The NFL trade deadline happened just three weeks ago. And many teams must be kicking themselves right now that they didn’t trade off some players to at least get some compensatory draft picks… players like Ben Tate, LeGarrette Blount, maybe Robert Griffin III or even Ahmad Bradshaw like every fantasy football analyst suggested.
But then I have to remember. This isn’t fantasy football, where contracts and salary cap usually mean nothing. This is real football, with real players with real feelings who know not to make waves until after the NFL trade deadline. This is week 12 of asinine analysis.
Thursday, November 20
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders
This game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders is more compelling than you would usually think. Unlike last year when the Chiefs seemed to be all the rage, winning nine games in a row before burning out at the end with the final nail in the playoffs, this season the Chiefs are hanging tough with a 7-3 record. The Oakland Raiders showed resiliency last year until also burning out in the end, and have silently racked up a winless 0-10 season so far this year.
Will the Chiefs continue their crusade, or will the Raiders build off their “so close” loss to the Chargers last week? It’s a divisional game, so anything can happen. It’s also in Oakland, so even things you never imagined happening can and will happen. They don’t call it The Black Hole for nothing.
Sunday, November 23
Cleveland Browns @ Atlanta Falcons
Let’s be fair, here. I get why Ben Tate would be a little annoyed by the platoon running back situation on the Cleveland Browns. Tate went from being the backup to a prolific running back who couldn’t stay healthy to one of the worst NFL franchises in the past decade. The Browns had been shuffling running backs as much as they’ve been failing at drafting quarterbacks. So if you were Ben Tate, wouldn’t you think of yourself as the Big Man On Campus?
Of course when even the Browns don’t think you’re good enough to be a featured back, you’re going to get a bit heated. Not like Steven Jackson. Jackson has taken his platoon role with the Falcons in stride. He has to. He’s playing for his retirement health at the moment.
Tennessee Titans @ Philadelphia Eagles
After Mark Sanchez reverted back to the old Intersanchez we know, many fans questioned if eating cheesesteaks could slow down a player. But then you have to remember that Mark Sanchez lost in Green Bay, where there aren’t any cheesesteaks, as far as I can tell, considering I’ve never been to Wisconsin.
But maybe it was the lack of cheesesteaks that led to Sanchez turning the ball over four times. We shall see, as the Philadelphia Eagles are back home to host the Tennessee Titans, where there are cheesesteaks aplenty.
Detroit Lions @ New England Patriots
Calvin Johnson is back, everyone. After resting him and using him as a decoy, the Detroit Lions are finally back to unleashing Megatron on opposing defenses. Unfortunately making the NFL highlight reel doesn’t guarantee a win. Does Matthew Stafford just get lazy when Johnson is on the field? I swear that guy gained 40 pounds in the past two weeks.
Stafford better get focused again, because the Patriots sure are. At least, at every position except running back. But if a different back is getting 200 yards each week, the team if probably winning.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
The Aaron Rodgers takeover of Green Bay continues to roll on, leaving Brett Favre in the dust. Now the quarterback is being compared to Hall-of-Famers from other sports, as Magic Johnson decided to tweet the similarities Rodgers has to Johnson’s lifetime rival, Larry Bird.
Personally, I don’t see it. I was never jealous of Larry Bird dating Olivia Munn.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
I think it’s safe to assume that Denard Robinson is the real deal for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but don’t think of him as the second coming of Maurice Jones-Drew. These players may both be halfbacks with dreadlocks at one point, but Robinson is probably a head taller than MJD at least, and doesn’t bring up visions of Ram Man from “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.”
Denard Robinson also has quite a team developing along with him. Blake Bortles? Allen Robinson? Allen Hurns? If this team didn’t have to deal with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts twice a year, I’d say this would be a divisional contender next year.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans
It’s been a long time since the NFL has had someone claim the Ironman Award, in recognition of a player who plays offense and defense. As far as I can remember, Deion Sanders was the last player to hold that title when he was a wide receiver, defensive back and summer baseball player.
