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Coming up, NBA predictions, NFC champion predictions in jeopardy, I should have done. What is the Bill Simmons podcast anyway? It's all next. We're also brought to you by the Ring or Dotcom and the Ringer podcast network, where we are trying to cover all of this NBA news as fast as we can on the ring NBA show and on the Ranma solo show, we announced two new podcasts that launch next week. One is Gamblers. It's a narrative series with Dave Hill very, very excited about it.


If you like gambling, I promise you're going to like this one. And then the other one, recipe club, Dave Chang and his Majordomo gang. I can't even describe this one, but if you like food, you're going to like this one as well. So if you like food and gambling, you're going to be very happy next week. Also, Book of basketball returned if you missed it. Jay Z and I, we did Allen Iverson as the first episode of Season three.


Got some good feedback for that. Already glad people enjoyed it. We're going to be doing, I think, twelve episodes, maybe more. I don't know. We're doing our players this year. Have another one coming. Would be dropping those on Wednesdays, Wednesday nights and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and you can hear them when they go up. Coming up, I'm going to do some NBA stuff at the very top. Just a couple of predictions for, I think, what's going to be a crazy next eight days.


And then Kevin Clark comes on to talk about who's going to be the NFC champion and who should we bet on in week ten for a million dollar picks? And then finally, Claire McNair is going to talk about her new Jeopardy book that she wrote for the Ring her books imprint. That's all coming up. First, our friends from Project.


All right, I'm taping this first part of the podcast is 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time, so waited as long as possible because the NBA is getting super weird. I wouldn't say the NBA is drunk right now, but it's definitely had a couple of drinks and it's definitely gone outside and had cigarettes with the waitress and then come back in and ordered shots. But it's not it's not hammered yet, but it's definitely been over served. Weird shit's going on. Lots of teams kicking the tires on stuff, either as buyers or sellers.


Nobody knows what's going to happen. This draft, we're a week away. No idea who the first pick is going to be. Some people say it's going to be lamella, but other people say he's going to drop at least to Chicago at number four. Everyone has James wisemen going to Golden State at number two without having any idea what Golden State actually wants to do. This is a bizarre draft, guys going all over the map and on top of it, everybody waiting for the trade moratorium to be lifted.


I think this is going to be a hold on to your seats thrill ride for the next few weeks and want to talk about a couple of the other storylines in a second. But Russell Westbrook. Basically leaking that he wants out and that is unhappy and he wants to go back to being Russell Westbrook that came out yesterday and athletic, I don't think people were shocked to hear that Russ maybe didn't want to be a sidekick for James Harden and then not get guard in the playoffs and be blamed for any playoff losses.


Again, he is Russell Westbrook. He wants his own team. Here's the thing. I kind of want him to have his own team, too. I don't think that team will succeed. I don't think that team will get out of round one. That team might not even make the playoffs, but it's more fun when Jeff Russell Westbrook is in the kitchen and he's cooking crazy stuff. And a lot of it's uneatable. And you can't believe that he made thirty nine meatballs when you only needed fifteen.


And all the things that Chef Russell Westbrook does.


Here's a problem. He makes an incredible amount of money. He makes me say, what's the exact number? He has one hundred and thirty two point six million do over the next three years. And this is in a league where the players are being asked to take and basically to agree to an 18 percent escrow tax. So the money will be a little bit less than that, at least for this year, you know, 18 percent less. But what do you do if if you're Russell Westbrook's agent and he's like, yeah, you got to get me out of Houston, just find me, find me another team.


And you're like, dude, this is going to be hard. No offense. I know you made the NBA last year, and I know you're still really good and I know you're feeling good about things. Just in general. You're the MVP three years ago. You know, two things on this. One, Doug Collins, when I did TV with them, he always we talk about how hard it was to coach Michael Jordan those last two years on the Wizards, and he would just say, you don't understand what it's like to coach a superstar who's not a superstar anymore because in their head they still think they're the same person that they were at their peak when they won the MVP, when they won the finals, all that stuff.


And they're not that guy anymore. And a lot of superstars don't realize that. So that's one thing. Another thing is the theory that my mom has always had about she had I won't say who the person was, but somebody she was friends with who used to be gorgeous and then got older and was a gorgeous anymore. And my mom's theory is when you know, you're in your twenties or whatever you are, and if you're super funny or you're really attractive or whatever in your head, you're always that person.


Even if things change over the next 40 years and you could be sixty five and not like anything like that person you were when you're twenty five, but you're still acting like you're the twenty five year old Russell Westbrook isn't there yet as a basketball player, but reading comments about how he wants to go back to being Russell Westbrook again. It's pretty funny because Devers or Russell Westbrook is just not going to contend for titles and do anything that is going to truly matter.


As a basketball player, it's almost like he just he just puts the steering wheel again. So. All right, if you want the steering wheel again, Russell Westbrook, we have some ideas for you. We have some alternatives. Unfortunately, they're all pretty lousy. So, for instance, we could send you to Charlotte. And maybe they'll give you a Terry Rogier back and Cody Zeller is expiring and maybe they'll even throw Malik Monk, but then you're in Charlotte and you're basically trying to go forty two and forty.


And if you're Charlotte, it's like, would you rather play Rogier? I don't know. Thirty eight million for the next two years. Would you rather play Russell Westbrook one hundred and thirty two million for the next three years.


Odds are if you're Charlotte it's like well if we get Westbrook are we winning the finals. Probably not. Could you break down. Maybe. Is this super risky. Yeah. And they end up saying those things. Orlando's another one that people thought Oh Orlando, they love trading for guys after they've hit their peak. Well they could throw, you know, Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross and one other contract, maybe make Gordon the centerpiece and do it that way.


But then if you're in Orlando, what are you getting out of that? So now we're going to go forty three and thirty nine instead of thirty seven and forty five. I don't know, Washington, they could put John Wall for him to make the exact same amount of money, they could throw in the number nine pick you take, John Wall will throw on them and I will take Westbrook back again. He did out of it. And then the last one would be to trade.


That Detroit. I can talk myself into this one, because the trait, by all accounts, is in really rough shape with season ticket renewals, which is the money they're making General. General, the fact that they're not going to be able to participate in revenue sharing, they probably have the least appealing roster in the league in terms of assets. I think that's why a lot of people thought the Celtics could potentially trade 14 twenty six and thirty for seven just because Detroit needs younger players they might like Christian would go in free agency.


It looks like Blake Griffin is their most expensive player by far. Nobody knows if it's healthy. He's got two years left at like thirty six million. So if you're to trade, you have no identity. You have no reason at all for anyone in Detroit to care about that team or come to games. And we can have fans again and you can kind of talk yourself into the Westbrooke thing.


And it's like, man, if we get Westbrook back and Blake turns into the guy from two years ago before he hurt his knee and he could be 90 percent of that guy, now we kind of have something, we have an identity, we have two famous guys on our team, put them on a poster, maybe we will sell some more tickets when fans start coming to games again. The upside of that, you know, we'd have to top 30 guys potentially if they're both healthy.


So the thought I had was maybe the trade that makes the most sense is they just sent Derrick Rose to Houston. He makes like seven 1/2 billion a year, take Westbrook back for thirty seven million. They would be able to do this till after the draft when all the contracts reset. But they're going to have a ton of cap space and you just have Westbrook and Blake and you ready to go. So I think that could make sense. The other one I was thinking and by the way Westbrook on the trade I weirdly like it, you know they have that kind of rough and tumble identity.


He's a blue collar guy. The way he plays basketball all the time I don't know, kind of not against that. The funny thing about that for him in Detroit would just be, you know, God only knows what kind of stats he'd put up every night would just be fun to have back in the league is like, oh my God. Westbrook was thirty five, 11 and 12 last night and he took forty shots. Great. Way more fun than whatever Detroit had gone.


There's one trade though that I actually think makes sense for everybody. I made this up. I have no inside info. Here's the Philly gets Mike Conley. Who only is when you're left on his contract, by the way, Houston gets Al Horford, who has like two years plus like you can kind of get out of that fourth year and then. And then Westbrook goes to Utah. All right, so why would you do this? That's weird.


Well. If you tie your pretty close, right, you're not you're not a true championship contender. But you're a good playoff team. You're like, you know, the eight nine tenth best team in the league. Connelly wasn't that great last year. In fact, he missed the shot in Game seven that they could have be in Denver. You know, Connie is leaving anyway, after a year, at least, he's not going to be making the same money after next year that he's making now, you could argue you bring Westbrook and put him with Donovan Mitchell and now you have this super athletic physical backcourt that would be really hard to match up with.


You know, Westbrook, he wouldn't get his dream of driving the car all the time, but he could alternate with with Mitchell and you know, they could just be attacking the rim. And now you're thinking crunch time where you have Westbrook with Mitchell with Joe Ingles with Bogdanovic and and Gobert. It's kind of interesting. So that's the only team that actually has final eight or Final Four potential that I could see ever in a million years tucking themselves into Westbrook.


Now the thought of Westbrook in Utah would be hilarious but. But that was, that was my best idea if he was actually trying to compete. Now here's another piece of the story. Hold onto your seats. What if Westbrooke wanted out because he knew Hardin was about to get traded? Hmm, OK, well, where's Harden? If he was going to get traded, where would that be? OK. I think three options here, so one.


Just to the Clippers for Paul George. Just bring Paul George to the rocket's Senate and to the clips and, you know, there's been a lot of rumors about why I wasn't happy with Doc Rivers, wasn't happy the Paul George was not with anybody. Now it's like, all right, now we have Kawhi and James Harden mildly intriguing. I don't think that one's very realistic. Second one. Philly, where there are more, is. It would just be the bensimon straight, right, Ben Simmons for James Harden, just switch those dates well.


What if I told you the Houston owner maybe wasn't ecstatic about the Darrow thing put out with with Philly? I don't know that for a fact. I, I, I have heard rumors. My guess is he's not going to reward Darryl with James Harden, one of the best four players of the last 10 years. So I'm going to cross that off. The other one I was thinking. What if it was Brooklyn? Durant, Cairene, Harden, well, Durant and Harden.


Still buds, all those guys know each other. They have Caris Levert, who's making a really, really sustainable 17 million, I think starting back kicks in this year. They said the Taurean Prince deal. I think he makes 12 and Dinwiddie who they don't really need because Kyrie everybody knows their shop and then wherever you are so you could do Dinwiddie LaVert.


Prince would you'd have to wait until the next year's contracts kick in, maybe throw them? I don't know, I'm protected first, something like that. Do you get hardened back? And then if you're Brooklyn, you're just like, this is weird, we have three guys who need the ball who are amazing scorers, but imagine trying to match up against us. Part of Durant. Kyrie, good luck. We're going to spread the floor with different guys on different sides and you're screwed everywhere you look.


Plus you have Nash as the coach. So my thought is. Let's say that let's say randomly this happens or Harding gets traded, one of those three teams, let's say he goes to Brooklyn, but let's say Westbrook has an inkling that that might be happening and that's why he wants out. But if you're Houston, you're thinking we trade hard and we get a bunch of pieces back and then we actually build around Westbrook. So weirdly the Westbrook trade that people think might happen.


