Tuesday Teabag, November 28, 2017 – New York Giants

A sad day for Big Blue.

We know, we know.  It’s been awhile since we’ve posted.  You could chalk it up to the general football apathy that is barely sweeping the country, or The Machine’s first two picks in our fantasy draft (Odell Beckham and Zeke Elliott) casting a dark cloud over this season (still gonna make the playoffs in that league though, thanks to some savage waiver wire pickups that we arguably should’ve been passing on to you…thanks again, Alvin Kamara).

Whatever the reason, at approximately 3:32 pm today, The Machine got woke, when we saw the following headlines (followed by an onslaught of texts and tears):  New York Giants Bench Eli Manning; Geno Smith to Start on Sunday.  Oh, we’re woke AF now.

Are you fucking kidding me?  Bench Eli?  Make no mistake:  The Giant’s season has been an absolute shit show.  At 2-9, they are going nowhere.  But Eli Manning is the last player on that team to blame.  This is nothing more than a desperate move by a head coach and GM to save their jobs, and improve their chances at a higher draft pick (we’ll get to the draft in a second).  Think about it:  You’re telling me that Geno Smith gives you the best chance to win on Sunday, over Eli Manning, two-time Super Bowl winner and two-time Super Bowl MVP?  Geno Smith, the same guy that got his jaw broken by his own teammate?  And I thought the Bills decision to bench Tyrod was dumb (and it was).  This is far worse, and will go down as one of the worst decisions after made on a football field.

Hey Ben, thanks for taking the heat off me, brah! #billsmafia

Don’t be fooled.  The Giants (and ownership is in on this too) are making Eli the scapegoat.  They’re throwing him under the bus because they know they can.  Because Eli is too humble and good-natured to play dirty and tell them to fuck off.  They want you to believe it’s an aging Eli that caused this season to collapse.  But that’s total bullshit.  The reason this season (and next season) will collapse, and the reason the Giants have missed the playoffs 5 out of the last 6 years, is because of an organizational failure to draft players and build a team.

There’s blood on all your hands.

The Giants have wasted the last 5 years of Eli’s career, while he’s done nothing but go out there every day, without complaint, and do his job.  The Giants should build this team around him.  Literally.  He is, at best, a severely immobile quarterback.  You’d think then, that the smart/right/glaringly fucking obvious thing to do would be to build an offensive line that would protect him.  Give him that pocket, and time, he needs to throw, and be able to run block to keep defenses honest.  You build your team (and offense line) in the draft, and, when done right, it gives your offense the foundation to succeed (see Dallas Cowboys).  And this is where the Giants front office has failed miserably.

The core of any team should be guys in years 4 through 7.  Players that have played through their rookie contract and are rounding into their primes.  That’s how championship teams are built.  Draft first, then supplement as needed through free agency.  Anyway, let’s look and see how the “core” of the Giants are doing.  Between 2010 and 2013, the Giants drafted a total of 29 players.  Care to guess how many of those players are still on the team?  2.  Yes, two, and one of them has a lobster claw for a hand.  Seriously, here they are:

2010 – 1 (JPP)

2011 – 0

2012 – 0

2013 – 1 (Pugh)

That’s it.  What should be the core of this team is non-existent.  Jerry Reese and co. failed time after time.  Several of those players aren’t even in the league anymore.  The only constant during this time, and the prior 210 games, has been Eli Manning.  Dependable, tough, professional.  He gave the Giants constant stability at the most important position.  He has started every single game since his career began in 2004, second only to Brett Farve in most consecutive starts.  And he delivered (twice) on the largest stage, beating the unbeatable Patriots (twice).

How soon we forget.

Many people try to discredit Eli’s contributions to those Super Bowl winning teams, pointing to how great the defenses were, or how “lucky” Eli got.  That’s all revisionist history.  Don’t forget:  the Giants were double digit underdogs in both those Super Bowls.  Their defense was good, but not great, and sorry, luck may get you one Super Bowl, but it ain’t getting you two.  Eli stepped up his game when it mattered most.

Captain Clutch.

Perhaps the best quality about him is his unassuming nature, and unflappable resolve.  Could you imagine if the Giants didn’t make the trade to get Eli in 2004, and instead stayed with Phillip Rivers?  Do you think for a second Rivers would survive in New York?  Under the constant pressure in the biggest market?  Puh-lease.  Rivers barely withstood the “tough” San Diego journalists, while throwing tantrums on the sidelines and shit-talking the other team.  Eli?  Not a chance.  He always rose above the pettiness.  Never got too high when things were good, and never got too low when things were bad.  That’s what you want from your starting quarterback.

Point is: you don’t do this to someone like Eli Manning.  If you’re going to move on from him, you do it with the same dignity and grace that he gave you his entire career.  Wait until the season’s over, and then mutually part ways.  Apparently, McAdoo offered Eli the chance to start, and then get replaced, in order to keep the streak alive.  Manning declined, saying, “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them.  Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak.”  Class act.

This is just a complete slap in the face.  Clearly, Geno Smith is not the future of this franchise, so why do this now?  It makes absolutely no sense.  It has completely enraged the fan base.  It has completely enraged former players.  People are calling for McAdoo (and Reese, who honestly should’ve been let go when Tom Coughlin was unceremoniously shown the door) to get fired, but I’m here to tell you that McAdoo won’t get fired.  Reese, on the other hand, should get the boot.  He can no longer live on the fumes of his one good draft (’07).  And drafting Odell Beckham means squat if no one has time to throw him the ball.

