Championship Sunday 2019 Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler

There are notable football weekends in the year, both for the Pros and the Joes. In college, it is the rivalry weeks, usually late in the season, and the CFB semi-finals. In the Pros, it is the last week or two of the regular season and, then the Wildcard and Divisional weekends. But nothing matches the conference championship games weekend nor the Super Bowl.

So, here we are at Conference Championship Sunday. The best four teams over the regular season are still standing and ready to play today. No outliers. It is really who should be playing today. When the “final four” are who they should be, that is a good thing, and so it is today. The national media is framing it as really old QB’s versus young second year QB’s. I am not sure that is fair, the coaching styles and defenses are every bit as important. Sean Payton has a lot more experience than Sean McVay, while Bill Belichick and Andy Reid are a lot closer (with Bill Bel having the edge historically).

Let’s see what is on tap:

First up is Rams at Saints. They are the two best teams in the NFC, and New Orleans deserves the home site via a head to head earlier win. While most focus on the head to head Brees versus Goff passing matchup, I think it comes down to the running game. If the dual headed Rams attack of Gurley and C.J. Anderson get untracked, and the Rams outstanding O-Line run blocking might provide that, it could be a long day for the Saints in their home Superdome.

But the Rams have enough defensive line attack and pass rush to neutralize the incredible Drew Brees and make him throw into a very competent Rams secondary. It is really a great matchup. I have no idea who wins this, and would not want to bet real money on it.

Second game is Pats at Chefs. While, as noted above, the coaching history favors Bill Bel by a mile, Mahomes is a more accurate and mobile Brett Favre freak, and Reid is truly a great coach. The Pats, still, are as healthy as they have been all season, are playoff pressure battle tested, and have the likes of Brady, Edelman, Gronk and many other players. If they get beat, it will not be because they were too new for the stage. And let’s note again the relative health of the roster, which was not the case a lot of the regular season. The defense is picking up too.

As much as the Bolts were kind of compelling underdogs, the two best possible teams are playing today in KC. Note that the game is in KC where it will be seriously cold, but not as bleak as earlier thought as to weather. But it is not in Foxborough, it is in the cacophonous Arrowhead. On the flip side, if there is ever a well coached and experienced team to walk into that, it is Bill Bel, Brady and the boys. Something has to give.

For the Chefs, they cook on with their redshirt frosh Pat Mahomes blowing up the NFL passing game. He is really a freak. And really good. Tyreek Hill is in a similar category, and they still have a running game and Sammy Watkins on offense. Justin Houston and Eric Berry are back, apparently at full speed, which transforms the KC defense. Special teams seems to be a wash with both playing well. Also, remember, Belichick has a record of scheming for these kind of games. So, who wins? No clue! Chefs are home in the imposing Arrowhead, but if anybody can take them there, you would never bet against Bill Bel and Brady. I have no idea.

As we often do, I would like to notice a relevant sports story that is outside of the traditional games talk. Today, it involve a superb report by friend to this blog Adam Klasfeld at Couthouse News (he really is excellent, follow him). It involves NBA big man Enes Kanter, and it is an ongoing story, but this is an absolutely great interview and report:

Sitting on the same sofa where he watched his teammates lose by a point the previous night in London, Turkish Knicks star Enes Kanter opened up about why he missed the big game – a story he wants to share with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“First, I would talk to him about the issues in Turkey and then, just meet him and talk about what’s going on, talk about my experiences and share my own personal stories,” Kanter said in an extensive interview on Friday from the lounge of his apartment building.

With their star center an ocean away, the Knicks squandered a one-point lead at the buzzer to the Washington Wizards at a matchup in London on Thursday night. Kanter skipped the game after the Turkish government put out a red notice and sought his extradition and prosecution.

“I put on my jersey because I still wanted to feel like I’m part of the team,” the 6-foot-11 basketball player recounted, arriving for the interview in a Knicks shirt.

