311 Comments

Chicago Bears at New York Jets Game Preview

| September 18th, 2014

Jonathan Hughes is a die hard New York Jets fan. On Sunday, as the Jets sprinted ahead of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, I sent him a text message.

Jeff: J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

Jon: Best start in ten years. Both sides of ball.

I haven’t spoken to Jon since.

Now the Bears travel to the New Jersey swamplands, in the shadows of my hometown, smells that define my childhood, air pollution that will inevitably land me at Sloan Kettering.

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

WHY ELSE?

  • Jets may field their worst collection of corners in recent memory. Antonio Allen vs. Alshon Jeffery? Self-proclaimed great corner but actually terrible player Dee Milliner vs. Brandon Marshall? Hell, Darrin Walls or Kyle Wilson will struggle with a motivated Santonio Holmes. (Not to mention Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte will be a nightmare for the Jets in the passing game.) Once the Packers realized the Jets had no chance to cover their wide receivers they went on the attack and were borderline unstoppable. If I’m the Bears my approach from the onset is getting the ball in the hands of the weapons on the outside and forcing the Jets corners to make plays.
  • Jets will approach this game by believing they can run the football right up the gut of the Bears defense – especially if Jeremiah Ratliff is inactive with a concussion –  and they’ll give that game plan ample time. Chris Johnson was their high profile acquisition this off-season but Chris Ivory has been the far more productive back and I expect them to test Jon Bostic’s gap discipline all night long. Bears had a few breaks Sunday night, causing their run defense to look better than it actually was.
  • Rex Ryan is considered by many to be the most dynamic blitz schemer in the NFL and I don’t have the time or wherewithal to dispute that opinion. You know they’re coming. And you know they’re coming from every direction. But when Ryan blitzes he often either (a) leaves his corners on an island or (b) puts his safeties (Dawan Landry, Calvin Pryor) in the uncomfortable position of either defending over the top or covering tight ends they have business being matched up against. When Ryan’s group doesn’t hit Cutler, Cutler will rip them to shreds.

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532 Comments

Attacking Legalization of Sports Gambling While Endorsing Fantasy is NFL’s Greatest Hypocrisy

| February 3rd, 2014

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Each weekday afternoon, at 5:00 PM EST, the NFL Network airs something. I hesitate to call this something a television program because, you know, The Twilight Zone was a television program. All in the Family was a television program. CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite was a television program.

NFL Fantasy Live is not just sixty minutes of daily recorded garbage. It is also a symbol of the shield’s greatest hypocrisy: embracing the eh, we’re fine with it gambling of fantasy football while using their legal infantry to thwart the sorry, can’t have it gambling of point spreads, over/unders and the type of wagering that greatly helped build the NFL into the athletic superpower its become.

HOW DOES THE NFL VIEW FANTASY?

I began to write this column a few months ago but stalled due to my nagging believe that nobody wants to read another column thrashing Roger Goodell and the NFL ownership group holding the strings of Uncle Roger, their transparently prevaricating marionette. Then the thirty million dollar a year phony spoke on that bastion of sports journalism known as CNBC. From ProFootballTalk:

While addressing the league’s aversion to all forms of gambling, Goodell was asked about fantasy football.

“Fantasy’s a different issue for us,” Goodell said.  “We see families getting together.  It’s not about wagering.  They’re competing against one another.  And it’s a fun forum for our fans to engage in the game.”

Fantasy football: bringing families together since Roger Goodell said so.

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