Giants Continue To Lose In Heartbreaking Fashion

Daniel Jones / New York Giants

Where do I even begin? Let’s start here. No team loses games like the New York Giants. No other team takes you on an emotional rollercoaster that ends in heartbreak quite like the Giants.

Add last night’s loss to the pantheon of bad Giants’ losses. After Graham Gano kicked a field goal to put New York ahead 29-27 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, I tweeted this out. I, like a lot of other Giant fans, know how this works. We’ve seen how this script ends.

Lo and behold, the Washington Football Team drove right down the field and set kicker Dustin Hopkins up for a 48-yard game-winning field goal. The kick was no good!

I jumped off my couch, screamed at the top of my lungs, and pounded my chest in celebration.

That happiness ended within 5 seconds after I saw the flag. Dexter Lawrence, who lined up a nose tackle, jumped offsides, giving the WFT another chance to win.

Spoiler alert: WFT won.

The Giants build you up just to rip your heart out at the end. It’s a disease. The Giants do not know how to win close football games. Sure, they can beat the Cowboys and Bengals with a backup quarterback, but they couldn’t beat Taylor Heinicke, who threw for 336 yards and 2 TDs in an excellent performance.

There are people to blame, but one man deserves none of it. That player is Daniel Jones, who played one of the best games of his career. Danny Dimes finished with 249 yards passing and 1 TD to go along with 95 yards rushing and 1 TD. Jones did everything the Giants asked him to do and more. Jones is the best runner on the team right now and if it weren’t for a BS holding penalty, he would’ve rushed for close to 150 yards and 2 TDs.

I will be the first to say that Jones is not “the guy.” Jones hasn’t shown he’s a franchise quarterback. However, last night was not his fault. I understand the bar is not particularly high for Jones. That’s not a groundbreaking revelation. Jones is the butt of a lot of jokes, and a lot of the criticism is warranted. But last night isn’t on Dimes. Some will point to Darius Slayton’s drop and blame Dimes for throwing it too far. Could he have made a slightly better throw? Of course. But Dimes put that ball on Slayton’s hands. Slayton HAS to make that catch.

Slayton can catch deep passes. He proved it earlier in the game!

Dimes, you’re absolved (for now). Defense, take a seat. What happened to the Giants’ defense? This was supposed to be the strength of the team. Teddy Bridgewater and Heinicke, two quarterbacks that were backups heading into training camp, torched the Giants. The Broncos and WFT combined for over 800 (!) yards of total offense. That is unacceptable.

The pass rush is nonexistent. Who is the best pass rusher for the Giants right now? Anyone? My vote would be for Azeez Ojulari. When a rookie is leading the team in the sacks, there’s a problem.

Pound for pound, the Giants’ secondary was the best unit on the team coming into the season. Yet, they’ve been a massive disappointment. Terry Mclaurin became Jerry Rice last night. Patrick Graham has a “keep everything in front of you” mentality, which is fine in the first half. But when the game mattered, Heinicke carved the Giants’ secondary, scoring on two of the final three possessions to win the game. That can’t happen.

To the secondary’s credit, they did force a turnover in one of the biggest spots of the game.

This leads me to my final point. The biggest percentage of the blame falls on Joe Judge and the entire coaching staff. Judge coached an awful game last night. For a coach that prides himself on execution and doing the little things right, the Giants were an undisciplined mess.

In the first half, the Giants took a delay of game/false start out of a timeout. That led to a sack, and that resulted in a punt. Points disappeared before our very eyes.

After the big turnover late in the fourth quarter, the Giants needed one first down to put the game away and make it so they have the ball last. Jason Garrett, who wasn’t awful last night, and the offense only wasted 16 seconds before kicking a field goal. That’s unacceptable. (I want to rant about Garrett’s play-calling, but I have to wrap this article up.)

Then, Lawrence jumped offsides on the most important play of the game. Judge is supposed to be a special teams guru, and yet this team made the biggest mistake of the game on special teams. You don’t see good teams jumping offsides on field goal attempts. The Giants were undisciplined, and that falls entirely on Judge.

Last night hurt a lot. Many are saying the season is over. Are they wrong? I’m not sure yet. If the Giants lose to the Falcons in Week 3 on Eli Manning Day, then I’m out on this season.

At least Giant fans get to relax on Sunday.

P.S. Saquon… yikes. If he’s hurt, sit him.

What are your initial thoughts in regards to the Giants’ loss to the WFT? Tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 Emmys Predictions: Who Should Win And Who Will Win?

Ted Lasso Apple TV+ Emmys

It’s time to hand out some awards. The 2021 Emmys air live this Sunday night, Sept. 19, at 8 PM ET on CBS. This year will mark a return to an in-person event, but there will be a limited red carpet due to COVID concerns.

Streaming could dominate the Emmys as Netflix, Apple TV+, and Disney+ are all positioned to receive multiple awards in the biggest categories of the night. In particular, The Crown and Ted Lasso are poised to dominate in drama and comedy respectively.

Below are my predictions for the standout categories on who should win and who will win.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • The Boys (Prime Video)
  • Bridgerton (Netflix)
  • The Crown (Netflix)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
  • Lovecraft Country (HBO)
  • The Mandalorian (Disney+)
  • Pose (FX)
  • This Is Us (NBC)

Do not adjust your glasses and look for an HBO program because it doesn’t exist. This marks the first time since 2008 where HBO does not have a nominee in Outstanding Drama. The show I enjoyed the most on this list was The Mandalorian. Yup, I said it. I don’t care if you stuff me in a locker. The ending to Season 2 was one of the most satisfying scenes of the last five years. However, there’s only one pick to make and that’s The Crown. This is a must-win category for Netflix. The streaming service has never won Outstanding Drama, and this is undoubtedly the best chance it will ever have.

