Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013 NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Last week's power rankings had a lot of mix-ups, which included the number one Broncos dropping due to a loss to the Colts. Some weeks are like that. This week was not one of those as the entire top 10 stays the exact same. That's not to say that nothing interesting happened this week, though. It's just saying the good got better and the bad got worse. Let's dive into the rankings!

1- Kansas City Chiefs - 8-0 (+0) - Say what you want about the Chiefs' schedule, 8-0 is 8-0. They received another scare from the Browns, who played surprisingly well on Sunday with Jason Campbell, but they still found a way to win. And as long as the Chiefs remain undefeated, this is where they will stay.

2- Denver Broncos - 7-1 (+0) - For a second there, it looked like the Broncos were going to sport a two-game losing streak, but someone forgot to tell the Redskins that they actually had to play two complete halves of football, and the Broncos took advantage of that by scoring 38 straight points starting in the end of the third quarter. That's insane!
3- New Orleans Saints - 6-1 (+0) - Kenny Stills anyone? Drew Brees is always good at finding new weapons as the rookie lit it up on Sunday against the Bills. The NFC has several good teams right now, but the Saints have more than proven that they are the current best in the NFC.

4- Seattle Seahawks - 7-1 (+0) - Now I'm going to cut the Seahawks a little bit of slack due to all the injuries on the offensive line they are dealing with, but they have to hope that those guys get back awfully fast or else they will be in trouble when they play opponents not named the St. Louis Rams. The Seahawks had no offense on Monday and especially no offensive line as Russell Wilson got sacked seven times. 

5- Indianapolis Colts - 5-2 (+0) - The Colts had a week off to celebrate their big win over the Broncos, but now they need to come back and make sure to ride that momentum in an important divisional game against the Texans. This one looks like a lock on paper, but the don't sleep on the Texans. Case Keenum played great against the Chiefs and they are going to be looking to save their season on Sunday night against the Colts.

6- San Francisco 49ers - 6-2 (+0) - Like I mentioned last week, that game against the Jaguars was the first of two bye weeks for the Niners. No competition at all in that one. Now they will have their actual bye week before they get to host the surging Panthers.

7- Green Bay Packers - 6-2 (+0) - I'm sure Aaron Rodgers misses all his injured receivers, but you wouldn't know it as the Packers have not missed a beat at all. Jordy Nelson has especially been huge and is now set up for a fantastic ending to the season. 

8- Cincinnati Bengals - 6-2 (+0) - The Bengals have had lots of games this season where they played bad and won anyway. This past Sunday was their first game where they just outright lit it up. Perfect time for them to catch fire. If they play like that every week, then I will gladly jump on the Bengals bandwagon and move them up in the rankings.
9- New England Patriots - 6-2 (+0) - For one half of play, we all thought that the Patriots were going to be in bad shape with two straight divisional losses. Fortunately, the Dolphins went into the locker room and forgot to come out, so the Pats were able to make up for things and keep them right on track to cruise to a divisional title once again.

10- Detroit Lions - 5-3 (+0) - Holy Megatron! I have no words to describe that performance outside asking Dez if he wants to take his comments back. But outside that, how 'bout that final drive for the Lions? And that final play by Matt Stafford was pure genius. If the Lions continue to make clutch plays like that, they won't be a fun team to play come playoff time.

11- Chicago Bears - 4-3 (+0) - That bye week came at a good time for the Bears. But now they have back to back games against the Packers and the Lions and with no Cutler, they could be in big trouble. Only two teams can make wild card spots and unless they can pull off a miracle in the next two weeks, it looks like they will be the team left out.

12- San Diego Chargers - 4-3 (+1) - The Chargers haven't been very consistent at all, but lucky for them there is a huge gap between the top tier teams in the AFC and the rest of the gang, and the Chargers find themselves right in between that gap. They've had a week off and now Phillip Rivers and gang go for their third in a row against the defenseless Redskins.

13- Carolina Panthers - 4-3 (+4) - Yes, it's true that the Panthers haven't played tough competition in their four wins this season, but what impresses me most is the play of Cam Newton in those four wins. With all the competition in the NFC, the playoffs still seem like a reach, but at least Panther fans can brag that their team is currently above .500.

14- Dallas Cowboys - 4-4 (-2) - A lot of people are bashing Dez Bryant for all his antics. Personally I am on his side, especially after hearing parts of the actual sound bites. It seems like he is talking big to motivate his team to play with a high level of intensity. And he's backing it up on the field. No, he's no Megatron, but he's still on the top of his game and if every Cowboy had his level of intensity, the Cowboys would be winning more games.

15- Arizona Cardinals - 4-4 (+5) - It seems like I have underestimated the Cardinals this season because that win over the Falcons was super impressive. Unfortunately, the Cardinals are in the same position as the Panthers this year. There's just too much competition in the NFC this year for them to actually do much of anything. But teams better not sleep on them when they come up on the schedule.

16- New York Jets - 4-4 (-2) - Yikes. The second you think the Jets might have things put together, they get trounced by the Bengals in embarrassing fashion. Fortunately, like the Chargers situation, it's not over. They do host the Saints next week and that could get ugly, but after that they have a pretty smooth schedule from there on out.

17- Buffalo Bills - 3-5 (-2) - The Bills didn't play awful on Sunday. In fact, Thad Lewis has played surprisingly well as the Bills starter. The problem on Sunday I would put as purely the opponent they were playing. The Saints were just too much.

18- Tennessee Titans - 3-4 (-2) - Tough stretch for the Titans recently with their last three losses. The good news is that they have been playing well enough that they still have time to turn things around. The bye week came at a good time, and now they have things easier as their next two opponents are the Rams and the Jaguars. Although Jeff Fisher the Rams match-up won't be a walk in the park because Jeff Fisher is sure to make this emotional playing his old team.

19- Cleveland Browns - 3-5 (+2) - Turning away from Weeden and to Jason Campbell was a very good decision as the Browns got close to pulling off the huge upset against the Chiefs. Now they get a three game stretch against their division and I would say all three are must wins for this team.

20- Baltimore Ravens - 3-4 (-2) - With the Bengals continuing to run away with the division, it's looking like a lost cause for the Ravens to repeat as divisional champs. There is still a chance for the wild card spot, but they are going to need to remember how they won so many games last year, because they seem to have forgotten.

21- Miami Dolphins - 3-4 (-2) - It's been a very slippery road for the Dolphins as Sunday's meltdown led to their fourth straight loss. It's not going to get any better for them as the red-hot Bengals come to town on Halloween night. They are going to need to pull off some crazy tricks while all the little kids are out collecting treats because five straight losses will pretty much settle their fate if that happens.

22- Oakland Raiders - 3-4 (+2) - All hail Terrelle Pryor as the new record-holder for the longest run ever for a quarterback in the NFL. Check out the upcoming Raiders schedule: Eagles, Giants, Texans, Titans, Cowboys, and Jets. Is it time to look out for the Raiders? I would say no right now, but don't sleep on them.

23- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-5 (-1) - Michael Vick continues to prove to the Eagles that he can't stay healthy. How much more patience are the Eagles going to have with him? Unfortunately if he gets healthy, the Eagles have no choice but to go with him because Foles is hurt as well and Barkley is looking like his huge fall in the draft was well deserved.

24- Houston Texans - 2-5 (-1) - It appears that Matt Shaub is healthy again, but after a week of rest, the Texans have decided to stick with Case Keenum. Good choice in my opinion. Shaub has been awful this season and Keenum had a really good first outing. It's time to see what more he can do.

25- Atlanta Falcons - 2-5 (+0) - Ouch. I've been really harsh on the Falcons this season, but not even I saw that ugly performance against the Cardinals coming. The last three games was supposed to be their easy stretch and yet they have gone 1-2. That tells me that it's going to get even worse in Atlanta before it gets better. They have a trip to Carolina coming up next.

26- St. Louis Rams - 3-5 (+0) - The Rams proved against the Seahawks that their defense is still top-notch. Unfortunately they have no offense to go along with that. Although, to be fair, their running game actually looked decent against a random off-week for the Seahawks defense. Jeff Fisher gets to play his old team, the Titans, next week for the first time since they fired him. That should be interesting.

27- Washington Redskins - 2-5 (+0) - Someone apparently forgot to tell the Redskins that they need to actually play in the fourth quarter if they want to win more football games, especially when they are up against a team like the Broncos. 31 points in the fourth quarter is unacceptable. I can't remember the last time I even saw a defensive meltdown like that.

28- New York Giants - 2-6 (+1) - Two in a row for the G-Men! Unfortunately that doesn't look that impressive as they won their second straight ugly game. There were zero offensive touchdowns in that Giants/Eagles game. The Giants somehow won by only scoring five field goals. That won't happen too often.

29- Pittsburgh Steelers - 2-5 (-1) - Someone forgot to tell the Steelers that Terrelle Pryor knows how to run the ball. After two straight wins, all the progress the Steelers made seems to have just been erased. Now they get the Patriots, Bills, and Lions next. Back to their losing ways?

