It’s the most wonderful time of the year! At least, in a football sense.
It’s Thanksgiving! This Thursday, we will gorge ourselves on the Big F’s: food and football. Okay, you can throw family in there, too, if you’d like. You will have to deal with that “F” for at least an hour at the dinner table.
This is also a time for reflection, to give thanks for having a team in playoff contention, or for having a team that is doing so badly that you have one less thing to worry about for the holidays. This is week 13 of asinine analysis.
Thursday, November 27
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
There was a time when the tradition of the Detroit Lions hosting a Thanksgiving game was ridiculous. And by “a time,” I really mean “all the time” since they have yet to win a true Super Bowl.
This season, like the past two seasons, at least includes some expectations for the Lions leading up to this game. Will they continue to fall apart at the end, or will this be the turning point for a push to the playoffs? They’re playing against the Chicago Bears, who are having their own mid-season meltdown, so anything is possible.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
I feel bad for Mark Sanchez. He leaves behind the butt-fumbles in New York, takes a backup role in Philadelphia and is doing his best to prove the doubters wrong. The Eagles are 3-1 with Sanchez under center, riding atop of the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, Sanchez is once again playing a game on Thanksgiving, the day when things went so wrong for him a few years ago against the New England Patriots. That’s right. It was Thanksgiving that the infamous butt-fumble happened. Will history repeat itself? Will sportscasters be able to hold back on mentioning it?
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
I thought about doing a Marshawn Lynch impression for this analysis, but then I thought better of it because no one is asking me questions. The entry would be, “The Seattle Seahawks play a football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Stadium. There will be running. There will be throwing. There will be tackling. Someone will win, and someone will lose. Or they can tie. It is a late game on Thanksgiving.” But really, you can get that sort of analysis from a ticker.
What I really want to dissect is how Lynch can be so monotone in a press interview, but decide to have a cameo in The League. Does Nick Kroll have some risque pictures of Lynch or something?
Sunday, November 30
Washington Redskins @ Indianapolis Colts
Everyone has laughed at me for years over my fan-crush on Colt McCoy. I can’t help it. I saw what he could do backing up Vince Young at Texas, and have been waiting for it to happen in the NFL ever since. But injury or apparent lack of talent kept on getting in the way. McCoy was the answer when everyone else was injured.
But Robert Griffin III isn’t injured, he’s healthy. Still coach Jay Gruden thinks Colt McCoy is better. Either that or he just doesn’t have an answer, but I’m sticking with the idea that McCoy is better. I’d like to be right on a college scouting report more than once.
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans
Mettenberger V Watt Round 2: Revenge of the Selfie.
That’s how I would promote this game, anyway. The last time the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans played, the Texans rolled over the Titans, and Watt took an imaginary selfie after sacking Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Will Mettenberger give some of that ribbing back by mimicking a selfie after throwing a touchdown? Will J.J. Watt continue his crusade for an MVP? Will any of this matter as every team in the AFC South not named “Colts” spirals out of playoff contention? And why am I asking questions in an analysis that my readers can’t answer? We shall see soon enough.
Cleveland Browns @ Buffalo Bills
Speaking of college scouting reports, here’s a game that has loads of them. For the Cleveland Browns, we have Johnny Manziel, who I predicted wouldn’t start all year barring injury. For the Buffalo Bills, we have Johnny’s old teammate Mike Evans, who I predicted would be awesome his first year out because he was the guy that kept correcting Manziel’s mistake throws in college.
Now these two former teammates will square off, or at least give each other a hug at the end of the game provided Manziel doesn’t get in trouble partying in Toronto beforehand.
San Diego Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens
Once again, Philip Rivers does what Peyton Manning couldn’t do last week.
1) Beat the St. Louis Rams.
2) Give the unshaven face another shot, no matter how horrible it looks.
I can’t understand it either. Rivers just has a way of sticking it to the Mannings whenever he can, whether it be in football or facial hair. A win over the Baltimore Ravens may help give Rivers and the Chargers a chance to stick it to Peyton Manning when it really matters: in the playoffs.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week, Andy Dalton put a lot of things to rest. He won a game. He won for the first time in Houston. He won a game in Houston on his father’s birthday. He gave his dad the jersey from a game for the first time. That’s kind of weird. Usually you get memorabilia from people you look up to. If Andy Dalton’s dad is looking up to him, that’s pretty ridiculous. You’re not supposed to look up to your son, much less Andy Dalton.
Okay, maybe that’s going to far. Josh McCown is allowed to look up to Andy Dalton, but that’s it!
