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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hello. Is it crushing, systemic failure you're looking for?

I haven't watched an entire football game in seven weeks. I haven't watched a Monday Night Football game in ten.

Of all their many crimes, perhaps the worst thing the 2014 Chicago Bears have done is rob me of my enthusiasm for football. Because it is more or less impossible to watch a sport for twelve hours on a Sunday when you know the one game you should care about is just going to make you sad.

I watched some of the Thanksgiving game. I peek my head in on the Sunday games. And you know what? If anything, it looks worse.

The offense continues to lack any kind of purpose or direction. Receivers give up on routes, blockers just kind of... don't, and Jay just hurls it downfield every few plays in the hope that something is going to happen. This is almost never planned, as I don't think Trestman has called a pass longer than six yards since the Niners game.

Matt Forte, of course, continues to be one of the best Goddamn running backs in the NFL, and it somehow counts for less every week.

The defense, so surprisingly stout in some of their early contests, is right back to form. Zones so soft receivers can sleep in them, missed tackles, lethargic pass rushing from everyone but Willie Young... we've got it all right here folks.

Shit, this is the article I said we weren't going to write. "Bears still bad" isn't much of a story, I said. But I miss them. I miss you. God damn it Bears, I wish I knew how to quit you.

This is the joke I was making.
You might say there's kind-of exciting drama in the fact that Jim Harbaugh is apparently up for trade, but you know we're not even going to look twice. We like our guy. Give him more time. Despite the fact that the team has performed worse each season of his career and the one thing he was brought to town to fix is as bad as it ever was during Lovie's day, we have to be patient.

And maybe we do, but right now it would be nice to even put on a show of considering your options. Because as far as I can tell, this is who we're going to be next year, too. And when our free agents come up, and our guys who are retirement age are thinking about Miami, they'll be weighing their decision against a team that is literally sucking the life force out of everyone involved.

It seems scary and early to be throwing around the term "rebuilding phase," but I can't help but feel like that's where we are. There are two real years left in the Cutler contract, and unless he wins a title I have a hard time believing that option gets picked up. Matt Forte can't do this forever. Marshall is also on the wrong side of 30, and he's currently on pace for his first sub-1,000-yard season since he was a rookie.

There's young talent here, but not nearly enough to expect any kind of resurgence when the Old Guard moves on.

If only there were a coach who had proven adept at taking teams bogged down with bad-to-mediocre seasons and turning them into contenders. Shit, I'd settle for "respectable" or even "not a total shitpile" right now. Hey what's that Harbaugh guy doing? Sure would be nice to take a look at a guy like that.

And I'll take to my grave that this is a coaching thing. 53 grown-ass men don't all get worse at their jobs on the same day by coincidence. It's hard to blame the GM when a healthy number of his acquisitions have done well for most of their time here.

Is it Trestman? Is it Tucker? Is it a curse cast by the homeless man who was sleeping under the team bus when it so rudely departed during a rainstorm? I don't know. And I hate being this guy, but like... wouldn't it be nice to at least feel like there's a bit of a fire under their asses?

I know the reason we fired Lovie wasn't his record that season, but we did just fire a guy who went 10-6 and had almost never fielded a truly bad team. If you bring in a guy and he does worse, you could at least growl a little when you pass him in the hallway.

Anyway, I don't really have anything to say here except "The Bears still appear to suck." I just miss you all. How's everybody doing? Had a good Thanksgiving? Mine was pretty quiet.

We three will be united in the physical world this weekend, and I imagine we will spend all of it pretending football doesn't exist. The Hawks are coming off a very successful road trip, we could talk about them. I have a lot to say about that Star Wars trailer if anybody is interested in that?

You did this to me, Chicago Bears. You've robbed me of my wit, my sparkle, my very dignity. Just give me a headline that says "Bears In Talks Over Harbaugh," I don't even care if it's a rumor based on a memo found in the garbage. Just... please, give me something here. You've got me reading Morrissey.

God damn you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bears 23, Patriots fif... holy shit, 51: Sucker Bet

Pack it up, boys and girls, that was the season. Playoff hopes may have died last week against Miami, but yesterday was the Bears' last chance to convince me that there was going to be anything good to take away from this year. There's no more "Well, they could go on a winning streak," no more "work out their issues and finish strong."

