Friday, September 19, 2014

Season Two, Episode 14: Now It Gets Interesting

It's funny how the littlest thing can turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one.

Thirty seconds ago, you were sitting calmly in the study; reading a newspaper while you waited for your next appointment. Then the butler slipped you a note.

"New episode, call at once."

You knew it could happen, but you never dared hope. Could it be a fake? Some hoax? Perhaps someone trying to exploit your... peculiar obsession for their own personal gain?

Maybe, but if it's true it will be worth the risk. There's a number scrawled here, one you don't know. You lift the receiver, anticipation causing your hand to tremble as you turn the dial. And on the other end of the line, you hear a voice.

Travis is once again absent, and I'm beginning to suspect that he died weeks ago and Kyle just hasn't had the heart to tell me. But we soldier on to discuss the Bears' victory in Santa Clara and... I mean mostly just that. There was a lot to talk about.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Prognostication Bukkake, Week Three: NOW IT GETS INTERESTING

Erik: 20-12
Code Red: 19-13
Mrs. Code Red: 18-14
Iggins!: 13-19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

Erik: The Bucs’ defense couldn’t stop an offense that technically doesn’t even exist last weekend, I doubt they’ll fare better on the road against Julio Jones. Falcons.

Code Red: The Bucs are so much better this year than last year. I mean they're still losing close games to teams they shouldn't lose to and looking completely hapless offensively, but no one has MRSA and Lovie doesn't yell. Falcons win.

Mrs. Code Red: Thus far, the season has been full of surprises. Teams that should be winning are losing, teams that should be losing are winning… it’s all very odd so far. One of the least surprising things about the season is that Josh McCown and the Bucs offense is as awful as I thought it would be. Falcons win.

Iggins!: Oh I’m doing real well this year. Falcons win.

San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Code Red:That Bills defense is really good. Corey Graham reminds the one that got away in the Bears secondary and he is off to an absolutely stellar start this year. That said, the Chargers look very good offensively again and I don't think they'll stop themselves with turnovers the way the Bears did. Chargers win.

Mrs. Code Red: The Bills’ defense is legit, and I’m not just saying this because they beat the Bears. That being said, the Chargers made the Seahawks defense look like… well, not good. Chargers win.

Iggins!: Yeah, but the Bolts also lost on the road to a team with a good defense… eugh. Might as well, I need to do something. Bills win.

Erik: Week-one losses are so hard to extrapolate from, though. Weird shit happens. I mean the Bears get shit on by EJ Manuel week one and then contain Colin Kaepernick a week later. Chargers.

Dallas Cowboys (1-1)@ St. Louis Rams (1-1)
Code Red: I do not think beating Jake Locker means that Dallas defense is any better than we thought they were, gang, but it's hard to imagine Austin Davis winning two in a row. Dallas will be the worst 2-1 team in the league. Cowboys win.

Mrs. Code Red: Cowboys, but only because they are facing the Rams’ third stringer, not because I think they’re good. Plus, DeMarco Murray has been killin’ it for me in fantasy, and I’d like that to continue.

Iggins!: Austin Davis is a saint! But the Cowboys win.

Erik: The Rams will make it appear like they’re going to win, and then fuck it all up. Cowboys.

Washington Stubborn, Bombastic Assholes (1-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)

Erik: I don’t know how much it means that the Racists put up 41 points on the Jags without their two best offensive players because, y’know, Jags. Eagles.

Code Red: Nooooope. Eagles.

Mrs. Code Red: Eagles.

Iggins!: Eagles win.

Houston Texans (2-0) @ New York Giants (0-2)
Code Red: This Texans schedule. My god. Texans win.

Mrs. Code Red: It looks like the Giants and Jags are going to be battling it out for worst team in the NFL this year. Texans win, no question.

Iggins!: Hard to pick against the Texans this year, because their schedule keeps saying FCS MIDWEST (NCAA Football come back to me…) Texans win.

Erik: On the bright side, this is a great game for Eli to put in some work throwing more picks than last year. Texans.

