The Joker Is Wildcard Weekend

The college football championship between Clemson and LSU is still over a week away. And, after all, those are truly the two best teams that should be playing, so it will be as is should. Never sleep on Clemson, but LSU seems currently on a different level.

Beyond that, it is the Wildcard Weekend. And how that is going to go is a far better question. And that is the trash for this fine weekend.

First up is Buffalo at Houston. Both come in 10-6. In a way, they are almost mirror images even beyond their records. How much can JJ Watt contribute? Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson were both early first round picks expected to get their teams here, and they have. Watson has the flair to date, but don’t sleep on Allen, he is growing into a very good QB, something the Wagon Circlers have not had since Jim Kelly. The game is in Houston, and home field is always a plus, especially in the playoffs, except the last World Series in baseball. But this is the NFL, and home field counts. Will Fuller seems to be out for the Texans, which means the Bills can pay more attention to DeAndre Hopkins, which limits Watson and O’Brien’s offense. Probably gonna regret this, but I think that gives the Bills the edge.

Next, of course, is the Titans at Foxborough and the Pats. Chance of rain and 46º by what is reported. Home field, again, and the weather favor the Pats. But the Titans have, despite their record compared to the Pats, looked like a far better team down the stretch. Ryan Tannehill has been fantastic for them, and Derrick Henry beyond that. Tennessee is really good. There is not a chance in hell I will bet real money against Bill Bel and Brady, but if I were up in Vegas, I just might. This will be a really interesting game, and likely the most interesting and consequential one of the weekend.

On to Sunday. Early game is Minnesota at Nawlins. That miracle reception is not going to happen again. Drew is going to breeze this one. In the month of December, after coming back from injury, Brees threw for 15 touchdowns and no interceptions. That is pretty good. Kirk Cousins has always been better than people let on, but hard to see it here against a Saints’ defense that is as good as it has been in a very long time.

Last up is Squawks at Eagles. Carson Went is good. And he is healthy. No reason not to think he will get the Iggles back to the Super Bowl that Nick Foles got them to, and won. Philly has solid coaching, and know how it is done. But…..the Squawks are mad. They think they should have won that last game against the Niners, and they may not be wrong about that. Seattle’s running attack is basically a rookie named Travis Homer, who is out of the U and actually is pretty promising, and a couple of scrubs picked up a week ago off the street. But one of those scrubs is Beast Mode, and he is back, and has unfinished business. The Squawk’s running game may be a tad patchwork, but, hey, Beast Mode had a warmup week and is ready to roll. Also, too, they have Russell Wilson. Went and the Eagles will be back in the playoffs, just maybe not next week.

So there is your wildcard weekend. Music by Steve Miller, because Rosalind. But the even older Sinatra cut had to be included too. Welcome to the New Year folks, thank you for being here, and let’s have a good one.

40 replies
  1. Bay State Librul says:

    Pats fans bid TB-12 adieu?
    No or yes?
    No, No.
    No “Casey at the Bat” moment
    No “somewhere men are laughing” scene
    No, No
    No Mudville
    Yes. Yes.
    Tommy please exit like Teddy did 60 years ago.
    Remember the cherished Updike essay?
    It was a Wednesday, in late September, when Teddy said ta-ta to a flock of 10,454 faithful fans.
    The Red Sox were having a terrible year, mired in 7th place, trailing the Yankees by 32 games.
    Yes. Yes.
    Fast forward now to the eight inning.
    Sweet Caroline had not shown up yet, but Updike blows kisses to the remaining sentimental fans.
    “This was almost certainly his last time to come to the plate in Fenway Park, and instead of merely cheering, as we had at his three previous appearances, we stood, all of us—stood and applauded. Have you ever heard applause in a ballpark? Just applause—no calling, no whistling, just an ocean of handclaps, minute after minute, burst after burst, crowding and running together in continuous succession like the pushes of surf at the edge of the sand. It was a somber and considered tumult. There was not a boo in it. It seemed to renew itself out of a shifting set of memories as the kid, the Marine, the veteran of feuds and failures and injuries, the friend of children, and the enduring old pro evolved down the bright tunnel of twenty-one summers toward this moment.”
    Well you know what happened next.
    The “42 year old” Williams hits his 29th homer and ends the season batting .316.
    Tom — make it happen tonight.
    No Gronk spike.
    Yes a dart to Edelman to end the game.
    “Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.”
    Yes, maybe no.

  2. Cathy says:

    Thanks for spinning up a selection from the former Marksman! (On road trips we prefer an a cappella “Take the Money and Run” over “99 Bottles…”)

  3. scribe says:

    Brave words from the Boston paper: “Patriots’ dynasty won’t end at hands of Mike Vrabel and the Titans ” and then, OTOH, there’s a different view from the same paper: “Tom Brady and the Patriots face an undefeated opponent: Father Time”
    The former, makes a lot of good points why Vrabel and Co might just pull it off, or not. But I can say this definitively: if Cheatin’ Bill coughs up a coaching hairball like he did at the end of the first half last week, Time wins and Biebs heads off to Costa Rica or somewhere, probably forever. At least in football terms.