Isn't going to happen because the trade will be to the non James Harden rockets, they'll just keep them and give them the car keys and he'll get to have the steering wheel. So I don't know who knows what's going to happen. My guess. That Houston will blow things up way, way, way faster than people think, because once once this stuff gets out, it always comes out like, for instance, the Chris Paul stuff. Chris Paul stuff gets out because he knows Phoenix and OKC are talking trades, he knows Presti is probably going to hold up Phoenix for a really good deal.


He wants to get it out there, try to get some momentum one way or another. If you think about it, the last five years, how many big trades happen where we had no idea the trade was going to happen until it actually happened? It's using most of the time just like 90 percent when the stuff gets leaked that teams are talking and who knows? And that's usually there's always somebody has an angle on that. Either it's getting leaked by the player or the agent or it's getting leaked by the team because they they are trying to send a message.


So my thought is I actually think Chris Paul stays in OKC. Because I don't think there's a better option for him, and if I'm Phoenix, why am I trading Rubio, Uber and the 10th pick for Chris Paul?


I'm only doing it if it's Rubio, Newberry for Chris Paul.


And if I'm OKC, I'm like, why am I trading Chris Paul that I'll just wait until February and they'll have more value and somebody will be desperate. Who knows if there's not a market now, I'm not going to trade them now, so. I think Chris Paul ends up ends up staying in OKC would be my guess, unless Phoenix starts in that tenth pick. And if they did that, that's just dumb. I wouldn't do that. Chris Paul is going to be thirty seven next year.


Like at some point you move into a different phase of your career. And I went to a plant based diet. But come on. And if you're Chris, you feel an urgency. You want to get treated to a contender. But none of those contenders can fit your salaries in. You know, you're basically looking at the same Westbrooke deal I laid out. But with OKC taking back the Horford contract, which you're not going to do, is not taking any dumb contracts back.


It's just not at least with Rubio and with with Uber. You know, you can spin Uber if you want for a low pick or whatever, and you can probably trade Rubio too. So my guess is he stays for now and if he ends up getting traded during the season, I'm sure, you know, I'm sure there will be a suitor at some point somebody would hurt somebody or panic somebody being happy, their team, whatever other stuff I'm hearing.


Well, everyone knows the Celtics are super aggressive right now. They're offering they've offered their first three picks. Fourteen twenty six and thirty two, everybody in the top eight, probably except for Minnesota, because why would Minnesota do that?


But they are throwing their picks around and they do not want to bring back more rookies. From what I understand, pretty much, they'll discuss anything, any anything is is fair game and KFC reported today about how they're looking at Jrue Holiday.


And, you know, if there's really. It's really hard for them. To acquire Jrue Holiday without giving a Kemba Walker. So that was when I when I heard the Jrue Holiday thing, you just start doing the math. I'm like, well it could be Marcus Smart and Robert Williams and all this stuff and it's like, well why would they get your holiday. So they he makes twice as much as Marcus Smart. I'd rather just keep Marcus smart at the price, but if it's Kemba.


You know. That gets a little more interesting because he's right around the same money as as as holiday, and if they it if it is accurate that they are making a big run and trying to get picks and trying to make a move for for holiday, they still have to be able to fit them into their salary cap. They have Brown's contract. They have Kemba, they have Tatums extension coming. And it's, it would just be really hard unless Kemba Smart is involved in that trade.


My feeling is that everyone in Boston is is available except for Brown and Tatum not saying they're shopping there, but I think this team knows that they missed their window. They had a chance to make the finals. Danny, let's be honest, they did not have good drafts the last couple of years and they were kind of one guy short. They had hero in Boston, apparently had an amazing workout and they were just hoping he fell to their pick and he didn't.


He went one pick before and they could have used some of this capital to move up and make sure they got him. They didn't over and over again with these future picks they've had, they they've they put this huge premium on them. And they kept that Sacramento picked that year when they could have flipped it. The same thing for the Memphis pick. They kept holding on to these things, thinking they were holding on to these diamonds because it worked out with Brooklyn.


But, you know, they've had a lot of swings at it here. And unless it's a top ten pick, it just has not worked out in the last decade for the guys. They've gone back. So I think I can't wait to see what they do. I hope they don't get too crazy.


But I think they're doing something the most logical pick or the website or the most logical trade would be if they just use fourteen, twenty, six thirty and whatever else they needed to move into seven with. The trade in Detroit just needs assets.


The Clippers super aggressive right now. They are, you know, the hair thing. They know they can't bring Harrell back because he can't guard Davis or Yokich, the two guys they're trying to beat. So there's sign and trade stuff with them. I don't know the sign trade rules because the old sign of trade rules, you couldn't package other players with the sign and trade guy. I don't know if they're going to change that just for this year because the shortened season.


But Harrell's somebody who either is going to leave or they have a chance to sign a trade.


And then Lou Williams and Pat Beverley are available for anybody. So one trade I was thinking I made this up was Lou Williams and Pat Beverley to Milwaukee for Eric Bledsoe. Because, you know, but so more of a traditional point guard maybe needs a change of scenery, and then if you're Milwaukie, you have, you know, William scoring off the bench, you kind of get away from Bledsoe who really let you down in the last two years.


And then Beverley was defense, more importantly, to smaller contracts that are much easier to move if you have to. For whatever reason, I am prepared for anything with the Clippers, including the Paul George trade you. Nothing they could do would surprise me after the docketing put out. I think there is an incredible amount of urgency with that team and they're they're flying hot, flat, hot right now when that thing. So I'm looking at Chicago and they have a chance to get lamella for.


Right. We the Milos being rumored to go over from one to four and could even drop out of the top four. Who knows? Everybody seems to agree that his passing is the single biggest skill in this draft. But there's a lot of concerns behind the scenes about some of the interviews he's had, the people he has around him, all the stuff you would expect from Lobello Ball. Well. If Chicago traded Kobe, wait for Lonzo Ball. And then drafted lamella ball and had both balls, I'm going to make the case this is actually a good idea.


So you have two guys who up definitely a little up and down on the Lakers and then really up and down last season in New Orleans was not good in the bubble. But, you know, I'm sure the bubble there are always reasons why that matter transcended basketball. You put those two together and now I actually feel better about them off the court because they have each other and on the court could be really fun together.


And I don't know if you're Chicago, you're looking for identity and you could.


Turn Kobe way, the fourth pick into the ball brothers, put them with Zach Levine, Wendell Carter, Lauri Markkanen. It's a fun team. I'm watching that team on the pass, by the way. That's also a team that could give up the first hundred and ten point game to a player because nobody in that team would be able to guard anybody who cares. I am in the Chicago should go for both balls camp. I think that would be really fun and of course that would involve New Orleans trading lines of New Orleans has been all over the map.


They kind of want to trade your holiday. It's they don't want to take too much money back, I guess. Who the hell knows what they're doing? All I know is David Griffin. Seems to win these deals, and he's somebody I'd be very careful trading with, he's really rebounded from the Boskoff trade where he gave up two first round picks from Boskoff. Ever since then, it's been a lot smoother sailing for him. But I'm ready for anything.


I'm excited. So my prediction, I think it's more likely Westbrook stays in Houston, then gets traded. I think it's more likely Chris Paul stays in OKC, then gets traded and I think it's more likely Harden gets traded before Westbrook.


Those are those are my three things I'll leave you with. All right, coming up, Kevin Clark and I are going to talk football. And the funny thing is you get to hear as shit on the Colts and talk about how they're going to lose to the Titans and then joke how why wouldn't it be funny if the Colts actually beat the Saints? Well, that's what happened. And that's why, you know, I'm in a slump right now. So I'm just going to warn you ahead of time.


That's all coming up. Let's take one break.


All right, Kevin Clark is here normally he's hosting the Ringer NFL show on Thursdays and on Sundays, too, but on Thursdays and I texted him like a week ago and I was like, I'm stealing you from your own show. You're coming on mine instead of your crossover crossover. And so if you want to hear that ring or NFL show, I think it's Norah Mallory hosting this one. And then Kaylynn Jones and Danny Kelly hopped on two fronts.


There you go. OK, we're going to do our picks in a little bit. Had a bad week last week, which I predicted because we was in Arizona for my daughter's soccer and I get crushed every time my daughter's soccer goes head to head against NFL.


It's just the way it before we do the pics I had. So I wanted to talk about playoff odds and not not just who's going to make the playoffs, but also the NFC. The NFC is in a really weird place. Yes, the Saints are plus three, 52 in two in the NFC. None of us like the Saints even as good as they looked last week against Tampa. There's still this unease because the breezes arm strength. It just makes me nervous.


I'm starting to talk myself into the Saints. Oh, good for that. Yeah. OK, so there's a couple of things. Number one, smart people in July and August said, wait until Brady gets half a season under his belt and they're going to get better. You know, no one cares more about the details. And Tom Brady doesn't have a training camp, doesn't have OTAs. It doesn't put pads on until August 15th. He's going to get better and better and better.


And so week one, when when the Bucs and the Saints played, I threw that out. I said this. This doesn't matter. Brady's going to get better and better. Better. This was the closing the gap game for me. And then I didn't see that. And obviously they were there whipped everywhere. You know, Alamar Pett being out was a big thing with with people who started the game. But I think that that this was bigger than the now Mark, quite frankly, OK, the the Saints were able to get a four man rush the entire game.


They were able to pressure Brady on half of his drop backs when they had a four man rush. That's really good. Since Marcus Davenports come back in week five, they had the most pressures in football, frustrating football. There's just something there. The problem at the beginning of the year was the Lattimore and Marcus Williams were bad. And those are two pretty good players. And I think that, you know, a good pass rush can cancel that.


Those guys can get better. And so with with Brees, Wilson, there are there are problems with the fact you can't throw down the field. The offensive line is not as good as it has been in years past. It doesn't matter with Brees because he gets rid of the ball in a second. He's like Peyton Manning. He doesn't need, you know, the best offensive line in the world. And then Lattimore, who we were kind of dunking on because at one point he was giving up almost a perfect passer rating.


He owns Mike Evans. He owns him. He is not giving up a reception to Mike Evans, the last three games they've played. And so when if those guys play in the playoffs again, there's that match up. So I don't I'm feeling better about the Saints now than I was two, three weeks ago. Good coaching staff. A great coaching staff. Yeah, so the the fear and this isn't just the Saints, but the fear is, all right, what happens that they're down 10 in a playoff game?


It's basically the Lamar Jackson corollary. How am I feeling if I'm down 13 to three in the second quarter and they've just done a three and out? What are my emotions in that moment? That's my fear of the Saints because of Brees.


I think that they're what? Because they don't know what they're capable of the big play. Is that your fear? If teams, though, like, all right, they've got to air this out, they've got to kick in the pace and also it's amazing to me it's probably been the MVP. I think it's either him, Cooke Mahomes Berry in some order. OK, I'm amazed that teams aren't just like, all right, we're taking him out like Belichick in his prime before he added his kids to the coaching staff and decided to throw a five straight drafts Belichick in his prime.