J.J. Watt may not deserve an Ironman Award yet since he only plays tight end once a week if at all. But those touchdowns make it seem like Watt should be out there all the time.
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
In case you haven’t heard, I am a New York Jets fan. Go ahead, say what you will, I’ve heard worse. I’ve probably even said worse myself because, hey, I’m a Jets fan.
A friend of mine once asked me, “Would you rather be a Jets fan and not see your team go to the Super Bowl in your lifetime, or be a Bills fan and see your team lose four Super Bowls in a row?” I said I’d take the four in a row because at least the Jets would have made it further through the playoffs than they have so far.
Would I rather be a Jets fan or Scott Norwood? Well, that’s debatable.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Chicago Bears
Congratulations, Tampa Bay. With your second win of the season, you have earned enough respect for me to stop calling you “The Buccaneers.” But let’s not get ahead of ourselves on the respect train. I’m not ready to call you “The Bucs” just yet. You are now “Tampa Bay.” One day, with a few more wins and another team uniform redesign, you will earn back your “Bucs” nickname.
Chicago? You have lost any reference to the term “Da Bears.” You are now known only as Chicago, and will be so until you begin winning again or Mike Ditka says otherwise.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Things have to be tough for Drew Stanton. You sign with the Arizona Cardinals as a third-string quarterback, thinking, “Hey, I’ll have plenty of time to spend with the family when the baby comes.” Then, BOOM. You’re the starting quarterback for the rest of the season for a 9-1 team, and the starting dad forever with your family.
You know what? I take that back, because if everything keeps going like this for Stanton, he’ll have a league MVP and Super Bowl win by the end of the season. Carry on, Daddy Stanton.
St. Louis Rams @ San Diego Chargers
The running back situation may be a mess with the St. Louis Rams, but at least this team has a real brotherly mentality. You don’t hear Zac Stacy whining about how many carries he gets like Ben Tate, or see him walking to the team bus before the game is even over like LeGarrette Blount. The team comes first for Stacy, whether he gets 2 carries or 200 carries.
This is also why Zac Stacy is on a roster, while Tate and Blount were given their walking papers.
Miami Dolphins @ Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos lost again, this time to the St. Louis Rams. Somehow Jeff Fisher is able to will his team through the good teams while getting annihilated by the Vikings.
This Broncos loss probably won’t bode well for the Miami Dolphins. Two losses with a pile of interceptions to the Raiders sandwiched in? Critics bringing up choke references? I bet Peyton Manning was having playbooks on tape playing in his sleep analyzing the Miami defense this week so he could put up 600 yards.
Washington Redskins @ San Francisco 49ers
I can’t tell if the Washington Redskins are this dysfunctional or sports gossip has really taken things up a notch. With news reports taking bit quotes from quarterback Robert Griffin III, coach Jay Gruden and annual loudmouth DeSean Jackson, you’d think this team was about to implode faster than a Billy Bob Thornton marriage.
Pretty soon Gruden will be wearing khakis and yelling at his players, officials and owner to the point that the Redskins try to trade him to the Browns or Jets. Look across the field this week at your future, Jay, but without the post-season visitation rights.
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Some people have been confused by the NFC East this season, so I want to make a couple things clear.
1) The New York Giants did not swap their defense with the Dallas Cowboys. I know the Cowboys defense was supposed to be terrible and the Giants decent, but no secret trade happened.
2) Jerry Jones did not finance a brain swapping between Tony Romo and Eli Manning. Sure, Manning may be throwing more interceptions and playing more golf, but brain swaps only happen in the movies.
Monday, November 24
Baltimore Ravens @ New Orleans Saints
Good news, fans of teams other than the New Orleans Saints. The Saints lost at home! To the Bengals, no less! This means that your team can also visit the hopping city of New Orleans and come away with more than a hangover and some plastic beads. You could get a win, too!
Since it’s a Monday night, this game is even more winnable for the Baltimore Ravens, as most of the city will still be trying to heal themselves from the weekend.
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.