    Another angle of the Big News is the announcement of this year’s finalists for Canton. In my book, the 3 locks are Polamalu, Richard Seymour and Reggie Wayne. You might note I’m not going in for Alan Faneca, a great player when he was on the Stillers’ O line. Short version: bad, selfish teammate who dogged it when Tomlin came to town. Wouldn’t run wind sprints in camp. General attitude problem. Went and became a Jet. He’ll probably get there, but wouldn’t get my vote if I had one to give.

    I’m liking the Iggles in the slop. Wentz (Calling BMAz: Autocorrect is not your friend) is finally showing something and it’s working. Even though they’re held together with bailing wire, chewing gum and leftover sequins from the Mummer’s parade (not to mention the Gritty tribute wench crew – don’t castigate me b/c that’s what they’re called – who got no score b/c of one guy in excessive makeup), they are getting it done. Whether they can stop the Squawks is another matter. I think they can.

    Drew Fookin’ Brees breezes.

    I like Josh Allen and the Bills. They deserve the win. It’s hard enough to live in Buffalo as it is. Winning some football games should make that a bit more tolerable and those fans deserve it.

    Cheaters could go either way, but I’ll put a thumb on the scales to guarantee their win by betting on The Ryan Tannehill Experience.

    And now it’s back to packing the contents of my home.

  4. Pete T says:

    Is yet another ex-Dolphin set to be all they could be? Gonna find out. To be fair many of those ex-Fins made great contributions playing for BilBel and the Pats so this is a little different.

      • bmaz says:

        Seriously rough. You could see it coming, but still brutal to watch in real time. The train ride had to end at some point.

        Credit to the Titans though, they have played great ball since they swapped in Tannehill at QB. And Derrick Henry is a load. They are a good team peaking at the right time.

    • CapeCodFisher says:

      Belichick victim of his own success. Gave Flores in Miami and Vrabel in Tenn the decade long tutorial on how to win football games. Little off year for the pats, couple of wrong bounces of the ball here or there, no biggie… Pats rule, BEST EVAH !!!!! Have fun trying to replicate lol…

  5. Bay State Librul says:

    Day 1 — Read Shaughnessey’s obit.
    My wife was right, he probably wrote it the day before, and filled in the blanks.
    It was that kind of game.
    A replay of the past six games.
    Williams ended his Boston career with a dinger, Brady with a pick
    Day 2 — Go to work. Mute Sports Talk Radio. Tune in to the Beatle’s channel.
    Day 3 — Skip work. Meditate on our good fortune.
    Day 4 — Contemplate how Nissan CEO jumped bail, packed in a large sardine can

  6. Bay State Librul says:

    In re: Scribe’s Drew Fookin’ Brees breezes

    Doctor Kobe is to Tommy John as Doctor Steven Shin is to 40 year old Drew Brees.
    “Brees came to Shin with a debilitating injury… In another era of sports medicine, he might have been out for months. Instead, he was back within six weeks. Shin helped save his season, and the New Orleans Saints’ hope for a Super Bowl..”
    Now that’s a great hand job.

  7. scribe says:

    Well, there’s a hell of a way to lose a game. Cheatin’ Bill’s practice of selling high has come back to bite him in the ass twice in two weeks, each time yielding a key INT from Biebs to seal a game. His defensive players read Biebs very, very well, much like how after a few seasons of bats sawn off, the Red Sawx did much better against Mariano Rivera than the league. They’d seen him a lot and knew what was coming.

    Is the triumvirat (not a bad band, BTW) of Kraft, Cheatin’ Bill and Biebs done? Word is Kraft is adamant (or something close) about wanting to keep Biebs here. I suspect Cheatin’ Bill still looks longingly at Garop and dreams about What Might Have Been. Here’s my take.

    The punishment for the Pats’ (affiliated company) videoing the Cincy sideline has been hanging over the team for weeks and weeks. Supposedly, the investigation is “not complete”. If that deal were truly the one-off portrayed in the media, it would be done and the only reason for holding off on the punishment would be to avoid the League messing with the playoffs. Not that their bad officiating doesn’t mess with the playoffs, like yesterday’s TD that became a touchback after some mind-reading of the receiver’s intent, courtesy of the Kreskins in New York. I suspect the investigation is “not complete” because what they’ve found so far is a lot more pervasive and malign than the simple mistake we’ve all heard about.