  • Who Should Win: The Mandalorian (Disney+)
  • Who Will Win: The Crown (Netflix)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
  • Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) 
  • Josh O’Connor (The Crown)
  • Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton)
  • Billy Porter (Pose)
  • Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)

Did anyone have a better year than Regé-Jean Page? I’d love for Page to win. Even though he’ll probably walk away empty-handed, Page will be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood within three years. This is a two-horse race between O’Connor and Porter, with the latter winning in 2019 in this very category. Does the Academy reward The Crown all night or can Porter and the final season of Pose receive some hardware? No actor in this category has won two Emmys for playing the same character since Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad. That changes on Sunday with Porter.

  • Who Should Win: Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton)
  • Who Will Win: Billy Porter (Pose)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Uzo Aduba (In Treatment)
  • Olivia Colman (The Crown)
  • Emma Corrin (The Crown)
  • Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
  • Mj Rodriguez (Pose)
  • Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country)

To Crown or not to crown. Both Corrin and Colman will be the favorites in this category. However, there’s always the chance that they split the vote. If that’s the case, MJ Rodriguez could follow in Porter’s footsteps and win for the shows’ final season. My pick is Corrin as Princess Diana. It’s a big year for Princess Di in entertainment as Kristen Stewart will probably receive a Best Actress nomination for her portrayal of the late English princess.

  • Who Should Win: Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country)
  • Who Will Win: Emma Corrin (The Crown)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian)
  • O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale)
  • John Lithgow (Perry Mason)
  • Tobias Menzies (The Crown)
  • Max Minghella (The Handmaid’s Tale)
  • Chris Sullivan (This Is Us)
  • Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid’s Tale)
  • Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country)

If there’s ever been a time to demand a revote, it’s this year. Please give the award to Michael K. Williams. He would have been my pick anyway, but after his tragic passing, the legendary actor deserves this recognition. Give the man his first Emmy. RIP.

  • Who Should Win: Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country)
  • Who Will Win: Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Gillian Anderson (The Crown)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown)
  • Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid’s Tale)
  • Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale)
  • Aunjanue Ellis (Lovecraft Country)
  • Emerald Fennell (The Crown)
  • Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)
  • Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale)

I guess this is the perfect time to admit that I don’t watch The Crown so I can’t review the show. That being said, I know a splashy part when I see it, and the splashiest part in this category is Margaret Thatcher, played by Anderson. God Save The Prime Minister.

  • Who Should Win: Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)
  • Who Will Win: Gillian Anderson (The Crown)

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Black-ish (ABC)
  • Cobra Kai (Netflix)
  • Emily in Paris (Netflix)
  • The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
  • Hacks (HBO Max)
  • The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
  • PEN15 (Hulu)
  • Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

At this year’s Emmys, out with Schitt’s Creek, in with Ted Lasso. The AppleTV+ comedy is a runaway hit for good reason. It’s a thoughtful, inspiring, and heartwarming show, a much-needed change of pace from this cynical world. Special shoutout to PEN15 and Cobra Kai, two of my favorite comedies.

  • Who Should Win: Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
  • Who Will Win: Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
  • Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
  • William H. Macy (Shameless
  • Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
  • Kenan Thompson (Kenan)

Everything I said about Ted Lasso applies to the man who plays the titular role, Jason Sudeikis. Our American hero in England will win with the Emmy.

  • Who Should Win: Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
  • Who Will Win: Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Aidy Bryant (Shrill)
  • Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
  • Allison Janney (Mom)
  • Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)
  • Jean Smart (Hacks)

When in doubt, pick Jean Smart. The critically-acclaimed actress is a double nominee, picking up a supporting nomination for Mare of Easttown in addition to her leading role in Hacks. Between those two shows and Watchmen, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who’s had a better two-year run than Smart. Watch out for Cuoco as a dark horse.

  • Who Should Win: Jean Smart (Hacks)
  • Who Will Win: Jean Smart (Hacks)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Carl Clemons-Hopkins (Hacks)
  • Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso)
  • Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso)
  • Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso)
  • Paul Reiser (The Kominsky Method)
  • Jeremy Swift (Ted Lasso)
  • Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live)
  • Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live)

I wish this award could be split into pieces like the prom queen’s crown in Mean Girls. All four nominees from Ted Lasso are incredible. I’m still amazed at how well the show works. Out of the four nominees, Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent, probably has the edge. However, I’m going to zag here and say SNL’s longest-tenured cast member, Kenan Thompson, finally wins an Emmy, which I won’t have a problem with.

  • Who Should Win: Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso)
  • Who Will Win: Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live)
  • Hannah Einbinder (Hacks)
  • Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
  • Rosie Perez (The Flight Attendant)
  • Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live)
  • Juno Temple (Ted Lasso)
  • Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)

There’s no other answer.

Ted Lasso / Apple TV+
  • Who Should Win: Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)
  • Who Will Win: Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)

Outstanding Limited Series

  • I May Destroy You (HBO)
  • Mare of Easttown (HBO)
  • The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
  • The Underground Railroad (Prime Video)
  • WandaVision (Disney+)

This category deserves some profanity in the form of “holy shit.” This is the toughest category to predcit. All of these shows were so well done. It’s hard to pick a winner. I give the slight nod to Queen’s Gambit. If Queen’s Gambit came out in 2021, it would have been a runaway winner. However, Mare of Easttown dominated pop culture this past Spring so watch out for HBO.

