War of 1812 Football Prognostications

by Mr. Brutal, Special to Buffalo Sports Page

…. Happy American Thanksgiving.  Hope everybody had a safe, happy family reunion.  Hope they have enjoyed the football so far & didn’t engage in divisive topics of conversation such as religion, politics, reasonable gun control, socialized medicine as it exists in the rest of the free world, proper silverware place-setting etiquette or the ground-breaking deliberations & conclusions of the College Football ‘Playoff’ Committee.

{ …. Let’s also hope Grandma cooked the bird long enough so that the center of the stuffing inside the body cavity got enough heat so that all traces of Salmonella bacteria were effectively irradiated.}

…… Of course with the events over the last few years in France, Great Britain, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, the current political climate, the colorful panorama of shifting terrorist alert levels & the collective vulnerability felt when travelling long distances to be home with family,

…….100% avoidance of these topics was unlikely.

…. In the media, there is presently no shortage of grandstanding mouthpieces telling us what to do about immigrants and the ongoing refugee crisis.

…… Many politicians & governors have lined up to declare that now is not the time to allow any Syrian or any other refugees into the country.  These potential terrorist seeds could eventually blossom into future menaces that could carry out seditious acts.  There is a lot of misinformation floating through the Twitter-verse.

…… Despite the fact that America has the strictest vetting process of any industrialized country on the planet, requiring 18-24 months before they can first enter the United States, one can never be too sure.  The cult movie “Telefon” starring Charles Bronson, Lee Remick & Donald Pleasance made that abundantly clear.

If it happened in a 1970’s movie, it could be cited as fact and soon become a justification in the platform of extensive reforms sponsored by the White House and the Justice Department.

….. So not allowing the 10,000 thousand fugitives from the abject terror of the destruction of their homeland into the country is a no-brainer and will clearly make us all safer.  That is why the current President reneged on that Obama Administration pledge to allow that modest number in.  Now, what we have to tackle next to really make us safe is discontinuing those pesky 20 million temporary travel visas into the country every year that require minimal vetting, to say nothing about all the other people coming in via regular passport travel.

…… President Donald Trump and others say terrorists pose the single biggest threat to our way of life { It was illegal Mexican rapists & drug smugglers with cantaloupe thighs, posing as slave wage vegetable pickers during the last Presidential campaign }.  The reasoning is that if refugees are allowed to land on our shores unopposed, some might already be killers and others might turn into terrorists & they could eventually wipe out our culture & society.

….. For once we agree with Generalissimo Francisco Franco Trump, Senator Theodore Benito Mussolini Cruz & the rest of the alarmist, Tea Party chicken hawks, because there is definitive American historical precedent for these fears.

……. About 400 years ago there was an immigration & refugee crisis that involved a very defined group of intolerant religious fanatics with views that were very similar to ISIS.  These people were forced out of several countries that no longer wanted them.  They became refugees.

…. This sleeper cell was forced to travel a great distance across the ocean and land in a hostile, uncivilized wilderness.  Despite their hardships, they still held firm to their conservative views that had them leaning towards apocalyptic doctrine, nonacceptance of non-believers & resistance to accept new customs.  As a result they did not respect, trust or get along very well with the people whose land they arrived in.

….  Being absolutists, some believed that the only way they could deal with these indigenous savages whose land they invaded was to gently or forcibly convert all of them to their way of thinking by adopting their religion.

…… Most refused, so the strict dictums of the refugees’ uncompromising faith meant that they would resort to eventually killing off these dangerous infidels, pagans and heathens.  Since they were not believers in the same God, it was okay according to their deeply held beliefs to annihilate these aboriginals since they would not be marching with the chosen into the penthouse afterlife anyway.  This started a chain reaction of selective ignorance, resource obliteration & cultural genocide in the refugees’ new land over the coming decades.  This eventually wiped out  the majority of the aboriginal inhabitants who had lived in the land for thousands of years.

….. In the end these refugees won.  They slept well at night with their religious faith providing justification for their methods.  This provided a template for future citizens to follow and the eventual conquering of an entire continent.  Similarly they also tried to instill their religion as the more or less defacto state sanctioned faith & justification for the complete conquering of these individuals.

….. It would take another 150 years from the refugees’ first landing until logic/science/political necessity dictated that founding new secular nations in these lands required minimizing these fanatics’ extreme methods.

….. But in a further effort to soften the harsh historical narrative started by these sneaky refugees, some of their early, quasi-true, positive efforts at communal food sharing with the natives were emphasized and exaggerated to whitewash the more horrific, intolerant & racist aspects to their story.