All he would do would be like, Kamara is not beating me. You can have everyone else, the saints. I'm not getting beat by that guy. I'm falling everywhere he goes. We're hitting him constantly. He's not beating me. Why don't teams do that with them? I don't get it. OK, so first of all, they have a lot of weapons. I think, especially when Michael Thomas is healthy. There's a lot they can do there.


You know, I think Peter King had a really good break down his column this week about there was a play where the Bucs dropped eight men into coverage and it was a weird play. They had their fullback split out wide and Brees hit a random tight end. Adam Trautmann for a touchdown, even throwing into eight men like that. There's just something there. Brees is still really, really good. And so I think it's it's a bit simplistic to say just take away Kamara because they can do other stuff and they can they can change their game plan so much.


One of the things, Bill, about the last couple of months is that everything, all the people, all the GMs, all the coaches said in training camp. But what the season was going to be like was pretty much correct, is that it is about continuity and it's about good coaches and good quarterbacks, all the things that are normally important. But they're just accelerated this year. And, you know, OK, there's a scoring boom. There's always a scoring boom, just a bigger scoring boom than normal.


And so I think that the ability for the Saints to be really, really complicated, I think that's that's important because they can do things against defenses that are just not ready for.


Obviously, the Bucs are should be an awesome defense if they're number one DB Todd Bowles, an awesome defensive coordinator. But the Saints just have these little edges, which over the course of a game matter a lot. And I think that that's why at this point, I like the Saints probably as much as my NFC team among those dominant teams, they just have the flaws that I think are most manageable. And I think that this is a little bit more Eastern Conference with the NBA to make the NBA comparison where we're going to look at this and everything is going to feel explicable when we look back on it.


And I just feel like the Saints can manage their Flosse. Very good case with all that said, I would take out command, I would never let him beat me, and if the fucking backup tight end and Sanders and whoever else do, they had as many as a hundred and twenty yards.


Knock yourself out. I agree with you. They are by far, by far the safest pick of the favorites. Now here's the catch. Because of this weird covid season, because we don't know what we're getting week to week, so this isn't a great conference to begin with, is there a 12 20 Miami Heat scenario where you where you could have the five seed that all of a sudden is knocking teams out, plus, you know, round by round, you might have this round two game where it's like, oh, is not playing his covid like, who the fuck knows?


So I want to go through the odds and we'll try to figure out if there's a Miami Heat potential with somebody. We got that sense at plus three fifty Seahawks plus three fifty, which is amazing considering they can't stop anybody. Packers plus four for fifty bucks at plus four fifty, which might be they just might have had a terrible abberation game that might actually be decent. It's the Rams ten to one who I think we both like cards with someone who I know.


I like that. After that it goes Eagles seventeen and one bears thirty one to one, Niners thirty one to one, Vikings forty four to one. Then it gets done Panthers hundred to one mile mildly interesting. Who is the Miami Heat of that group to you.


If there's anyone from that group that wouldn't surprise me with the longer shots we're talking about here, that's that would be the Miami Heat analogy here, not the not the Raptors, not the Bucks, not whomever. It would be the Rams for me. OK, five thirty eight has them at 63 percent to make the playoffs. I think they do. I think they have blue chippers on a bunch of different levels of both offense and defense. Goff is the problem.


We saw that against Miami is that he can be he can be off. But I really like again comes down to continuity coaching all that stuff, raw talent. And the Rams had that. Jalen Ramsey is really good. Both those quarterbacks.


Well, they're kind of built to win this year because of all the picks they traded. So it would make the and and the cap stuff. And they're one of these teams where you do not want to be going into next year with cap problems. And they're one of these teams that it is it's the books are not. And this is true of the league next year, but the books are not pretty.


Yeah. All right. Saints, I mean, rams the rest of the way. They're five and three right now coming off the my big game against Seattle, which will be covering a million dollars. Then they're at Tampa the next week on ESPN. Home for San Francisco, who might either be done completely for the year or weirdly rallying and getting guys back, who knows at Arizona home, New England doing ought to be done at that point home for the Jets.


At Seattle home, Arizona, so it feels like they'll be in that 10 and six, 11 and five range. I would guess, right. They've played the whole NFC East, which is a problem. Seattle still has three NFC East games to go, which is a really if you're looking if you if you want to go through the over unders and try and trying to make some money, go through who has NFC East games left, because there's there's a handful of these teams.


And so Seattle has the easiest schedule remaining, I think, of the NFL by opponents winning percentage. The Rams are. 12TH, so they actually have a pretty hard schedule the rest of the way, I just kind of believe in their talent. Well, you have the Seahawks at some point, so. All right. What's the Kryptonite with the Rams? Any team that can rush Jared Goff and any team that can make that weird look on his face, then you're then you're golden.


All right. So how can I say something? I will say this gothe one of the thing that changed my mind about golf a little bit is how overwhelmed he looked in the Superdome two years ago. I was at that game. It was so loud, like I was it was cover my ears loud and it was obviously covered, his ears loud. He looked so rattled early in that game and I thought, this guy's done stick a fork in him.


And his ability to at least hang in there changed in my mind, the narrative about golf a little bit. He can get off. I mean, he can get off his game a little bit and lose it for four stretches at a time. But I don't think he's kind of an emotional wreck the way some some quarterbacks can be. Was that the same speech you gave Sean McVay when he asked you if he should sign Jared Goff for one hundred twenty million?


And you're like, you know, Sean, that since playoff game really changed? Right. I think you should do it.


That's called me up because I was over. It was over text. We're both millennials. He said, Casey, what do you think? So here's the thing. With the last eight games, they really only play one team that has a pass rush, which would be the thing you're scared about with him. Right. It's Tampa in week eleven other in that depleted San Francisco on down the line. Arizona might blitz them a little bit, but for the most part, I actually think he could light it up the second half of the year because they're pretty healthy.


I don't know. I'm with you between that, the weapons and the coach and kind of the urgency factor with them, I could see that one. The other one I wanted to talk about was the Cardinals, though, because they're fifteen one. And I don't know, I, I really thought that was an OK loss for them against Miami. They kind of shot themselves in the foot. They they I think Miami's good. I didn't come away from that game going, oh my God, I'm out on Arizona.


I was I was, if anything, like a tiny bit more intrigued because I think my aim is good.


I thought that was a really good game, OK, of the NFC contenders. And if we can throw them in at the bottom here, would you agree Kliff Kingsbury is the worst coach by far? Yes. So I think that that for me, in a very simplified season, that weighs heavily on me decision making experience, and this is going to be the hardest and most unusual playoffs of our lifetimes. And right now I'm looking for teams. One of the things it's impressing me about, teams like the Bills of the Chiefs or the Steelers is how many different ways they're winning games and how many different levels of success they can have.


And with the cardinals, I'm intrigued to see how this develops and I'm intrigued to see the adaptability throughout the year and all that stuff. I love Kyla. Kyla, for me was a preseason MVP. I think he's getting more confidence. And I think for a player like that, that is so important. He understands his his talent, which I think I don't know if he did last year or more hesitation in this game. You know, he was completing eighty percent of his deep balls last year over 30 yards.


And I think he understands now we can go to that and throw those, quote unquote, moon balls. So I think that there's a lot there. I just think that this is going to be so hard the next two months because of covid testing or oh, we lost this guy six hours for the game or we lost this guy on Friday. I want the best coach, not not the not the worst coach of the contenders. I still think Kliff Kingsbury made huge strides, but he's just not there for me.


I predicted on my podcast on Sunday that Arizona was going to be this year's team that lost an agonizing playoff game where their fans, where they felt good about it, but at the same time, like, oh, my God, we actually probably could have made the Super Bowl if that didn't happen. I think they're the runaway leading candidate for that spot. Every year there's a team like that, you just kind of go, yeah, oh, my God, why do we try the fifty five yard field goal right before halftime that got blocked?


I think there's no way Cardinals fans don't come out of the season feeling amazing. They're kind of playing with house money right now because they know they have power for the next decade.


Fine of kind of a secretly solid run for them this century. The cards, the once the Warner team was really fun, like their dark moments are super dark, but they've had some good teams. You know, they've had some I don't know. I've kind of enjoyed them. I have enjoyed that one. Jake, Jake, the snake season. So they have a couple of easy games left. They have. Well, at Denver's not easy, but Denver's look terrible.


They have a Jets game. They have a home game against the frisky Bengals. They have the Pats will be a corpse by that point and they finish this season at Buffalo and in a game that Buffalo might not even need.


So they have the ninth to schedule going forward by opponent winning percentage. So it's something to watch. All right.


So we like we like Arizona and we like. I like Arizona, you look, we both like the Rams, those would be our two Miami Heat candidates. All right. I think I agree that we should take a break and talk about playoff. That's.


So I jotted down. Kind of the locks for the playoffs where like AFC cockpit ball. Those three are in, right? I'm just put put them in, I don't see any scenario where we don't have the chief Steelers and Ravens in the playoffs.


You also have. And AFC is the AFC South team, which makes five. So let's put Buffalo in, let's say Tennessee wins tonight against and this will give Tennessee that spot that gives us two more spots for Cleveland, Vegas, Miami and the second place, AFC South team, which will be, I'm guessing Indy, who knows, could beat Tennessee, but it'll be one of those four. So two of those teams are going to make the playoffs.


Cleveland, Vegas, Miami. The second tier Tennessee Indianapolis team who are here, too.


OK, so this is going to be a little bit controversial, I think Cleveland and I think I think Miami. So at some point we have to look at schedules here.


And I want to make this whole thing about schedules with Cleveland. They have jets, jaguars, giants, Texans, eagles.


They're basically guaranteed nine wins unless they have a disastrous loss when they're like at least like an eight point favorite.


So am I worried that Baker went on the Kabbalist this week? Sure. But it looks like that he's going to play and all that stuff. Kevin Stefanski is a really good coach. That roster is really good. They were able to everybody was early on them, including me, and they were able to see kind of the post hype and then plug the holes and get get the offensive line squared away. I figure out what they need. I guess there apparently is the Odell Beckham Ewing theory appears to be real at this point because of how their offense is just functioning.


Glad you brought that up.


So I was kind of against the first. But then, you know, that's a lot of people with a lot of people who Richard Sherman was the first person to basically say, hey, it's just flowing better when you don't get locked on that one target.


And then I think a lot of people have kind of come around to including me now. I think that Andrew Barry, their GM is one of the best GMs in football, I think is the youngest ever. And I just think that this is getting to be I don't want to jinx it. This is getting to be a well-run organization. And I think that they understand the position to put Baker in. And I think that I think they're probably gonna make the playoffs.


