By Shaun Morash

The Watercooler

A new season is upon us and with this comes gold painted numbers, glitz, glamour and the allure of being Super Bowl 50’s champion in Santa Clara. I would not be a true NFL blogger in 2015 if I did not get a Super Bowl prediction sure to go wrong on the record. This year give me the Steelers over the Cowboys in a classic franchise matchup in a build up to a classic Super Bowl number.

If you know anything about me and my love for the NY Giants you know it took me putting my big boy pants on to admit the Cowboys have something cooking this year. You win in the trenches, Dallas is sure to do that a lot this year.

Ten Yard Gain

1 It feels like RG3’s rookie debut and upset win in New Orleans was yesterday. It turned out to be a minor blip on the radar. There will be a team to either trade for or sign BOB before too long this season but they will too learn what Washington learned: He defines the word bust.

2 Steve Smith Sr. will get a semi farewell tour this year after announcing his retirement. It is well deserved too. Nobody played with more of a bulldog mentality than Smith over the past 15 years. Soak up every ounce of Ravens’ games this season, SS was one of a kind.

3 Speaking of farewell tours, it may not be official but get ready to say goodbye to Peyton Manning. Unfortunately his arm looked like a wet noodle by season’s end and he Is no longer a pillar of health and stability. Denver will win this division but expect Peyton to exit stage left with another post season disappointment.

4 The Miami Dolphins are a contender. Ryan Tannehill is Joe Flacco. Can Joe Philbin be John Harbaugh? The Ravens and Dolphins seem so similar, and if they aren’t Philbin will be axed on Black Monday.

5 Only Rex Ryan’s buffoonery could convince an entire football obsessed nation that Tyrod Taylor can be a legitimate NFL starting quarterback. Don’t buy the hype, mainly because of who is selling it. The Bills roster seems loaded. However, they have significantly downgraded at the two most important parts of a football team: the QB and Head Coach.

6 As per usual Hard Knocks was a smash hit this Summer. You can put any one of the 32 teams on the show and HBO along with NFL Films will make it compelling. That being said, in episode 4 of this season, Hard Knocks trended in a path that we can only hope isn’t a sign of the show’s future. A blatant elongated scene that was nothing more than an advertisement for Madden, followed by a brief NFL self-back pat by showing female referee Sarah Thomas shaking hands with Bill O’Brien.

7 This season keep an eye on the 49’ers, as they will become the latest example of how quickly fortunes can change in the NFL. 20 months ago Richard Sherman was chastising Crabtree and the Niners following the NFC Championship game. Now, the 49ers have the looks of a team that could end up picking 1st overall when all is said and done. Your window is never as big as it seems in this league.

8 Speaking of fortunes changing, the Raiders and Jaguars have been notorious laughing stocks for quite some time now. 2015 may finally be the year not one, but both of these franchises trend the right way. Derek Carr and Blake Bortles look to be solid franchise quarterbacks and the playoffs may be sooner than later for the London Loaners and Black Hole.

9 It is hard to be as bad a division as the NFC South was top to bottom in 2014. Heck, the division winner was even under .500. However, with Jimmy Graham shipped to Seattle and Kelvin Benjamin finished for the year, there is a real chance we may have an under .500 team win this division for the 2nd straight year.

10 Last but not least, I want to give myself credit for being the 1st to report the Seahawks were discussing a Kam Chancellor trade with the NY Giants. Many doubted me, but I wanted to address this here: I would never Tweet stuff as fact unless it was fact.

Five Games To Chew On

5 Fried Dill Pickles Game of the Week- Eagles @ Falcons: The Sam Bradford-Eagles era begins on the road in a game where we now should not expect fake sound to be pumped in. The Eagles strike me as one of the most over hyped teams heading into the season. The new look defense will have a chance to feast on the Falcons reshuffled offensive line. If Atlanta’s line can hold up, this has a chance to be a real entertaining shootout.

