This might be a Millennial take, but the 90s was a golden age for toys. Video games came into their own. NASA had mastered going to the moon and started turning over some of their cutting-edge technology to the toy industry. The toy industry also developed the ability to seamlessly incorporate lights and batteries into every iteration of toy making things more interactive, more aesthetically pleasing, and all-around cooler. With today’s tiers, and in the spirit of some of those great Christmas gifts of yesterday, let’s look back at some of the best (and one of the worst) toys from a classic era in toymaking.
Tier 1: Nintendo 64 (Season Record: 5-4)
49ers -3.5 over Titans
Buccaneers -10.5 over Panthers
Chiefs -7.5 over Steelers
Video games may date all the way back to the 70s, but the video game boom occurred in the 90s, with the peak 90s console being the Nintendo 64, or N64. If you never engaged in a Super Smash Bros tournament, did you even grow up in the 90s bro? As for this week’s top bets, I can hear friend and colleague, Dr. Will Guthrie, whispering in my ear now, “Thursday games are always whacky!” He’s not wrong, but it seems that the 49ers are on the up-and-up. The Titans offense, on the other hand, really misses Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown. This is a classic tale of a healthy team and an unhealthy one and I like the 49ers by more than a field goal. The Buccaneers got blanked by the Saints on Sunday night, but we already knew New Orleans was their kryptonite. The Panthers are completely hapless at this point, and I regret not sticking to my maxim to go against them the rest of the season. Patrick Mahomes tried to keep the door open for the Chargers as much as he could last Thursday, but with a few extra days to prepare, and hopefully get some defensive starters back, I think the Chiefs comfortably outgun the Steelers.
Tier 2: Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots (Season Record: 5-3)
Patriots -2.5 over Bills
Colts +1.5 over Cardinals
Packers -7.5 over Browns
Does everybody have a toy that got away from their childhood? Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots were mine. They looked so cool on the commercials, and I always wanted them. Alas, I never got them for Christmas or my birthday. Hopefully we won’t look back a week from now to these picks as the ones that got away. The Patriots used the weather to their advantage a few weeks ago and employed an offense from football antiquity to take down the Bills in Buffalo. Belichick always seems to have their number and I like them by a field goal again. The Colts have been rolling lately and kept it up against the Patriots on Saturday. Their offensive line is nasty, and I think Jonathan Taylor can keep the Cardinals defense on the field. Arizona is coming off two very disappointing losses, but they are too good not to right the ship. It could very easily happen this week, but I think the Colts as underdogs are the better play. The Packers are more than a touchdown better than the Browns at full strength, much less this shell of a Cleveland team. Tyler Huntley gave the Packers defense trouble with his legs on Sunday, but the Browns don’t have a quarterback with that ability.
Tier 3: Nerf Vortex Football (Season Record: 5-5)
Dolphins +3 over Saints
Chargers -10 over Texans
Rams -3 over Vikings
Cowboys -10.5 over Washington
These “footballs” were pretty damn cool and the Peyton Manning commercials are a classic, but they lose some cool points in that they are pretty useless as actual footballs. There were pretty much only good for high-level games of catch or “keep away”. The Dolphins struggled more than they should have to beat the Jets last week but love them as road dogs this week. New Orleans is getting a bump here after completely shutting down TOMpa on Sunday night, but they have always had their number and I don’t know that’s indicative of what we can expect their defense to continue to do. The Texans should revert to a punching bag this week and given that I have no idea who will actually play for Washington this week, and they just played on Tuesday, it’s impossible to go against Dallas here. The Rams are also on a short week, but the Vikings played on Monday night and nothing about their win against the Bears inspires confidence in them going up against a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Rams should get some more reinforcements back off the Covid list before Sunday too.
Tier 4: Bop It (Season Record: 7-1)
Eagles -10 over Giants
Bengals -2.5 over Ravens
Broncos +1 over Raiders
Bop it! Flick it! Twist it! The fact that any of those phrases can be said with the right inflection and any 90s kid instantly knows what you’re talking about ensures this toy’s spot on the classic list. The Giants are almost an automatic bet against at this point in the season. The Eagles overcame some early turnovers on Tuesday night and still won comfortably against the depleted Washington team. After giving the Bengals “Dubya” treatment last week, I’m ready to jump back into bed with them this week. Tyler Huntley’s scrambling ability could give this Bengals defense some fits, and that gives me pause, but I think Joe Burrow and co. can do some damage through the air on this Baltimore defense. The Raiders gutted out a win against the Browns, but I think the Broncos defense can keep them in check and a week of first team reps for Drew Lock should help the Broncos offense.
Tier 5: Furby (Season Record: 4-5)
Jets -1 over Jaguars
Lions +6 over Falcons
Bears +6.5 over Seahawks
Let’s just call a spade a spade. Furby’s suck. There is literally nothing cool about them and they are ugly as hell. They look like some kind of stoned, miscolored Big Bird knock-off. Every stuffed toy of the era could do everything Furby could, and sometimes more. The Furby is the most overrated toy in history. Likewise, I also just detest ever betting on the Jets (who still suck but not as bad as Furbies), Lions or Bears (oh my!). The Jaguars are actively tanking, and now acutally have a shot at the first pick. The Lions don’t seem to want the first pick and, by DVOA at least, have been better than the Falcons from an advanced metric perspective. Lastly, I just don’t trust this Seattle team at all. They may blow the doors off Chicago at home, but they just as easily could find themselves down by two scores heading into the 4th quarter.
Season Record: 26-18
Prop Bet Record: 1-4 (hence taking the week off)
Cover Photo Courtesy of Villages-News.com