NFL Man Cave: 2011 Kickoff with a Hot Wing Addiction

NFL Man Cave with Mike Rodriguez


That’s right, the first word of my new weekly article “NFL Man Cave” for Gridiron Experts is the sound a beer makes as you open it. People everywhere can relate, as it has been a long, long off-season.

From the painfully dull lock-out news to the rushed free agent frenzy, we got sloppy NFL pre-season as a mighty reward for our boredom. Thankfully last night’s game between the Packers and Saints was amazing, and probably one the best Thursday night NFL openers I can remember. But I’ll get to that in a moment, along with my thoughts on all of this weeks NFL action. First I need to talk to you about a problem I’m having…

I’m addicted to hot wings.NFL Man Cave

No really! They need to create a support group for me. I’ll be the guy on Intervention who “puts that sh!t, literally on everything”. I made spaghetti for the family the other day, and the wife was like “Dude, you got a problem, this is Spaghetti!…Why is my mouth burning?” I’m paraphrasing of course, she doesn’t call me dude. Actually I should clarify, it’s not hot wings I’m addicted to, it’s hot sauce.

I had this BBQ a couple weeks back and made up a ton of homemade hot wings on my grill, which by the way is big enough to cook a small person (midget) if crouched into the fetal position. -I don’t know why I  just brought that up… now I sound like a crazy person. My BBQ is big, you get what I’m saying… Anyways I cook up like 200 wings for friends and family, along with all the other BBQ standards. Everyone is done eating and there I am still drinking the hot nectar. I start to just bypass the wings and go right for the finger-dip. I start getting the sweats but I just can’t stop-lol.  Anyways, if anyone else can relate and/or has a great hot sauce they’d like to recommend, I’s love to try it out. Some people collect stamps, I try out hot sauces.

NFL Week 1 Thoughts and Predictions

Packers 42 Saints 34

I don’t want to be that guy who writes something and then links to it when he’s right, that’s annoying. So I’m just going do it this one time to show you what I mean, and that’ll be that. I wrote this article 10 Fantasy Players Trying To Get Our Attention back in June, and my top guy on the board (spoiler alert) was Jordy Nelson. That Packer’s offense is a well tuned machine and I think he will have a great year being a part of it. Nelson had a solid performance Thursday with 6 Rec. 77 yards and a TD. But clearly the man of the hour is this rookie speed-demon Randall Cobb, it only took one game for him to make his mark in the NFL, and it came with a stamp in the NFL record books. Cobb should be in the highlight reel rotation for a couple days, until that is, somebody else does something crazy on Sunday.

Last nights game was a back and forth fantasy jackpot, if you had players in it you were smiling. I liked what I saw from PT Cruiser, and tweeted about it a few times (@GridironExperts ). The Saints now have a trio of weapons in the backfield, and they all would have gotten the A+ if Ingram would have punched in that last play of the game. Although the Packers defense gambled correctly and all just blitzed over center, making it impossible to move forward. It would have been a great time to call what didn’t work on 4th and inches only a quarter earlier: the play-action roll out, or some kind of pitch play. Saints fans will, I’m sure, discuss this to death. Nevertheless, we saw two excellent teams battle it out for the first game of the year, with no signs of rust. I’m guessing this was a sample to a future playoff game we’ll see in months to come.

Indianapolis at Houston

Apparently “Football-3000” or his human name Peyton Manning, couldn’t get the spare parts in time for his malfunctioning neck. The haters are grinning ear to ear, but we should see Manning back sooner than you’d think, barking out decoy plays named after Omaha and such. The Texans are getting the green light to kick their fellow rival in the teeth, only trouble is the Texans are notorious for choking. This looks like a easier contest than one might think, still the Texans are playing themselves and the Colts on Sunday, which team is going to show up?

Cincinnati at Cleveland, Buffalo at Kansas City, Oakland at Denver

I hate to lump games together, but there are teams rebuilding and then there are teams like the Bengals, Bills and Raiders. I know this is a new year and everyone on Sunday is 0-0, but the front offices of all these teams should get the blame for the shape they’re  in. All have had bad luck through the draft: Aaron Maybin, Jamarcus Russell and Andre Smith to name a few, but clearly these teams are spinning their wheels. Throw some money around, lure in a big name coach or quarterback, do something. I say 3-0 for home teams here across the board.

Atlanta at Chicago

This whole game, for me, will be about how well the Bears offensive line performs along with Cutler’s inernal clock in the pocket. Both teams are capable of playing at a high level, but the Bears success on offense is critical in 2011. I am not a big fan of Mike Martz, I think his ego gets that best of him many times throughout a game, and I can’t figure out why more weapons were not brought into Chicago to help move the chains. I understand Martz runs a tight system there, but fans are tired of this and want results. I predict Cutler is sacked 3 times, once on his own account from holding the ball far too long.