  • Who Should Win: All five shows
  • Who Will Win: The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Paul Bettany (WandaVision)
  • Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
  • Ewan McGregor (Halston)
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton)
  • Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton)

Time for my Hamilton rant. I never saw the show on Broadway, but I loved watching Hamilton on Disney+. I still listen to “Alexander Hamilton,” “The Schuyler Sisters,” “You’ll Be Back,” and “Helpless.” It’s a fantastic Broadway show. However, Hamilton should not be allowed to win Emmys. It’s a broadway show that won numerous Tony Awards. It’s not a television movie. Out of all the nominees, Leslie Odom Jr. gave the best performance by far. Odom was incredible as Aaron Burr, but he already won the Tony for Best Actor. Something feels wrong about rewarding Hamilton with Emmys, and I mean that in the most respectful way possible. For these reasons, my pick to win is Paul Bettany. Marvel finally breaks through at the Emmys.

  • Who Should Win: Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) – He gave the best performance even though he shouldn’t win.
  • Who Will Win: Paul Bettany (WandaVision)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You)
  • Cynthia Erivo (Genius: Aretha)
  • Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision)
  • Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)
  • Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown)

I’m saying it again. Holy shit! This is the second toughest category to predict. It’s a three-headed monster with Coel, Taylor-Joy, and Winslet. Coel should win in the writing category so I’m going to cross her off the list. In any other year, Taylor-Joy wins this with ease. She’s a budding superstar that’s about to reach the A-list. However, the Emmys love rewarding big movie stars and Winslet is one of the best of her generation. Plus, Winslet was spectacular in Mare of Easttown, one of my favorite performances of the year. My heart says Taylor-Joy, but my head says Winslet.

  • Who Should Win: Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)
  • Who Will Win: Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Thomas Brodie-Sangster (The Queen’s Gambit)
  • Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson on Hamilton (Disney+)
  • Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You)
  • Jonathan Groff (Hamilton)
  • Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown)
  • Anthony Ramos (Hamilton)

For Wawa.

Mare of Easttown / HBO
  • Who Should Win: Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown)
  • Who Will Win: Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton)
  • Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision)
  • Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit)
  • Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown)
  • Jean Smart (Mare of Easttown)
  • Phillipa Soo (Hamilton)
Wandavision / Disney+

A coin flip between Hahn and Nicholson. I think Nicholson’s last scene in Mare is some of the best acting of the year. But, it was Agatha all along.

  • Who Should Win: Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown)
  • Who Will Win: Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision)

What are your predictions for the Emmys? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 NFL Season: Playoff And Awards Predictions

Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady / NFL

The 2021-2022 NFL season gets underway Thursday night as the Dallas Cowboys take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Grab a beer, order some wings, and glue yourself to the couch because it’s football season once again. Every fan comes in with the hope that it’s their year, and all of that hope will disappear after your team’s offense goes three and out on the first possession. There’s no better feeling than yelling at the television on a Sunday.

After much deliberation, I’m ready to make my playoff and awards predictions. Buckle up those chinstraps, and let’s go.

NFC

Once again, Tom Brady took his team to the Super Bowl and walked away with another ring. Every fan should have seen this coming especially if your team plays in the AFC. Why would it be any different? Brady runs the league, and the Bucs are going to be contenders once again with all 22 starters from the Super Bowl team. The rich, do in fact, get richer.

So who will stop Brady’s reign of terror? The best bet plays in Green Bay, and his name is Robert Paulson. Actually, his name is Aaron Rodgers, and he’s the reigning MVP. Despite falling to the Bucs in the Conference Championship Game, the Packers still have #12 under center for at least one more season, which automatically makes Green Bay a contender.

The NFC West is the group of death as the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks are all talented enough to not only make the playoffs but win a Super Bowl. In the East, someone has to win the division right? In the South, maybe this is the year I stop believing in the Falcons. I can’t make any promises.

NFC Seeds

  1. Bucs
  2. Packers
  3. 49ers
  4. Cowboys
  5. Rams
  6. Seahawks
  7. Saints

NFC Title Game – Bucs over 49ers

Special Note: As a Giants fan, I’m contractually obligated to give a prediction for the NFL season. With a horrible offensive line and mediocre quarterback, I’m not expecting to light up the scoreboard. However, I believe in Joe Judge and the defense. The Giants should be on the “In The Hunt” graphic all season. Final record: 8-9.

AFC

Ask yourself one question: Can *insert team here* beat Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs?

That’s the only question that matters. So far, no team without Brady has beaten Mahomes in the playoffs. To go one step further, the Kansas City Chiefs have never played a road playoff game since Mahomes become the permanent starter. Why should that change this year? Frankly, I don’t think it will. Mahomes is going to be a man possessed after the Chiefs were embarrassed in the Super Bowl. A pissed-off Mahomes is a quarterback that I wouldn’t want to see if I’m on the other sideline.

The teams with the best chances of stopping Mahomes are the same two teams that faced the Chiefs in the playoffs a season ago. Those teams are the Browns and the Bills. Top to bottom, the Browns roster is more talented than the Chiefs. Cleveland has the best 1-2 rushing attack in football with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Plus, Myles Garrett is one of the favorites to win MVP. I hate to channel my inner sports talk show host, but Cleveland’s success will come down to Baker Mayfield. If he moves the chains, the Browns will go far.