This kid’s definitely getting his ass kicked at school tomorrow.  That’s on you too.

So with the entire fanbase up in arms, former players upset, and Mike Francesa definitely pissed, how is it possible that McAdoo stays?  He just benched the greatest New York Giant of all time (not named LT).  Of course he’s going to get fired…unless [affixes tinfoil hat] he did this to save his job.  Here me out.  Obviously, this decision wasn’t made without input from the Mara family.  Parting with Eli was bound to happen, and it was always going to be somewhat messy.  So what if ownership found a way to make this unpopular decision without taking any blame.  What if they told McAdoo that, we’ll keep you around for next year, but you have to take the heat for getting rid of Eli.  That can’t be on us.  The tradeoff is you get to keep your multi-million dollar job, and if you do well next year, the fickle fans will let bygones be bygones.

And let’s be honest, as much as I hate to type it:  Eli’s played his last game for the Giants.  There’s no way to come back from this.  The Giants are now officially in Suck for Sam mode, and whatever qb they select with their (likely) top 3 pick is going to start immediately, or they’ll have some schlep start (ahem, Geno Smith), who will be pulled for the new guy.  Eli should waive his no trade clause and head south to Jacksonville (darkhorse:  Denver) and finish out his career with Tom Coughlin.  Two guys with class, dignity, and two Super Bowl rings.

As for the Giants, they just kicked a Hall of Fame quarterback (don’t even try to debate me on that shit) to the curb.  For Geno Smith.  They get exactly what they deserve.

Enjoy your teabag.

The Machine’s Draft Day Drinking Game (2017 ed.)

Cheers!Can’t make it to The Machine’s Draft Day Party?  Well, that sucks for you.  But have no fear…we got your back.  “How can I make the Draft better?”, you ask yourself in amazement.  By playing The Big Red Sports Machine’s Draft Day Drinking Game.  It’s fun, it’s easy, guaranteed to impress the ladies, and you can play at home or at your favorite watering hole.  Here are the rules:

1.  Draft catchphrases.  There are certain phrases you only hear during the Draft.  Why?  We don’t know, but we love them.  For this reason alone, we give ESPN the slight lean over the NFL Network for your draft day coverage.  That, and, Kiper.  Duh, winning!

The following phrases are worth a shot of beer:

  • Raw talent
  • Off-the-field or character issues
  • Live arm
  • High motor
  • Straight line speed
  • Great Value
  • Upside
  • Best player available
  • Intangibles or Measurables
  • Trade Down
  • War Room
  • New Regime
  • Read-Option
  • Edge Rusher
  • Gets to the Second Level
  • Quick feet
  • Plays in Space
  • Advanced Stats

New for 2017:

  • Dual threat
  • System quarterback
  • Pocket presence
  • Plays in the box (hey oh!)

2.  Videos/references.  Each of these are beer-finishing worthy:

  • Reference to Mel’s hair
  • Player on-stage photo-op with family/entourage of 15+
  • Reference to Cleveland Browns front office ineptitude
  • First shot of Drew Rosenhaus in his newest client’s living room
  • First player to cry when their name is called
  • Reference to when Tom Brady was drafted (we’ll also accept Brady’s Combine picture)
  • Reference to Aaron Rodgers draft day slide
  • Video of Brady Quinn in the green room
  • Video of Bill Tobin’s infamous “who the hell is Mel Kiper?” interview during the ’94 Draft
  • And this:

3.  On the Clock Chug.  When your team is on the clock, you have to finish a full beer before the pick is called.  Note:  if your team trades down, they’re on the clock twice, meaning that’s two full beers.  Cowboy up, it’s the Draft!

Basically, if it doesn’t look like this than you’re probably doing it wrong…..

Beer Chug

Or this:

Beer Chug 2

FINAL MOCK DRAFT (GINGER KING)

Here.  We.  Go.

The final mock.  After weeks (ok months) of “research” (defined to include watching an endless supply of college game tape with fistfuls of chicken wings and buckets of Coors Light) it’s time to put our “knowledge” to work.  So many questions heading into the Draft, so many rumors flying around; it’s hard to decipher what’s legit and what’s bullshit.  But that’s why we’re here.

The question on everyone’s mind:  Will Ginger King and Roid Rage continue their streak of more correct First Round picks than Kiper and McShay?  Ginger please, we got this locked down.  Anyway, on to the final mock.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
3 Chicago Bears Jamal Adams (LSU) S
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB

Leonard has “Tom Coughlin guy” written all over him.

5 Tennessee Titans O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
6 NY Jets Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DE
7 Los Angeles Chargers Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
8 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE
10 Buffalo Bills Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
11 New Orleans Saints Taco Charlton (Michigan) DE
12 Cleveland Browns Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB

[looks in mirror]
Cleveland is where I want to be.
Cleveland is where I want to be.
Cleveland is where I want to be.

13 Arizona Cardinals Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB
14 Philadelphia Eagles Gareon Conley (OSU) CB
15 Indianapolis Colts Malik Hooker (OSU) S
16 Baltimore Ravens Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
17 Washington Redskins Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
18 Tennessee Titans Haasan Reddick (Temple) LB
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB
20 Denver Broncos Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
21 Detroit Lions David Njoku (Miami) TE
22 Miami Dolphins Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB
23 New York Giants Garett Bolles (Utah) OL

Big Blue Mauler.

