Struggling to Watch the NFL

By Reid Kerr / PSDC Offensive Coordinator

I love this game, but sometimes I hate watching this sport.

And I don’t mean I just hate the NFL when I do something stupid like bet on the Texans to win with any quarterback whose name doesn’t rhyme with “Meshaun Botson.” I mean, sometimes the NFL is just hard to watch.

This has been a strange season, my friends. If you’re in Philly, LA, Boston, or Pittsburgh, it’s been a great time so far and you can’t wait for the playoffs. In most other places, this season is a confusing, depressing ball of anger sprinkled lightly with boredom.

Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit, Tampa Bay, and the whole AFC West are suffering through seriously disappointing seasons. Football fans are starting to wonder what else is on television Sunday afternoons, and in some cases, even spending time with their families again.

In the last four weeks, thirty-one of the fifty-seven games were won by double-digits. That means more than half of this last month’s games are blowouts. The NFL is supposed to be full of competitive games, not college football early season SEC-against-Tennessee-Body-and-Fender-U matchups.

Some of these teams are, for lack of a better term, boring snooze-fests. Anybody have any standout moments they’d like to mention from Tennessee or Buffalo? DirecTV should have a special Sunday Ticket package where for an extra fee, you can make sure certain teams never appear on your television. And if they’d expand that program to “Kevin James roles that aren’t ‘King of Queens,’” I’d sign up in a heartbeat.

And some teams aren’t just boring, they’re crushing disappointments. The Chiefs have gone from the runaway best team in the league to flat-out awful. The Broncos have ridden a clown car of quarterbacks to a seven-game losing streak. And the New York Giants are benching two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning for Geno Smith, a quarterback who has been in the league for five years and his only memorable moment was getting punched in the face by a teammate. The Giants couldn’t be more obviously tanking if they started punting on second down. Anyone not in Smith’s immediate family going to be watching the next five Giants games?

The good moments are always so good, they overwhelm the boring ones in our memory. Last year’s Super Bowl, with the comeback for the ages, makes the season a success even though only two of the other ten games were worth turning off “Flip or Flop” for.

Let’s hope that’s where we’re headed because right now, I’m getting tired of every game I watch turning into Browns-Colts.

On to the picks. Last week I went 6-3 picking the games, and 6-2-1 picking against the Vegas odds. My new motto is “Always bet against Cleveland,” which is, I believe, how Warren Buffet made his money.

I’m now 40-36 straight up and 31-42-4 picking against the Vegas odds. Here’s my Thursday night pick. As always, this is for the purposes of comedic discussion only. In all fairness, this column was hastily written while waiting in line at a store to purchase Christmas gifts, which is where I’ve been since last Thursday morning. No wagering, please.

Washington (-1) at Dallas: Here’s what sportsbook review sites like this one has to say about this Thursday nighter. This is pretty much a loser-leave-relevance match, the loser is out of the playoff hunt completely, while the winner get to retain hope for another week or two, which is probably even more disappointing. Still, it’s Dallas and Washington, two fanbases that hate each other with two owners who are finding themselves on the same side of the arguments.
Pick: Cowboys to win it outright.

I’ll be back Sunday morning with the rest of my picks. Good luck everybody.

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

 

Ten Things I Sort Of Guess I Might Know About The NFL

by Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

I found myself home alone this last Sunday, with a fresh set of remote batteries and no particular NFL game that struck my fancy, since the Saints-Bills game was effectively over shortly after the coin flip. I spent the day bouncing from game to game, trying to glean some kind of knowledge.

The great Peter King has a regular bit he does called “Ten Things I Think I Think.” I’m not nearly that good, so let’s just call these “Ten Things I Sort Of Guess I Might Know.”

1) I think sometime in the third quarter of last week’s Cowboys-Falcons game, Jerry Jones started suing the NFL, Roger Goodell, and whoever told him to draft Chaz Green.

2) Watching the Texans offense without Deshaun Watson is like trying to teach your grandmother to Skype. Normally it’s easy, but the circumstances make it absolutely maddening.

3) That Giants-49ers game wasn’t exactly a battle of wills. It was more a battle of won’ts.

4) The fourth quarter and overtime of that Chargers-Jaguars game might have been the dumbest half hour of any sport I’ve ever seen, short of that Donkey Basketball game I fouled out of for illegally hoofing a guy.