Minnesota Vikings (1-1) @ New Orleans Saints (0-2)
Code Red: New Orleans returns to the dome where Breesus is consistently dominant, vs. increasingly sketchy on the road. Pain is in store for you, Vikings. And you fucking deserve it. Saints win.

Mrs. Code Red: I know the Saints are 0-2, but there is no way they lose to the Vikings, especially when they are without (no, with! It’s only alleged child abuse guys! Wait, no… without) Peterson. Saints win.

Iggins!: Yeah, if the Saints lose here, just imagine the talking heads all week. Saints win.

Erik: Yeah, the Vikings without AP are just Matt Cassel squandering Cordarelle Patterson. Saints win. These Saints, hopefully:

Tennessee Titans (1-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-0)

Erik: Cincinnati is a better team than the Titans, and also benefits as much from home field about as much as anybody in the league other than Seattle. Bengals.

Code Red: Why does everyone seemed so surprised that the Bengals are still good? They're always fine until the playoffs. Bengals win.

Mrs. Code Red: Bengals. They’re pretty legit.

Iggins!: Yeah, and Gio Bernard adds a nice new facet to that offense the way Hue is using him. Bengals win.

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) @ Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Code Red: The Ravens looked pretty good in that game vs. the Steelers, and I think their defense is more capable of shutting down Hoyer than New Orleans proved to be. Ravens win.

Mrs. Code Red: I love to pick against the Ravens, but I can’t here. Even if the Browns did beat the Saints last week I just… I can’t. Ravens win.

Iggins!: Both of these teams are bad, but the Browns have a part of their team (the defense) that’s above average. I can’t say that about Baltimore. Browns win.

Erik: I really haven’t paid any attention at all to either of these teams. Instinct tells me to go against Travis, but he kind of has a point. Fuck it, Browns.

Green Bay Packers (1-1) @ Detroit Lions (1-1)
Code Red: Can't do it. Won't do it. Packers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Ew. Packers.

Iggins!: I already told Red this week: I’m taking the Lions because I can’t come up with a reason they SHOULD lose, even though I feel like they WILL. Lions win.

Erik: I don’t like how hard this pick is for me to make. The Lions will probably fuck it up somehow, but they shouldn’t. Packerrrrrs?

Indianapolis Colts (0-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Erik: This is what we get for feeling optimistic about the Jaguars for even a second. Colts.

Code Red: I actually re-watched their first half vs. the Eagles and honestly it was just  Nick Foles missing wide open guys (same thing happened early vs. the Colts). Their defense wasn't suddenly stout even with the additions they made. The Colts should get on the board, provided Pep Hamilton THROWS THE BALL.

Mrs. Code Red: The Jaguars are horrific. The Colts are less so. Colts win.

Iggins!: Colts win.

Oakland Raiders (0-2) @ New England Patriots (1-1)
Code Red: The Patriots win another and people will continue to not ask questions like “hey why can't Tom Brady throw a football right now?”. Patriots win.

Mrs. Code Red: Does it matter why Brady can’t throw a football right now? They’re going to make the playoffs anyway. I’m convinced the Belichick has a pact with the devil. Pats win.

Iggins!: Pats win.

Erik: A pact with the devil? Man, they’ve got a tee time every Saturday. Patriots.

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Code Red: You know what? That Cardinals secondary doesn't care if everyone in front of them is hurt, suspended, or dead. They still won't let you score. Cardinals win.

Mrs. Code Red: This is a tough one… they’re both good teams and I usually stick with the Cardinals to win, but I just don’t see the Niners losing two weeks in a row this early in the season, even if it is on the road. 49ers win.

Iggins!: I can’t imagine a 3-0 Cards team and a 1-2 49ers team. Niners win.

Erik: The Niners are still missing some important pieces on defense, and if there’s any justice in the world they’ll be sans Ray McDonald as well. I’ll actually take the Cardinals here, too.