30- Minnesota Vikings - 1-6 (+0) - Not a bad effort against the Packers actually. Just not good enough. Ponder didn't play great, but if I'm the Vikings I would make sure to stick with him once Freeman gets better because putting Freeman back in would just be asking for trouble.

31- Tampa Bay Buccaneeers - 0-7 (+0) - Another week, another non-existent performance for the Bucs. You gotta wonder how much longer Greg Schiano has as head coach of this team. I'd be shocked if he lasted the rest of the season.

32- Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-8 (+0) - Not much to say here. The Jaguars have forgotten how to play football and this week against the Niners made it seem like they are just going backwards as a team.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

2013 NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

At the beginning of October, when I made my October season predictions, I decided to make the super bold prediction of predicting a perfect season for the Denver Broncos. Oops. It appears that Jim Irsay knew exactly what to do this week in order get inside Peyton's head and help the Colts get the victory. You have a feeling that we'll see a rematch of that game come playoff time, and that game should be fantastic. Meanwhile, a Broncos loss means we have a new number one this week. We also have a whole slew of mediocre teams that makes you think we already know what the playoff picture is going to look like come January.

1- Kansas City Chiefs - 7-0 (+1) - I don't actually know how long this is going to last with the Chiefs being number one. It'll at least last the next three weeks as they play the Browns and Bills before taking their bye week. But hey, the Chiefs have been winning with defense and a good running game, which many say is the recipe for a championship. As the only undefeated team, they definitely deserve this top spot.

2- Denver Broncos - 6-1 (-1) - It turns out the Broncos are human after all, but I won't drop them too far after a tough loss to a good Colts team. Tides have turned, though, and now they are chasing the Chiefs for the AFC West title. They get the Chiefs in weeks 11 and 13, which will be surrounded by games against the Chargers and Patriots. The Broncos will get the chance to make up some ground here.

3- New Orleans Saints - 5-1 (+1) - The Saints got a week off to try to figure out what happened in Foxboro. Now they are up and running again and will get games against the Bills, Jets, and Cowboys. That should push them to 8-1 going into their big matchup with the Niners in week 11.

4- Seattle Seahawks - 6-1 (+1) - Thursday night in the desert went well like was expected and now they get to travel to St. Louis after having a few extra days off to face a suddenly depleted Rams team. And really they won't get challenged again until week 13 when the Saints come to town, so that should help their bid to make the NFC go through Seattle.

5- Indianapolis Colts - 5-2 (+1) - That was a huge statement win for the Colts on Sunday and now it looks like that AFC South is a done deal. If it weren't for them disappearing against the Chargers the week before, I would've been tempted to put them higher.

6- San Francisco 49ers - 5-2 (+1) - The Niners are now riding a four game winning streak and they will take that streak into the first of two straight bye weeks that they have coming up. Oh wait, that first bye week is actually against the Jags, but same thing right?

7- Green Bay Packers - 4-2 (+4) - No Randall Cobb, no James Jones, no problem, right? Or are the Browns just that bad? Probably a bit of both. One thing's for sure, the Packers really need to retire those putrid retro jerseys.

8- Cincinnati Bengals - 5-2 (+2) - Once again, the Bengals find a way to win a close game, which was impressive against a good Lions team. They'll ride that luck right to the division title because there really is no other competition. Come playoffs, though, if they don't want to get blasted out of the water, they will need to actually put up impressive performances.

9- New England Patriots - 5-2 (-6) - Ouch. I certainly had this Patriots team way too high last week and after that loss against the Jets, I'm feeling generous by keeping them in the top 10. They play Miami and Pittsburgh in the next two weeks, so maybe they will be able to gain some confidence back.

10- Detroit Lions - 4-3 (-2) - Tough loss against a decent Bengals team. They could've really used that when to keep them afloat in the NFC North. The Cowboys will be in town as Dez tries to walk the walk after claiming he's just as good as Megatron.

11- Chicago Bears - 4-3 (-2) - Where on earth did the legendary Bears defense go on Sunday? It's a rare occasion when you witness the Bears give up over 40 points in a single game. What's worse is that Jay Cutler has once again gone down with injury. With the Packers and Lions looming on the horizon, that was bad timing.

12- Dallas Cowboys - 4-3 (+3) - Well the Eagles team really didn't show up against the Cowboys, so that was a freebie win. But given that the Eagles were the Cowboys' only competition for the divisional crown, that was a pretty good freebie to get.

13- San Diego Chargers - 4-3 (+4) - For the first time this season, the Chargers got two wins in a row. Or maybe just 1 1/2, since that second win was against the Jags. There's going to be no catching the Broncos or the Chiefs, but perhaps the Chargers can make it three from the AFC West to make the playoffs. Their only competition right now for that seems to be the Jets. Strange world.

14- New York Jets - 4-3 (+7) - Yeah, you read that last paragraph right. Could the Jets make the playoffs? It's actually possible. Especially if they have more games like Sunday's game. If they can somehow make it through the Bengals and Saints in their next two games, their remaining schedule is all against non-playoff teams.

15- Buffalo Bills - 3-4 (+7) - Leading our slew of mediocre teams in this weeks power rankings is the Bills of Buffalo. That was an impressive win in Miami. They better enjoy this spot while it lasts, though, because next on the schedule is the Saints and the Chiefs.

16- Tennessee Titans - 3-4 (-3) - The Titans played decent in about a quarter and a half in that game against the Niners. But they are going to have to do better than that if they want to actually start winning these tough games that they have been surprisingly competitive in. They could also really use Chris Johnson right now. He seems to have forgotten how to play running back.

17- Carolina Panthers - 3-3 (+6) - After knocking Sam Bradford out of the Rams game, the panthers picked up their first back to back win of the season.They have huge divisional games up next against the Bucs and the Falcons that they desperately need to win because after that their schedule starts to be super mean to them.

18- Baltimore Ravens - 3-4 (-4) - The Ravens and Steelers game is always close, but unfortunately a Ravens loss in that game has made catching the Bengals seem like an impossible task. That last wild card spot is still up for grabs, though, so they need to pick things up they want to avoid missing the playoffs following their inspiring Super Bowl run.

19- Miami Dolphins - 3-3 (-7) - It seems like so long ago when I had the Dolphins close to my top 5, with the idea in mind that they could fight the Patriots for the division title. And now they are on a dangerous three game slide after allowing the Bills to take advantage of them. If they want to get back on track, a win in Foxboro this upcoming Sunday is a must.

20- Arizona Cardinals - 3-4 (-1) - It wasn't a bad loss for the Cards on Thursday night football, but a loss is a loss and it looks like the Cards will continue to stay stuck in the basement of the NFC West.

21- Cleveland Browns - 3-4 (-5) - Jason Campbell will get his first go as starter for the Browns on Sunday and surely he can't be much worse than the ancient Brandon Weeden, right? Although it may be tough to judge him in his first Browns start. Browns will be travelling to Arrowhead to play the Chiefs on Sunday.

22- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-4 (-4) - The Eagles really need Michael Vick back because it has just been a disaster without him. Matt Barkley looked awful in his pro debut. The loss to the Cowboys hurt pretty bad, but the division is still in reach if they can somehow wake up.

23- Houston Texans - 2-5 (+1) - After starting 2-0, the Texans have now lost five straight games. And although the game against the Chiefs was a loss just like the other four, at least they didn't throw a pick six. And have they found something with Case Keenum? He actually looked really good against the Chiefs.

24- Oakland Raiders - 2-4 (-1) - The Raiders got a week off after getting torched by the Chiefs. Good news for them is that they get the Steelers, Eagles, and Giants in their next three games,  so it's time for Terrelle Pryor to have some fun.

25- Atlanta Falcons - 2-4 (+1) - Sunday was a step in the right direction for the Falcons, although it was only the Bucs that they beat and the second half wasn't too pretty. They get a two game road trip against the Cardinals and Panthers. They really need to take those two games if they want to get some confidence again.

26- St. Louis Rams - 3-4 (-6) - And just like that, the Rams' season is over. They already didn't have a running back, but now with Sam Bradford out for the season, they will have Kellen Clemmens, Brady Quinn, and Andrew Davis at quarterback to lead that running back-less team. On a worse note, the Seahawks will be in town to give them a good old-fashioned beatdown.

27- Washington Redskins - 2-4 ( +1) - Wow! Where did that offensive performance come from? I'm not ready to shoot them up the board because I want to see them do that again before I declare the old RG3 of last year back again. The other side of that game was that they had no defense show up against the Bears, which is troublesome, since Jay Cutler got knocked out early on.

28- Pittsburgh Steelers - 2-4 (+1) - Well, the Steelers now have two straight wins. With a trip to Oakland on the schedule next, can they make it three in a row? It's too little, too late, but at least they have a bit of Steeler pride again.

29- New York Giants - 1-6 (+1) - Do the Giants get credited for the win on Monday night or just doing enough to not lose? But hey, it sure must feel good for the G-Men to finally be out of that winless hole, even if it did come against an awful Viking team.

30- Minnesota Vikings - 1-5 (-3) - What in the Josh Freeman happened Monday night? Josh Freeman better be grateful that I am not the GM for the Vikings, because I would send him right back on the streets after a performance like that.. I could've played quarterback on Sunday and done a better job than Freeman.

31- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 0-6 (+0) - Not much to say here except for another loss given to the Buccaneers. And when it rains it certainly pours. Not only do they not really have a quarterback, but they also lost their running back for the next several games at least.

32- Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-7 (+0) - After looking like somewhat of a decent football team against the Broncos that actually might figure out how to win a football game, it was back to nothing against the Chargers. Seriously, I think 0-16 is possible for this team.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Captain Phillips Review

Pirates. At Halloween time? Perfect, right? I always enjoy a good pirate movie. Normally, though, when you think of a movie about a pirate you think Captain Hook from Peter Pan or Captain Jack Sparrow. Big hat. Hook as a hand. Parrot on the shoulder. Large ship, old-fashioned ship with huge black sails. Treasure hunting. Pirates. In the new movie, Captain Phillips, we get more pirates. However, these pirates are much different because they are actual, genuine pirates. And it is such a fantastic story.

Back in 2009, a cargo ship carrying 17,000 tons of cargo was about 600 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia when it was boarded by four Somalian pirates. What happened next was quite the dramatic turn of events. I won't go any further into the story than that, but you may actually remember it being on the news a few years back. When all was said and done, Captain Richard Phillips wrote a book about his experiences. That film rights of the book were immediately required by Colombia Pictures and now just four years after the dramatic events, we have our movie. Because that's what we do in Hollywood. We turn everything into a movie. In this specific instance, though, I'm not complaining.

Captain Phillips stars Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips and by goodness he does a great job. Hanks has made a lot of great movies in his day, winning the Oscar for Best Actor twice and being nominated three other times. With that said, I am going to boldly claim that this performance is one of his best performances to date. What makes me say that is his performance during the final scenes of the movie. The beginning and middle of the movie he was good, but that ending is just, wow! He is definitely headed back to the Oscars for his sixth Best Actor nomination. If it were my choice, he would also get his third win. That's how good he is.

However, Tom Hanks isn't the only thing that makes this an excellent movie. I have to give major kudos to the four actors who played our four Somalian pirates. All four are brand new to acting, which is super impressive because after watching this you'd think they all were seasoned veterans. The story itself is super intense and has you on the edge of your seat the whole team. Also, I was impressed at how they did the pirates' side of the story. It wasn't just Tom Hanks and crew sailing a ship and having suddenly having four pirates jump their ship. It showed a lot of the pirates' perspective, and at times you even felt bad for them. After watching the movie, I was curious to know more about the actual story, and it turns out they did a really accurate job with it as Captain Richard Phillips himself said the movie was really accurate. Topping it all off, I think the music was perfect and should get consideration when it comes to Oscar time.

In conclusion, I would say that Captain Phillips is well worth your time. Story was great. Tom Hanks was amazing. The four pirates did a super job in their acting debuts. This movie is one that has a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding it and I hope it does well at the Oscars, because it deserves it. I am giving Captain Phillips a solid 9 out of 10. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2013 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

We're down to only two undefeated teams and both of them are in the AFC West. Those two teams will have a showdown in week 11 and is it possible that the Chiefs could be the team that comes out on top? Meanwhile, the Patriots continue to prove that all they really need is Tom Brady on offense to win games. Week 7 is almost here, so let's take a look at my power rankings before it happens!

1- Denver Broncos - 6-0 (+0) - The Broncos actually looked human this past Sunday as they went into the Jaguars game as a four-touchdown favorite and actually had one of their toughest challenges of the year. Now Peyton will have the chance to go back to Indianapolis and Colts owner Jim Irsay is essentially calling Peyton a disappointment in Indy. If I were Peyton I would be rather ticked at that and want to cream the Colts.

2- Kansas City Chiefs - 6-0 (+1) - There's been a lot of talk about Andy Reid, Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense, but what has really propelled this team this far is that Chiefs defense. They have been playing lights out so far this season. Offenses the rest of the way should be scared.

3- New England Patriots - 5-1 (+3) - Receivers? Bah! Who needs them to win? Not Tom Brady apparently as they still continue to rack up wins with no one but Tom Brady. It's rather impressive actually. If you think of what the term MVP means, Tom Brady definitely deserves to be the first half NFL MVP.

4- New Orleans Saints - 5-1 (-2) - I'm not going to be too harsh on the Saints this week. They went into Foxboro and got knocked out by a surprisingly good Patriots team in the final moments of the game. And the Saints still have more wins than all the other teams in that division combined.

5- Seattle Seahakws - 5-1 (+0) - Seahawks go their first loss last week and almost followed that up with a second loss this past week to the Titans. That AFC South is giving them plenty of troubles. They are going to need to tighten things up because the Niners are right on their tail again.

6- Indianapolis Colts - 4-2 (-2) - Ouch. What on earth was that Monday night? Not only could the Colts' offense not do much as they had tons of dropped balls, but that defense just couldn't get the Chargers off the field. Peyton comes to town Sunday so they need to have a good week at practice if they want to bounce back.

7- San Francisco 49ers - 4-2 (+0) - After a really slow start, the Niners are climbing back into the race as they are only one game behind the Seahawks now. They've rode a fairly easy schedule, but that schedule still provided them with two divisional wins, so no one in San Fran is complaining right now.

8- Detroit Lions - 4-2 (+1) - Not a solid offensive performance, but they were sure glad to see Megatron back on the field, even if he surprisingly didn't do much. It was a good time to play the Cleveland Browns. They have two very winnable games with the Bengals and Cowboys up next before they get their week off.

9- Chicago Bears - 4-2 (+1) - After two straight losses, the Bears were sure glad to see the Giants on the schedule, and even though the Bears didn't play a great game, Eli and company did all they could to make sure the Bears got back on track with a win. It worked.

10- Cincinnati Bengals - 4-2 (+3) - Once again, it was an ugly win for the Bengals as it took overtime for them to knock off the hurt Bills teams, but the Bengals somehow have scratched their way to 4-2. Not bad. They have a pretty clean schedule from here on out, so a division title shouldn't be too hard.

11- Green Bay Packers - 3-2 (-3) - The Packers got the win on Sunday, holding off a Ravens comeback, but I knock them down a few spots because, despite the win, it was a bad day for the Packers as they saw both Randall Cobb and James Jones leave with injuries. Aaron Rodgers will definitely have to make Jordy Nelson an even better friend for them to still play good football through this.

12- Miami Dolphins - 3-2 (-1) - After starting out strong, then sputtering with two straight losses, the bye week came at the perfect time. Now they need buckle up and start building some momentum as four of their next six are in Miami. And in two weeks time, they will have a date in Foxboro with the Patriots. That'll be a key game for them.

13- Tennessee Titans - 3-3 (-1) - You can look at the last two weeks and point out that the Titans are now in trouble because of a two game losing streak. Or you can look at it and realize that they almost knocked off the Chiefs and the Seahawks. What are they capable of when the Niners come to town this week? Upset alert?

14- Baltimore Ravens - 3-3 (+0) - The Ravens were dead for most of the game, but almost pulled off a fourth quarter comeback following Matt Elam's cheap shot that ruined Randall Cobb's season. With the Bengals not looking super impressive despite the wins, the Ravens could easily still pull off the divisional win. Their offense needs to wake up first, though.

15- Dallas Cowboys - 3-3 (+0) - That was actually a very key win for the Cowboys on Sunday night as now we can almost safely say it is a two team race in the NFC Least. I don't really believe in either the Cowboys or the Eagles, but someone's got to win that division.

16- Cleveland Browns - 3-3 (+0) - Brandon Weeden continued to look like the Brandon Weeden we all know. What in the world was he thinking with that backwards pass? It's been a long time since I've seen such an awful through. The Browns are only a game back of the Bengals, but with that type of play, it's hard to bet on them.

17- San Diego Chargers - 3-3 (+6) - Kudos to the Chargers this week for once again showing that they are the most inconsistent team in football, this time being on the positive sign of things. It's really confusing when they get pummeled by the Raiders one week and smash the Colts the next. With the Jags on Sunday, could they actually pull off two wins in a row?

18- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-3 (+3) - Nick Foles looked pretty good in his debut start under Chip Kelly with almost 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. It's not every week, though, that they will get to play the Bucs, so we'll see what he can actually do when the Eagles play a critical game against Tony Choko and the Cowboys on Sunday.

19- Arizona Cardinals - 3-3 (+1) - The Cardinals certainly put up a fight against the Niners, but when push comes to shove, a loss is a loss and the road doesn't get any easier for the Cards as they get to play host to the Seahawks this week followed by a Falcons team the next that will be searching to establish an identity.

20- St. Louis Rams - 3-3 (+4) - The Rams had a hey day against the Texans and now that is two straight games with 30+ points. They get the chance to do it a third time as they visit the Panthers before their schedule starts to get really tricky again.

21- New York Jets - 3-3 (-4) - Just when you think the Jets might be starting to figure something out, they draw a blank and give the Steelers their first win of the season. I guess last week's win against the Falcons may have been more about the Falcons' collapse after all.