I have Miami in their. There plus 180 to make the playoffs. They're down to basically four and a half to one to win the division, which would be a tall task. They'd have to beat Buffalo when they go head to head and then somehow make up another game that Cleveland is. Yes, to make the playoffs right now in Fanda, a minus one thirty eight no is plus one 14. Here's the case for them not making the playoffs because you mentioned they play the tiebreaker, the tiebreaker with the Raiders.


It goes to Las Vegas. Right. So you got that they played the two New York teams, which you mentioned, and Jacksonville. So literally really hard not to win those three games, although the Giants have this little hop in their step lately.


The Dillon's the Cleveland this week against Houston, I feel like will give us our answer on whether they're a playoff team or not. They're favored by three and a half right now, Fandor. Houston, I don't know, they might be able to throw on them, they might to move the ball, it seems like the kind of dumb game that the Browns in the past have lost when people have just penciled them in in a PIC's pool. You bet on Cleveland.


You put them in a money line parlay and then all of a sudden they're down to nothing and you're going, what the hell is going on? They do get back this week, which we'll talk about later. But I I'm I'm almost not ready to pick until I see that game and whether I think they can make it or not, because I do think they could totally lose to Houston. As weird as that sounds, the Texans I think this is weird because I've been talking about the Texans being a tire fire for many years now.


Yeah. And I actually think we haven't been talking enough about it. Like, I feel like I should have been. I feel like I've undersold. You should have addressed the Texans. There's a piece of turf that was there you didn't grab. I should have moved my family to Houston in order to and just stood outside the stadium and said, what the hell is going on here? Because that looks really bad right now. They were able to beat the Jaguars.


Congratulations. But I think that I'm with you in the sense that if they beat the Browns next this week, something seriously wrong, I just think that's a possibility. So I had here's why they probably won't they have the twenty eighth rush defense by DVOA. And they're the 30 second running team by DVOA, and that's like against the Browns, you want to be able to stop there and you want to be able to run on them. They can't do either.


On the same time, we haven't had that crazy Deshaun Watson. Oh, my God gave me it. So who knows? Anyway, I have Miami is one of the two. And then it's process of I think Miami is going to make it. I think my name is good at the plus one. I like that. So process of elimination. The indie stuff's alarming, like the quarterback situation is alarming and the fact that Taylor, who is their big, you know, kind of ceiling guy who is losing his job or maybe already lost his job and they were kind of him to Hiltons, already hurt.


And there's just a lot of bad signs with them. I don't like the look of it, especially if they jump out seven nothing to Baltimore and then basically don't score again. They get one field goal. I'm very concerned about them and I would not feel good about saying that. That's a playoff team. I agree, I thought that this was going to be I thought Philip Rivers was the missing piece and I've been a little bit disappointed in that and I thought that roster was able to win.


How do you get to get fully disappointed that they have to take a shit?


Let's not let's let's listen. They lost to the Ravens, OK? Like, let's not throw everything out here. This is the Jaguars early in the season. I think that every team that's been OK need some sliver of patience here, especially when they're trying new things like bring a new quarterback into it, because, again, we can't say this is the weirdest season of all time for some teams, but not others. OK, fair. Darius Leonard looked elite last week and he looked like one of the best athletes playing linebacker in the NFL.


I mean, there are some things I still like about this team to where when I look at them, I say, OK, I understand why I fell in love with this team, but and I picked them to win the NFC East. I don't I'm not ready to give up on them. I'm just saying that I thought they'd be they'd be rolling a lot more right now. Well, in classic best podcast fashion, we're taping this before the Tennessee Indianapolis game.


So God only knows what's going to happen to make one of us sounds super dumb.


Oh, God, Vegas has the corpse of the dead. I'm going to break it.


I'm going to break into to Kyle's house and steal the tapes, if anything, tonight. Yeah. Vegas has the corpse of Denver this week. A tough Sunday night, Kansas City game, Atlanta, the Jets, a possible Colts Corp. situation in week fourteen, the Chargers, who will lose in the last minute because that's what they do. Miami, week 16 at Denver, week 17. So I'm going to go out on a limb and say that is an incredibly favorable schedule.


I really like it for them. And that I think I'm going Miami. Vegas. So you're going Miami, Cleveland, everybody.


Miami, Vegas for those two, isn't isn't it amazing how much of a competitive advantage the teams that play the Jets have in the playoffs? I mean, it's really like the league should down.


Well, we'll talk 30 million to our picks about how bad I think the Patriots are because they they barely beat the Jets like the Jets. Just get a first down with five minutes left. We lose to the Jets, we lose the flag.


We were texting about this earlier. And I don't want to get into the Ravens pass thing yet. But I will say part of the problem here is that I've known you for four and a half years. I've very rarely heard you say a positive thing about the Patriots. And so it's true, I've waited for you.


But that's but I'm saying when we have these discussions. Oh, that's right. It's part of my process.


Right. I have a process. Sorry, it is what I'm texting with you today and we're talking about this and you're saying the past can't do this. I can't even tell what's real, because as far as your being down in the past, because it's kind of, you know, you're doing that you've done this in Super Bowl ads, for instance.


Do I miss a couple of nice things about the Pats? I really liked David Harris, even though I think I don't even know when he's playing again after the my game. Myers and birds have been pretty good. And and I've been shocked by how good Nick Faulk has been. I actually think his field goals are going through now. I did not feel that way two months ago. So there are three positive things.


All right. NFC locks. I'm just going to pencil in Green Bay, the Saints, NFC East winner, NFC West winner, so there's four. The last three spots, two NFC West teams, so whoever doesn't win the division out of Seattle, Zona and the Rams and then Tampa, and it's a wrap. Which begs the question. Do we really already know who the seven NFC playoff teams are? Because I feel like we do. Is there any way he old?


The only thing would be the bears who have a very easy schedule. But I have I have just I cannot even watch the bears anymore. I mean, to go to go play the Titans and basically solve the Titans have so many flaws and the Bears solved all of them. It was unbelievable. They had the worst third down defense in history. And the Bears was like, oh, we'll just just not convert more than two third downs. It's fine.


The Titans can generate generally pass rush it until they played the Bears. And I think this Bears team is just mathematically they're still in it. And when I look at their schedule, if they were another team, I would look at their circumstance and tell you they were still in it. I'm looking at this Bears team and telling you they're not doing it. I'm overruling Matthew. Completely agree, it's one of the. I like Bears fans, I like how realistic they are about their own team.


I think it's a rare trait for a football fan base and they're about as out on this Bears team as they've been allowed to the coaching QB pace of the dumb things they do. It's really strange. I'm going to make a tiny case for the Vikings, just that we should talk to them, that they're three and five. They actually have some momentum. They beat Green Bay. They killed Detroit last week. They're playing Chicago this week. Monday night.


They get through that. They're four and five. Dallas the next week, that's five and five. Carolina, Jacksonville, the next two. There is a world. And we see this. I remember when I when I had my column, you know, I used to be a writer, Kevin, way back when. I used to always write about the week eight week nine Flip team, right? It was always a team that was one in five, two and five, two and six in second half of the year.


They came on like a freight train. Yeah. This Minnesota team starts out one in five. There's a world in which there's seven and five coming off that Jacksonville when in week thirteen and then rest of the way there would be Tampa at Tampa home, Chicago at New Orleans at the track. You split two of those, you get to nine and seven. And that might be a seven seed. It might be.


So I want to talk about Minnesota, too, because I don't even see them on the sportsbook and to make the playoffs, because I think that that wouldn't be a bad, long shot.


Do you think you scandal just got scared and took off coward's? Come on. I may have just missed it, but I did a controlled left and couldn't find it. But with with Cooke, you know, this is an Occam's razor season. I said this for four, five months. And if you could do one thing well, you can just keep doing it over and over and over again. Kirk Cousins is not going to single handedly lift you to an elite second half of the season.


Dalvin Cook has two hundred and sixty yards last week and one hundred sixty three yards the week before. He had over two hundred all purpose yards against the Packers. He set all sorts of records for yards in Lambeau Field. OK, and I kind of think he can do that for the next eight weeks. And I think that there's two things I don't want to be morbid here, but if the if there's a game canceled that matters in the playoff race.


Sure. You saw on Tuesday, the NFL said that they will expand the playoffs to eight teams, which I don't know.


By the way, I have no idea what that does to the playoff, but they probably take them off their table at that point. Yeah, I actually looked at the fine print. It's not seventy seven teams for conferences for. So from a betting standpoint, that that's irrelevant. But from a competitive standpoint, that obviously does matter if there's a team that gets to an eight or nine seven. So I think that's a huge thing right now. And then I just I just like this Vikings team.


I mean, there's a reason I picked them. I think I picked them to make the playoffs or close to it at the beginning of the season, because I think they do have talent. I'm generally higher on Kirk Cousins than most people because I think that he can just sort of go as a supporting cast does, even though he makes some of these these mistakes. I think you can you can put him in the position to succeed. And so I kind of, you know, Gary Kubiak, I kind of like it.


I kind of like a nice little run here.


I did Thando totally cowardly with the NFC North North that all that stuff with the Vikings. But they do have an over under four wins, which is seven point five. So you can bet on the Vikings going eight, eight or nine and seven plus they had 15, they had the Jags, the Cowboys and then the Lions as well.


The problem with that bit is it's like, let's go to Minnesota, watch Dalvin Cook. It feels like he pulled something and now he's on the cart and it's like, OK that that's gone. So a couple of playoff. That's quick. Indeed, yes, minus one thirty eight, no, plus one 14 to make the playoffs, I kind of like the No. Granted this from an odd standpoint, I would go with no charges are 20 to one.


So the charges of the best four men rush in the NFL right now have the most fun quarterback in the history of the league, that he's completely impervious to blitzing and pressure. I mean, he's like he's amazing.


He could throw these 65 yards on the fly, off his back foot, off his back foot. And he looks like he looks like he's 12 at some point. Is there like an argument that at some point they're just going to win just eight straight games that they shouldn't? Like, look, it's just going to overload them. I mean, they could get to nine and seven and nine and seven could absolutely make the playoffs, but unfortunately, they've lost to a lot of the people they'd be in the tiebreaker with.


Do you could you could you could just beat Herbert Rookie of the year 20 to one. I think 20 to one is is probably too high considering nine and seven makes it the the Pats. Yes. Plus five eighty. I would strongly encourage people against that. Carolina's Yes. Was 14 to one. I was trying to figure out a way that would happen. But with McCaffrey injured, I think that's probably there's three six. They were OK with that McCaffrey now.


I mean they're three and six. They have to go six and one rest of the way. I actually have a hard schedule. So Dallas is plus eight, seven. If you just wanted a short Philly and ride some sort of when it comes back, this could happen. Oh, when Andy Dalton comes back, that'll solve everything I'd say plus eight seventy Arizonan's minus one six didn't make the playoffs and the Rams are minus twenty five in some places.


Allow me to parlay those. I would actually parlay Arizona and the Rams together because I think both of them make it so. There you go. All right. We're going to take one more break and they do our picks.


