*NFL WEEK 5 RECAP (2021 Season)

It was beyond distressing to watch our defense allowed score after score. I don’t know what Ron Rivera needs to do to address this problem, but this roster of top draft picks and big-name free agents has to start playing as a cohesive unit ASAP. 

The lackluster effort to defend the hail mary throw by Jameis Winston at the end of the 2nd quarter was embarrassing. 

The offense was inconsistent. Heinicke had a rough game throwing zero TDs and 2 picks. McKissick had 8 yards receiving and -1 rushing, a ridiculous stat for such a dynamic player. 

Week to week, Antonio Gibson continues to be our best offensive weapon. In addition, veteran receiver slash returner DeAndre Carter has emerged as a legitimate receiving threat to compliment Terry Mclaurin and Adam Humphries.

Ricky Seal-Jones is filling in nicely for Logan Thomas. But he needs to get more involved in the red zone.

Next Sunday, Washington hosts Kansas City. The Chiefs are a wounded team, with many deficiencies on defense. We should be able to move the ball and score on them; However, Patrick Mahomes might throw a party of our unreliable secondary; unless we make some urgent adjustments. 

A win over Kansas City could go a long way to change the course of our season.

WFT 22 — SAINTS 33

COWBOYS 44 — NY GIANTS 20

Dallas has got to be the luckiest team in the entire NFL. Daniel Jones left the game in the 2nd quarter when the game was 10-14. On top of all of that, NY had no Saquon Barkley, and because of injuries, they had to play musical chairs on the OL. So the Cowboys got another lucky break. Next week Dallas visits New England. Advantage, New England Patriots.

I root blue twice a year when the NY Giants play Dallas (the team I despise the most). The Giants will have no chance this season without Danny Dimes and Saquon Barkley. Next week, NY hosts the LA Rams. Advantage, LA Rams. 

EAGLES 21 — PANTHERS 18

The Eagles were able to hang on long enough for Carolina to self-destruct. Jalen Hurts showed how dynamic he could be with his legs. This was a massive win for Philly. Next up, Philly hosts Tampa Bay. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Not having McCaffrey and a banged-up OL is a big part of Carolina’s two-game losing streak. Sam Darnold threw 3 picks and looked shaky, trying to do way too much. Next up, Carolina hosts Minnesota. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings. 

LA RAMS 26 — SEAHAWKS 17

The Rams played a well-balanced game here. Darrell Henderson Jr and Sony Michel combined for 117 yards with 28 carries. This was a solid bounce-back game for LA. Next week LA visits the NY Giants. Advantage, LA Rams

Seattle lost Russell Wilson to a finger injury — Geno Smith came in and looked pretty good. Wilson will be out for at least 4 weeks, which will be interesting to see how this will impact Russell Wilson’s future in Seattle at the end of the season. Next week, Seattle visits Pittsburgh. Advantage, Pittsburgh Steelers.

BUFFALO 38 — CHIEFS 20

This was supposed to be the most challenging game for Buffalo on the 2021 schedule, but the Bills made it look easy. Monster game for Josh Allen; he threw for over 300 yards with 3 TDs and rushed for 59 yards with 1 rushing TD. The Bills are looking like the best team in the NFL. Next up, Buffalo visits Tennessee. Advantage, Buffalo Bills. 

Patrick Mahomes losing Clyde Edwards-Helaire to injury early in the game made a huge difference here. And their defense could not figure out a way to stop Josh Allen. So it is time for Kansas City to press the panic button. Next up, Kansas City visits Washington. Advantage, WFT.

CHARGERS 47 — BROWNS 42

The LA Chargers might just be the surprise team of the year, and Justin Herbert is looking like an elite QB. They are now 4-1 and the clear-cut favorite to win the AFC WEST. Next week, LA visits Baltimore. Advantage, LA Chargers.

Cleveland threw everything they had on LA, turning this game into a wild shootout. Baker Mayfield had a great game, but a couple of crucial 3 and outs was the difference maker here. There is no reason to overreact with his loss; the Browns are still a dangerous playoff team. Next week, Cleveland hosts Arizona. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals. 

CARDINALS 17 — 49ERS 10

Arizona was kept in check by a solid San Francisco defense. This game was close and came down to one score. The Cardinals are now 5-0 and looking like the most dangerous team in the NFC. Next week, Arizona visits Cleveland. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals. 

San Francisco should not be too concerned with this 3-game losing streak, and Trey Lance will be lighting up the league soon enough. Kyle Shanahan has a better version of RGIII in his offense. Next week, San Francisco has their bye week. 

BUCCANEERS 45 — DOLPHINS 17

It was a career day for Tom Brady, throwing over 400 yards with 5 TDs and zero picks. The Bucs are putting together solid wins and putting themselves in a position to run away with the NFC SOUTH. Next up, Tampa Bay visits Philly. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Brian Flores had a history of having Brady’s number, but Brady threw a party on Miami this time around. Jacoby Brissett needs to get some better help from the running game to have a chance at winning some games this season. Next up, Miami goes to London to take on the winless Jaguars. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

BEARS 20 — RAIDERS 9

Chicago is alive and well in the NFC North at 3-2. Justin Fields didn’t have to do much to win this game. Chicago controlled this game by rushing the ball effectively and limiting any potential mistakes by their rookie QB. Next week, Chicago hosts Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

Well, Jon Gruden is out as the head coach, and things will not be pretty for Raider Nation from now on. Also, The Raiders should be highly concern about their lack of running game and defensive woes. They have lost 2-straight games and risk falling behind in the AFC WEST. Next week, Las Vegas visits Denver. Advantage, Denver Broncos.

VIKINGS 19 — LIONS 17

The Vikings barely survived to win this game with a 54-yard field goal with a few seconds left in the game to save their season. Next week, Minnesota visits Carolina. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

This was a heartbreaking loss for Detroit, and they are now 0-5. They need to find ways to put together some wins and build towards next season. Next week, Detroit hosts Cincinnati. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals. 

FALCONS 27 — NY JETS 20

Matt Ryan and Kyle Pitts are starting to click, and Atlanta has life at 2-3 for the season. Next up, Atlanta has their bye week.

The NY Jets put together some scoring drives late in the game to make things interesting, but Atlanta is just better than their record shows. Next up, the NY Jets have their bye week.

TITANS 37 — JAGUARS 19

Tenessee will most likely win the AFC SOUTH, and Derrick Henry continues to dominate on the ground, rushing for 130 yards with 3 TDs. Next up, Tennessee hosts Buffalo on Monday night. Advantage, Buffalo Bills. 

Jacksonville is 0-5, but not all is lost. They seem to be getting better QB play from Trevor Lawrence every week. The critical factor here is RB James Robinson; Jacksonville needs to continue to get him more involved as they did in this game. Next up. Jacksonville stays in London to take on Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins. 

PATRIOTS 25 — TEXANS 22

New England struggled, and it took a field goal in the final seconds of the 4th quarter to pull away and secure the win. Unfortunately, Mac Jones is not looking as good as he did early in the season. Next week, New England Hosts Dallas. Advantage, New England Patriots.

Houston let this game getaway. Davis Mills had an effective game throwing for over 300 yards with 2 TDs and zero picks. New England kept Houston’s running game in check for most of the game, but WR Chris Moore stepped up from the practice squad to put up some impressive numbers. Next week, Houston visits Indianapolis. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts. 

PACKERS 25 — BENGALS 22

Missed field goals were the big story here. Mason Crosby missed 3 field goals and finally made a 49-yarder to put this game away. The Packers are now 4-1 and on top of the NFC NORTH. Next up, Green Bay visits Chicago, Advantage, Green bay Packers.

Joe Burrow and Ja’marr Chase are becoming a dangerous combination. Cincinnati is now 3-2 and still in a good spot to challenge for the AFC NORTH. Next up, Cincinnati visits the 0-5 Lions. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

STEELERS 27 — BRONCOS 19

Big Ben got some much-needed help from the running game, and it made a huge difference. Najee Harris rushed for 122 yards, and because of this, the rest of the offense was more effective. Next week Pittsburgh hosts Seattle without Russell Wilson. Advantage, Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Broncos have lost 2 games in a row, and their schedule is about to get a little tougher with upcoming games against Vegas, Cleveland, Washington, and Dallas in the next 4 weeks. However, Denver has some good pieces on both offense and defense to make things interesting. Next week, Denver hosts Las Vegas Riders without Jon Gruden. Advantage, Denver Broncos. 

