*MOVIE RECAP: 8-BIT CHRISTMAS

I’m a sucker for nostalgia-driven movies and TV shows, especially 70s, 80s, and 90s stuff. So this movie is right on my side of the street.  

8-Bit Christmas is based on a book of the same name by Kevin Jakubowski, who also wrote the screenplay. It follows a father, Jake Doyle (Neil Patrick Harris), telling his young daughter, Annie (Sophia Reid-Gantzert), a story about his obsessive quest to get his hands on a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) during the 1988 Christmas season. 

The story is set around a working-class family in the suburbs of Chicago. Young Jake Doyle (Winslow Fegley) tells his parents that he wants a Nintendo for Christmas. But, unfortunately, his parents feel that video games are bad for kids. As a result, young Jake, along with his group of misfit friends, has to develop a plan to convince his parents to buy him an NES or find a way to get one on his own.

Jake and his group of friends are a hilarious and diverse bunch. Most notably, Jeff, the liar (Max Malas) who makes up wild stories and cannot stop lying about anything and everything. In addition, little Conor Stump (Jacob Laval) is a scene-stealer, this young actor was remarkable in the HBO limited series The Plot Against America (2020), and he is great here again. 

The egotistical Timmy Keane (Chandler Dean) is hysterical as the richest kid in the neighborhood who owns the only NES in town. Timmy makes all the kids jump through insane hurdles while selecting only a handful of them for the privilege of playing Nintendo with him. Also, the school bully Jagorsk (Cyrus Arnold) is pretty notable.

As the town parents come together to push for the banning of video games in their community, the kids have to pool all of their resources together and figure out creative ways to get a Nintendo console for Christmas. And at the same time, setting themselves free from Timmy Keane’s tyrannical hold on the one and only Nintendo in town. 

The adults hold their own amongst the little scene stealers here. Steve Zahn (John Doyle) delivers a convincing and heartfelt performance. Jake’s mother, Kathy Doyle (June Diane Raphael), is solid, and her comedic timing is excellent. David Cross is brilliant as this shady but lovable dealer of black market goods. 

Yes, the premise is similar to A Christmas Story (1983), and it borrows some elements from other similar holiday movies. However, it still manages to feel fresh and original. All of the nostalgic throwbacks hit on the mark — Like the infamy of the NES Power Glove, the scarcity and popularity of Cabbage Patch dolls, and other 80s pop culture stuff. But, it all comes together nicely.

Personally, I related to this movie in many ways. First, it rang true to me because for a short time, I was the only kid in my neighborhood who owned an NES, and my friends would come over and play with me. But I wasn’t a little prick about it like Timmy Keane was. Second, Nintendo dominated the late 80s and early 90s — Games like Mega-Man, Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, Tetris, and The Legend of Zelda, among many others, were the obsession of kids from my generation as well as mine. So all of that resonated with me.

8-Bit Christmas is a fun and charming holiday movie, one of the best in recent years, and it belongs amongst the classics. It’s a good throwback to the 80s in the spirit of the Goonies and Stranger Things. It hit home for me; it brought back many memories growing up. I will definitely be adding this movie to my favorite holiday movies list.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿

8-Bit Christmas (2021). Streaming on HBO MAX

*NFL WEEK 16 RECAP (2021 Season)

To say that I walked away from this game irritated and pissed off would be an understatement. This was the worst loss against Dallas in Washington’s history — it was the most horrific performance I’ve seen from Washington in almost 30 years of closely and faithfully watching this team. So yes, it was the worst game I have ever seen, 

The first thing to note is that we came into this game with a massive disadvantage and only 5 days removed from our loss to Philly. The NFL schedule has been playing against Washington for a while now. We are also dealing with the aftermath of players coming out of Covid protocols. Plus, crucial playmakers are not available to play.

I’m officially concerned about the O-line depth — I thought it was solid, but I was wrong; Heinicke wasn’t well protected the entire time he was in the game — He was under constant distress and pressure.

With player absences in mind, not having players on offense like Brandon Scherff, JD McKissic, Logan Thomas, Chase Roullier, Tyler Larsen, and so on — has magnified all the offensive struggles. On top of all that, Antonio Gibson is visibly not 100% from the toe injury he has been battling. And Jaret Patterson has not been able to become the complementary RB that JD McKissic is. 

Nevertheless, Dyami Brown had his best game of the season and finally flashed his potential. Also, John Bates had 2 tough receptions and showed grit and determination. Those two were the bright spots in this game. 

The defense was in worse shape than the offense; it was depleted of talented playmakers like Landon Collins, William Jackson III, Cole Holcomb, Jamim Davis, Jon Bostic, Daniel Wise, and of course, Chase young.

And to make things even worse, we all saw the sideline altercation between Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Nobody knows for sure what really happened or what was said, but I hope it was all about holding each other accountable and not some nonsense — hopefully, this incident doesn’t turn into a bigger mess in the off-season.

Heading into the week 17 matchup against division rival Philadelphia, Washington finds itself at the risk of losing a wildcard spot in the playoffs if they lose this game. They have to get more starters back on offense and defense and find ways to contain Jalen Hurts to have a fighting chance. Beating Philly is the ultimate goal.

WFT 14 — COWBOYS 56

EAGLES 34 — NY GIANTS 10

The Eagles are the beneficiaries of back-to-back games with teams depleted of starters and playmakers. And of course, sports media is falling over to crown them as the most dangerous team in the wildcard race. But it is all nonsense; Philly will be exposed on Sunday. Next week, Philly visits Washington. Advantage, The Washington Football team.

The Giants are a disaster, and Joe Juge, Gettleman, and Daniel Jones have got to go during the offseason. Next week, NY visits Chicago. Advantage, Chicago Bears.

DOLPHINS 20 — SAINTS 3

The Dolphins went from 1-7 and entirely written off by sports media to winning 7 straight games and are now 8-7 with a chance to make the playoffs. A remarkable coaching job by Brian Flores. Next up, Miami visits Tennessee. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

New Orleans became the latest Covid victim, with about 20 players on the list. To make the playoffs, the saints at 7-8 and with 2 division games left will have to win out and get some playmakers back in the active roster. Next up, New Orleans hosts a healthier 5-10 Carolina team. Advantage, Carolina Panthers. 

CHIEFS 36 — STEELERS 10

The Chiefs won the AFC WEST division and are now focused on improving their playoff seed position and getting back some key players in time for the playoffs. Next week, Kansas City visits Cincinnati. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Steelers lost a crucial opportunity to make their lives a little easier heading into the last 2 weeks of the season. As a result, they now have to win out and get some help to get into the playoffs, which is not very likely. Next week, Pittsburgh hosts Cleveland. Advantage, Cleveland Browns.

BILLS 33 — PATRIOTS 21

The Bills are officially back on top of the AFC EAST and in complete command to win back-to-back division titles. Josh Allen looked unstoppable and should be in consideration for league MVP. Next week, Buffalo hosts Atlanta. Advantage, Buffalo Bills

New England has lost 2 games in a row, and their division hopes are slipping away. Next week, New England hosts Jacksonville. Advantage, New England Patriots

LA RAMS 30 — VIKINGS 23

The Rams clinched a playoff spot and took first place in their division. And with two weeks left, the division title will probably come down to week 18. Next up, LA visits Baltimore. Advantage, LA Rams.

The Vikings are now considered a long shot to make the playoffs after this loss. Plus, there is talk about Zimmer’s potential firing. Next up, Minnesota visits Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

TITANS 20 — 49ERS 17

The Titans showed they can still beat anybody even without Derrick Henry. At 10-6, they need to win out and hope Indy will lose their next game and the AFC SOUTH title is theirs again. Next up, Tennessee hosts red-hot Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

The time has come for San Francisco to move on from Jimmy G. — inconsistent QB play has been the crutch for this team for a while now, and it is time to see what Trey Lance can do. Next up, San Francisco hosts Houston. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers. 

