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Here's how the NFL schedule works. There are eight divisions (NFC North, East, West, South, and AFC North, East, West, South). Each division has four teams, each of which plays 16 games. The opponents for those games are determined like so:

  • 2 games against each of the other 3 teams in the same division (6 games)
  • 1 game against each of the 4 teams in another division in the same Conference (4 games)
  • 1 game against each of the 4 teams in another division in the other Conference (4 games)
  • 2 games against the same place finishers in the 2 divisions in the same Conference they are not already playing (2 games)

For example, Jacksonville is in the AFC South and finished in 3rd place in their division. This year, the AFC South plays the NFC North and the AFC West. So 14 of Jacksonville's games are: Indianapolis (2x), Houston (2x), Tennessee (2x), Green Bay, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit (NFC North teams), Denver, San Diego, Oakland, and Kansas City (AFC West teams). Their final 2 games are determined by their 3rd place finish. They will play the 3rd place AFC North team (Baltimore) and the 3rd place AFC East team (Buffalo).

Every time some NFL "expert" starts jabbering about this or that team's "1st place schedule" or "last place schedule," metaphorically knock some sense into them. A team's placement in their division from the previous year has very little effect on their schedule in the current year.

 

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xmenapocalypse

In honor of Quicksilver, this review will be in the form of quick hits (mild spoilers, nothing you wouldn’t figure out from the trailers, but still)…

  • Quicksilver is the best thing about this movie. At this point, I could watch 90 minutes of QS sequences and feel happy for the money spent. Make this happen, Fox.
  • Best Jean Grey and Scott Summers ever portrayed on screen. (Sorry Famke Janssen. Not sorry James Marsden.)
  • Best Nightcrawler ever portrayed on screen. (Sorry Alan Cumming.)
  • Psylocke and Angel might as well have not shown up.
    • Jubilee too.
  • Hey, 20th Century Fox, more Quicksilver, please.
  • Apocalypse wasn’t remotely frightening.
  • But Magneto sure was.
    • I have absolutely no interest in the Assassin’s Creed movie, but might watch it anyway just because Michael Fassbender.
  • I am not happy that Mystique is a good hero. Mystique is a super villain.
  • Based strictly on her performances in the 3 X-Men films, it’s hard to understand how Jennifer Lawrence gets any accolades.
    • And “Apocalypse” was, by far, her worst turn as Mystique.
  • I like Hugh Jackman, he’s even made me a fan of Wolverine, though I never liked Wolvy in the comics. But, c’mon, that whole Weapon X sequence was irrelevant and boring.
    • Not the cleanup after-credits scene, though. That was amusing.
  • I hope DC is taking notes for how to handle Flash in their movies.
    • And, I sure wish Marvel hadn’t killed off Quicksilver in the MCU.
  • Movie could have been shortened by 30 minutes with less talking. These characters natter on WAY too much.
  • Nice little origin story for Storm, but her overall arc was far too rushed.
  • Mind blown during final fight. I wasn’t expecting THAT.
    • Jean Grey. Yikes.
  • We really, really, really need more Quicksilver scenes.
  • Worth a matinee ticket.

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The following discussion contains massive spoilers for Fallout 4 and the Far Harbor expansion. You have been warned. The spoiler-free conclusion is: I’m not particularly fond of Far Harbor. Now, on to the spoilers… (after the screencaps)

fallout4 commonwealth small fallout4 farharbor small

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I’m a completionist; especially in games I like. And I LOVE Fallout 4. But…

There are two trophies* that are incredibly difficult to get. Not difficult in terms of game play (like beating the game in Survival mode, which, thankfully, is not a trophy), but difficult in terms of meeting really weird requirements that can’t be met without special planning or a guide to the underlying algorithms. Trophies like these are a real fun-killer.

Of course, I earned them anyway.

Benevolent Leader (Main game)

fo4 benevolentleader

I tried, and tried, and tried to earn this one. It’s ridiculously hard until someone broke down the algorithms and then it’s just grinding. Start with the “Large Settlement” requirement. That’s not “large” as in size, but “large” as in number of objects built. Eventually, using the method linked above, I got my trophy using one settler working a restaurant at the Red Rocket garage with about 100 wooden crates sitting around to make the settlement “large.” And that was only after two (real) hours of sleeping (in game) + waiting (not game “waiting,” actual sitting there watching the game run without doing anything).