24 Oakland Raiders Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
25 Houston Texans Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
26 Seattle Seahawks Kevin King (Washington) CB
27 Kansas City Chiefs Marlon Humphrey (Alabama) CB
28 Dallas Cowboys Adoree Jackson (USC) CB
29 Green Bay Packers TJ Watt (Wisconsin) LB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) S
31 Atlanta Falcons Charles Harris (Missouri) LB
32 New Orleans Saints John Ross (Washington) WR

Instant Analysis:  Obviously, this is not how the First Round will shake out, as trades will throw everything off…and we think there will be a lot of trades.  Potentially starting at #2 with the Niners.  I also think another team looking to trade down is Tennessee at 5.  I think there’s no way the Browns come out of the First Round without Myles Garrett and Mitchell Trubisky.  I think the Browns will take Myles at #1, and then find a way to climb back into the Top 10.  Perfect trade would be with the Titans.  Keep your eye on that.

Another trading spot will be the end of the First Round.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team at the top of Round 2 (say, Chicago or Cleveland if they somehow managed to screw up and not get Trubisky) trade into the bottom of the First Round to grab a quarterback.  But why would they do that?  Simple.  All draft picks are required to sign a 4 year contract…but only First Round picks have a team option for a fifth year.  If you feel that there’s a player out there (usually a qb) that you’re in love with, it’s better to draft them in the bottom of the first than the top of the second.  If you’re right (and let’s be honest, all GMs think they’re right), you get them for an extra year at a good price.  If you’re wrong, well then you won’t be around to not exercise the option.  Win-win.

Elsewhere, I’ve had Njoku to the Giants forever, and for my own selfish reasons I hope he ends up there.  But the Giants have a terrible time keeping their picks a secret.  There’s either a front office leak, or someone like to hit the “reply all” button on emails, but there have been multiple drafts where teams have traded up ahead of the Giants to draft the player they really want.  In 2012, the Bucs traded up to get Doug Martin.  Last year, the Titans and the Bears traded up to get ahead of the Giants to draft Jack Conklin and Leonard Floyd, respectively, the Giant’s top 2 coveted players.  This year, I think the G-Men are in love with Njoku and (dark horse) Zach Cunningham.  I know they haven’t drafted a first round linebacker in 30+ years but that doesn’t mean they haven’t tried (see Floyd, Leonard).  I think they lose out on both of them this year and “settle” for Bolles, which isn’t much of a settle, seeing as how he would immediately compete for the left tackle position.

Big question is how much will “character concerns” affect draft status?  There are a handful of first round talent players – Jabrill Peppers, Reuben Foster, Gareon Conley, Joe Mixon, etc.  I still think that Mixon doesn’t get drafted tonight, because…um, that video.  But the others?  I don’t think it affects them that much.  That reminds me:  Hey rookies, change your social media passwords today.  You don’t want this to appear around 7:45 pm tonight:

Still a first round pick.

Mock Draft 4.0 (Ginger King)

One week to go!  Big risers (Christian McCaffrey) and fallers (Reuben Foster) this week as the Draft starts to pan out a little.  This is about the time where teams use some serious misdirection and smokescreens.  If you’re hearing for the first time this week that Team X is in love with Y player, it’s probably not true.  Teams are always playing this game of inflating players, or critiquing players, in the hopes that the real player they want will fall to them.

Also, Roid Rage finally stopped watching April baseball (it doesn’t matter bruh, check back in 5 months) and posted his first mock.  He brought in some heavy hitters (pun intended) and bold moves.  Go check it out.  But first, check out what Ginger King has in store for you.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
3 Chicago Bears Jamal Adams (LSU) S
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
6 NY Jets Malik Hooker (OSU) S
7 Los Angeles Chargers Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
8 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DE
10 Buffalo Bills Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB

Hey, it could be worse. You could be in Cleveland.

11 New Orleans Saints Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE
12 Cleveland Browns Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
13 Arizona Cardinals John Ross (Washington) WR
14 Philadelphia Eagles Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
15 Indianapolis Colts Taco Charlton (Michigan) DE
16 Baltimore Ravens Marlon Humphrey (Alabama) CB
17 Washington Redskins Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) S
18 Tennessee Titans Gareon Conley (OSU) CB
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB
20 Denver Broncos Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
21 Detroit Lions Haasan Reddick (Temple) DE
22 Miami Dolphins Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB
23 New York Giants David Njoku (Miami) TE

A real dual threat athlete.

24 Oakland Raiders Caleb Brantley (Florida) DT
25 Houston Texans Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB
26 Seattle Seahawks Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
27 Kansas City Chiefs Tra’Davious White (LSU) CB
28 Dallas Cowboys Adoree Jackson (USC) CB
29 Green Bay Packers Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
31 Atlanta Falcons Charles Harris (Missouri) LB
32 New Orleans Saints Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL

Instant Anlaysis:  The Browns don’t get so lucky this time…as Western New York’s America’s team, the Buffalo Bills, make a splash and get their (next) quarterback of the future (wait, isn’t Jim Kelly’s nephew in this Draft?)  Anyway, Mitchell to the Bills makes sense.  Tyrod’s essentially on a one year deal, and Mitchell really could use a year on the sidelines to learn the NFL way (he’s not a ready-made pro-product like Andrew Luck or Cam Newton).  Plus, Tyrod and Mitchell have similar playing-styles.  Mitchell is not a pure pocket passer…he ran for 5 tds last season and played mostly out of the shotgun.  Learning from Tyrod for a year is the smart and practical thing to do. [checks Bills coaching roster to make sure the Ryan brothers are not there].  This could totally happen.