Oakland Raiders @ St. Louis Rams
The Oakland Raiders are fresh off playing spoiler for the Kansas City Chiefs last week, while the St. Louis Rams are two weeks out from demolishing the Denver Broncos. These were games that are the very definition of trap games.
So what happens when two spoiler teams face off against each other? Could this be a trap game for both the Raiders and Rams, a game that they overlooked while focusing their energy on tougher matchups? It’s a paradox that would make the writers of Interstellar sweat.
New York Giants @ Jacksonville Jaguars
If you have ever heard of the NFL, chances are you heard about Odell Beckham Jr.’s miracle catch last week against the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants lost in a fashion usually reserved for Tony Romo and the Cowboys, but hey, that catch! That catch will have people arguing about its comparison to some of the most insane catches in NFL history, like “The Catch” by Dwight Clark of the 49ers, or the “Helmet Catch” by David Tyree also of the Giants.
With the Jaguars secondary as equally awful as the Giants’, we probably won’t see many circus catches in this game, but I’m sure we’ll see some replays.
New Orleans Saints @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Say what you will about the New Orleans Saints. No, please do. They haven’t exactly been a point of pride for the city of New Orleans this year. In an effort to continue their new tradition of winning on the road ever since their playoff win in Philadelphia, the Saints have decided to compile a losing record at home, dropping their last four games at the Superdome.
Luckily, the Saints play the Steelers in Pittsburgh this week, which means they have a better than average shot at actually winning.
Carolina Panthers @ Minnesota Vikings
What does it mean when you have an 3-7-1 NFL team and their playoff hopes still alive and well? The saddest division in football, that’s what. The Carolina Panthers might also take first place in the NFC South because, seriously, someone has to do it. Even Tampa Bay has a legitimate shot, and they’re 2-9!
I haven’t seen a team take a division with a record worse than 7-9, but this may be the season that record is shattered.
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons
Well, the Atlanta Falcons won’t be taking the lead in the NFC South any time soon, as they host the 9-2 Arizona Cardinals. Granted, the Cardinals have “Who” Stanton under center for the rest of the season with Carson Palmer out with a knee injury and a huge disappointment in the playoffs inching closer and closer. But this is the Atlanta Falcons we’re talking about. I could probably throw three touchdowns against the Falcons secondary, which may be all that is needed. It’s not like that Cardinals defensive front is going to give Matt Ryan any time to throw the ball.
Larry Fitzgerald may be out for this game, but it’s not as if Stanton remembers his name anyway. Stanton probably hasn’t even seen Fitzgerald’s commercial. If he did, he would know that Larry Fitzgerald can make one-hand grabs all day while buying jerseys that he signed himself. Why he would buy them when he could just make them is anybody’s guess.
New England Patriots @ Green Bay Packers
I’m going to make some predictions here, because everything that could be said about this game between the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers has already been said. Yes, it’s probably the game of the week. Yes, this could potentially be a Super Bowl matchup. Yes, these quarterbacks have amazing significant others.
But here are some things you didn’t know:
1) If Ray Rice is reinstated this week, the New England Patriots will sign him, and Rice will rush for 200 yards and four touchdowns. Because “Patriots’ running backs,” that’s why.
2) Davante Adams will rack up a huge game while the Patriots secondary tries to lock down Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
I’m pinning my fantasy football season on #2. Not so much #1.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
This game between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs is important. It’s not “Super Bowl matchup” important, since these teams are in the same conference (I’m not the best in the biz for nothing), but this could definitely be “AFC Championship matchup” caliber. As it stands, New England and Denver would get bye weeks, and Denver could match up against against the Chargers for the Divisional game and play the Chiefs in the AFC Championship if they beat the Chiefs and the Chargers lose to the Ravens this week.
For now, we can scrap all of those hypothetical playoff brackets and take this game for what it is: a battle for the AFC West, which is impressive in its own right.
Monday, December 1
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
We’re sorry to do this to you two weeks in a row. It couldn’t be helped. The city of Buffalo had to go and have a state of emergency due to snow, so we had to give you a Jets game in an empty stadium in an empty city. Someone had to lose, and it ended up being you. We tried to hide it by making the game as early as possible, but there is no hiding a New York team with this much dysfunction.
And now you have to deal with it again, the same team playing another divisional opponent with the same dizzying decisions at quarterback. I’d understand if you never wanted to host another football game again, but trust me when I say this: there won’t be a third game in a row.
The Football Gods
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.