PACKERS 24 — BROWNS 22

The Packers won the NFC NORTH and are now a win away from securing the top seed in the NFC playoffs. Next week, Green Bay hosts desperate Minnesota. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

With this loss, the Browns took another major setback and now have to win their last 2 divisional games to get into the post-season. The future of Baker Mayfield will be a significant topic of discussion and speculation if Cleveland fails to make the playoffs. Next week, Cleveland visits Pittsburgh. Advantage, Cleveland Browns.

RAIDERS 17 — BRONCOS 13

The Raiders continue to outlive the diagnosis of their demise — and with 2 back to back wins, they are still pretty much alive for a wildcard spot. Next up, Vegas visits Indianapolis. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts

The Broncos are pretty much on life support now and with 2 divisional games left, the likelihood of Denver clinching a playoff spot is almost unlikely. Next up, Denver visits LA. Advantage, LA Chargers.

BEARS 25 — SEAHAWKS 24

The Bears are eliminated from any playoff contention and are trying to finish the season respectfully and save Matt Nagy’s job. Next week, Chicago hosts the NY Giants. Advantage, Chicago Bears

The Seahawks are finishing their disappointing 2021 season, looking towards regrouping and improving in 2022. However, the future of Russell Wilson will be a subject of much discussion in the off-season. Next week, Seattle hosts Detroit. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks.

COLTS 22 — CARDINALS 16

Indy has become the most dangerous team in the AFC, powered by Jonathan Taylor’s seemingly unstoppable running play. The Colts are one win away from clinching a playoff berth, but the bad news is that unvaccinated Carson Wentz just tested positive for Covid and will most likely be out of their upcoming week 17 game. Next up, Indy hosts Las Vegas Raiders. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts. 

The Cardinals have lost 3 straight games, and their hold on the NFC WEST is practically gone. Nevertheless, Arizona has already clinched a playoff spot, and with two games left, they can improve their seed position with some wins. Next up, Arizona visits Dallas. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals. 

TEXANS 41 — LA CHARGERS 29

The Texans shocked everyone here and showed they have the building blocks for something more competitive next season. Next week, Houston visits San Francisco. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

The Chargers are on the brink of elimination, but if they win out and get some help, they might just sneak in. Next week, LA hosts Denver. Advantage, LA Chargers.

BUCCANEERS 32 — PANTHERS 6

Tampa Bay clinched their division title and are now focused on improving their NFC playoff seeding. Next up, Tampa Bay visits the NY Jets. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carolina needs to get rid of Matt Rule, Sam Darnold and start over, as simple as that. Next up, Carolina visits New Orleans. Advantage, Carolina Panthers.

BENGALS 41 — RAVENS 21

Cincinnati has pulled away from the rest of their division, but winning the AFC NORTH will come down to many different scenarios. Next week, Cincinnati visits Kansas city. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

Baltimore has lost 4 straight games, and the playoffs are starting to slip away. The Ravens have to win out and get some help along the way. Next week, Baltimore Hosts LA. Advantage, LA Rams. 

FALCONS 20 — LIONS 16

The Falcons have come alive as of late and, at 7-8 are still in the hunt for a wildcard spot. Next up, Atlanta visits Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

Detroit is just playing out their regular season schedule and looking into 2022 and the upcoming NFL Draft. Next up, Detroit visits Seattle. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks.

NY JETS 26 — JAGUARS 26

It seems like the NY Jets have finally found a franchise QB and a solid head coach — the future looks promising in NY. Next week, NY hosts Tampa Bay. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (rooting for NY). 

The Jaguars are in the market for a new head coach, and the list of candidates includes names like former Eagles and Super Bowl winner Doug Pederson and Tampa Bay’s OC Byron Leftwich, amongst many others. Jacksonville needs to find someone with legit NFL experience to groom Trevor Lawrence and not some college hack like Urban Meyer. Next week, Jacksonville visits New England. Advantage, New England Patriots (rooting for Jacksonville).

*TV SERIES RECAP: ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING

First, I have to get something off my chest. I think that it should not be allowed for streaming platforms to release episodes of their shows on a week-to-week basis…… Okay, there I said it.

After watching the first two episodes, I really wanted to binge the fuck out of this series in one or two sittings, but I made the mistake of starting this series right smack in the middle of its initial week-to-week release back in September. As a result, I had to suffer and wait every week for a new episode to drop.

Anyhow, this is a charming murder-crime mystery type of show with lots of whimsical comedy. Two great comedy legends, Steve Martin and Martin Short reunite for some brilliant stuff here. The chemistry between Steve Martin and Martin Short has always been pure fire, case in point, the Father of the Bride series, Three Amigos, Broadway shows, and a few other things along the way.

The story takes place at the Arconia apartment building, an upscale NYC co-op in the Upper West Side. Steve Martin is Charles Haden-Savage, an actor best known for playing a TV detective in the 90s. Charles lives alone; he seems lonely and bored. Martin Short is Oliver Putnam, a washed-up broadway director, and producer— Oliver is struggling to keep up with his UWS lifestyle and is in desperate need of money. Also, Selena Gomez joins our legendary duo as Mabel Mora, a mysterious young girl living in the same building.

The central premise here surrounds the murder of Tim Kono (Julian Cihi), a resident of the Arconia who is found dead in his apartment. The circumstances of his murder are highly suspicious. At the same time, Charles, Oliver, and Mabel share an interest and passion for true crime podcasts, and they decide to join forces to solve the murder of their fellow neighbor.

Armed with a handful of clues, the three of them start their own investigation and their own podcast chronicling their investigation. There are layers and layers of intrigue sprinkled throughout the entire 10 episodes of the first season.

Sometimes, the performances are a bit over the top — somewhat typical of Martin and Short, but it all works nicely. Surprisingly, Selena Gomez steps into this already established chemistry and holds her own. The generational gap between them is what drives things here. There is a sense of sadness and loneliness from these three characters — which pulls them towards each other.

The Arconia building is a crucial component of the series; it is a character by itself with many moving parts. The building residents are also important characters; they are all pretty weird and eccentric. Nathan Lane is outstanding here; his scenes with Martin and Short are remarkable. Sting playing a fictionalized version of himself is hilarious.

I liked how the show focused on the recent growth of true-crime podcast culture and made it part of the actual amateur crime-solving storyline. Even the Hardy Boys young adult mystery series is featured prominently in the show.

Only Murders in the Building is a delightful and entertaining show. It is a very New York-driven show, especially if you live in NYC. It is diverse, progressive, and although exaggerated at times, it still comes off as realistic enough. You can’t help rooting for these characters and their delusional detective skills. I cannot wait for season 2 — spoiler alert, the final episode sets up next season’s murder mystery. It is definitely one of the best and most satisfying shows of 2021.

Four out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿

Only Murders in the Building (2021). Streaming on HULU.

*NFL WEEK 15 RECAP (2021 Season)

Okay, here is the thing, Covid won this game, more so than Philly did. So Washington has all the right in the world to make all the excuses they want for losing this game. 

Washington had 23 players on the Covid reserve list by the middle of last week. We lost our top 2 QBs Taylor Henicke and Kyle Allen — Our best O-lineman Brandon Scherff. Plus, we also had defensive players, Jonathan Allen, Casey Toohill, Montez Sweat, Kendall Fuller, Cam Curl, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, and James Smith-Williams. And more players were added to the Covid reserve list by the end of last week.

And on top of all that, we had players out due to injuries, like JD McKissic, Logan Thomas, and Chase Young. These last 2 are gone for the year, but Mckissic should come back soon.

Thankfully, a few vaccinated players could clear protocols and play Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to overcome all the missing players. 

To make matters worse, we had no QB, so we ended up signing Garret Gilbert from New England’s practice squad. And we had to rely on a bunch of practice squad players and backups to start this game. This was all insane stuff, to say the least. 

