Friday, January 31, 2020

Benster and D Pick Your Games----Super Bowl HYYYYPPPEEE! Edition

Old dude, there is a lot of HYYYYYYPPPEEEE! going around Miami this week. Will it be the end of a 25 year drought for the Niners, or will it be the end of a 50 year drought for the Chiefs? So many things to discuss. In fact, I think every single topic has been beaten to death all week long.

It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Glad you do. Don't worry about me, either.

I'll try not to worry. Unless you find yourself as part of the pregame show, which started last Tuesday, I think. 

No, that was Jerry Nadler, or maybe Frank Caliendo doing Nadler. Or something. I will not be watching the Super Bowl pregame show very much. It's like they forget the real fans. But I have things to tell you, so. . . it's time to watch me work.

San Francisco 49ers (+1.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are a great team, but it must be acknowledged that they did get lucky in who they had to play in the playoffs. They avoided New England and Baltimore due to the Titans, and dodged massive bullets at Arrowhead early on in both playoff games. It's an open question if the Chiefs would have won against New England or Baltimore, but you play who you have to play. The Niners are a great team and looked more dominant in their playoff wins. I'm going to be blunt about Andy Reid. The guy can coach, and nobody is disputing his ability to develop quarterbacks. His problem is that he seemingly refuses to improve his clock management and focus on defense. The Chiefs can ill afford to go behind again on this stage, as the Niners have the better defense. This might be Andy Reid's Waterloo as a coach. Even Napoleon found out that his talents had limits, and Reid is in danger of becoming the NFL's Napoleon. That is, a great offensive mind that refused to adapt and got beat by better opponents. However, Napoleon won many victories, and this might be Reid's Austerlitz. Chiefs 31, Niners 28, in OT.

I got the license plate number of the truck that ran over the Packers. It was something 31. Now, do I expect Raheem Mostert to be the key to the game? Probably not. But I think the 49ers are built for this moment. They have a top-notch front seven on defense and enough skill on the back line to keep Patrick Mahomes from going completely berserk. They also are built to play keep away, which is still the best way to deal with Mahomes. I think it's a close game, but I'm picking the 49ers. 49ers 34, Chiefs 28.

Thanks for reading us all year long, and see you next fall. Enjoy your weekend, and Ben out.

Thursday, January 23, 2020


Two things:

  • The Doomsday Clock is bullshit. If the goon squad that runs it said we were two seconds from annihilation, it would still be bullshit. They have no greater insight into the future than any of the rest of us do. Benster has a significantly better prediction record than the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
  • You are under no obligation to listen to Greta Thunberg.

Are you following it?

The impeachment charade -- are you following it? Or have you tuned it out?

Although Benster's football picks have more or less taken over the blog, I am trying to stay on top of what's happening in Washington. An impeachment should be a historic moment, but this just doesn't seem like anything historic. My personal opinion of Bad Orange Man hasn't changed that much, but there's no question his tormentors are incalculably worse people than he is. Why anyone would believe Adam Schiff or Nadler or any of the other grotesqueries parading about is beyond me.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Packers Are Worst Team Ever To Play for a Conference Title Edition

Old dude, the Packers are still getting disrespected by the media despite playing for the NFC title. I expect the disrespect here from Vikings approved KFAN commentators like Meatsauce and PA, but nationally?

Narratives are narratives, young fella.

We shall see if the Packers continue to make all of the haters eat some nice crow. At least the good news is that the AFC side is not dealing with the same critics that the Packers have.

Well, that's likely because no one pays attention to the Titans unless compelled to do so.

I am feeling the HYYYYYYYPPPEE!, and it is time to watch me work.

Tennessee Titans (+7.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs If you predicted that the Titans would win road games at New England and Baltimore this postseason, you are either a delusional Titans fan or stole a car from Marty McFly. It makes no sense, but you have to credit the Titans for pulling it off against all reasonable odds. The Chiefs got here because of overturning a huge deficit in the second quarter last week, averting an all-time choke job by virtue of the Houston Texans having a meltdown for the ages. The thing is, this is the perfect setup for Kansas City. They avoided both New England and Baltimore, and this might be their best chance to get to the Super Bowl. The problem is that Andy Reid is 1-6 in this round, with a terrible record at home. If Kansas City can't grasp this golden chance, then you have to look at the head coach and quarterback. It sounds harsh, but the bottom line is that Kansas City may have forgotten that dumping Alex Smith for the hot quarterback results in having to pay the price. Titans 18. By the Way, What's Wrong with the Chiefs 10.