Read the whole thing. And then think about how Trump, and his closely held administration, relentlessly sucks up to the tyranny and authoritarianism of Erdogan. Sports really intersects life more often than people think, but this is a blaring example.

Okay, that is it for Championship Sunday. So, laissez le bon temps rouler. Music by BB King. Roll it baby.

Divisional Playoffs 2019

Getting close to the home stretch in the NFL. There are four games this weekend, and the first one up is Colts at Chiefs. The weather looks to be very nasty, with below freezing temps and snow already accumulating. It will be interesting to see how young Pat Mahomes fares in this environment for his first playoff game. He has such a strong arm,that my guess he will be fine, and same for Andrew Luck. But the Colts have a far better running game than the Chefs, and KC run defense is not the best. Oh, and KC has not one a playoff game at home since the mid 90’s when Joe Montana was their QB. This has a real potential for a Colts upset.

The second game Saturday is Cowboys at Rams. Dallas really is starting to play better lately, and the Rams seemed to stall a little toward the end of the regular season. That said, hard to see the Boys having enough offense to keep track with Goff and Gurley, and the Rams defense is superior.

The early game Sunday is maybe the most interesting game of the weekend with the Chargers at Foxborough to visit Bill Bel and the Pats. The Bolts have the offense to make this very interesting, and have solid defense too. The Pats will need a big game from Sony Michel, and Brady and Gronk have to get out of their funk. And the Pats are basically at full health finally. It is tempting to take the Bolts in an upset, but not going to bet against the Pats. Nope just not gonna do it.

The late game Sunday has the Eagles at the high flying Saints. Drew Brees is simply a machine, and he has a hot running back duo in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Fun fact, Brees and the Eagles’ Nick Foles both went to the same high school, though obviously separated by quite a few years. Foles has been absolute magic for the Iggles, but I think that luck runs out in NOLA.

As a fun little parting shot, today is the 50th anniversary of Super Bowl III in Miami, where Joe Namath and the Jets shocked the world by beating the heavily favored Colts. Here is a fun story looking back at that game and the really earth shattering consequences it had for pro football.

This weekend’s music courtesy of Van the Man.

Dancing With Ms. AOC (and other weekend talk)

Apparently the ignorant bigot Trumpalos set things a little bit of Footloose is now some kind of slam on AOC. But it it is not. It is just stupid. Seriously, what kind of bigots go there? AOC is bigger and better than that, why are her detractors not?

As Ray Davies and the Kinks would say:

Don’t be afraid to come dancing,
It’s only natural.

And off we go.

Yep, dancing is real. it is awesome, and completely great and @AOC is the epitome of that.

I hope I am not too late for critical Mr. Gun Scribe, but I have been at the vet with my one of my dogs, Kiki. I know he will write 1000 words of bullshit about “his” dysfunctional Steelers. So be it.

At this point, let us talk about teams that are actually in the playoffs. And, no, that is neither the Stillers or the Cheese. Nor the local dope Cardinals.

As to games and teams that can and will happen, let us lead with the AFC.

On ESPN, the Colts are already leading the Texans by 7-0. I do not feel good with it,and will not bet one red cent on it, because Deshaun Watson is really special, but Captain Andrew Luck seems on a real roll.

Second game today is Squawks at Boys. Hard to take a second road team on a home turf, but I will do that. Yes, I know, I will die with my hat in my hand, okay. So be it, and just wait for the next predictions for Sunday!

As to that….And, no I do not feel good about this, but I will take Phil Rivers and the Bolts over the Ravens. Rivers is a WAY better QB than people give him credit for being. This is his opportunity to show it or blow it. I think show it, but need to see it.

The Philly Special will be in Chi Town, The Windy City. Khalid Mack is the anchor the Bears defense always relied on. The importance of his arrival to the Midway because Chucky Gruden was, and is, a total dope, cannot be underestimated. The Bears have been transformed. They were a team on the obvious upswing, and are now legitimate contenders.

Hell of a last game for an insanely good wildcard weekend.