22- Buffalo Bills - 2-4 (-4) - No EJ Manuel, almost no problem. But yet they still got a loss and their next three games are going to be against the Dolphins, Saints, and Chiefs. Am I sensing a 2-7 start three weeks from now? I feel bad for this franchise. They are always in the "almost good" category, but always end with a losing season because they are never quite there.

23- Carolina Panthers - 2-3 (+5) - After laying down dead in the Cardinals game, the Panthers again showed some signs of life by destroying a pretty bad Vikings teams. They next three games for them are against the Rams, Bucs, and Falcons, which could turn out to be a very good thing for them.

24- Houston Texans - 2-4 (-5) - What in the Texans is going on in Houston. Most people thought that this would be the Texans year again. Turns that we are six weeks in and the Texans playoff hopes are looking slim at this point. After getting clobbered by the NFC West three weeks in a row, the travel to Arrowhead Stadium to play a Chiefs team that has been relentless on defense.

25- Oakland Raiders - 2-4 (-3) - Don't worry, Raiders. The Chiefs have been doing that to everyone this season. Now the Raiders get a well timed bye week before facing off against the Steelers, Eagles, Giants, and Texans. There are definitely some winnable games in that stretch to give the Raiders their confidence back.

26- Atlanta Falcons - 1-4 (-1) - After getting humiliated by a Jets team that was supposed to be a good break for them on their schedule, they got a week off to think about things. Now they have the Bucs, Cardinals, and Panthers on their upcoming schedule. If they can't pull off at least two wins in that stretch, there will be no hope for them for the rest of the season.

27- Minnesota Vikings - 1-4 (-1) - My heart and prayers go out to Adrian Peterson. No one deserves their two year old son taken away from them, especially not in that way. On a football note, the sixth game of the season for the Vikings will see Josh Freeman as the starting quarterback. That man has had quite the season.

28- Washington Redskins - 1-4 (-1) - A win against the Cowboys Sunday night was a must for the Redskins if they had any hope of fighting for that NFC East title. They did not get that and now they have the Bears, Broncos, and Chargers up next with the Chiefs and Niners later in the season. This season is officially a loss for the Skins.

29- Pittsburgh Steelers - 1-4 (+0) - The bye week worked for the Steelers as they finally left the winless teams club. There's no real hope for them this season, but they host a struggling Ravens team next, and after that get to go on a trip to Oakland. Steeler nation will be playing for pride from here on out after getting that pride seriously damaged. And hey, they could pull off a short winning streak here.

30- New York Giants - 0-6 (+0) - According to the scoreboard, the Giants almost pulled off their first win of the season. But what matters is standings and in that the G-Men are 0-6 and their turnovers aren't slowing down at all. With how they've been playing, I'm struggling to figure out where win number one comes. Vikings, Eagles, and Raiders are up next. Certainly they can come up with in win in that stretch, right?

31- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 0-5 (+0) - Same story for the Bucs as for the Giants. With Mike Glennon in charge and still no offense in place for this team, wins won't come easy. If they can't pull off a divisional win against either the Falcons or the Panthers up next, I have no idea when their first win is going to come.

32- Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-6 (+0) - Before this week, I was certain that the Jags were headed for 0-16. They looked like a college team that got admitted to the NFL. And now suddenly after that surprise performance in the loss to Denver, I'm actually convinced they may get as high as 1-15 or 2-14 this season. The return of Justin Blackmon has seemed to give them somewhat of a spark. They do host the Chargers next week who have a bad habit of playing awful about every other week. Can they pull it off?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Gravity Review

Ever have a dream when you were young of going into space as an astronaut? Float around with zero gravity, walk on the moon, fly in a spaceship? Yes? So did I. I've always been fascinated with space. No, I never realistically thought about chasing that dream, but I still think going into space would be super cool. However, the movie Gravity gives a much different perspective on space by showing how menacing and dark it actually is. After watching the movie, I am perfectly content with staying down here on Earth.

After watching the trailers, you can get a basic premise of the movie, but you also wonder how they can turn this idea into a 90-minute movie. That's actually one thing I appreciate about the trailer. It doesn't give away anything. Because of that, I won't give away anything either. I'll just say that it is a space survival movie. It makes space super scary. One of the greatest things is that it felt super realistic. When explosions happened, you heard no sound. Things just silently blew up. There is no sound in space. I really liked that. The only sound you heard was the sound coming from the speaker Sandra Bullock was listening to or other sounds she would hear from her perspective. Brilliant. Space is also an unforgiving, cruel monster. If something goes terribly wrong, there is little to no hope for survival. That's something that this movie also portrayed very well. I was on the edge of my seat and terrified the entire movie. And it threw a few twists and turns that made it so the movie wasn't that predictable. That I also loved.

Outside a brilliant and compelling story, there are two other things that made this movie a masterpiece. The big one is the visuals. Yes, I would say this movie is one that you really need to see in theaters to get the full experience; but not just that. You need to see it in the theaters in 3D. I normally do not advocate 3D. For the most part, I think it is a waste of time and money. I normally prefer to save money and see things in 2D. Most of the time I believe that I enjoy it just the same. So me saying that you need to see this in 3D should be saying something. It is easily one of the best 3D movies that I have ever seen. That combined with the stunning visuals made me feel like I was actually floating around in outer space with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. So awesome! Speaking of Bullock and Clooney, they were the other thing that I wanted to mention. I thought they were both great in the movie. They were really the only two actors in the movie as any other character that appeared were just voices. As the movie went on they did such a good job that I felt like I had this deep emotional attachment to their characters and I love it when that happens.

Yes, I have seen a lot of movies this year, but this one surpasses all of them up to this point. It was a visual masterpiece. The 3D was top notch, making it a must see in theaters. The story was fantastic and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. And on top of that, the acting in the movie by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney made the story even that much better. I came out of the movie completely blown away and since I really can't find too many faults with the movie, I am going to do something that I don't do that often when judging movies. I am giving Gravity a 10 out of 10.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

2013 NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

I'm getting this out a bit late this week as week six starts tonight and I'm just now getting this out. But hey. This week saw two teams fall from the ranks of the undefeated and almost saw a third as the Cowboys gave the Broncos a scare. Now the Broncos, Saints, and Chiefs are our lone 5-0 teams. Which of these three are going to last longest? Are we going to get a battle of the 9-0 undefeated teams when the Chiefs travel to the Broncos? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, let's take a look at how things stack up after last week.

1- Denver Broncos - 5-0 (+0) - The defense for the Broncos forgot to show up on Sunday, but the offense didn't miss a beat, scoring 50+ points for the second straight week. They are looking like a college team out there on offense. The Jaguars come to town Sunday. Think the Broncos can get to 100? Do you think Peyton Manning is even going to play in the second half?

2- New Orleans Saints - 5-0 (+1) - Impressive win in Chicago last week for the Saints. With the Saints still undefeated and the other three teams in the NFC South combining for a total of two wins, how long do you think it will take for the Saints to officially clinch the division?

3- Kansas City Chiefs - 5-0 (+1) - The Chiefs were close to being the third undefeated to go down in the same week as the Titans gave them a run for their money, but they showed dominance and clutch. It's now look almost imminent that they travel into Denver week 11 with a sharp-looking 9-0.

4- Indianapolis Colts - 4-1 (+2) - To anyone that didn't believe in them yet, the Colts showed they were a legit team as they handed the Seahawks their first loss. Now how many teams at the end of the season will be able to claim that they beat both the Seahawks and the 49ers this season. Perhaps just the Colts. With the Texans in a free-for-all, the AFC South looks like it belongs to the Colts this year.

5- Seattle Seahawks - 4-1 (-3) - I'm not going to give the Seahawks a ton of flack this week. They went on the road to Indianapolis and barely lost to a solid Colts team. No one can win them all. They get to go back to Seattle on Sunday where they will try to get back on track with the Titans coming to town.

6- New England Patriots - 4-1 (-1) - Now where in the heck was that Patriots offense on Sunday? The defense did their job shutting down an underachieving Bengals offense, but Tom Brady and company just looked like they took the week off mentally when it came to offense. They really need to pray that Gronk is able to return against the Saints on Sunday or it might be a tough game.

7- San Francisco 49ers - 3-2 (+3) - The Niners are slowly earning their way back up the charts and with a Seahawks loss to the Colts, the Niners are back in the NFC West race. However, Kaepernick needs to find his game. Despite the win over a struggling Texans offense, Kapernick was pretty bad. He'll need to actually start playing good football if they are going to catch the Seahawks.

8- Green Bay Packers - 2-2 (+6) - That was a much needed win on Sunday as the Packers really couldn't afford going 1-3. They have the Ravens, Browns, and Vikings next up on the schedule, so they should be able to catch fire and establish dominance again after a rough start.

9- Detroit Lions - 3-2 (-1) - Even though the Lions got blasted by the Packers, I'm not going to be too hard on them since they were without Megatron. Like I continue to say, if the Lions can stay healthy, they'll be a great team. But that is looking like a rather difficult thing at the moment.

10- Chicago Bears - 3-2 (-1) - Albeit they've played two good teams in a row, the Bears have still lost two in a row and that is a bit concerning. If they want to continue to contend in the tough NFC North, those games that they've lost are the type of games that they need to be clutch in and win. If they don't, they'll be just on the outside looking in once again.