5) Two years ago Chip Kelly steered the Eagles directly into the toilet. Now they actually added an extra half-game to their division lead without even playing. That feels like something a team of destiny does.

6) If the Rams just ceased operations right now and decided to become a lacrosse team, they would still have won as many football games in these first nine weeks as they ever won under a full season with Jeff Fisher.

7) Bears Coach John Fox challenged a play where he thought his player scored a touchdown, and the replay showed he actually lost the ball out of the end zone for a turnover. That is officially the Buttfumble of Instant Replay Reviews.

8) The Colts have botched Andrew Luck’s injury so badly, he’s gone to Europe to get treatment. Driving a Pro Bowl quarterback into expatriatism doesn’t really seem like a selling point when it comes to attracting free agents to Indy.

9) If Greg Olsen doesn’t think he could get insight about the Rams and Vikings from being in the network booth for one of their games, then he’s definitely from the Phil Simms School of Broadcasting.

10) The absolute best move Hue Jackson has made as head coach of the Cleveland Browns is not having an Offensive Coordinator. That way there’s no one to take over for him, and he can’t be fired until the end of the season.

On to the picks. Last week I went 2–4 picking games straight up, and also 2–4 against the Vegas odds. In my defense, I wasn’t expecting Dallas to install a turnstile at the end of their offensive line against the Falcons. I’m now 29–29 straight up and 21–35–3 picking against the Vegas odds. Here’s my week ten picks, and I’ll admit I’m going out on a limb for some of these. As always, these are for the purposes of comedic discussion only, no wagering.

Philadelphia (-4.5) at Dallas: I feel like before last week’s Cowboys-Falcons game, the PA announcer should have come on and said “Playing the role of Tyron Smith tonight will be Kevin Hart.”
Pick: Dallas to win it outright. This one smacks of desperation, and Sunday Night Football games usually give us some surprises.

Arizona (+1.5) at Houston: When the NFL investigates why their television ratings dip, Exhibits A through F should be the six quarterbacks in uniform for this game.
Pick: Cardinals to win it outright.

LA Rams (+2.5) at Minnesota: At the beginning of the season, if you picked this Rams-Vikings as a game with huge playoff implications, get yourself to Las Vegas immediately. And buy lottery tickets all the way there.
Pick: Rams to win it outright.

Cincinnati (+2.5) at Denver: Vontaze Burfict talked trash with fans after getting tossed from the game last week, and the Bengals said they’ve spoken to him about it. Imagine that, Burfict actually gets advice like “The next time you get ejected, don’t do this…”
Pick: Bengals to win it outright.

Kansas City (-10.5) at NY Giants: The NY Giants have given up a touchdown to a tight end in ten straight games. Why would I mention that? Because reading that stat is far more interesting than watching them try and tackle.
Pick: Chiefs to cover, which means I think they’ll win by eleven or more. That’s a lot of points, I know, but the Giants seem to be giving less than full effort, their coach is a goner, and the Chiefs need a statement win.

Tampa Bay (even) at Miami: I have a rule in my house, every week I can either watch “This Is Us,” or a Dolphins game. I can’t take too much sadness in my life.
Pick: Bucs to win it.

I’ll also take the Lions-Bears game to go over 41 points, the NFC to win the Super Bowl, and the “Justice League” movie to be okay, but not that great. And why does Aquaman seem to have a redneck accent in this one? Did Atlantis sink off the coast of Alabama?

Good luck everybody.

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

4 Reasons Dak Prescott Won’t Suffer A Sophomore Slump

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

If you pay attention to the NFL, specifically if you pay attention to the Dallas Cowboys, you’ve undoubtedly heard the buzz surrounding the Dallas Cowboys new starting quarterback, Dak Prescott. Going into his second year, the Mississippi State product is looking to build on a season that saw him throw for complete 67.8% of his passes for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. That’s in addition to him running for another 6 scores, setting a new single-season franchise record. Prescott was so good, in fact, he ultimately forced then face-of-the-franchise QB, Tony Romo into retirement. But even with the job unquestionably his now, doubt continues to swirl around the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year on the national stage. But before you call Dak the next RG3 or Colin Kaepernick, consider the following:

[Read more…]

The Biggest of NFL Disappointments

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The Wild Card weekend wraps up today, and while there’s plenty of time to celebrate the twelve teams that made the playoffs, there’s twenty others who have already cleaned out their lockers and headed off for vacation. Some have known for weeks their season would end January first, and some just found out Sunday night. And while places like Dallas and Oakland experienced better than expected seasons, I tend to settle in on the more morbid questions.