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All right, million dollar pics last week, our first losing week in two months lost seven hundred twenty five thousand dollars thanks to the Seattle Seahawks who let me down and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who just rolled over. And that did hit on the Miami money line four plus one seventy five, saving a disastrous thing. So I'm down one hundred eighty six thousand for the year. I really like the slate. We're going to go through the games quick. First one, this is a tease, I'm just giving you one side of the tease, we're going to have to figure out who else is in it.


The Ravens are six and a half point favorites over the Pats. They have the fifth rushing offense by DVOA, the Ravens there, there's a little edge to them because people have just kicked them to the side of the curb. Meanwhile, their defense is playing great. The Pats defense. Thirty first to DVOA and DVOA matters now because we have big enough sample size. They're not just thirty first, they're thirtieth past thirty first rush. They're terrible in every capacity.


They have no push at all. Their front seven is awful and the Ravens D is first offense in rushing DVOA. The only thing of the past can do is run the ball and they're going. It's the best run defense in the league. Every single sign I look at with this game says that the Pats are going to get killed. Now I'm happy to tease it down or I'm happy to just lay the minus six and a half. But Kevin, make the case.


Make the case they don't get killed, make the cake. They hang around. Just tell me why they're in this game in the fourth quarter.


Sure, I can make the case. So Lamar Jackson comes out and says something that I think a lot of people have been talking about past couple of weeks, which is that the the defense knows what the plays are going to be. And they were calling them out. So he goes in, tries and show and says that this week, I think that there's Dan Orlovsky did a great breakdown of this NFL live today, actually, about just how predictable some of these looks are.


And this is something that I don't want to flip this with, with Lamar here, because he had one of the best infrastructures in football last year. And I don't want to say he's with an offensive coordinator, is feeling, well, whatever. I don't want to go that far. OK, Nick, I was on Wednesday last week and he said that Lamar Jackson is the Yanase of of the of the NFL. I don't want to go that far because it completely.


That's got to say that that's a great take. I might stay I'm going to steal that two weeks from now. Pretend I didn't remember. You told me that. And that's a really good look.


I don't necessarily agree because I think that the Ravens have done so much more for for Lamar to to put a message and succeed.


It's still a great take. I'm not saying it's just just a wonderful take.


Lamar is an amazing quarterback, and I thought he would take a little further step with John Harbaugh. I was talking about his passing and stuff in the offseason. I thought there'd be a little bit more of that.


But there's just a little bit of of predictability with this offense. And I think now that the Ravens are probably going to try to be super unpredictable this weekend.


Oh, because of the goofy and I think there might be some some hiccups there. That would be my only thought. Or they remain predictable in which Belichick and can.


So do you think they're predictable because they simplified stuff for the bar so they could run this specific type? Top offensive teams have figured it out. What is it?


So I did a piece in January where I talked to a bunch people about this and essentially they were saying they were only running a pretty small playbook out of a million different looks. OK, and they were that that works. There's a lot of teams that do that. A lot of time to do that. But at some point when you just get enough tape on you, people know. And so you Orlovsky was saying, especially when they went into empty sets that they were running baby run in the same place.


And I think that the point he made was they made the they ran the same exact play on the first play of the game in the first play, the second half. And I think that at some point that defenses just start to figure that out. And so I don't think that they were running. I mean, listen, any team I remember, Albert Pre reported, is that basically the Patriots knew if they drafted Lamar Jackson that the change. Everything OK?


Yeah. And so it's not like, you know, any team would have had to change their offense for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens did it as well as any team could. And so I just think that they probably need to get a little bit more multiple. And I think that there's probably something there. I think that I don't think that Lamar Jackson is painting a picture in which the defense is sitting there and saying, we know every player going to run.


I'm just saying that if he's coming out and saying that there's obviously some problems there and there's some run pastels that need to be addressed. His nephew, Kyle, stoic nephew Kyle. There remember that night when we watched the draft of my office and we didn't take Lamar Jackson? Yeah, just wanted to bring that up. I watched that I watched that outdraw with Mallory and she had a different reaction than you.


OK, I think we're going to get killed this week. And I'm not doing that. And oh, I'm reversing, say, this Pat's team, their their defensive front seven is really bad. It's really bad. And I it's going to be like when they win against the Niners and the Niners are just running for seven yards a play. And it was like, oh yeah, four minutes in the game and say, oh, this is over. I also don't think the Pats can play from behind anyway.


Mark that one down. Next one. Karbalaa, I just want to I just want to say the Ravens are going to win that game. I'm just making the case for it to be. No, I'm with the game. We're breaking it down. Next one, cards, bills, cards favored by one and a half. Arizona, Levit, DVOA, Buffalo, 13th Buffalo coming off. A great win. Card's coming off a dumb loss. It's in Arizona.


People feeling good about Josh down I thought weren't sharp. Made a good case for the bills last week honoring our NFL about how their offensive look bad. But the circumstances were weird in a couple of games where bad weather won game. The other one was the cover game. They're preparing for one team also, and they're playing the Titans. And their offense looked really good last week. Then again and again, Seattle, as you said earlier, Murray is getting better week after week after week.


I like the line. I do feel like this should be in that one and a half to two and a half range. Basically, the cards just have to win. Not a must win for Buffalo, they're seven and two. Different conference is a must win for the cards. I just like the cards the more I know, I know the bills are great last week, but I believe in this card team and I said this Sunday night, I think that Cardinals Dolphins game, it's not far fetched to think that could have been the Super Bowl.


I'm not saying it could happen, but I'm saying if you gave me like seventy five to one odds on that, I would look at it because I think both of those teams are good anyway. Cards minus one and a half. I like that one. Anything you would talk me out of here?


No, I mean, I love both of these teams. I love the depth in Buffalo and I just love kind of what I've looked at earlier, which is their ability to to win in different ways. I think the bill showed me something last week as far as just the depth they had on AJ Klein coming out and having an amazing game, guys like that.


And I'm so in a year, again, where there's so much about adaptability, just to have the ability to have people come in for injured guys is that's the game. And so taking advantage of a terrible Seahawks defense that wanted to let you pass on them, having guys everywhere who are making plays that shouldn't. I love that Bildstien, but I think the Cardinals probably won. I unfindable Arizona in Miami to win their conferences, Miami's twenty eight to one Cardinals are fifty nine and if you combine those two, it's four hundred and sixty plus four.


Sixty three. That seems high. It's a possible. It's a pretty good long shot bet. When I send it in, might have to put some wood on that one. All right. We both like the cards. Yeah. Josh, how is Josh Allen just seems like he's ready to break some hearts when we get to January. It's going to be some gamblers are going to be broken. Next one, Dolphins' charges, another team we've talked about this.


So different dolphins coming off a really inspiring win. Actually, two inspiring wins in a row. Plus the whole. Oh, good. Two is actually good. This is great thing with some covid stuff with them this week, including Covino Chargers coming off yet another US. I like the dolphins here for a variety of reasons, not just because I've been in on then the last couple of weeks, I've been writing them. The one thing they're not great at is stopping the run.


I feel like you can run on them and have long drives in them. Well, what are the Chargers not good at running the ball, especially since I was out there. Twenty seventh and Debrah rushing to the dolphins. Rushdi is twenty ninth. I just like the matchup for the Dolphins because I think it's they, they can get stops if you're throwing on them when they need to and I think they can move the ball. I think they move the ball and the Chargers the both the thing with the Chargers where he's never 100 percent or he's out in big drives and it's just and every time they show him on the sidelines, it looks like he's 210 pounds.


And this is the guy they rely on basically for their entire pass rush. I don't get that. Also, like, if you're on the Chargers and you're just losing this way week after week, at some point you break and I feel like they're due for a terrible game where it's like maybe this isn't the one where we lose by two.


Actually, we lose by twenty eight and we suck and fuck this, the route for one of those games. So anyway, I like the Doffs so. I think I like the Dolphins, but I will say this about a matchup problem, so I've had this this week that the Chargers have a little blitz right in the league and still create pressure within two and a half seconds, 30 percent of the time. OK, that's the second best mark in the league.


And the Dolphins offensive line can be beaten. Rams has up to a has made mistakes. Listen, anybody's going to make mistakes if there's a defensive tackle in their face as soon as they get the ball. And so I think you might see some UNCAC, I guess is too early to say if it's uncharacteristic mistakes, but you might see some mistakes that way. But I actually like I'm a little bit worried. We don't know the status. Kyle Benoit and Christian Wilkins was put on the cover list on Thursday afternoon.


I don't know the status of those guys. They could be very close. I like the dolphins in a vacuum. Here's the case against them.


Other than what you just mentioned, the Dolphins fans are out of their mind right now. They're so pumped they're that they're the guy in the desert who just got a bottle of water and some saltines and they feel like they've won the lottery. And if we if we've learned anything with sports and, you know, because you you're an Orlando Magic fan, you're used to getting kicked in the nuts as hard as possible. This does feel like it could be a kick in the nuts game where it's like, this is great.


We win this. And then if the bills can lose, then we're game back and you just start thinking ahead and and yet you actually have to win the game. And as you said, now the Chargers, they're getting some pressure on, too. And it's like, oh, my God, we're down to two throws a bad pick. There's a scenario where the Dolphins fans are doing the. Oh, my God, why? Why did I let my guard down?


I don't know if it's this game or next week, but it's coming.


I lived in Miami during the Wildcat. You're twenty eight. Oh yeah. And I've never seen a fan base go from zero to one hundred quite like that because they were one of fifteen the year before. They only won one game because great camera you had that overtime touchdown and then all of a sudden they beat the Pats in September the next year and then they host a playoff game against the Ravens. I've never seen a city just go because in 2007 there was just nothing.


There was just no dolphins presence anywhere. And then it went again, zero for one hundred. And the air that came out of that city when the Ravens came in and just stuffed them in a trash can, it was really it was one of the kind of sneaky, underrated, sad cities that I've experienced in journalism.


I like when the dolphins are good. When I was growing up, they would kick the Patriots ass every year and we would always like it would come down to the last game in the season or some dumb shit or or they would just beat us twice.


Marino, at least in the first part of his career, was just terrifying. But I'm just dolphins. Chargers, by the way, one of the most where before your time, but probably my favorite nonpetroleum playoff game I've ever watched. The hook and ladder, I can't tell you how exciting it was in the moment when they did it. It was honestly like I can't even describe I didn't even know what it was. What happened to Hamburg had a heart attack.


It worked. It was just like, oh, my God, you could do that. It was. It was that whole game was amazing.


I remember I said, I've watched it on NFL Films. It's really great. It's really fun.


It feels like modern football. I feel like it's probably on YouTube. Everyone's probably watched that guy. Oh, my God. All right. Panthers, Bucs, Panthers, three and six down. McCaffrey this is kind of end of the line for them. Looked awesome against the Chiefs last week. Bucs a little dissension coming off an awful game. God only knows what's going on. They're still second in DVOA. It's a bounceback game. It's kind of game.