End Of Year/New Year’s Bad Boy Trash Talk

It is yet another end of the year. On a weekend, that, with the New Year holiday, will stretch out. So this will likely be the Trash Talk post that takes us through all that.

Speaking of an end of the year compendium, do go read Alex Pareene’s on the Huff Po. It is pretty spectacular.

Before we get to football, let us get to some historical level of skiing by Mikaela Shiffrin. Lindsay Vonn, appropriately, has the love and attention of the public attuned to skiing, but Mikaela Shiffrin deserves the same amount. If not more. What she has done, and is doing, is beyond remarkable.

Mikaela Shiffrin became the most successful female slalom skier in the 52-year history of the World Cup by winning the final race of 2018 on Saturday.
Only Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark has won more World Cup slaloms. He claimed victory in 40 events between 1974 and 1987.

By winning Saturday, Shiffrin also became the first skier, male or female, to win 15 World Cup races in a calendar year, moving one victory past men’s overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who has won 14 times in 2018.

Ms. Shiffren is only 23. She has quite a game changing future ahead of her.

Give Ms. Shiffrin a little attention. These are world class and historical level feats she pulls off every day.

Back to football. The games come up as this – First, there are the critical BCS games: Notable to this blog, the Gators and Wolverines are about to tangle in the Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl. This is literally Marcy versus Jim thing, will either one of them weigh in?

Later, of course, are the BCS semi-final games. First up is Oklahoma versus Bama. Oklahoma has an offense that only a team like Alabama might contain. I think the Crimson Tide rolls on, but it is no given, because Kyler Murray is scary good. In the other semi-final, Clemson, who would have been a heavy favorite against a Notre Dame team that arguably should not even be here, has three players suspended at the last minute. The most prominent of which is on defense, Clemson’s offense will be okay. Is that enough? Probably, but if you want to bet an upset, this could be it.

Off to the pros: The Colts at Titans is literally a play in game. The winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home. Captain Andrew Luck seems healthier than Marcus Mariotta. It is really hard to discount the extremely plucky Titans. But the Colts seem to have found some magic in the second half of the season. So, against some instincts, I will take the Colts to win even in Tennessee, though I am no where near sure of that. The next most winner take it game is Bears at the Vikings. Bears trying to find a way to a first round bye, and Vikes looking to clinch a wild card spot in the playoffs. The Bears sure look like the better team at this moment, but it is in Minnesota, not Soldier Field, so this looks to be a really interesting tossup.

Raiders are at Chefs. Chucky had a nice little PR spot with that win over the Donkos on the MNF closer for the year, but it is pretty hard to see them winning in KC. Chargers at Broncos is a far harder call. The Bolts look to be a far better, and healthier, team right now. If the Iggles beat the Skins, and the Vikes lose to Da Bears, Nick Foles and the Eagles slip back into the playoffs, as improbable as it may be.

Lastly, and curiously, maybe most interesting, is the Brownies at the Ravens. The once Cleveland Browns versus the now Cleveland Browns. With the playoff hopes of the old Brownies,and now Ravens, on the line. This is simply precious. And, in case you have not been watching, Baker Mayfield and the Browns have been on a roll. This should be an incredible game, irrespective of how it plays out.

This post has music from some lads from Liverpool. Bad Boy is one of their more under appreciated tracks. Behave yourselves!

The Ghosts Of Christmas Eves Past

Here we are, heading into Christmas. Everybody, is slowing down and heading into the holidays. We all are. Things often get a tad scarce this time of year, but we would like to say Hi, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Mele Kalikimaka and any other greeting applicable. Thank you for being here with us.

It has been a couple of years…I think…since I have done the remembrance section at this time of year. Many of you are old-timers going back to when we were at TNH, even before the FDL years, but so many are new and really do not know the history. We have been at this a good long while now. The years float by, but the people are what sticks.

In that regard, I want to return to thanking those that contributed much, but are now gone. If you are new here, you never would have known the names of Mary, Bob Schacht, Mad Dog, Free Patriot, Skdadl and a host of others that were not only our blog friends, but that we often met and knew in real life too.