RAVENS 31 — COLTS 25

It was a thrilling Monday night game. Baltimore got hot in the 4th quarter, putting up 16 unanswered points to take this game into OT. The AFC NORTH is becoming as competitive as the AFC WEST. Next up, Baltimore hosts the LA Chargers. Advantage, LA Chargers.

The Colts kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship, is one of the most reliable kickers in the league; however, he was dealing with a hip injury throughout most of the game, which cost him to miss a few kicks, and ended up making all the difference in the final score. Next up, Indianapolis hosts Houston. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts.

*NFL WEEK 4 RECAP (2021 Season)

The Washington Football Team wins 34-30. This was a make-or-break game for Washington, a game that could have sent our season spiraling down a black hole of misery. However, Washington found a way to win — it wasn’t a pretty win, but in the NFL, wins are hard-to-come and this was a must-win for us.

The legend of Taylor Heinicke continues with a solid performance, throwing for 290 yards with 3 TDs and zero picks. Terry McLaurin and JD McKissic are playing at an elite level. They are both making spectacular, game-changing plays. 

I sense we have something special brewing in our offense. I was happy to see key players like Adam Humphries, Dyami Brown, Curtis Samuel, and Ricky Seal-Jones getting more targets… we just need to get them more involved, and this offense will be special.

It was a bummer to lose Logan Thomas early in the game; I hope his injury is not severe and can come back soon. If Thomas is a no-go for next week, then expect Ricky Seals-Jones to get more targets, and I don’t think they will activate Sammis Reyes just yet. Also, Brandon Scherff is banged up and will be out for 2-3 weeks — it seems like our OL depth will be tested earlier than I expected.

Our Defense is obviously not playing up to the level we all predicted. But our secondary seems to be the biggest issue here. We are getting killed through the air, and the entire secondary is out of sync, and they have become our weakest link; they are not playing as a cohesive unit, and this needs to be addressed immediately.

We lost Jon Bostic and Terry McTyer for the season. We will see how Ron Rivera adjusts the defense around these two losses. 

Washington is now 2-2 and about to go through a murderous row of dangerous teams. Next up, we host an inconsistent 2-2 New Orleans Saints loaded with talent. The Football team needs to win this game convincingly. Advantage, Washington.

WFT 34 — FALCONS 30

and for the rest of the NFL…..

COWBOYS 36 — PANTHERS 28

Dallas caught Carolina without some of their crucial weapons and still struggled to pull away. Nevertheless, Dallas’s record is a mirage; they will crumble soon enough. Next week, Dallas hosts the NY Giants. Advantage, Dallas cowboys.

Carolina will continue to struggle without McCaffrey, but I believe Sam Darnold will figure out a way to win some games here and there. Next week, Carolina takes on Philadelphia. Advantage, Carolina Panthers. 

GIANTS 27 — SAINTS 21

The NY Giants got their first win of the year in overtime, overcoming a deficit and some up and down QB play from Danny Dimes. Next week, NY visits Dallas. Advantage, Dallas Cowboys. 

New Orleans is very close to pushing the panic button if they don’t start winning some games soon. Next week, New Orleans visits Washington. Advantage, Washington.

EAGLES 30 — CHIEFS 42

The Chiefs were supposed to win this game, but going into the 4th quarter, this game was close, which should cause concern for Kansas City. The defense is allowing 31.25 points per game, and the offense has to make up the deficit. Next up, Kansas City takes on the Buffalo Bills at home. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs. 

Jalen Hurts was excellent here, throwing for almost 400 yards with 2 TDs, zero picks, and rushed for 47 yards. The Eagles came out of multiple scoring drives with no points, and it made the difference at the end of this game. Next week, Philadelphia visits Carolina. Advantage, Carolina Panthers.  

CHARGERS 28 — RAIDERS 14

Justin Herbert looked fantastic against this highly regarded Raiders defense. Austin Ekeler was dominant running and receiving for a total of 145 yards and 2 TDs. The Chargers are 2-0 against their division, and when it is all set and done, they might end up winning the AFC WEST. Next week, LA hosts Cleveland. Advantage, LA Chargers.

The Raiders got behind early and could not catch up. Derek Carr tried to push some throws into difficult spots and got away from the run. They should have utilized Peyton Barber and Josh Jacobs better, but this wasn’t the case. Next week, Las Vegas hosts Chicago. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders. 

COLTS 27 — DOLPHINS 17

The Colts got their first win of the season against a Miami team slowly falling apart. Carson Wentz played well, throwing 2 TDs and zero picks. The running game was effective; both running backs Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack combined for 26 carries. Next week, Indianapolis goes to Baltimore. Advantage, Baltimore Ravens.

Miami was supposed to be better than what they’ve shown so far this season. They have good weapons on offense and what seems to be a solid defense. However, I still feel that Jacoby Brissett is a better QB option for Miami than Tua. The Dolphins have to commit to their running game better to give Brissett a chance. Only 8 carries for their top running back is not a recipe for success. Next week, Miami takes on Tampa Bay, and the good thing is that Brian Flores has a history of success against Tom Brady. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

BILLS 40 — TEXANS 0

Buffalo was too much for Houston and Davis Mills to handle. The Bills look like a well-balanced team; Buffalo’s offense averages 33.5 points per game and has allowed 11 points in the first 4 weeks of the season; extremely impressive. Next up, Buffalo has a primetime game visiting Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

Embarrassing loss for Houston — and things will remain pretty bad for them unless they get Tyrod Taylor back. The Texans should probably consider bringing Cam Newton in to add some spark to their offense. Next up, Houston takes on Belicheater. Advantage, New England Patriots. 

NY JETS 27 — TITANS 24

Overtime victory for the Jets — Rookie QB Zach Wilson and rookie Head Coach Robert Saleh won their first NFL career game against a very good Titans team. This was a significant victory for a struggling team looking to build some confidence and rhythm this season. Next up, the NY Jets travel to London for an overseas game against 1-3 Atlanta. Advantage, Atlanta Falcons.

Tennessee should have won this game; they had plenty of red-zone chances but came out empty. Not having Julio Jones and A.J. Brown made a huge difference here. Next up, Tennessee visits the 0-4 Jacksonville Jaguars. Advantage, Tennessee Titans

CARDINALS 37 — LA RAMS 20

Kyler Murray is slowly but surely becoming an elite QB, and Arizona looks like a legit contender. They are now 4-0 and in an excellent position to win their NFC WEST Division. Next week, Arizona hosts a wounded 49ers team. Advantage, Arizona cardinals.

Matt Stafford wasn’t really the issue here in the loss; the Rams struggled in every area of this game. Depth will be an issue all season long for LA. When they were healthy, and at full strength, they looked unstoppable. They are missing key players, and Arizona was too much to overcome. Next week, LA visits 2-2 Seattle looking to get into the running for the division. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks. 

SEAHAWKS 28 — 49ERS 21

Seattle turned it up in the 3rd quarter and held San Francisco back from getting back into this game. The Seahawks caught plenty of breaks against San Francisco, and they seem to be getting a similar injury-riddled team next week against the LA Rams. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks. 

San Francisco lost Jimmy G to injury early in the game, and we got to see Trey Lance come in. Lance looked shaky at first but got settled as the game went on. The injuries will continue to plague San Francisco, but the addition of Trey Lance will add a different dynamic to Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Next week, San Francisco visits Arizona. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals. 

BUCCANEERS 19 — PATRIOTS 17

Tom Brady was thrown everything Belicheater could throw at him, and it almost worked for New England. Finally, it came down to a missed field goal to pull off the well-deserved victory for Tampa Bay. Next up, Tampa Bay takes on a Miami team coach by Brian Flores that knows how to rattle Tom Brady. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Mac Jones played well enough to keep New England within striking distance, but once again, I feel that Cam Newton would have won this game by a couple of scores. Next week, New England visits Houston. Advantage, New England Patriots.

BROWNS 14 — VIKINGS 7

It was a tight game, but Cleveland’s run game was the difference maker here. Minnesota had no answer for the Nick Chubb slash Kareem Hunt combo. The Browns are looking like an elite team. Next week, Cleveland visits the LA Chargers. Advantage, LA Chargers.