11- Miami Dolphins - 3-2 (-4) - I was forgiving towards the Dolphins two weeks ago because it was a good Saints team they lost to; however, two losses in a row is a bad sign, especially since the Ravens are a team the should beat. Also, they need to protect Ryan Tannehill better. Their offensive line right now is among the worst in the NFL.

12- Tennessee Titans - 3-2 (+0) - Sure, the Titans picked up a loss this week, but their play during that loss was actually pretty good and they were pretty close to giving the Chiefs their first loss of the season. Now if Chris Johnson could just get going in the running game, that would help them more.

13- Cincinnati Bengals - 3-2 (+5) - Still no offensive firepower for the Bengals on Sunday, but they didn't need a whole lot of that as their defense completely shut down Tom Brady and the Patriots. Or maybe the Patriots just didn't know offense. Either way, it was a good win for the Bengals.

14- Baltimore Ravens - 3-2 (+5) - Despite everything that has gone on for the Super Bowl champs this year, they have managed to somehow make it to be above .500, which is a good sign for Raven fans. Perhaps them learning how to actually use Ray Rice has contributed to that.

15- Dallas Cowboys - 2-3 (+0) - The Cowboy defense took the week off, but yet every defense has against the Broncos. I'm not giving the Cowboys a ton of slack this week because of how Tony Romo and the Cowboy offense kept up with the Broncos for the whole game, scoring 48 points of their own. But that game told the story of Romo's career. Play good for most of the game, then make the game changing mistake at the end of the game.

16- Cleveland Browns - 3-2 (+1) - With how the Browns lit up the Bills last Thursday, you would think that I would put them higher, or at least keep them ahead of the Bengals and Ravens. My worries, though, come with the season-ending injury of Hoyer. I was starting to believe in him as a quarterback. With Weeden back in charge, I don't know if I can trust this team anymore. We'll see if he can prove me wrong again.

17- New York Jets - 3-2 (+8) - I think might have underestimated this team. As I saw the Jets play the Falcons, it wasn't just about the collapse of the Falcons, but the Jets looked pretty good. The defense kept the Falcons in check and the offense made some really good moves. That final drive especially impressed me. Geno Smith looked like an experienced veteran leading his team on a game winning drive.

18- Buffalo Bills - 2-3 (-2) - I know the Browns have played good recently, but if the Bills were to compete in the AFC, the Browns are the types of teams that the Bills need to beat because their next four games are against the Bengals, Dolphins, Saints, and Chiefs. And they are going into that without EJ Manuel.

19- Houston Texans - 2-3 (-8) - I think Matt Schaub has forgotten which team he plays for. In the last three weeks he has thrown more touchdowns to the opposing team than he has his own team. Ouch. And he is on a streak where he has thrown a pick-six in every game in the past four weeks. If the Texans are going to catch up with the Colts, Matt Schaub needs to wake up.

20- Arizona Cardinals - 3-2 (+3) - The Cardinals are currently above .500, but I'm not buying them quite yet because their last two wins have been against the Bucs and Panthers. They have back to back games against the Seahawks and Niners coming up, so we'll get to learn what the Cardinals are really made of.

21- Philadelphia Eagles - 2-3 (+1) - The Eagles got an important divisional win against the Giants and now they have tied themselves up with the Cowboys for the division lead. Sad division. And Michael Vick his now hurt? What's new. At this point, I'd be more surprised if he stayed healthy for a whole season.

22- Oakland Raiders - 2-3 (+6) - Terrelle Pryor came back to the Raiders and suddenly they looked a lot better than they did with Matt Flynn at command. The Raiders get to travel to Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday to play the Chiefs. After suffering through that, they actually have a slate of winnable games, so we'll see what they can do.

23- San Diego Chargers - 2-3 (-10) - The moment you think the Chargers actually have figured it out, they go out and come up blank against Oakland. Once again, the Chargers have some talent on their team, but they can't play consistently to save their life. You get the feeling that they will struggle to win two games straight this season.

24- St. Louis Rams - 2-3 (+0) - Well, the Rams got a win. But does playing the Jaguars really count as a win, or is that just half a win? The Rams' schedule gets super tough towards the end, so the need to take advantage of their upcoming road trip against the struggling Texans and Panthers.

25- Atlanta Falcons - 1-4 (-5) - I hope everyone is officially off the Falcons bandwagon that I thought was ridiculous from the start. The Falcons have proven time and again this year that they don't know how to win close games. The have a tough schedule coming up and the Jets game was supposed to be one of their easier ones. Making things worse, Julio Jones is now out for the season. Lots of people's Super Bowl picks might not even get close to .500 this season.

26- Minnesota Vikings - 1-3 (+0) - The Vikings had a very productive bye week and now they come into their next game with new quarterback Josh Freeman. With neither Cassell nor Ponder playing well at quarterback and Ponder fighting an injury, you got to wonder how soon it will be before we see Freeman as their starter.

27- Washington Redskins - 1-3 (+0) - The whole NFC East is a joke this season and that means that despite being 1-3 with their only win against an undermanned Raiders team, the Redskins are still very much in this race. If they can pull off a win at Dallas and the Eagles lose in Tampa, Redskins will be leading the division by half a game. Crazy.

28- Carolina Panthers - 1-3 (-7) - You thought that after a 38-0 beatdown against the Giants that the Panthers would take that momentum and build on it. But they must've forgotten how to play football because they came out of that and played awful against a sub-par Cardinals team. They play the Vikings, Rams, Bucs, and Falcons in their next four weeks. You would think they'd be able to do well against that, but perhaps not.

29- Pittsburgh Steelers - 0-4 (+0) - It's time for the Steelers to wake up. They come off a bye week and now they have games against the Jets, Ravens, and Raiders. On the other hand, they are sending their GM to go watch Teddy Bridgewater. Should that make Big Ben nervous?

30- New York Giants - 0-5 (+0) - What to do with these Giants? They are in Chicago tonight and after that they have the Vikings and Eagles. Shouldn't be that tough, but with how they are playing, they could be 0-8 going into their bye week. And just think, they won the Super Bowl two years ago. Tom Coughlin has had a good run with the Giants. But I think this is it for him.

31- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 0-4 (+0) - I thought Josh Freeman would improve upon last year and lead the Bucs to a good season. Now he is playing for the Vikings after getting cut and the Bucs are being led by rookie Mike Glennon. Their next three opponents have a total of four wins, so you'd think the Bucs would be able to pick up their first win soon.

32- Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-5 (+0) - For a second there, it looked like the Jags were going to pull off their first win against the Rams, but that was short lived. And now they get the opportunity to walk into Denver and play the Broncos. There is a 28-point spread in this game and I think that is quite generous.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Movie Preview: October 2013

Now that the slowest movie month of the year is behind us, it's time for things to start picking up again. October is typically another quiet month, but it's usually better than September and is somewhat of a transitory month between the awful month of September and the great month of November. Also, right now is the time of year where all the movies come out that are trying to be Oscar bait. Most of the candidates haven't been released yet, but October has several big candidates, so we are cruising right through Oscar season. Let's now take a look at what we have this month.

October 4th - 6th -

Right off the bat in October, we get one of the most anticipated movies of the year with Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity. The movie stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and is about them drifting around helplessly in space after an accident occurs on their trip. It's been on the radar of the Oscars for a long time now is almost a guarantee to get tons of nominations after the reviews are through the roof. It's been heavily advertised as a visual masterpiece that is a must see in 3D. Should easily be the biggest movie of the month.

Challenging Gravity will be Justin Timberlake's new movie Runner Runner. It's been a good year for Justin Timberlake as his newest album The 20/20 Experience was released and along with that his first two singles on that album were in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Now he is back in Hollywood again, which shows that he is very talented and one of the top entertainers of our day. It would be foolish of me to not mention that Ben Affleck is also in this movie and on paper that sounds like a great combination, but currently it's not connecting with audiences and the poor reviews suggest this R-rated thriller may not be the movie that JT writes home about.

Expanding nationwide this week after playing in limited release last weekend is Metallica Through the Never. This movie is mostly a 3D IMAX experience targeted towards fans of the band Metallica and perhaps a good portion of them have already seen it. Most of the movie is a concert movie, but it does have some action and story to go along with it. So if you are a Metallica fan and haven't seen this, you might consider finding on of the 600 theaters that is showing in.

October 11th - 13th -

The second weekend of October brings another highly anticipated Oscar Contender in Captain Phillips. Starring Tom Hanks and directed by Paul Greengrass (Boune trilogy), Captain Phillips tells the true story of the hijacking of the US ship Maersk Alabama by Somalia pirates back in 2009. It's a big year for Tom Hanks as word on the street is that this could get him an Oscar win for Best Actor. Not only that, but this is the first of two movies by Hanks this year that could get him Oscar nominations at least as the other one is Saving Mr. Banks. The Academy loves historical dramas, so that is a good sign for both of Hanks's movies.