Philadelphia at St. Louis

I like both these teams. I have been talking all summer about Lance Kendricks, then he had to go and rip-it-up in the pre-season so I couldn’t make him a deep sleeper. The Rams are a team on the rise, but I’m not sure they have what it takes to spoil the “Dream Team”. The Eagles look strong in many phases of the game, expect at linebacker. Andy Reid has ignored this position for years now, I think it will hurt them this year. You could literally go down to the local bus stop and grab 3 better players to play linebacker for this team. I have that much confidence that they can’t stop the run. I think Steven Jackson has a solid day, but overall the Birds will prevail.

Detroit at Tampa Bay

Are the Lions good enough to spoil the Buc’s home opener? I don’t know, but it should be a great test. The Lions are not your ordinary team. They have broken away from the Raiders, Bengals and Bills mold and should challenge for a wildcard spot this year. Tampa on the other hand has a very similar story, and Sunday will be a great test for each team to prove they are past the “rebuilding” phase. This game could be another shoot out like we just saw on Thursday night, a great game to have fantasy players in!

Tennessee at Jacksonville, Carolina at Arizona, NY Giants  at Washington

Everything tells us that the Jaguars: Starting a surprise a QB, the Panthers: starting a fresh rookie at QB and the Skins: Missing any viable offensive talent on their team whatsoever, should be a disaster this Sunday. But I can’t predict that, not everyone on paper crashes and burns. You see, of all of the unknown teams that tend to emerge as competitive head-scratchers, the teams that we think to ourselves: “Who saw that coming?” the Jags, Panthers, and Skins fall into that bunch for me. There are no locks here, any of these 6 teams could have “W’s” next to their names come Monday. And if you don’t believe me, you haven’t been watching enough of this sport, Any Given Sunday

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Steelers and Ravens fans are pumped about this game, as it’s a chance to get the leg up in the always tough AFC North divisional race for the top spot. Fantasy owners beware, this one could mean low numbers across the board. I predict a tight hard fought game with Big Ben leading a classic 2 minute drive for the win. I couldn’t see more than 3 total touchdowns happening in this game, it should be very low scoring.

Seattle at San Francisco

We should all write down the starting line-ups for both these teams, and the check back to see how many changes are made by about week 6. I think the Seahawks have major offensive line problems and for one week only, we will be convinced that the 49er’s are back. Both these teams are rebuilding this year, and I don’t expect more than .500 seasons from each. There is nobody except Frank Gore and Vernon Davis really worth starting on either team in fantasy.

Minnesota at San Diego

Alright, this game really intrigues me. The Chargers who are notorious for slow starts are 9 point favorites Sunday. The Vikings defensive line is missing key pieces but that spread seems far too large. McNabb was a bust in Washington (who hasn’t gone there and failed) but has never had a running game in his career. He now all of a sudden gets the best running back in the game? I think Donovan will do quite well for the Vikings and this contest should be a lot closer that 9 points. I pick the Chargers to win in a close one in our Pigskin Picks. Potential sleeper brewing: watch for Bernard Berrian Sunday.

Dallas at NY Jets

Easily one of the best match-ups of week. Two teams that have that “Love’em or Hate’em” mentality with expectations that far exceed any other city. The Cowboys are back and have their QB of choice under center. Romo’s name has been forgotten this off-season and slipping under the radar could be exactly what he needs. The spotlight has been on getting back to a competitive state, as opposed to last year’s Super Bowl preaching. I believe the Cowboys could emerge as NFC powerhouses this season and could even overthrow the Eagles in a tight race for the top spot in that division.

The Jets on the other hand are stuck in a battle with winning that big game. The AFC Championship has proven to be the only thing that stands in the way of ultimate success. The problem is, when you’re so fixated on that big game, the little ones get hard to focus on. Losing two years on a row can be difficult to regroup and get back into that competitive state. But, if anyone can prepare their players for game-time it’s Rex Ryan.

If the Cowboys can strike early we may see a different side of the Jets. The more conservative approach may be dialed back a little now that Mark Sanchez has a grasp on the game and his team. The short leash is gone in my opinion, and Sanchez could step up into a role that helps this team capitalize on every opportunity. Should be a great Sunday night game, I’m looking forward to it.

New England at Miami

Last but not least we have the Patriots heading down to Miami for some fun in the sun. New England looks the same to me, despite bringing in players like Ochocinco. They are a team that runs a tight system that inserts the best player that will best execute a play. They are the definition of a “team”… and I hate them -lol. The Patriots are too sharp, even in week one, for the chance of a Dolphin-flip spoiler. Miami has the tools to get it done, but might need a couple weeks to smooth out the kinks. I see Tim Brady with enough time behind center to be in flip flops and smoking a cigarette while throwing multiple scores with ease.

Man Cave Tip of the Week: The Beer TowerNFL Man Cave

This tool allows you to never have to get up. It creates that “at the pub” atmosphere without leaving the house. You can find these things on Ebay or through a wholesaler and they are usually pretty cheap. Some even come with this plastic ice bullet that you fill with water, let it freeze and then drop down the center to keep the beer from getting warm. When I drop mine through the top, I do my best “polonium sound” from Back to the Future, you know when Doc Brown is re-filling the Delorean in that nuclear suit-lol

Easily one of the coolest additions to the Man Cave.

I’m out, follow me on twitter: @GridironExperts

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