Minnesota got away from feeding Dalvin Cook, and it cost them the game. The Vikings have got to get more balance out of their running game and rely less on Kirk Cousin throwing the ball around. Next week, Minnesota hosts the 0-4 Detroit Lions. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

PACKERS 27 — STEELERS 17

Green Bay is putting together solid wins, but their schedule is about to get a little more challenging. We will learn how far this team can go in the next few weeks. Next up, Green Bay visits Cincinnati. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

Pittsburgh cannot provide adequate protection for an aging QB like Big Ben. However, I don’t think Roethlisberger is the main issue here; 15 carries for Najee Harris is not enough to get more out of this Pittsburgh offense. Their defense is pretty good, and they will keep them in tight-close games, but they need more from the offense to have a shot at winning the AFC NORTH. Next up, Pittsburgh Host Denver. Advantage, Pittsburgh Steelers. 

RAVENS 23 — BRONCOS 7

Baltimore scored 16 unanswered points on what is supposed to be a good Denver defense. Latavius Murray is becoming a good complement to Lamar Jackson. Next week, Baltimore takes on the Colts. Advantage, Baltimore Ravens.

Denver’s offense looks completely different without Terry Bridgewater, and Drew Lock is obviously not the answer at QB for Denver. Next week, Denver visits Pittsburgh. Advantage, Pittsburgh Steelers. 

BEARS 24 — LIONS 14

This historic rivalry is not what it once was, and both teams are trying to rebuild and get back to their winning ways. Chicago has been more consistent lately in terms of success but far from their glory days. Chicago has something special in Justin Fields, and building around him will be crucial for their future in a division with two aging Quarterbacks — and Jared Goff. Next week, Chicago has a tough test against the Raiders. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders.

Detroit cannot catch a break; they have lost some close games, and Jared Goff has actually played pretty well for them. However, they are still many pieces away from becoming contenders for the NFC NORTH. Next week, Detroit has another divisional game against Minnesota. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

*NFL WEEK 3 RECAP (2021 Season)

This was a disgustingly ugly loss — it felt like I was kicked in the nuts watching Buffalo run up the score on us.

We are three weeks into the season, and shockingly, the Defense is playing awful — simple as that. Everything surrounding this 2021 season was built around the idea that the Defense was supposed to be dominant. The talent assembled on Defense should collectively make for a top 5 Defense, but this is not the case. They cannot stop anybody through the air, and our third-down defense is pathetic. 

William Jackson III is not playing up to expectations. Chase Young and Montez Sweat are not as disruptive as we thought they were about to become in 2021. Hell, our defense single handily put Josh Allen back in the MVP conversation after having his way with our D. 

There were some bright spots here and there; Antonio Gibson and Heinicke showed flashes of toughness and grit, but Heinicke tried to do too much at times, and he ended up turning the ball over twice. 

McKissic and Gibson combined for 15 rushing attempts — this is not good. Washington has to commit to the run and keep Heinicke from trying to force things on his own. Anywhere from 17 to 20 attempts should be the standard for our leading running back. 

Both Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas continue to be our top receivers, but we have to get Dyami Brown and Adam Humphries more involved, especially in the short-passing game. 

Next Sunday, we visit Atlanta for what should be a must-win for our team. The Falcons are a dangerous team with underrated weapons; they still have a veteran QB in Matt Ryan who can exploit weak defenses. A win against the Falcons would go a long way for getting our mojo back — we have a murderous row of good teams ahead of us. We have to win — and win convincingly here.

WFT 21 — BILLS 43

COWBOYS 41 — EAGLES 21

The talking heads in sports media will rush to crown Dallas as a Super Bowl contender yet again. However, this win is just another smoke and mirrors type of victory for Dallas — beating up a young and inexperienced team. Next week, Dallas takes on a more formidable Carolina team. Advantage, Carolina Panthers.

Philadelphia is currently at 1-2 and will probably struggle to get another win for the rest of the year. Jalen Hurts needs better protection and better weapons. Next week, the Eagles will host Kansas City for what should be a bounce-back game for Patrick Mahomes. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

GIANTS 14 — FALCONS 17

The NY Giants led most of this game, but the difference here is that Atlanta has Matt Ryan, and New York has Danny Dimes. Next week, the Giants will visit New Orleans. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

Atlanta got their first win of the season with solid Quarterback play from Matt Ryan. Next week, Atlanta will host Washington. Advantage, Washington Football Team.

RAIDERS 31 — DOLPHINS 28

This was an edge-of-your-seat, up and down game. The Raiders are winning ugly, but they are finding ways to win; they are now 3-0 and looking like a dangerous playoff team. Filling in for an injured Josh Jacobs, Peyton Barber ran for over 100 yards and 1 TD. The signing of Barber paid off big-time this weekend. On offense, the combination of Bryan Edwards, Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller is becoming one of the best-receiving groups in the league. Next Sunday, Las Vegas visits the LA Chargers for a huge divisional game. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders. 

The Dolphins were leading by two scores at halftime, but the Raiders shutting Miami from scoring in the 3rd quarter was crucial for Las vegas to get back into this game. I thought Jacoby Brissett looked pretty good running Miami’s offense. I think Brissett seems to be more efficient than Tua, which Brian Flores and his staff need to consider going forward. Next Sunday, Miami takes on a winless but dangerous Colts team. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

LA RAMS 34 — BUCCANEERS 24

At this point of the season, it is safe to say that the undefeated LA Rams are the best team in all of pro football. Matt Stafford looks phenomenal week after week. He threw for over 300 yards with 4 TDs and zero picks. It was awesome seeing Desean Jackson still running past defenders for a score. Next Sunday, the Rams host the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. Advantage, LA Rams.

Tom Brady played great, throwing for over 400 yards with 1 TD and zero picks. However, Tampa Bay could not run the ball — Brady was their top rusher in this game, an insane stat. The Bucs have got to get more balance out of their offense to have a shot at repeating as Super Bowl champs. Next Sunday, Brady returns to New England. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PACKERS 30 — 49ERS 28

The Packers played an excellent game, getting ahead of San Francisco to 17-0 by the 2nd quarter. Joe Barry’s Defense was tested in the second half of this game, but Aaron Rodgers does what he always does; with only a handful of seconds left, Rodgers put Green Bay in a position to put this game away with a field goal — which they did. Next up, Green Bay Hosts a wounded Steelers team. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

The 49ers had some notable injuries and inactives for this game but still managed to be within striking distance of pulling off the win. Jimmy G played well enough but made some bad throws and fumbled at a crucial time of the game. I have a feeling that we will see Trey Lance on the field sooner than expected. Next up, San Francisco hosts Seattle for what should be a huge divisional game for both teams. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

CHARGERS 30 — CHIEFS 24

The LA Chargers delivered a powerful statement to the entire AFC WEST Division by sending Kansas City to the bottom of the standings. Justin Herbert continues to impress me. The Chargers are playing some well-balanced football. Next Sunday, LA will hosts the 3-0 Raiders for what should be a tough and close game. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders

Patrick Mahomes is an excellent QB; however, he seems to be playing from behind in most games this season. In addition, the Chief Defense looks shaky and unreliable. Next Sunday, Kansas City visits Philadelphia for what should be a very winnable game. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

SAINTS 28 — PATRIOTS 13

The Saints needed this win badly after last week’s humiliating loss to Carolina. Jameis Winston made a few wild, head-scratching plays but got lucky not to cost New Orleans the win here. Next Sunday, New Orleans hosts the NY Giants. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

Mac Jones played like an inexperienced rookie; he was sloppy and ineffective throughout the entire game. I think New England moving on from Cam Newton is proving to had been a big mistake. Next Sunday. New England welcomes back Tom Brady for what should be a long miserable night for Belicheater and company. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

RAVENS 19 — LIONS 17

Justin Tucker kicked a field goal for 66 yards to edge out the Lions and keep Detroit winless. Baltimore has put together back-to-back victories in extremely close games. Next up, Baltimore visits 3-0 Denver. Advantage, Baltimore.

The Lions lost another heartbreaking game. Jared Goff is actually playing pretty well for Detroit, but it will take some serious rebuilding around him to get Detroit to become a legit contender in the NFC NORTH. Next up, Detroit will battle their oldest and biggest rival, Chicago, for what should be a season-defining game for both teams. Advantage, Detroit Lions. 