Challenging Captain Phillips is the cheaply made action movie Machete Kills. The first Machete movie came out in 2010 and didn't make much of a dent in the box office. However, being that it only cost $10 million to make, it's $26 million domestic gross and $44 million worldwide was more than enough to warrant a sequel that costs about the same. In addition to being a cheap action movie, it's a very over-the-top action film and those who enjoyed the first one will probably be happy for a second one, although not many others will show up. The cast of the movie is worth noting. In addition to Danny Trejo as the title character of Machete, the movie includes Mel Gibson, Amber Heard, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Vanessa Hudgens.

Opening in limited release this weekend is another try at a classic story that has been told hundreds of times in different forms and that is Romeo and Juliet. This version stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit remake) as Juliet and Douglas Booth as Romeo. I don't need to tell you anything about the story, but it seems as if they are attempting to go back to the classic Shakespeare version with this as dialogue in it goes along with dialogue used in the original play. Whether that works or not remains to be seen.

October 18th - 20th -

The third weekend of the month brings in the lone Halloween movie of the month in Carrie. Carrie is a remake of the classic horror movie of the same title back in 1976. It is also a Stephen King novel. Being that this is Halloween season and this is the only Halloween movie, Carrie will probably be a popular choice among horror movie fans continuing the great success of horror movies in 2013. Four other horror movies, Mama; Evil Dead; The Conjuring; and Insidious Chapter 2, all earned over $50 million in their respective runs and Carrie should do the same.

Both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone are huge names when it comes to action movies, but both had huge flops early this year. However, both of them try again this year with Escape Plan. Perhaps having both of them combine their talents in this will help this movie get more notice. Also the premise is interesting enough. Stallone's character is an expert as escaping prison and has designed his own escape-proof prison. As it goes, he gets setup and thrown into his own prison and needs to make an attempt to escape.

The final wide release of the week is The Fifth Estate. The Fifth Estate stars Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch in what seems one of his 500 movies this year. Which I personally am not complaining at. He's an amazing actor. Specifically this tells the super intriguing story of Julian Assange, the founder of wikileaks, and all of the drama that he and his colleagues got into.

Opening up in limited release this weekend is 12 Years a Slave. This movie has Oscar bait written all over it. First off it's a historical drama and the Academy loves those. It's the true story of a black man who was born a free man, but got sold kidnapped and sold into slavery. The cast is a huge one, but the notable cast members include Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt. Not that I am making Oscar predictions yet, but this movie could end up as your best picture winner from this year.

Another potential Oscar contender that opens up in limited release this weekend is All is Lost. This is another survival movie about a man stranded on a boat out on in the middle of the ocean. Kinda sounds like Life of Pi to me, initially. The biggest draw to this movie is the fact that it stars the one and only Robert Redford. And actually he is listed as the only cast member. And from what I hear, there isn't much dialogue. Doesn't sound too convincing at first outside the fact that it's Redford, but there is a lot of positive buzz coming its way, so we'll see.

October 25th - 27th - 

Rounding out the month of October will be two wide releases. The first of this is Jacka-- Presents: Bad Grandpa. No, I don't swear on my posts. I'll edit the movie titles. If you haven't heard of Jacka--, what it started as was a TV series with a group of idiots doing really stupid things. It's an odd phenomenon, but people like watching other people doing stupid things, so this got really popular and now they've done three movies that all were decently popular. The Jacka-- fan base should swarm out to see this one just like they have the previous three. This time around, we have title character Johnny Knoxville dressed up as an 86-year-old grandpa touring the country with his 8-year-old grandson.

The final wide release of the month is The Counselor. The Counselor is an R-rated thriller about a lawyer who gets in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking. Like the previously mentioned 12 Years a Slave, the movie also stars Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender and along with those two are Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. Not a whole ton of Oscar-buzz around this one, but it could help this October end with a bang.

The final movie I will talk about is a movie that I will never see and I hope no one reading this will never see, but nevertheless it has happened and is coming out. This movie is Blue is the Warmest Color. It is opening in limited release and will stay that way because it is NC-17 and not many theaters around the country let those in. The movie is about a lesbian couple and so you can imagine why the rating. I bring it up because it has made a huge impact in the film festivals. It won the most prestigious award in the Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated in several others. So if you hear stories about the movie come up in various places, you have now been educated as to what they are talking about. After reading all of that, if you have a huge desire to go search this movie out, then I guess I can't stop you, but I'll probably try.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Review

It requires a lot of talent and creativity to take a children's picture book and turn it into a full length movie. That is exactly what Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs did. At first it doesn't sound like a good idea, but then you watch the movie and are super impressed. Not only is it a fun animated movie, but it has a really good story line, great characters, great character progression, and a lot of heart. When a second one was announced, I was quite skeptic because the first one seemed like a great stand-alone movie that didn't need a sequel. How did it turn out? Well, it's nowhere near as good as the first one, but it is actually worth a watch, especially if you have little kids.

If you never saw the first movie, I would highly recommend watching it. However, you technically don't need to see the first to follow what happens in the second one. The main reason for that is that in the first five minutes of the second movie it actually summarizes the first movie. You don't get that too often, but ok. But straightforward with things, what made the first one so brilliant, that being the story and the characters, was the biggest weakness for this one. In fact I would go as far to say that the story line in this one was outright stupid. Super boring and super predictable. Our villain was super lame. Also the characters went through no real progression and felt a lot more exaggerated and fake when compared to the first one. The creators of the movie has a ton of really fun ideas with this movie, and I will get to that in a second, but it was super disappointing because it was really obvious that they had no idea where to go with the story and what to do with the characters. It just fell super flat.

Despite that, however, this movie was far from a loss. If you saw any of the trailers, you'll know what the strength of the movie is because it is all the focused on in the trailers. That would be all the food puns and "foodimals" as the call them in the movie. It turns out it was smart of them to focus on that and nothing else because they really had nothing else to advertise. After seeing this in the trailers, I actually thought I would be really annoyed with the foodimals and food puns. Turns out I couldn't be more wrong because they were absolutely fantastic. The movie was loaded with puns the whole way through and it actually had me laughing quite a bit. A lot of the foodimals were super adorable, actually, and if you don't watch yourself, you might actually get cuteness poisoning. As an example, the strawberry is probably the best character in the movie. There comes a point where Flint needs to give a speech to the foodimals and since they can't hear him, the strawberry translates for him and during that I almost died with laughter and it was also super cute. Not all the foodimals were super cute, but they all were super fun and entertaining. And the final scenes in the movie were priceless.

Overall, I would definitely recommend that you give this movie a shot. Even though the story is super lame and the movie as a whole doesn't come close to matching the first one, the foodimals make up for it to a certain extent as they make the movie watchable. I would especially recommend this to you if you have young kids in your home. Kids around three to five years old don't need a good story, a good villain, or character progression to be entertained. The foodimals will do the job for them and make this a classic movie that they will love watching over and over again. As far as a grade goes, I can't rate it super high because of the flaws in it, but in my opinion a 7 out of 10 is fair.

2013 NFL Predictions: October

We are now a month into the regular season and being that it is October now, it is time to get an updated look at my NFL Predictions. Looking blindly into the season is always a hard thing to do. Some teams, like the Giants and Bucs in my case, that you thought were going to do well end up falling on their face. Then there is always several surprise teams that no one saw coming. Now it is still really early and anything can happen, but after seeing a month's worth of football, there is a better outlook at what is going to happen. So it is time for another go at this! As always, I do my predictions game by game in order to come up with a predicted set of standings as to implement strength of schedule into things.

Regular Season Predictions


AFC East
z- New England Patriots - 12-4
y- Miami Dolphins - 11-5
Buffalo Bills - 7-9
New York Jets - 5-11

The Patriots haven't been super impressive, but they have found ways to win and once they get Gronk and Amendola back, Brady will have an offense to work with. I think they will steamroll through their schedule. The Dolphins aren't great, but they are good and they have a cakewalk schedule and will thus challenge the Pats because of that. The Bills are almost there, but yet we say that every season about them. They can never get over the hump. The Jets got off to a surprising 2-1 start, but that was more of a fluke than anything.

AFC North
z- Cincinnati Bengals - 9-7
Cleveland Browns - 8-8
Baltimore Ravens - 7-9
Pittsburgh Steelers - 2-14

I don't even know what to make of this division right now. The Steelers are awful. The Ravens are making last year's Super Bowl seem like a long time ago. The Bengals might win the division by default because of the lack of competition, but even they have looked really weak so far. The Browns in the last two weeks have looked like the best team in the division, but I am not ready to put them at the top as of yet.

AFC South
z- Houston Texans - 10-6
Indianapolis Colts - 9-7
Tennessee Titans - 8-8
Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-16

Right now I am very high on the Colts and they could end up winning the division, but the Texans aren't just going to lay down and die. I think it will be a tough fight the whole season between the two teams. Both teams have to make it through the NFC West and the AFC West, so their schedules aren't a walk in the park. Right now I am still giving the edge to the Texans for now, but it'll be fun to watch. The Titans have been a surprise team, but they just got a shot of bad luck with the injury of Jake Locker. That'll put them back a bit and I don't know if they will be able to catch back up. Meanwhile the Jaguars look so awful, I don't see a single team on their schedule that they can beat.