Denver Broncos (2-0) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

Erik: LOOK AT THIS HOT SUPER BOWL REMATCH ACTION. Peyton couldn’t muster shit against this defense when it was worse and there weren’t 70,000 obnoxious assholes screaming in his ear, I don’t imagine he’ll fare much better here. Seahawks.

Code Red: I think the Broncos play much better than they did in the Superbowl here, but they still lose. Seahawks win.

Mrs. Code Red: I really, really want to pick the Broncos here. Are they not at least as good as the Chargers, who just beat Seattle last week? And yet… I just can’t. If it were in Denver maybe, but not in Seattle. Seahawks win.

Iggins!: Ospreys fly!

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) @ Miami Dolphins (1-1)
Code Red: The Dolphins sadly still appear to be the Dolphins from last year, but that team also would have beaten these Chiefs. Dolphins win.

Mrs. Code Red: Dolphins.

Iggins!: I am picking the Dolphins to win, but I have a feeling this is the one upset I SHOULD have picked.

Erik: Keeping rubbing salt in that $50-million wound, boys. Dolphins.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) @ Carolina Panthers (2-0)
Code Red: Steelers defense can't seem to stop the run, Panthers run well, and I just don't think Pitt has the weapons to beat that defense. Panthers win.

Mrs. Code Red: The Panthers have been looking pretty good so far and I hate the Steelers so… Panthers win.

Iggins!: Hate? Why? Rapist QB? Panthers win.

Erik: Panthros.

Chicago Bears (1-1) @ New York Jets (1-1)

Erik: The Jets gave the Packers an improbable scare on Sunday before reality reasserted itself, but I just don’t see how they’d pull this one off. Their defense isn’t good enough to stop our offense, and their offense isn’t good enough to keep up. Bears win, 27-17.

Code Red: STOP SAYING “YOU DON'T SEE HOW THEY'D PULL IT OFF”. I'll tell you how. Our offense turns the ball over, people get hurt, they give up some big runs. Kinda the EXACT WAY THEY LOST TO THE BILLS. But, assuming the best of things, Alshon and Brandon should be closer to full, the Jets corners and safeties are not great against the pass, they don't pass rush well, and Trestman is more than willing to scheme around that impenetrable wall their DL is vs. the run. Not to mention the Jets have some issues on the OL right now and Eric Decker is looking like he may not play and will be hobbled if he does, and he is their only receiver worth a damn. Bears 31, Jets 20.

Mrs. Code Red: The win over the 49ers last week is exactly what the Bears needed to bounce back after that weird opener against the Bills. It’s like the offense suddenly woke up in the second half and was like “Oh yeah, we’re really dominant. Maybe we should play like we are.” And the youngins stepping up on defense last week? Glorious. Bears win 34-20.

Iggins!: Until my terrible pick streak ends, I’m using reverse karma: Jets win, 20-16.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jay Cutler Just Has a Lot of Feelings, You Guys

I have been known to say - and I will continue to say until one or both of us is dead and gone - that Bad Jay Cutler is just a force of nature. He shows up one or two times a season and takes a big ol' shit right there on the field, throwing away any goodwill he's built up with multiple good games. And this, I have long-since decided, is fine. Everyone has bad games. Jay's may be as spectacular as anybody but Brees (seriously, watch a bad Drew Brees game and just remember that this is Drew Brees), but there's not one quarterback in the NFL who doesn't have at least one head-scratchingly poor game a season.

Bad Jay may not let you know when he's coming to town; but you know that he's out there and if you're surprised when that game comes it's kind of your own fault for forgetting. I don't worry about Bad Jay. What I do worry about is Fuck It Jay.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bears 28, 49ers 20: Why We Watch

I try not to get very preachy or too dramatic about football on this blog. Despite my gameday rages I know football matters so little in the real world. This week was a terrible reminder of that, with the off-field controversies making it hard to defend watching an organization as seemingly broken as the NFL. No game makes up for that. As a Bears fan this week was brutal for less serious reasons, as the Buffalo loss had just about everyone off the bandwagon, shitting on Trestman, Emery, Cutler, Tucker, and whoever else you wanted to blame. I saw Jay called a $54 million mistake. Steve Rosenbloom wrote that the season was already over. No one thought the Bears could win tonight, then the game started like it was written by a demon haunting all of our worst nightmares. It was hard not to think the worst of everything.