BROWNS 26 — BEARS 6

Cleveland waited until the 4th quarter to explode offensively all over a worn-out Chicago team. The Browns struggled to get past an underrated Bears team, and things will get tougher next week when they visit Minnesota. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

Justin Fields had a rough day with barely 80 yards of total offense from this rookie QB. Chicago’s defense keeps them in games, but it will be a long-rough season for Chicago if Andy Dalton doesn’t return soon. Next week, Chicago takes on their old Division rival Detroit. Advantage, Detroit Lions. 

VIKINGS 30 — SEAHAWKS 17

The Minnesota Vikings look like a team beginning to find their rhythm. Kirk Cousins was solid, throwing for over 300 yards with 3 TDs and zero picks. The Vikings scored 23 unanswered points and made it look easy. Next up, Minnesota hosts Cleveland for what should be an explosive game. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings. 

Seattle could not get anything going on all sides of the ball. The NFC WESTis loaded with good teams, and Seattle needs to start winning games, or they will be out of playoff contention sooner than expected. Next up, Seattle visits san Francisco for what should be a must-win game for Seattle. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

BRONCOS 26 — NY JETS 0

The Denver Broncos made easy work out of rookie QB Zach Wilson. Denver is now 3-0 for the season and looking like the surprise team of the year. Next week, Denver will face their toughest challenge so far this season against Baltimore. If Denver wins, they should become immediate contenders in the AFC — but I doubt they can beat Baltimore. Advantage, Baltimore Ravens. 

The NY Jets look like they might go winless this season. This year, the only winnable game I see for them is against Jacksonville on December 26; It will be the battle of two rookie head coaches against two rookie first-round Quarterbacks. But who knows, a lot can happen between now and December 26. Next week, the NY Jets will have to slow down Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans. Advantage, Tennessee Titans. 

PANTHERS 24 — TEXANS 9

Sam Darnold continues to impress me with his new team, throwing for over 300 yards and rushing for 2 TDs. Next week, Carolina visits the overrated Dallas Cowboys for what should be the game where Dallas gets exposed for the pretenders they really are. Advantage, Carolina Panthers. 

Houston needs to seriously consider bringing in Cam Newton or activate Deshaun Watson if they want to save their season. It is just not looking good for them right now. Next week, Houston visits Buffalo for what should be a complete massacre. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

TITANS 25 — COLTS 16

Ryan Tannehill overcame throwing 2 picks to pull away from the Colts. Derrick Henry is probably the toughest running back to stop in the NFL. Next week, Tennessee will have an easy day feasting on the NY Jets. Advantage, Tennessee Titans. 

This AFC SOUTH division is all about Tennessee at this stage of the season, and the Colts could still contend if they can just figure out a way to protect Carson Wentz better and get their offense going a little better. Their kicker Rodrigo Blankenship seems pretty reliable — they can count on some field goals. Next week, the Colts visit a hungry Miami team looking to start adding some wins. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

BENGALS 24 — STEELERS 10

The Cincinnati Bengals are putting together some solid wins this season. They dominated the Steelers from beginning to end. Ja’marr Chase is quietly becoming one of the best receiving threats in the NFL and a favorite target for Joe Burrow. Next up, Cincinnati will take on Trevor Lawrence and the winless Jacksonville Jaguars. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

The Steelers were just awful. The OL for Pittsburgh does not provide adequate protection for an older and static quarterback like Big Ben. The run game is non-existent — they have to get more out of their running backs; Najee Harris was their best receiving target with over 100 yards receiving. Next up, Pittsburgh visits an inspired Green Bay team fresh from their come from behind win over the 49ers. Advantage, Green Bay Packers. 

CARDINALS 31 — JAGUARS 19

The Arizona Cardinals did easy work out of Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer. However, the highlight of this game was the 68 yard missed field goal attempt that Jacksonville ran back for 109 yards and the score. Gusty call, but not very smart from Arizona. Next week is the battle of the undefeated teams between Arizona and the LA Rams. Advantage, LA Rams.

It really does look like Jacksonville will finish the season winless. The schedule is pretty brutal, but as the saying goes, anything can happen in the NFL on any given Sunday. Next week, Urban Meyer reunites with Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

*NFL WEEK 2 RECAP (2021 Season)

Insane and ridiculously wild finish, the Giants were a difficult, scrappy, tough team to play, but we found a way to win. This is precisely what good teams do; find ways to win close games. Especially, Divisional challenging games.

It is obvious to me that NY. Giants have a good Defense, and they gave us a hard time moving the ball around, but Taylor Heinicke was able to rally back and get Washington in a position to put this game away. 

Heinicke threw for over 300 yards with 2 TDs and 1 pick. His TD pass to backup Tight End Ricky Seals-Jones was spectacular. The offensive game plan to spread the ball around to our top receiving weapons like Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, Dyami Brown, and Adam Humphries was effective, but not where it needs to be; however, it is only week 2. This group will get better as the season progresses.

I was happy to see J.D. McKissic more involved in the receiving game, adding to a more balanced attack from our offense. But our running game was subdued, with Antonio Gibson only carrying 13 times. The rushing attempts need to increase in volume.

Our Defense looked anemic yet again, which is puzzling, considering all the talent assembled. My biggest issue was the lack of pressure on Daniel Jones — When the protection was solid, Daniel Jones looked pretty good. They gave Jones lots of room to throw the ball. This issue has to be addressed and fixed ASAP. 

Next Sunday, Washington takes on a dangerous Buffalo team with a dynamic QB in Josh Allen. This is the type of game where our Defense should shine. Advantage, Buffalo (on paper), but my heart believes in Washington to get it done.

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 30 — NY GIANTS 29

COWBOYS 20 — LA CHARGERS 17

Dallas got lots of help from the refs here. The Chargers got robbed with a bunch of bad calls, especially a sack call that wasn’t a sack. Dallas will crumble at some point this season. Next week, Dallas takes on Philly on Monday Night. Advantage, Dallas.

Like I said before, the refs stole this game from LA — I’m sure that Justin Herbert will get better as the season progresses, and they will contend in the AFC. Next week, the Chargers visit Kansas City for what should be an exciting Divisional game. Advantage, Kansas City. 

49ERS 17 — EAGLES 11

San Francisco had to adjust after losing running back Mosfert for the season. As a result, the offense struggled to get their running game going; however, Jimmy G relied on his legs in some crucial plays to keep the 49ers driving forward. Next week, Green Bay is visiting, and we will get a better sense of how the 49ers adjust to all the injuries already piling up on their roster. Advantage, Green bay.

The Eagles are all about Jalen Hurts; he seems to be their most dynamic and their most dangerous player at this early point in the season. Next week, they visit Dallas on Monday night for a big divisional game. Advantage, Dallas. 

RAIDERS 26 — STEELERS 17

I was initially very concerned about Josh Jacobs’s injury, and the signing of Peyton Barber did not really inspire much confidence in the running game. However, Derek Carr operated this Vegas offense effectively, throwing for 382 yards with 2 TDs and zero interceptions. Also, Henry Ruggs III is starting to get more involved in the passing game — getting Ruggs involved and getting Jacobs back healthy will be crucial for this team to contend in the AFC WEST. Next Sunday, Vegas hosts a Philadelphia team that lacks a balanced offense. Advantage, Las Vegas.

Pittsburgh was ineffective running the ball here. The Steelers have to get more balance out of their running game to have a chance in the AFC NORTH. Next week, the Steelers host Cincinnati with many questions on how the Bengals are running their offense. Advantage, Pittsburgh. 

LA RAMS 27 — COLTS 24

It wasn’t a pretty victory, but good teams find ways to win. The Rams scored late in the 4th quarter to put this game away. LA has got to get more out of their running game — the combination between Darrell Henderson Jr and Sony Michel needs to become more effective. Next Sunday, an overrated Tampa Bay team is visiting LA Advantage, LA Rams. 

The Colts were looking good until Carson Wentz got hurt, and their offense had to settle for field goals. Next Sunday, Indianapolis visits a resurgent Titans team. Advantage, Tenessee.

CARDINALS 34 — VIKINGS 33

Kyler Murray is electric; he threw for 400 yards with 3 TDs and 2 picks against a tough Vikings Defense. Next up, the Cardinals have an easier matchup against Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. Advantage, Arizona. 