Who was the most disappointing team?

Perhaps it’s my nature as a Buffalo Bills fan, but I can appreciate anguish. Note I’m not talking about the worst team, Cleveland definitely had the worst record, but wasn’t the most disappointing. The Browns are headed in the right direction, although they’re moving about as fast as that old man character that Tim Conway used to play.

Yes, kids, I know that’s not a timely reference. Just YouTube it, and thank me later.

And even though they fired their coach and general manager, San Francisco can’t realistically be disappointed with two wins from that talentless grease fire of a team. The only way they could be a playoff team would be if they played the Rams every week.

Disappointment doesn’t come from low expectations, it’s the hangover from high hopes dashed. It’s the difference between hoping your team can fight their way to .500 ball, and starting to plan your Super Bowl Party in August.

For example, the Bengals went from 12-4 to 6-9-1, and finally ended their string of first-round playoff losses. Cincinnati fans had big expectations this year based on past regular season performance, and the Bengals disappointed at every turn. This was a team where fans couldn’t even take extra points for granted.

After five weeks, Minnesota was 5-0 and the team to beat. Vikings fans were crazed, but injuries caught up with them, and eventually Sam Bradford remembered he was Sam Bradford. On their way to 8-8, the Vikings not only lost four of their most important offensive players, they lost their offensive coordinator and head coach at various times during the season. The only way it could have been worse was if the injury cart ran through a barricade and wound up frozen in an ice floe.

Two years ago the New York Jets were playing for a playoff spot in the final game of the season. That was the year Jets fans and Ryan Fitzpatrick will tell stories about for some time to come, because this year’s team stunk. They went from 10-6 to 5-11, fired five assistant coaches and let Chan Gailey retire. The Jets had four quarterbacks, none of which could throw their way out of a paper bag. After being six points from the playoffs, the Jets fell apart like the last few seasons of “Dexter.”

For my money, the most disappointing team in 2016 was Carolina, from 15-1 and MVP to 6-10 and SOL. Injuries derailed them early, and while Cam Newton wasn’t as bad as it seemed on paper, him complaining about getting hit so much didn’t help to rehab his public image after an awkward Super Bowl performance. If you’re a Panthers fan, you go from thinking you’re at the beginning of a dynasty to watching your offensive line getting turnstiled, Kelvin Benjamin sleepwalking through games, and your MVP superstar getting leveled every other play because he doesn’t know how to slide.

On to the picks. For the regular season, I wound up 69-40-1 straight up for a winning percentage of 63.2%, and 45-62-3 against the spread, which is 42.3%. Both of the numbers would fall into the “crying shame” category for me, so I really need to make my reputation back in the playoffs.

Here’s the picks for Wild Card Sunday. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Miami (+10) at Pittsburgh: This is the first playoff game the Steelers have ever played with Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown all healthy. Not so fast, Ndamukong Suh says.
Pick: Steelers to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by more than ten. And I really hope I’m right here, because I think the Steelers are our only hope of keeping the Patriots from romping through the AFC Playoffs.

NY Giants (+4.5) at Green Bay: This one’s a question of what we’ll see. Is this the Giants team that beat Dallas twice, or the one with the atrocious offense that’s either a touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. or a rush for a yard and a half? And is this the 4-6 Packers, or the team riding a six game winning streak with a running back wearing a weird number? It’s defense against offense, Rodgers against Manning, State Farm against DirecTV.
Pick: Packers to win straight up, but Giants with the points, which means I think they’ll lose by less than five.

I’ll also take Alabama over Clemson, “The Goldbergs” over “The Big Bang Theory,” and winter in Texas over winter in Kentucky, because the snow won’t kill you in Texas. Good luck, everybody.

