Miami is a Hell Hole and It’s Where Patriots Seasons Go to Die

Only in Miami does that happen. Only in Miami are the Patriots just utterly incapable of beating the Dolphins regardless of how good or bad they are each year. I don’t know what the hell it is, but Tom Brady and the Pats just melt (get it?!) in Miami every season.

What’s worse is that the Chiefs just won in OT so this seals the Patriots fate. There’s no realistic shot at the No. 1 seed anymore. Thank god the Texans lost to the Colts today or we’re looking at the No. 3 seed and the Patriots are playing Wild Card weekend. So with three games remaining against the Steelers, Bills, and Jets the Patriots have to win out. Either way they will most likely have to go through Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium in the playoffs, which is daunting enough as it is, but the Pats absolutely cannot fall to the No. 3-4 seed and be forced into playing on Wild Card weekend.

And for all the NFL head coaches on Twitter second guessing putting Gronk in there at the end can chill the fuck out. It’s way more likely that the Dolphins uncork a hail mary there than Kenyan Drake getting inside the 10 forcing Gronk to attempt a tackle in the open field.

God damnit.

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Ever Hear The One About The Back-Up Fighter Missing Weight?

Sherdog Max Holloway hit the scales at 144.5 pounds as he prepares to defend his featherweight title against the undefeated Ortega (144.75) in the UFC 231 main event this Saturday at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. However, in an ironic turn of events, Renato “Moicano” Carneiro — who was not scheduled to fight but had been kept on hand in case one of the headliners was not cleared to compete — failed to make the weight limit for a title fight, weighing in at 146.

To give some context, the UFC, understandably to a point, has had a long history of having fights and cards collapse at the last moment, which for these purposes we’ll say is a week or so, due to bad weight cuts, injuries, toxic water/wolf tickets, etc. So they came up with a couple ways to combat this.

The first solution is simple: stack a couple more fights featuring contenders from the weight class as the headlining fight on that card. If a headliner drops out, slot one of the other fighters in and find his original opponent a replacement or just pay him and say “sucks”. This works ok, but timing and scheduling doesn’t always work.

The second idea, which they really just recently have started using, is to have an additional fighter at that weight class be ready, be on weight, and then fight weekend get weighed in and medically cleared to fight so that if either fighter in the main event can’t go, they can step in. I think Jacare did it for the last 185lb title fight but I could be wrong.

Needless to say, with all this meticulous planning, care, and finger crossing involved, I laughed out loud today when I read that both of this weekend’s Featherweight Championship headliners, Brian Ortega and Max Holloway, made championship weight but that the fucking back up fighter, Renato Carneiro, did not. He came in at 146lbs, which for a normal fight is fine, but not for this belt, where you have to be 145lbs and not a hair over.

Where does this leave us? Well if either Ortega or the champ Holloway can’t make it to the Octagon, which still isn’t a sure thing, we’re a bit fucked unless another 145er is around, and a few are sure to raise their hands. As for “Moicano”, who was there opportunistically but not really essentially, he now see his stock take a BIG hit as he is now not only seen as unreliable, but as a risk to not make weight in any future title bouts, which after his impressive KO of Cub Swanson could be close down the road.

Hold on to ya butts.

-Joey B

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Patriots Dolphins Week 14 Game Preview, Odds, and Storylines

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After Sunday’s sound victory over Minnesota, many might be expecting the Patriots to roll over the Dolphins in Miami this week. But, any true Pats fan knows that Miami has been Brady’s own personal hell throughout his entire career.

Not only are the Pats 1-4 in their last five trips down to Vice City, but look at just how bad Brady has been down there throughout his entire career, as pointed out by Danny Heifetz of The Ringer:

Against the other 30 teams in the league, Brady is 85-32 on the road in the regular season. In Miami, he is 7-9, giving him more losses in Miami than anywhere except New England. Hell, Brady has nine losses in 16 Miami games and 19 losses in 132 home games. Brady has thrown 15 interceptions in Miami, which is more than he’s thrown in any season of his career. No matter how destitute the Dolphins are or how unbeatable the Pats seem, a trip to Miami is the most dangerous thing for the team outside of a visit from Bernard Karmell Pollard.

So, yeah, it hasn’t always been a breeze down in Miami for the Pats. But before we hop into the preview, here’s a quick look at where, when, and how to watch the game along with the latest lines:

  • Location: Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, FL)
  • Kickoff: Sunday, Dec. 9, 1 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Odds (via Odds Shark): Patriots: -7.5 (spread) / Patriots: -350 (moneyline) / 47 (total)

Rather than base expectations purely off of what happened in the past, though, let’s take a look at who Miami has been this season.

First and foremost, they’re just not very good – on either side of the ball. They’re ranked 29th in terms of both total offense and defense. And while they are 6-6, much of that had to do with a fool’s gold 4-2 start, which has been followed up by a 2-4 run since the middle of October.