Last I checked, Alex Smith is out of the NFL. Could the Titans win? Sure. They are playing very well and they did an excellent job against Lamar Jackson last week in Charm City. This game will be a challenge, though. This feels like the moment the Chiefs finally break through. And I think it happens. Chiefs 28, Titans 20.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+7.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers The Packers survived against Seattle and lived to fight another day. That's good enough for me, and should be for all Packers fans. They are returning to play a game in California, a state which has been a nightmare for them twice this season. The first time the Packers went out there to play the Niners, it was very bad. In my eyes, the key to this game is going to be getting off to a good start, and being tough. Lost in all of the hate the Packers have gotten is that they are a very good 4th quarter team and know how to win close games. In the playoffs, you won't have many blowouts. This game is going to be very tough, and I respect the job the Niner brass has done. Time for the haters to eat crow once again, and the salt mining will salt the streets of Minnesota for months. Packers 28, Niners 17.

Man, I want this to happen, but it's not a good matchup. I think the Packers will play much better, but unless the offensive line holds up against the 49ers, I don't see how the Packers keep up. Hoping to be wrong about this, but. . . 49ers 27, Packers 19.

Enjoy your football this weekend. Ben out.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

When the well runs dry

Image result for impeachment procession
I'm walkin', yes indeed
Sometime back in the 1950s, Fats Domino asked the question:

What 'ya gonna do when the well runs dry?
You're gonna sit right down and cry
What 'ya gonna do when I say bye-bye?
All you're gonna do is dry your eye

The Articles of Impeachment that Adam Schiff and his pals dropped off at the Senate are the Belway equivalent of a flaming bag of poop left on someone's porch. There isn't a case to be made in any event -- the bottom line is the president gets to conduct foreign policy as he sees fit and if the denizens of the Deep State doesn't agree, they can resign their positions and get a paying gig on CNN. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, as president he had the right to structure his negotiations with Ukraine as he saw fit and he certainly had the right to fire a recalcitrant ambassador who was conducting a rogue foreign policy on her own initiative.

The process will continue, of course -- Lawfare is busy manufacturing new outrages and demands. Meanwhile, Trump signs trade agreements with China. I do hope Mitch McConnell kills the whole enterprise with great haste, although he probably won't.

There will come a time when we actually have a president who needs to be removed from office. Impeachment is a necessary tool. By deploying this tool in such a ridiculous fashion, the half-assed carpenters of the House have rendered the tools useless. They think they've forever tarnished the Bad Orange Man, but they couldn't be more wrong.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- The Vikings Did It Edition

Old dude, it cracks me up that the Saints lost a game in part because of the failure of officials to review a pass interference penalty in New Orleans. You really hate to see it.

It's likely the Saints will come out against what they were for last time, next time. Ethical flexibility is a specialty of the house down there, even more than gumbo.

It serves them right. What a bunch of whiny fans, that can't blame their own team. I bet sports talk radio in New Orleans was lit, as well.

No doubt. But credit due to the Vikings for an excellent game plan. 

Indeed. More about that in a moment. We move onto Divisional weekend. It is the best NFL weekend all year, because the big dogs come out to protect their home field. I'm feeling the HYYYYPPPPEE! So watch me work.

Minnesota Vikings (+7) vs. San Francisco 49ers This time it was Kirk Cousins and Kyle Rudolph playing the heroic combo as the Vikings went into New Orleans and finished the Saints off. What is getting lost in the adulation is that the Vikings almost blew it. They had a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter, and got very fortunate that the officials seemingly were scared to review Rudolph's debatable push off on the game winning touchdown. You still have to give the Vikings credit for pulling the upset, but let's not forget those two points that go against them. The 49ers are a far tougher team, and it's a West Coast road trip on a short week. The Vikings have a chance, and you would be a fool to overlook them. I think the 49ers are better defensively than the Saints, and Jimmy G is a quarterback with plenty of weapons to work with. The dream is going to end for the Vikings in the Bay Area. 49ers 31, Vikings 21.

Can the Vikings block? And can they stop George Kittle? If they can, they win. Do you think they can? I don't, actually. But I'm going to pick them anyway. Vikings 24, 49ers 21.