Then they won. They won the f&*king game. They did it legitimately, too. Yes, the 49ers had opportunities to put the game away in the first half. Certainly there were penalties aplenty, but you know what? Most of them were earned on both sides. Over-officiating sucks, but when they're technically the right calls, what can you do? And the Bears got screwed by a blown replay. They had their fair share of mistakes, but you know why San Fran didn't "deserve to win"? They got stopped. A lot. By a defense that was sick and tired of having the entire world shit on them. They dialed up pressure. They got sacks, they forced turnovers. None of those were flukes or gimmes. Kyle Fuller flashed athleticism. Chris Conte made the best play of his career, and it ain't even close. The run defense grinded it out, refusing to let them pop the big one. They held, and then the offense found it's way, and then they won the f*&king game. And that's why we watch. Through all of the negativity, the anxiety, the constant reminders of past letdowns, the never-ending fear, sometimes it pays off. Sometimes they do the impossible. Sometimes they win, and it has rarely felt better than it does right now.

Season Two, Episode Thirteen: Bullet Dodged

Psst. Hey, kid. C'mere. Got something you might wanna see.

Drugs? No, drugs are for uh... thugs, or something. Look, I don't remember any of my anti-drug slogans. But no, this is much better than drugs. Put these headphones on.

That's right, Skodcast. One of only thirteen left on the air. And it can be yours for free, because the dumbasses who record it can't even figure out Google Ads.

I swear, I'm just tired today. The next one will be better than that.

In this episode, Travis is once again absent and we mostly discuss how fucking wrong we were about that Bills game.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Prognostication Bukkake, Week Two

Erik: 11-5
Code Red: 10-6 
Mrs. Code Red: 10-6
Iggins!: 7-9

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) @ Baltimore Ravens (0-1)

Iggins!: Well I can’t take the Ravens after the Ray Rice stuff. Steelers win.

Code Red: I'm pretty sure the Steelers are better anyway. At least offensively. Steelers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Steelers. 

Erik:  A less honorable man might have altered his pick, but I also expected a Steelers win.

Miami Dolphins (1-0) @ Buffalo Bills (1-0)

Erik: My initial response is to say that, since they beat the Bears, the Bills better just win everything forever. But I’m still bullish on these Dolphins, and I just can’t see Manuel having even the overblown modicum of success he had against the Bears with that pass rush breathing down his neck. Dolphins win.

Iggins!: Yeah, a lot of strange things happened in the Bills-Bears game. You and me, riding these Fins the whole season. Dolphins win.

Code Red: I will join you in your flippered fetishism. Dolphins win.

Mrs. Code Red: Dolphins win. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) @ Washington Racists (0-1)

Iggins!: Washington looked like a legitimately terrible football team, and the Jags showed life until the blur stamped that shit out. I have to say the Jaguars win here.

Code Red: Gus Bradley seemed like he had one of the best defensive gameplans anyone has yet come up with against the Blur, he just didn't have the talent to execute. Stopping this sad version of RGIII should be easier. Jaguars win.

Mrs. Code Red: Jaguars. 

Erik: I don't see the Racists putting up 34 points in the second half. Jags.

Dallas Cowboys (0-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-0)

Code Red:  I....think I'm picking the Titans. Didn't they shock everyone by starting 2-0 last year? Titans.

Mrs. Code Red: Titans.

Iggins!: Well I’m certainly not taking Dallas. Titans win.

Erik: I may never take Dallas again. Titans.

Arizona Cardinals (1-0) @ New York Giants (0-1)

Erik: The Cardinals were able to grind out a win against the impressively rusty Chargers thanks in large part to a solid defensive effort. The Giants lost to the Lions and their offense looked like dogshit doing it. Cardinals win, Eli throws two or more picks.