AFC West
*- Denver Broncos - 16-0
y- Kansas City Chiefs 13-3
San Diego Chargers - 7-9
Oakland Raiders - 4-12

This might give people the most shock as they read this. Yes, I am currently predicting a perfect season for the Denver Broncos. I normally hate doing that, but in addition to looking like one of the best teams in NFL history, the Broncos somehow wound up with a super easy schedule. They have three road games against the Colts, Patriots, and Chiefs. Those games are their only chances of losing a game. The Chiefs also have a super easy schedule. Their only hard games are two against the Broncos, The Colts, and maybe the Chargers if Phillip Rivers has a good game. Speaking of Chargers, they have potential to be a dangerous team, but they also have the potential to be a cake walk for their opponents. Depends on how they feel when they wake up Sunday mornings I guess. Meanwhile, the Raiders have shown promise with a few of their players, but they will be stuck in the basement this season.


NFC East
z- Philadelphia Eagles - 8-8
Dallas Cowboys - 7-9
Washington Redskins - 4-12
New York Giants - 4-12

This is another division that I have no idea what to do with. Currently the Giants are winless and yet not even out of the race. That's how bad it is. The Redskins are so bad that they almost lost to a Raiders team led by Matt Flynn. The Eagles have no defense. And the Cowboys are super talented at choking. Someone's got to win this division and the team that does I think will have only seven or eight wins. Which will be a shame because that team will steal a spot from another team like say the Falcons or the Bears in this situation that will deserve a playoff a lot more.

NFC North
z- Green Bay Packers - 13-3
y- Detroit Lions - 12-4
Chicago Bears - 10-6
Minnesota Vikings - 3-13

The NFC North is going to be super fun to watch. Right now the Lions are leading the division and if Reggie Bush stays healthy, they may not even slow down very much. The Packers got off to a slow start, but I think they will pick it up and go on a huge run. Perhaps 13 games might be a bit too high from what we have seen so far, but with Aaron Rodgers anything can happen. The Bears are also good enough that they could also end up winning the division. The Vikings I could see playing spoiler a time or two, but it looks like Adrian Peterson is the only player on their team that came to play this season and in this tough of a division, that's a problem.

NFC South
z- New Orleans Saints - 12-4
Atlanta Falcons - 9-7
Carolina Panthers - 7-9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 2-14

I called the Falcons overrated from day one. Four weeks into the season, people are starting to realize why I did so. Last year they got 13 wins off a super easy schedule and struggled doing winning most of them. Now that they actually have a harder schedule, people are seeing how much of a fluke last season was. But they still could compete for a wild card spot. Problem is with how good the NFC North and the NFC West are, if they want to get into the playoffs, they are going to have to win that division and that's not happening. The Saints are looking like the Saints team that won the Super Bowl a few years back and we can give all the credit to Sean Payton returning. Also the Saints' defense has been super good and that's what's made the difference so far. The Panthers are the anomaly here. If you look at their schedule, they will probably be 5-2 heading into their match-up against the Falcons and although I don't see them making the playoffs, they could play spoiler several times. The Bucs, meanwhile, have a ton of talent, but can't do anything it. We're four weeks in and their season is already over.

NFC West
*- Seattle Seahawks - 14-2
y- San Francisco 49ers - 13-3
St. Louis Rams - 6-10
Arizona Cardinals - 4-12

Not too long ago the NFC was the garbage division and now it is one of the best divisions in football. The Niners got off to a bad start, but they will be fine and the Seahawks look super dominate. The Rams would be competitive but for some reason they thought it was a good idea to go into the season with no running back who actually knows how to play the position. Now they probably wish they could go back and at least draft one with one of their several early draft picks they had. The Cardinals on the other hand got blessed with one of the league's hardest schedules and because of that they will have a hard time finding ways to win.

*- clinched homefield advantage
z- clinched division title
y- clinched wild card

Playoff Predictions 

Wild Card Round
3- Houston Texans - W
6- Miami Dolphins - L

4- Cincinnati Bengals - L
5- Kansas City Chiefs - W

3- New Orleans Saints - W
6- Detroit Lions - L

4- Philadelphia Eagles - L
5- San Francisco 49ers - W

In this scenario, the Bengals and Eagles don't really belong and will exit quickly to whoever they play, especially if  it's the Chiefs and the 49ers. The most intriguing match-up would definitely be the Lions and the Saints, which would be a rematch of when the Lions last made the playoffs. Outside the winner of the NFC East, the NFC playoffs are going to be super competitive, while the AFC will be the Broncos, Patriots, then everyone else. Texans vs Dolphins would be a toss up, but whoever wins would just be setting themselves up for a loss in the following round.

Divisional Round
1- Denver Broncos - W
5- Kansas City Chiefs - L

2- New England Patriots - W
3- Houston Texans - L

1- Seattle Seahawks - W
5- San Francisco 49ers - L

2- Green Bay Packers - L
3- New Orleans Saints - W

And here we have some insane match-ups. Chiefs fans will be super happy that their team is finally in the playoffs, but a wild card win will most likely put them up against the Broncos for the third straight time this year and thus send them home packing. The Seahawks and the 49ers may be the best two teams in the NFC, but due to being in the same division, they seem almost destined to meet here in the second round. With the Seahawks at home, I give them the edge. Patriots at this time I am expecting to be playing really good and thus not have much of a problem with the Texans. Saints over Packers is my upset of the round, if you can really call it that. Playing at Lambeau in January is going to be tough if it comes down to that.

Championship Round
1- Denver Broncos - W
2- New England Patriots - L

1- Seattle Seahawks - W
3- New Orleans Saints - L

I always preach that the top two teams in the playoffs rarely meet in the championship game and so I hate to pick the Broncos and Seahawks to both win, but at this point I can't do anything else. The Patriots could be the one team that gives the Broncos problems as Peyton has a hard time winning in the playoffs, but I think it's the Broncos' year. And if the NFC has to go through Seattle, I also have a hard time seeing them lose because of how great their homefield advantage is.

Super Bowl XLVIII
1- Denver Broncos - W
1- Seattle Seahawks - L

This was my preseason pick for the Super Bowl and it is looking like a great pick so far. I really find no reason to change it at this point, even though I do hate picking both top seeds to make the Super Bowl. This is a game that I would be super excited to see happen.


And there you go. I think it is The Broncos' year. And yes, you just saw me predict a perfect 19-0 season for the Broncos. Right now it is super easy to pick the Broncos to win the Super Bowl. But it is super bold to predict this. Yell at me if you want. I don't even know if it's going to happen. But I am going for it right now. If any team can pull it off, it's this year's Broncos.

Predicted Draft Order

1- Jacksonville Jaguars
2- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3- Pittsburgh Steelers
4- Minnesota Vikings
5- Oakland Raiders
6- New York Giants
7- Washington Redskins
8- Arizona Cardinals
9- New York Jets
10- St. Louis Rams
11- Buffalo Bills
12- Carolina Panthers
13- Dallas Cowboys
14- San Diego Chargers
15- Baltimore Ravens
16- Tennessee Titans
17- Cleveland Browns
18- Atlanta Falcons
19- Indianapolis Colts
20- Chicago Bears
21- Philadelphia Eagles
22- Cincinnati Bengals
23- Miami Dolphins
24- Detroit Lions
25- Houston Texans
26- Kansas City Chiefs
27- San Francisco 49ers
28- Green Bay Packers
29- New Orleans Saints
30- New England Patriots
31- Seattle Seahawks
32- Denver Broncos

If you are unaware with how the NFL Draft rankings go, allow me to explain. Picks 21 through 32 belong to the 12 playoff teams. Those spots are first ranked by how far a team got in the playoffs; second by how good their record is; and third by strength of schedule. The team that ranks highest in those gets the worst pick. Thus the Super Bowl champion gets pick number 32 and the Wild Card team with the worst record (or lowest strength of schedule) gets pick 21. Picks 1 through 20 belong to the non-playoff teams and they are ranked solely based off of record first then strength of schedule, the worst team getting the first pick. If two or more teams have the same record and strength of schedule, positioning is determined by a coin flip. Head-to-head match-ups, divisional records, and other things mean nothing. This predicted draft order is determined by following these rules based on the predictions I've made, except that I didn't do the coin flips. I just put them in the spot.

In this scenario with the Jaguars and Bucs getting the top two picks, you gotta think that both would take quarterbacks, being that this is a quarterback rich draft. The Steelers would thus have this year's prize of the draft, defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, fall right to them. And after the Steelers, you'd have to imagine that the Vikings, Raiders, Cardinals, and Jets would all at least consider taking a quarterback. But I'm not creating a mock draft here. Just presenting the information.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

The Titans, Browns, Chiefs, and Lions are all tied for their respective division leads. Yeah, you read that right. Meanwhile, the Giants and Steelers remain at the bottom of theirs. The Broncos are currently looking like one of the best teams in NFL history while the Jaguars are looking like one of the worst. Yeah, that's how things are shaping up after one month in the NFL has expired. Here's my power rankings for week 5!

1- Denver Broncos - 4-0 (+0) - The Broncos just seem to be getting better as the season goes along. Peyton Manning has now thrown for 1470 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. If he were to keep those averages up, he would end the season with 5880 yards and 62 touchdowns. That would be insane.

