What we are talking about:
Ready to roll vs. Rams
Let's discuss ...
Can he be trusted?
I used to have this coach who had a funny saying. He'd go, "Rank, you don't look good in a uniform." Actually, that wasn't my coach. It was former Major League manager Del Crandall. I was working for the Dodgers minor league affiliate in San Bernardino, Calif. at the time. And we had this one team in the league, Bakersfield, that was a co-op, which meant it had no Major League-affiliate and all of the players were free agents.
Well, one time the Bakersfield club was down a bunch of dudes and needed some players to suit up against us stat. My boss offered up my buddy co-worker Steve and me. Steve was really good. He played catcher at UC Santa Barbara. I didn't play in college, but my boss told him that I played at Cal State Fullerton.
Right then, Del turned to me and said, "Rank, you don't look good in a uniform."
And I was all, "How dare you, Skip. I was recruited to Puget Sound (go Loggers!) and I even tried to walk on to Cal State Fullerton, sir!"
"How far did you get?"
"Augie Garrido told me to get into the press box where I might actually do some good."
Long story short (as if), I didn't get a chance to play that night. Which is just as well. Because one of the pitchers on the team (not one of the ones who made it to the Majors) told me that he would have beaned me just for the fun of it. Which is hilarious. But it would have been worth it because I would have competed against Adrian Beltre, who was on our club at the time.
I should point out I was clearly not good enough to make the team (any team, really). I know I should front and tell everybody I had a shoulder injury and that's what derailed me. Anytime I talk to some dude and he's all, "Oh man, I was going to play hoops at UCLA, but I got a toe injury" or some (expletive), I don't buy it. Just the jump from high school to the college is huge. I was the same size and handedness of former Major Leaguer Mark Kotsay. That dude raked all over the field. I liked Jaeger Bombs. I mean, it wasn't even the same.
But back to my high school coach, he had this saying. He'd be like, "If I put a 2x4 on the ground, you guys would have no problem walking over it. But if I put it 30 stories in the air, you'd all be scared."
And I would always say, "No (expletive), because if I fell off the 2x4 on the ground, nothing would happen. I fall off from 30 stories up, I would be (expletive) dead."
You know what, I'm really starting to figure out why I wasn't very good in sports. I was very quick with the quips. Not so much with the step to first. Actually, I take that back. Running was never my problem. Especially in baseball. I just had a hard time putting the bat on the ball. Yeah, that was probably my biggest problem.
But what I think my coach was trying to say was don't try to put extra pressure on yourself. If you're headed into fantasy championship week, don't freak out. If you have a matchup where, let's say, you'd stream Matt Barkley if it was Week 7, then do that stuff this weekend. People all get too scared with the notion of, "I don't want to lose my championship with Matt Barkley." So you're good losing during the regular season? I mean, you're not really physically choosing Barkley to be your starting quarterback for eternity. You're playing a game of math and probability based on a set of variables. Just do what you got to do. Don't fret too much over your decisions. And just make an informed choice.
Unless it's Barkley. He doesn't look good in a uniform. (Kidding. Trust your instincts, set your roster and enjoy the games.)
And without further ado ...
I'll be nice, though. Aaron Rodgers is 15-1 in December home games with 39 touchdowns and five interceptions. His lone loss came in 2008. It's weird he has more January home losses.
Dak Prescott is going to be able to move the sticks to give us enough of a return yardage wise. But he does need to crack the end zone a few times to make it really worthwhile.
Image Congratulations on The New Day for being the longest-running WWE tag teams in history. (Stop it, I know what you're going to say. But this is what the WWE is officially recognizing, so I'm going to do the same.) I thought the New Day was booked really well over the past few weeks. As mentioned in this space previously (and by Brandon Stroud), The New Day would be the biggest thing ever if they were booked like this during their entire run.
This would be the ultimate Montgomery Burns in the "Springfield 9" moment to sit Bell because you are beholden to the numbers.
David Johnson is the first player in NFL history with 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first 14 games of the season. My man Tokyo Rose has him started against me, so can we stop that?
I know I get a little grief for people being all, "you talk about big names." But really, you all ask your individual questions on Twitter and Facebook. This is about info and entertainment.
Le'Veon Bell has 620 rushing yards since Week 11, including 236 last week. Which was great when I was on a bye in the playoffs. So I'm going to need you to do that again.
LeSean McCoy has four games with at least 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns. How is my one team with him not in the finals? Damn it.
Image As you probably know, I'm a huge fan of The Waitresses' classic "Christmas Wrapping" and big thank you to Richard Blade who rocked that one on Sirius the other day when it was most-needed as I was stuck in holiday traffic on the 405. That's right, I live in California so I put "the" in front of freeway names. However, I recently discovered this Straight No Chaser classic mashup of the "12 Days of Christmas." This might be the GOAT. I will give my final verdict next year.
Julio Jones probably is the most stressful this week. I doubt the Falcons would put him out there as a decoy. So if he's playing for the Falcons, he's playing for you. Besides, the Falcons have scored more than 40 points in back-to-back games, something they have done twice this season and no other team has done once.
Antonio Brown needs four receptions to reach 100 for the fourth consecutive season. He's probably not going to get 20 touchdowns which means I'm going to need to get my green-and-gold tie to wear as a punishment.