However, once the game got going, Washington looked solid, we were up 10-3 in the 1st quarter, and things were looking promising. But then, things began to fall apart. First, Philly ran right through and all over our defense — we looked inept at stopping the run. The zone-read plays were particularly the most hurtful. 

Midway through the game, we lost Landon Collins and William Jackson III to injuries, leaving Bobby McCain the only legit starter in the secondary. 

Ultimately, we lost this game, getting screwed by the unfair NFL schedule and by Covid. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining here. — The Eagles barely won by 1 score and a field goal against a bunch of backups and non-starters. We would destroy this team at full strength. 

Next up, Washington has to get healthy and get as many starters back as possible. We rematch Dallas at their place on Sunday evening. Unfortunately, we find ourselves once again with a short week to prepare and play this game. The good news is that Taylor Heinicke has been cleared to return to practice. Still, there are plenty of questions about who will have a chance to come back from the Covid list and who will end up playing on Sunday. 

The most important thing is to protect our QB better than we did the first time we played Dallas. Heinicke cannot get roughed up as he did in week 14. If we lose this game, our playoff chances are essentially over. Washington has to BEAT DALLAS!!!

WFT 17 —27 

COWBOYS 21 — NY GIANTS 6

The Cowboys got another lucky break and put a beating on the pretty awful NY Giants. Dak continues to struggle, but his defense bails him out in game after game this season. Next week, Dallas, on a short week, hosts Washington. Advantage, Washington Football Team.

The NY Giants are a total and complete disaster — and they are just about done for the year. I expect many firings here at the end of the regular season. Next week, NY visits Philly. Advantage, Philadelphia Eagles, but rooting for NY. 

LA RAMS 20 — SEAHAWKS 10

The Rams have won 3 games in a row, and 2 of those games were divisional games, which has elevated LA into 2nd place behind Arizona. Next up, LA visits Minnesota. Advantage, LA Rams.

The Seahawks are essentially out of the playoff race, but they could still win out the last 3 games of the season and finish with some pride. Next up, Seattle hosts Chicago. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks.

CHIEFS 34 — LA CHARGERS 28

Kansas City has climbed up to 10-4 and is again looking like contenders. They are one win away from clinching their division. Next week, Kansas City hosts Pittsburg. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chargers took a major setback with this loss but are still pretty much running for a playoff spot. Next week, LA visits Houston. Advantage, LA Chargers.

DOLPHINS 31 — NY JETS 24

Miami has now won 6 straight games and is closing in on a playoff spot. Their last 3 games are against playoff teams, including a week 18 rematch with New England. Next up, Miami visits New Orleans. Advantage, Miami Dolphins. 

The NY Jets at 3-11 are just playing out the NFL schedule and assessing personal for 2022. Next up, NY hosts Jacksonville. Advantage, NY Jets.

VIKINGS 17 — BEARS 9

Minnesota suffered to get this win. Kirk Cousins struggled but managed to throw 2 TDs that sealed the deal here. Next week, Minnesota hosts their old division rival, Matt Stafford. Advantage, LA Rams

The Bears are officially eliminated from playoff contention. But they should feel hopeful in what they have with Justin Fields — he looks like the real deal. Next week, Chicago visits Seattle. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks. 

RAIDERS 16 — BROWNS 14

The Raiders refused to go down quietly into the night. And this win keeps them pretty much alive for a post-season spot. Next up, Las Vegas has a massive divisional game hosting Denver. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders. 

This was a vital game with playoff implications, and Cleveland needed to be at full-strength to have a shot at winning. However, Covid sidelined Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, and Jadeveon Clowney — and they missed them dearly. As a result, the Browns are in danger of missing the playoffs altogether. Next up, Cleveland visits Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers. 

COLTS 27 — PATRIOTS 17

Jonathan Taylor is by far the best running back in the NFL; he rushed 29 times for 170 yards and 1 TD to completely dominate New England. The Colts are looking like a dangerous playoff team. Next week, Indianapolis visits Arizona. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts.

The Patriots looked inept at stopping Jonathan Taylor from running all over them, and New England’s winning streak came to an end. Next week, New England has a crucial rematch hosting Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

TEXANS 30 — JAGUARS 16

Houston completed the sweep of Jacksonville this season and improved to 3-11. The Texans should not take too long until they are competitive again. Next up, Houston hosts Justin Herbert and company. advantage, LA Chargers

I never liked Urban Meyer; he always struck me like a piece of work — and lived up to it this season. I was surprised that he was fired during the season; I thought he would be gone for sure after week 18. The Jaguars need to go out and hire an NFL-caliber coach — someone with actual NFL experience. Next up, Trevor Lawrence visits fellow first-rounder Zach Wilson. Advantage, NY Jets. 

PACKERS 31 — RAVENS 30

The Packers clinched the NFC North Division title, and now it is all about improving their position in the NFC playoffs. Next week, Green Bay hosts Cleveland. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

Harbaugh keeps trying to take chances right out of Riverboat Ron’s playbook, and it cost Baltimore the game. You have Justin Tucker in your roster; Arguably, the clutchest kicker in NFL history — it is a no-brainer; send out your kicker John Harbaugh! and get the points. With no Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley played very well; I was impressed. The Ravens are just about out of the playoff race. Nevertheless, I still think that the AFC North will probably come down to the last week of the regular season. Next Week, Baltimore has a must-win game at Cincinnati. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

BILLS 31 — PANTHERS 14

Buffalo’s running game finally woke up with Devin Singletary rushing 22 times for 86 yards and 1 TD. Josh Allen had an effective game distributing the ball to 6 different receiving targets and using his legs when needed. The Bills have snapped their two-game losing streak and are still alive in the playoff hunt. Next week, Buffalo rematches New England. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

Cam Newton continues to be Carolina’s best option at QB, and with 3 games left in the regular season, the chatter about replacing him with Sam Darnold is pure nonsense. Matt Rule is essentially scapegoating Newton to distract from his failures as a head coach. Next week, Carolina hosts Tampa Bay. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (rooting for Carolina). 

SAINTS 9 — BUCCANEERS 0

The Saints own Tom Brady and made him look terrible here. New Orleans is now right back in the hunt for a playoff spot in the NFC. Next up, New Orleans host Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

It brings me so much joy watching whiny-ass, overrated, fake GOAT Tom Brady take a loss, especially a shutout loss to their division rival. The Buccaneers have been crystal clear about their intentions to repeat as Super Bowl champs. However, it seems highly unlikely. Next up, Tampa Bay visits Carolina. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( but I’m rooting for Carolina)

LIONS 30 — CARDINALS 12

Detroit shocked the NFL world here, beating arguably one of the best teams in the NFL. Jared Goff had his best game of the season, throwing for over 200 yards with 3 TDs and zero picks. Unfortunately, the celebration was short-lived, as Goff was added to the Covid list. Next week, Detroit visits Atlanta. Advantage, Alanta Falcons.

The Cardinals missed a huge opportunity to clinch a playoff spot with a win. Now they have to win their next game and get help from other teams. Next week, Arizona hosts Indianapolis. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts. 

STEELERS 19 — TITANS 13

Pittsburgh’s defense showed up big-time here and kept them into this tightly close game deep in the 4th quarter. The Steelers are still alive in the playoff hunt but have a tough climb. Next week, Pittsburgh visits Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Titans, with this loss, missed the opportunity to take the lead as the AFC top-seeded team. Next week, Tennessee hosts San Francisco. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers. 

BENGALS 15 — BRONCOS 10 

The Bengals pulled out the tight win here and put themselves on the top of the AFC North division. But to clinch the division, they will have to win out their last 3 games in the schedule. Next up, Cincinnati hosts a crucial divisional game against Baltimore. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals. 