…… Much later, during a horrendous mid 19th Century intramural conflict, the leader of the divided land felt a distraction was needed and declared a National Holiday built around the mythology of those intolerant refugees supposedly trying to be more tolerant towards the people whose land they were taking.

As a result, President Abraham Lincoln founded a new and much appreciated holiday called Thanksgiving.  Generally, the more morbid aspects to their history were glossed over.  In fact, the narrative changed where the Native Americans & the refugees broke bread together and learned to live together in perfect harmony.

…… But we don’t call those refugees terrorists today.  We call them Pilgrims and we celebrate their propaganda laced history each November with a truly positive & pleasant feast of plenty and thanks.

Let’s hope that among the paltry number of refugees from the Middle East that we don’t allow onto the continent that the next genius who could benefit the country in a big way isn’t among them.  If you’re reading this on an iPhone, there is additional irony:

Steve Jobs’ father was a refugee from Syria.

…… In the current political climate, we seriously await with bated breath for one of our nescient politicians to take reactionary bombast to the next level and call for the banning of Thanksgiving.  This would simply be because it is no more than a state sponsored glorification of religious terrorists who came into the country originally disguised as refugees.

…… Sunday, November 26, 2017  ……

…………… 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time ……………..

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (-9.5)  49

The Falcons are back!  Well sort of.  They have a two game winning streak over Jerry Jones’ impotent Cowgirls and the Seahawks where in both games they put together solid second half’s ( Their Achilles Heel since last year’s Super Bowl meltdown losing to the ‘Deal with the Devil’ New England Patriots led by their sinister coach and their ageless quarterback who week to week looks more and more to us like a middle aged version of the kid from the original ‘Omen’ movie ).

Fitzpatrick starts for the Bucs, he is better than Winston so Tampa Bay covers.

Brutal:  Buccaneers +9.5

Bob: Bucs +9.5

Cleveland @ CINCINNATI (-8.5)  38

The Bengals won last week in Denver because John Elway’s Broncos are even more broken than Marvin Lewis’ tired halftime speeches.  QB Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes in the 20-17 win, but only threw for net 141 yards.  They also only ran for 49 yards for a grand offensive total under 200 yards.  This game was won on Denver turnovers and excellent Cincinnati punting in the mile high air.

Despite the win and faint hopes to make the playoffs, there is no reason to believe that the Bengal offense has appreciably improved since the preseason.

Cleveland was in the game with the Jaguars last week till typical Browns ineptitude gave the game away in the final minutes.  The Jaguars’ offense was terrible, but Cleveland’s was of course even worse.  Watching the Bengals’ & Browns’ respective attacks in this game will likely set the clock back on professional offensive philosophy to pre-merger times.

Andy Dalton may have played at TCU, so maybe Cincinnati thought they were drafting the next Davey O’Brien or Sammy Baugh.  Unfortunately, those two were more athletic, turned the ball over less & were more creative on offence despite playing during The Great Depression.

On the other hand, the Browns are stuck with quarterback DeShone Kizer whose career is imploding faster than Charlie Rose’s ignominious demise this week.

Still, ‘The Battle of Ohio’ is often a close affair regardless of the teams’ individual records and that means the Bengals have almost no chance of covering a spread north of a touchdown.

Brutal:  Browns +8.5

Bob: Browns +8.5

Tennessee (-3) @ INDIANAPOLIS  44.5

The Nashville Oilers roll into Indianapolis with ten days’ rest off their emasculation in Pittsburgh.  In Colts’ news, one time franchise quarterback replacement for Peyton ‘Papa John’ Manning, Andrew Luck is off to Europe to seek additional medical advice and treatment.

It seems that Mr. Luck is looking for advanced physicians to treat his severely messed up shoulder.  Somehow he has lost faith in the School of Santeria Medicine Graduates employed by Jim Irsay and the Colts.

Brutal:  COLTS +3

Bob:  Titans -3

Buffalo @ KANSAS CITY (-10)  46

Well, in Western New York, at least common sense prevailed and the ‘Peterman Experiment’ has been grounded.  Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor, and that Psilocybin tripping Bills’ front office all have something to prove.

Luckily, the Chiefs have been languishing on offense.  Alex Smith who to Kansas City fans, looked like the second coming of Len Dawson earlier this year, now looks like he did at the start of his career; like the second coming of Todd Blackledge, Elvis Grbac or Brody Croyle.