You just pencil and you say now Tampa, they come back this week. And yet that Panthers team has a way of rising or falling to whoever their competition is. And it's like, all right, we're playing a top five team. Watch this. We're up seventeen to seven in the second quarter. They're really well coached. I think that David Tepper, who seemed like kind of an arrogant dick when he took over well, when he took over the team, it was kind of like, oh, now now you'll see.


You know, I know my stuff. And I was really successful in this line. I'll be successful here. And and yet he hired a great coach and he did a good job.


I don't think he came off as arrogant or anything like that. I've never met the guy. I will say the one funny thing he did not funny, but he fired a bunch of people who had layoffs. And then they were like, why did you do this? And he was like, well, I think it was I think it's just not fair to those people to to not have anything to do. So I just fired him and he was making it seem like he was doing them a favor by firing them because they thought they didn't have much to do.


So. Yeah. Yeah, that sounds great, David.


Well, he hired a great coach, and anyway, they're getting five enough points in their home. Carolina Tampa games are usually weird. It's a division game, it feels like this could be a three point game. I think the bucks can I mean, the Panthers can move the ball. And there's cheap touchdown potential, too, so I just wanted to flag this one, because this could be one where you're down eleven with three minutes left and you still get the cheap touchdown.


I also think whatever is going on with the Bucs, I mean, we all saw it on Sunday night, but the the fact that they can't figure out how to unlock Evans at all and they can't figure out a running game at all and just basic stuff that you would need to build a lead makes me wonder about them being favored like this on the road. OK, I think that they have significantly more talent, I think that, again, Joe Brady, the coordinator of the Panthers, is awesome and he should be and probably will be a head coach this time next year.


Yeah, but I think that you've seen enough of pissed off Tom Brady to sort of know what happens next. He's going to be just absolutely screaming at guys all week long. I think that they the fixes are probably pretty easy. And I think that, you know, I don't think the Antonio Brown signing was was very good for the franchise going forward. But I think that at some point you can unlock him. And I think that this is probably like a two touchdown Bucs won because the Bucs have a lot of talent on the roster.


I mean, you know, they have one of the best cornerbacks in football. Prepare them with the DC. That defensive line I'm in on this box team.


I was all in two until they they ruined million dollar packs and and Sunday Night Football last week. That was a massive. That was just by Antonio Brown when you bring him in. I think the equivalent of like like if the ringer just hired Antonio Brown and they're like, Hey guys, good news. Antonio Brown is going to join the ringer and he's going to be coming to the office and doing football videos and podcasts, the general reaction would be like, what?


Why would he need her? Yeah, anyway, next time to add three more quickies, Texan brands, Texans brands we talked about. You like the brands? I hate this Texans team. Yeah. So the rub. The rub. The reason to stay away from this is I'm with you. I hate this Texans team. Plus, you're betting on Romeo Crennel, which I never suggest. And if you bet on Romeo carried out for four hours, see a doctor.


What did you what did you think of Belichick excuse making to Charlie Weis?


Did you follow the exact interview thing, the fact that the first person he said, oh, well, we were capped out, too, was he called in to Charlie Weis. His radio show feels like a plant bell. Belichick has taken no responsibility for the last five drafts. I just want to hear him say it once we miss out on some drafts, just say it. Our surprise, well, this for reference, we can all go look at the draft to be like, wow, you did that, we have no uprose.


OK, next one Bengal's plus six and a half against the Steelers. There's garbage time touchdown potential here. There's Joey covers coming off a bye. They looked really good two weeks ago. The rub is the Steelers are undefeated at these thirty first away and you have Roethlisberger with a weird covid thing. I guess that would be one reason this lions moved down. It's dropped two plus points. So they beat they beat the Cowboys by five points last week, the Cowboys might be the worst team in football ninjitsu division.


They have not won a game by again, they're undefeated, they're great, I think they're a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but they haven't won a game by more than four points in the last three weeks. Maybe the Titans by three beat the Ravens by four. I just think they're not there could be I don't think the Bengals are going to win. I would not be surprised if this was a four point game. I love Jubera.


They've played one game where you left. The Steelers have played one game where you left the game and you said, oh, they're really good. And that was Cleveland. Thirty eight to seven. Other than that, every week, even when they win, you're kind of like a I mean, even that Baltimore game, they're down by ten, two hours into the game.


And Ben, nonpracticing, the fact that Mike Tomlin and this again, it's not funny, but Mike Tomlin was asked, are you were concerned about Ben Nonpracticing and Mike Thomas? Like, absolutely not. Like this is Ben is just sort of perpetually banged up a little bit.


Yes. OK, well, Mark, that one down got one. Let's do this quickly. Just Washtenaw plus four and a half against the Lions. The case is this. Washington has the best pass defense in the entire league. The Lions are a team that just throws the ball. The Lions, four and a half. We're going to get Alex Smith. Basically, the cases, should the lines be favored by more than four points over anybody except the two New York teams or Jacksonville.


Do you think, Matt, Patricia is rattled that Tony La Russa stole his worst coach in America crown?


So you like the lines a little bit. Maybe that person Washington's bad. That's the last of the reason to stay away is just the loss of the Giants last week.


Yeah, I think that listen, I think that there's a case to be made for both teams here. I think I think I like Detroit here. Despite Matt. Patricia, I think that I I think Matthew Stafford, who was again, had some some weird covid stuff this week as long as he can play. I think that there's you know, I think that they have a baseline of success and I think that they can be positive about him. This is my guess.


OK, last one. Washington Post won seventy two, according Fandor, to win that game outright, last one, Rams Seahawks, that should have had this one higher on the list because I like the Rams, Rams minus two pretty. They're pretty even with the DVOA, all that stuff. They played each other a million times. Obviously, the big thing for me with the Rams. It's how horrible Seattle's defense is. And I don't mind golf against bad defenses, I mind him against good defenses, but, you know, could the Rams make Wilson run around?


Have teams started to figure out Seattle a little bit? And, you know, Wilson look pretty mortel last week. Yeah, they by the way, they can't run the ball at all. The Carson Hyde thing's been really bad for them. And I like the spot for the Rams. I don't know if every week they would beat them, but I like them this week coming off a bye.


So I love the Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. And, you know, there's I talked about this a couple of weeks ago on my show, but there was a FBIs I thought was amazing about how basically he is he's bringing the college sort of revolution that's come to offense as you bring in defenses. And he's able to stop the run without playing the runs and he's got more guys out to stop the passing game. He's he's really good. And that defense starts there.


And so I think that Wilson might struggle a little bit.


I don't think I think Wilson has a baseline of success where you're always going to be pretty good. I think that mortality for him is is relative. I think he's he's still an MVP, cannot and will remain. So I'm more concerned right now with the Seahawks defense. Jamal Adams has essentially threw through half the season, has just not been worth two first round picks.


You might not be worth one first back, by the way, kind of a polarizing guy in football circles where some people love them and other people are just like, yeah, he can only do like two things. And that's not he's not a defense to first rounders. Right. And they're blitzing them now.


They're giving up explosive plays all over the place because they can't generate and this is like a football like that. If you can't do what you the whole thing relies on, you're screwed. OK, and the four man rush for the Seahawks was able to solve so many problems for them over the past decade. And now they have to start sending guys. They would normally send all that stuff to try to generate anything. And there's a lot of problems in the Seahawks defense, but that's one of them.


And so they're giving up explosive plays. Can't stop anybody. I think that they're still a Super Bowl contender because I you know, I just believe in Russell Wilson that much. I think Pete Carroll is a good coach. But I I think that the Rams I think the Rams might be a little bit better right now.


I also like you getting a free point here, because I think this line should be ramp's by three. So case against the Rams would be Jared Goff against Russell Wilson. And you're not betting on Russell Wilson? That would be one case. And then the Rams are for against the NFC East and below five hundred against everyone else would be the two cases.


I was shook by Pete Carroll and the postgame press conference after last week saying I don't know why they did the the bills and run the ball more. And it's just like I love Peaker, we love them, regular contributor, all that. But you can pass ninety times against the Seahawks. It never becomes less successful. Why would you ever run? I was. I'm surprised. You surprised that they ever ran a long shot parlay of the week here.


The possibilities Bengals plus two thirty five Panthers plus two five Niners plus three twenty. If you're feeling a little Niners comeback game, you feel in that at all. Tiny bit against the Saints. Saints coming off an awesome win. It seems far fetched. I mean, the night the Niners are getting their guys back and but the Saints is really good. Oh so you're saying there's a chance plus three twenty plus you play the Packers without Trent Williams.


Brennan Now you can Tebow Samuel, you get your ass kicked. That was not a surprise for me. I do think the lions a tiny bit high. All right, so nine hours plus three, 20 giants are plus one forty six. I just can't ever bet on the Giants, Texans plus 160. You hate the Texans. Washington is plus one.


Seventy two. So when they're down, get rid of the Panthers, Bengals plus two thirty five, we both like Niners plus three 20, we both like in Washington plus one. Seventy two I think would be the three candidates. What do you think? You got a team, two of those together for the long shot. Probably the week. Bengals, Bengals, the Bengals are in, let's put them in to end the Steelers. And the Steelers streak.


Joey covers, but we need one more who's the second one who works there, you do nine hours. Yeah. Oh, nine hours. It's it's over 14 to one if those both hit. Neinas Bengal's. Plus 14, 30 bet, 100 dollars, you win one thousand four hundred thirty, that's one option. And then the other one would be, what do we say, Washington? Yeah, Washington, the Washington football team, that one is plus eight twenty five.


You know what, I think I'm going to think I'm gonna do both. OK, yeah, I'm I'm going to sprinkle both will make the Bengals. The anchor team, any any money lines you like straight up or no? Uh, no. OK, and he stick out to you. I think that nine hours plus three, 20 is fun. Yeah, I was to listen, the Niners have one of the best coaches in football. They've still got some talent there.


I think we've all kind of thrown them in the trash can because of some of their injuries. But they can still beat anybody if they're full strength.


Yeah, I think that's one million. Our picks, week 10. Here's what we're doing. Kevin Clacked Tizer. Ravens minus six and a half over the Patriots. And then Kevin talked me into this bucks minus five and a half against the Panthers. Both teams just have to win, just win. We're going to be putting three hundred thousand dollars on that. Cardinals at home, minus one and a half over the bills. Kyla Murray for life. Three hundred thousand Cuyler, here's the suitcase of money, do your job.


Dolphins minus two and a half against a pathetic charger's.


Pathetic as in, they get closer every week and they blow up my show with this. Is there any way the Chargers cover this, but don't win the minus two and a half? Do you get scared of that at all? Isn't everything in play with the Chargers? Got every dolphins money line? Oh, that leads down one and a half. Dolphins are minus one 20. I'm just I'm taking the dolphins minus 120. Just to win, so we're doing that, we're going to put three sixty to win, three hundred thousand on that.


And then last but not least, the Rams. The team that Sean McVay once upon a time called Kevin Clarke. He was wearing a smoking jacket and he said, I'm thinking about giving Jared Goff one hundred twenty million, what do you think? And Kevin Kirk said, that sounds great. I saw him two years ago for 20 minutes.