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

The Black Monday That Wasn’t

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The NFL is a league of quick turnarounds, and I mean that both coming and going. Half of the teams that made the playoffs last season are out this year, including both Super Bowl teams. Hello Dallas, Atlanta, and Oakland. Goodbye Denver, Carolina, and Cincinnati.

It’s a quick-trigger league for most franchises, and Black Monday is a famous part of the NFL year. The day after the regular season concludes, teams fire coaches, general managers, coordinators, and anyone else they can find to blame for their season. However this year, we didn’t even get to Black Monday. We had a whole Black December, followed by a Black Last-Sunday-of-the-regular-season where everybody got fired before Monday even arrived.

There are six coaching vacancies in the NFL, with different levels of job attractiveness.

Denver didn’t kill Gary Kubiak, but he wasn’t going to stick around and wait for that to happen. The Broncos are easily the best job opening with a world-class defense and good receivers, plus John Elway ready to go out and make deals. This one is the gold standard of opportunities, and it’s only come open because coaching football is simply not good for the nervous system.

Jacksonville is a better team than their 3-13 record, especially if reports of Blake Bortles playing through a separated shoulder is accurate, because that would explain why he stunk like a trunk full of fish in Tijuana in mid-summer. A horrible division, decent receivers, and some cornerstones on defense make this a nice fit for someone who doesn’t mind spending time overseas.

The Rams canned Jeff Fisher because, well, he was Jeff Fisher, and now it seems like they’re trying to make a love connection with Saints coach Sean Payton. The Chargers also fired Mike McCoy, mostly so they can use his salary to buy boxes and packing tape. These two franchises certainly seem like they’ll be tied together in LA, because if the Chargers move as expected, they’ll be competing for the same audience. And that’s an audience that’s already shown they won’t support two teams, or even just one bad team. You only have to look at the Lakers and Clippers to realize that. Both teams need to bring in a big name as head coach to stay relevant. I’d rather have the Chargers right now than the Rams, but both are rebuilding efforts with some nice pieces in place.

The Bills fired all the Ryan brothers they could find, mostly because management felt they didn’t get enough wins out of their “talent.” If you’ve ever watched a football game in your life, please do me a favor and tell me where that supposed “ten-win season” was supposed to come from, based on Buffalo’s roster full of hot garbage. The Bills got eight starts from their last four years worth of first-round draft picks, and no one seems to understand the chain of command in Buffalo. It’s been since 1999 the Bills made the playoffs, and things may be as bad now as they’ve ever been.

But it could be worse. The 49ers made it two straight years with the firing of a first-year coach, by canning Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. Their list of coaching possibilities is simply a post-it note with the word “Anybody” on it. Four head coaches in four years, and a roster that undermines the word “awful.” No quarterback. No receivers. No run defense. No hope. Somehow they were in a Super Bowl four years ago, and now they’re a clown autopsy. Good luck to whoever takes over in San Fran. And whoever takes over after that, too.

On to the picks. Last week I went 5-3, and 4-4 against the Las Vegas spread. I finish the regular season with a record of 69-40-1 straight up, and 44-62-3 against the spread. Just for the purposes of discussion, if I had wagered a hundred bucks on every one of those games this season, this morning I would be more than two thousand dollars in the hole, and living in a dumpster. That’s why the best advice you can give to anyone considering a career in gambling is just to walk into a casino and look around. Those casinos look like they cost a lot of money, right? Exactly.

Here’s the picks for the first half of Wild Card weekend. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Oakland (+4) at Houston: If there’s a better argument against an 18-game season than this playoff quarterback matchup of Osweiler versus Cook, I don’t know what it is. Perhaps if a team had to start Brandon Weeden in a Super Bowl.
Pick: Texans to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by five or more.

Detroit (+7.5) at Seattle: Richard Sherman used the media to announce he was boycotting the media. I saw full coverage of that on ESPN-I, the sports irony channel.
Pick: Seahawks to win and cover.

I’ll also Alabama to win and cover against Clemson at –6.5, Myles Garrett to be the first pick in the draft, and the Jets to draft four more quarterbacks. Good luck, everybody.

