video, even “Stefon” himself would say it has everything – Leon Lett, Jerry Jones on the sideline, Ed Hochuli giving a long-winded explanation, Mike Golic the player, the ghost of Ray Finkle, Doug Pederson the holder, Jimmy Johnson in a Starter jacket, Don Shula on the sideline in a Starter jacket and thick sunglasses, a blizzard in Dallas, and a “human snow plow” – it’s that thing where you have your holder get on the ground and wipe all the snow off the ground so that you can more easily kick a field goal.

 

2) Shania Twain Halftime Show  In the 1999 edition of Dolphins/Cowboys, we were blessed with a Shania Twain halftime show.  For the young readers of this blog, you might not know much about Shania.  She was drop-dead gorgeous (and still is).  She is a talented musician as well, and I enjoy many of her songs.  That said, in the late ‘90s (my high-school days), it took a lot to keep Jennifer Aniston AND Britney Spears out of the top spot in my celebrity-crush department, but Shania was up to the task.  As for the football game that November day, I honestly remember nothing about it….and that is saying something.

Image result for shania twain 1999 halftime

1) I am going to leave you in suspense for #1 on the list. You are probably wondering to yourselves, “Wait, there was a Thanksgiving-football moment more incredible than Leon Lett AND Shania Twain???”  Yup!  It happened in 2012 during the night game.  It is the only time I have ever fallen out of my seat laughing as a play was actually happening.  Let’s be honest – since this play occurred, you have never again looked at this guy the same way.  Lastly, we all lovingly refer to this moment by two simple words with a total of ten letters.  Here it is.

McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 12

Last week was a solid week for me, but even more than ever, there was only one game I really cared about…

Image result for jay ajayi eagles vs cowboys

…and I don’t think it could have gone any worse. The Dallas experience was awesome, and the first half was okay, but it only went downhill from there. More on that game in a bit.

Week 11 was overall a solid week though, as I went 9-5 straight up, and 7-6-1 against the spread. It was not a boring week in the NFL, but nothing too crazy or unpredictable happened. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (winning team in red, spread winner in red):

Titans at Steelers (-7)

Lions (-3) at Bears

  • Lions 27, Bears 24- Pushed in this one. Looks like Vegas saw the highlights before it even happened

Ravens (-2) at Packers

Jaguars (-7.5) at Browns

Cardinals (-1) at Texans

  • Texans 31, Cardinals 21- The Texans offense was finally able to find success under Tom Savage similar to that under DeShaun Watson. This spread changed once it was announced that Blaine Gabbert would be starting for Arizona, but I kept my pick, unlike another game in which the spread changed (keep reading).

Rams (+2) at Vikings

  • Vikings 24, Rams 7- This game was yet another statement by the Vikings. After the Rams scored on their first drive, Minnesota did not let that happen again. Case Keenum is also earning respect as a starting QB, and it looks like the Vikes will roll with the hot hand over the returned Teddy Bridgewater.

Redskins at Saints (-7.5)

  • Saints 34, Redskins 31 (OT)- A loss like that was a great indicator of what the Redskins are. Good, but not good enough. The Saints magic continued with an epic comeback late in the game, before putting it away in overtime.

Chiefs (-10.5) at Giants

  • Giants 12, Chiefs 9 (OT)- Barn burner in the Meadowlands! The Giants defense finally played like it was capable of coming into the season, and the Chiefs major struggles continue. Quite a crazy turnaround for the G-Men after getting dominated by the winless Niners.

Buccaneers at Dolphins (-1)

  • Buccaneers 30, Dolphins 20- If you just saw the final score, you’d think this was a bad pick. But not only did the Bucs barely edge it out late, but yet another terrible beat happened when the over was hit on the last play of the game.

Bills at Chargers (-4)

Bengals (+2.5) at Broncos

Patriots (-6.5) at Raiders (Mexico)

Eagles at Cowboys (+3.5)

  • Eagles 37, Cowboys 9- What went wrong? Well, everything. After allowing on TD on the Eagles first drive, the Cowboys defense dominated the rest of the half to lead 9-7 at the break. However, that’s where this defense breaks down. When Sean Lee is out, the Cowboys have outscored opponents 61-46 in the first half, but have been outscored 88-16 in the second half. Every team deals with injuries, but Sean Lee is making his case as being the most valuable defensive player in the NFL, especially in the second half. Dak probably had his worst game as a pro, but no one was open all night. People are criticizing him and saying how Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson have dealt with offensive line injuries. Well guess what? All three of those guys are Super Bowl champions, veterans, and 2 of the 3 are regarded as the top two QBs in the league. Dak has had a great career so far, and it’s not fair that he’s being criticized for playing poorly in his first situation with a shorthanded offense. We all know what the Cowboys can be at full strength, so if they want to make the playoffs, they will have to grind out some wins before Zeke and Sean Lee return.

Falcons (-1) at Seahawks

Note: This spread changed by 4 points after Kam Chancellor was announced out. Since this spread changed by so many points, and it was the last game of the week, I adjusted the spread and changed my pick before the game. 