In Buffalo, the Bills are coming off their most successful season of the 21st century. Last year was not a fluke for Josh Allen (more on him late), and the young quarterback should be even better than he was a season ago. The biggest non-move of the offseason was the return of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. If their defensive line improves, expect a rematch with Kansas City for the AFC Championship.

In other news, Lamar Jackson might rush for three thousand yards after every running back in Baltimore suffered catastrophic injuries. Don’t count out Mike Tomlin, who’s never had a losing season. Also, the “Year Two” jump for quarterbacks is real. CC: Justin Herbert.

AFC Seeds

  1. Chiefs
  2. Bills
  3. Browns
  4. Titans
  5. Ravens
  6. Steelers
  7. Chargers

AFC Title Game – Chiefs over Browns

Super Bowl

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Bucs and Chiefs are still the two best teams in the NFL. I expect a closer Super Bowl this time around, but I’m still picking the GOAT to win by a field goal.

Super Bowl – Bucs over Chiefs

Awards

MVP – Josh Allen

If the Bills make the playoffs again, then Allen will have to be spectacular once again. He still needs to take care of the ball, but there’s a chance his stat line could look like this: five thousand yards, 42 passing TDS, and 10 rushing TDs. That’s good enough to win NFL MVP.

Offensive Player of the Year – Josh Allen

See the above.

Defensive Player of the Year – T.J. Watt

If it’s not Aaron Donald again, I’ll take T.J. Watt, who finished 3rd and 2nd in voting the previous two seasons.

Comeback Player of the Year – Dak Prescott

This is the easiest award to predict. Dak was on pace for record-setting numbers before his injury in 2020. Expect the QB to light it up once again.

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Trevor Lawrence

The bet to place is that a QB will win this award. Why not go with the number one overall pick? Lawrence will struggle at first but expect a huge second half once he gets in sync with Urban Meyer.

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Patrick Surtain II

Surtain II is a s-t-u-d. Add his name to the list of elite Denver cornerbacks.

Coach of the Year – Kyle Shanahan

The 49ers should jump from 6 wins a season ago to at least 11, probably 12, no matter who lines up at quarterback. If that happens, Shanahan should take home this award for the first time.

Enjoy the season.

What are your predictions for the upcoming NFL season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 Emmys: Will Netflix And Apple TV+ Win The Top Prizes?

The Crown Season 4 / Netflix

With the summer coming to a close, it’s time to focus on the Emmys. While the pandemic has hurt the film industry, television is thriving. Thanks to an abundance of streaming services and A-list movie stars heading to the small screen, a new, critically-acclaimed show arrives almost every week.

Speaking of the Emmys, this could be the year of streamer-dominance as the favorites of all three series’ categories (Drama, Comedy, Limited Series) belong to a streaming service.

Can Netflix Finally Win The Big One?

Netflix is the “Godfather of Streaming.” Every network is trying to catch up to Netflix by creating its own streaming service. However, it’s still Netflix’s world with its successful algorithm and 200+ million subscribers.

It took some time, but Netflix has finally earned the respect of both the television and film academies… or have they? Netflix leads the field at the 2021 Primetime Emmys with 29 nominations. However, Netflix has yet to truly breakthrough in the major dramatic and comedic categories. Unless you’re a supporting actor/actress or Black Mirror, Netflix has essentially been shut out in the lead acting and series’ categories.

Coming into this year, Netflix has received a combined 65 nominations in Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor/Actress in a Drama Series, and Outstanding Lead Actor/Actress in a Comedy Series. For 65 nominations, Netflix only has one win to show for it. (Claire Foy won Outstanding Lead Actress in 2018.)

If there were ever a year to finally win in the series category, it would be this year, especially in Drama. Without HBO juggernauts (Game of Thrones and Succession), The Crown is poised to take home the top prize as the heavy favorite. If The Crown does win for outstanding series, then either Emma Corrin or Josh O’Connor should win in their respective lead-acting categories.

Can Ted Lasso be this year’s Schitt’s Creek?

The surprise show of the last year has been Ted Lasso. Apple TV+’s comedy about an American football coach coming to England and coaching a soccer team is a smash hit. In a world full of negativity, Ted Lasso shines a light on some much-needed positivity. Ted Lasso is loved by both fans and critics as it set a record for most Emmy nominations for a freshman comedy with 20.

With so many nominations, can Ted Lasso be this year’s Schitt’s Creek? At last year’s ceremony, Schitt’s Creek set the record for most Emmy wins in a single season with 9 including a perfect sweep of all the acting categories.

Although Ted Lasso can’t pull a Schitt’s Creek since it failed to receive a nomination in Comedy Actress, the show can win in every other acting category. In fact, the show is expected to win Comedy Series as well as Comedy Actor for Jason Sudeikis. Finally, nice guys will finish first.

Other Storylines To Monitor

  • Speaking of Netflix, The Queen’s Gambit could be the streamer’s first win in the Limited Series category. Plus, Anya-Taylor Joy could edge out Kate Winslet for Lead Actress in a Limited/TV movie.
  • Kenan Thompson deserves an Emmy for his work on Saturday Night Live. It’s more than overdue.
  • Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series is absolutely stacked. It’s the best category of the night. Gun to my head, the winner will be The Queen’s Gambit or Mare of Easttown.
  • I’m glad the Emmys has a host. Award shows need hosts so I have high hopes for Cedric the Entertainer.