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Here’s The Thing – Bama, Buckeyes … And That’s It

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Another weekend of football is in the books, so let’s discuss what we’ve learned, as we sit in our underoos, covered in barbecue sauce, amongst the leftover chicken wings. I’m kidding, of course – if there are ANY leftover chicken wings, you’re doing football watching wrong, should be forced to order the most unmanly “sweet onion chicken teriyaki” flavor of wings that exists and wash them down with girly looking purple drinks served in a plastic coconut, and most importantly are disqualified from ever being my friend. [Read more…]

Reid’s NFL Mailbag: Deflategate, Cowboys, and Vegas, Baby

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

It’s kind of a dead time in the NFL. The draft and free agency are over, rookies are signing their contracts and mini camps are underway, and since players now have things to do, they won’t be getting arrested any more. It’s Memorial Day weekend, and we didn’t even have the usual “bad news dump” on Friday where the NFL announces all the awful stories they hope no one notices like suspensions, fines, and anything having to do with Buffalo.

Time to catch up on current events with another edition of Reid’s Mailbag.

Q: Did Dallas help themselves in the draft?
A: Absolutely! And yet, not at all. Ezekiel Elliott is a stud, and if he lasts past the first round of your fantasy draft, you’re playing with idiots. But is he that much better than anyone else the Cowboys could have put behind that all-star offensive line? Is giving up a first-round pick you could have used on pass rush worth it to get a great running back? Or could the Cowboys get close to the same results with Matt Bellner in their backfield, running with me on his shoulders? Only time will tell, and that “time” is the amount of time opposing quarterbacks have to throw against the Cowboys.

Dallas is in an interesting position, they’ve got about a three-year window with Romo as their quarterback. After that, it’s anybody’s guess. I shouldn’t have to remind you how bad the post-Aikman, pre-Romo era was for Dallas, so I’ll just say “Hey, remember that year Dallas started a quarterback whose name rhymed with ‘Ryan Schleaf?’”

Can the current crop of Cowboys provide enough talent to take advantage of having a top-flight quarterback in that time span? Maybe, but I need to see some pass rush before I’d favor them over the Panthers, Seahawks, or Packers.

Q: What’s going to happen with #Deflate…
A: Oh, please no.
Q:#Deflategate?
A: Well, the legal case that refuses to die rolls onward. Right now the NFL has won the last case, which means Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of this coming season. Brady has appealed, and his counsel made a very good point about the NFL only fining players for other equipment violations such as using Stickum, so this one could still go on for a while. Possibly years. Maybe decades.

At this point, I’m not going to change anyone’s mind on this case. Originally, I thought Brady was cheating and Goodell’s punishment was just. After reading through all the case work, I still think Brady was cheating, but four games is unprecedented, especially when the NFL has done an awful job of proving anything was done wrong. When it’s all over, this will be a very odd footnote in both Brady’s Hall of Fame career, and the story of the mid-2010’s NFL.

Q: What about Las Vegas?
A: Sounds great! Let me grab my go-bag, and let’s go hit the blackjack table. I’ve got a new scheme I learned from a guy in an airport bathroom. I can’t lose!
Q: No, I was talking about an NFL team there.
A: Oh. Well, that’s something else. The fact that the NFL is actually even discussing the possibility of putting a team in Las Vegas is amazing. For decades, pro sports have rejected any connection to gambling, even while playing to gamblers with things like mandatory injury reports.

Remember Tony Romo’s Fantasy Football Convention last summer in Vegas? Of course not, because the NFL killed it. It’ll be in Pasadena this year in mid-July, and I’ll be there.

In 2016, protecting the NFL from gambling seems to be a dead issue, or at least one they’ll revisit. If the Raiders don’t get a new stadium, they’ll try and bolt to Vegas, and I’d put even money they’d be successful in doing so. The NFL seems to be putting the thought of a new market over the old concerns about associating with the gambling industry.

Of course, now you don’t have to go to Vegas to lose money betting on sports. You can do it from your home. You can lose big money on fantasy football for a season, or lose it week-to-week playing Fanduel and Draft Kings. ESPN is now openly talking about point spreads. The NFL can’t just pretend it doesn’t happen, especially since it drives a significant portion of their fan interest.

And by “significant portion,” I mean me, and this column, and my retirement account. Which thanks to my long careers in television and radio, will allow me to live in comfort for the rest of my years, as long as I get hit by a bus no later than the weekend after I retire.