It was scary seeing Teddy Bridgewater leave the game on a stretcher and go straight to the hospital. Thankfully, he seems to be okay. At 7-7, things are looking pretty tough for Denver and their playoff hopes are dimming. Their last 3 games are against divisional opponents, which will make things very interesting in the AFC West. Next up, Denver visits Las Vegas. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders

*MOVIE RECAP: MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

Here is another film I completely missed when it was initially released back in 2019. and it took me this long to finally watch it.

Motherless Brooklyn was a passion project for Edward Norton that took almost two decades to bring to life. Norton directed this movie and wrote the adaptation — a loose adaption that is, from the Jonathan Lethem 1999 novel of the same name.

The story is set in 1950s NYC, during a time when the city was run by a non-elected official Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin). This character was inspired by real-life New York city planner Robert Moses who from 1930-1968 had uncontested authoritarian power over NYC and NY state—and made every significant decision about infrastructure in New York. Like where the roads went, where bridges were built, which buildings were torn down to make way for developing projects, and so on. Moses used shady tactics masquerading as “community improvement” programs to displace poor and minority communities. Using “Slum Clearing” programs to condemn whole sections of the city—evict everyone who lived there and turn those empty neighborhoods over to his private developers to build whatever he wanted.

The housing policies created and enforced by Moses were based on racist principles. Even today, in our current timeline, there is a direct connection in most of the gentrification policies and practices plaguing Black and minority communities throughout New York City with some of the same methods that Moses implemented.

and by the way…. Moses was also responsible for the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. 

All of that makes for a pretty compelling story; however, the movie suffers from the plot’s ambitiousness.

Lionel (Edward Norton) is a private detective who witnesses his boss Frank (Bruce Willis) getting murdered. Frank was Lionel’s mentor, a father figure, and closest friend. Lionel suffers from Tourette syndrome, which made life pretty tough for Lionel, considering this movie is set during a time when doctors had not yet diagnosed the condition by name. Norton’s portrayal of Lionel’s Tourette syndrome outbursts reminded me of how he delivered similar outbursts in the movie The Score (2003).

As Lionel digs deeper, he discovers more dark truths about conspiracies and sinister plots involving high-level officials in city government. The story moves pretty slow, but it works because it allows the audience to follow along with Lionel’s detective work, discovering things at the same time as Lionel does.

They tried hard to recreate the look and vibe of New York city of the 50s, but I never really felt like I was in the era while watching it. Many of the location settings felt contemporary and did not capture the essence of the 50s. The soundtrack, however, is terrific, and the Cinematography by Dick Pope is remarkable.

The all-star ensemble cast is incredible. Alec Baldwin delivers a powerful performance; his lines and dialogue are some of this movie’s best moments. Willem Dafoe (Paul Randolph) is brilliant, adding some background to the Moses Randolph character. There is a memorable scene at a diner between Dafoe and Norton that stands out to me.

I always enjoy watching Bobby Cannavale (Tony) in this type of role, but I felt like his character needed more screen time. The late great Michael k. Williams (Trumpet Man) is solid as usual. Coincidentally, both Cannavale and Williams were two of my favorites on Boardwalk Empire.

I really wanted to like this movie, and in a way, I kinda did. But I came out feeling a bit underwhelmed. Many things work pretty well here, and a few things did not work for me.

In any case, Motherless Brooklyn is an entertaining and ambitious film that merits some attention.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿

Motherless Brooklyn (2019).

*MOVIE RECAP: DUNE — Part One

Embarrassingly enough, I went into this movie not having read the book. My knowledge of Frank Herbert’s Dune can be best summarized to a simple cliff notes overview of the story. And my other familiarity with the novel is that I used to sell hundreds of copies per year, back when I was a bookseller slash bookstore manager. It was a constant bestseller, so I always kept it in stock.

At the same time, I have to admit that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this movie. Full disclaimer, a few weeks before the official cast of Dune was announced, I got the chance to meet and exchange words with Timothee Chalamet briefly — Oscar Isaac made the introduction. Yes, THAT Oscar Isaac.

All told, I have been dealing with Mr. Isaac for a while now through my day job. He is a normal and down-to-earth dude — extremely likable and personable. Unlike some of those entitled Hollywood types, acting pretentious and asking to be treated special…ahem, Jeremy Strong…. I had an awkward conversation with Jeremy Strong on the phone once. But that is another story for a different time.

Anyhow, meeting Timothee Chalamet was a pretty awesome experience, and even though it was a brief encounter, it was a pretty memorable encounter; He shook my hand and said, “Hi, it is cool to meet you”….It made my day, week, month, and so on… and I haven’t shut up about it ever since.

So yes, it was my own personal “Hollywood moment.” One of many unique Hollywood moments — meeting celebrities is one of the cool perks of working in New York City.

Ok, about the movie. 

So this movie is officially named DUNE: Part One — because it is based on the first half of Frank Herbert’s 1965 Dune novel. And I assume that the next Dune movie will be based on the second half of the book — unless they decide to turn the entire first book into a trilogy, which I doubt.

I read in different pieces that Frank Herbert was heavily influenced by the 1926 book Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E Lawrence — which was the basis for the epic 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia directed by David Lean……One of my favorite films of all time.

In any case, the story of Dune takes place on a desert planet called Arrakis. The native people of this planet are called the Fremen — The Fremen are nomadic, Arab-looking tribes. They are ruled and oppressed by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) of the House Harkonnen; He is like a feudalistic planetary overlord of sorts.

The other power player here is the House of Atreides; Rule by Duke Leto Atreides (my boy, Oscar Isaac). Duke Leto’s young son Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), heir to House Atreides.

The Emperor and supreme ruler of the known universe assigns Duke Leto to replace House Harkonnen as overlords of Arrakis and all of the “spice” mining operations there. Spice is a precious asset; it is the equivalent to oil in terms of power for fuel — You need this Spice for interstellar travel.

And here is where the fuckery starts…

There is a conspiracy between the Emperor and House Harkonnen to wipe out House Atreides from existence. So not long after arriving in Arrakis, there is a surprise attack by the combined forces of the Emperor and House Harkonnen to kill off House Atreides.

Young Paul Atreides and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), escape, and the journey between boy and mother begin.

What pleasantly surprised me the most here was the solid screenwriting — primarily in how the knots and bolts of the story are explained to the audience. Mainly the opening scenes and the introduction of the Houses and the whole space mining concept, plus how the movie’s beginning gave us a quick background to the never-ending conflict between the ruling overlords and the Fremen. All of that was written and directed brilliantly, and it was very engaging.

Not having read the book, I was impressed with this adaptation because they did not try to force-feed the entire first book into one movie. Instead, they opted to split the books into parts and thus remain faithful to the source material. Therefore, it doesn’t feel like it was dumb down for the audience like some other adaptations out there.

Brilliant screenwriting work from Denis Villeneuve and his writing partners, Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Passenger) and Eric Roth (Munich, The Good Shepherd, Forrest Gump, and The Insider).

Dune, the novel, is a complex and spectacular story that many consider unfilmable. But director Denis Villeneuve has created an exceptional experience here, adding a visual depth and dimension that I’m sure the book does not have — Villeneuve’s filmography is extraordinary with films like Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and The Arrival (2016), among others. So I’m not surprised by this achievement.

The scope and scale of this movie are epic and breathtaking. The combination of location shooting and special effects is outstanding. Bringing this world to life both digitally and physically is remarkable. The natural environment and the power of the desert felt real, which is something CGI or green screens cannot truly capture.

The atmospheric elements and the middle eastern imagery are well done. There is also a sense of spirituality and mysticism slowly being developed, which I’m sure will be further explored in upcoming films. On top of all that, Hans Zimmer’s score is superb.

The performances are excellent. Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgard, and David Dastmalchia are all fantastic. There is an air of Marlon Brando from Apocalypse Now to Stellan Skarsgard’s character — No CGI, only prosthetics for Skarsgard — pretty cool.

Additionally, Rebecca Ferguson is noteworthy here; Lady Jessica is at the epicenter of the story, and Ferguson conveys such a powerful presence in every scene that she is in.