They are gone, but not forgotten heading into this Christmas Eve. But this always, at least for me, I think Marcy too, comes back into focus on this date because of our friend and beloved colleague, Mary Perdue. Mary passed away on Christmas Eve 2011. She, like all the others, was the best of what this blog had, and has, to offer. So, in memory of all who are gone, but not forgotten, here is the original in memorium for Mary.

You all, each and every one, rock. Thank you for being here and supporting us. Happy Holidays everyone:


The internet is a strange and wonderful thing. Just about everyone and everything in the world is on it, even though it is nothing but data in the form of binary computer code traversing by random electrons. Yet thought is crystalized, and friendships born and nurtured, through commonality of interest and purpose. And so it is here at Emptywheel, where many of us have been together since the days at The Next Hurrah, through years at Firedoglake, and now at our new home. Just because it germinates via the net does nothing to detract from the sense of community, friendship and admiration for each other gained over time.

With profound sadness, I report we have lost a true friend, and one of our longest tenured contributors, Mary. Mary Beth Perdue left us on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2011.

Mary Beth Perdue, 52, of Robards, KY, formally of Newburgh, passed away at her home.

She graduated Order of Coif from University of Kentucky Law School and from University of Evansville with an accounting degree. She was a member of the Indiana Bar Association. She was in house counsel at Mid-Central Land Services, Inc. and served as an attorney for firms in Indiana and Kentucky. She owned and operated the Horse and Hound (a pet supply store) in Newburgh. Mary was a lover of all animals with a special place in her heart for horses, dogs and cats. She was involved in numerous equestrian sports and organizations.

Here at Emptywheel, she was just Mary; and she was so much more than a simple obituary can convey. She was funny, kind, and, most of all, razor sharp in analysis of extremely complex issues surrounding torture, indefinite detention, international human rights, illegal wiretapping and executive branch overreach. Mary had a steel trap index in her mind for even obscure torture and rendition cases and facts. To the day she died, Mary was one of the very few people commenting in America that remembered, and would never miss a chance to point out, how the children and extended families of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Aafia Siddiqui were used and/or disappeared by the US as pawns in our immoral torture in the name of the so called “war on terror”. Mary’s dissection of Jack Goldsmith terrorist detention policy, complete with with a comparison to the Ox Bow Incident, was a thing of passion and beauty.

One of Mary’s favorite, and most important, hobby horses was the seminal case of Ex Parte Milligan, on which she beat the drum loudly long before the critical 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush and the 2009 release of the torture memos. She was, as usual, right. Here she is taking John Yoo apart at the seams over his intellectual duplicity regarding Ex Parte Milligan. And then there was Mary’s three part opus on the history and meaning of Ex Parte Milligan (Parts One, Two and Three), which is one of the best primers anywhere on the case that has finally come back into renewed significance in the critical issues of the war on terror. Mary played a part in keeping that significance alive, and in the discussion mix, until it took hold again.

Mary did not talk much about her real life family and work, and as another still practicing attorney, I can fully understand the maintenance of that separation. It is quite likely, like me, that her friends and family had little idea of the true depth and importance of her knowledge and dedication to the interests she expressed here, both in front page posts authored, and in her consistent critical contribution in the discussion comments. But, make no mistake, Mary was not just an invaluable contributor, and affected not just me and Marcy, but key players in the larger discussion. I know for a fact, because I talk to the different people and discussed it with them; Mary’s posts and comments were seen and known by actors from the ACLU, to EFF, to other think tanks and attorneys in the field. She left a mark.

As I said at the start of this post, the internet is a curious, if compelling and wonderful place; in all the furiously teeming milieu of people and issues, it is easy for one voice to not be missed for a brief time. All of us take time away every now and then, and Mary was no exception; often being scarce for a period due to pressing duties with work and her beloved horses and land.