4 Dozen Anchor Bar Wings Game of the Week- Colts @ Bills: Orchard Park will be as loud as we have heard it in 15 years for Rex Ryan’s debut Sunday. Andrew Luck will have his hands full as Ryan will pull out all the tricks he can with the explosive and talented Bills defense. Tyrod Taylor will have a chance to prove whether he can keep the Bills as a for real team, or if it will be the same old Bills once again.

3 Fish Tacos Game of the Week- Lions @ Chargers: This could be the Chargers finally opening day in San Diego. The Chargers have put themselves in early season hole’s the past two years and winning games vs good but not great teams like Detroit at home will be essential. The Lions will come in with a huge chip on their shoulder proving they are fine without Suh. It is likely only one of these teams would be post season bound in 17 weeks, this game believe it or not could be the difference either way.

2 Frozen Margaritas Game of the Week- Giants @ Cowboys: I am personally excited as I will be in attendance for this one. My 1st Jerry World appearance should be a good one. The Giants defense is a work in progress and may be for the entirety of the 2015 season. The Giants offense though can score and score in bunches. If you love offensive football you could see a 40 burger to a 30 burger Sunday night.

1 Green Chili Smothered Burger Game of the Week: Ravens @ Broncos: This maybe and should be Peyton Manning’s final opening day in the NFL. Stop, take a deep breath, now don’t you feel old? We know by now that Manning was hurt toward the end of last season, leading to a dramatic decline. The Ravens young defense could force him into some throws he may no longer be able to make. These should be two playoff teams and may be the only matchup between two in Week 1. Get the popcorn, sit back and enjoy the fact that CBS won’t force Tennis on you in the 4 o’clock window of Week 1 for once.

My Picks

After a weak playoff picking season, I finished 2014 a total of 27-25-1.

2015 may prove to be a runaway train of hotness, or futility at its finest.

Rams +4 vs Seahawks: No Kam Chancellor poses a major hit to the Seahawks defense. The Rams will be raring to go with the feeling that they finally have an answer at the QB position. The Rams have become the Seahawks kryptonite and have played them tough. Rams at home in what could be their final home opener in St.Louis and getting points, give me them.

Giants/Cowboys Over 51.5: Calling the Giants defense a mess heading into week 1 would be offensive to spilled garbage. Expect the Giants to be trying to tread water and figure out their new defensive scheme until at least mid-October. On the flip side no Greg Hardy and no Orlando Scandrick leave the Cowboys defense in flux. Eli and Romo should each hit the 30 point mark on Sunday Night.

Eagles -3 @ Falcons: I believe the Eagles are the most over rated team heading into 2015, I also believe the Falcons could end up being the most under rated. That being said I am hammering the Eagles laying just 3 on Monday Night. We know Sam Bradford will at least be healthy enough to start this game, and Dan Quinn’s new look defense will take some time to adjust. Eagles win by at least a touchdown.

Football Food of The Week

Buffalo Chicken Empanadas. If you are new to this blog you will get the hint real quick on how you should be eating on Sunday’s. You will also learn that anything involving Buffalo Chicken is fair game. The 1st Buffalo Chicken product to make this hit list are empanadas.

Get to your local grocer and buy frozen empanada shells, ground chicken, franks red hot buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing and taco cheese.

Brown the chicken in a frying pan adding a mixture of 2 parts Frank’s, 1 part blue cheese when cooking is near finished. Take two spoon fills of the chicken and spread evenly onto half of each now thawed empanada shell. Sprinkle as much taco cheese on top of the chicken and then fold the shell over in half, sealing it with a fork.

Fry each side of the empanada evenly for approximately two minutes in a pan of hot oil, let sit for 5 minutes then serve.

There are crunchy, spicy, and tantalizingly delicious and sure to be a hit at your football viewing party.

Enjoy Week 1 Everybody, only 23 more weeks until no more football for a while.

Follow me on Twitter @MrazCBS


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