Stay tuned for Emmy predictions in each category in the week leading up to the ceremony.

What is your biggest Emmy storyline? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

New Trailer For Marvel Studios’ Eternals Looks Terrific

Marvel's Eternals / Disney

Eternals, assemble.

Wait, those aren’t the words. The next team-up movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not include Iron Man, Captain America, or Spider-Man. The assembled team is an immortal alien race that’s called upon to fight upon a new enemy after secretly living on Earth for over 7,000 years. The movie is Eternals, which arrives in theaters on November 5.

The little voice in my head just said, “Wait, this is a Marvel movie?” Eternals includes powerful aliens who fight to protect the fate of humanity so yes, this is a superhero movie. However, there’s something different about Eternals. It doesn’t look like your typical superhero film with an abundance of CGI and VFX. This clearly wasn’t all shot in a studio in front of a green screen.

Eternals has its own visual style, and that signature vision belongs to the director, Chloé Zhao. Zhao is fresh off of the highly successful Nomadland, which won three Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. I am not saying that Nomadland and Eternals are in the same ballpark in terms of genre. However, watch Nomadland, and then watch this trailer, and it becomes clear they belong to the same director. The sweeping wide shots, the use of natural light, and the facial closeups are apparent in both films thanks to Zhao’s distinct style. In an interview with Variety, Kevin Feige couldn’t hold back his praise for Zhao, saying,” This is right out of a camera; there’s no VFX work to this at all! A beautiful sunset, with perfect waves and mist coming up from the shore on this giant cliffside… this is a signature style.”

The plot of the Eternals revolves around one question: Why now? If the Eternals have been around for over 7,000 years, why did they sit back and watch Thanos wipe out half the population? That’s a question they will have to answer once when they come out of hiding. The trailer also cites the arrival of the Deviants, the Eternals’ evil enemy, as one of the reasons why the powerful heroes must come together to defend humanity.

The MCU needs some new star power with the (alleged) departures of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson. Eternals includes big-name actors and actresses like Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek. The cast also includes emerging stars from popular franchises like Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians), Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), and the leaders from Game of Thrones, Richard Madden and Kit Harrington.

The tide is changing in the world of film and television. Superhero films and TV shows are starting to become more respected within their respective critical academies. Wandavision and The Falcon & Winter Soldier both received multiple Emmy nominations this year. Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix both won Oscars for their portrayal of the Joker. James Mangold received a screenwriting nomination for Logan. Black Panther was the first MCU film to be nominated for Best Picture. At some point, a superhero film is going to break through at the Oscars in non-technical categories. Under Zhao’s direction, perhaps Eternals will resonate with the Academy and result in multiple Oscar nominations.

In a post-Endgame world, world needs a new group of heroes. The Eternals might be the answer to the future of the MCU.

Are you excited about Eternals? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Christmas Schedule Takeaways: League Believes In Trae Young

Trae Young / NBA

Christmas Day calls for presents, eggnog, and basketball. As much as the NFL has tried to hijack Christmas Day in recent years, Santa Claus belongs to the NBA. December 25 is the most important day of the regular season.

Yesterday, the NBA revealed its Christmas Day slate. It will feature 5 games that include the faces of the league.

  • Hawks vs. Knicks
  • Celtics vs. Bucks
  • Warrios vs. Suns
  • Nets vs. Lakers
  • Mavs vs. Jazz

Some of these games feature blockbuster matchups and budding rivalries. Others leave me with more questions than answers. Here are my biggest takeaways.

The NBA Believes In Trae Young

Trae Young is a budding superstar. Yes, I said superstar. Before this season, Young was considered a “good stats, bad teams” player who elected to shoot 35-foot contested jumpers instead of getting his teammates more involved. An in-season fight with John Collins, the firing of Lloyd Pierce, and the addition of Bogdan Bogdanović made Young a completely different player in the second half of the season, catapulting the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. Young averaged 28 ppg and 9 apg in his first three playoff series. Pretty good for a “chucker.”

Putting Young against the New York Knicks in MSG to kick off the Christmas Day slate is a strong statement from the NBA. The league (and I) believe Young can take his game to further heights and become one of the fifteen best players in the NBA. Young is now eleventh in jersey sales as of July, which is his highest ranking since he’s been in the league. Young became a true heel in the first round against the Knicks. I went to Games 1 and 2 against the Hawks, and Young was the most hated man in the Garden. The Mecca hasn’t generated heat like that since the days of Reggie Miller in the 90s. Don’t expect Knicks’ fans to show Young some Christmas compassion.

Nets vs. Lakers Is The Biggest Matchup Since 2016

As Stephen A. Smith likes to say, “This game is box office.” The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to be on a collision course to meet in the Finals last season. Injuries and Giannis got in the way from those two juggernauts facing off. The Nets and Lakers are the heavy favorites to win the championship so their showdown is the most anticipated matchup of the season. For Christmas, I’m wishing for good health so KD, Harden, Kyrie, LeBron, AD, and Russ can play in the game.

The Mavericks Vs. Jazz Is A Head-Scratcher

Luka Doncic playing on Christmas makes sense. He’s a future MVP and arguably one of the five best players in the game today. So why is Luka playing the Jazz? This doesn’t make sense. Christmas should be reserved for star power and rivalries. The Mavs bring the star power, and the Jazz bring the… what do they bring? I really like Donovan Mitchell. I respect Rudy Gobert more than most fans. However, the Jazz do not move the needle. The Mavs should be playing the Clippers because of their recent playoff history or the Nuggets because of Nikola Jokić. There’s still time to change the schedule, Mr. Silver!