Anti-vaxxer Kirk Cousins, for once, did not cost his team this game. Instead, Minnesota struggled to contain Kyler Murray and company. Next week, Minnesota takes on a wounded Seahawks team looking to keep the Vikings winless. Advantage, Seattle.

TITANS 33 — SEAHAWKS 30

Tennessee pulled a victory out of nowhere. They looked like the dangerous playoff team we saw last season. Derrick Henry was dominant here, rushing for 182 yards and 55 receiving. Next up, the Titans host a Colts team with a questionable Carson Wentz. Advantage, Tennessee. 

The Seahawks did not have an answer for Derrick Henry, and next week they take on another tough running back in Minnesota’s Delvin Cook. However, I think Seattle will make the necessary adjustments. Advantage, Seattle. 

RAVENS 36 — CHIEFS 35

Lamar Jackson finally found a way to beat Patrick Mahomes. It was a thrilling game to the end. It came down to gutsy plays from both teams, but it was Baltimore’s night. Next week, the Ravens Host Jared Goff and the Lions. Advantage, Baltimore.

Kansas City let this game slip away as they got away from the run. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has got to get more than 13 carries per game. The Chiefs cannot put it all on Patrick Mahomes and the passing game; a better-balanced offense will be needed if Kansas City wants to get back to the Super Bowl this season. Next week, the Chiefs take on a dangerous LA Chargers team. Advantage, Kansas City. 

PACKERS 35 — LIONS 17

Aaron Rodgers silenced all his detractors with this Monday night performance; Rodgers threw for 255 yards with 4 TDs and zero picks. It was a shaky start for Green Bay, but Green Bay settled down and began to move the ball by the second half. However, I’m not sold on the Packers Defense under new coordinator Joe Barry. Next week, Green Bay takes on an injury-filled 49ers team. Advantage, Green Bay.

Jared Goff looked good and poised in the first half, but he began to unravel under Green Bay’s defensive pressure in the second half. Detroit got away from the run and relied on Goff for most of their rushing yards; this is not a good recipe for success. Next week, the Lions take on Baltimore. Advantage, Baltimore

PANTHERS 26 SAINTS 7

Sam Darnold continues to impress me, and he seems to be getting more comfortable under this new offense. Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore are finding solid balance with their new QB. Next up, Carolina visits Houston on Thursday night. Advantage, Carolina.

The saints were completely dominated here. Carolina took all of New Orleans’ top weapons like Alvin Kamara, Taysom Hill out of this game. Next Sunday, New Orleans visit Belicheater and his overrated rookie QB.; I think the saints will rebound here. Advantage, New Orleans.

BILLS 35 — DOLPHINS 0

Buffalo made a statement here by shutting out Miami, and this Bills team seems like the team we all expected them to be this season. Next Sunday, Washington is coming to town, and it will not be an easy day for Buffalo. Advantage, Washington.

Miami had nothing to offer here, and to make things worse, Tua got hurt but seems to be ok for next week. At some point, Miami needs to reach out to Cam Newton for a chance to save their season. Next Sunday, Miami visits the undefeated Raiders. Advantage, Las Vegas. 

PATRIOTS 25 — NY JETS 6

New England had their way with this rebuilding NY. Jets team. Next week, the Patriots take on a more balanced New Orleans team that looks to rebound after losing to Carolina. Advantage, New Orleans. 

Zach Wilson had a terrible game, throwing 4 interceptions and struggling to move the offense. I do not expect much this season from this rookie QB and rookie head coach. Next Sunday, things will not get any easier for NY as they visit the 2-0 Broncos. Advantage, Denver. 

BRONCOS 23 — JAGUARS 13

Terry Bridgewater seems to be finding his place in Denver. The Broncos are 2-0 and playing good football these first two weeks of the season. The balance on offense between Courtland Sutton, Javonte Williams, and Melvin Gordon III is pretty solid. Next up, Denver has a chance to go up 3-0 against a struggling NY. Jets. Advantage, Denver. 

Urban Meyer is learning pretty fast how different the NFL and the College game are. Meyer better get himself comfortable with losing because it will not get easier for them. Next up, Jacksonville takes on Kyler Murray and the Cardinal. Advantage, Arizona.

BUCCANEERS 48 — FALCONS 25

Brady threw 5 TDs and connected twice with Mike Evans and once with Rob Gronkowski — Gronk now has 4 TDs in two games. Next up, Tampa Bay will face their toughest test so far against Sean McVay’s well-balanced LA Rams team. Advantage, LA Rams.

Atlanta put up a good fight, but they just ran out of firepower to keep up with Tampa Bay. Next Sunday, the Falcons have a good chance to get their first win against Danny Dimes. Advantage, Atlanta. 

BROWNS 31 — TEXANS 21

This game was closer than the final score suggests. Cleveland scoring on every quarter and keeping Houston scoreless on the third quarter made the difference here. Next Sunday, Cleveland takes on a Chicago team with questions at QB advantage, Cleveland

The Texans struggled to get more out of Mark Ingram, and QB play was lackluster. Nevertheless, Houston was still pretty much into this game until the end. Next Sunday, the dangerous combination of Sam Darnold and Christian McCaffrey is coming to town. Advantage, Carolina.

BEARS 20 — BENGALS 17

Andy Dalton got hurt after throwing a TD to Allen Robinson in the first quarter. Justin Fields came in and did not do much. However, Chicago’s Special Teams and Defense chipped in with scores to pull this victory. Next Sunday, Chicago Visits Cleveland, and it will be a challenging game for the Bears if Andy Dalton doesn’t play. Advantage, Cleveland. 

Joe Burrow’s 3 interceptions and some of the questionable play calls on the offense were the difference maker here. Next Sunday, Cincinnati visits a dangerous Steelers team. Advantage, Pittsburgh.

*MOVIE RECAP: ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE (SNYDER CUT)

There is this unique pleasure for movie nerds like myself to watch a director’s cut of a movie — you know, watching a movie as originally intended to be seen.

My measuring stick determining how good a movie or a TV show is — has always been based on how memorable or unmemorable the movie or show ends up being.

Having said that, by my own personal metric, the theatrical cut of Justice League directed by Josh Whedon, or also known as the Whedon cut, was not a memorable movie. It was way over the top, cheesy, and unfocused in terms of storytelling, with plot holes all over the place. Nevertheless, the Whedon cut wasn’t as awful as most fans have expressed; it was actually pretty watchable and, at times, somewhat entertaining, but it was far from what it was expected from this ensemble cast of superheroes. It was very forgettable, to say the least.

I blame the studio for this meh version of the Justice League. First, they jumped the gun and rushed to make their own version of an Avengers type of movie. And, unfortunately, it was way too soon — Because they were still introducing and developing movies featuring the characters that make up the core team of the Justice League members.

Everybody reading this blog probably knows by now that Zack Snyder had to drop out of Justice League in the middle of the shooting of this movie due to a family tragedy. Josh Whedon stepped in, and the rest of the story lives on perpetually in motion picture infamy.

The controversy between the two versions of this movie prompted an online campaign to release the director’s cut, or the Snyder cut as it is now officially known.

There are people out there who are disgusted by the fandom for pushing Warner bros. hard to release the Snyder Cut. Calling these hardcore fans toxic and such. However, I don’t see it this way; Fans should absolutely have a say in how things are being presented and sold to them. We, the fans, spend our money on movies, toys, merchandise, and all kinds of media entertainment products. Mediocrity will not be easily accepted anymore. This is a lesson for movie studios to pay close attention and to learn from all the outrage this Whedon Cut created.

This version is 4 hours long; I watched the whole thing in 2 seatings — and I was very much engaged in it throughout the 4 hours. It is more than a Director’s cut; it is an entirely different movie. It is leaps and bounds better than the theatrical cut. I think this version could’ve worked in theaters as a two-part movie, just like the Avengers two-parts Infinity war and Endgame movies.

Although my comic book knowledge of the DC Extended Universe is far from being encyclopedic, this movie is the best and the closest thing you will ever get to a superhero comic book slash graphic novel on film. Sin City (2005), 300 (2006), and Watchmen (2009) are my favorite graphic novels adapted into films. Coincidentally, Zack Snyder directed both 300 and Watchmen. I have some issues with 300, but for the most part, I thought Watchmen was actually a pretty damn good adaptation (except for changing the ending from the graphic novel).