But objectively, Timothee Chalamet is the heart and soul here; he is perfect for this role. At first, he seems flat, stoic, and almost emotionless. But as the story evolves, you see him maturing and embracing his messianic destiny. There is a sense of vulnerability from Chalamet’s performance that merits praise.

And sure, this is another white savior story; however, it gets a pass from me, mainly because the source material is over 55 years old. My other issue is that they did not make time early enough in the story to explain to the audience about the whole aspect of sword-fighting with shields and how those personal shield devices can protect you. I hope there will be a director’s cut available at some point addressing some of the technology, like the whole thing with the lack of computers and Artificial Intelligence in this world.

Lastly, I find it interesting how they went out of their way to exaggerate Zendaya’s contribution here. The advertising was misleading — she was all over the promotion materials, hyping up her performance. Yet, she was in the movie for roughly 10 minutes, but it is evident that she will play a significant role in the second part.

All in all, Dune: Part One is a major cinematic achievement. Here is an adaptation that Hollywood got right, and I have not been this excited about a sci/fi slash fantasy series since the original Lord of the Rings trilogy back in the early 2000s.

Four out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿

DUNE: Part One (2021).

*NFL WEEK 14 RECAP (2021 Season)

Ok, here is the thing, Dallas got lucky in this game, simple as that. They caught Washington with an insane amount of starters out of this game. Some due to Covid protocols and some to injuries. On the other hand, Dallas came in almost at full strength.

Nevertheless, Washington had a lot of issues getting their offense going. The running game was non-existent; all running backs struggled to get some traction on the ground. The Offensive line had a hard time providing holes and dealing with Micah parsons and the constant pressure from Dallas. Adding to the lackluster running game was the absence of JD McKissic; he was ruled out before the game. 

Also, the O-line could not protect the QB like in the previous 4 weeks. Taylor Heinicke was under distress for most of the game; he was inaccurate, and his ball placement was way off — it seems like the pressure from Dallas got to him mentally. Heinicke ended up leaving the game to a knee injury and was replaced by Kyle Allen.

Allen played well for the most part, mostly because I don’t think Dallas had a game plan for him. Still, the offense was not as effective as during the winning streak. 

Curtis Samuel played but did not contribute much in this game. He has been slowly getting back into action from a groin injury that kept him out for most of the regular season. Terry McLaurin was shut out and eventually was ruled out for the remainder of the game due to a concussion. Not having TE Logan Thomas was crucial, and his absence will be felt during this last stretch of the regular season. Thomas has a torn ACL and is not expected to return until the 2022 season.

The defense held its own and kept this game from getting out of hand, but missing Casey Toohill and Montez Sweat made a difference. 

On top of all the injuries, we have also lost our star DT Jonathan Allen to Covid protocols. This absence sucks and will be rough for the defense. Plus, there was news about a positive Omicron test from a tier 3 employee. According to NFL covid policies, Tier 3 employees are not supposed to come into contact with tier 1 employees (players and coaches). But we will see how things develop in terms of more positive tests.

All in all, we still have 4 games left, and all of those 4 games are within the division. Washington has got to win out and lock in a playoff spot. Next up, we play Philly. The Eagles are 6-7, and I’m sure they will love nothing more than to play spoiler and overtake us in the playoff hunt. We have to beat Philly!

WFT 20 — COWBOYS 27

NY GIANTS 21 — LA CHARGERS 37

The LA Chargers have put together solid back-to-back wins and set up a must-see divisional matchup against Mahomes and company. The Chargers are 8-5, and they have 3 divisional games left in the regular season, so winning the AFC WEST is within reach. Next up, LA hosts Kansas city. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs

I never thought I would say this, but I actually feel sorry for fans of the NY Giants. This team is a complete mess, and deservingly so. Their clown ownership has been getting on my nerves for years. Plus, Joe Judge is not NFL head coaching material; he is a position coach at best. Next up, NY hosts Dallas. Advantage, Dallas Cowboys (but I hope NY wins)

VIKINGS 36 — STEELERS 28

Minnesota was comfortably leading 29 – 0 late in the 3rd quarter and looked like the game was over. I briefly turned away from the game, and when I came back to it, Pittsburgh had cut the lead, and the game was 20 to 29. The Vikings’ defense continues to underperform from week to week— they allowed Big Ben to make some crucial plays and make this game closer than it should have been. Next up, Minnesota visits division rival Chicago. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

The Steelers are the most inconsistent team in the NFL, and at times they seem to be dysfunctional and undisciplined. At 6-6-1, Pittsburgh has to win out and get some help to make the playoffs. Next up, Pittsburgh hosts Tennessee. Advantage, Tennessee Titans.

CHIEFS 48 — RAIDERS 9

Kansas City has now won 6 games in a row, setting up a crucial matchup against the LA Chargers on week 18. The Chiefs are playing better defense, making all the difference this late in the season. Next week, Kansas City visits the LA Chargers. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders are such a mess right now, which is insane considering all the talent assembled on all sides of the ball. However, it is safe to say that significant changes are coming to Vegas next season. Next week, Las Vegas visits Cleveland. Advantage, Cleveland Browns (but I hope Vegas wins).

49ERS 26 — BENGALS 23

San Francisco is having a late-season surge, and they have a legit chance to make the playoffs, but injuries continue to haunt them. Next week, San Francisco hosts Atlanta. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers

The Bengals took this game into overtime but couldn’t hang on and neutralize Jimmy G from torching them in OT. As a result, Cincinnati has lost 2 games in a row, and they are at risk of falling out of the playoff race. Next week, Cincinnati visits Denver. Advantage, Denver Broncos.

BROWNS 24 — RAVENS 22

Cleveland caught a huge break when Lamar Jackson left the game injured. This win saved Cleveland’s season, and with 3 divisional games remaining, they could still win the AFC NORTH division. Next up, Cleveland hosts the Las Vegas Raiders. Advantage, Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens without Lamar Jackson are a completely different team, and their post-season hopes rest in Lamar’s health. Next up, Baltimore Host Green bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

TITANS 20 — JAGUARS 9

ok, let’s not overreact here — Tennessee beat and shut out the worst team in the NFL. The score should have been higher. The Titans have 3 regular-season games in a row left in the schedule against playoff-contending teams, and by week 18, we will have a better idea of how good this Tennessee team is. Next week, Tennessee visits up and down Pittsburgh. Advantage, Tennessee Titans.

Urban Meyer sucks, simple as that. He has got to go, and Jacksonville needs to find a real NFL-caliber coach, not some College hack of a coach who never had any pro-football experience. I don’t care how much he won at the college level — the NFL is the big league, and not everyone is cut out to coach there. Next week, Jacksonville hosts Houston, another mess of a team. Advantage, Houston Texans.

SEAHAWKS 33 — TEXANS 13

Seattle is rebounding nicely after getting beat down by my Washington Football team on week 12 and have now put together 2 solid wins. At 5-8, Seattle is not entirely out of the wildcard race, but they will have to win out and get some help to grab a playoff spot. Next week, Seattle visits LA. Advantage, La Rams.

The Texans are just playing out the schedule, hoping to land a good draft spot for the 2022 NFL draft. A complete and deep rebuild is in order for Houston. Next week, Houston visits Jacksonville. Advantage, Houston Texans.

BUCCANEERS 33 — BILLS 27

Tom Brady still owns Buffalo. It got dicey in the 4th quarter for Tampa Bay as Buffalo tied the game and took them to overtime. But Brady threw a 58-yard pass to Breshad Perriman to seal the deal. Next up, Tampa Bay host New Orleans. Advantage, New Orleans Saints (they own Tom Brady during the regular season).