Thanksgiving football is here.

Image result for nfl thanksgiving gif

Vikings (-3) at Lions

  • The Vikings have won 6 in a row since they lost to the Lions in Week 4, and I think they keep that train rolling. The Vikings now know they can rely on both their offense and defense to win games after their impressive win over the Rams last week. The Lions will keep it close, but I think the Viking cover on Thursday.

Chargers (-2.5) at Cowboys

  • Unfortunately will be going against the ‘Boys in this one. While they have not been consistent all year, the Chargers have been getting great play on both offense and defense. The Cowboys are getting Tyron Smith back, but you have to wonder how much better he is just 4 days after not being able to play on Sunday night. There will still be no Zeke or Sean Lee, so I have the Chargers winning and covering in a close game.

Giants at Redskins (-7.5)

  • The Redskins have got to be shooting themselves in the foot after blowing that game in New Orleans this past Sunday. They will get a quick chance to rebound, and I think they will make the most of it. The Giants looked better last week, but this offense still looks awful. I think the Redskins have a big night and easily win and cover over the Giants.

Buccaneers (+9.5) at Falcons

  • The Falcons have looked better the last two weeks, but I’m still not sold they are back to the elite team we saw last season. That being said, they should have no problem winning at home over the Falcons. However, the Bucs have won two in a row, and I like them to cover this big spread.

Browns at Bengals (-8)

  • I picked the Browns to upset the Bengals earlier this season, but I sure as hell won’t be doing that this time around. The Bengals are not great, but they will definitely beat the Browns at home, and I like them to cover as well, as the Browns have not only lost every game, but have been just 2-8 against the spread.

Titans (-3) at Colts

  • The Titans have had a long time to think about their awful performance against the Steelers. Therefore, I like them to rebound this weekend in Indy. The Colts have also had a lot of time to think about the game they blew against the Steelers. I think this spread is perfect, but since I like the Titans to win, I’ll pick them to cover as well.

Bills (+10) at Chiefs

  • The Bills have struggled a lot more, but these two teams have both been on a decline of late. Due to this, I think the spread of 10 points is rather large, and I think the Bills will cover. However, the Chiefs are the home team and have not been blown out by 30+ each of the last two weeks, so they will get the win.

Dolphins at Patriots (-16)

  • This is likely the biggest spread we will see all season. And for that reason I’m gonna go with it. The Patriots have been dominating of late, and the Dolphins have really struggled. Give me the Patriots by a billion.

Panthers (-4.5) at Jets

  • With the Panthers being very inconsistent despite a 7-3 record, and the Jets overachieving this season, it will be interesting to see how these teams fare after their bye. I think this game goes very similar to when the Falcons came to the Meadowlands, and the Panthers grind out a win, and enough to cover.

Bears at Eagles (-13.5)

  • The Eagles are definitely winning the NFC East, so at this point, it will be continuing to keep the team rolling heading into the playoffs. And I think they do just that against the Bears. Chicago has not played bad football this year, but the Eagles have dominated at home, and I think they cover this big spread on Sunday.

Seahawks at 49ers (+6.5)

  • The losses of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor could be too much for Seattle to overcome this season. However, with Russell Wilson at QB, they will be able to win games and be competitive. The Niners are coming off their first win, and they played them close in Week 2, so I like them to cover. However, the Seahawks will grind out a win in this one.

Saints at Rams (-2.5)

  • After losing a big NFC matchup last week, the Rams get another shot this week against the Saints. And I think they will make the most of it this time. The Saints needed a lot to get that win at home over the Redskins, and their defense is banged up. I’ll take the Rams in this one at home.

Jaguars (-5.5) at Cardinals

  • Despite having Blake Bortles at QB, the Jaguars have shown they can win games with their defense and Leonard Fournette. The Cardinals are even more banged up now with Blaine Gabbert at QB. Blaine Gabbert revenge game? I don’t think so. The Jags D will eat him up at they will win and cover in Arizona.

Broncos at Raiders (-5)

  • With new starting QB Paxton Lynch in, the Broncos have a big stretch coming up in terms of their future at that position. Considering he’s been behind Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler this season, I don’t see him finding success this week. The Raiders have struggled, but not nearly as much as the Broncos, so I think they win and cover at home.

Packers at Steelers (-14)

  • Pretty crazy that there are three games this weke with 13.5 points or greater spreads. Aaron Rodgers will now miss his second consecutive start against the Steelers since beating them in Super Bowl XLV. While the Steelers play down to their competition a lot, the Packers got crushed by the Ravens, a team which is not nearly as good as Pittsburgh. I think the Steelers light up the Packers on Sunday night, and cover as well.

Texans (+7) at Ravens

  • The Texans were able to finally find success last week with Tom Savage under center. The Ravens have also played much better of late with their shutout of the shorthanded Packers in Green Bay last week. The Ravens have not been consistent all year, so I don’t think they dominate again. However, I like them to win a close one with the Texans covering.

That’s it for this week, be back for Week 12. Can the Giants erase bad memories for New York football on Thanksgiving night?