2- Seattle Seahawks - 4-0 (+0) - The Seahawks have played sub-par football in both road games this season while playing unstoppable in both home games. That goes to show how important the twelfth man is for them. Despite not playing great in Texas, though, that was an impressive comeback that was capped off with a great defensive play by Richard Sherman.

3- New Orleans Saints - 4-0 (+1) - The Saints are in total control of the AFC South after just four weeks into the season. After having several good defensive performances, it was a complete showing for their team with a great offensive and defensive performance. If they play like that every week, they are going to be hard to stop.

4- Kansas City Chiefs - 4-0 (+1) - The Chiefs steamrolled past the weak Giants team in quite an impressive fashion. If they keep playing like this, looking at their schedule we could definitely have a match-up of 9-0 teams when they first head into Denver.

5- New England Patriots - 4-0 (+2) - The Patriots had their first test of the season by playing the Falcons and they looked impressive in doing so. They may not have a stacked team, but they find ways to win and when Gronk and Amendola come back, they will also be hard to stop.

6- Indianapolis Colts - 3-1 (+2) - It was a fun scrimmage for the Colts with Jacksonville coming to town. They have looked impressive so far, but they will be greatly tested here soon as they have both Seattle and Denver in the next three weeks.

7- Miami Dolphins - 3-1 (-1) - It wasn't a pretty loss for the Dolphins on Monday Night Football, but I will give more credit to a fantastic performance by the Saints as opposed to the Dolphins falling apart. The Dolphins are still a good young team with a fairly manageable schedule. They may not beat out the Pats for the division title, but they'll give them a good run for their money.

8- Detroit Lions - 3-1 (+5) - Reggie Bush is playing like the Reggie Bush everyone thought he play like when he came out of college as he led and the Lions put up 40 points on the Bears tough defense. If he can stay healthy the whole season, this Lions team will be a tough team and could even make a run for the NFC North title. They have a tough challenge in Green Bay this week. If they win it'll make a huge statement.

9- Chicago Bears - 3-1 (-6) - As previously mentioned, Reggie Bush completely lit up the Bears defense on Sunday and the Bears couldn't complete yet another comeback win. It won't get much easier next week as the red hot Saints come to town this upcoming Sunday. It should be fun to watch this NFC North race.

10- San Francisco 49ers - 2-2 (+5) - The Niners actually woke up this week and played typical Niners football. Although the Rams this year are making it easy for a lot of teams, so we'll see if they are actually back when they host the Texans this next week in a battle of teams trying to avoid 2-3.

11- Houston Texans - 2-2 (-2) - Speaking of Texans, I will give them a bit of a break because it was the Seahawks they lost to, but not much of a break because that was a sad collapse. I believe they can still pull things together and win the AFC South, but they better get working fast because they are currently sitting in third place behind both the Colts and the Titans.

12- Tennessee Titans - 3-1 (+5) - I do have to give the Titans a bit of love this week because they are sitting at a 3-1 record and have the lead in the division. The bad news is that Jake Locker was starting to get into a rhythm and now he will be gone for several weeks. That's real bad timing because the next three opponents for the Titans are the Chiefs, Seahawks, and Niners.

13- San Diego Chargers - 2-2 (+9) - I probably bounced the Chargers a little high this week, but that is mainly due to them looking more impressive than the teams behind them currently. However, I do have a feeling that they will doing up and down my chart quite a bit this year because they can't play consistently for multiple games in a row if their life depending on it. That said, they do have the Raiders, Jaguars, and Redskins in their next four games, so that should help them get somewhat of a head start as far as their confidence goes.

14- Green Bay Packers - 1-2 (+0) - They had a week off to think about things, but now they have to pick things up or else the Lions and Bears are going to happily leave them in the dust. They play host to the Lions this week, so that time to pick things up is right now.

15- Dallas Cowboys - 2-2 (-4) - The Cowboys did what they do best on Sunday, that being choking down the stretch. Like the Chargers team they played, they have a tough time playing consistent football right now. What they have in their favor, though, is an awful division. At 2-2, they are flying solo at the top. The bad news for this upcoming week is that the Broncos will be in town Sunday.

16- Buffalo Bills - 2-2 (+8) - The Bills were huge fans of Joe Flacco on Sunday as he kept thinking he was their team. Embarrassing. The Bills have been a somewhat of an impressive team this year, although that will probably not show in their record when things are all said and done because their schedule gets quite brutal here in a bit.

17- Cleveland Browns - 2-2 (+10) - We went through half of the league already in this and now we are just getting to the AFC North. Yes, the Browns are winning the division right now. You did read that right when you went to look at the standings. And that is all because of third string quarterback Brian Hoyer. 590 yards and 5 touchdowns is not bad for his first two starts in Cleveland.

18- Cincinnati Bengals - 2-2 (-8) - Remember when people were picking the Bengals to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year? Yeah, I'm still kinda laughing about that. They are actually pretty lucky to be at 2-2 with how they've played this season so far. And they also are pretty lucky that despite that, they still have a good chance of winning the division as no one in the AFC North is that good. Someone's gotta win, though.

19- Baltimore Ravens - 2-2 (-7) - It's pretty embarrassing when you pay a guy crazy money and then come week four he forgets what team he is on. Five interceptions for Joe Flacco in a loss to the Buffalo Bills is a pretty sad thing. This team looks nothing like last year's Super Bowl team.

20- Atlanta Falcons - 1-3 (-4) - I was heavily criticized at the beginning of the season for calling the Falcons overrated. Now look where they are. The facts are simple. They won a ton of games last year on a super easy schedule and they struggled to win most of those games. Now with a much tougher schedule this year, their only win comes against a Rams team that has no running game. And even that one they almost dropped.

21- Carolina Panthers - 1-2 (-1) - The Panthers got a week off, so not much movement for them in the rankings, but they looked really good against an awful Giants team two weeks back and now they need to take that momentum and cruise through the Cardinals, Vikings, Rams and Bucs in their next four games so they can have a lot of built in confidence by the time they actually face off against a good team again.

22- Philadelphia Eagles - 1-3 (-4) - What happened on Sunday was about what I expected to happen as the Eagles' awful defense faced off against the Broncos. What they need to do is just completely forget that that game happened. At 1-3, they are somehow only a game back of the Cowboys for the division lead and they have a schedule that they could breeze through.

23- Arizona Cardinals - 2-2 (+0) - The Cardinals unimpressively beat a bad Bucs team on Sunday and that is bad news because despite them not looking awful this year, they do have a really brutal schedule and thus will get left in the dust if they don't take their game to a higher level.

24- St. Louis Rams - 1-3 (-3) - Yes, the Rams did play a really tough Niner defense this past Thursday, but it seems like they are progressing backwards this year as they pretty much had no offense at all. There's only so much Sam Bradford can do when he gets no help from anyone on offense, so I'm not going to put the whole blame on him.

25- New York Jets - 2-2 (-6) - The Jets got lucky with their schedule early on and somehow wound up 2-1 to start the season, but this past Sunday against the Titans was the Jets team that most people thought would show up. I would expect more of that type of awful performance to happen as the season progresses.

26- Minnesota Vikings - 1-3 (-1) - The Vikings did win the battle of the winless teams this past Sunday, but unfortunately for them they don't have a whole lot more opponents like that this season. In a division with the Lions, Bears and Packers, their season already looks over.

27- Washington Redskins - 1-3 (+1) - Redskins fans shouldn't be gloating too much. Sure they got their first win, but it came against a sub-par Raiders team that was playing without their starting quarterback Terrell Pryor. However, if they turn things around magically, they could still compete in their division. They are only a game back of the lead, which is crazy.

28- Oakland Raiders - 1-3 (-2) - The Raiders aren't a great football team anyways, but it hurts even more when your already bad team starts getting injury plagued. Thanks to the baseball team they share a city with, their Sunday game should be interesting. It got postponed to 11:30 p.m. eastern time. Some people on the East coast will be getting up for work before that game officially ends.

29- Pittsburgh Steelers - 0-4 (+0) - It is really weird to be watching the Steelers play this bad. It's been a long time since the Steelers started out 0-4. They do have talent on their roster and on their coaching staff. They just seem to have forgotten how to actually play football and I have no idea how they are going to go about fixing the problem.

30- New York Giants - 0-4 (+0) - The Giants have been outscored 69-7 in their last two games. Ouch. And I said the Steelers forgot how to play football. That is ridiculous. It's hard to believe that this is the same team that won the Super Bowl just two years ago. They just look awful in about every position.

31- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 0-4 (+0) - The Josh Freeman era in Tampa is over and the first game of the Mike Glennon era didn't give Bucs fans much to look forward to as far as this season goes. Trying to come up with a week where the Bucs will get their first win is a pretty difficult task, although it is slightly easier to do so with them than with my last team in the rankings.

32- Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-4 (+0) - There is one positive thing about the game against the Colts on Sunday. The Jags were actually winning 3-0 as the first quarter ended. That's about as fun for them as it got, though. Justin Blackmon comes back from a suspension this weekend. Perhaps he can be somewhat of a spark to this team? If he's not, I don't even know if the Jags will win a single game this year.