Tough loss for Buffalo; they needed this win badly to remain relevant in the AFC playoff hunt. The good thing is that 3 out of the 4 games remaining in the regular season schedule are against losing teams. Next up, Buffalo hosts Carolina. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

PACKERS 45 — BEARS 30 

The Packers played from behind for most of this game, but once the 3rd quarter came around, Green Bay opened up a can of whoop-ass all over Chicago and never looked back. Next week, Green Bay visits Baltimore. Advantage, Green Bay packers. 

Chicago has to continue to build around Justin Fields; he can be both dynamic and mistake-prone, so adding better pieces to compliment him will be crucial for his development. Next week, Chicago hosts Minnesota on Monday Night football. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

SAINTS 30 — NY JETS 9

Field goals and rushing TDs were the keys to victory here for New Orleans. They ended their 5-game losing streak and, at 6-7, still have a chance to get into the playoffs. Next up, New Orleans visits their arch-rival Tampa Bay. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

The NY Jets have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, and they can now just play out their schedule and look to build towards next season. I have a feeling the NY Jets will be much improved come 2022. Next up, NY visits Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

FALCONS 29 — PANTHERS 21

Atlanta has some fight still left in them, and as nuts, as it sounds, they are still alive in the NFC playoff race. Next week, Atlanta visits San Francisco, a massive game for both teams with playoff implications. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

The Panthers are a disaster under Matt Rhule, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a change is made at the end of the season. Cam Newton is not really the issue here; the firing of Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady was just an excuse but not the solution. Next week, Carolina visits Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

BRONCOS 28 — LIONS 10

Denver looked formidable, beating up on the 1 win Detroit Lions. The Broncos seemed inspired to win this game — I’m sure the sudden passing of Demaryius Thomas played a factor here. Next up, Denver hosts Cincinnati. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

Even though they are not the worst team in the 2021 NFL season, Detroit will probably end up with the number 1 pick in the 2022 Draft. The Lions have building blocks available to improve in 2022. Next up, Detroit hosts Arizona. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals.

LA RAMS 30 — CARDINALS 23

This was a must-win for LA — The Rams delivered a dominant primetime performance on Monday Night Football. Matthew Stafford threw for 287 yards with 3 TDs and zero picks. Cooper Kupp had 13 catches for 12 yards and 1 TD — safe to say Kupp is the best wide receiver in the NFL this season. The Rams defense was exceptional, pressuring and keeping Kyler Murray at bay for most of the game. Next week, LA hosts Seattle. Advantage, LA Rams.

The Cardinals missed a huge opportunity to sweep LA, but no big deal, no reason to panic; at 10-3, Arizona is still one game away from clinching the NFC WEST. Next week, Arizona visits Detroit. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals.

*FOO FIGHTERS — MEDICINE AT MIDNIGHT (Album Recap)

It is refreshing to see bands and musicians that came into the music scene during my teenage years continue to remain musically relevant after all of these years, especially when those same idols from my misspent youth can still Rock.

The Foo Fighters have been a big part of my life’s soundtrack. The mid to late 90s was a vibrant time for Rock music. In the 90s, bands like Foo Fighters, Oasis, Green Day, The Verve, Bush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, and Korn put out some of my all-time favorite albums. Admittedly and proudly, I still listen to those albums frequently.

This is why I’m beyond static to see how well Foo Fighters, the Band, is aging. Dave Grohl’s voice remains virtually intact in terms of energy and power — and the band, as a collective unit, continues to evolve while at the same time still making creative and impactful music.

Medicine At Midnight is Foo Fighters’ 10th studio album; It was completed in early 2020, and they were supposed to go on tour during the summer of the same year, but we all know what happened….

It took me about 3 to 4 listens, and I was all in.

I love this album from start to finish; It is the shortest and fastest full-length studio album in the entire Foo Fighters discography; it’s a quick listen — I really dig the short length of it, just 9 tracks and coming in at 37 minutes. Somewhat similar to Green Day’s 2020 Father of All Motherfuckers (10 tracks, 26 minutes).

Medicine At Midnight was supposed to be their version of Bowie’s Lets Dance album — and although this is supposed to be a dance, party album, and somewhat of a departure from the Foo Fighters sound we all know and love, it still feels very much like a Foo Fighters album. It is fun, groovy, and energetic with plenty of 80s Rock dance vibes. I liked how all those elements blended well with the unique sound of the Foo. I think this will be a perfect album for future live shows — if I ever get to go to live shows again.

In general, this is an excellent Rock album — there is no doubt that I’ll be spinning Medicine At Midnight on my turntable at home for the foreseeable future. Additionally, this album has constantly been streaming on my Apple Music during my Subway work commute this year.

Here is my track by track breakdown…

Track List:

1 — MAKING A FIRE:

This opening track sets the party mood of this album — It starts with lots of firepower. The energetic background vocals are great, which tells you that this is a different type of album.

2 — SHAME SHAME:

First single. It feels like an experimental track that actually works well as a first single.

3 — CLOUDSPOTTER:

Fun track, no idea what a Cloudspotter is, but this song grew on me after a few listening sessions, and I really like the chorus. It is a classic Foo Fighter-sounding type of song.

4 — WAITING ON A WAR:

Upon first listen, I was not much into it; however, it has grown on me. Solid vocals.

5 — MEDICINE AT MIDNIGHT:

Title track, full of David Bowie vibes — good beat, and probably my favorite track from this album. Refreshing, fun, and the most danceable beat from the entire record.

6 — NO SON OF MINE:

I heard that this track was a tribute to the late Lemmy from Motorhead. I Love the tempo; it is definitely a head-banging song.

7 — HOLDING POISON:

The intro rocks pretty hard, and it just keeps up the pace from thereon. 

8 — CHASING BIRDS:

I fucking love this track. It is by far the most mellow song here. It is the lone ballad of this album. I think that every great record should include a ballad.

9 — LOVE DIES YOUNG:

Interesting how this song is full of sad lyrics but with an upbeat tempo. It brilliantly wraps up the whole dance/rock concept, blending most of those elements from the entire album into this final track.

*NFL WEEK 13 RECAP (2021 Season)

Impressive win for Washington, extending their winning streak to 4 games in a row. We now sit at the 6th playoff spot and with some wiggle room to move up. 

Taylor Heinicke wasn’t statistically impressive, but he played a tough and fearless game. Heinicke is slowly but surely cementing his future as the potential long-term solution at QB for Washington. 

Antonio Gibson ran hard carrying the ball 23 times and had some solid catches for a combined total of 111 yards. 

I was happy to see how TE John Bates was more involved in the offense. Also, glad to see Adam Humphries being better utilized than in the last 3 previous games.

It was such a bummer seeing Logan Thomas getting injured and coming out of the game. Losing him sucks; he is such a big target for Heinicke — plus, he is a very good blocking TE. Unfortunately, he has been put on IR and is done for the rest of season. Hopefully, Ricky Seal-Jones is clear to return quickly, as he was already emerging as a legit target for Heinicke before getting injured.

The defense continues to show signs of improvement, especially in the secondary; this unit is playing much tighter than earlier in the season. Kendall Fuller is playing like the experienced Super Bowl-winning CB he is.

Cowboy killer Montez Sweat might be back for this upcoming Dallas game, which will add an extra weapon to pressure Dak. But his recovery remains uncertain. I hope he returns for some of the last few games of the season.

With that in mind, this is Dallas Week for Washington — it is all about beating Dallas and advancing our playoff seed position. We play them twice in 3 weeks — we are 1-0 in the division, and all of our remaining regular-season games are divisional games, so we truly control our own destiny — We are built for December football, and beating Dallas at home this Sunday will propel this team to believe that we can make a deep run in the post-season.

The Cowboys continue to be the heavy favorite by the talking heads in sports media. So it would be beyond awesome to beat Dallas and to put the entire NFL on notice — The Washington Football is indeed coming…..

#BEAT DALLAS

WFT 17 — RAIDERS 15

COWBOYS 27 — SAINTS 17

Dallas beating up on teams on slumps does not impress me. Dallas is full of holes, and their defense is overrated and overhyped by sports media. Next up, Dallas visits Washington. Advantage, Da Washington Football Team. 

