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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Season Two, Episode Twelve: What's Past is Prologue

This is it. It's all built up to this point. The pain, the anguish. The blood, sweat, and tears. Everything has led to this moment.

You rest your hands upon the ancient, weathered wood of the chest. As if from nowhere, music swells. You lift the lid, unexpectedly light despite the weight of this moment. From within, it glimmers. The music builds as you lean forward; and as it reaches its crescendo you turn around and show the camera. You got it. You got the episode! Equip it to X, Y, Z and use it to listen.

I was doing like a thing, this thing specifically:

They can't all be winners, okay? This episode was recorded simultaneously with the third preseason game, and is the last to be recorded without regular-season football next on the docket. Rejoice! For the Long Dark has ended.

Download this episode (right click and save)


Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

Iggins!: This week is ridiculous, there are maybe two games I can pick with certainty, and the Bears get payback next week for getting one of those games. Anyway, the Packers return as the same team they’ve been since they won the Super Bowl, and they’re getting the same overblown hype train. Seahawks win.

Erik: That’s the long and short of it. Even with Rodgers throwing the ball, the Seahawks are one of the few team capable of exposing the Packers’ receiving corps as “Randall Cobb and some dudes.” While Eddie Lacy should be working on full, it makes very little difference against that front. Seahawks.

Code Red: The last time these teams faced the Seahawks defense wasn't even at its full powers and it relentlessly destroyed the Packers offensive line. The only reason the game was close was Pete Carrol's fear of letting the young Russell Wilson loose. He'll have no such qualms this time. Seahawks win.

Mrs. Code Red: Seahawks. Reigning superbowl champion at home? Seems a foregone conclusion to moi.

Buffalo Bills @ Chicago Bears

Erik: The Bills are a… football team. That’s what I got. The offense should be just fine against a once-decent secondary that should be hurting without Jairus Byrd, all that really needs to be seen for me is how much the defense lets them win by. There’s not much to be afraid of out of that Bills offense, seeing as all the Sammy Watkins in the world can only make EJ Manuel so productive. Bears win, 28-17

Code Red: Their defense last year was startlingly good, with a relentless pass rush caused by Mike Pettine constantly shifting his fronts, moving Kiko Alonso and Jairus Byrd around in the second levels to cover any gaps his blitzes created, and taking advantage of confused quarterbacks on their way to 50+sacks. This year they replaced Pettine with the predictable Schwartz, who has only ever stopped Jay Cutler by injuring him. Without Kiko and Byrd, and with the Bears pass protection looking downright dominant even without Jordan Mills, I see nothing stopping Jay from having a big game. Bears win, 31-17.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears, duh. 34-14

Iggins!: Burrrzzzzzzzz win.

Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs

Iggins!: The Chiefs are going to take a fall, but not this hard. Chiefs win.

Erik: Yeah, they’re going to go right ahead and make the “We just paid Alex Smith 50 million dollars” game as bad as possible. Chiefs.

Code Red: We will discuss that contract often. I actually think the Titans will be a reasonably respectable 7 win team this year, and were this game in Tennessee I might be tempted. Not in arrowhead, though. Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: Chiefs. I really don't care enough to talk about this.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons

Erik: I think this is the year the Falcons finally bring it all hooahahahah. Sorry, couldn’t do it. Saints.

Code Red: that Falcons team is an excellent example of how to be a very talented football team that invested said talent in all the wrong areas. There's nothing about that pass defense that should even remotely give pause to Breesus, and he owned this team even when it was good. Saints.

Mrs. Code Reds: Saints (no comment, but she chuckled with utter disdain at the idea of the Falcons even possibly contending).

Iggins!: The Falcons are pretty good at winning 11-13 games when everyone is healthy, but man, that defense. Yikes. Saints win.

Minnesota Vikings @ St. Louis Rams

Iggins!: I never bet Matt Cassel. I certainly never bet Cassel against perhaps the best defensive line of the last 15 years. Rams win.

Erik: I want the Rams to capitalize on the astoundingly good job they’ve done with that front so bad, but they’re never going to. Won’t matter here, though. Rams.

Code Red: Huh. I'm going to take the Vikings here, because we need Cassel looking competent against their softer opponents so the inevitable ascension of Teddy is put off down the road.

Mrs. Code Reds: Wait is Sam Bradford out? Who is their backup? Who the hell is Shaun Hill? Is he worse than Bradford? Can you be worse than Bradford? Vikings.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Erik: The Browns managed to turn the best pre-draft outlook in recent memory into a worse team than last year, thanks in large part to Josh Gordon’s inability to stop doing drugs in his car. The Steelers threw all of their wide receivers in the garbage and both of their running backs should be suspended. TUNE IN FOR THIS ONE. Probably Steelers I guess, at least they have Rapey and Antonio Brown.

Code Red: Yeah the Browns really Browns'd the hell outta this offseason. Steelers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Steelers. Because Browns.

Iggins!: Steelers win I guess, I get the feeling whoever I pick will lose this one.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles

Iggins!: You know, I really don’t mind this Jags team. Maybe 7-9? Chip is gonna go nuts on them here, though. Eagles win.

Erik: They’ll find a way to fuck it up. Have faith, or at least a lack thereof. Eagles.

Code Red; Yeah there's a lot of replacement level talent on this Jaguars team that should make them respectable in their 6-7 wins this year. This will not be one of those. Eagles win.

