Author

TJM

Browsing
Football is back! The season officially gets underway tonight with a matchup of storied NFL franchises as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers roll into Chicago to take on Khalil Mack and the Bears. We take a deeper look at this matchup and some of the other notable week-1 games.

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, The Packers have been the class of the NFC North for the better part of this decade, but last year thanks to injuries, rifts between coaching staff and players, along with an improved division, it was Chicago who represented the NFC North in the playoffs. Arguably, The Bears feature the top defense in the NFL with perennial Pro Bowler Khalil Mack at the forefront of that stout unit. He drove the Packers absolutely nuts last year in the season opener, a game that the Packers miraculously came back to win.  But Rodgers was not the same all year due to the beating he took that night. Green Bay comes into Soldier Field with a new head coach, Matt LaFleur. He brings an entirely new offensive system that we have yet to see Rodgers execute this preseason. With Rodgers at the helm, Green Bay is never out of it. We like them to upset the Bears tonight thanks to a classic Aaron Rodgers comeback. Final Score prediction: Packers 27, Bears 24 Here are our other notable matchups from week-1:

Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings

With a new cast of coordinators, the Falcons look to get back to their winning ways in 2019 after a disappointing and injury ridden 2018 season. Just two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, their defense should be back to normal and they still have an explosive offense with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Devonta Freeman. Meanwhile, the Vikings choked away their playoff chances down the stretch last season despite having one of the top defenses in the NFL. Major question marks surround Kirk Cousins who has an elite level contract, but has not lived up to expectations. With a healthy Dalvin Cook and the likes of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen on the outside, the Vikings have as good a chance as anyone to win the NFC North this year. Final Score prediction: Falcons 24, Vikings 20

New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys

There is no love lost between these two teams. The New York Giants aren’t expected to have a good season, but almost anytime the Giants matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, it’s a grudge match. And this will be Eli Manning’s last trip to Jerry-world (AT&T Stadium; formerly Cowboys Stadium) where he famously signed his name in the locker room after winning the first-ever game played there. The Odell-less Giants have a new look offense with Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard carrying the load as coach Pat Shurmer gets to roll out his system for a second year. Meanwhile, the Cowboys, who are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, are happy to have Ezekiel Elliot signed and back to go along with their other potent offensive pieces and that dangerous pass rush. The key this season for Dallas will be whether Dak Prescott can lead the aerial attack like the Super Bowl caliber quarterback he’s expected to be. Final Score prediction: Cowboys 28, Giants 24,

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots

Fresh off their sixth Super Bowl title, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots begin the march for their number seven Brady-era championship without familiar face, Rob Gronkowski. It will be interesting to see how they fill the void, but we know for sure this is the Patriots and someone will step up. They welcome into town the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, who like the Giants, cleaned house of some toxicity by trading away Antonio Brown and not resigning Le’Veon Bell. There is no reason the Steelers shouldn’t be good this year, as their defense is improved and they still have Big Ben, Juju Smith-Schuster, James Connor and a powerful run-blocking offensive line. The problem is, the division is stronger with the Browns as the mainstream favorite and the Ravens lurking in the shadows. Weeks 1-4 are a great time to play the Pats as Belichick typically uses the first four games as warm-ups. Still, the Pats own the Steelers, especially since they’ve been in Foxboro. We expect the Pats to take this one as they raise yet another banner before kickoff. Final Score prediction: Patriots 26, Steelers 23

Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints

The final game on our notable slate is one of the two Monday Night Football games for week-1, New Orleans Saints vs. Houston Texans at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Saints return with their prolific offense led by Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas.  It goes along with an up and down defensive unit that has the potential to be very good, but has to prove it. The Saints were a bad pass-interference no-call away from making the Superbowl last year. As a result, the League changed the rule; pass interference can now be challenged by coaches in 2019. They’ll be hungry to get back as their Brees window is closing. The Texans decided to go all-in, especially after hearing Andrew Luck retired. They traded a ton of draft picks to Miami for offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and wideout Kenny Stills while trading away Jadeavon Clowney, who they had no intention on signing to the mega deal he’s likely to get when his contract is up. Deshaun Watson can be a top 5 NFL quarterback if given the protection and Tunsil should provide just that for the former Clemson Tiger. Defensive end JJ Watt is nearing the end of his NFL career and wideout DeAndre Hopkins is in the prime of his career. The time is now for the Texans, but they’ll have to wait until week-2 for their first win of the season. New Orleans is just too good at home in primetime. Final Score prediction: Saints 31, Texans 26 The remaining games of the week are as follows. Enjoy the week-1 games, good luck to your fantasy teams and check back in for our week-2 preview
  • Kansas City Chiefs vs Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Tennessee Titans vs Cleveland Browns
  • Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets
  • Baltimore Ravens vs Miami Dolphins
  • Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles
  • Los Angeles Rams vs Carolina Panthers
  • Indianapolis Colts vs Los Angeles Chargers
  • Cincinnati Bengals vs Seattle Seahawks
  • San Francisco 49ers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Detroit Lions vs Arizona Cardinals
  • Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders
Thus far, it can be argued that 2019 has been the year of Lil Nas X, if only based on the record setting success of “Old Town Road.” When you add that he voluntarily revealed his sexuality at the top of the arch, the 21 year old has propelled himself to pop culture stardom in a matter of months. Jump to his appearance on HBO’s talk show The Shop: Interrupted, where he was quizzed about his decision to come out as a homosexual. Despite the question being rather insensitive, especially from host Paul Rivera, X did a great job of staying classy and making his responses both assertive and respectful. Commenting on why he came out X said, “It’s not like being forced (to come out), it’s just that growing up (I’m meant to) hate this stuff (homosexuality). Kevin Hart who was one of the guests on the show, and one who may be overly sensitive because he’s had his own trouble with the subject in his past, questioned what he was referring to.  Lil Nas countered with by saying, “Homosexuality, gay people. Come on now, if you’re really from the hood, you know.” There’s a lot of tension around this subject for some folks and it came to the surface a couple days ago on HBO.  The entire interview has been released and can be found on HBO.
If you have been following along with us since early July, you know how much buzz has been swirling around a Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello relationship. The duo has been riding the high with their joint hit song ‘Senorita’. They have been performing the hot single on Shawn’s and, to put a point on it, they performed a hot and steamy version at the VMA’s. Now it seems like one half of the duo is finally ready to come forward with an acknowledgement of all the touchy feely stuff we’ve been seeing. When asked by a fan about their rumored relationship at his recent concert at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, Shawn said, “Honestly, I wanna say, I wanna talk to you guys about this stuff, but it’s not just me in the relationship. There’s another person involved and I can’t say things that I feel. It’s not just me deciding you know?” The giveaway is Shawn’s use of the phrase, “it’s not just me in the relationship,” which is a confirmation of sorts. Perhaps before opening up further, Shawn wants to wait until the “couple” can make a joint statement, which is very respectful of him. As far as we are concerned, it is absolutely on and it’s only a time until the “couple” officially announces the relationship.

Ezekiel Elliot and the Dallas Cowboys have settled their contract dispute just in time for the season.  As expected, the deal is for 6 years and $90 million.

Now the focus shifts to Melvin Gordon and the Los Angeles Chargers, who are going through their own contract standoff. Gordon, like Zeke, is a top running back in the NFL. Despite the fact he has had injury troubles throughout his career, his production when he’s on the field and healthy is through the roof. The Chargers know it, but they have zero leverage when it comes to potentially trading him. Here’s why.

It is reported that Gordon is looking to earn about $13 million a season which is less than what Zeke got from Dallas. Though Gordon is only 26, he’s had injury problems unlike Zeke who has been healthy so far. With that said any team that would be enticed to trade for Gordon would have to consider his contract demands, potential for injury and the Chargers compensation package. The latter is incredibly high given the value put on the running back position in the NFL.

According to Josina Anderson of ESPN, the Chargers are asking for a 1st round pick for next year’s draft or a 1st and 5th round pick in the 2021 draft. In a time when players like Alvin Kamara and Kareen Hunt were drafted in the third round, it’s hard to justify paying a 1st round premium for a position that runs deep in drafts. Gordon is among the elite tier of running backs in the league, but the position he plays is working against the Chargers in their negotiations with other teams. Don’t be shocked if Gordon has already played his last game in Charger blue or he doesn’t play until late in the season or doesn’t play this season at all.

Madden 2020 has gotten incredibly positive feedback since its release a few weeks back, and rightfully so. The game play is even more realistic than prior years and the small technical nuances are incredibly precise. Perhaps you are already the king of your Madden circle or you’ve already won multiple Super Bowls in Franchise mode and now you’re looking for a new challenge. Look no more, as EA Sports is dropping Superstar KO mode – available online only for free from September 5th to September 9th.

The new mode allows you to select from 8 pre-made teams, each with different characteristics and corresponding playbooks. Your team could be an all out aerial attack team with a weak pass rush or a run-heavy team with subpar quarterback play and a strong secondary. It’s on you to choose the style that best fits your game. It gets even better from there!

Before the game, there is a brief fantasy draft, where you can add up to three players to your existing team. Players vary from existing superstars like DeAndre Hopkins, to past legends like Lawrence Taylor, and even celebrities like DJ Khaled who is a quarterback. The idea of DJ Khaled suited-up is pretty funny. We assume celebrities would have padded attributes that don’t correspond to their real life talents – imagine Khaled doing wind sprints.  The idea is similar to one in NBA 2K games.  If the free trial period goes well for EA Sports’ Madden, our guess is the new Superstar KO mode would become available integrated into future Maddens.