This was the game to convince me not to just toss this season in the trash. A road game against a strong opponent, something the Bears had been inexplicably good at to this point in the season. Instead they gave up 51 points and managed to score just one touchdown while they actually had a chance to stay in it. Sure, they ended up putting up 23 points (which is still terrible); but once it's 45-7 I doubt they're really trying super hard to stop you from putting a couple away in garbage time.

I'm not gonna do good, bad, ugly because that's Kyle's thing, and almost everyone would be "ugly" anyway.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Season Two, Episode 17: THE HATENING

In keeping with this week's theme, Kyle and I spent about 40 minutes just personally insulting every player and coach in the Bears organization. Enjoy our shameful rage.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I am Rick Morrissey. We are all Rick Morrissey.

After Sunday’s baffling, embarrassing loss to the Dolphins, reports surfaced of shouting from the Bears locker room. Of fingers pointed, fans griped at, and voices raised.

The confusing thing to me is that people are acting like that’s a bad thing. That it’s unwarranted. Because you know what? They should be mad. I’m mad.

Ever year, I get excited in the months leading up to the season. Every year, they make just enough moves to make it look like they’ve solved their problems. And every year, every Goddamn year, this doomed, underperforming shitpile of a team finds a new way to be just good enough to get my hopes up.

So yes, boys, point fingers. There’s blame enough to go around, because damn near every one of you fucked up on Sunday. Just put Ratliff, Willie and Forte in the other room and let it all out.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dolphins 27, Bears 14- Your Team Is Bad.

Accept it. Live with it. They aren't "in a funk". Good teams don't have seven game funks. They aren't "gelling". It's the middle of fucking October. They aren't finding their rhythm, they aren't out of sync, they aren't anything but bad.

Why are they bad? I don't know. The most convenient option for most is to blame Jay because once again he threw an interception and those are bad. One interception should not sink an offense, though. It's everything surrounding that interception that's worse. They can't move the football, and that's the responsibility of 11 players and the guy who supposedly "coordinates" them.

Marc Trestman is the problem, folks. I know that's hard to get. I know he introduced us all to offensive football for the first time ever last year and it was grand, but a whole year later we've found ourselves in a rut, and he's to blame. This man does not trust himself, or his football team. In football you have two kinds of plays: base plays and constraint plays. Constraint plays are your screens, draws, etc. that you use against defenses that cheat. You take easy yards that are there to make them play honest.

Right now, no one's lying to the Bears offense. They're as honest as can be. Teams have repeatedly lined up this season in tight man coverage or basic deep zones and dared the Bears to just play football, and Trestman's turtled almost every time. This week he worked himself into such a panic over the potential damage the Dolphins defensive line posed that he never even bothered to make them establish themselves as a threat. He apparently conceded they couldn't run the ball against that front, since he made no effort to do so the entire first half (in the second half he tried it, and it worked, but by then it was too late. Shocking). He apparently doesn't trust his 6'4" wide receivers to win battles downfield, since his response nearly every single early down of the first half was a fucking screen that the defense was more than willing to sit and wait for.

There's no excuse for this offense to be this bad. None. Not one in the world. They had everyone today that they ever thought they were going to have with the exception of Marquess Wilson, and I don't think he's the savior. Trestman's response was to show so little faith in them that the Dolphins defense had won before they'd taken a single snap.

This is the Trestman we saw in glimpses last year. The one who lined up in a trick formation without Brandon or Alshon on the field to try and get a game tying 2 PT conversion vs. the Lions. The one that twice settled for field goals on second down rather than trust his offense to pick up a few more yards. The one that outthinks himself, doubts himself, doubts everyone around him. The perfectionist who fails to see how incredibly simple the answer really is sometimes. In short, it's the guy that could never get a whiff as a head coach despite all of his efforts as a coordinator. For once, it's not that hard to see why.