Some think the Chiefs will rediscover their offense against the sieve-like Bills’ run defense this week.  They’re probably right, but 10 points is too many, especially with Tyrod Taylor grinding an axe.

Brutal:  Bills +10

Bob: Chiefs -10

Miami @ NEW ENGLAND (-16)  47.5

Bill Belichik gave a distasteful  assessment of his team’s trip to Mexico last week where they outclassed the Raiders.  We weren’t surprised, because he is a classless guy.  However he is a helluva a coach and his quarterback regularly injects Chinchilla placenta to maintain youth.

Jay Cutler or no Jay Cutler that is still a big spread, but with no bad weather forecast we reluctantly side with Satan, Lucifer and the Patriots.

Brutal: PATRIOTS -16

Bob: Pats -16

Carolina (-4.5) @ NEW YORK JETS 40

Cam Newton comes to Broadway.  A direct appeal to the team publicists of the Carolina Panthers:  Please, don’t allow him to address issues at the post game press conference like LGBT bathroom access, Transgender people in the Military or the justification issues regarding Roy Moore’s Senate candidacy or the firing of Charlie Rose.

Brutal:  JETS +4.5

Bob:  Jets +4.5

Chicago @ PHILADELPHIA (-13.5)  44

The Bears play decent defence and Philly is due for a bit of a letdown and a tight game.

Brutal: Bears +13.5

Bob: Bears +13.5

………… 4:05 pm – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time……….

Seattle (-6.5) @ SAN FRANCISCO  43.5

Seattle is more banged up than the Charlestown Chiefs’ bus after the team bus driver donned a German spiked helmet, got in the spirit of the Federal League team by taking a sledgehammer to the vehicle and explaining that he was “Making it look mean!”

Unfortunately the Seahawks don’t look too mean with three quarters of their hard hitting secondary out for the year.

Brutal:  FORTY NINERS +6.5

Bob: 49ers +6.5

Denver @ OAKLAND (-5)  43.5

Last week, notorious cult leader Charles Manson died.  So did Denver’s offense and the credibility of owner & chief talent evaluator John Elway.

Brutal:  RAIDERS -5

Bob:  Raiders -5

New Orleans @ LOS ANGELES RAMS (-2.5)  53.5

Best game of the day that should feature some offense and big plays.  There might even be a crowd that approaches 50% capacity in the cavernous three time Olympic Coliseum.

Brutal:  RAMS -2.5

Bob: Rams -2.5

Jacksonville (-4.5) @ ARIZONA  38

The Jaguars often cover these odd spreads, even though their defense outscores their offense, they seldom score more than twenty and they are cursed with quarterback Blake Bortles.  They are playing against the Cardinals, who choked last week in Houston and made Tom Savage look like fellow Pitt Panther alumni Dan Marino or the freshman kid today who in his first start, convincingly beat the undefeated Miami Hurricanes.

Pitt QB Kenny Pickett did indeed look good, but the Buffalo Bills’ front office is over reacting.  They are already plotting to draft him in a couple of years to prove that disaster can’t strike twice after their disastrous faith in ex-Panther Nathan Peterman.

Brutal:  CARDINALS +4.5

Bob: Jags -4.5

………. 6:30 pm Eastern Standard Time………………………..

105th Annual Grey Cup

Calgary Stampeders (-7.5)  @ Toronto Argonauts  53

{ Ottawa, Ontario, Canada }

Head coach Mark Trestman, fired by Baltimore last year, has revived the Toronto Argonauts in a city that barely cares whether they even exist.  They head to the nation’s capital Sunday to battle the heavily favored Calgary Stampeders.

Calgary went 13-4-1 this year and were the clear class of the league on their quest to redeem themselves after losing the trophy to the huge underdog Ottawa Redblacks last year.  Despite clinching the Western Division early, they still vowed to not lose focus when they rested a lot of key players in the final month of the season.  However they did.  They lost three of their last four games and barely beat arch rival Edmonton in the Western Final.

Coach Trestman revived the aging Ricky Ray at quarterback in Toronto, and despite many injuries, the Argos won the Eastern Division with a superficially unimpressive 9-9 record.  Under his guidance and game planning, Trestman has overseen the development of two new, effective weapons for Ray.

Running back James Wilder Jr. cut by the Bengals two years ago and the Buffalo Bills last year, is running with explosiveness and authority, much like his father did for the University of Missouri and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decades ago.