Turning to the real New York team, I can’t really envision a scenario where they don’t pick Njoku if he’s available.  Let’s get real for a second.  This pick is going to be offense.  The Giants are returning 10 of 11 starters on defense, and their problems last year were on the offensive side, with a rotating cast of linemen and I almost had them take Garrett Bolles, but there’s no real clear-cut can’t miss offensive lineman this years.  There’s a lot of flyers, and you don’t want to spend a first-round pick on a flyer.  That’s why I think the Giants will wait until later in the draft to select a lineman, maybe someone like Tayler Moton.  The beauty of Njoku (or Howard but I don’t really see him falling that far or the Giants trading up) is that he provides both offensive line support plus a receiving threat.  This 2 for 1 helps to solve the Giant’s biggest need.

Biggest winner is Christian McCaffrey, who vaults into the Top 10.  I’ve heard a lot of rumors about this is the pick for Carolina, and I’m starting to buy it.  Would improve both the running and passing game.  Cam needs weapons, both receiving and running.  The only concern is durability and is he a three-down player.  But the talent may be too much to pass up.

Elsewhere, Rueben Foster and his diluted urine sample continue to fall.  This latest news, coupled with being asked to leave the Combine for arguing with a hospital worker (true story), might move him out of the first round altogether.

Mock Draft 3.0 (Ginger King)

We’re inside 2 weeks.  There are some big changes here as edge closer to the Draft.  So many questions, so little time.  But that’s why we’re here.  To answer all your questions, until we change the answers next week.  Enjoy.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
3 Chicago Bears Jamal Adams (LSU) S
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
6 NY Jets Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DE
7 Los Angeles Chargers Malik Hooker (OSU) S
8 Carolina Panthers Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Mike Williams (Clemson) WR

Paired opposite AJ = matchup nightmare.

10 Buffalo Bills Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
11 New Orleans Saints Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE
12 Cleveland Browns Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB
13 Arizona Cardinals John Ross (Washington) WR
14 Philadelphia Eagles Marlon Humphrey (Alabama) CB
15 Indianapolis Colts Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
16 Baltimore Ravens Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
17 Washington Redskins Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) S
18 Tennessee Titans Tra’Davious White (LSU) CB
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
20 Denver Broncos Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
21 Detroit Lions Taco Charlton (Michigan) DE
22 Miami Dolphins Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB
23 New York Giants David Njoku (Miami) TE
24 Oakland Raiders Caleb Brantley (Florida) DT
25 Houston Texans Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB

The successor to the Brock Osweiler era.

26 Seattle Seahawks Haasan Reddick (Temple) DE
27 Kansas City Chiefs Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
28 Dallas Cowboys Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
29 Green Bay Packers TJ Watt (Wisconsin) LB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Josh Jones (NC State) S
31 Atlanta Falcons Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
32 New Orleans Saints Gareon Conley (OSU) CB

 

Instant Anlaysis:  Mitchell falling to 12 would be the dream scenario for the Browns, but chances of that working out are iffy.  In fact, I’m not sure he’ll make it, as there are a few teams (Jets, Saints, and even the Bills as a dark horse) that could take Trubisky.  But for now, we’ll give Cleveland some LeBron magic.  Elsewhere, speed sells, as Mr. 4.22 John Ross keeps moving up and up.  He’d fit in perfectly in Arizona, a true deep threat to open up the underneath for (suddenly old) Larry Fitzgerald.  This, in turn, moves Corey Davis up a few slots.  It’s a deceptively deep draft for receivers, but only 3 are first round worthy.  After that, it’s a muddled mix of maybes and could-bes, guys like Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster, Zay Jones, Dede Westbrook, and Curtis Samuel.

On the defensive side, secondary rules.  As many as 8 cornerbacks/safeties (a quarter of the first round) could go on Day 1.  When you think about it, as the league continues to change to a pass-first offense, defenses adjust accordingly.  Thus, corners and safeties become more of a priority.

Mock Draft 2.0 (Ginger King)

NFL Draft 2017

Happy April Fool’s Day!  Did you enjoy scarring your children for life by pretending to throw the family dog into oncoming traffic (Sparkles, no!!!)  Honestly, is there a dumber day out there that people celebrate (not including anything Canada celebrates that we don’t, because really, what the fuck is Boxing Day.  And don’t even get me started about Victoria Day.

Anyway, there’s no fooling around with The Draft.  We’re inside a month.  It’s time to get real.  The first wave of free agency has come and gone, and that has dramatically shaped the first round.  Check out our updated First Round.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
3 Chicago Bears Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DE
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans Jamal Adams (LSU) S
6 NY Jets Mitch Trubisky (UNC) QB
7 Los Angeles Chargers Malik Hooker (OSU) S
8 Carolina Panthers Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
OJ may be the best offensive player in The Draft.

OJ may be the best offensive player in The Draft.