Mrs. Code Red: Eagles. But I don't like Chip Kelly. Just throwing that out there.

Oakland Raiders @ New York Jets

Erik: Doooon’t Caaaaaare™. Jets, I suppose.

Code Red: I am suddenly interested in seeing this game. I'll probably watch it on Game Rewind. Be interesting to see what Carr does, since he kinda reminds me of Geno last year. Good physical traits, came out of a spread offense that didn't ask him to make a ton of difficult throws, doesn't handle the rush well. Also interesting to see if there's any substance to the “GENO LOOKS BETTER NOW GUYS” hype (I suspect there is not). Jets win, because Rex Ryan vs. a rookie QB seems to be advantage Rex.

Mrs. Code Reds: Are they starting Derek Carr? That's...the right move, but doubt he's going to win right now. Jets win.

Iggins!: I like the Jets a lot this season, I honestly see the AFC East being the most competitive division, top to bottom, in the NFL. Jets win.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

Iggins!: Predicting these games is always a toss-up. I’ll go home team. Ravens win.

Erik: I just don’t see Flacco suddenly getting it together against that D, especially with Ray sitting at home with his w… that can’t be right, can it? Yep, he’s sitting at home with his wife. Huh. Bengals, anyway.

Code Red: This version of the Bengals is seriously the most talented version of the Bengals of the Dalton Era, and I still have no faith in them. Still, I will bet on them here. Bengals win.

Mrs. Code Red: Bengals.

Washington [REDACTED]s @ Houston Texans

Erik: The Texans’ offense may still be nothing but the roll of tape they use to keep Arian Foster together, but that defensive line is going to crush poor Robert to death. DeSean Jackson will get confused and call in a drive-by. Texans.

Code Red: That Redskins line is still not that great, I see a lot of RG3 running for his life from Clowney/Watt, and that defense is god-awful enough for Fitzpatrick to have a nice day throwing to Andre and DeAndre. Texans.

Mrs. Code Red: Uhh...okay. Texans.

Iggins!: For whatever reason I feel like the racists have the advantage here on turf despite this game being in Houston. Big win for Washington here, then a lot of let down afterwards.

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

Iggins!: Erik, join me in the pit of inevitable losses that is the Miami Dolphins! Fins win.

Erik: I will sink every pick into this team. BULLISH. Dolphins begin their impressive march to 19-0.

Code Red: Oh boy, you're both going to ride that train. Patriots.

Mrs. Code Red: Patriots, but I don't think the Dolphins are bad.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Erik: The Josh McCown Express has an unfortunate first stop against an absolutely savage Panthers D. That squad gives good teams fits, to say nothing of career backups underthrowing slants to rookies from behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. Panthers.

Code Red: That Panthers defense should take a step back, and I like the talent on that Bucs defense. This has my bet for ugliest game of the opening weekend, but still I think Cam gets it done late. Panthers.

Mrs. Code Red: Panthers. Sorry, Lovie and Josh. But I don't think you have your answers yet.

Iggins!: Man I am either going to win or lose this season in week 1. The Panthers lost pretty much everything in the offseason, their defense will probably be equivalent to Lovie+McCoy, and, I mean, Lovie has gone 10-6 with pretty much this exact Bucs team. Bucs win.

San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas Cowboys

Iggins!: This should be easy, but something about it really concerns me. These 49ers just seem to be trying extra hard to collapse. Still, 49ers win.

Erik: They really do. They’re missing like half their defense, Kap had a lot of troubles last year and this preseason, Frank Gore has to be getting tired by now… but I just can’t see them struggling too much against a defense that finished dead last and then got worse. Niners.

Code Red: Could be a shootout for a while, but that Cowboys defense is going to be historically bad. 49ers win.

Mrs. Code Red: 49ers.

Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos

Erik: LUCK VORSUS MANNING GUYS. OLD VS. NEW AN’ ALL THAT. I think Peyton will have something of a return to Earth, but the Broncos are still just a better team. Broncos.

Code Red: I feel like this has to be the year that shitty Colts roster gets exposed for what it is and falls to the 8 or so wins they were always destined for. Broncos.

Mrs. Code Reds: Broncos. Peyton won't lose at home to the Colts.

Iggins!: The Colts are not good. Broncos win.

New York Giants @ Detroit Lions

Iggins!: These are easily the two teams I can laugh at most easily in all the league. Fuck the Lions, Giants win.

Erik: I’ll gladly board the “Fuck the Lions” train; but after last season I’ll believe the Giants are on the mend when I see it, especially on the road. Lions.

Code Red: and yet, in that train wreck of a Giants season you are talking about, they beat the Lions on the road. Giants win.

Mrs. Code Red: Eww. Not sure about either team. I'll go with Giants, but man do I hate betting on Eli.

San Diego Chargers @ Arizona Cardinals

Erik: I suppose we’ll have to see if Rivers can go for another season of people ignoring the fact that he’s finally playing like the guy they thought he was because he waited too long, but right now momentum is in the Bolts’ favor. Chargers.

Code Red; This should actually be a pretty fun game. The Cardinals have just taken hit after hit on defense this year, but that Chargers defense is still not particularly terrifying. I expect scoring, but I'll take the Chargers.

Mrs. Code Red: Chargers.

Iggins!: Bolts win.