Fantasy Booking Christmas Day

It’s time for me to be Vince McMahon and become a matchmaker. If I’m being honest, most of these games are solid matchups. I would make a few minor tweaks.

  • 12:00 PM – Hawks at Knicks – Keep this game. It’s a rilvary with a villain. That’s great television.
  • 2:30 PM – Mavs at Celtics – Luka has to play on Christmas. Luka vs. Tatum is a battle for the future face of the league.
  • 5:00 PM – Suns at Bucks -The two teams who meet in the Finals should run it back on Christmas.
  • 8:00 PM – Nets at Lakers – Box Office. Enough Said.
  • 10:30 PM – Clippers at Nuggets – This has some history with the Nuggets coming back from a 3-1 defecit to defeat the Clippers in the Bubble. Kawhi and PG vs. Joker is a fun, enjoyable matchup.

See you all on Christmas.

Do you like the Christmas Day matchups? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Field Of Dreams Game: Determining Other Fantasy Locations

If you build it, Kevin Costner will come to the Field of Dreams game.

I’m covered in goosebumps watching right now. The Field of Dreams game between the Yankees and White Sox was tremendous. Between the entrance, the old uniforms, and the atmosphere, the game blew my expectations out of the water. Walking to the field from the outfield didn’t feel corny. (I couldn’t help myself.) The walk was special and made this regular season game feel like a championship.

Did I mention how cool it was to watch a home run land IN A CORNFIELD?

Every single camera view of the stadium and skyline was picturesque. How could you not want to watch a baseball game here every single day for the rest of your life?

Then, the game ended in complete madness.

Was this the best game ever? Might have been! Now, with a hockey game at Lake Tahoe and a (perfect) baseball game at the Field of Dreams site, where to next? Let’s take a look at some dream venues.*

*Assume logistics won’t be an issue. Pretend this is a perfect world, and a professional sporting event could take place at the venue.

Rucker Park

This is the clear number one answer. I’m not kidding when I say this game would shut down the city. To some, basketball at Rucker Park is more important than basketball at Madison Square Garden. Rucker Park is where legends are made. Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rafer “Skip To My Lou” Alston, Nate Archibald, and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe all became playground legends before playing in the NBA. NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant have dropped by the streetball Mecca to put on a show. If the Knicks were to beat the Nets at Rucker Park, the city would party like the Knicks won the title (sigh).

Lake Placid

Name five more important words in sports than “Do you believe in miracles?” The U.S. didn’t just defeat the Soviets in a hockey game that day. Democracy defeated communism. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. Now, the Olympics probably won’t return to Lake Placid. However, an NHL hockey game would be a great alternative. For this game, Al Michaels has to be the play-by-play announcer. I don’t know Al personally, but I’m sure he would oblige especially if the network let him discuss his gambling plays of the day.

Venice Beach

Come on, Billy! As a New York guy, I can’t speak to the mystique of the Venice Beach courts. However, I have watched a few games there on my rare trips to California and it’s super competitive. Most of my knowledge of Venice Beach basketball comes from White Men Can’t Jump. If the Lakers and Clippers played at Venice Beach, then they must wear the uniforms that resemble the clothes worn by Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.

White Men Can’t Jump

I would love to come up with a venue for football. The first thing that comes to mind is in the middle of a NASCAR track like the Battle at Bristol.

UFC event on the White House North Lawn? You never know!

What is your dream venue for a sporting event? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

MTV’s The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies Preview

The best athletes in the world typically compete at the Olympics. However, you could make the argument that the top global athletes actually compete on MTV’s The Challenge, which returns tonight for its 37th season, Spies, Lies & Allies.

All kidding aside, I’m so glad to have The Challenge back in my life. After years of dedicating my life to this show, I took a short hiatus after Invasion of the Champions. I still checked in here and there, but my official return was Total Madness, the first season during COVID. Without professional sports, The Challenge provided the perfect mix of athletic achievements, gameshow politics, and drama.

One of the producers watched another James Bond movie for the second straight season and created an entire season around espionage. I don’t hate it. According to the preview, it’s going to be 34 players – 17 veterans and 17 rookies. In a clip from the first episode, the rookies will have to “save” a veteran from snakes, and the pair will become partners. I prefer seasons with partners as opposed to individual matchups so this incarnation will be right up my alley.

Below are the synopsis and trailer from MTV.

The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies will feature 34 players spanning the globe — representing the most countries ever on the competition franchise. Assembled in the picturesque Mediterranean coast of Croatia, elite U.S. Agents will join forces with an assortment of International Operatives, all armed with killer competitive instincts. With the assignment constantly evolving, these agents will be tested both mentally and physically to win their share of $1 million in an epic new chapter of The Challenge spy games. Look out, James Bond.”

The success of The Challenge comes down to the cast. If this cast loves to compete, party, and stir up drama, we’re in for a treat. My biggest complaint is the lack of partying and the drama that ensues when contestants get drunk. Because of COVID, the contestants are not going out into the town so that takes away some of the steam from their drunk hijinks.