He looked great. We were in the Super Bowl together once, and I was impressed how he handled the noise. You should do that. We're doing that to three hundred thousand on the Rams. And then. Yeah, that's it, then we'll do the long shot part they were doing to. Twenty five K Neinas Bengal's plus 14, 30 odds. So I can't even calculate that, but I'll win almost three hundred K if that wins and then Bengal's Washington both have to win plus eight twenty five.


And then just for fun, we're putting 50 can the Niners plus three twenty straight up against the Saints just for fun, dabbing little little cash in hand with a little belief that that there's still some life in that guyette and that is, that is the million dollar PEX. Four week time fortune favors the bold Kevin Clark, we could see you on a slow news day on the Ringer Twitter feed, we can add on YouTube and ring the NFL show Sunday NIIT and Thursday with a rotating cast and crew.


And you cheated on us and you went on Zach Lowe's podcast. Talk about the Orlando Magic. I can't I can't believe that was even one of the top 30 topics for him. He's been trying to book me for like eight months and then the pandemic and then, like, literally, we've almost done it five times and today was the day. So we got to talk about Russell Westbrook to The Magic, which is a rumor we started. Oh, I'm in it's I think it's Orlando, Charlotte or Detroit for him.


I don't think so, I if I if I may drop a nugget, please, since since the pod dropped, I have been reliably informed that I do not think the Magica in trade for.


Oh. Would you when you wanted to? Yes, absolutely. I mean, look, what is our what is the magic score right now, like it's winning one game against the one or two seed every single year. And I just don't know how that progressed, especially with Isaac out for the season. And so I it would solve a number of the problems, would certainly create others.


And they certainly wouldn't create an Eastern Conference contender. But I don't think that everyone was like, oh, might mess up the timeline.


What timeline? Where are we going yet? So you might not go thirty five and forty seven this year. Here's the thing with Ross. I actually think he'll be underrated compared to what office is getting it, because if he is like if you just gave him the car keys and you're like Russ here, the car keys drive the car, he's going to go twenty seven, nine and nine every game. I guarantee that's better than whatever your point guard was going to give you next year.


Also, two days ago I was reading like Aaron Gordon for Kelly Oubre Rumors and now I'm reading Aaron Gordon for Russell Westbrook rumors. And it's like, well I know we started the question I'd like to be on.


Do you have to match salaries or do you have enough space to actually absorb him? Well, so Dan Divines, we don't have we have almost no flexibility. Dan Devine had a fake trade. That was Gordon Foltz and James Ennis for Westbrook, which I think is thirty one million dollars on our end and then thirty seven on Neuse. So for poor folks, that's a tough break for folks hey, to stand in the corner for James Harden and miss the three pointer for us, everyone has.


That said, I hope you get Russell Westbrook. I hope he goes to one of those these teams. I think that would be really fun. I want to see Russ on a thirty five win team just going for his own stats. That's that's what I want.


And that was the point is he gets to play Russ Ball again no matter what the situation is.


So, you know, just be who you are. All right. Kevin Clark, good to see you. All right, Claire McDeere is here, she writes for the ring or dotcom about, what, 18 months ago? When do we task you with this this book?


Yeah, it all started it became a book project about it about a year and a half ago.


OK, so Ringer Books, which we launched in twenty eighteen, maybe early. Twenty eighteen. Claire loves Jeopardy. It was a running joke how much she loved Jeopardy. She wrote for Jeopardy a bunch of times for a lot of tweets about it. And then when we think of a book, it is Psych Ward about Claire and Jeopardy! Boom, and now it's out answers in the form of questions, the definitive History Insider's Guide to Jeopardy. But randomly, we knew Alex Trebek was sick.


We knew he was a national treasure. And he passed away a couple of days ago. And you talked to him for this book is in and a bunch. And he's a big piece of it. But the thing that struck me, reading all the pieces, reading your piece, reading everybody else, it's rare that you have the celebrity who has the unanimous approval rating. You know, we're just kind of everybody like them.


And if you were at a party or, I don't know, anywhere on the train and you heard somebody like being like, man, I hate Alex Trebek with a dick or anything, you'd be like, what? Like you'd almost be shocked. What what was it about him, in your opinion that got him to earn a unanimous approval rating from people?


Yeah, so, I mean, the last time I saw him was in January, right before everything went to hell at TICAS, which is this this multiple times a year like TV critic conference.


And it's usually like a very staid crowd. And they had this Jeopardy panel for the greatest of all time tournament, which was on the air at that at that time. And the critics just collectively lost it over this guy who was like standing ovation, like a media scrum around him. And somebody, like, asked in one of their questions, they were like, well, you know, you've never had a scandal. And he fired back, like, I've still got time.


I could write.


And so I eat. But he never did. He never had that scandal. And and so I think it's partly that, you know, he was a pretty staid person, like he was kind of the character. He seems like it also was just the format of Jeopardy. Like people have watched this for decades. You grew up watching it with your parents. Maybe you watch it with your kids. It's like this multigenerational touchstone. And so he he's just in your living room five nights a week for thirty six years.


It's the perfectly structured game show we've ever had where it got its got the first level you get to meet the people commercial second level a little bit, a little more stake's. It's getting a little more competitive. All right. Time for the final question commercial. And now you know, and it just keeps you all the way through and the categories. And no matter who you are, how smart you are, there's always going to be one category. You'll be able to get like three or four of them.


Everybody has the one or two friends that can just you sit next to them, watch Jeopardy! They know the answer to 80, 90 percent of the medium in college. My buddy Jacko, who would just sit there and be like just shouting out the answers before us.


It's not fun, right? It's horrible. Now shut up. But what's amazing is how they've never really tweeted at all. I feel like it's the exact same show it was when I was in college. We were watching it and it was even earlier than that. They'll never tweak it, but now they have to tweet the host. It's hard to imagine anyone else stepping into those shoes, which I guess we'll talk about later. But when Alex got the job, because I know you covered this a little bit in your book, how did he how did he get it?


How did he keep it? Who is he competing against? Like, how much did you were able to find out about that? Yeah, I so he he had been a broadcaster for the CBC in Canada and had moved to Toronto and joined the national office and he had started to kind of do variety shows through that and did actually kind of his first game show, sort of, which was this show called Reach for the Top. That was like a contest for four Canadian high school kids.


And that actually spawned, like the first parody of Alex Trebek, this one with Eugene Levy. So he was really kind of parodied from the very beginning. But he he got to meet Alan Thicke through that variety show when he was performing on the show. And Alan Thicke floated him when he was launching a game show in in Los Angeles. And he auditioned for that. And he got the gig. And it just led to a string of other game shows, most of which were much zanier than Jeopardy.


And he he came onto the radar of Merv Griffin when he guest hosted Wheel of Fortune. And he was kind of an unusual figure like his.


You know, he had a Canadian accent. He had a thick mustache, a big floppy hair.


You know, he really didn't look like your traditional slick game show host. So it kind of was a weird choice for them to make. But Merv Griffin was was just kind of forever showman. And, you know, he was he was eager to to to try out syndication, which had worked really well for Wheel of Fortune and thought the Jeopardy would go well with it.


So I'm a child of the 70s and way older than you. Game shows were really important, right? We didn't have reality TV. We did have a lot of cable channels, and especially in the mornings, we didn't even have a lot of like the daytime stuff, but, you know, the talk shows and stuff like that. So it was like Price is right, Joker's wild tic tac toe, all these different shows. And the hosts were really important.


Right. You had Bob Barker was like the king, but then you had you know, I think Jim Perry was was hosting card sharks and on and on down the line, it was hard for the game show host to kind of either transcend it or seem like completely indispensable. Like ultimately, if you felt like anybody could host that show. I think what was crazy with Alex and Jeopardy is it's impossible for me to think of anyone else hosting. And I remember when they did the sports Jeopardy spinoff and Dan Patrick was doing it, Dan Patrick's an incredible broadcasters, had this awesome career and you just couldn't separate the Trebeck.


And it was like, well, you're not Alex Trebek. And that's what I think going forward, I think it would be really hard for them to find somebody else, right?


Yeah. And Jeff Probst, right before Survivor did Rock and roll Jeopardy! And none of those kind of spin offs worked. None of them really caught on. I mean, there were a few seasons, I think, of both those shows. And there was a children's variant as well called up. But, yeah, they just even though they were kind of produced by the same people in the same set, same executive producer, they had the crew crew involved with some of them.


It just didn't didn't work. And, you know, I think there is this moment of anxiety. I think it has been going on for a while as you got into his seventies of just how much of Jeopardy success depends on him. And he he was always very humble about it, said that it was the game, it was the shows, the team. It was the contestants. He was just the host of the show, not the star of the show.


He was very that was like he was very specific about how he would be introduced on Jeopardy.


But, of course, you know, if you watch Jeopardy, he kind of was the star, even if he was not introduced as that. He you know, there will be jeopardy, we will see another host. Of course it is know it attracts like 10 million viewers a night. But I think you have to find somebody who can projects a lot of what Trebek did but isn't so similar that it invites the comparison more than it inherently will. So you need somebody who is scholarly, who can inject that humor, who seems like they kind of walk the walk, talk the talk.


But of course, you you don't want to trebeck clone because there will never be another Trebeck. Right. So you need somebody to balance that. No, I am so glad that I don't have to be part of that conversation at Sony right now because that that is such a difficult choice, difficult conversation. And of course, they're all in mourning because he was a person they worked with for for nearly 40 years.


Well, and so some people who have cancer, especially a bad cancer like the one he has, but when they kind of fight it off and hold on, they hit a point. You know, it happens with family members. People have or just people in your life or whatever where you kind of think they they're beating it and that they're indestructible. And he was even. What was he hosting three weeks ago?


Yeah, he was hosting he hosted his last episode a week and a half before his death.


I was I got to say, for somebody who is 80 years old with pancreatic cancer, I was actually shocked to find out he died because I felt like, oh, Alex has it, what's going on with this dude? But he's got this under control. But, you know, some people have different pain tolerances and whatever.


Yeah, amazing that he held on for that long. It's it's wild.


So he was diagnosed about a year and a half before his death. And I think he was he was so kind of he had such a self-deprecating, dark sense of humor. And I think he said pretty upfront in when he announced his diagnosis publicly that, like the odds are good, it's stage four pancreatic. There is not a huge five. Like, it is very serious, very bad. And in fact, he I mean, he knows that very personally because the original host of Jeopardy!


Fleming also died of pancreatic cancer. And I think he passed just a couple of weeks after his diagnosis. So, yeah, it's it was amazing. And it was I I was taken aback by how much it felt like a shock on Sunday because we knew he was very, very ill.


But it still felt like. No, no, no, no, no, you've got it. Like you're, you know, Johnny Gilbert's ninety six. So, you know, we've got at least three decades more with with Trebek. So it really just feels like this gut punch. You're talking about other formats. What's worked in network? I got to say, sports jeopardy. I felt like I should have worked better than it did.


