I’m sorry this is late, and that many of these entries are short. That awful performance the Paper Planes has sucked the fanaticism for football out of me temporarily.
1) I am still looking for examples of Pre-Game Shows for the individual teams in the NFL, those weekly half hour interviews-and-features programs that supposedly gets the fans all riled up for that week’s game.
2) I am looking for super-fans for each of the other 30 (i.e. not the Paper Planes or Raiders, as I’m sure Kelen will fill the later slot). What I want to do is interview you about what your team may need for the 2013 season for a series of column after the season is over. Please contact me through TricycleOffense.com if you’re interested in participating, or if you have an example of those pre-game shows to share with me.
On to the games…
Sunday Games, 1:00 p.m.
Our Bitch (4-6, won v. Dolphins) vs. Colts (6-4, lost v. The Sucking Black Hole of Loserness)
The Colts are good. Our Bitch are bad. Andrew Luck knows how to manage a game. Ryan Fitzpatrick does not. This may be a close game–Our Bitch may even have a lead for a while–but Indianapolis will take it by a possession.
Seahawks (6-4, Bye Week) vs. Dolphins (4-6, lost v. Our Bitch)
The Seahawks are proving plenty tough…maybe tougher than Miami is. And don’t get me wrong–Miami is plenty tough. I think all things being said, Seattle needs this game more to get itself within striking range of the NFC West Title–remember, San Fran, that ties count as loses–and will win by less than a possession.
Falcons (9-1, won v. Cardinals) vs. Buccaneers (6-4, won v. Panthers)
This is probably going to be a much closer game that it may seem on paper. Greg Schiano has managed to get Tampa Bay some momentum while also becoming one of the most contemptible coaches in the league. The Bucs will give Atlanta fits for a while…but then expect the Falcons defense to stiffen and Matt Ryan to start connecting with his receivers again…and again…and again…leading to a win by about two possessions.
Raiders (3-7, lost v. Saints) vs. Bengals (5-5, won v. Chiefs)
This is a winnable game for the Raiders–after all, Cincinnati has degraded a bit this year, and has struggled to get to 5-5. That being said…this is the Post-Al Raiders headed by Carson ‘Spaghetti Arm’ Palmer. Under Palmer, Oakland loses games they should win. A lot. So I expect the Bengals to rise above .500 by knocking the Raiders around. I call this by about a possession and a half.
Steelers (6-4, lost v. Ravens) vs. Browns (2-8, lost v. Cowboys)
So we’re now down to the third string quarterback here in Pittsburgh, but what a third-stringer. Charlie ‘The Indestructible Man’ Batch will win the Steelers games. He’ll win the Steelers multiple games. It’s one of the reasons why Pittsburgh is one of the most consistent, effective organizations in the League. He will be able to manage the Steelers–even a Steelers team that’s banged up, broken and having last minute replacements–so well that it’ll be like there’s no problems.
And as I’ve said multiple times, Cleveland is not the pushover their record seems to indicate. They’re hard fighting and effective at scoring–look at how Dallas barely survived their tilt with them last week. And this game, where Pittsburgh is staggered and bleeding, provides a perfect opportunity to show that they’re here in the mix for good. There’s a very good chance that the Browns can sneak out a last minute win…and given that they need this game more as a statement, and Cleveland is one of the youngest teams in the league, I’ll give them the win by about a possession or less.
Titans (4-6, Bye Week) vs. Gerbils (1-9, lost v. Texans)
The Gerbils almost impressed me last week–almost, before they once more proved they are who we thought they were, namely the ass-suckingest worst football club ever on the face of this planet right now. On the other hand, the Titans are rested, they showed signs of life before their bye week, and they might get a jolt from Jake Locker returning.
Of course, there’s one wild card here–Chad Henne, who was impressive when he first emerged as the Dolphins starter under Tony ‘The Repeater’ Sporano. Sadly, The Repeater ultimately undermined his own QB by, well repeating the same play over and over again until Miami became the most predictable team on Earth. Henne may actually give them the spark that Blane Gabbert never did, and his game play might take Tennessee by surprise…so to my surprise, I’m going to call this for the Gerbils by about a possession and a half, and predict that there might be a surge of game-winning-ness by Jacksonville before, well, they prove they are who we thought they were.
