The END Zone: NFL Week 9 Preview

November 2, 2016
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The Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night.  After 108 years, the lovable losers from the north side of Chicago FINALLY get their moment in the sun.  I hate the Cubs, and will never forgive Cleveland for allowing this to happen.  That said, what a game! I don't think I've ever been so emotionally invested and affected by a competition that didn't involve any of my favorite teams.  It was real edge of the seat stuff, you guys!  Chicago raced out to an early and fairly commanding lead, but every time you were ready to put a nail in the Indians' coffin, they would charge back, tying it with a ridiculous 2 run HR in the bottom of the 8th. Sadly, after a nail biting 9th and a rain delay, the Cubs finally pulled away in the 10th.

The papers today will all talk about how this was a win not just for Cubs fans, but for 'Murica.  Blogs will be overrun with puff pieces about grandfathers, fathers, and sons celebrating the victory they never thought they would see. Sports Talk radio will feature hot take after hot take on how many more championships Chicago will win now. All of these will miss the REAL story.  

And that is a story about how Cleveland The City refused to let Cleveland The Reputation die, the city itself sabotaging it's beloved Indians with the worst timed rain delay since the days of Moses.  

Going in to extra innings ALL the momentum was in the Cleveland dugout.  The Cubs ace closer, the man who throws faster than F choked away a 2 run lead and was crying in the dugout.  The Cubs, cruising to their first World Series victory in a century were quickly becoming the Cubs!  Order was being restored to the universe!!! And then Cleveland became Cleveland.  

The skies opened up, causing a rain delay and letting the shell shocked Cubs regroup, catch their breath, and eventually win. Cleveland, a team that NEVER led for one second of game 7, still somehow choked.  Change is difficult, and it's as if the city itself wasn't ready to become the City of Champions instead of The Mistake by the Lake.  Indians fans, don't be mad at Bryan Shaw for getting crushed in the 10th. And don't be mad at Santana, Kipnis, or Lindor for not being able to deliver the death blow to a dead armed Chapman in the 9th. Be mad at Cleveland itself, for not going quietly into that good night.  It just wasn't ready.  

 

Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay:  Atlanta the TV show wrapped it's first season last night.  If you slept on it, do yourself the favor and go back and watch. It's really fantastic.  I can't speak highly enough of it.  Donald Glover is great, Paper Boi is great, and the fact that the last scene of the season was set to Outkast "Elevators" was beyond great. 

Pick: Atlanta

Detroit vs. Minnesota:  Two weeks ago everyone was ready to crown the Vikings as the team to beat in the NFC.  Boy what a difference a few weeks makes.  Minnesota has been embarrassed the last two weeks and now their Offensive Coordinator just resigned.  In a year where a cursed city (Cleveland) faced off against a cursed team (The Cubs), it's good to know that we can still count on the Vikings to be bad.  

Pick: Minnesota

Philadelphia vs. NY Giants: I went to the neighborhood bodega the other day and while I was in the checkout line I noticed that they had fruit pies. Those were gold back in the elementary school days. If you showed up at lunch with one of those, you could trade it for at least two bags of chips, maybe even a sandwich. I wish our economy still ran that way.

"Anything else I can get you, Mr. Manley?"  

"Yeah, how much for that apple pie over there?"

"6 marbles and a boxing glove."

<produces marbles and glove, runs off with pie laughing maniacally>

Pick: Philadelphia

Dallas vs. Cleveland:  Cavaliers=Champions. Indians=made it to the World Series. Browns=still the Browns. If someone from ECS could reach out to help these poor people, that would be great. 

Pick: Dallas

Jacksonville vs. Kansas City:  I missed Catching Kelce this week so I don't know what happened, and E-online hasn't recapped it...but I bet it went something like this- The girls return to the house after a dramatic elimination round and drama ensued.  The next morning Travis invited the girls to brunch and drama ensued.  Afterwards, he selected three girls to take out on an afternoon date (watching game film) after they performed best in some game based loosely around a football skill. Drama ensued.  Then he went on a solo date. Romance ensued. When the other contestants found out how far the romance went, drama ensued. Someone got sent home. They cried. If you've seen one celebreality (That is a real thing now, you guys. Goddamit) dating show, you've seen them all. Alex Smith is hurt BTW, so I think Jax gets this one. 