I had not talked to Mary since a few days before Christmas. With the rush of the holidays, and a busy work schedule for me in January I have been a tad scarce myself and I had not particularly noticed Mary’s absence. A little over a week ago, I emailed her some irresistibly cute pictures of the one of a kind racehorse Rachel Alexandra and her new foal. Mary loved Rachel Alexandra. Realizing she had not responded to that catnip, I checked yesterday and found the terrible news. There are a lot of things Mary might be too busy with real life to respond to, but not that. And so life became a little less full and enjoyable. Mary’s family has indicated:

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a local humane society or other animal rescue.

And that would indeed be Mary, and fit her, to a tee. Here is a secure link to do so for the national Humane Society; but by all means, if so inclined, give to your local chapter and let them know it is for Mary.

Emptywheel will not be the same without Mary Beth Perdue, but her work and memory will live in our hearts, minds and archives as a testament to who and what she was and stood for. We shall close with the picture Mary never got the opportunity to see, but would have been the epitome of the horses, animals and children which she truly loved, Rachel Alexandra and foal.

Vaya con dios Mary, you will be missed.


Cheers to all, and to all a good night and wonderful Christmas Day.

Lamb and Sheep Trash Talk

Here we are in the Ides of December, and there is some Trash to be talked. Because someone accused me of not knowing or caring about the NBA in the last trash, let’s open with that.

The Phoenix Suns were once a model franchise, started and run by Jerry Colangelo. They never won a championship, but they were always pillars of the community, always competitive and the precursor of the Warriors as the consistently most fun team to watch. Then Colangelo sold the team to a banker jerk named Bob Sarver, who has proceeded to turn the once proud Suns into the worst team in the league, and a laughingstock in Phoenix and the NBA. He recently tried to arrogantly extort the city for improvements to the city owned arena, and that has not gone well. Last night was yet another humiliation as the Suns tried to execute a trade and didn’t even know who they were fucking trading for. Seriously, Bob Sarver makes former Clippers owner Donald Sterling look like a good owner. And the Lakers still suck. So there’s your NBA coverage for you.

I will add one more semi-NBA thing in here, because it is a seriously fantastic story. I can’t say I am close friends with Charles Barkley, but I have been around and talked to him numerous times, whether at the Suns Arena, in Scottsdale bars or the local grocery store (he lives not far away from me and, yeah, actually goes grocery shopping). He has always been nice, and pretty funny to talk to. But this story from a young lady whose late father stumbled into a truly deep and good, if unlikely, friendship with Chuck is just wonderful. Read it, you will be glad you did.

Okay, back to our staple of football. There are several small time bowl games today including The Air force Celebration Bowl (NC A&T v. Alcorn State), New Mexico Bowl (North Texas v. Utah State), Auto Nation bowl (Tulane v. Lousiana), Mitsubishi Las Vegas Bowl (Fresno State v. Arizona State), Raycom Camellia Bowl (Georgia Southern v. Eastern Michigan), and the R&L Carriers Bowl (Middle Tennessee v. Appalachian State). The only one that interests me is the Las Vegas Bowl with ASU in it at 3:30 pm EST on ABC. Fresno State is not a bad team, and it could be an interesting game.

In the pros, there are two Saturday games today. First up is Houston Texans at the Jets. I keep thinking the Jets Jets Jets are going to pull things together, but hard to see them stopping Deshaun Watson and the Texans, who are on a serious roll. The later game is Cleveland at Denver. Both teams have a thin hope for making the playoffs if they win out, but the loser here is done. Cleveland has really been playing better lately, and last 4-5 games, Baker Mayfield has been actually fairly impressive. Mile High tough venue though, even if the Broncos are a little beat up on defense. I’ll call it a tossup, but am rooting for the Brownies for a slight upset. The Chargers already edged out the Chefs (in Kansas City!!) in a thrilling Thursday night game. The Bolts came back from a 14 point deficit late in the 4th quarter and won by executing a 2 point conversion after a TD, with four seconds left on the clock. It was well worth staying up for.