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available from Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Von Shining Moment: The Unofficial Official Super Bowl Fifty Timeline

Sunday, January 31, 2016 – Denver moves on to the Super Bowl in a thrilling win over New England that goes down to the final minute. Three hours later, Carolina advances with a win over Arizona so lopsided, Cam Newton plays the entire fourth quarter without a helmet, wearing a “Panthers NFC Champions” hat.

Monday, February 1, 2016 – The Panthers arrive in California, and Cam Newton’s pants trend on Twitter. And I don’t have a joke here, either. That’s actually what happened. [Read more…]

Reid’s Week Sixteen NFL Picks: Coasting To The Finish

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

Hope everyone’s had a very merry Christmas, and either enjoyed your presents immensely, or already returned them for something much better. We are about to enter that DMZ of the year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s where nothing ever gets done.

It’s just hard to muster up any enthusiasm for this week, lurching from holiday to holiday. When I worked in television, you always knew you were past Thanksgiving because everyone of any importance at the station was gone until January. From Black Friday through New Year’s Day, You were about as likely to see the big-name anchors on the air as you were to spot Santa in line at Starbucks. [Read more…]

Reid’s Week Fifteen NFL Picks: The Elite

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

It’s always good when a controversy erupts in the NFL, and I say that as a guy who pretty much strip-mined the league for content on a daily basis for radio and TV for the last twenty-five years.

Hey, nothing wrong with being shallow, as long as you can be insightful about it.

The latest talking point came courtesy of alleged Cleveland coach Mike Pettine, who, when asked if he thought this week’s opponent’s quarterback Russell Wilson was “elite,” declined to put him up there and instead said in was in the “second tier.”

After realizing he had provided the very definition of “bulletin board material,” Pettine quickly backtracked the next day as analysts came out of the woodwork to discuss whether or not Wilson was elite, and if a guy who’d been coaching the Browns would even recognize it if he saw it. This dodges the more important question.

Who cares?

Why is it so important to football fans to rank players? Most of these guys bounce from week to week anyway, but we still feel the need to etch in stone which ones of them are worth premature enshrinement.

Face it, Russell Wilson has already won a Super Bowl. He’s earned a fat new contract, his endorsements are everywhere, and he’s apparently so famous he can have Macklemore come over and stand around his pool just to pump him up about bird ownership. Whether we think he’s elite or not is largely irrelevant to his world view.

But still, we want to put him in a box, classify him as “elite” or just “good.”

Newsflash: It doesn’t matter what we think. Arbitrary distinctions don’t win games.

Is Eli Manning elite? Probably not. Is he a sure fire Hall of Famer with as many rings as his whole family plus Brett Favre put together? You betcha.

What about Joe Flacco? Matt Ryan? Tony Romo? Is Philip Rivers elite? He never led San Diego to a Super Bowl.

And it looks like he’ll never get the chance to.

For as much as we argue about it, no one seems to be able to define this “elite” category. We’re only able to clarify who doesn’t belong. As far as I can tell when we say “elite,” we just mean a quarterback who wins games that we also want on our fantasy football teams.

On to the picks. I went down to the Thursday Color Rush game, where the St. Louis Mustard prevailed over the hapless Tampa Bay Ketchup. I had Dallas last night +3.5, which means Kellen Moore was just good enough to get me the win, even if he wasn’t good enough for Dallas. I’m now 52-39-2 on the year. Here’s my picks for week fifteen. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Atlanta (+3) at Jacksonville – The Falcons just quit last week against Carolina. If there were playoffs for quitters, Atlanta would have won their playoff game and advanced to play the winner of the Nixon-Roberto Duran matchup this week.
Pick: Jags

Houston (+2) at Indianapolis – This is the first time in NFL history that two first-place teams have met this late in the season with backup quarterbacks starting. Probably. Remember, I’m not really much for research.
Pick: Colts

Buffalo (-2) at Washington – Somehow, through their decision to move Robert Griffin III to the scout team defense, Washington has become the most stable team in the NFC East.
Pick: Washington

Carolina (-4) at NY Giants – Picking the Giants to stop the Panthers undefeated streak because they did it once years ago to the Patriots is like expecting another Oscar-winning performance from Cuba Gooding Jr.
Pick: Panthers