There is no good, bad, or ugly this week. No one had a good day (well, Jeremiah Ratliff), and many had bad, but the simple answer is that no one is being put in a position to win right now. That starts with the man at the top. I'm done defending, and hoping, and praying. Being different is not the same as being good. Marc Trestman, right now, isn't the answer. He'd better find some answers of his own pretty quick.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Season Two, Episode 16: From the Ashes

It's been so long, I can barely remember what this is like. Is... is this real? Am I dreaming? Is this thing on?

Kyle resurfaces for Victory Podcast 3 (surprise, surprise), but his shitty Internet results in an abrupt shift in audio quality when he has to switch to his cell phone. These guys would just die without me. Anyway, here's an episode in which we discuss the victory over the Falcons and Sunday's matchup with the Dolphins.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, October 17, 2014

I'm a Smart Man

There is a podcast recorded for this week, but I forgot the flash drive I put the sound file on so I won't be able to post it until tomorrow. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bears 27, Falcons 13- The Right Stuff

For once, it all came together.

When the Falcons finally exploited the Bears banged up back seven with a brilliant screen to make it a 13-10 game right after the half, it was easy to see how things would unfurl. The Bears failure to convert another two minute drill, red zone trip into a TD was going to turn into the defense finally giving ground, the second half offense that had plagued the team since week three would re-appear, and before long the Bears would pull another defeat from the jaws of victory.

Once the Bears went 3 and out on their next drive, then allowed the game-tying FG, the panic was pure threat level midnight. And went away.

Jay Cutler unleashed the armcock for a 74 yard completion to Alshon, they scored a TD, the defensive line dominated like they should against an OL starting Gabe Carimi, and the offense went right back down and scored another TD to truly wreck the Falcons hopes. It was exactly how Emery and Trestman and the rest of us envisioned this season playing out, and for once it worked.

It's hard to say what this will mean in the long run, as the Bears will need to string more complete games together to make up for the games they've pissed away, but it's all hopefully coming together, and maybe, mercifully, they'll finally start getting healthier. For now, this was as good as we could have ever hoped for, and I'll take it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kyle is a liar and he will serve an eternity aboard this ship.

I've made that reference twice today and I have no idea why.

Anyway, Kyle swore he was going to write a game recap and an article explaining our absence from the airwaves and then he totally didn't do it and now it's Friday afternoon so I assume he's not going to.

Travis doesn't exist anymore and Kyle had some overtime or something he probably could have explained much better if he'd actually written the article he promised to write, so we haven't all had time for a podcast that would inevitably have just been 40 minutes of Kyle's drunken sobbing anyway.

Me? I've got a different problem. I'm not going to write 2,000 words in the negative column at 2-3, I'm just not. This is a team with issues, but issues they could still theoretically fix and bounce back to a winning season. I had them losing that Carolina game in my opening day predictions anyway, so I'm not gonna write them off yet because they're a game back of where I assumed they'd be.

Unfortunately, I don't have anything in the positive column to really write about, which leaves me at something of an impasse. Kyle Fuller and Willie Young fill my heart with joy. There, I got a good sentence out. I think that's the only one in there right now. I tried again and all that came out was a little flag that said "BANG" on it.

This should not lead you to believe that I don't have 2,000 words loaded and ready to be fired at the negative column should they lose to the Falcons this Sunday. I hate "WE'VE SEEN IT ALL BEFORE MY FRENTS" as much as the next guy; but Jesus Christ you guys, this fucking team. I have a lot of very negative thoughts that I'm not going to put down in writing until I'm utterly defeated, which might be Monday morning.

So like I said, I'm not gonna write that article with 12 weeks left in the season. Talk to me in two days and I may be singing a different tune.

Anyway, if Kyle comes out of hiding and/or Travis phases back into this plane of existence for a few minutes, there will be a podcast next week for good or for ill. I'm going to write a recap if Kyle doesn't, it has traditionally been his province but apparently this whole Goddamn website is my responsibility now. You'll notice nobody took it upon themselves to start sending around the prog while I was away on business. These people.

What was I talking about?