In the Sunday games, Cowboys at Colts could be a pretty good game, but I’ll take Oliver Luck and the Colts at home. Packers at Bears in Soldier Field should be really interesting. Bears defense has the edge on a battered GB O-Line, but Aaron Rodger ain’t gonna roll over and this oldest of rivalries is always hard fought. Pats at Steelers is probably the best game of the day. Stillers are desperate for a win at this point, but the Pats are desperately trying to maintain a first round playoff bye. Both teams have been uncharacteristically inconsistent this year. That’s a tossup. Lastly, the Eagles at Rams is a must win for the Iggles, but hard to seem them pulling that off at this point.

Well, that’s it. Music today is courtesy of Punaise who made me remember a very old Blue Oyster Cult song from their first album way back in 1972. Enjoy I’m On The Lamb, But I Ain’t No Sheep, it truly rocks.

Late Trash Is Better Than No Trash At All

It is a weekend well into December, so far that there is really no college football between now and the preternaturally expanded NCAA schedule of Bullshit Bowls That Don’t Matter season and the end of the year and real BCS bowls. F1 is over until the spring. Basketball is nothing but clacking about LeBron on on otherwise D-League team. Baseball is waiting for the winter meetings or whatever. In short, there is not squat but the NFL. So, here we go on a truncated, but necessary, Trash Talk because Scribe, rightfully, demanded it. There were other circumstances last weekend, and earlier today. Sorry about that, but every now and then things impinge on the trash collection.

So, this is going to be all NFL, and we shall start, apropos, with the Steelers. They visit the Rayduhs who are still squatting in their former home of Oakland. Hard to see Big Ben letting this slip, take the Stillers. Rams are at Bears, and with Khalil Mack rounding back into shape, I think this is a better test than most seem to, but, still, take the Rams. Vikes are at the Squawks for SNF, but Seattle is a tough joint, and the Squawks are on a serious roll. Sorry Minnesota.

Detroit at Arizona is almost comical. Which loser will win? Who the heck knows? And does anyone really care? Stupidly enough, the game of the week may be the 6-6 Eagles at the 7-5 Cowboys. There is no team in the NFC East that deserves to be in the playoffs, but someone has to win the division. With the Redskins starting [spin the wheel] Sonny Jurgenson (Sanchize) at QB at this point, it is really down to Iggles and Boys. I’ll take the Iggles in an upset at Jerry World. Colts at Houston is another interesting game. The way Deshaun Watson and the Texans have been playing, you’d be nuts not to take them. But Andrew Luck has been quietly starting to totally rip it up again, and the Colts’ O-Line has been protecting him to do so. This is in Houston though, I’ll still take the red hot Tejans.

Pats always have a problem in South Beach, but it is hard to see the Fins taking this one any more than it is to think the Raiders will pose a problem for the Stillers, even though Pittsburgh has has issues in the Bay Area before.

So, that is it for Late Trash. As a shoutout to Sean and Janis, very long time readers and friends I recently had lunch with, this weekend’s music is some Be Bop Deluxe.

Post L-Tryptophan Turkey Hangover Trash

Okay, Turkee day is over, as is Black Friday. I violated my rule of never going out on Black Friday once, to go to a grocery less than a mile away. I did watch The Match. The golf was interesting, the production of the event was total shit, and some of the “providers” are already refunding PPV fees people paid. What a clusterfuck. Phil won, both the match and the side bets, over Tiger. But it was very close. There should be no “gimmees” in this kind of match play, that was asinine. Make the golfers actually make their 5 foot putts. Oh well.

Oklahoma is probably going to be in the final four for the CFB playoff, and that is amazing for a team that cannot play a lick of defense. Washington State is out, having failed, sadly, to beat rival Washington on their home field for the Apple Cup. UCF keeps rolling even after apparently losing their starting QB in a still huge win over a very talented USF team. UCF has won every game over the last two years, has done so consistently against all comers, and still will not even sniff the CFB playoffs. That is wrong. They are more deserving of a berth than whatever Big-10 schlub wins the idiotic Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust Trophy between the overrated Michigan and overrated Ohio State today.