Spies, Lies & Allies Cast

Some quick hitters in regards to the cast of The Challenge:

  • The champ is here as CT returns for his 19th season. CT is pulling his best Brady imitation in old age with two wins in the past three seasons. His partner from last season, Amber B, is not featured on this list, but she will show up eventually as evidenced in the trailer.
  • I don’t watch Survivor (a fatal flaw) so I can’t give any insight into those players. Frankly, I don’t know the majority of the new international players.
  • I’m glad Nam is back. He survived Lolo’s scoldings and cried after an injury ended his game last season. He’s a real one.
  • I ride with Devin.
  • Josh crying at some point this season, -3500.
  • What is The 12 Dates of Christmas?
  • Did you know Cory… wait for it… has… KIDS?!

One of the best changes the show made was the addition of the skulls. To run “TJ’s Final,” contestants need to win an elimination. The days of coasting to a final without entering the *insert name for the elimination battleground* are over. It appears that the skulls will be returning, and I couldn’t be happier.

Prediction Time: How do you not pick CT to repeat for the guys? However, unless your name is Johnny Bananas, the odds of repeating as a champion are slim. I don’t believe in Fessy until he proves it to me. After what he did to Kaycee last year, how could you root for Fessy? A male rookie to win it all could be the play. Size doesn’t (always) matter, but Kelz Dyke looks like an absolute specimen.

On the female side, the clear favorite is Kaycee. She’s two for two in terms of making the final. I also like Tori to do well. Her mouth can get her into trouble, but she’s a beast on the battlefield.

My Winners: Kelz Dyke and Kaycee Clark

Who do you think will win this season? Leave your predictions in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Free Agency: Lakers And Nets Improve While Pelicans Take Step Back

Lonzo Ball

The NBA has the best offseason out of all the major sports. The draft and free agency are full of trades, surprises, and WTF moments. It’s the only sport where a simple emoji could spark free agency and trade rumors. The offseason is a reality show that belongs on Bravo.

We’re a few days into free agency and some teams have totally reshaped their roster in both good and bad ways. Here are my biggest takeaways.

Lakers And Nets Somehow Get Better

The rich truly get richer. The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets have the two highest odds to win the championship, and rightfully so. The Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis and the Nets have Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. Superstars can win you championships. This ain’t rocket science. That being said, the Lakers and Nets both improved their roster over the past week.

Let’s start in Los Angeles, where the Lakers traded Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and a first-round pick for the most polarizing player in the game, Russell Westbrook. With LeBron and AD choosing to load manage throughout the regular season, Westbrook and his insane motor will be able to carry the load on nights where the top stars sit out. LeBron might need to talk with Russ about how he needs to perform in the playoffs, but Westbrook’s talent will be necessary if the Lakers want to reach the NBA Finals.

Being a championship contender means attracting ring chasers or guys who want short-term “prove it” deals to cash in next offseason somewhere else. The Lakers added Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, and Kent Bazemore. How they were able to sign Monk to a minimum is beyond me.

Across the country, the Nets added crucial pieces of their own. First, they drafted Cam Thomas from LSU, a walking bucket to serve as “Kyrie Insurance.” Despite losing Jeff Green and Spencer Dinwiddie, the Nets re-signed Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown to one-year deals. Brooklyn also signed Paddy Mills, who can still light it up in big moments. Expect the Nets to add more pieces through trades and the buyout market this season.

The Pelicans Failed Zion Williamson Once Again

The Pelicans front office is in the middle of writing a novel titled “How to Lose Your Franchise Superstar.” Seriously, what in the world is going on in New Orleans? I applauded the David Griffin hire. Truth be told, I wanted the New York Knicks to hire Griffin to run the team. I’m glad that never came to fruition.

The Pelicans entered this offseason with two major decisions looming: finding a new coach and re-signing Lonzo Ball. Firing Stan Van Gundy was the right decision, but Griffin should have never hired him in the first place. I like Stan as a commentator, but hiring him to coach was basketball malpractice.

Then, the Pelicans completed a sign-and-trade with Ball that sent the 23-year-old to the Bulls in exchange for Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, and a second-round pick. This comes a week after trading Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, and two firsts (one top-10 protected pick via the Lakers in 2022) for Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th and 51st pick in last week’s draft. To top it all off, the Pelicans acquired Devonte Graham in a sign-and-trade for a 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick. Graham signed a four-year, $47 million contract. Was any other team willing to pay $47 million for Graham?

How do any of these moves help Zion? Spoiler alert – they don’t. It’s not an overreaction to say that Zion could pass on signing the rookie extension with the Pelicans and leave in free agency. That’s how badly the Pelicans have botched his first two years in the NBA.

Knicks Offseason Starting To Make Sense

It wouldn’t be an NBA article if I didn’t talk about my team, the Knicks. As usual, the Knicks offseason has been a roller coaster of emotions. Let’s start with Day 1, where many fans including myself were puzzled with their first four moves. On Day 1, the Knicks signed:

  • Nerlens Noel – 3 years, $32 million
  • Alec Burks – 3 years, $30 million
  • Derrick Rose – 3 years, $43 million
  • Evan Fournier – 4 years, $78 million

Without knowing any of the guarantees and options, all of these moves left me confused.

This was not about the players. I love Noel, Rose, and Burks. I can defend overpaying for Fournier in today’s NBA. However, who were the Knicks bidding against for these players? Who was going to pay Noel over $30 million? The same goes for Burks and Rose. It reminded me of the time the Knicks outbid themselves by almost $20 million for Tim Hardaway Jr. Why not sign these guys to 1-and-1 deals or even 2-year deals to keep flexibility for the future? I like Noel and Burks, but it’s fairly easy to find defensive-minded big men and microwave scorers off the bench.