Tennessee Titans (+10) vs. Baltimore Ravens I want to thank the Titans for doing us a favor and knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs. We don't have to deal with the insufferable Boston sports fans for the rest of the month. I used to have sympathy for them, but they just are too spoiled for that. One wonders how many bullets the Titans have, but you'd be a fool to ignore them. I honestly wonder about the Ravens and Lamar Jackson. The dude can play, but the less annoying Harbaugh should have noticed what happened to his brother in San Francisco. People will figure out how to stop him, and this is Lamar's first playoff start. We all thought that Kaepernick was going to be good, but everyone ignored his flaws. We all thought that Mike Vick was the future, and once again his flaws were ignored. Someone is going to stop Lamar Jackson, but the good news is that some moron owner is going to hire Bobby Petrino, because he coached Jackson in college. I think Baltimore wins, but I beg their football ops people to heed the past. Ravens 10, Titans 0.

Maybe. Jackson is well positioned for success in the short term, I agree. But when he loses a step, and he will, your suspicions will become reality. But not this week. Ravens 27, Titans 14.

Houston Texans (+9.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs I honestly look at the Chiefs and wonder if they actually have learned anything about Andy Reid. The guy can coach offense, but he can't manage a game clock well and his defenses have always been questionable without a generational defensive coordinator in Jim Johnson. One of my biggest sports pet peeve is coaches who keep failing in the most important games, and ownership groups wondering why the same thing keeps happening. I'm sorry Chiefs fans, your team will not win a Super Bowl as long as Andy Reid is around. His track record speaks for himself, and his teams have flamed out of the playoffs with the same mistakes every single year. The defense will fail, the clock management will be questionable, and his quarterback will not show up when it matters. I beg Kansas City to consider making drastic changes after they lose. Too bad it won't be to a Texans squad that benefited from a complete choke by the Buffalo Bills last week. Chiefs 41, Texans 10.

We haven't heard from our ol' pal for a while:

So you're saying it's out of context? Well, it's always out of context with that guy. Credit to the young fella for getting the context correct. Andy Reid will not get to the Super Bowl this year. But he will get to the AFC Championship Game. Chiefs 28, Texans 17.

Seattle Seabags (+4.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers Oh look, everyone is coming out of the woodwork to question a 13-3 team about how they win. It turns out that whenever the Packers win, the media will criticize them for little stuff that happens to every single team. I love this Packers team, because they play tough, and win games that they should. Seattle is going to be a tough out, there is no doubting that. One thing that makes me feel confident is that the Packers looked great on offense in the second half against the LOLions, and people are forgetting about Aaron Rodgers. Keep making that mistake. He's due to break some hearts. Maybe the media can actually have the guts to admit they were wrong about the Packers. Packers 31, Seabags 10.

You live in Minnesota, dude. Do you expect anyone to love the Packers outside of this household? Probably ain't happening. But in any event, the game. The Seahawks would scare me more if they didn't have about 49 guys on injured reserve. At this point the Seattle offense is Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf and a bunch of parking lot attendants. The Packers have been lucky at times this season, but remember what Branch Rickey said -- luck is the residue of design. Packers 28, Seahawks 17.

Clemson Tigers (+5.5) vs. LSU Bayou Bengals, in New Orleans Speaking of teams with a chip on their shoulder, the Clemson Tigers are really starting to annoy me. I get they are good, but they play in the ACC. That conference is weak sauce, and it's too predictable. It also doesn't help that Dabo seems to think that Jesus wears orange every Clemson game day. Hey coach, Jesus doesn't care about who wins a football game. I love Coach O at LSU. That dude has changed the narrative about him from a bad hire to a great coach, and Joe Burrow is going to be a very fun prospect in the draft, especially to see how the Bengals use him. This game is in New Orleans, so it is basically a home game in Baton Rouge. I like LSU, and it would be great to have a different champion than in years past. LSU 20, Clemson 9.

It is essentially a home game for the Bayou Bengals. Clemson is a tough out, but all hail Coach O and his growling waves of joy. LSU 45, Clemson 31.

Enjoy your weekend, folks. Ben out.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Midweek in the Mideast

So Iran fired a bunch of missiles yesterday and may not have killed anyone. And they promise not to do it again as long as the U.S. doesn't retaliate further.

Long and the short of it? Clowntime is over. For 40 years, the U.S. and Iran have pretended not to notice too much because they didn't want to escalate things. When Iran's proxies attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, that was too much, so that's why their top general was mailed back in a manila envelope. Trump doesn't care about appearances -- you may have noticed. So if nothing else, we're at the most honest point in U.S./Iran relations since the 1970s.

What happens next? Hard to say. But if you've been braying about war, as the Democrats have, it may not happen. Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Benster and D Pick Your Games-----Wild Cards Are Wild Edition

Old dude, the Vikings are going down to New Orleans, and there is a strong argument that the one inch in Seattle last weekend already is going to come into play.

It sure did. 

We can talk more about what that means when we get to Seattle and Philadelphia.

