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Wildcard Weekend Gambling Guide!

| January 3rd, 2020

Four games. I’ll give you a bet for each. (All odds courtesy of DraftKing Sportsbook.)


Saturday 3:35 PM Central

Bills at Texans (-2.5)

Over/Under 44

My heart is all-in for the boys from 716 but Josh Allen, facing a good pass rush, on the road, terrifies me. Look for Allen to use his legs a bunch in this one but I still don’t see Buffalo producing enough offense. If this line were a point higher, I’d go the other way. Begrudging Bet: Houston -2.5. 


Saturday 7:15 PM Central

Titans at Patriots (-5)

Over/Under 44

Bill Belichick will go into this game with a one-track mind. If the Patriots stop Derrick Henry, they win. But Henry has quietly become the best back in football and New England struggles upfront against these bruising-type runners. I don’t know if Tennessee wins this game but I like them to keep it close. Bet: Tennessee +5.


Sunday 12:05 PM Central

Vikings at Saints (-8)

Over/Under 50

I thought the Saints were in the best team in football in 2017. They lost in the playoffs on a ridiculous play.

I thought the Saints were the best team in football in 2018. They lost in the playoffs on a ridiculous call.

I think the Saints are the best team in football in 2019. They’re not losing to Kirk Cousins. Bet: New Orleans -8.

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A Closer Look at New OL Coach Juan Castillo

| January 2nd, 2020

The Bears didn’t wait long to start attacking the offseason following a disappointing 2019. Just three days after their last game and one day after firing offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, they hired his replacement in Juan Castillo. He brings a wealth of experience to the role, having filled the same position in Philadelphia under Andy Reid from 1998-2010, in Baltimore from 2013-16, and in Buffalo from 2017-18.

Castillo is expected to be heavily involved in designing and coordinating the run game in Chicago, which will be revamped this offseason after 2 unproductive years under Hiestand and former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. Accordingly, I dug into how well run games have fared under Castillo in the 19 years he’s served as an offensive line coach and/or run game coordinator. I did this using DVOA rankings, from Football Outsiders, which are a generally solid all-encompassing metric to evaluate both the rushing and passing production from an offense. The ranks for rushing and passing DVOA can be seen in the table below.

There’s a lot of data to parse through here, and I think you can look at it fairly from both an optimistic and pessimistic viewpoint. Let’s take a brief look at each perspective:

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ATM: Make Teddy A Bear 

| December 31st, 2019

Debate all day if you’d like, but the problem the Chicago Bears have had offensively the last two seasons boils down to one position: quarterback.

It’s time to fix that and, at the very least, find a way to get consistency out of that position by signing Teddy Bridgewater.

The bottom line with Mitch Trubisky is that he either doesn’t have (a) the football intelligence or (b) the instincts to play the position. Whether it’s a dump off on fourth-and-long, taking bad sacks or — his favorite — refusing to throw the ball away, Trubisky didn’t get the job done in 2019 and there’s little reason to think he will in 2020.

Where Trubisky struggles, Bridgewater excels. He’s smart and decisive with the ball, delivering accurate passes on all levels — completing 47.8 percent of his passes beyond 15 yards, while Trubisky sat at 38.4. (While Bridgewater had a passer rating of 90.8 on deep passes, it would’ve been higher had Ted Ginn not dropped what ended up being an interception.) Meanwhile, six of Trubisky’s interceptions came on deep passes.

Bridgewater went through his early struggles in Minnesota, but even then he was better than Trubisky was last year. And there’s reason to think he is even better now after spending two years with Drew Brees and Sean Payton.

The idea that Bridgewater was just a cog in the Saints offense isn’t reality. The team had plenty of struggles around him, including dropping 8.6% of his pass attempts, a mark that would’ve led the league by a wide margin if he had enough attempts to qualify. He was also hurried, hit or sacked on 19.5% of his drop backs – not much different than the pressure Trubisky faced.

Yet, the Saints kept moving the ball and the more Bridgewater played, the better he was.

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Week 17: Bears at Vikings Game Preview (With Nothing at Stake)

| December 27th, 2019


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and we’re only guaranteed 16 of these ballgames a year. The next time the Bears will take the field is nine months away. Might as well enjoy seeing the colors out there.


Three Reasons to Sit Through This Game

  • It won’t mean much to disappointed Bears fans but 8-8 will feel much better to this locker room than 7-9. They can endure this miserable campaign and know they were only a play or two away from being in the tournament ANYWAY.
    • And 4-2 in the NFC North will reaffirm the club’s belief that they are only a few moves away from being back atop the division in 2020. (Of course one of those moves needs to be at the most important position in professional sports.)
  • There are four metrics one can look at to get a good sense of a quarterback’s play: FO’s DVOA (value per play), DYAR (total value), QB rating and total QBR. None are close to perfect but I believe if you take the average ranking of the four you can get a clearer picture. Here is where Mitch Trubisky ranks in all four:
    • DVOA: 26th
    • DYAR: 26th
    • QB Rating: 28th
    • Total QBR: 28th
    • Fan of old school stats? Mitch is 32nd in average yards per completion and 27th in touchdowns. There’s not a single, discernible stat one can look to for optimism regarding Trubisky’s performance this season.
    • Verdict: he’s been better than rookies and backups this year. Nobody else. So why is this a reason to watch? Maybe it’s his last start?
  • Khalil Mack needs a sack and a half to get to double digits on the season. One has to believe he’ll be motivated to get there. And the Vikings offensive line will help. They are bad in protection.

Tweet of the Week

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Week 17: Three Game Haikus

| December 26th, 2019

So we reach the end

of another sad campaign.

Get thee to a pub!


Who shall bear the blame?

Trubisky? Nagy? The line?

It don’t matter now.


Where once sat Club Dub,

Now is an abandoned lot.

Will the lights return?

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HughesReviews: The Ten Best Christmas Movies of All-Time

| December 24th, 2019

This year I started watching holiday films on the day before Thanksgiving, opening with the wonderful Home for the Holidays and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A month later, I’ve sat through just about every Christmas movie, TV special and Christmas sitcom episode there is to sit through. 68 in total. Before getting to my ten favorites, a few notes.

  • I can’t deal with It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s just so damn dreary. I know it’s beloved but not by me.
  • No, A Christmas Story is not on this list. And I recognize that will be an issue for many but this is my list and I legitimately dislike that movie.
  • Those stop motion pictures creep me out. Year Without Santa Claus, Rudolph…etc.
  • Can’t an argument be made that A Christmas Carol is the greatest book ever written? Look at how many brilliant interpretations of that novel have been created (two on this list alone).
  • Even the non-great films produce some beautiful scenes:
    • Mila Kunis and Christine Baranski in the church at the end of Bad Moms Christmas.
    • Seth Rogen tripping out at the sight of a crucified Jesus in The Night Before.
    • Nic Cage coming clean to the town in Trapped in Paradise.
    • Schwarzenegger rifling off the names of the reindeer in Jingle All the Way.
    • Tim Allen giving the cruise to his neighbors in Christmas with the Kranks.
    • John Lithgow’s scenery chewing in Santa Claus the Movie.
    • Danny Elfman’s great tunes in Nightmare Before Christmas.

The list, with clips and such instead of writing. All of these movies are known.


#10 Die Hard


#9 Bad Santa


#8 Home Alone


#7 Gremlins


#6 The Ref

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