Hard to see Florida and Florida State amounting to much, nor Georgia Tech and Georgia. I guess Auburn and Alabama is a “big game”, but we all know what happens when an amateur tema like Auburn takes on a pro football franchise like Saban runs at Bama. One can only hope that USC can find the mettle to take out the Irish preeners, though I doubt it even though the game is a home one for the Trojans. Here in AZ, it is all about the “Territorial Cup”, the somewhat mythical, and inconsistently in play, “trophy” for the “big game” between ASU and UofA. It is Tucson this year, and “might” be an interesting game on FS1, but not a lot but state bragging rights are at issue.

On to the Pros. What with three key games on Thanksgiving, there is a smaller schedule this Sunday. Pats at the ButtFumbles should not amount to much, though the combined age of the two starting QB’s is like 192. Giants at Philly may be a better game that it looks; Good Eli has arisen and the Iggles look dead. Carolina is extremely tough at home, but Seattle is starting to look like they are on a roll. Bolts host the Cards in their soccer stadium, take the Chargers on that. Scribe’s Steelers at the Donkos may be good, but I just can’t see Denver taking out two better teams two weeks in a row.

Colts and Luck are rolling, will take a miracle for Miami to beat them at home in Indy. I, sadly, think the Packers are dead for this year, and a win in Minnesota would be a miracle. Kirk Cousins is not bad, at all, but he is no Aaron Rodgers, so it may be worth watching SNF. MNF is Titans at Texans. Titans really are improving, but not by the leaps and bounds Deshaun Watson, JJ Watt and the Texans have been. Take the Lone Star state here.

Music today by Queen. They seem to be everywhere lately, from the Bohemian Rhapsody movie play theaters nationwide, to multiple commercials on TV. But I am going to go with a little bit of the classic “Day At The Races” and, with a shoutout to Mike Pence, the song Tie Your Mother Down.

Turkey Bowl Trash Talk 2018

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, and we here give thanks for you joining with us and participating here. There are not many real remnants of the old blogosphere and commentary community left these days, and it still flourishes here, thanks to you. I was lazy this morning and am just now writing Turkey Trash, but Marcy has already posted the annual sister Food and Thanks Post, make sure to visit there too.

Okay, off we go. Thanksgiving has always been about football. Every year through college, law school and many years after, we had a Turkey Bowl. It was played among a bunch of us who played intramural flag football in college, and sometimes friends who actually played real college football. I even one time tried to recruit Pat Tillman, but he just laughed and said there was no way he was risking injury doing that. He was smart, I think there were more injuries to extremely hungover dudes in the Turkey Bowl than there would have been playing in full pads. Plus he would have hurt us. Game was always at 10:00 am at a local high school that would let us use their field. Stunned that none of us ever got a DWI driving to the game.

Okay, on to the games. First up is Chicago at Detroit. A week ago, this looked like another Kitteh mismatch for Thanksgiving. But Bears starting QB Mitch Trubisky is out and career backup Chase Daniel will be leading the charge. Daniel is a very decent backup, but has started just two games in his ten year NFL career. The Lions sure seem to have the edge here with Matt Stafford and, ahem, an improved running game lately (though Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones, responsible for that, are out). But Khalil Mack and the new Midway Monsters will be a problem. No clue, I rate it a toss up, even if Vegas likes Da Bears. The Bears defense may warrant that.

The second game is Redskins at Cowboys. Believe it or not, as horrible as the Cowboys have been to date this year, they will be atop the NFC East, tied with Washington, if they win this home game. On the other hand, the Skins will take a substantial lead if they win at Jerryworld. Speaking of starting QB’s out for Turkey day, Alex Smith is very out. Closest thing to Joe Theismann’s leg injury, eerily on the same exact date as Smith’s injury, but in 1985. Colt McCoy takes over for the Skins in a really important game. McCoy is not a bad choice if you have to have a backup suddenly starting. Should be interesting. Look for Washington to run Adrian Peterson hard against a Dallas defense that is not so good against the run. Look for Dallas to throw everything at Peterson. Should be interesting, and is yet another tossup.

