If it was any other month, this column would be full of references to facial hair. I’d be giving you charts with ratios of beard to face coverage, thickness samples and every photo would look like a player was dressing up as Ryan Fitzpatrick for Halloween.
But it’s Movember, a time where all mustaches, no matter how ridiculously awful, are beautiful due to the support it represents.
Well, all mustaches except mine. I can’t get the growth past Joe Dirt thickness.
This is week 11 of asinine analysis. Not mustache analysis.
Thursday, November 13
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
It just seems wrong to see a warm-weather Bills game in November. This is a team that hails from a region where the roads are literally ice with a ton of sand poured on it. That’s what I’ve heard, anyway. Or maybe that’s Colorado. Don’t worry, I’m not driving around either of those places in the winter for the safety of everyone on the road.
So how does a team that made Ryan Fitzpatrick so cold that he kept his beard even after moving to Houston deal with playing in sunny Miami? Do they replace the sideline fans with snow machines? Do they put ice pads in their gloves? These are the sort of thoughts that creep into my head when I can’t make sense of two teams with duct-taped running back corps and quarterbacks that lose their fan bases as soon as they have a glimmer of a good game.
Sunday, November 16
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
When it comes to sports jokes, I usually come up with at least one bad-taste reference for every highly controversial topic. I tell it to a couple of my closest friends, who tell me if (that) I’ve gone too far. Then I promptly smack myself in the forehead and carry on without mentioning it ever again. Or I throw it on an off-color satirical website that revels in that sort of thing.
This is why you will never see me referencing Adrian Peterson here, or how I picked him up off waivers for my 3-7 fantasy football team with a backhanded joke on the league boards that had everyone groaning. However, if you see me at a New York sports bar late one night, you may just hear it yourself.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears got rid of Santonio Holmes because the #5 receiver was obviously the problem that kept the team from scoring.
Houston Texans @ Cleveland Browns
Oh, how I missed the Houston Texans during their bye last week. What can I say, I’m hooked on Watt’s Up, to the point that I don’t care how cheesy that pun sounds. I’m a fan of defense, even if it has gone a little soft recently, and J.J. Watt is the defensive power in the NFL today.
What I don’t miss is this quarterback carousel that the Houston Texans seem to be on. Ryan Mallett? Really? I thought the only reason he was drafted by the New England Patriots was because he’s from Tom Brady’s alma mater, the University of Michigan.
The Cleveland Browns? Well, they’re #1 in their division with a 6-3 record, so yeah, bulldogs apparently can fly.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
Sometimes football just doesn’t add up. Last year at this time, the Carolina Panthers were among the elite in the NFC. Sure, Cam Newton looked like he could still run without needing crutches, but the main strength of the Panthers was their defense. This year, that strength is still nursing a hangover from their playoff loss to the 49ers.
Unfortunately, a divisional game against the Atlanta Falcons, with their potent offense, is not a good way to right this ship. So Panthers fan are welcome to visit Miami this weekend to see a NASCAR race if they wish.
Cincinnati Bengals @ New Orleans Saints
The Cincinnati Bengals seem to be falling apart a little earlier than usual this year, but it may be part of Marvin Lewis’s master plan. Usually when the Bengals take the AFC North, they end up losing right away in the playoffs. Maybe this year the Bengals can sneak into the playoffs in a wildcard slot… you know, really work to get there. And then they can give the Browns a taste of the Northern #1 Curse.
A game against Drew Brees and the Saints in New Orleans may just help bring about the string of losses that Lewis is looking for.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III wants to show the world that he deserves to be considered a franchise quarterback, and he couldn’t have picked a better time, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to the nation’s capital. Okay, the outskirts of the nation’s capital, but close enough.
RG3 had two weeks to prepare for this coming-out party after falling short against the Vikings. So I expect nothing short of an exceptional game because, well, the Buccaneers. Touchdowns have become so unusual for Bucs players that they are posting them on Instagram.