This Snyder Cut has epic vibes to it — the CGI looks clean and pretty. It is beautifully shot, a gorgeous movie to watch. And, it is darker, grittier than anything Marvel has released. Dark superhero stories are what I like to see.

Here are the main differences from the theatrical version:

Aquaman is way more involved in the story, and his character has Godlike vibes here, similar to the way Thor was presented in the Marvel universe.

The cyborg plotline here is another vast improvement from the Whedon Cut. Unlike the theatrical version, Cyborg here is an integral part of this movie. We got to see how Cyborg is a God amongst men in terms of his powers and how those powers are unique within the modern technological world.

The Flash is more compelling here and funnier. But I still don’t know much about him and his powers. So I’m looking forward to The Flash stand-alone movie.

Superman kicked ass. I loved seeing this version of angry, pissed-off Superman — and the black suit made things even more extraordinary.

Wonder Woman is also better here than in the theatrical cut; she is presented as an old God in terms of her level of strength and power. But there is zero continuity with the events of Wonder Woman 84. I have no clue how they are planning to make WW84 fit into the larger scope of things.

We get a much better version of Batman and Bruce Wayne. This is the version of Batman the fandom wanted to see or close enough to it. The nightmare scene between Batman and the Joker was incredible. — it teased us on what happened with Robin (it seems like Joker killed Robin). This version of Jared Leto’s Joker was impressive.

We finally get to see Darkseid and how powerful, menacing, and evil he really is. The fighting sequence between the old heroes and gods against Darkseid was terrific. Watching Zeus, Artemis, Ares, King Arthur, and even a Green Lantern in battle was fucking awesome.

The whole premise of the Mother Boxes was better presented. There was also more depth to Steppenwolf. Introducing Granny Goodness on film was an outstanding idea. Let’s remember that both Darkseid and Granny Goodness were original Jack Kirby creations.

The Snyder Cut was an excellent movie-watching experience. I was fine the 4 hours; it didn’t feel like it dragged too long. I think the 4 hours were just about right to move the story forward for the sake of storytelling and character development. This type of long format should be the standard from now on — Maybe even breaking them down in parts might be the way to go. It just feels like it is meant to be consumed that way.

Zack Snyder has pulled off something awe-inspiring here. As movie and superhero fans, we are fortunate to have seen a 4 hour never before seen version of all these unique comic book characters. The next online fan campaign should be for Warner to restore the Snyder verse.

Five out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). Streaming on HBO MAX.

*NFL WEEK 1 RECAP (2021 Season)

FOOTBALL IS BACK, BABY!! 

Man, it feels good to say that. However, I pressed the panic button almost immediately when Ryan Fitzpatrick got injured and had to leave the game.

Taylor Heinicke came in, and the offense moved better with him under center. But we still struggled to put up any meaningful points. The running game was good but not as dynamic as I expected; Antonio Gibson ended up with 90 yards. Still, both Jaret Patterson and J.D. McKissic were not as involved as I expected them to be — we need more balance here and mix things up in the running game.

Terry McLaurin was insanely good, as always — and even made an incredible highlight catch. Logan Thomas was only targeted 3 times and had 1 TD — He needs to be targeted a lot more. Adam Humphries had a decent debut but needs to be utilized a lot more. Dyami Brown also needs more targets.

My biggest concern is the Offensive line. Charles Leno is shaky at best. Sam Cosmi struggled against Bossa, which was somewhat expected. Scherff is our best linemen by far, and the front office needs to pull up a dump truck full of cash to pay him and get him to stay in Washington. 

The defense looked tired and gassed for most of the game. I really hope this was just rust. 

Fitzpatrick is now on IR and out for 6-8 weeks. So next up, Heinicke will be the starter, and Kyle Allen will back him up.

We host the NY Giants on Thursday Night. This is a must-win game for Washington. We cannot afford to go 0 and 2 to start this season.

WFT 16 – LA CHARGERS 20

And for the rest of the league…..

EAGLES 32 — FALCONS 6

Philly is the only NFC EAST team coming up with a victory on week 1. They looked very good, albeit against the pitiful Falcons. Next week will be a different story against the 49ers: advantage, San Francisco. 

Atlanta is in rebuilding mode — they still have a very capable Matt Ryan, and Kyle Pitts looked really good. They have solid pieces in place, and they will be competitive this season, but don’t expect many wins. Nevertheless, Atlanta should be more dangerous than what they showed in the season opener game. Next week, they take on Tom Brady. Advantage, Tampa Bay. 

COWBOYS 29 — BUCCANEERS 31

More smoke and mirrors from Dallas. The story here isn’t how close the score was — the story here is how bad and inconsistent Tampa Bay was all game. Dak looked good, although most of his completions were short passes and screens, so I’m not reading much into his stats. The next game for Dallas is with the Chargers, and they are better than I expected — Justin Herbert is a legit starting QB. I’m pretty sure Dallas will struggle in this game. Advantage, LA Chargers.

The Bucs made costly mistakes that kept Dallas close in this game. If Tampa Bay wants to repeat as Super Bowl champs, they need to clean up a lot of stuff. The next game should be easier for Tampa against Atlanta. Advantage, Tampa Bay.

GIANTS 13 — BRONCOS 27

Danny Dimes did what he always does; Try way too hard and cost his team the game. NY Giants struggled against a rebuilding Denver team, which means they will have a more challenging time dealing with Washington. Advantage, Washington.

Denver has another easy mark when they take on Jacksonville Sunday. advantage, Denver

49ERS 41 — LIONS 33

San Francisco looked formidable. Jimmy G played a solid game throwing for over 300 yards. Deboo Samuel was a fantasy standout. The entire NFC WEST looks like the best division in football. Next up for the 49ers in Philly, they should expose them for how bad the Eagles are. Advantage, San Francisco

Detroit looked pretty good with Jared Goff as their new starting Quarterback. However, next week they have a huge divisional game against Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers needs to have a bounce-back game at Detroit’s expense. Advantage, Green Bay.

CHIEFS 33 — BROWNS 29

Kansas City is the most dangerous team in the NFL, and even though their defense looks shaky at times, they have so much firepower on offense to make things happen. Next Sunday, they take on Lamar Jackson and a Baltimore team looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss in overtime to the Raiders. Advantage, Kansas City.

Cleveland’s most significant obstacle to getting far into the playoffs will be to figure out hot get past Kansas City. Next week, things get easier for Baker Mayfield and company against Chicago on Sunday. Advantage, Cleveland.

RAMS 34 — BEARS 14

Matthew Stafford looks like a brand new quarterback under Sean McVay’s offense. The Rams are my NFC pick for the Super Bowl this season, and so far, they look the part. The Rams take on Indianapolis and their weak offensive line next Sunday. Advantage, LA Rams. 

Andy Dalton played most of this game, but when Justin Fields came in for a few plays here and there, he seemed to be as good as advertised. He will need a few seasons of building around him to get Chicago back to their winning ways. Next Sunday is the duel of the young Quarterback between Joe Burrow and Fields. Advantage, Cincinnati.

RAIDERS 33 — RAVENS 27

This was an excellent game to start the 2021 season on Monday Night Football. It was exciting and full of twists and turns. Las Vegas needs to get Josh Jacobs healthy to become a more significant threat in the AFC. The Raiders have to visit Pittsburgh next Sunday. Advantage, Pittsburgh.

Lamar Jackson is electric, but sometimes he tries to do too much for his team. Baltimore needs to figure out ways to get Latavius Murray more involved and take some pressure off Jackson. Next week, things do not get easier for Baltimore as they take on Patrick Mahomes. Advantage, Kansas City. 

DOLPHINS 17 — PATRIOTS 16

Brian Flores and his Miami Dolphins team are pure Kryptonite for Belicheater. Tua doesn’t inspire confidence as a starter yet. This is a make-or-break year for this young Quarterback, or Miami will need to get back in the market for a new QB. I think if Tua struggles early this season, Miami needs to reach out to Cam Newton. Next Sunday, Miami Hosts a wounded Buffalo team that needs to avoid going 0 and 2 for the start of the season. Advantage, Buffalo.

Mac Jones had a decent game, but I’m not sold on him as a starter yet. Next Sunday, New England takes on a rebuilding NY Jets team with a rookie Head Coach and a rookie Quarterback. Advantage, New England.