Yes, it is true that they were without Ryan Tannehill for five games, forcing them to turn to Brock Osweiler (*BARF*) until Tannehill returned two weeks ago against the Colts. But even still, Tannehill had 52.6 QB rating over his last two games before the injury, failing to surpass 185 yards passing in either contest – with one of those games coming against Cincinnati, who has had the absolute worst defense in the league this season BY FAR. (Seriously, the Bengals defense is laughably horrendous.)

To be fair, he has bounced back with two straight 100-plus-QB-rating games over the past two weeks, with a very solid 5-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. Miami is also 1-1 over that time, with the victory coming in a very close contest against Buffalo last week.

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Honestly, who ever really knows what to expect from this guy?

But even still this is probably the worst Miami team in quite some time, and now their bottom-of-the-barrel defense will be without stud corner, Xavien Howard, on Sunday. Howard, who is in his third year, leads the league in interceptions with seven and has quickly vaulted himself into the upper echelon at the position with his play in 2018. He’s yet to officially be ruled out, but ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, who covers the Dolphins, doesn’t sound too optimistic:

If that’s the case, expect a nice game from Josh Gordon – and the rest of the Pats receiving corps, for that matter – as the Dolphins really don’t have much else at the position. Truthfully, this should be a great game for the Pats offense as a whole; Miami is also giving up 144.7 yards per game on the ground this year, due in part to the 180-plus rushing yards they’ve given up four of their last six contests. The Pats also carved up the Dolphins for 175 rushing yards when the teams met in Week 4, so expect Sony Michel – who had 112 of those yards – to FEAST once again this weekend. (Seriously, if you’ve got Sony on your fantasy team, fire him up!)

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Expect another electric showing from the rook down in the Sunshine State.

The one noteworthy “strength” (and I use that term loosely) for the Dolphins might be their running game. It’s a two-pronged attack featuring the ageless future H.O.F. Frank Gore and a talented but inconsistent third-year man in Kenyan Drake. After an 883-yard breakout last year, most people expected Drake to completely take over this year, but the 35-year-old Gore is not going away, quietly averaging almost 12 carries a game at a 4.43 per-carry mark. Drake has had his moments this year and is unquestionably the team’s top pass-catching back, but even still neither one has been all that impressive this year, and the Pats should be able to keep them at bay.

Storylines

(Can Brady Defeat His Demons?): As evidenced above, Brady is not a fan of playing in Miami. However, as also previously mentioned, this may be the worst Dolphins team we’ve seen in years, and I just don’t see how Brady can once again lay an egg down there. With Gordon now in the fold, Brady & Co. should be able to exploit Miami’s weak secondary; if not, then it’s really just all in Brady’s head and there’s just nothing else to say.

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Come on, Tommy. It’s time to change the narrative.

(Oh, Danny, Where Art Thou?): As I pointed out the other week, offseason acquisition Danny Shelton has been extremely disappointing this year. In fact, he’s been so ineffective that he wasn’t even active for last week’s game against Minnesota. Bill’s not afraid to quickly cut bait on bad investments, and hopefully it’s not the last we’ve seen of Shelton, who really does possess some solid talent. If he rides the pine again for the second straight week, however, it could signal the end of the 25-year-old’s career in New England.

(Will We See the Duke’s Arrival?): Even though he’s now been active for three weeks after being taken off I.R., rookie corner Duke Dawson has still yet to make his debut. It’s likely because of the fact the team’s current group of corners has been playing exceptionally well this year, and Dawson did miss a lot of valuable practice time while he was on the shelf. But still, the team needs to eventually see what they have in the young guy, on whom they spent a second-round pick in May.

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Can’t wait to see what this kid’s got when he finally gets his chance.

Prediction

I honestly expect the Pats to roll in this one, regardless of what past history tells us. The team’s offense should be able to destroy Miami with ease, and while Tannehill could have a surprisingly good game, he just doesn’t have enough around him to overtake what the Pats are bringing to the table. This one’s over quickly, and the Pats take it 38-17.

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The Avengers: Endgame Trailer Has Finally Arrived and We’re Breaking It Down

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The Avengers: Endgame trailer just dropped and in the words of my friend Pikachu:

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First off, I need to address that aside from the trailer, we finally got a title reveal. ENDGAME. Short, sweet, and to the point. I like it. After 11 years in this wonderfully constructed cinematic universe, we are at the end of this current iteration of the story. Now we all know this is not the actual end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hell, they already announced Spider-Man: Far From Home which is interesting considering where we last left our friendly neighborhood spider. This is a turning point in the road, where we may actually see some of our favorite heroes meet their demise. Some serious shit is about to go down. SPOILERS FROM HERE ON SO BE WARNED.

So when we last left our heroes in Infinity War, half of the universe was completely dusted. A bunch of our Avengers disappeared in front of our eyes and we were left with what pretty much resembled the original Avengers lineup, and there is absolutely zero chance that wasn’t done on purpose. We’re back to where we started and in the words of George Lucas, “It’s like poetry, they rhyme.”

We were also left with a lot of questions. Where the hell is Hawkeye? Is Ant-man still stuck in the quantum realm? Is Pepper pregnant? Oh, the humanity!

Luckily, we have our brand spanking new Avengers trailer to help answer some of those questions.