Miami (+2) at San Diego – Philip Rivers is my MVPOAHTATM, my Most Valuable Player On A Horrendous Team About To Move. It’s a prestigious award, but I only get to give it away every couple of decades.
Pick: Chargers

Cincinnati (-5.5) at San Francisco – This week we’ll see if A.J. McCarron is the second coming of Tom Brady. Cincinnati would settle for the second coming of Todd Rutledge, since he was the last Alabama QB to start and win an NFL game. And that was three years before McCarron was born.
Pick: Bengals

I’ll also take solid lights over blinking ones, gift bags over professionally wrapped gifts, and sample size shampoo over fruit in my stockings. Seriously. Fruit just says “I have no gifts, but I want to add mass to your stocking to make it look like I tried.”

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Reid’s NFL Mailbag: Jets vs. Cowboys, Serena vs. a Horse

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

We’re finally to the time of the year when the NFL expands onto Saturdays, giving us four out of five days straight containing pro football. I can only assume the NFL does this out of compassion for those of us who always get depressed around this time of the year, and could use a few more concussions and torn knee ligaments to get us through the holiday season.

With that in mind, time to check back in with the ol’ mailbag.

Q: Is Johnny Manziel finally the answer in Cleveland?
A: The best you can say right now is that young Jonathan Livingston Football is no longer a negative certainty, and for the Browns, that’s a huge deal. Cleveland is consistently such a grease-fire-train-wreck-clown-autopsy, having any bright spot in this season is a plus. Manziel’s first two seasons have been a mess in every way, but now that he’s finally getting to start and accepting that responsibility, he’s worth taking a look at. He probably had his best pro game against the 49ers last week. The Browns are characteristically awful this year and will probably clean house again as soon as the season ends, but Manziel has given them enough to think about that the next coach will at least have him as an option. And if not, expect the Browns to draft another quarterback and Manziel to go exactly where you think he’ll go.

Q: How many coaches will get fired on Black Monday, and is Jason Garrett safe?
A: Last question first, yes. He’s still Jerry’s guy, although both of them need to share the blame for stocking a roster of useless backfield parts behind Romo. Garrett’s done an awful job of getting his team ready to play without his starting quarterback, and Jerry is well aware of that. The clock is ticking on Romo and the Cowboys window to make a playoff run, and the cupboard is bare behind him. Keeping the band together right now is the best idea.

As for the rest of the league, I’ll say the Chargers, Colts, Browns, and Lions will all make a move. The Falcons and 49ers should but won’t, and the Dolphins and Titans have already switched, and should keep looking.

Q: What do you think about Sports Illustrated naming Serena Williams as their Sportsperson of the Year, and snubbing American Pharoah?
A: Since the NFL player who probably deserved it was the same one on trial for Deflategate the entire year, I can see how they’d ignore the NFL. I would have probably gone with the Kansas City Royals, but I can see their point about Williams. As for people rooting for a horse, good luck with all that.

Don’t get me wrong, I get horse racing. It’s like the lottery for rich people and organized crime figures. But I prefer to follow sports that have more than three events people can name, and consider athletes who actually know they’re in a competition.

And don’t tell me that horses understand they’re racing in the Preakness or wherever. Even if you believe that, you definitely don’t believe they’re aware enough to understand the concept of “injuries.” If they had any idea of what would happen to them if they broke their leg while racing, every event would take the half-speed pace of Pro Bowl out there.

On to the picks. In Week Fourteen I went 3-3, overestimating the Bucs, Falcons, and Cowboys. And as bad as the Cowboys are, the Falcons are even more soul-crushingly worse. Remember when they were 5-0 this season? I do, and so does Falcon ownership, and that’s a major problem.

I’m now 51-38-2 on the year. Here’s my picks for the early games in week fifteen, I’ll be back Sunday with the rest. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Tampa Bay (+1.5) at St. Louis – They lose games they should win, then pull off upsets. They’re led by the highest-regarded coach in history with the lowest winning percentage. Forget LA, the only way the Rams could be any less stable would be to move them directly onto the San Andreas Fault.
Pick: Bucs

NY Jets (-3.5) at Dallas – At some point you just have to stop rooting for wins, and turn all of your hopes towards tanking and getting a good draft pick. You have to go “Full Browns.”
Pick: Cowboys

I’ll also take Christmas Vacation over White Christmas, “Please Come Home For Christmas” over “Santa Baby,” and “Angels We Have Heard On High” over “Silent Night.”