STEELERS 23 — BILLS 16

Big Ben looks renewed and re-energized behind a crop of young players. The Steelers shocked all the talking heads on sports media by beating Buffalo. Next Sunday, Pittsburgh takes on a tough Raiders team, but with questions at running back and tons of injuries. Advantage, Pittsburgh.

Buffalo self-destructed with costly mistakes against Pittsburgh. Next Sunday, they’ll have a chance to get things right against a divisional foe in Miami. Advantage, Buffalo.

BENGALS 27 — VIKINGS 24

Joe Burrow and rookie Wide Receiver Ja’marr Chase were effective and will only get better together as the season progresses. The next game against Chicago will be an exciting game to watch. Advantage, Cincinnati.

Kirk Cousins wasn’t the issue here; the defense could not stop Joe Burrow from putting Cincinnati in good scoring positions throughout most of the game. The Vikings’ strength was supposed to be their defense, and next Sunday, they have a tougher test against a dynamic and dangerous QB in Kyler Murray. Advantage, Cardinals.

CARDINALS 38 — TITANS 13

The combination between Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins is becoming a lethal one. Next week, they will get a solid test against what is supposed to be a good Minnesota defense. Advantage, Cardinals. 

Tennessee was a playoff team last season, and this is not the ideal way to open up their season. Next week, another tough challenge against Seattle. Advantage, Seattle.

SEAHAWKS 28 — COLTS 16

Russell Wilson looked better than ever here, in a game where he threw for 4 TD’s and reminded everyone just how elite he still is. Seattle plays a Tennessee team next week that will try to get back to their playoff form from late last season. Advantage, Seattle.

Carson Wentz had a nice debut for Indy; however, the protection was horrible, and Wentz spent most of the game running for his life. The Colts have got to protect him better if they want to get back to the playoffs. Next Sunday, the LA Rams are visiting, and it is going to be a long and miserable day for Wentz if Indy cannot protect him. Advantage, LA RAMS.

PANTHERS 19 — NY JETS 14

Sam Darnold, surrounded with better weapons, looks like a pretty competent QB. McCaffrey seems to be back to his old form. I like what I see from this Carolina team. Next Sunday, Carolina hosts New Orleans for a tough divisional game. Advantage, New Orleans.

Zach Wilson had a mixed debut, throwing for over 250 yards with 2 TDs and 1 Interception. Not bad, not great, and not much should be expected from this rookie QB and this entire rebuilding NY Jets team. Next Sunday, Belicheater is coming to visit NY. Advantage, New England. 

TEXANS 37 — JAGUARS 21

No Deshaun Watson? No problem. Tyrod Taylor had a solid game, throwing for almost 300 yards with 2 TDs and zero interceptions. Mark Ingram looked great running for 85 yards and 1 TD. Let’s see how they play against Cleveland and Baker Mayfield next Sunday. Advantage, Cleveland.

Trevor Lawrence threw for over 300 yards with 3 TDs and 3 Interceptions. Unfortunately, Jacksonville has a tough schedule ahead of them. I don’t think the offense around Lawrence is built for success, but we’ll see how the season goes. Next Sunday, Jacksonville hosts Denver. Advantage, Denver.

SAINTS 38 — PACKERS 3

New Orleans put a historic beating on Green Bay and made Aaron Rodgers look awful. James Winston threw 5 TDs and looked like the best QB in the NFC SoUTH (looking at you, Tom Brady). Next week, New Orleans has a critical divisional game against Carolina. Advantage, New Orleans.

Green Bay was embarrassed, and the talk on Aaron Rodgers being done has already begun. Next Sunday, Green Bay has a chance to right the ship by making a statement against Detroit. Advantage, Green Bay.

*TV SERIES RECAP: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA

The basic premise of The Plot Against America is to reimagine what would’ve happened if Charles Lindbergh and not FDR had won the 1940 US presidential election. It is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Philip Roth. The story is told through the eyes of the Levins family; A Jewish working-class family living in 1940s Newark, New Jersey.

The background of the story is that Charles Lindbergh (Ben Cole) is campaigning hard all over the country, where anxious crowds are waiting to hear him speak. Lindbergh flies a plane down to his campaign rally appearances while selling an isolationist agenda to the American public, and he is also opposed to joining the war effort against Nazi Germany; Lindbergh even has a campaign slogan consisting of repeating the same phrase over and over again at every single rally: “The choice is simple. It is not between Charles Lindbergh and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is between Charles Lindbergh and war.”

This show draws you in slowly; it takes the first two episodes to get a tangible sense of the characters and where the story is going. The tension grows in every episode; the plot moves slowly, but it works well. The world these characters inhabit feels authentic. And the clear depiction of this working-class neighborhood made up of mostly Jewish and Italian immigrants in 1940s Newark, New Jersey, was well crafted.

You get to know this Jewish family well; you get a good sense of this family and their suburban life. There are slow warnings of potential danger to their community through news reports on the radio and newsreels. The depiction of the slow and steady rise of fascism and the terror that it causes within the Jewish community is remarkable. All those things are put together brilliantly.

We get a closer look at the story through the eyes of young Philip Levin (Azhy Robertson), as he comes to terms with the reality of things. The audience also begins to come to terms with the high stakes at play alongside young Philip. We have to lean in and pay attention to each scene closely.

It is impossible not to avoid the obvious comparison between this show’s premise and the rise of Donald Trump. The idea that a celebrity with no political experience becomes a politician and turns out to be a populist and a right-wing nut job — appealing mostly to the lowest common denominator of voters is eerily similar — once elected, this right-wing hack turns the whole country into a fascist regime and The United States’ decline is set into motion.

It is chilling to see how Lindbergh uses a populist agenda and turns to members of the Jewish community to do his bidding. We have Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf (John Turturro), an influential leader in the Jewish community, who becomes a strong supporter of Lindbergh, normalizing many of Lindbergh’s rhetoric and, in a sense becoming the “token” Jew of the campaign.

I cannot help but see similar and modern parallels within many leaders and influential Hispanic community members who supported and continue to support Trump and his right-wing anti-immigrant agenda.

The performances are excellent. Morgan Spector (Herman Levin) and Zoe Kazan (Bess Levin) are fantastic. Both characters sense the danger of Lindbergh’s rhetoric but cope and approach the imminent threat to their community differently. Winona Ryder (Evelyn Finkel) is outstanding as this naive and over-trusting follower of Rabbi Bengelsdorf. The kid that plays Seldon (Jacob Laval) is a scene-stealer.

Kudos to David Simon for this remarkable and thought-provoking adaptation. I must confess that I have never seen The Wire; I’ll get around to it eventually. However, I’m a massive fan of The Deuce, which is one of the best things I’ve seen on TV in the last 20 years. Both of those shows were David Simon creations.

At its core, The Plot Against America is speculative and alternative history. Notwithstanding, it is also a clear warning of a dystopian horror that might await us in the not-so-distant future if we allow populist, isolationists, and xenophobic demagogues to rise into political positions of power.

Five out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA (2020). Streaming now on HBO

*TV SERIES RECAP: THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

Happy to say, I was surprisingly captivated and highly entertained with this TV Series. The Flight Attendant is based on a 2018 novel of the same name by bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian. This adaptation is a frenetic dark comedy — a murder mystery that pushes the pace from beginning to end.

Our flight attendant slash heroine Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) wakes up next to a dead body and with no memory of what happened the night before. The dead body belongs to Alex (Michiel Huisman), a passenger on Cassie’s Bangkok flight with whom Cassie goes out on a wild night of partying and drinking.

After waking up next to her dead date, Cassie frantically runs out of the hotel to avoid the Thai authorities and rushes to rejoin her flight crew back to New York — Within a few hours of hotel staff discovering Alex’s dead body, the FBI gets involved in this international homicide investigation.

Upon the flight’s arrival in the US, the flight attendant crew is interviewed by FBI agents, at which point Cassie becomes their main suspect.

The frenetic pace of the show picks up immediately after Cassie returns to NYC. She goes on this quest to piece together the mystery surrounding Alex’s murder. She learns about Alex’s shady business dealings and dangerous partners. However, this show’s most notable and unique thing is how Alex keeps showing up in ghost-like visions throughout the plot’s critical moments. He seems to be embedded in Cassie’s conscience, where some of the most engaging and emotional scenes between Cassie and Alex take place.