Justin Bieber recently jumped onto the Ancestry.com craze and the results, according to Bieber, were astonishing!  Bieber took to social media to announce, “I also just found out that I’m related to both Ryan Gosling and Avril Lavigne this is the best day of my life, it seems super legit it’s on Ancestry.com.” He sent out some photos of the data, which revealed that Gosling is his 11th cousin removed and Lavigne is his 12th cousin removed, both from his mom’s side of the family, all three Canadians. How related 11th removed and 12th removed cousins are in the grand scheme of things is a question.  For this random trio to be related, no matter how distant, is notable.  They’re doing really well for themselves and for their “family”.  
Netflix is always bolstering its content and widening its audience.  A new series called Rhythm + Flow does both.  It’s a music competition program aimed at finding hip-hop’s next big stars. Similar to America’s Got Talent and American Idol of old, there will be a three judge panel that includes Chance the Rapper, T.I. and Cardi B.   The latter two have experience in the TV world, with T.I. has worked with MTV while Cardi B starred in Love & Hip-Hop: New York, before becoming the famous artist she is today. The first four of ten episodes will drop on October 9th featuring auditions in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. The next three episodes will be released a week later on October 16th. Rap battles, music videos, and ciphers will be used to narrow down the field. The final slate of three episodes will drop on October 23rd with a winner being declared at the end. This is the first music talent competition hosted by a streaming service.  If successful we can expect it won’t be the last.  Rhythm + Flow has been critically acclaimed as “hip-hop’s first legit TV competition,” which throws a little shade on Diddy’s Making The Band.
It is no secret Taylor Swift is not a fan of Kanye West given their history, which was mostly provoked by the self proclaimed genius, Kanye. It is also no secret Swift hasn’t exactly gotten on well with rapper Nicki Minaj, but she is working to mend things with one of the aforementioned. We’ll give you a hint, it’s not Kanye! The Minaj rift goes back to 2015 when Minaj tweeted about “losing to white women with very slim bodies” at the VMAs.  Swift countered with, “Maybe one of the men took your slot.” It was petty indeed, but a rift nonetheless. Swift, who has recently been more vocal about her political views, opened up about the incident, saying it helped her understand “a lot about how my privilege allowed me to not have to learn about white privilege. It (racial privilege) is something she is still trying to educate herself on every day.” As Taylor Swift, through introspection, is attempting to clear the air with Minaj, there are absolutely zero signs she wishes to do the same with Kanye and his wife Kim Kardashian.  While promoting her new album Lover, Taylor commented about the couple by saying, “When people are in a hate frenzy, and they find something to mutually hate together, it bonds them”. Shots fired, again! Swift’s album, which debuted last week, is already among the top selling albums of the summer.
Nick Jonas and the Jonas Brothers had a big weekend at the MTV VMAs. The event had Jonas Brothers’ footprints all over it. They performed at the event, they won an award for Best Pop Song and were able to celebrate the evening with their significant others. That is, all of them except for Nick. Nick’s wife, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, was not able to attend the VMAs due to prior engagements. As a result, Nick was left as the fifth wheel among brothers Joe and Kevin and their counterparts, Sophie Turner and Daniel Jonas. When the Jonas Brothers were announced for winning Best Pop Song (‘Sucker’), Kevin and Joe turned to kiss their ladies while Nick just stood there awkwardly laughing. Even though Priyanka couldn’t be there, she wasn’t going leave her man hanging. She posted a picture to her Instagram account (which has over 40 million followers) that captured the moment the Jonas Brothers win was announced. But this time, she was in the photo, via Photoshop, shown in a red dress, gently resting in the arms of Nick while he held her with his hand on her booty. It was a perfect, humorous ending to an amazing weekend for the New Jersey native.
When looking at the talent on TV across NFL coverage, many of the personalities are former players and or coaches. Excluding the broadcaster-hosts for each network; NFL Network has Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, Deion Sanders, and LaDainian Tomlinson; FOX has Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long; ESPN has journalist, Steve Smith Sr, with Teddy Bruschi, and Randy Moss. TV having become a great option for a former player’s life after football, but only if he/she has the personality for it. So who are in the next wave of NFL talent that can crush it in the studio? Some of the current on air talent weigh in on their picks. Spoiler alert, Baker Mayfield is a top choice. “I want any piece of Baker,” said Kyle Brandt, co-host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network. “I want Baker Mayfield because he just doesn’t follow the rules. He breaks all those sports media rules that have been around for 25-50 years on the ancient scrolls [like] don’t talk this way about a teammate or an opponent. He just doesn’t care and that would be great on the air.” Baker Mayfield is likely a long way away from retirement, but would be big ratings on TV.  Baker has already made many controversial comments, as Brandt alluded to, most recently regarding the Giants and the Daniel Jones draft selection. Other TV personalities, like LT and Steve Smith, have suggested the likes of Josh Norman, Jalen Ramsey, Greg Olsen, and Aqib Talib. For us, the most obvious choice right now is Rob Gronkowski.  Gronk, unlike the aforementioned players is actually retired, so the opportunity is more realistic. He is hilarious, he was one of the best to ever play his position and he is relatable to the full spectrum of viewers and listeners. The question is less about can Gronk do it, it’s more about does he wants to do it.