We can. Russ needs to make a long road trip. And the road doesn't get any easier if they win. But I suspect you have the narrative set.

I do. I'm all about the narrative. I'm feeling the HYYYYYYPPPEEE!, and it is time to watch me work.

Buffalo Bills (+2.5) vs. Houston Texans It seems like the Texans always play the early game on Saturday whenever they are the division champions, and this game is between two teams that seem to be flying under the radar. The Bills are a strong defensive unit, but their offense seems to be flawed. Houston has talent, but they are going to have to beat a good Bills team, the Ravens, and the Chiefs in order to get where they want to go. I give massive props to Bill O'Brien for his job down in Houston, though I was sold with how he led Penn State through their sanctions. I like the Bills to win, because their fans deserve it, and defense generally wins the day in the playoffs. Nobody Circles the Wagons Like the Buffalo Bills 17, Maybe We Can Play on Sunday 9.

Buffalo is a good outfit and defense usually shows up. The Texans? Who knows? They are, like all their pals in the AFC South, tough to read. Just to disagree, I'll go with homestanding Texans. Texans 24, Bills 20.

Tennessee Titans (+4.5) vs. New England Cheatriots Thank you to the Miami Dolphins for beating the Patriots, forcing them to play without a bye. Maybe it's punishment for thinking that you needed to film the sideline of the Bungles. The Titans are up against it, no questions about it. The Patriots are not dead, and I think people are counting them out way too quickly. New England will win, and then they can go on the road to Kansas City to face Mahomes once again. Patriots 31, Titans 10.

I think the Patriots will win as well, but the Titans are the sort of team that gives New England problems. Derrick Henry is a monster and if he gets rolling, people will be getting nervous in Foxborough. Patriots 28, Titans 20.

Minnesota Vikings (+7.5) vs. New Orleans Saints The Vikings rested their starters last week, and they lost to the Bears. Kirk Cousins is playing the most important game in his two years as a Viking. The one knock on him has been the lack of winning in the big moments, and he has to play on the road in a very difficult venue. The odd thing is that the Vikings have not won a road playoff game since beating the Packers during the Culpepper era. That's right, Mike Tice is the last Vikings coach to win a road playoff game. The Saints did not earn a first round bye, and they will look to feast on a Vikings secondary that is going to be severely compromised due to injury. The Vikings can win this game, but if they don't there is going to be a lot of talk about what changes could be happening. Saints 31, Vikings 17.

Have you wondered why the Cowboys haven't officially canned Jason Garrett? It may be because they are waiting to see what happens. Jerry Jones is known to have great respect for Mike Zimmer and he might try to engineer an escape for Zim. As Benster mentioned, the Vikings are down at least two defensive backs and that's not what you want when you're facing the Saints. Cousins better bring his "A" game, because the Vikings defenders would be getting through the "A" gap against the Saints offensive line. Saints 34, Vikings 24.

Seattle Seabags (-1.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles The Seahawks were jobbed on a terrible no call last week, and have to go on the road in the Eastern Time Zone. Of course, the Eagles get a home game by virtue of winning the NFC East. That division was filled with straight up trash, and the only reason the Eagles won the division is because they were less dysfunctional than the other teams in the most overhyped and overexposed division in American sports. If the Packers are somehow not deemed worthy of being in the playoffs, then why are the Eagles here? Yes, I know the Packers lost in Lambeau, but the Packers actually earned their place. I'm going to duck now, as the Eagles fan base is going to throw snowballs at me and boo me. Also, never forget that Rocky lost the title fight. Seabags 9, Cry Eagles Cry 0.

Russ will have work to do this week, but I think the Seahawks have enough gas left in the tank to get past the Eagles to set up a rematch against the 49ers. Bet the under. Seahawks 17, Eagles 14.

Enjoy your weekend, and hopefully you have as much job security as Jason Garrett. Ben out.

Friday, January 03, 2020

2020 starts out with a bang

So you thought you knew how 2020 was gonna go? Try again:
Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic, was killed Thursday night in an airstrike in Baghdad, the U.S. Defense Department has confirmed. The strike drew a vow of "crushing revenge" from Iran and condemnation from Iraq's government. 

In a statement, the Pentagon said President Trump ordered the "decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel," accusing Soleimani of "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."

The Defense Department blamed Soleimani for the deaths of hundreds of Americans during the United States' protracted engagement in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. It said he was behind recent attacks on coalition bases in Iraq, including one on December 27 that killed an American defense contractor. 
About the only way Trump could have been more direct would have been to take out the ol' Ayatollah himself. Maybe that's next. Stay tuned.