First of all, does anybody notice a flaw in how we have the seasons set up. No, not the football seasons. I mean the calendar seasons. We are still days away from winter. Really? Somebody please break the news to my wrecked snow-shovel.
And of course I have been watching the television weather forecasters, with all their expensive technology, trying to predict snow-fall amounts. And even with all the technology at their disposal, they still get it wrong. They have underestimated every snowfall here locally. They say 1-3” we get 4”. They say 2-4” we get 8.” But they have it easy compared to football forecasters.
Oh, they have some similar traits. Each working with a set of constants and variables. Each telling you what they think should happen within reasonable expectation. In times like these, what we call “late fall,” forecasting either can be a tricky proposition.
In the summertime we all have a handle on things. The weatherman has a stagnant air mass. 90 today. 90 tomorrow. 90 the next day. Ho hum. Much like we fantasy forecasters have it all figured out before the season starts. It’s all nice and tidy right there on our cheat sheets. Smooth sailing.
But as hard as it is to lasso Mother Nature, wrapping your hands around what is happening in the NFL is far more futile a task.
I give up. I’m serious. I used to know where I stood in life. And football has always been a part of my life. I used to have some reasonable footing. Right now the only thing you can really depend on is the Cowboys choking. Everything else is up for grabs.
Oh, okay. There are a FEW things we know. We know Seattle is going to be hard to beat in Seattle. But if you try to sell me that the 49ers couldn’t come in there and yank it from them, I’m not buying. And besides, even if the Seahawks make the Super Bowl, they’ll probably lose the game on a phantom push-off or some such nonsense.
We know that the Saints are going to be hard to beat in New Orleans. But is a team that got wrecked by the Rams really a threat? Meh.
The Broncos are big and bad. Except they got jacked by a sub .500 Chargers team on national TV. A good stiff cross-wind could doom their post-season at any point. Sorry Peyton. It is true.
Oh, now the Chiefs have an offense. Uh Oh. Their defense has been getting torched. They are going to need a few more 5 TD games from Charles along the way. And even if he plays Superman, and replicates his statistical monstrosity, the Chiefs will still lose their first playoff game, probably due to a missed 35 yard field goal with time expiring Trust me on this one.
This may be a good time to pause, and congratulate all you Charles owners out there. He was a bargain wherever you drafted him, because he rarely let you down during the season, and he saved his best for the playoffs. The perfect fantasy pick. And I kind of hate myself for not making it. Especially being a Chiefs fan. Unforgivable really.
In any case, the randomness in the NFL, even from half to half is just mystifying to me. I came into this season thinking it was going to be like every other season. I didn’t realize it was going to be a hazy, trippy Hunter S Thompson novel. I have freaking vertigo right now. And a tremendous hangover.
Matt Cassel. Come on man. Run out of KC, and I will never forget the feeling of relief. Never having to look at that Herman Munster face again. Third stringer for the Vikings. Buried. Revived. Absolutely unstoppable against the Eagles with a practice squad running back flanking him. I had to ask the wife if she put any kind of funny looking mushrooms in the omelets Sunday morning.
My mouth got dry from hanging open all day, witnessing one baffling event after another.
I think I speak for most men when I say, I need a certain level of order in my life. I can’t live in total chaos. Parity has facilitated chaos. Congratulations NFL. I have no idea what I am watching right now.
I did an experiment in my mind Sunday. Scary indeed, but I am a brave soul. Sunday morning I looked at my Toilet Bowl team lineup in certain disgust, and thought to myself, “Ya know, dumbass, maybe you should roll with this chaos crap. You have been relying way too much on expert analysis and reasonable thought. What you should do is bench Stevie Johnson, and maybe Andre Brown, and stick in the two most unlikely candidates on your bench.” Those candidates were Robert Woods and Tim Wright.
Of course, I didn’t do it. Because being in 497th place and well out of contention, it seemed kind of pointless to start trying to do the right thing now. But yeah, that would have been the move. I think I am onto something.