 

10 Buffalo Bills Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
11 New Orleans Saints Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
12 Cleveland Browns Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
13 Arizona Cardinals Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
14 Philadelphia Eagles Tra’Davious White (LSU) CB
15 Indianapolis Colts Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
16 Baltimore Ravens John Ross (Washington) WR
17 Washington Redskins Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) LB
18 Tennessee Titans Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Caleb Brantley (Florida) DT
20 Denver Broncos Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
21 Detroit Lions Taco Charlton (Michigan) DE
22 Miami Dolphins Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB
23 New York Giants David Njoku (Miami) TE
24 Oakland Raiders Marlon Humphrey (Alabama) CB
25 Houston Texans Forrest Lamp (Western Kentucky) OL
26 Seattle Seahawks Kevin King (Washington) CB
27 Kansas City Chiefs Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
White Lightning.

White Lightning.

28 Dallas Cowboys Haasan Reddick (Temple) DE
29 Green Bay Packers T.J. Watt (Wisconsin) LB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Charles Harris (Missouri) DE
31 Atlanta Falcons Jordan Willis (Kansas St.) DE
32 New Orleans Saints Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB

Instant Analysis:  Biggest mover is OJ Howard.  Once thought to be available in the late first round, Howard is flying up draft boards.  He’s a two-for one…he’ll improve your passing game and blocking game.  Another riser is John Ross.  Speed sells, and 4.22 is pretty damn fast.  Some fallers include quarterbacks, specifically Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer.  Simply put: this is weak QB class, and, when that’s the case, teams are finding that they can get success at QB in later rounds (Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott).  Barring some teams trading back up into the first round (don’t forget about that 5th year team option for 1st round picks), I can’t see more than 2 qbs going in the first.

Another big winner is running backs.  The modern trend puts less value on running backs, however this Draft figures to be different.  Fournette is a bruiser (has Tom Coughlin guy written all over him) and Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey are the dual-threat backs teams cream over.  It’s been 5 years since 3 backs were taken in the First Round.  We like the chances this year.

Mock Draft 1.0 (Ginger King)

NFL Draft 2017

Is your bracket busted?  Yours truly was looking great until Wisconsin just ruined it all!  Oh well, it’s time to focus on what’s really important.  The NFL Draft!

We’re almost a month away (but you knew that) from the most important (not actual) sporting event.  Teams looking to rebuild (Cleveland, again), reload (New England, again), and just fill in the last remaining pieces to a championship run.

Now, if you’ve looked at mock drafts thus far, good for you…but they are utterly meaningless.  Any mock you see pre-Combine is worthless.  Ditto for anything pre-free agency.  I don’t know how many times we’ve stressed this to anyone that will listen, but teams are built through free agency, and then supplemented via the draft.  You think Philly’s going WR after signing Alshon Jeffrey???  You think Chicago’s drafting a qb after signing Mike Glennon (possible, but unlikely).  Anyway, it’s still too early for a full mock, but let’s give you a flavor for our Top 10.  Here.  We.  Go.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Mitch Trubisky (UNC) QB
3 Chicago Bears Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DT
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
5 Tennessee Titans Jamal Adams (LSU) S
6 NY Jets Malik Hooker (OSU) S
7 Los Angeles Chargers Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
8 Carolina Panthers Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
10 Buffalo Bills Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
Congrats on being the best player in the Draft.  Your reward is a trip to Cleveland and a losing season.

Congrats on being the best player in the Draft. Your reward is a trip to Cleveland and a losing season.

Instant Analysis:  I think the Browns are locked on to Garrett.  Let’s be honest:  The Browns need a lot of things.  Yes, they need a quarterback.  Yes, they need a running back.  But what they really need most is a sure thing…and Garrett is the only sure thing in this Draft.  Plus, the Browns also have the #12 pick (finally, they are doing this draft thing right and stockpiling picks).  It’s possible that Trubisky, Fournette, or Cook fall to #12.  It’s not possible that Garrett does.  Try all you want, but defenses still win championships.

Stock is falling.

Stock is falling.

Other notables:  The Jets (wisely) pass on a RB in the first round and shore up their secondary.  LA splashes with a WR (hey, they need to sell tickets, defense may win championships, but offense sells luxury boxes).  For now, I have Fournette going in the Top 10…but that slow 40 may drop him.  I do think that he will be the second running back taken, as Dalvin Cook fits the modern day running back mold (dual threat running and receiving).  And Buffalo switches gears and goes with the best cover corner in the draft, after losing Stephon Gilmore to free agency (see how that works).

As we get closer to the real deal, we’ll give you a full analysis of the first round.  For now, enjoy this taste.

SUPER BOWL 51 : WHY THE FALCONS WILL WIN

Oh yeah!  Are you ready?  The greatest game in American all of sports is set to be played Sunday night in Houston.  Seriously, after the Super Bowl, we fall off the sports cliff (but pitchers and catchers report on zzzzzzzzzzzz).

Anyway, the high-flying Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots.  Yes, the same Patriots that are always in the Super Bowl.  With the same cheating quarterback, same cheating coach, and same cast of bit-players and discarded running backs and receivers who somehow become great once they put on that stupid uniform.  I’m looking at you Chris Hogan!  Hilariously, Roid Rage has to tell you why the Patriots will win the Super Bowl.  For a devout Buffalo Bills fan (is there any other kind?) that must be the most painful experience since the Music City Miracle (sorry, bro).  Well, if you’re like 99% of Americans (and 100% of Americans who can pronounce the letter r) there’s only one to root for come Sunday.  So let me tell you why the Atlanta Falcons will win the Super Bowl.