    Not for nothing, while the Pats were sliding a bit downhill at the time the taping story broke, they really only fell off the cliff after. Recall, they went 8-0, then 4-5. Something changed to make a generationally or all-historically great D (depending on whom you listen to) into the sieve we saw the last couple weeks. And I think it was the end of the Do Your Job boys slipping an extra copy of their sideline tapes to Cheatin’ Bill (probably a minion who could be trusted to be a good, solid cutout and thoroughly launder the intelligence product). The loss of that deprived him of essential (to his successful game planning) information on opponents and turned a generational/all-time D into cheesecloth.

    So, I suspect a severe punishment from the League is in the offing – probably after the SB so the investigation can be “completed” – no press-of-work-for-next-week’s-game excuses available now. And it would not be a topic for conversation in the run-up to the game. I would expect the punishment to include some more draft pick losses and maybe some suspensions in the offices, not the field. And if that’s the case, then the Cheatertown Cheaters will not be able to put the missing parts around Biebs, the WR and TEs and OL and FB (Develin was a huge loss) he needed to be on the other end of his passing game. And that will be the end of Biebs in New England.

    That would be doubly true if Kraft were suspended (like Steinbrenner in the Howie Spira – dirt on Dave Winfield episode) because Kraft is Biebs’ biggest booster and anchor keeping him away from Cheatin’ Bill selling high.

    I could see Tennessee, SD, in his future, or just reclining on a beach with a supermodel wife.

    OTOH, if the punishment is relatively light and they can rebuild around him, they might keep him another 2 years. But they will have to pay for him this time.

    • bmaz says:

      Lol, the league has already determined that it was a single isolated and inadvertent incident and that it had no link to the actual football operations, and had no football impact whatsoever. Both the Washington Post and PFT have reported this and think there will be de minimus punishment. This thing was overblown by Patriots haters from the start, it is effectively a big pile of nothing.

  8. CapeCodFisher says:

    “Cheatin Bill” ? That’s some nut-chrunching craziness. The guy decimated 31 other teams (100 percent of the league) for two decades. Full stop.

  9. Bay State Librul says:


    I hope you didn’t vote for Trump.
    Your conspiracy theory about the Pats is breathtaking, and as crazy as radio station WACO in Waco,Texas (home of the Baylor Bears)

    • Cathy says:

      I resemble that remark. Keep Austin Weird (and with Alex Jones it can’t hardly get any weirder). 🖖

  10. Rugger9 says:

    Buh-bye, Evil Elf. Whether Brady decides to leave now or when he gets Eli’d is up to him, but given how TB has played in the latter part of the season you could tell this was a duct tape and baling wire year.

    OT but important: since I usually like to template out the taxes when the IRS forms come out, we have some changes this year. The six numbered schedules are now three, and the one about foreign accounts (#6) is not part of the 1040 any more (I wonder who that benefits?). The other five were crammed into the remaining three.

  11. Larry K says:

    Bill Cowher (I think it was Cowher) nailed it in the postgame show: The Pats had no wideouts, no one to stretch the field. (Romo might have said something similar toward the end of the game.) If Edelman and screen passes is your aerial attack, even if your screen game is that adept, that’s probably not enough against a very good team. Brady might well have a lot left to give, but he needs that stretch-the-field help.

    • bmaz says:

      He just never trusted the wide outs all year, even Brown and Gordon. And, frankly, Edelman dropped a lot of balls this year, including a critical one yesterday that might have changed the game. If Brady is back for next year, they really have to fix that.

  12. Larry K says:

    Why was Clowney not penalized for that helmet-to-helmet hit that put Wentz out of the game? Did the refs just miss it, or is there some quirk in the rules I’m not aware of that made play legal?

    • Rugger9 says:

      The refs including the league office, since they can intervene on targeting calls (although targeting is an NCAA foul, I’m sure the NFL has something similar given how much they have done recently on concussions). Then again, the video ref also missed the offensive PI done to finish off the Saints.

  13. Rapier says:

    I didn’t listen all the time to all the NFL games this weekend but I didn’t hear once the obligatory paeans to the military on the FOX broadcasts. I suppose this would be telling if they actually were totally absent but I am not sure what it would tell.

  14. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    As a denizen of the great northern forest I am cackling to see the longhorns pass the sainted favre bounty plotters ten years later, and at the confidence of the prediction in this post.

    • bmaz says:

      Lol, predictions in Trash Talk posts are discussion points. They almost always follow what Vegas is predicting, because Vegas almost always gets it right. Congratulations on your upset, the Vikings were impressive.

  15. harpie says:

    I’m feeling myself slipping into
    a little bit of HOPE…
    a tiny bit of excitement:

    Julian Castro:
    6:13 AM – 6 Jan 2020

    Today I’m proud to endorse @ewarren for president. // Elizabeth and I share a vision of America where everyone counts. An America where people⁠—not the wealthy or well-connected⁠—are put first. I’m proud to join her in the fight for big, structural change. [VIDEO]

    …maybe… WARREN/CASTRO 2020 ???

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