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Reid’s Week Twelve NFL Picks: The Romo Problem

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The old saying goes that every fighter has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

It’s credited in some places to Mike Tyson, but I doubt Iron Mike was as original and quotable as we like to pretend these days, so we’ll just call it an “old saying.”

We all saw round two of that proverbial punch to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Tony Romo was the plan for Dallas, and now with the collarbone injury, the Cowboys have to fall back on Plan B, which is actually Plan C at this point. Plan D is next year’s draft, for those of you who doubt this season has a happy ending.

I’ve defended Jerry Jones before. I’ve long said I don’t think he gets enough credit for some things, but stocking this roster is not one of them. In the NFL, you don’t just build a championship team with stars, you assemble quality players all over the roster. Seattle won with a defense full of play-makers. New England’s biggest play of the Super Bowl came from a well-coached unsigned free agent.

The Cowboys have several stars who sell a lot of jerseys, but Dallas went into the season content with a backup quarterback who was a thirty-year-old minor league pitcher with a quarterback rating right around room temperature, and this season is doomed. Dumping him for a guy who couldn’t win the starting job in Buffalo is a minor upgrade, perhaps, but still not exactly a switch that’s going to set FanDuel on fire.

Good teams draft young quarterbacks before they need one so they can evaluate them without having to burn a season playing them. Since Troy Aikman was dragged off the field for the final time in 2000, the Cowboys have drafted two quarterbacks. Can you name them?

And if you can, why? Why would you want to name them, dear reader?

In 2001 they blew a second-round pick on Quincy Carter. Stephen McGee came in the fourth round of 2009.

That’s it.

Quarterback is the most important position in team sports, and the Cowboys have drafted as many kickers as QB’s in the last fifteen years.

Let’s put that in perspective. Since the Patriots took Tom Brady in 2000, they’ve drafted seven more quarterbacks. That’s seven young talented players who have a chance to turn into something, whether it’s a current Cowboys backup, Texas Tech’s head coach, or a guy who’s missed enough alarm clocks to sleep his way out of the league.

Despite what some of you would yell at me when you called my radio show, Tony Romo’s been an unquestioned starter in the NFL for a decade. In that time, Dallas hasn’t made a move to provide him with a backup that wasn’t already washed up. Having Brad Johnson or Jon Kitna in the locker room is great if you want to talk about bands from the 80’s, but as quarterbacks, their time was done.

Matt Cassel isn’t a starting quarterback in the league anymore, and Brandon Weeden never was, but those were the emergency plans the Cowboys made. We’ll see how that goes with Cassel over the next five weeks.

On to the picks. On Thanksgiving, I went 2-1 because just like Philadelphia’s management, I overestimated Chip Kelly’s ability to field a team. I’m 42-29-2 on the year, still in the positive money, and still with no idea what I’m doing.

Here’s my picks for week twelve. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

New Orleans (+3) at Houston – Rob Ryan’s business cards say “Rob Ryan, Defensive Coordinator & Scapegoat.”
Pick: Texans

San Diego (+4.5) at Jacksonville – The Jags got two wins in five days. Last season it took them six weeks to do that.
Pick: Jaguars

NY Giants (-3) at Washington – A team from this game will make the playoffs, which is about as fair as letting one of the actors from “Dumb and Dumber To” win an Oscar.
Pick: Giants

Minnesota (+1) at Atlanta – Minnesota Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner is running the same game plan as the 2003 Palestine Wildcats. It’s all Adrian Peterson, all the time.
Pick: Vikings

New England (-3) at Denver – Trust me, in ten years we won’t remember this season for Peyton Manning at all. It’ll be just like the last Vikings season for Bret Favre, Joe Montana with the Chiefs, or Sean Connery in “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”
Pick: Patriots

Baltimore (-3) at Cleveland – Joe Flacco shreds his knee and finishes the game. Johnny Manziel somehow loses his starting job in a bye week.
Pick: Browns

I’ll also take a sunny day in the park over Black Friday, flying home for Christmas over driving, and gift cards over cash.

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available on Biting Dog Press from Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.