Have you ever wondered what NFL life would be like after the greatest quarterback who ever lived was finally crowned as Peyton Manning? What about if the most controversial player that hasn’t been suspended, Percy Harvin, ended up on arguably the most controversial team, New York Jets? Can we finally say that the Seahawks aren’t an automatic bid for the Super Bowl? Why would Tom Brady take his horrible commercial acting skills to the field?
This is week 8 of asinine analysis.
Thursday, October 23
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos
Well, I’m glad we got that over with. After weeks of wondering when it was going to happen, where it was going to happen and with whom it was going to happen, it happened. An important milestone has been reached in the NFL, one that may never be seen again.
That’s right. We saw the Broncos receivers and tight end playing “Monkey in the Middle” with Peyton Manning.
This may not happen in this game between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers, but at least we get to see a battle for first place in the AFC West, and possibly the AFC Super Bowl berth. Surely that counts for something.
Over/Under on references to Peyton Manning’s touchdown record: 19.
Sunday, October 26
Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons
With the Detroit Lions playing the Atlanta Falcons in London at 9:30am EST, we finally get a whole day of nothing but football. Not just a long afternoon into the evening, which has been the norm since Sunday night football came to be. This weekend, I can wake up early and watch football as I have my coffee, and won’t have to stop watching until 14 hours later.
If there was ever a reason to legitimately move a team to London, it’s that this total football day would happen about eight times a year. That is a world that I want to live in.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
The AFC East is just weird this season. Well, weirder than usual. The Bills had a winning record, and benched their sophomore quarterback E.J. Manuel for veteran Kyle Orton. The Jets have had a losing record since week 3, and are still sticking to their sophomore quarterback Geno Smith. Who is right? Who is wrong? Are those the lyrics to some long-forgotten 80s song?
In any event, we can look forward to a grueling game, even with Percy Harvin playing.
Chicago Bears @ New England Patriots
Welcome back to reality, Bears fans. Da Bears looked good on paper, with Alshon Jeffery breaking out last year and Jared Allen driving a few hundred miles southeast. But Chicago doesn’t deal with paper. It deals with meat, potatoes and deep-dish pizza, and the team seems to be on a diet. It’s enough to teach the younger fans what it means to be a sports fan in Chicago: Lake Michigan-size expectations with heartburn-inducing results that even the world’s biggest hot dog couldn’t top. It’s the sort of heartache that makes a man start yelling in the locker room, either at Jay Cutler or for an ambulance. With the Bears, you never know.
Now the Bears travel to New England to take on the Patriots, whose paper stats got tossed into a recycling bin. But after taking back first place in the AFC East, who needs more paper?
St. Louis Rams @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Rams don’t seem to know much about who’s starting these days, and that’s just the way coach Jeff Fisher seems to like it. The Rams are starting their third-string quarterback, Austin Davis. They have three running backs that basically have the same style in a positional carousel. They have thrown to every receiver they have, and probably a few from the practice squad. They look good for a quarter or two, but not stable enough to win a whole game.
The Chiefs know who their starters are. Well, at every position except receiver, anyway. Dwayne Bowe still looks like he’s just having a race with whatever defensive back is on him without actually being involved in any plays.
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
The Texans were doing okay for the first few weeks. They didn’t win every game, but the turnovers were mostly on the defensive side of the ball, which is where you want them to be. Unfortunately the Texans offense felt the need to catch up last Monday night. Arian Foster lost a fumble at the Texans’ 2-yard line. The next offensive play, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a pinball throw that was intercepted. And the Texans lost the game, just like in the days of Matt Schaub.
Now the Texans look to get back on track and score some defensive touchdowns against the Titans, whose plan of lobbing the ball down the field and praying hasn’t worked out as well as they’d hoped.
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
The question surrounding the Seattle Seahawks right now has to be, “Was it worth it?” The only thing that Percy Harvin seemed to do for the Seahawks was help them win the Super Bowl. That’s it. He was hurt for almost every other game leading up to it, and has mostly been banged up this season. He’s allegedly started some amateur boxing matches in the locker room. His salary was over $10 million. Was it worth it? I’d take it as a fan. It’s not my money.
Now the Seahawks meet up with a team that released their own controversial figure, and haven’t been the same since: the Carolina Panthers.
