Week 5 of the NFL season is in the books. Matt Drufke has questions. Fancy Boys Football expert Jack Baker has the answers. Let’s mailbag.
My second favorite thing about doing the mailbag is watching you be wrong about predictions (more on my favorite thing later). Jack, last week you said that the Kansas City Chiefs were going to be the last team to lose a game, and that prediction fell apart after a few days when Oakland beat them. Here’s the thing, though: it’s not like the Chiefs played poorly. They looked like the team we’re used to seeing, and that’s a very good team; the Raiders just played better. So, let’s start with a slew of questions: How good are the Raiders? How far can they go? What is the secret to beating the Chiefs? And, for the sake of our country, can you PLEASE predict that Donald Trump will win the election?
I was wrong, but it’s not like my pick was crazy. Every NFL expert on ESPN.com also picked the Chiefs. The Raiders played a very good game. Derrick Carr was really good. Remember when he led them to a division championship and then broke his leg and their whole team fell apart? That wasn’t that long ago. They’ve got a bunch of good young players and will easily compete for a Wild Card berth. I don’t see them making the Super Bowl, but winning a playoff game certainly isn’t out of the question.
Unfortunately, Trump will probably win the election because Republican’s are going to suppress votes in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and other big cities in swing states. Then they’re going to continue crying about voter fraud as a way to discredit the votes in those states, especially the late arriving mailed in ballots. Their gerrymandered state legislatures are going to certify one vote while the Democratic governor certifies a different vote. And then the Supreme Court is going to agree with the Republicans for reasons just like they did in Bush vs. Gore. I don’t think this is the kind of prediction you were looking for.
My FAVORITE thing about quoting the mailbag is talking about Shakira’s smash banger “Try Everything” from the underrated Disney film Zootopia. No team seems to have embodied this amazing song more this year than the Cleveland Browns, who are standing at 4-1 (the same as the unbeatable Chiefs). The Browns have been a subpar (or worse) team for a long time, so why are things clicking now?
The 2020 Browns are what many thought the 2019 Browns were going to be. While the 2019 Browns were doomed by poor coaching and terrible offensive line play, the 2020 Browns upgraded their coaching staff and brought in Jack Conklin to bolster their offensive line. Their offense is fun. They have two great receivers who are best friends and like to throw the ball to each other. Baker Mayfield does those fun commercials. And Myles Garrett might be the defensive player of the year. The AFC North is going to be a tough division and they probably can’t beat the Ravens or the Steelers, but the Browns should certainly be in the conversation for a Wild Card berth.
No one likes to see an injury which causes a player’s foot to be pointing in the wrong direction, and I imagine that is especially true about Dak Prescott… and even moreso when it’s his own foot, which is exactly what happened on Sunday. Backup Andy Dalton came in to help the Cowboys beat the Giants (and have Dallas lead the NFC East with a pathetic 2-3 record), but will he be enough to keep the Cowboys playing just horribly enough to win the worst division in football?
I stand by my position that the NFC East is a garbage fire that should be contracted from the NFL forever. The Cowboys are going to go 7-9, win the division, and end up hosting a playoff game because the NFL’s rules are dumb as shit. They’re going to have a full stadium and will probably win that playoff game because the other team will not be used to dealing with crowd noise. Then, they will get absolutely stomped playing on the road in the second round.
Yes, the Bears are 4-1, after beating Tom Brady and Tampa on Thursday. But, because this is the NFC North, they still have to get past Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has thrown 13 touchdowns in four games, which is even more impressive when you realize he hasn’t thrown a single interception. This Packers team was predicted to be ok, but not this good. Can the Bears win the NFC North this year, or is Green Bay going to do what Green Bay, seemingly, always does?
Right now, the Packers are a better football team. The Bears defense is better than the Packers, but the Packers offense is far and away better than the Bears. The Bears can certainly win the division, they did in 2018! But it’s going to be a dogfight until the end. Their week 17 matchup in Chicago will hopefully be a defacto division championship game.
Last week marked the death of Larry Nichols, a dude who didn’t play football and might not even have liked the NFL. But he was a conspiracy weirdo (one of the people who would tell anyone who listened how the Clintons basically murdered anyone who even thought about getting in their way), and those are my favorite type of weirdos. So, let’s honor Mr. Nichols with this question: what is your favorite conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard about the NFL?
Now this is a great fucking question.I love a good conspiracty theory (for academic/entertainment purposes only). Here’s my five favorite NFL conspiracy theories:
- Jimmy Hoffa’s remains are buried under Giants Stadium. One of the all-time great conspiracy theories.
- The NFL covered up the extent of the Patriots cheating in the Spygate scandal. They destroyed the evidence so it would never leak. When the other owners got mad, the NFL was forced to come down extra hard on the Patriots after Deflategate.
- Super Bowl III was fixed by the NFL so that a big market team would win the game and grow the sport.
- The power outage that delayed Super Bowl XVLII wasn’t an accident, but an intentional way to inject life into a game that was turning into a blowout.
- NFL home teams cough the Patriots cough regularly block wireless communication from coaches to the QB’s headset during key third downs and when they’re losing.