Let’s start with a video, shall we:  I call this one, Julio-ma-god!

Everyone loves to talk about quarterbacks, but I like to talk about the most dominant player on the field.  That is Julio Jones, who has absolutely lit up the field in the postseason.  Here’s Julio’s stat line this postseason:  15/247/3.  In two games!  He is unstoppable.  Even when he’s doubled, or guarded with safety help underneath, he’s a threat (watch that video again).

Next stop:  endzone.

Next stop: endzone.

Julio’s an atypical wide receiver, in that he’s not a complete self-absorbed diva.  You’ll never see him taking videos in the locker room, or partying with Bieber.  His laid back, unassuming attitude might not get him headlines, but he’s not looking for that.  He’s looking to win.  That doesn’t mean he lacks confidence, he just doesn’t need to be a dick about it.  During the (annoyingly long) media day, Julio was asked if anyone can guard him.  In a very polite, yet matter-of-fact tone, Julio responded.  “One-on-one, no I do not.”  Period.  And we believe him.

Don’t forget about us.

Julio is only the beginning of the problem for the Patriots.  Simply put:  the Falcons have a more complete offense than the Patriots.  Both running and receiving are (by far) superior to New England.  Stick that in your Wahlbahgah!  Mohammed Sanu has scored a touchdown in each playoff game this year, and Taylor Gabriel continues to display is “X-factor” [draft day drinking game term…chug!].  He hasn’t scored in the postseason (yet), but we love his work on the inside.  That’s where the Patriots D is most vulnerable.  They’ll work to contain Julio and Sanu outside, which should leave lanes for Gabriel and his ridiculous speed.

Don't forget about me, either.

Don’t forget about me, either.

Who’s the receiving game’s best friend, you ask?  A running game.  And the Falcons succeed there too.  Devonta Freeman’s so, good, he’s talking contract extension BEFORE the Super Bowl.  That’s either insanely naïve or confident, and based on his play, we’ll go with the latter.  Devonta hasn’t rushed for many yards in the playoffs, but he’s scored a touchdown in each playoff game, and he’s a [cue draft day drinking game term] dual threat, as he can catch the ball out of the backfield.  In their Divisional Playoff game against Seattle, Freeman was the Falcon’s leading receiver.  That just adds another defensive scheme wrinkle…if the Pats double Julio and drop two safeties in coverage to stop the pass and shadow the slot, that will leave Devonta one-on-one in the flat against a linebacker.  We like those odds.

But let’s not just talk about the offense.  The defense gets their props too.  While obviously overshadowed by the offense, the defense is no slouch.  And, more importantly, they match up really well against the Patriots.  If history is any indicator, the recipe against the Pats is front 4 pressure, close the pocket, and get in Brady’s face.  Like this:

Or this:

Speed on the edge and pressure up front.  Atlanta’s all over that.  The Falcons are the second coming of the Legion of Boom, which is no surprise, seeing as how Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator in Seattle prior to taking the job with Atlanta.  Long, aggressive, and quick, and it starts up front, with NFL leading-sack man Vic Beasley.  He’s listed as a linebacker, but don’t be surprised to see him with his hands on the ground up front.  For true defensive ends, the Falcons have a good blend of youth and experience, with Adrian Clayborn, Tyson Jackson, and Dwight Freeney (what is he, like 50?).  The Patriots O-line will have their hands full.

In the secondary, things don’t get much better.  Yes, they’re inexperienced, but 2nd year stud Jalen Collins is quickly establishing himself as a lockdown corner, and rookie Keanu Neal adds even more speed in the safety spot.  Speed and length in the secondary allows for an aggressive game plan for the front seven.

MVP! MVP! MVP!

MVP! MVP! MVP!

Oh, yeah, and we didn’t even talk about (soon to be) MVP Matt Ryan.  Ryan followed up his brilliant regular season with an even more brilliant performance in the playoffs.  He’s thrown for 730 yard and 7 touchdowns…in 2 games!  Those are Madden-esque numbers.  Plus, Matt’s got one more trick up his sleeve to help him in the Super Bowl.  Advice from the only man that’s beaten Tom in the Super Bowl (twice).  You know I can’t write a Super Bowl winning article without mentioning Eli.

You can talk mystique and hoodies all you want, but these Patriots are riding on the coattails of the past.  The loss of Gronk will be felt even more now that Martellus Bennett is limping.  He’ll play, but he won’t be near 100%.  Look, they’re still the Patriots.  This game will not be a blowout.  Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, with his perfect little arm, perfect wife, perfect family…dammit we him.  But Atlanta’s got too much firepower for the Patriots to handle.

One more thing:  Bet.  The.  Under.  We know the Falcons have scored 30+ points in six consecutive games.  We know the Patriots score in bunches too.  We know we told you to bet the over in the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay when it was a jaw-dropping 61 (you’re welcome).  We know everyone is expecting a shootout.  But hear us out.  First, the over/under is at a historic high for the Super Bowl at 59.  Second, only 4 times has the over/under for a Super Bowl been over 50 points.  The under has hit all 4 times.  Defenses gel as the playoffs move on, and playcalling gets more conservative as the stakes get higher.  Look for the under to be successful for the 5th time.