Denver Broncos @ St. Louis Rams
It was only for a few minutes, but Peyton Manning looked like a mere mortal against the Oakland Raiders last week. Sure, Manning ended up throwing five touchdowns and leaving in the fourth quarter, but in those first moments, he threw two interceptions. TWO! And it took seven drives for the Broncos to come up with a touchdown.
The Broncos visit the St. Louis Rams, who now don’t even know who their starting quarterback is anymore to go along with the lack of knowledge about their featured running back, best receiver… and if Jeff Fisher is even the head coach.
San Francisco 49ers @ New York Giants
The only people who are really excited for this game between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants are the transfer Niners fans in New York. Finally, they get to see their team live without having to fly across the country.
Who else is really going to be excited, anyway? Giants fans are falling into “Doom and Gloom” mode. Tom Coughlin has less power over personnel than he does with red flags, and the Giants secondary is playing to stay healthy for a new contract with another team. Eli Manning could be excited, but you really wouldn’t notice.
Seattle Seahawks @ Kansas City Chiefs
Can you say, “Super Bowl matchup?” I know, everyone thought it would be the Seahawks and Broncos: Round 2, but the Kansas City Chiefs are once again balancing a game-managing offense with a strong defense. And unlike last year, the Chiefs are really working for it this year. This isn’t your basic gift-wrapped schedule. The Chiefs have wins against some good teams mixed in there.
A win against the Seahawks? That will really give them some respect in December, which is more than I can say for the Santa Claus references that will bombard Andy Reid very soon.
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
It’s Philip Rivers Day!
It’s not, really, but it’s been a whole week without a weird facial expression or sideline scream from Philip Rivers. After compiling enough of those for the whole year in the Chargers’ loss to the Dolphins, I was going through a bit of a withdrawal.
Unfortunately, a game against the Oakland Raiders usually doesn’t lead to angry quarterbacks, unless that quarterback is wearing black and silver. So it will be another week of boring, winning Philip Rivers.
Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a while since the Detroit Lions have looked this good. A whole season, in fact! Last year the Lions were at 6-3 coming into week 11 before falling apart and ending the season only 7-9. Now they’re at 7-2. Even if the same thing happens, the Lions will win at least one game and be 8-8.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, have been rolling their best record since the days of Kurt Warner in 2009. Unfortunately, Carson Palmer will not be the elderly quarterback to lead the Cardinals into the post-season. It will be “Who” Stanton.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers
I’m amazed at Mark Sanchez, but for all the wrong reasons. I’m not amazed that Sanchez decided to go celebrate his first-start win for the Philadelphia Eagles by eating cheesesteaks at Pat’s and Geno’s. I’m surprised that this royal corner of cheesesteaks wasn’t his first stop when he visited Philadelphia to discuss potentially signing with the Eagles. I would have at least had someone pick up cheesesteaks once a week by now… which is probably why I’m not a professional athlete.
With a game against the Green Bay Packers, Sanchez can continue his eating excursion by visiting the land that puts the cheese in cheesesteaks: Wisconsin.
Over/Under on references to cheese: 9
New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck received a ringing endorsement from Tom Brady leading up to this game when Brady said, “… he does a lot of things I wish I could do.” You know, like run, break tackles and grow a full beard.
Don’t worry, Tom. I’m sure there is plenty that you do that Andrew Luck wishes he could do. Like win a few Super Bowls, break some quarterback records, marry a supermodel and wear a Yankees cap without being spit on in Boston.
Monday, November 17
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans
The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t much for mediocre games. If they win, they win big and dirty. And when they lose when they’re supposed to win, like against the Jets last week, they lose even dirtier. Troy Polamalu starts trying to jump over offense lines on kneel-downs, and everyone starts remembering Greg Schiano’s name even though he’s not even a towel boy for a team right now.
So this game against the Tennessee Titans can go one of two ways: 1) Ben Roethlisberger throws for 90 yards and five touchdowns while LeVeon Bell runs for 375 yards as the Steelers win, or 2) Ben Roethlisberger throws for 600 yards and five interceptions as the Steelers lose. Considering the history, I wouldn’t be surprised by either.
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.