Pick: Jacksonville

Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore: Some donk on one of the seven billion NFL preview shows (probably Chris Berman) will huff and puff about how this is going to bhard-hittingting affair between two mean, tough defenses. And then you look and see that both team's D are in the bottom third of the league and realize that all these pregame shows are just NFL infomercials and no one really knows any more than anyone else. Well, except for John Clayton. That dude knows everything. 

Pick: Pittsburgh  **If Big Ben plays

NY Jets vs. Miami: Shout outs to Bill Simmons' ugly baby of a website The Ringer for managing to shoehorn Donald Trump AND The Cubs into one article.  That is a social media algorythm's wet dream. 

Pick: Miami

Carolina vs. Los Angeles: Cam Newton is so salty these days. And SO scared!  Its amazing how much less fun football is when you are 2-5 and not 7-0 right?  Also, I can't take anyone seriously when they show up to their press conference looking like a ragtime singer from the early 1900's wearing mint chocolate chip Yeezy's.  Not going to be able to do it. 

Pick: Los Angeles

New Orleans vs. San Francisco: I have to give props to the New Orleans Saints for letting Drew Brees throw the ball until his arm falls off this season.  He has 40+ pass attempts in 5/7 games this year already!  He is the football version of the dude you play pickup basketball with who shoots the three EVERY TIME he gets the rock. 

Pick: New Orleans

Indianapolis vs. Green Bay:  If two more people on the Packers get hurt, they will have to start playing guys on both sides of the ball. Concerning, to say the least. Sadly for the Colts and General Andrew Luck, I think Green Bay can beat them even with -2 running backs. 

Pick: Green Bay

Tennessee vs. San Diego:  The Chargers should be docked 7 points at the start of every game that they don't wear their powder blue uniforms.  What, you thought I would make it through an entire football blog without mentioning a jersey? JOKES ON YOU.

Pick: San Diego

Denver vs. Oakland: Both of The Raiders' losses this year came at home. Soon to be all three of their losses. 

Pick: Denver

Buffalo vs. Seattle: I wonder what members of the Seahawks gave out on Halloween.  Michael Bennett seems like he would give out full sized candy bars, while Russell Wilson seems like the type to pass out apples or some healthy crap.  You would be justified in egging his house later that night if that were the case, just saying. There are rules to this game, RUSS! 

Pick: Seattle 

***

The Matt Saracen All-Star Team

Every week we will reward a player who channeled their inner QB1 and had the best fantasy football week. 

Week 8's All-Star is none other than MY fantasy QB- Derek Carr!  SI.com ran a hot take piece with the lede saying "The Raiders are 6-2 and their quarterback has thrown 17 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Some people are even throwing his name around in MVP conversations. But the film tells a different story."  Ahh yes, the film. Balancing the scales, providing endless frames of hot take material. Sure, he threw for half a mile in one game, and has 17 TDs to only 3 ints, but if you look at the film, you'll see that he doesn't bend his knees bla bla bla.....get outta here with that, you creeps.

Week 1: AJ Green
Week 2: Cam Newton
Week 3: Marvin Jones
Week 4: Julio Jones
Week 5: Martellus Bennett
Week 6: Jay Ajayi
Week 7: Jay Ajayi

Week 8: Derek Carr

Suicide Squad Pick of the Week

Knock-out/Suicide pools are becoming quite popular these days, so each week I'll share with you my pick for the week....that will inevitably lose on a last second FG EVERY TIME. 

Week 1: Seattle
Week 2: Carolina
Week 3: Dallas
Week 4:  Arizona - #RIP
Week 5: Indianapolis
Week 6: Pittsburgh - #RIP
Week 7: Cincinnati
Week 8: Patriots

Week 9:  New Orleans is trash, but they can't be so bad as to lose to the Niners, can they? CAN THEY????

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