Oh right, blogging. You're getting a big ol' mess of words from me and a podcast next week, I urge you to prevail upon Kyle via Twitter until he carries his weight. As usual, we'll see y'all on Sunday. Go Bears.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Packers 38, Bears 17- The Recap You Wait a Week For

Or not. I can't pretend I ever wanted to write this damn thing but my sense of completeness compels me and I no longer have the valid excuse of being on the interstate driving as I was Sunday night or working late the other nights of the week. It is time to discuss this.

And you know what? I'm not that mad. I'm really not. Not that the loss isn't upsetting, not that it isn't disheartening that the Bears still haven't closed the gap with the Packers, but things are far from grim. I believe the rest of the Bears schedule is shaping up to be fairly favorable, they appear to be getting somewhat healthier as a team, and, if you dig past the box score, there were some good things that happened in this game.

There were obviously more bad things, however, and that needs discussin'. I naturally spent all of last week in a healthy state of fear about the game, and once it was revealed that Jared Allen was a late scratch, well, that gave me a pretty unshakeable sense of foreboding. Not that Jared Allen alone could have prevented the massacre Rodgers committed, but even one or two sacks that stopped drives might have changed the complexion of the ball game. Without Allen and Ratliff the Bears defensive line lost the ability to constantly shift and rotate players on the DL that had been so pivotal to their success early in the season. Despite the Packers frequent struggles in pass protection over the years, they have two very, very solid guards in Josh Sitton (who may be the best pass-protecting guard in football with Evan Mathis out), and TJ Lang. If you want to get to Rodgers you need to threaten his tackles, and the Bears lacked the guy who draws the most attention out on the edge.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Season Two, Episode 15: Deshi Basara

There are people in your alley. You don't know why, but there they are. And you can't do what you need to do while they're here.

So you go across the street, find another alley. There are people here as well. The need is burning, your blood is on fire. You can practically feel the heat coming out of the dirty, brown paper bag in your hand.

Down the street there's a construction site. The porta potties are locked, the workers gone to lunch or home for the day. The shakes are beginning.

At the edge of your vision, a black ring appears. The tunnel vision. You only have minutes before you're in full-blown withdrawal.

Down into the subway station. There! A family bathroom, with a locking door. You burst inside, locking the door with shaking hands while you tear the bag open with your teeth. And as the headphones slide into your ears, you feel the sweet relief.

Travis rejoins us for like eight minutes on this one! And soon he'll have human Internet on his farm colony or wherever the fuck he lives. We discuss the Jets game, and also Sunday's matchup with the Packers.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Prognostication Bukake, Week 4: Didn't Travis Win Last Year?

Erik: 31-17
Code Red: 31-17
Mrs. Code Red: 29-19
Iggins!: 22-26

New York Giants (1-2) @ Washington I’m Running Out of Metaphors (2-1)

Erik: What a shitshow. No joke, according to the schedule on ESPN I’m looking at right now you can buy tickets to this game for 19 dollars. Racists, I guess?

Code Red: I feel so uncomfortable doing this, but the Redskins defense is terrible and I actually think the Giants defense is not abominable. Giants.

Mrs. Code Red: Shitshow is right. I just… I don’t know. I’m going to go with Washington because they’re at home?

Iggins!: {REDACTED}’s win because the Giants are terrible, and the Redskins less so.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bears 27, Jets 19- Winning Ugly

I suspect this will be a week focusing again on the Bears "luck" because ten years in and any game the Bears win assisted by turnovers will be regarded as their opponent "giving the game away," and I'm fine with that. The deck was stacked against the Bears this week, although not as badly as it was in San Francisco. Already down four starters (and Roberto Garza) from opening day, they lost Conte and Mundy early in the ballgame. The Jets front seven took away the run as they are wont to do, and their blitzes were pretty effective at taking advantage of the Bears banged up OL. To make matters worse, Marshall went out with an injury, giving Rex most of the second quarter to turn up the heat even more.

In the end, none of it mattered. The Bears capitalized off turnovers, they got two big, momentum killing drives at the start of the second half and in the middle of the fourth quarter to take the wind out of the Jets sails, and in the red zone in particular the defense held nearly every time the Jets threatened to tie the game. They did what a good team does when it's banged up and nowhere close to 100%, they won anyway.

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.

Download this episode (right click and save)

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.

Download this episode (right click and save)

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.