Minnesota Vikings @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Well, it’s that time of the year again: time for Tampa residents to settle in for the winter migration from the North. It becomes easier every year, considering how badly the Buccaneers have been doing. At this point, no one will be aware that the game is blacked out. They’re too busy taking in that last walk on the beach before dealing with half of the retired population of New York.
Don’t believe me? Well let me introduce you to the team that they are playing: the 2-5 Minnesota Vikings. The Jaguars coming to town would be more exciting.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
Shutouts rarely happen in a football game. Usually a defense has to be insanely talented and focused to play through all four quarters without even giving up a field goal, and an offense has to be so bad that they can’t even move the ball when the defense is playing a soft Tampa 2. But that’s what happened to Andy Dalton and the Bengals against the Colts. It was the sort of game that has A.J. Green ready to run fly routes on crutches if he has to.
With the Baltimore Ravens doing what they’ve always done on defense, it may be safer for A.J. Green to sit this one out, as the Bengals would score negative points in this game if it were at all possible. What if we counted defensive touchdowns against them?
Over/Under on negative points the Bengals can get: -4
Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Are you ready for the epic, supreme battle for the Eastern Coast of Florida!? Two teams enter, only one will remain to be crowned the kings of the Sunshine State!
And that is the most exciting line you will ever read about this matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. It should be a rivalry game except that both the Dolphins and Jaguars haven’t been very good for years. It’s kind of like watching two nerdy kids — like me — in a fight. It’s kind of interesting and probably really funny to most people, but ultimately forgettable.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals
Even the ludicrously fast Chip Kelly offense needs a break now and again, so it works out that the Eagles had a bye week. Maybe that will get LeSean McCoy back on track, or get Darren Sproles back to taking work away from McCoy.
Unfortunately, the Eagles running backs are going up against the Arizona Cardinals, who probably wouldn’t let my grandmother rush across the street.
Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns
Leave it to Browns fans to start screaming for Manziel after Brian Hoyer has one bad game. True, the Cleveland Browns got run over by possibly the worst NFL team today in the Jacksonville Jaguars, but come on. This is the definition of a trap game. A team gets lazy, starts looking towards the next game that means something, and all of a sudden their base game plan isn’t working against a bad team. Keep Manziel sitting. The sky is not falling yet.
For the Raiders, the sky already fell, crawled around for a week or two, then dug its own grave, but it is the most exciting sky-fall I have ever seen since the last James Bond movie.
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers
I’ve probably already said it, but it just keeps coming back: Andrew Luck is the real deal. He’s got the arm strength. He’s got the legs. He’s got the intelligence. He’s got the receivers. He’s even got a fantasy football comedy web series being hosted by The Onion. I’d say the life of Andrew Luck is pretty sweet. But there’s always room for improvement. Would someone please make him get rid of that neck-beard? I’ll give you a dollar, two if he shaves on national TV.
Speaking of beards, Brett Keisel’s has grown to epic proportions. I thought Ryan Fitzpatrick’s was phenomenal, but after Keisel mesmerized Fitz with his beard, leading to an interception, I’d say Keisel wins out as a beard’s beard.
Over/Under on amount of facial hair on the field: 10 pounds.
Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints
Leading up to last week, Saints coach Sean Payton did his best Bill Belichick impersonation, setting vague injury expectations for Jimmy Graham and Mark Ingram. Then Pierre Thomas hurt his should, so we’re not sure if he’s out for a few practices or the entire season. Personally, I’m not even sure that Sean Payton is Sean Payton, since he never really clarified that report, either.
What we do know, without any debate, is that the Green Bay Packers are playing the New Orleans Saints. Wait… Sean Payton has allegedly stated that he can neither confirm nor deny that the entire team is healthy enough to play. More hypothetical and nonsense as it develops.
Monday, October 27
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
You all laughed at me. “Colt McCoy won’t make it,” you said. “He couldn’t even hold a starting job in Cleveland,” you said. All of you, whoever you are, marvel at the wonder that is Colt McCoy. With check-down passes, he helped the Washington Redskins crawl to victory over the Titans after replacing Kirk Cousins. THIS is your starting quarterback! Well, until RG3 is healthy enough to play and get hurt again. But still! A win is a win, and I’m taking this one for Colt McCoy.
Now the third-string wonder will have to take his game to the next level against Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. Well, maybe about five levels up, but it’s a start.
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.