No legit starting QB and no Alvin Kamara equals no chance for New Orleans. It feels like Drew Brees retired a year too soon. Next up, New Orleans visits the NY Jets. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

NY GIANTS 9 — DOLPHINS 20

The Dolphins have won 5 straight games to propel them into playoff contention. Next week, Miami has their bye week.

The NY Giants are done, simple as that. A massive overhaul of coaching slash management is in order. I don’t feel sorry for them; John Mara and the entire Mara clown-ownership family had this coming. Next week, the NY Giants visit the LA Chargers. Advantage, LA Chargers.

EAGLES 33 — NY JETS 18

The Eagles refused to go down quietly into the night, even though they should. Gardner Minshew was sensational covering for injured Jalen Hurts. Minshew has the tools to be a starter somewhere in this league, and I would not be surprised if he is starting for a team in need of a QB next season. Next up, Philly has their bye week.

Not much was expected from the NY Jets this season, and in a way, they have kind of overachieved at 3-9. Next up, the NY Jets host New Orleans. Advantage, New Orleans Saints. 

LA RAMS 37 — JAGUARS 7

The LA Rams ended their 3 games losing streak, although this win came against a 2-10 rebuilding Jacksonville team. So let’s wait and see how LA finishes this last few weeks of the NFL regular season. Next week, LA has a huge season-defining game at Arizona. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals.

The Jaguars have tons of issues to address in the off-season to be competitive in 2022. However, Trevor Lawrence seems to be made of the right stuff to lead this Jacksonville team for many years to come. Next week, Jacksonville visits Tennessee. Advantage, Tennessee Titans

SEAHAWKS 30 — 49ERS 23

The Seahawks shocked the hell out of me here; I was about to close the lid on their season. But this win leaves Seattle mathematically still alive for a wildcard spot. Next week, Seattle looks to continue to add victories while visiting Houston. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks.

San Francisco squandered an opportunity to inch closer to a playoff spot — and with this loss, they have put themselves on muddy waters to clinch a post-season berth. Next week, San Francisco visits Cincinnati, another win-needy team. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

CHIEFS 22 — BRONCOS 9

The Chiefs struggled to beat their arch-rivals — and their offense looked shaky for most of the game. Nevertheless, their defense is playing solid as of late, and it is the primary reason the Chiefs are in 1st place in the AFC WEST. Notwithstanding, Kansas City needs to get their offense back on track if they aspire to go deep in the post-season. Next week, Kansas City hosts the Raiders. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

Denver lost a lot of ground in the playoff race with this loss. They are still mathematically alive, but it is a long shot for them at this point. Next week, Denver hosts Detroit. Advantage, Denver Broncos.

LIONS 29 —VIKINGS 27

Detroit finally won their first game of the season, and it came against a division rival which always adds a little extra sweetness to it. Next up, Detroit visits Denver. Advantage, Denver Broncos.

The Vikings took a big hit to their playoff aspirations by losing to winless Detroit. Minnesota’s defense is the biggest disappointment here; they can’t seem to make crucial stops when they are most in need of a stop. Next up, Minnesota, in a must-win game, hosts Pittsburgh. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

LA CHARGERS 41 — BENGALS 22

One hell of a statement win for the Chargers. They are now 7-5 and one game behind Kansas City’s division-leading 8-4 record. However, the Chargers are still alive in the division title hunt. Next week, LA hosts the NY Giants. Advantage, LA Chargers.

Ugly game for Cincinnati; they were behind for the entire game, and although they made a last-game rally, it wasn’t enough to overcome such a large deficit and inconsistent play in all areas. Next week, Cincinnati hosts San Francisco. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

CARDINALS 33 — BEARS 22

With Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins back in the starting lineup, Arizona put an offensive display of firepower that will be tough to contain in the post-season for any opponents. Next up, Arizona rematches division rival LA Rams. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals.

Andy Dalton threw 4 picks, and the game never really felt close for them to have a shot. Strangely enough, Chicago is still alive for a playoff spot, even though they should be eliminated already. Next up, Chicago has a chance to keep their post-season hope alive at Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers. 

COLTS 31 — TEXANS 0

The Colts are slowly but surely creeping up on Tennessee for the division title. Jonathan Taylor continues to be Indy’s X factor. Next week, Indy has their bye week.

The Texans are probably the worst team of the 2021 NFL season, even worst than Detroit, I think. Houston should aim at landing one of those college QBs coming out of next year’s draft and trade or release Deshaun Watson. Rebuilding won’t be successful unless they figure out a way to move on from Watson. Next week, Houston hosts Seattle. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks.

BUCCANEERS 30 — FALCONS 17

The Bucs are on a 3 game winning roll and find themselves within reach of clinching the NFC SOUTH. Tom Brady and Gronk are still a lethal combination; they hooked up for 2 TDs in this game. And as long as Gronk is on the field, Tampa Bay’s offense is legitimately dangerous. Next week, Tampa Bay hosts a wounded Buffalo team. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

The Falcons are finishing the season better than most people expected and find themselves at a respectable 5-7. Next week, Atlanta visits 5-7 Carolina. Advantage, Atlanta Falcons.

STEELERS 20 — RAVENS 19

This was a massive win for Pittsburgh to keep their season alive. The Steelers are now 6-5 and have a tough road ahead to clinch a playoff spot. Next up, Pittsburgh visits a desperate Minnesota team. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

The Ravens squandered multiple opportunities to put this game away. Baltimore is at 8-4 and sits on top of the AFC NORTH, and with 3 divisional games remaining, the Division title might come down to a week 18 final game of the season rematch against Pittsburgh. Next up, Baltimore visits struggling Cleveland. Advantage, Baltimore Ravens.

PATRIOTS 14 — BILLS 10

New England caught Buffalo with an excellent game-plan and exploited Buffalos’s weaknesses. The Patriots have been on 7 game win streak and currently sit on top of the AFC EAST, but Miami and Buffalo still have a shot at catching up. Next week, New England has a bye week.

Buffalo needs to get their run game established to become a complete offense; it is Josh Allen or nothing when it comes to the run game. The Bills have to figure out how to create a better-balanced offense to have a shot at the division title. Next week, Buffalo visits Tampa Bay. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

*NFL WEEK 12 RECAP (2021 Season)

We are officially the hottest team in NFL, with 3 wins in a row. So we are basically undefeated for the entire month of November, and that is a beautiful thing to say. 

Taylor Heinicke had another strong game, showing poise, escape ability, and solid decision-making under heavy pressure. The run game was outstanding; Antonio Gibson looked phenomenal, ending his day with a combined 146 yards receiving and rushing. 

The Offensive Line continues to impress me — They consistently provide enough time for Heinicke to make plays and allow our running backs to find holes. The entire unit needs to be commended for how good they have looked these last few weeks.

Additionally, I was happy to see Logan Thomas and Curtis Samuel get some action. Their presence in the field will be crucial in December. 

The defense, as a whole, is starting to live up to the hype. Landon Collins looks pretty comfortable with his new role as a hybrid linebacker. The secondary is finally clicking and playing tight. 

Hopefully, Montez Sweat returns soon to bolster this defense — I can only imagine how great this defense will be with a healthy Chase Young next season.

Losing our kicker Joey Slye sucked! and now we are on our 4th kicker this season. JD McKissick was injured, but it seems like he will ok for week 13. 

It was embarrassing to see the state of FedEx field with pipes bursting over fans watching the game. And how empty the Stadium looked on a primetime game — This is a direct indictment on Snyder and his horrendous track record as an owner. 

In any case, with this win, we move to the 7th playoff spot, and we now control our own destiny. So it is all about putting together some crucial divisional wins in the final stretch of the NFL schedule.

This upcoming Sunday, we play the Raiders in Las Vegas — this will be Washington’s last game outside of the division. This team has to keep the momentum going and continue to rack up some wins — and who knows, we could potentially edge out Dallas by the end of the season.  