Wide receiver Armanti Edwards has finally found his niche.  The quarterback from Appalachian State has become an effective weapon in his second year in Toronto after being let go in Carolina where the local product was hardly used as a return man.  Edwards was the hero of the infamous 2007 upset over the University of Michigan in front of 110,000 suicidal Wolverine fans that led to the firing of Lloyd Carr.

Calgary is led by the efficient and effective Bo Levi Mitchell ( SMU & Eastern Washington ).  He may be a little slight for current NFL analytics ( 6’2″, 205 lbs. ), but he’s bigger than Drew Brees, Case Keenum and many others.  He would make a good NFL backup if not a better starter than half the league boasts every Sunday.  The Stampeders have a two pronged running game and a large number of good to very good receivers.

The two defenses are really good.  Calgary has the best in the league, but Toronto’s isn’t far behind and only gave up 40 more points through 18 regular season games, despite playing a couple more games worth of minutes on the field thanks to Ray’s mid-season injuries and the inept Argo offence that ensued in his absence.

The CFL wants a showcase, so we expect to see some scoring and the type of officiating that encourages that outcome.  These games traditionally tend to feature some offense anyway.  We also expect to see at least one pick six and one special teams touchdown return.

With clear weather in the forecast, our ‘Stone Cold Lock’ of the week is both teams going ‘Over’ 53 points.  For the parameters of this column, we must pick a side.  Most think the Stampeders can’t lose after the double digit favourite blew a 20 point lead in the second half last year in falling to Ottawa, 39-33 in Overtime.

The established wisdom is that Calgary is focused this year on this game, but their recent performance has given us pause.  Forty-one year old quarterback Henry Burris led that Grey Cup comeback and the entire playoff run for the Redblacks before promptly retiring after the game.

Could it happen again?  Ricky Ray is 38, so he even has a couple more years of football life if you use Dendrochronology by counting the rings around Tom Brady’s customized, heated Japanese toilet and customized bidet.

We are taking the Argonauts on the spread and will even predict the outright upset, …… and misery for the second year in a row in Mudville, err, Cowtown Alberta.

Brutal: ARGONAUTS +7.5

Bob: Argos +7.5

………. 8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time………………………..

Green Bay @ PITTSBURGH (-14)  41.5

Packer QB Brett Hundley’s play as been as erratic as Bitcoin currency fluctuations this season.  Filling in for Aaron Rodgers, he has only proven that Mike McCarthy is as effective a quarterback whisperer as Paul Bunyan was a tree whisperer.  Last week he was so bad that he made Joe Flacco look good, since the Ravens had the ball, field position and time of possession literally conceded to them before the game even kicked off.

Still, fourteen points is a lot, even playing at home, coming off ten days’ rest and the weather forecast being civilized.

Brutal:  Packers +14

Bob: Steelers -14

………. Monday, November 27, 2017 ……………………

…………. 8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time ………………..

Houston @ BALTIMORE (-7)  38

Last week we pointed out that Texans QB Tom Savage is worth exactly 450 million dollars less than the recent Da Vinci painting that auctioned off for:  ….. 450 million dollars.  We have changed that assessment.  Against the very old Arizona Cardinals, Savage played well in leading the the team to a 31-21 win at home.  So maybe now he is worth the League minimum base salary.

It’s just a matter of time before he proves all of head coach Bill O’Brien’s original instincts correct regarding Savage being the best starting quarterback on the roster.  So, next year we see him replacing DeShaun Watson once more in the preseason.

Cough! Cough!

Also last week, Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco had a passable, decent game for the first time this year.  That shift to a new offensive coordinator is finally starting to pay major dividends!  His old offensive coordinator, Marc Trestman was fired after last season, and is now coaching the Toronto Argonauts in the 105th Grey Cup game on Sunday in Ottawa.

So which team to take?  The one led by yet another Pitt Panther quarterback ( it’s the theme this week ) like Savage who we have zero faith in after one good week? ….. or the human ATM Joe Flacco?

We choose the team with the better defence who is also at home.  We reluctantly give the touchdown.

Brutal:  RAVENS -7

Bob:  Houston +7

Bob Gaughan

Bob Gaughan has worked in Buffalo media for over 25 years. He spent 15 of those years as a staple on WGR radio as a talk show host and sports director. Currently, Bob works for UB Athletics on the radio broadcast of football and women’s basketball. Off the air, he has been an adjunct professor for over 20 years at Buffalo State College where he developed and has taught a class on how to be a talk show host.

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