Final thoughts:  Not for nothing, but you should root for the Falcons.  With all the gut shots America’s taken over the past month, another Patriots Super Bowl will just put us over the edge.

This ginger’s flying high with the Falcons.  Let’s make Football great again.

Final Score:  Atlanta 31, New England 27

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

It's go time!

It’s go time!

While the AFC may be a foregone conclusion (Roid Rage does his best, but if even he is picking the Patriots, then it’s a sure thing), the NFC is wide open.  Both teams are playing top level football.  The Falcons dismantled the Seahawks last week, and Green Bay won an instant classic against the Cowboys (thank you).  Is there any doubt that kicker is the most intense, pressure-packed job in all of sports?

Wait, can we talk about that Dallas/Green Bay again for a second?  That’s everything you want in a game.  Home team down 15 in the fourth quarter, they claw back, tie it up, and then Green Bay hits a pair of 50+ yarders.  And that throw and catch.  Hot damn.

Damn.

Damn.

The best part?  All of these videos (and believe me, there are tons of them)

Seriously, I could (and did) spend a whole day watching the misery of others passionate football fans commiserate a loss.  What does that say about me?  And then seeing this tweet from Skip Bayless, sad, sad, Cowboys homer.

Is there anything more annoying than a pompous sports writer who won’t accept defeat?  Joe Buck?  Just kidding Joe, we love you.

We love you, Joe!

We love you, Joe!

Anyway, let’s get right to the matchup, which should be a good one.

Green Bay at Atlanta (+6), Sunday 3:05 pm

Three words:  Bet.  The.  Over.  What’s that, you say?  The O/U is 61?  I don’t care.  Bet.  The.  Over.  Need proof.  In each of their last 5 games, Atlanta and Green Bay have scored at least 30 points (Atlanta topped 40 twice).  Not surprisingly, the teams are a combined 10-0 over those games.

And the scoring will not let up come game time.  Forget what you’ve heard that defense wins championships.  Both teams are ranked in the 20’s in overall defense.  Sure, that’s a risky strategy that’s ultimately unsuccessful, regardless of the sport (see 2016 Golden State Warriors), but hey, it’s worked so far for both teams.  Why stop now?  Ride that pony.

Get it?

Get it?

On paper, the edge goes to Atlanta.  They have the most offensive balance (read:  they actually have a running game).  Don’t call Devonta Freeman a change of pace back.  He’s a legit #1 back, and he and Tevin Coleman form the best 1-2 punch in the league.  That keeps the defenses up front, which opens up the passing game for Matty Ice (it’s cool to call him that again).  And that passing game is more than just Julio Jones, although you don’t really need much more.  Mohammed Sanu is a solid #2, and we love what Taylor Gabriel brings.  He’s the real X-factor in their offense, and he tied with Julio for most receiving touchdowns.

For Green Bay, it’s all about Aaron Rodgers.  Everyone wants to talk about his home life, and his estrangement from his parents (note:  I’d choose Olivia Munn over my family too), but Aaron Rodgers is the hottest quarterback in the game.

Totally worth never talking to your parents anymore.

Totally worth never talking to your parents anymore.

The Packers are riding an 8-game winning streak, during which Rodgers has thrown 21 touchdowns passes and only 1 interception.  Daddy may not love him anymore, but who needs your parent’s approval with numbers like that.  Papa don’t preach!

Replacement Dad.

Replacement Dad.

Oh yeah, these two played each other, Week 8, in Atlanta.  The Falcons won 33-32, on a late touchdown pass to Sanu.  Green Bay was up for most of the game, but Atlanta scored with 31 seconds left to squeak out a one point victory.  In that game, the Packers shut down Julio, who only had 3 catches for 29 yards.  The Pack will have to contain Julio again.  He’s got to be doubled plus you got to keep Clay and linebackers up front to respect the run.  That will leave lots of open space in the middle and one-on-one coverage for Sanu and Gabriel (nerd alert:  I love the chess match aspect of the NFL).

So who will win?  This one is tough to call, but there’s a reason we’re paid the big bucks.  To make these sorts of decisions.  Because we’re super reliable.  Like, it’s 3 in the morning.  Do you know where our kids are?  Probably at the neighbor’s house.  Anyway, we just can’t trust the Falcons.  Kyle Shanahan already has one foot in San Fran (good luck with that clusterfuck of an organization) and [NFL conspiracy theory alert] what better way to get ratings up than to have the Packers back in the Super Bowl, the beloved franchise from the heartland.  The Machine’s money is on Green Bay to win straight up.  But if you want a real bet, keep reading.

Bet of the Week [only true gamblers need read on]:  Tease the Packers and the over.  Then you get Green Bay +13 and O/U 54.  For the truly degenerate devoted, tease the Packers and the under too (+13 and O/U of 68).  Print that money, homie.  Not to toot our own horn (read: totally tooting that shit) but if you’ve been betting on our playoff picks, you’ve been cleaning up (you’re welcome).  We were 2-0 last week ATS (and straight up).  Time to start making that money!  That deck ain’t gonna pay for itself.

Final Score:  Green Bay 34, Atlanta 30

Insert Farmer's daughter fantasy.

Insert Farmer’s daughter fantasy.