Iggins!: The Giants are a terrible team. Glad I have some easy picks this year. Cardinals win.

Code Red: I want to disagree somewhere along the way but yeah the Giants looked rancid. Cardinals win.

Mrs. Code Red: Cardinals. 

New England Patriots (0-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0)

Iggins!: We are so screwed this year. Vikings win.

Code Red: I am not ready to go that far. Bad as they looked last week, I think the Dolphins are a better team than these Vikings, who sadly, no, are not that bad. Patriots.

Mrs. Code Red: Patriots. 

Erik: I do have the unfair advantage of writing this after Adrian Peterson's suspension, but THAT'S THE GAME, FELLAS. Patriots.

New Orleans Saints (0-1) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1)

Code Red: The Saints proved vulnerable to the deep ball last week, but the Browns have no Roddy White or Julio Jones. Saints win.

Mrs. Code Red: Saints win.

Iggins!: Hoyer started very poorly last week but really turned it around, almost completing an impressive comeback. I bet the Browns put up some points here, but not enough. Saints win.

Erik: They might have Josh Gordon back, but still. Hoyer. Saints win.

Atlanta Falcons (1-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)

Erik: The Falcons pulled off an impressive upset on the road against a much better team last week, because that’s the sort of thing the Falcons do just to make it hurt more when they fuck it up. I couldn’t trust them when they were 15-1, and I sure as shit can’t trust them now. Bengals.

Iggins!: The Bengals needed a 77 yard circus play from AJ Green to beat the Ravens. Nobody seems to remember that the dirty birds were perennially 13-3/12-4 before they got injured to death last year. Falcons win.

Code Red: The Falcons were never as good as their record when they were winning nor as bad as their record when losing. But they've always been a different team outside of the dome in the Ryan Era.  Bengals win.

Mrs. Code Red: Falcons.

Detroit Lions (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (1-0)

Code Red: Cam is playing, right? This is a tough one. The Lions always start off well, and a broken rib will seriously alter how Cam plays. I want to pick Detroit, but....I don't. Because fuck them. I'll go down on the fuck Detroit ship. Panthers.

Mrs. Code Red: Panthers.

Iggins!: Yeah, I just don’t want to pick Detroit, despite it probably being the smart move. Panthers win.

Erik: I mean I have to imagine the Panthers will be better than the Giants about the whole "knowing to cover Megatron even a little bit" thing. I'll stand in solidarity. Panthers.

St Louis Rams (0-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)

Iggins!: And the winner of the least fun to watch game of the year goes to… the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

Code Red: Anyone that thinks Jay Cutler threw the dumbest interception of week one should see Josh McCown's bobbled snap/gently lofted floater to a defender four feet away. Still, the Rams may be starting their third string QB on the road. Bucs.

Mrs. Code Red: Bucs.

Erik: It's a classic Bad vs. Worse matchup, Mike. I like the Bucs to be just slightly less shitty.

Seattle Seahawks (1-0) @ San Diego Chargers (0-1)

Erik: The one upside for San Diego here is that at least Richard Sherman doesn’t shadow receivers, so Keenan Allen should get more targets. But with an offense that was stymied by Arizona and a pass rush that managed zero sacks against a 34-year-old man behind one of the worst lines in football, that’s about the end of the silver lining. Seahawks.

Iggins!: From this point on I will no longer justify why. Seattle wins.

Code Red: There is nothing to say. Seahawks.

Mrs. Code Red: Seahawks.

Houston Texans (1-0) @ Oakland Raiders (0-1)
Code Red: the Texans really are last year's Chiefs. What a cushy schedule. Texans.

Mrs. Code Red: Texans.

Iggins!: That Raider offense is especially dreadful. Texans win.

Erik: Not only that, they'll play just well enough behind that defensive line to get people to start talking about them like a contender again before collapsing entirely.  Texans.

New York Jets (1-0) @ Green Bay Packers (0-1)

Iggins!: I like this Jets team to win a bunch of games they shouldn’t this year, but oh man I bet GB is pissed. Packers win.