Cassie is this out of control, functioning alcoholic, but in a fun and entertaining way. Kaley Cuoco is excellent here; Her comedic timing is flawless — her body language, facial gestures, and delivery come naturally. No doubt all those years in hit sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory has paid dividends. Her alcoholism and self-destructive behavior are crucial to the plot, and Cuoco rises to the dramatic occasion. In lesser hands, this character would have been annoying and not as likable.

The entire casting is solid, but the most notable performances come from the three supporting female stars; Cassie’s brutally sarcastic best friend Annie (Zosia Mamet), a power attorney representing underworld types. Zosia Mamet is superb here, and her presence on screen is intense. Megan (Rosie Perez) is fantastic as Cassie’s flight crew supervisor. Megan is involved in a sub-plot of international corporate espionage, selling her husband’s company secrets to agents of the North Korean government. Also, the Mysterious femme fatale assassin Miranda (Michelle Gomez) is outstanding.

The plot and dialogue are all well put together, some things feel a bit preposterous, but it ends up working well. All in all, The Flight Attendant is an incredibly charming, fun show to watch. It is high-quality escapism and it is suspenseful enough to keep you invested in every single episode. I am looking forward to season 2.

Four out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿

The Flight Attendant, (2020). Streaming now on HBO MAX

*TV SERIES RECAP: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT

You don’t have to care, like, or even understand chess to be fascinated by it and to admire those who have mastered it. There are only two chess-related movies that I have thoroughly enjoyed: Pawn Sacrifice (2014) and Searching For Bobby Fischer (1993). They are both based on real-life characters.

There is also an excellent book that I love; The Eight (1988), a beautifully written novel by Katherine Neville, about the quest to track down a chess-set that belonged to King Charlemagne — it remains one of my all-time favorite works of historical fiction.

And it is safe to say that I can now include The Queen’s Gambit as a new personal all-time favorite when it comes to chess-related works of historical fiction.

The Queen’s Gambit is based on the 1983 Walter Tevis novel by the same name. I have never read any of his books, but I’ve been searching for a mass market paperback copy of The Steps of the Sun by Walter Tevis for a while now. Original editions of Tevis’s books have become very popular and expensive as of late — even used and somewhat worn down paperback copies are selling at higher prices than average. But I’m not complaining; I’m glad they are in high demand — Still, I’m planning to hold off until prices come down a bit.

This Netflix 7 episode series is about a Kentucky orphan on a quest to become the world’s greatest chess player. We follow Beth (Anya Taylor-joy) from the moment her mother kills herself by driving straight into oncoming traffic with young Beth in the backseat. She is placed in an all-girls 1950s orphanage where the children are given a daily diet of tranquilizers until Beth develops a pill addiction, which she carries into adulthood.

She meets the school janitor Mr. Shaibel (Bill Camp), who teaches her chess and becomes an early mentor and father figure. Bill Camp is always great in everything he does, and he is great here also. Beth Eventually gets adopted by a childless couple, and her journey into chess competitions begins soon after.

There is an extremely high level of quality to the production of this show. The set designs, costumes are all well put together. The chess competitions and chess matches are smartly portrayed. The tension is palpable in just about every chess match. The speed-chess scenes were remarkable. There is engaging and precise world-building that will make you want to become part of the world that these characters inhabit. However, this show is much more than only chess competitions and the mental stress of chess. It is about addiction, childhood trauma, feminism, and communism. Plus, it tackles mental health issues and the thin line between genius and madness.

The relationship between Beth and her adopted mother, Alma (Marielle Heller), is crucial to the plot. Alma’s self-discovery journey late in life after her husband leaves her is parallel to Beth’s journey. Marielle Heller is outstanding here playing this functioning alcoholic, coping with 1950s housewife life, while at the same time abusing alcohol and cigarettes.

The casting of all the supporting characters is on point here. The young Russian chess prodigy is a scene-stealer played by Louis George Ashbourne Serkis (Andy Serkis’ son). Young Beth (Isla Johnston) is just about identical to older Beth — easily could be the same person. Jolene (Moses Ingram) is solid as a fellow orphan and Beth’s closest friend. The two chess-head brothers who travel from tournament to tournament are hilarious. Even all of the cold war era Russian chess champions that Beth plays against are well cast.

Harry Beltik (Harry Melling) is praiseworthy as Beth’s first tough tournament competitor and eventual friend/lover. Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is exceptional as this weird and eccentric US chess champion; he competes against Beth and later befriends her. Her platonic relationship with former chess competitor turned photojournalist Townes (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) is another critical component of Beth’s personality and psychology. There is plenty of symbolism in the type of relationships she has with all the men in her life.

Anya Taylor-Joy is unbelievably good here, in a captivating and soulful performance. This is a complex character with deep psychological issues. Beth has an amazing mind, but alcohol and pills fuel her strategic vision for chess. Her psychological dependence on pills and alcohol are an intricate part of her process of finding focus and finding clarity when envisioning chess techniques and strategies. But at the same time, they are also threatening to become her undoing. Beth can be sweet, charming, and messed up all at once, and Anya Taylor-Joy captures all the complexities of this character beautifully.

The Queen’s Gambit gets better and better with every single episode. The writing, acting, and directing are brilliantly brought together. I felt like it could have been two episodes longer. Nevertheless, Netflix has once again delivered another excellent limited series.

Five out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

The Queen’s Gambit (2020). Streaming on Netflix.

*TV SERIES RECAP: PERRY MASON (Season 1)

This is not the Perry Mason show most people remember. It is essentially an origins story, where Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) is not a 1950s trial lawyer yet; he is a private investigator working for a defense attorney investigating the kidnapping of a baby that went horribly wrong.

Set in 1932 around the great depression era of Los Angeles — beautifully shot in a gritty noir style, with an obvious high level of quality all around the production; the cinematography, the lights, the sets, the costumes — It is all very well put together. There is this intense and dark atmosphere to the show —plus, all the gruesome scenes and all the police corruption of the LAPD are crucial components of the series.

There is this cool Sam Spade vibe to this early version of Perry Mason. Our protagonist is inhabiting a dangerous and sleazy world while remaining morally ambiguous. He wears a fedora, dresses in black, looks rough, gets into brawls. He is down and out, living in what little remains of his family’s old farm. He buys clothing and personal things from the mortuary out of recently deceased bodies. He fights the good fight but rarely wins; in a way, the system always has the last laugh at his expense.

Matthew Rhys delivers a captivating performance. He portrays Perry Mason as this gloomy, haunted, tormented, full of pain, broken down character. Completely opposite of how I remember the Raymond Burr version of Perry Mason.

The casting is terrific. Especially the Paul Drake character who was Mason’s investigator in the original series and books. He was initially envisioned as a white character; however, In HBO’s reboot, Paul Drake (Chris Chalk) is an African-American LAPD beat cop with a compelling backstory. Detective Holcomb (Eric Lange) was Mason’s nemesis in the book series and showed up on the TV show a few times. It seems like Holcomb is about to become a more prominent character in the upcoming seasons. Shea Whigham shows up as Pete Strickland, Mason’s detective partner — Whigham was outstanding in Boardwalk Empire, and he is outstanding here as well.

Sister Alice (Tatiana Maslany) is a charismatic 1930s radio evangelical preacher. There is an air of cultish, Scientology vibe to this character and of her entire congregation. Della Street (Juliet Rylance) is Mason’s legal assistant in the TV show and the book series. She is a highly competitive law clerk but cannot practice independently due to all the gender biases of the 50s. Lupe (Veronica Falcon) steals every scene she is in; her character seemed to be the only one to have a deep connection and understanding of Perry’s trauma and suffering. The performances by the entire all-star ensemble cast is excellent.

The show feels somewhat slow at first and a bit drawn out, but I did not mind it much. Things get going after the first few episodes, and then it gets into a solid rhythm. How the storyline came together at the end was well done; it was refreshing, and it came with some unexpected twists.

It is safe to say that the original Perry Mason show of the 1950s basically established the television courtroom drama. However, HBO’s Perry Mason is not your typical courtroom drama; it is an ambitious reimagining of this iconic TV character. His re-introduction to new audiences is different from anything else currently on TV.

Four out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿

PERRY MASON (Season 1, 2020). Streaming on HBO