I think I can speak for most when I say, holy shit. I know this trailer doesn’t give away too much, but it does set us up perfectly for what’s to come. Sure, there’s no hint at what the actual plot is, but a friend of the blog put it as “Well, we’re all going to see it anyway, let’s just use it to hype us up.” Solid advice from a solid individual.

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So we start with a stranded Tony Stark in space. The chaos perceived after the Thanos snap is awesome. None of our heroes seem to have tabs on where the heck anyone is, and who is actually still standing which is great for the tension in the beginning of the film. So how will Iron Man find his way out of this one? Well, we pretty much have one option I can think of off the top of my head. Captain Marvel.

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I feel ya, Cap.

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Next up, we have the Incredible Hu….Bruce Banner going over what seems to be images of the people the Avengers think to have hit the old dusty trail. Here’s hoping in Endgame that Bruce takes some of Michael’s Secret Stuff from Space Jam and figures out how to Hulk out again.*

*He will, duh.

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Nebula! Kind of forgot you were still alive!

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Now this is where things start picking up. Who’s our new assassin friend?

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By Golly! It’s our old pal Hawkeye! Way to make an appearance!

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Title card. Yeah, i’m pretty damn excited for this thing now.

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And finally, we get the return of Scott Lang. So many questions. How did you get here Scott??? I guess we’ll all have to collectively wait and see April 26th.

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Friday Morning Randomness


Man do I miss wasting entire Saturdays watching 1990s SNL reruns on Comedy Central. A great way to recap a great decade. Each episode was a nice little time capsule.

Obviously Dana Carvey’s George H. W. Bush impression was legendary, but don’t sleep on Phil Hartman’s Bill Clinton. Darrell Hammond was great on SNL for many years, but I always felt Hartman was a little better at capturing the essence of “Slick Willie.”

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I Very Much Would Like to Hang Out With Mark Sanchez

For as much as we poke fun at Mark Sanchez here because he used to be the de facto leader of the Jets, he does seem like a genuinely good dude. Imagine if someone asked Peyton Manning this question? He would have had his father’s goons beat the shit out of the guy’s legs before he left the room.

But Sanchez handled that like a buddy was just busting his balls and laughed it off. Life’s too short guys, be more like Mark Sanchez.

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Red Sox Have Re-signed Nathan Eovaldi

WEEI – The Red Sox are reportedly nearing a deal with free agent right-hander Nathan Eovaldi on a four-year contract that could be worth nearly $70 million…Eovaldi, 28, was a tremendous find at the trade deadline, going 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA after arriving from Tampa, and then following it up with a dominating postseason that saw him go 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA. He delivered one of the signature performance of the playoffs, even though it ended in defeat, when he tossed six innings of three-hit relief in an 18-inning loss to the Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series.

While the terms of the deal are still unknown, most of the big baseball writers have been speculating 4 years at $70 million, which is $17.5 per year. It might sound like a lot for a guy who was a midseason pickup that had a really strong second half and an incredible playoff run, but I’m totally on board with this move. The Red Sox needed Nathan Eovaldi for this upcoming season, but more importantly for the next few years.

The Red Sox rotation is stacked, but is also top heavy and comprised of expensive guys in contract years. Chris Sale has had his last 2 seasons start off incredible only to stumble down the stretch due to injuries and is a free agent after this upcoming season. Are the Red Sox prepared to give him a $200 Million contract? I’m not so sure. Rick Porcello is also in a walk year and while he’s had his ups and downs over the years, he will be a 30-year-old free agent with a Cy Young Award under his belt next winter so don’t expect him to come cheap. That leaves the Red Sox with David Price, who has ranged from trainwreck to solid to elite so your guess is as good as mine for what to expect, but Price is signed for the next four years at least. After that the Sox are left with Eduardo Rodriguez, who seems to miss extended time with injuries every year, and a bunch of Triple-A pitchers.

Simply put, the Sox need someone to anchor this staff alongside David Price beyond just next season.

So the Sox needed to make this move. I’m less concerned with Eovaldi’s injury history as I am with projecting future performance. Even though he’s had two Tommy John surgeries, as we’ve said here before; that’s basically a prerequisite to being a great starting pitcher these days. Alex Speier dove a little deeper on that issue:

“The idea that a two-time Tommy John recipient could be seen as something other than an extreme risk illustrates how drastically the landscape has changed over the last decade…the chief risk appears to be whether a pitcher returns to his prior level from a second Tommy John surgery. There is a survival effect. Roughly 20-25 percent of pitchers never make it back from a first or second Tommy John, but those who do appear at no greater risk than other pitchers who hadn’t undergone even a single Tommy John procedure.”

Would I be shocked to see Eovaldi’s performance regress back to the mean next year though? No I would not. But at 4 years this deal is a drop in the bucket for John Henry and the Red Sox. Dave Dombrowski loved what he saw, primarily because Eovaldi saved his bacon and the Boston bullpen en route to a World Series title. Now Dealer Dave likely smells blood and sees a ripe opportunity for the Sox to repeat (and clinch Dombrowski’s spot in the Hall of Fame) so why pinch pennies now? Welcome back to Boston, Nate.

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