Last game is tonight with the Falcons visiting the Saints in Nawlins. This one is NOT a tossup, the Saints have to be a heavy favorite. They are home in the loud and crazy Superdome, Drew Brees is having an MVP year and is simply on fire, and the Saints are putting up ridiculous numbers on offense. The Dirty Birds have been extremely disappointing so far. Sure Matt Ryan can still get hot and light em up, but do they have enough to keep pace with Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and the entirety of the Saints’ offense. Nope.

Since today has been a little sleepy already, gonna rock it up with a little Silke Berlinn and The Addictions doing a cover of the old Nancy Sinatra hit Jackson. By the way, that is our old friend John Amato, founder of the Crooks and Liars blog, honking magnificently on the tenor sax. Enjoy your food, enjoy your drink, and most of all enjoy the people around you today.

Route 66 Trash Talk

Time for some sports trash talk, so let’s get hip to that California trip.

California is still burning. The death toll is now officially at 71 and the number additionally classified as missing is up to 1,011. This is an immense disaster, and there is increasing speculation that PG&E, including by PG&E itself, may have played a key role in the start of the Camp Fire. The old Route 66 ended in Santa Monica after “more than two thousand miles all the way”. In Santa Monica now, people on the beach can see the smoke of their neighbor Malibu burning to the ground. The rest of western California is faring no better and the Cal-Stanford “Big Game” has been postponed for the first time since JFK was assassinated as a result. It is not good on the coast with the most, keep them in your thoughts.

In NCAA games that will be played today, for this late in the season, there are not that many fascinating match ups. One I will be watching is Iowa State at Texas. As I noted earlier in the yeah, ISU is being led by Brock Purdy, a true freshman phenom that came from the Phoenix area. The kid is seriously good, and makes ISU a scary team since he took over the team early into the season. The game is in Austin, but Texas may have a real problem on their hands. Cinci at UCF may actually be a fair game, but big edge to currently undefeated UCF at home in Orlando. West Virginia at Oklahoma State could be pretty good. WV is clearly the favorite, but OSU is capable of getting hot and blowing up the scoreboard, so this is a potential upset special. Utah at Colorado and Arizona at Pirate Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars are very import and games in the Pac-12 worth paying attention to. As are my Sun Devils who are up in Autzen to play the Quackers in a late night game. Autzen is a brutally tough place to play, and the Ducks almost always win there. ASU has really improved through the season, but hard to see them having enough to beat the Ducks tonight.

In the Pros, Seattle put a stake in the heart of Aaron Rodgers and the Pack on Thursday night. Close and very good game, and one Green Bay “should” have won, but the loss was catastrophic to their playoff chances. Washington at the Texans looks pretty interesting. Both teams are 6-3 and need to maintain their momentum. I’ll take the Texans at home and with Deshaun Watson starting to really blow up. Iggles are at Nawlins to visit Drew Breeeees and the Saints. Sorry Philly fans, that is too steep a mountain, and the loss puts your playoff chances in even more jeopardy than Green Bay. The Sunday Night game of Minnesota at Bears should be really good. Both teams evenly matched. But the Bears are at home, and Mitch Trubisky is on a little roll, so I’ll take the Bears in that one. The best game of the week is, of course, the Monday Night pairing of Chiefs at Rams. The game was originally scheduled to be played in Mexico City, but the turf at Stadium Azteca was just too beat up and in poor shape. So now the game is in LA, where the air quality is not the greatest currently. Yikes. No idea who wins this game, but it ought to be great. Rams have a better defense, and are at home now, so I’ll go with the Rams.

Alright, that is it for this week’s Trash. As you can tell, it is all about Route 66. It is an all time great song, and a great boogie. The early versions by Nat King Cole and The Stones are superb. But for a while now, the two versions I have loved the most are by Asleep At The Wheel and Diana Krall. So you get those two today! Happy motoring, and rock on.