Code Red: yeeeeah. Packers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Packers. 

Erik: We can dream, but a realist has to take the Packers.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-0)

Code Red: Yeah these Chiefs are not good. Broncos.

Mrs. Code Red: Broncos.

Iggins!: Broncos win.

Erik: All that remains is to see the over. Broncos

Chicago Bears (0-1) @ San Franciso 49ers (1-0)

Erik: I’m going to do something very stupid and give myself false hope based solely on the fact that San Francisco’s entire defense is hurt or suspended this week. They just don’t have enough healthy guys to stop everything the Bears can throw at them in a shootout. Bears win, 31-28.

Iggins!: Nope. 49ers win, 52-27.

Code Red: I have one rule, and dammit, a man's got to believe in something. Bears win, 35-30.

Mrs. Code Red: It's only week two, who would I be to abandon the Bears now, even if it is against the second best team in the NFL...Bears win.......yeaaaaaahhh. Umm, 34-30.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Erik: The Eagles got a little bit of a scare in the first quarter against the Jags, but reality reasserted itself and they cruised to victory thereafter. With the Colts’ run game in the shitter and their secondary suspect, at best, this should be a high-scoring affair. But you can always do worse than betting on LeSean McCoy. Eagles.

Iggins!: NFC vs. AFC this year, I’m going NFC. Eagles win.

Code Red: The year of reckoning has come for the Pagano/Grigson regime. Eagles.

Mrs. Code Red: Eagles.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Bills 23, Bears 20- Sigh

And so it begins. You might be expecting another impassioned speech of mine as to why you're all morons for overreacting to this garbage. Maybe I'll cite some anecdotal evidence (Mark Potash pointed out that 13 playoff teams in the last 12 years have opened their seasons with losses at home to non-playoff teams, that's a good one). Maybe I'll point out where other good teams fucked up this week, too (I mean did anyone see a 13 point Dolphins win or Atlanta managing to beat New Orleans?). Maybe I'll make reference to past Bears playoff teams that had their share of embarrassing moments on the way to the playoffs (see the 2010 Bears and, well, really just about any game they lost, but particularly that Redskins game. Woof). In the end I'd point to the yardage advantage the Bears posted, the considerable talent they possess on offense, point out that the defense actually improved considerably on a per play basis and in getting third down stops vs. last year even if they did undo themselves by allowing three long runs, and I'd tell you all not to worry.
Well, worry. Go ahead. I don't know what this team can do. My heart and mind are both trying to tell me that a team with this much talent, particularly offensively, can't possibly win less than 10 games. Then again, Dallas has made a cottage of industry of doing just that, and so did last year's Bears. I'm not giving up on them. That's foolish. I can easily see them getting those 10-11 wins they need, even still. They're never going to be out of any ballgame with the guys they have, but they certainly can't afford to put themselves out of games like they did yesterday.

So no, I can't tell you it's all going to be okay. Maybe the sky is falling. I  doubt that, too. We're just going to have to do this the old-fashioned way and watch. And pray.

Friday, September 5, 2014

These guys, I swear to God. It's 2014.

We attempted to record a podcast tonight to be posted in advance of Sunday's game, but my compatriots apparently have the technology acumen of 95-year-olds.

Kyle was just on a ten-second delay, which made it even harder to not be interrupted or talked over by Kyle than normal. Presumably because he insists on using Skype on his phone because headsets are how the government plants thoughts in your brain.

Travis has satellite Internet in his country moonshiner's shack, and apparently if it rains we are treated to him disconnecting and reconnecting every five minutes.

So blame both of them for your lack of our unique viewpoint that the Buffalo Bills are not good at football and the worst-case scenario for this game is a shootout between one of the highest-powered offenses in the league and the Buffalo Bills. We will recap the game next week and be on our regular-season one-cast-a-week schedule. And Kyle will submit to the tyranny of the White House and purchase a microphone.

Apologies for the inconvenience!