Docile (Wasteland Workshop expansion)

fo4 docile

It’s not that you need five tamed creatures who are normally hostile—i.e. cats and dogs don’t count—or even that you can’t mix-and-match creatures since they will continue to be hostile to each other—I just caught five mutant hounds and that was it. It’s the ridiculous requirements necessary to build a beta wave emitter that tames the creatures. You need at least one rank each in the Animal Friend and Wasteland Whisperer perks. Now, “wasting” 2 perk points on perks I wouldn’t otherwise use is not that bad, but…

Wasteland Whisperer requires a Charisma of NINE. I was fortunate that I had one high-Charisma character I could fall back on to get this perk, but that was unusual. I normally don’t spend that much on Charisma, as the higher-level perks are not that useful. But, even though I had the character, it was a high-level character that had finished the game and I had a lot of slogging about to rise up two levels so I could purchase the two perks. "Grinding" does not begin to describe it.

* On Playstation 4. Achievements for those playing on Xbox One or PC.

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captainvsuperman

“I can do this all day.”

What has become an iconic line for Captain America was not first uttered by the Captain. The first time we hear those words, they are spoken by a scrawny Steve Rogers. Long before the Super Soldier serum coursed through his veins, Rogers was a hero.

DC Comics appears to be pushing Zack Snyder aside in an effort to elevate its Cinematic Universe. While such a move is an important first step, it will do little good unless DC understands why Snyder's movies are provoking great criticism. Snyder makes movies about super-powered people.

But they’re not heroes.

It's fine for our heroes to have flaws, but each franchise needs one linchpin that truly exemplifies the ideal. For Marvel, that is Captain America. For DC it should be Superman, but Snyder has badly mishandled their greatest hero. To bring the DCCU to the level of the MCU, Superman must be remade. It can be done, and in a way that is emotionally and intellectually stimulating. Just watch all three Captain movies.

This is not about DC beating Marvel, or vice versa. There's room at the cinema for two great superhero franchises. I want DC to succeed because I love some of their characters as much as I love some of the Marvel characters.

But until the DC supers also become true heroes, I just can’t watch.

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civilwarposterI enjoyed “Captain America: Civil War.” It’s a big, explosive superhero movie with lots of action and plenty of heart. It’s also fun, something DC has forgotten lately. Still, as much as I enjoyed the movie, there’s one huge hole right in the middle of the film: the central conflict makes no sense[1].

Secretary of State Ross opines how the Avengers have caused all kinds of collateral damage[2] in their forays to save the world, showing pictures of the destruction wrought as the Avengers fight invading aliens, Hydra, a runaway AI, and mercenaries stealing a biological weapon. Ross demands the enhanced individuals sign the Sokovia Accords, giving the UN oversight of the Avengers.

What is blatantly ignored by the pro-oversight crowd (Stark, Rhodey, Vision, and Black Widow) is the “save-the-world” part of the equation. When you factor that in, it’s hard to root against Team Cap. I get why Stark is personally invested in this; Ultron was his fault, after all. But the same government that is demanding oversight is the government that let Loki steal the Tesseract and unleash the Chitauri on New York; and, failed to recognize Hydra infiltrating SHIELD for fifty years. They’re idiots, and Cap is extremely rational in rejecting their oversight committee.

It is also really hard to root for Team Iron Man when Iron Man is psychologically broken. Tony Stark needs to have his suits taken away and be forced to seek counseling. That just makes the whole “Civil War” part of this movie even harder to swallow.

If you overlook that glaring inanity, the movie is a whole lot of fun. Every hero gets his or her requisite screen time, but this is very much a Captain America movie. He centers it, acts as the voice of reason, and gives the movie all its heart. And heart it has, in spades. This is a movie about friendships rekindled and friendships broken and the story is the kind of meaty character exploration that DC is only dreaming about right now[3].

One other disappointment is what they’ve done with Baron Zemo. I won’t spoil it, but he doesn’t make much of a villain and he’s nothing like his comic-book counterpart. On the other hand, Spider-Man and Ant-Man steal every scene they’re in, and we can all now have high hopes for “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Ant-Man and Wasp.” The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting huge, and every bit of it is nearly perfect[4]. CACW kicks off “Phase Three” of the MCU with a bang and I am eagerly looking forward to the next installment. (“Doctor Strange” in November.) It’s going to be a wild ride…

[1] In the comics, the superhero registration movement gains steam after some young enhanced people blow up a school while filming a reality TV show. That seems a much more reasonable basis for seeking government oversight of superheroes.

[2] I’m going to ignore the politically-charged topic of how the USofA routinely ignores hundreds of thousands of “collateral damage” deaths in their military excursions, but it does lend extra weight to the hypocrisy on display.

[3] Unfortunately, such dreaming isn’t a part of Zach Snyder’s personality. The quicker they ditch him, the sooner DC can get their franchise back on track.

[4] Maybe not Thor.