WFT 17 — SEAHAWKS 15 

and for the rest of the league……

NY GIANTS 13 — EAGLES 7

The NY Giants stepped up and delivered an early Xmas present to my Washington Football Team. With this win, NY knocked Philly down one spot in the NFC EAST standings, and Washington is now on the driver’s seat for the last wildcard spot in the NFC. Next week, NY visits red hot Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins. 

Good and bad, it is all about Jalen Hurts for Philly, but it was mostly bad in this game. When Jalen gets loose, he looks almost unstoppable, picking up chunks of yardage. However, scoring or creating any red zone offense was virtually non-existent. Next week, Philly has a chance to get back on the wildcard race visiting the NY Jets. Advantage, NY Jets.

COWBOYS 33 — RAIDERS 36

The Raiders ended their 3 games losing streak and essentially injected new life into their playoff hopes. However, the post-season seems unlikely for Vegas, but they are still pretty much in it. Next up, Las Vegas hosts Washington. Advantage, Da Washington Football Team.

Right on cue, Dallas has begun to fall apart just like I predicted. Their running game seems stuck in the mud — so it all falls on Dak’s shoulders to make things happen. The Cowboys have now lost 3 straight games, and the rest of the NFL schedule is not very promising for them. Next up, Dallas visits New Orleans on Thursday Night. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

49ERS 34 — VIKINGS 26

The combination of Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell has become the key to San Francisco’s late-season success. The 49ers are playing well-balanced football and seem poised to give the rest of NFC WEST a run for their money. Unfortunately, word got out that Deebo Samuel suffered a groin injury and will be out for a few weeks. Next week, San Francisco visits Seattle. Advantage, san Francisco 49ers.

The Vikings needed to win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive. Now, things are looking dicey for Minnesota as injuries are starting to pile up, and the remaining schedule is looking tough. Next week, Minnesota visits winless Detroit. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings. 

PACKERS 36 — LA RAMS 28

Green Bay is riding high at 9-3 and running away with the NFC NORTH. Their defense is complementing their offense nicely, making Green Bay a legit threat in the post-season. Next week, Green Bay has their bye week.

Fumbles and picks were the stories here. Third straight loss for the Rams, and it is time to start worrying. LA needs to get back to the running game and create more balance with their offense. Matt Stafford needs a solid running game to take them to the next level. Also, they need to figure out a way to get OBJ more involved in the offense sooner than later. Next week, LA hosts Jacksonville. Advantage, LA Rams. 

BRONCOS 28 — LA CHARGERS 13

Denver refuses to go quietly into the night. The Broncos keep finding ways to win, and they are doing it mostly with solid defensive play and some up and down QB play. As a result, the Broncos are in the mix for the AFC WEST title at 6-5. Next up, Denver visits 7-4 Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chargers blew a huge opportunity to challenge Kansas City for the top spot in the AFC WEST. With 4 Interceptions in the last 3 games, picks are starting to become an issue for Justin Herbert, but no reason to panic; he will clean those up. Next up, LA visits Cincinnati. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

BILLS 31 — SAINTS 6

Simply put, Buffalo embarrassed New Orleans at home. The Bills are once again showing how dangerous their high-scoring offense can be. The Bills have to play 3 top 5 defenses in the next 3 weeks of the NFL schedule; we will see if Buffalo can consistently put together some wins. Next week, Buffalo hosts New England. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

The Saints have now lost 4 games in a row, and the time for panic is at their doorstep. The injuries to Alvin Kamara and Jameis Winston have been magnified in these recent losses. However, I don’t believe that a Sean Payton-coached team will lose 5 in a row. Next week, New Orleans hosts Dallas. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

DOLPHINS 33 — PANTHERS 10

The Dolphins have won 4 games in a row, and they have officially put the AFC EAST on notice. Jaylen Waddle has emerged as their legit top receiving threat. Next week, Miami will host the NY Giants. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

Cam Newton struggled to get things going and ended up getting benched. On top of that, Christian McCaffrey got injured and will be done for the year. The Panthers have not been the same since Ron Rivera left, and it seems to me that Matt Rhule might not be the correct type of head coach for this rebuilding team. Next week, Carolina has their bye week.

PATRIOTS 36 — TITANS 13

This was a massive win for New England; beating this 8-4 Tennessee team is a huge confidence booster for a Patriots team looking to challenge Buffalo for the top spot in their division. Next up, New England visits Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

This was a disaster of a game for Tennessee, full of mistakes, fumbles, and interceptions. The absence of Derrick Henry has derailed Tennessee’s chances to make a deep run in the playoffs. Next up, Tennessee has their bye week.

BUCCANEERS 38 — COLTS 31

Tampa Bay needed this win badly to get some type of rhythm going into the final stretch of the NFL schedule. The Bucs found a way to neutralize Jonathan Taylor and keep this game close enough and into overtime. Tom Brady has been looking shaky at times but continues to orchestrate game-winning drives in tight games. Next week, Tampa Bay visits Atlanta. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Colts were pretty close for most of the game, but Indy was inefficient at protecting the ball with 5 turnovers, which in the end, made all the difference in the outcome of this game. Next week, Indianapolis visits Houston. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts.

RAVENS 16 — BROWNS 10

It was an ugly game for both teams and Lamar Jackson, who ended up with 4 picks. Nevertheless, it only took one brilliant play from Jackson to TE Mark Andrews to put this game away. Next week, Baltimore visits reeling divisional foe Pittsburgh. Advantage, Baltimore Ravens.

The Browns’ inability to get their running game going was the difference maker here. Kareem Hunt had 7 rushes, and Nick Chubb had 8 rushes with a combined 36 yards. It was a pathetic effort from an offense that was supposed to be versatile and dynamic. Next week, Cleveland gets a much-needed break.

BEARS 16 — LIONS 14

The Bears went into this game surrounded by rumors of Matt Nagy getting fired — It did not happen, but unless they win out, Nagy will probably not be coaching Chicago next season. Next up, Chicago visits 9-2 Arizona. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals.

Detroit is 0-10, and their best chance to win at least 1 game this season will come on week 16 against Atlanta. Next week, Detroit hosts another division rival Minnesota. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings. 

BENGALS 41 — STEELERS 10

A massive divisional win for Cincinnati, pulling them closer to the division title. The Bengals had the perfect recipe here, running the ball effectively with Joe Mixon, who ended up with 165 yards rushing and 2 TDs. Also, the defense was all over Big Ben, making him look ineffective for most of the game. Next week Cincinnati hosts a desperate for a win LA Chargers team. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals

Pittsburgh has lost 2 games in a row, setting up a crucial matchup with the division-leading Baltimore. Next week, Pittsburgh is in a must-win game against Baltimore. Advantage, Baltimore Ravens. 

FALCONS 21 – JAGUARS 14

Atlanta is a whole different team with Cordarrelle Patterson on the field. And at 5-6 Atlanta should feel good about how well they bounce back after losing two straight games. They are still hanging around and probably will finish the season on a good note. Next week, Atlanta host Tampa Bay. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The Jaguars are 2-9 for the season, but they show flashes of improvement from week to week and seem to be building an identity going into next season. Urban Meyer has a lot of work to do — this complete rebuild will take a couple of seasons. Next week, Jacksonville visits LA. Advantage, LA Rams.

NY JETS 21 — TEXANS 14

The NY Jets showed some grit and guts in this game, converting on 2 fourth-down attempts and playing tough football. Zach Wilson looked shaky at first but recovered and made crucial plays to put this game away. Next up, NY is looking to spoil Philly’s playoff hopes. Advantage, NY Jets.

The Texans could not keep their winning momentum from last week’s upset over Tennessee and struggled for most of this game. Injuries, penalties, and mistakes continue to haunt Houston. Next week, Houston hosts Indy. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts.

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