Broncos (7-3, won v. Chargers) vs. Chiefs (1-9, lost v. Bengals)
The Broncos have finally meshed with Peyton The Fetus Head to become an effective team that might slide easily into the AFC West Title…and part of the reason for that is that they’re playing the Chiefs and the Raiders and the Chargers. This is no contest, especially given the porousness of Kansas City’s defense. Expect a biiiiiiig win by Denver by about three possessions.
Vikings (6-4, Bye Week) vs. Bears (7-3, lost v. 49ers)
The Vikings are refreshed, and Adrian Peterson is still a beast (Christian Ponder not so much, but all things in time)….and the Bears are wobbling, losing two games in a row and suffering from some key injuries. While I’m sure Jason Campbell can win you a game, he hasn’t been doing so now. While I’m willing to bet that this would improve if Kid Nastyman is cleared to play, I can’t see the Bears overcoming the balanced Minnesota game, leading to the Vikes winning by a possession and change.
Sunday Games, 4:30 p.m
Ravens (8-2, won v. Steelers) vs. Chargers (4-6, lost v. Broncos)
Here comes the firing train, this time stopping off in San Diego for Norv ‘Good Enough For Government Work’ Turner! Turner has always been a little wobbly as Charger head coach, but this season, which is all but lost at this time, is bound to lead to some heads rolling. If he wants to prevent his head leading the pack, Turner needs to win this game….
Which he won’t, because the Marlboro Man is capable of laying some serious points on anemic defenses. Even with the Ravens’ banged up defenses, they’ll most likely get a couple of sacks on Philip Rivers–and, as you know, when Rivers gets rattled, the Chargers lose games.
They’ll be losing this one, as the Ravens fly high over their opponent by two possessions.
49ers (7-2-1, won v. Bears) vs. Saints (5-5, won v. Raiders)
Chinks have been showing in the 49ers armor of late, especially when it comes to that embarrassing tie game with the Rams. On the other hand, the Saints have gotten their momentum back and are gaining even more with each passing week. This is the New Orleans team we all expected to see before the whole scandal went down. The big obstacle that might be in the Saints’ way is Colin Kaepernick. As good as Harbaugh’s unit is under Alex Smith, they may be better under Kaepernick. The back-up gives the team a degree of unpredictability that might be just the edge the 49ers need to pull this win out. And the reason why Harbaugh is waffling about announcing his starter might be because of this. I suspect that this wildness will end up giving San Fran its eighth win by a possession or less.
Rams (3-6-1, lost v. Paper Planes) vs. Cardinals (4-6, lost v. Falcons)
Don’t think we haven’t forgotten that stop the firing train has at Phoenix…and judging from the way Ken Wisenhunt behaved last week, he’s welcoming the chance to get on. The Cardinals are a thorough mess, and it’ll be a miracle if they even get within a mile of the playoffs this time. This makes them an excellent confidence booster for St. Louis, still smarting from being beaten by the Paper Planes. Expect the Rams to clip Arizona’s wings by a good two possessions.
Sunday Game 8:30 p.m.
Packers (7-3, won vs. Lions) vs. Giants (6-4, Bye Week)
Do you hear that ticking noise in the background? That’s the Giants’ internal clock signifying the beginning of Playoff Hunting Time. And when Big Blue is Playoff Hunting, they suddenly become an entirely different team. I can’t think that this team wants this season, potentially the last one before Coach Coughlin retires, to spiral out of control into a shame shower. And given the Packer’s rather shaky play this season, it’s easy to go with New York by a possession and a half.
Monday Game 8:30 p.m.
Panthers (2-8, lost v. Buccs) v. Eagles (3-7, lost v. Native Americans)
Congratulations, Cam Newton–you get a real easy win this week, as the words of Coach Reid get drowned out by the firing train! The Iggles are thoroughly decimated, and I can’t see them getting any more traction. That last minute defensive coordinator change has been for naught, and even Andy seems desperate to get on that train and share a beer with Ken Wisenhunt, or maybe arrange to swap jobs with Norv Turner. Philadelphia, thanks to poor management and even poorer play, have become the unthinkable–a team that’s worse than Carolina. Expect Newton to do that stupid Superman thing about four times as the Panthers pull away by two possessions.
Thursday Night Games (Week Thirteen) 8:20 p.m.
Saints v. Falcons
This could be tough, and could go either way. But I think Atlanta is going to take this one to retain control of the number one seed by a possession.
See you next week.