DIVISIONAL WEEKEND – NFC (SUNDAY)

Can we have a close game please?

Can we have a close game please?

As I sit here and watch the Patriots well on their way to covering a 16-point spread, I think:  Sweet baby Jesus, are we going to have a close game ever this playoff season?  All 6 playoff games thus far have been double-digit victories by the home team.  Where’s the parity?  [stands up on soapbox] Where’s the “any given Sunday” bullshit?  [speaking aloud now]. The NFL can blame the presidential election all they want, but, if you ask me, ratings are down because the meaningful games aren’t close.  There’s no drama.  No intrigue.  The biggest story this week was the Chargers moving to L.A., and no one really gives a shit about that.  L.A. fans are already booing.  Ouch, that’s cold.

But fool me once, shame on me.  Fool me 6 times, and shame on me still.  Because, like a dog in heat, I know there’s some good action right around the corner.  I just got to keep at it.  And speaking of good action, let’s break down the Cowboys and Packers.

Green Bay at Dallas (-5.5), 4:40 p.m.

God dammit.  The Cowboys are the Number 1 seed [commence head getting ready to explode].  I can’t take hearing Jerry Jones scream, “How ‘bout them Cowboys!”  As if that a-hole had anything to do with it.  Yes, the Cowboys have drafted brilliantly over the past couple years…solidifying their o-line with picks like Travis Frederick, Zach Martin, and Tyron Smith.  And obviously, they hit a couple of homers this past draft with Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott Anyway, the only thing Jerrah did right was shutting up (to the extent that’s possible).  Remember when he wanted to draft Johnny Football?  He’s at least smart enough to learn to stay out of the way…but not humble enough to give the credit to others.  Anywho, let’s get to the game.

Not all of Jerry's decisions are bad...

Not all of Jerry’s decisions are bad…

While everyone thought that Ezekiel Elliot had the potential to hit the ground running (pun intended) no one thought the same of Dak.  In fact, nothing was expected of Dak, who was drafted in the 4th round, 135th overall, and the 7th qb taken.  He wasn’t even expected to play, let alone succeed.  And succeed he did, tying for the most wins by a rookie QB.  But here’s the worst part about Dak:  we like him (note: we will deny this in public).  He doesn’t make mistakes.  Doesn’t get rattled, even under pressure.  He progresses through his reads like a veteran.  And he seems like a good guy, someone you would probably root for if he were on any other team.  If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Tony Romo is now a has been.  He’ll look great in Buffalo!

Out with the old, in with the new!

Out with the old, in with the new!

While Dak was a pleasant surprise, everyone had high expectations of Elliott, who was drafted #4 overall.  Zeke lived up to those high expectations and then some…leading the league in rushing with 1,631 yards, over 300 yards more than the next running back.  He made defenses look foolish.

Simply nasty.

Simply nasty.

How can a rookie running back and quarterback win 13 games and be the number 1 seed?  What happened to the NFL learning curve?  It certainly helps to have a championship caliber line to open up monster running lanes.  Offensively, the Cowboys don’t have great balance.  They are only 23rd in the league in passing at 226 yards per game, but they are second in rushing at 149 yards per game.  Having a dominant running game will always (yes, always) trump the passing game.  It keeps your offense on the field, controlling the clock and managing drives.  The fewer chances the other team has with the ball the fewer opportunities they have to score.  So can this rookie duo propel Jerrah back to the Super Bowl?  Enter Green Bay.

Another touchdown pass.

Another touchdown pass.

The Packers are the hottest team in the playoffs right now.  Aaron Rodgers and company put on a show last week against the Giants.  They bend but don’t break.  They were down early, hung around, and then did this at the end of the first half:

After that, the party was on.  Green Bay poured it on in the second half, outscoring the Giants 24-7, and winning by 25 points.  And the Discount Doublecheck was in full effect.  Rodgers threw for 362 yards, 4 tds, and 0 ints.  Sure, they only ran the ball for 75 yards, but when you’re hot, you’re hot, and Green Bay can and will ride Aaron Rodgers.

Yes, the loss of Jordy Nelson in this game is huge.  He leads the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.  But Randall Cobb and burgeoning superstar Davonte Adams still provide sufficient firepower.

Basically, what this game comes down to is who do you trust more?  Aaron Rodgers or Dak Prescott?  Dak has had a solid season, but he’s never played in a playoff game before.  The stage is that much brighter.  The pressure that much greater.  Sorry, but I’m a prove it to me type of guy, and I don’t believe it until I see it.

Aaron Rodgers is playoff battle tested.  Green Bay’s been in the playoffs 8 years in a row.  They know how to handle themselves.  For his career, Rodgers has thrown 31 playoff tds (and only 8 ints).  I’ll take that body of work over the rookie.

And on defense, Green Bay will load up the box and dare Dak to beat them deep.  Look for Clay Matthews to shadow Elliott.  Zeke better have his head on a swivel if Dak throws a check down pass, because this will be coming at him full steam.

No concealed carry permit required for these guns.

No concealed carry permit required for these guns.

Bottom line:  It is unreasonable to expect a rookie quarterback (and running back) to have this much success.  While the regular season learning curve may be going away, there’s still a playoff learning curve, right?  The Machine thinks so, and thinks that Green Bay will walk out of Cowboys stadium winners.

Final score:  Green Bay 31, Dallas 24