And I'm not. I put this way when it was on. I always found myself watching because especially when there's so many freak sports fans out there and they're always think they're going to know more about sports than anyone. I don't think they should have given that one up yet. Going backwards with your book. So you throw yourself into this, you open you open the door to hear from all these Jeopardy people who have been on the show or had family members on the show and stuff like that.


What was the biggest surprise for you in the year? Plus a reporting?


I think, oh, man, that's tough. I spent I did some silly things in the reporting of this, like I knew I wanted the the scene at the hotel around the contestants, they put all the contests are actually I'm sorry, they do not put up the contestants. Contestants pay their own way to Jeopardy unless you're coming back for a reunion tournament. So you're buying your own plane ticket, putting yourself in a hotel. But they they have a discounted rate at a couple of like not particularly nice hotels near the Culver City lot.


And I knew that I wanted to write about that scene because there's just this crazy thing that happens on Tuesday mornings where they all gather in the lobby and they're so nervous. And this is just a thing that they've wanted for years and years and years, perhaps their entire lives. And they just wait for this shuttle bus to take them to Jeopardy. And so I look of it like five thirty in the morning in this hotel and step down to the lobby and was just like spying on these people, like flipping through all Macs.


And she's crazy. It's a crazy scene.


I, I heard from from some that it can it can get a little bit rowdy that night when they finally make it back. It's like they've been through war together and unfortunately did not witness that. Everybody was very calm.


But we had one of my college friends, Terry McDermott, made Jeopardy in the mid nineties. I don't remember what year. And she's now married to my college roommate who works. But it was a big deal for us. Right? We would watch Jeopardy! And she's like, you know, we're in the Boston area. It's like, oh, my God, she made jeopardy. And and she couldn't tell us how she did. Yeah. So I had this whole you know, they had some bar situation, so a bunch of us were there and we're just watching it live.


And she's not saying how she did. And then she won and we went nuts. It was like the Red Sox, you know, winning the ALCS or something. And then she won a second one. And then the third time she missed one that she should have got. And then we were just like, how did you not get that one? And she's like, hey, it's hard up there. There's a lot of pressure. You don't understand it.


But it was so cool to know somebody who is in that. But it seems like everybody has one person in their life who's kind of gone into the gauntlet. Right. And done it. Yeah.


I mean, it's just it's a it's a show that's been around for so long. Right. That just the sheer numbers of it, they have like four hundred and thirty I think, contestants a year or so. Yeah. So I would watch parties though. That is so much part of the culture and I just wrote an article for the wringer about that. But I for her of the reporting of this, went to James Holthaus watch party during the greatest of all time tournament.


He held this great event in Las Vegas for charity and invited people to come to this big theater with his name up on the marquee. And and and he watched in the audience with his wife. And I was sitting with these diehard Vegas Jeopardy fans who were just staring at James Hall towers back the whole time, trying to like, you know, judge's body language. Does it mean he wins and like. Right. People get so into it.


What do people who do people think that God GODUS and who do you think they go to is right now? Because I know there's different arguments about this and they've try to prove it and turn and stuff.


Absolutely. I Ken Jennings has said a lot about how he thinks that his skills have fallen off, that he thinks, you know, Jeopardy is a young man's game. And to some degree, that's true because there is this inherent buzzer timing that is such a part of it. But seeing him go head to head with James, really with those games came down to was who happened to find the daily double. And it was it was so much look like they are so evenly matched.


And so despite the fact that Ken had a pretty authoritative win in that tournament, like, I kind of I don't know. I mean, Ken also made the point that, you know, he James forced him and Brad as well to just start playing James strategy. And so I so hope we see more of James Holthouse. And I think, fortunately, the odds of that are really good. How old is he now?


He's thirty four, I want to say so a couple of years.


My take on this is I think you pick with this stuff late 20s. Early 30s. Yeah. A lot of success and say this. Yeah. Because I just know like I could have gone on any sort of sports show and I was like twenty, twenty nine thirty and hung. Now I would be a disaster. I can't remember anything but that coming at like that eight years after college, eight, nine years. And especially if you're a true junkie with all this stuff and you're soaking everything in.


But that stuff is being pushed out as you're building all these new memories from age thirty three to 50. If you have kids, if you get married, work all this stuff, plus your brain cells start dying off. And I just feel like I feel like that's the peak.


It's like almost like athletes where you're going to remember the most. Your brain's going to be the freshest and also honestly, like being close to high school and college where you learn a lot of the stuff that you need for Jeopardy. Those are things you're not going to learn when you're like fifty. Right, yeah, I think you're totally right, that memory is a thing that that does gradually get worse. No, you know, I'd like to think that now that I'm in my thirties, I'm not like.


You're still good. You're fine. Yeah, we'll see. We'll see. Give me another five.


You're fine for now.


But but I think Jeopardy! Contestant talk about a lot is is just the kind of pop culture exposure. Like, you just you you know, more of just the stuff that's going on when you're younger. You're just kind of exposed to more of it. And that is a thing that contestants who come back for reunion tournaments really struggle with and try to brush up on. But like, you're just you're just kind of missing it. You're just a little bit out of the loop.


And, of course, like the you know, the Jeopardy writers are not if they're not college students, but they have been very effective at kind of keeping track of pop culture and throwing new stuff into the greater jeopardy canon.


Any scandals or anything with Jeopardy at or over testing. They're not testing HGH yet. The next big scandal for Jeopardy! No, I mean, I definitely talked to unnamed contestants who have experimented with beta blockers before going on game shows like Jeopardy! And then, of course, had that kind of not work out for them because, you know, if you're not used to it, then you're just freaked out about one more thing and you're pulses doing whatever.


That makes sense.


Yeah. So you would have to you'd have to test that out for like two weeks beforehand to.


Yeah. You would want to be calm and totally aware and quick, but you wouldn't want to test that out.


Right. Jeopardy.


Like you would want to know what that feels like. So I mean, one of the great things I got to do for the book was I was able to talk to a lot of the celebrity Jeopardy contestants. And I talked to Andy Richter, who has done very, very, very well on Celebrity Jeopardy. And he he made the point that he was just so used to being on TV. He was so used to being on that stage. And it was just like, of course, not nervous about that part of it at all.


And I don't really know how if you are not a person who works in TV, not a comedian, you really get those reps. But yeah, so, so much of what is going on with somebody maybe not doing well is just like the sheer terror of suddenly being on the Jeopardy stage. And of course, you know, meeting Alex Trebek is like such a shocking thing for for people who've watched him on TV their whole lives.


That was the big takeaway from my friend Kara when she did it, which was. It would be fine if you were in your living room, but when you're actually there and your nerves are going and there's an audience and there's Alex is right there and the lights are on and the director is like three to one that's, you know, and you have to block all that out. It's almost like playing a sport or something. Just for the record, who is the best celebrity Jeopardy person of all time?


It's on Andy Richter, is it?


I think it's Andy Richter has the highest one day like single game total ever. And that was from that game where he just totally shellacked Wolf Blitzer, which he talked about, just for example.


He was like it was so it was not fun to be a part of that. Wolf Blitzer kind of scurried out and it was just like he felt really bad about it afterwards. And then, of course, it became like a meme, so. Right. But Michael McKeon, who I was also able to talk to, has has won the most. He won this like million dollar tournament that was sort of the tournament of champions for a celebrity contestant.


So he's he's a Jeopardy nut. I mean, he he you know, in addition to being really good at Jeopardy, like watches it religiously, he watches it every night at seven o'clock with his wife. They play along, they you know, they count down to final jeopardy. They take it really seriously. So it was it was fascinating to talk to somebody like that who watches the show that way. He's another Canadian, isn't he? You know, I don't know.


I'm not sure, you know, no, no, that is right. That is freaking Canadians. Yeah, yeah. He was telling me about he he has an unusual thumb based on a thumb injury that he had when I think he was in drama school. And that was definitely in Canada. So he's not sure if it has helped with his buzzer, but certainly hasn't hurt.


So what was the biggest controversy in the history of Jeopardy? You know, it's not a very controversial show. There have not been a lot of controversies on it. My my favorite, though, is like the cardinal rule of Jeopardy is once you go on, you can never go back. And so there was this guy whose name I'm blanking on in this moment. But he went on in the early 2000s, I want to say, and he came in, I think, third place and it was all right, whatever.


That's great. He made it to Jeopardy. That's very impressive. And then almost exactly a decade later, he came back and he did it again and he was even wearing the same tie. Then he played still under his same name. And he just had a slightly different description of his job as a as a teacher in Southern California, I think. But the show didn't realize it. And and it wasn't till it hit the airwaves that that they they realized that it could have done this.


But he he lost once again.


So so that's even worse. I got it. Yeah. Well, the funniest thing is he he sat for interviews is a lot of contestants do with his local newspaper talking about how exciting it was to finally make it to the Jeopardy stage and put on makeup for the first time. But he had done it 10 years earlier as well. Wow.


Yeah, that's kind of creepy as far as Jeopardy goes.


I, I tried very hard to to track him down because I would just really wanted to interview him, but I was not able to find him. So he is one of my my great heartbreaks with the book. What it Will Ferrell's famous Trebek impersonation on SNL and all those I in Trebek finally ended up going on. But do you feel like that even weirdly vaulted the show to a different level? Because that I mean, at the time SNL was really having a resurgence and Celebrity Jeopardy was like the go to sketch for, I think, two years for Will Ferrell.


But what kind of impact did that have?


Yeah, I mean, I think that. It's huge, it's it's absolutely huge, it just made it such a pop culture thing again, and I think it kicked off so many of those other cameos on other shows as well, which would actually go on. It was a huge thing in the 90s. Like everybody had their Tribeca episode.


It you know, it is like the favorite joke of people talking about jeopardies, you know, suck it trebeck or, you know, some version of one of those lines from the sketch and in the Jeopardy studio, they would play clips from Saturday Night Live as they were kind of like welcoming contestants. So they were very happy with it, let's say.


Yeah, I was Sean Connery and Burt Reynolds were the two funniest ones because Dermot thought it was Burt Reynolds who was like, June is gone. But I was that is a really good job with this.


All right. So the book is come. The book is out. Yes, Kombai. Now, you can buy it anywhere, anywhere. You get books, which I think for about 99 percent of the people read I was online. But how has the response been so far?


It's I mean, it's been great. And it's been it has been a delight to hear from contestants who who think that I conveyed the experience correctly.


It is it is a scary thing to write a book for nerds. Let's say PBS would be maybe the most charitable term because, you know, I am going to hear about the small mistakes.


And I have not yet started to get the hate mail about saying podium and sort of lecturing, but I know that it's coming. All right.


Well, be prepared. Congrats on the book. Really psyched that this all worked out.


And I can't wait to see the reaction. Thanks for coming up.


Yeah, thanks for having me.


All right. That's it for the best podcast. If you missed the book basketball podcast, Allen Iverson, go check out that episode over the weekend. We will see you on Sunday night with us. Looking forward to.