After a day, details started to come out about the contracts. The Knicks were only on the hook for 2 or 3 years because the last years of each deal are a team option. I still wasn’t thrilled with the contracts, but my outlook started to become more positive.

Then, the Knicks signed Kemba Walker, who was bought out by the Thunder. The number is 2 years, $8-9 million. This is a great flyer for a point guard that’s averaged over 19 ppg since 2015. Is he an injury risk? Sure. But Kemba and Rose are the two best point guards the Knicks have had in over 15 years. Kemba is a low-risk, high-reward point guard. It’s a huge upgrade, and that can’t be overstated.

Finally, Julius Randle signed a team-friendly 4 year, $117 million extension. Randle could have bet on himself, played out his option, and signed a max extension worth more than $200 million next year. However, Randle wanted to give the Knicks flexibility to bring in another star.

The Knicks weren’t going to get the franchise-altering superstar this offseason. However, the culture continues to improve. The team now has young assets, draft picks, and tradeable contracts that could bring in a superstar within the next two years. That’s a win. I feel much better about the Knicks offseason this morning than I did on Monday night.

Quick Hitters

  • The Chicago Bulls are trying to become a playoff team. So far, they’ve added Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and DeMar Derozan in addition to Nikola Vucevic, who they aquired at last season’s trade dealine. With Zach Lavine as the centerpiece, the Bulls should make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
  • The Miami Heat might have soldified themselves as the third best team in the East. The Heat traded for Kyle Lowry, re-signed Duncan Robinson and Victor Oladipo, and signed PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris. The Heat are going to be insufferable with the refs, but they’ll also fight the other team on any given night.
  • Do the Celtics know free agency started this past Monday night?

What is your biggest takeaway from the start of NBA free agency? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Draft: League Needs To Stop Reporters From Tipping Picks

NBA Draft 2021

There are two instances in the NBA where I become irrationally angry and channel my inner “old man yells at cloud.” The first occurs when the home team doesn’t wear white uniforms. The second occurs on draft night when reporters tip picks before they’re announced on stage.

I love the NBA Draft. Seeing teams potentially draft their next superstar is great television. The first few picks are usually predictable, but the first “oh shit” moment at pick 4 or 5 can make my jaw drop. Despite reading countless mock drafts in preparation for tonight, the suspense and “what if” questions keep me on the edge of my seat.

However, the NBA Draft has a massive problem with tipping picks on the Internet before they’re announced on television.

Woj, I’m sorry brother, but this is my least favorite day of the year to follow you. I just finished lunch earlier today and Woj decided to tweet out the first three picks of the draft.

People will say “But Dan, we already knew Cade, Green, and Mobley were going 1-2-3.” I agree with you, but to tweet it out seven hours before the telecast ruins the draft experience.

Once the draft starts, Woj and Shams will be tweeting out picks as soon as they receive them from their sources. Sometimes, these two reporters will be two, sometimes even three picks ahead of the telecast. It drives me insane. How can people support this practice?

I’m fully aware that Woj and Shams are only doing their jobs. If they receive information, they report it. That’s what good reporters do. Now part of the reason why these two race to tweet out picks is to see the other one looking silly when they’re late to the news. The rivalry between Woj and Shams becomes personal on draft night. At times, it’s entertaining to watch, but my draft viewing experience worsens because of the rivalry.

The NFL Draft is the best in sports partly because of its league mandate to discourage tipping picks. Reporters from ESPN and the NFL Network agree to not tip picks during the NFL Draft. The result is a television product that’s filled with more excitement and drama than most procedurals.

The NBA tried to follow suit with a mandate for ESPN reporters to refrain from tipping picks. However, once Shams, Marc Stein, and other reporters started to spoil the draft, Woj turned to his thesaurus and rattled off adverbs on adverbs on adverbs.

In Woj’s defense, it’s not fair that other reporters can tip picks while he’s forced to sit on these scoops. This problem stems from the fact that ESPN is the only network that holds the right to broadcast the draft. Many basketball reporters work for outlets like Yahoo, Stadium, or the NY Times, where there is no mandate to withhold spoiling picks on Twitter.

For the crowd telling me to just stay off Twitter, it’s gonna be a no from me, dog. I love NBA Twitter on draft night. I love reacting to the big moments of the night especially from my team, the New York Knicks. I’m a social media manager and blogger so, therefore, I’m not logging off for the night. I have unfollowed and blocked Woj and Shams during the draft, but if they tweet out a pick, someone on NBA Twitter will tweet about it and I’ll inevitably see it.

I’m not naive. Reporters aren’t going to have a meeting and decide to not tip picks during the draft. A mandate has to come directly from Adam Silver. One way to solve this problem is to give other media outlets the right to broadcast at the draft. If the league is worried about the ratings going down with more broadcasts, think again. The draft ratings continue to decline. People don’t have to watch the draft if it’s spoiled on Twitter. Allowing more outlets to do their own broadcast at the draft means a league mandate could prevent reporters from spoiling picks, which means the draft becomes appointment television again.

Obviously, giving rights to other outlets is not cut and dry since money will always be an issue. But the league has to get more creative to stop reporters from tipping picks.

Make The Draft Great Again. Print the hats.

P.S. Feel free to tip all of the trades. That I will allow.