Dez Bryant has just one touchdown in his last four games. But I just can't stomach the thought of leaving him on the bench.
I really believe Rodgers wants Davante Adams' head in the game and he's going to pepper him a lot to get him back into the mix.
Image "Rogue One" is currently my No. 2 Star Wars film of all-time, nestled right behind "Empire" but above "Force Awakens" from last year. I know, "New Hope" is a great movie. It's not a knock against the film at all. But it's like the Dan Marino of the Star Wars films. There will be some who contend it is the best. But there are some that are better. I guess if we're doing this, Joe Montana is "Empire," Tom Brady is "Rogue One" and Troy Aikman is "Force Awakens."
Image You are getting spoiled for "Rogue One" so please skip to the other side if you want to avoid any such things. Because it's really happening. SPOILER. SPOILER. SPOILER. So I loved it. My favorite thing was obviously the end. Darth Vader being the RBA we all knew he was. (Resident Bad Ass.) You know the Rebels are going to get away with the plans of the Death Star, and yet I was at the edge of my seat ready to burst. So freaking good. I was exhausted after that scene. I also didn't mind the CGI (this is why I don't watch in 3D) and loved that everybody lost their lives on Scarif. No need to force explanations why they are not there (unlike some of the things in "New Hope" that will bother you). And really, it shows the gritty side of the rebellion you don't really see in the other movies.
Image So for the record, all of you hand wringers worried about this movie can rest easy now. Oh, and this for days.
Matthew Stafford had a passer rating of 100.5 for the season (21 touchdowns, five interceptions) before his finger injury. His rating is 64.6 since.
Stafford is 1-22 in his career on the road against teams to finish the season with a winning record, and he's 3-11 in primetime and playoff games.
It's also fair to point out Stafford grew up with Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
I just provide the information for you. What you do with that information is completely up to you. I'm just pointing out Stafford grew up with Kershaw. There was no editorial comment added to it.
Can somebody explain why the Texans even signed Brock Osweiler when they had basically the same dude? Obviously it was the GM. But what exactly did you think was going to happen? The Texans are that kind of team you can build through the defense. There are already some nice pieces there. I would rather spend the money that put in Osweiler and build up the offensive line. Look at what the Titans are doing. Of course, the Titans have a better chance of getting away with that because they have a much better quarterback. But still.
Marcus Mariota has given me the most fits this week. He was great during the early part of the season. And his playoff schedule indicated he would be the kind of guy who could get you to the playoffs, but the matchups were brutal. He's had Denver, Kansas City and now Jacksonville. And that's the thing. What are we going to get out of the Jags? A team that is upset Gus Bradley was let go (remember, he's a defensive guy) and is going to play with fire. Or will they make like Allan B. Calhamer and mail it in? (Good lord people, read a book.)
I've also heard the Chargers would think about rebranding if the team moved to Los Angeles. This is a great idea. The fans in San Diego are getting robbed here, and they should be able to hold on to the Chargers name and marks. And most of those San Diego fans will probably be done with them anyway. But a brand new team name (probably colors, too, since you won't want to match the Rams color scheme) is a great move. At the risk of having too many bird mascots in the NFL, I would say the California Condors would be a pretty dope name. Shoot, I might even be a fan of the team. Well, if they had a new owner maybe. But let's go 'Dors!
Obviously I left Melvin Gordon off this space last week because he was nursing an injury. But I did want to give him a little recognition.
Image I will give credit to Duke as it acted quickly against Grayson Allen. I don't want to indict every player who has ever played for Duke, but this is a renegade team and has been for years. I always found it laughable Duke was considered the "good guys" against my boyhood team, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
A.J. Green is back! Oh man, first off, why? I love that he still wants to play. A.J. is one of my favorite dudes, but come on. Take the rest of the year off and relax.
I had a dude on Twitter hit me up about playing Alshon, A.J. and Inman. We ended up settling on Inman. Or at least he told me he was going to do that.
Image Congratulations to Pearl Jam, Tupac, Journey and the others who made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That was well deserved. Much to my chagrin, I just realized Sublime is not in the Hall. I have to imagine it isn't eligible yet. But Sublime had albums out before Pearl Jam I think, so that can't be right. Well, we can talk about them another day. I'm shocked Depeche Mode didn't get in. Are you kidding me? One of the most influential bands out there. Anybody who traces their roots in symph-pop will no doubt be in line with D Mode. I mean, from Van Halen to Daft Punk, all of them can thank Depeche Mode for being trailblazers. This is wrong.
Image Oh (expletive)! Bad Brains didn't get in either? I can't even.
Image Some more "Rogue One" spoilers for you. And I promise you, I will keep them brief. I'm the most disappointed that one of my favorite standup bits is now gone forever. I always liked to joke that the demise of the Death Star was really due to some contractor who was too lazy to worry about the old service elevator that now doubles as an exhaust port. "Hey, do you think we should put a cover over that thing?" "Yeah, right. Like some X-Wing pilot is just going to come along with the perfect shot to take the whole thing down." But it's worth it, though. I should sneak it in a few more times before everybody sees it and while we still have a chance. But dang, how great was that movie?