So anyway, here is what I have decided. Despite the chaos, the randomness, the outright ridiculousness, I am going to continue to play fantasy football. However, in the future I will go against every instinct I have gained over the last 25 years in the hobby. Every convention is out the window. It’s the old, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em bit. I will simply slip into the same level of madness I witness every week in the ping pong ball tumbler that is the NFL.
Because as Seinfeld put it, if every instinct you have is wrong, the opposite must be right. I predict this will become all the rage in drafting and weekly lineups in the future. I am currently planning a course of attack in the next draft going QB/D/K/TE/WR/RB. You go ahead laugh now. I will revolutionize the hobby with this scheme. Statues will be built. Everything about it seems horribly wrong, so I’m pretty sure this is my path from this purgatory.
Oh, and get ready for your Packers/Ravens Super Bowl. Yeah, that sounds about stupid. It’s a lock.
Scoring is up, but it isn’t all about offensive production. I’m too damn lazy to look it up but I would be willing to bet penalty yardage records are being shattered. And a big part of it is pass interference penalties.
Here is what the ESPN phenomena has spawned. Nobody wants to take a chance on getting burned on a long pass. Defenders would rather take a chance on a penalty, than be shown getting burned 350 times on ESPN networks come Monday. They rarely show interference penalties, unless controversial, so that is a safe refuge for would be burn victims.
And the same logic applies to bad form defending passes, going for an interception instead of knocking the ball down. ESPN doesn’t show swatting down a pass. They show interceptions. They do show missed tackles en route to long touchdown plays. Can’t really hide from those. And they are everywhere. Like bad driving Christmas shoppers. Only 9 more days until I can drive more than a block without blowing a vessel.
Now if I can just resist entering post-season leagues loaded up with Ravens and Packers, the old blood pressure should ease on back down and level out like a stagnant summer weather pattern. That is my forecast.
10) Jaguars: Let’s face it. You probably over-achieved this season. And how sad is that?
9) Raiders: You are nothing but a silver and black skid mark on Jamaal Charles underwear after he chewed you up and …well, you know. I have to admit, as a Chiefs fan, I find it difficult to summon much hatred for the Raiders these days. Pity sure. I hate to see any of God’s creatures suffer. Such as anybody for instance that played against the Jamaal Charles team. Talk about a torture filled Sunday afternoon. Now those poor bastards definitely hate you right now. Oh yeah, they be hating on you real good.
8) Eagles: A practice squad running back gashed you, and Matt Cassel led the Vikings to 13 third down conversions. And you are the best team in your division. Location, location, location.
7) Vikings: Let’s not get too excited, you went 2-2 against the NFC East and managed to win only 4 games total, despite averaging 24 + points a game. And now you have Cassel baiting you for a contract and a starting gig. I remember when he did that to Kansas City. Good times. Good times. I’ll go ahead and save you a place for next year.
6) Browns: I still can’t get over how the Browns got over on the Colts with the Trent Richardson trade. I mean, they were a 4 win team with him or without him. And he did nothing for the Colts except elevate the status of Donald Brown. That bold daylight robbery was the only bright spot. And let’s face it, there is still a good chance you blow that draft pick come May. I don’t think there are any 30 year old rookie QB’s coming out, but I’m sure you’ll find something nicer than you have. I mean, you have to be right eventually I suppose. So there is that.
5) Cowboys: There is only one team in the NFL that could have choked that game away. But then again, most teams understand the value of running the ball and eating clock when confronted with a huge lead. Especially teams with legendarily horrific defenses. But not these Cowboys. It‘s all about the show baby. Dez stormed off early, disgusted with his lot in life no doubt. Hey Dez, you need to pretend like you aren’t embarrassed to be seen in public with these clowns. We understand it sucks to be one of the few that actually give a damn, but that is your typical American workplace. And you are well compensated to contend with the Boys brand of incompetence. You need to suck it up until the day you can ditch these losers. They know they suck. Your histrionics won’t make them suck any less. But you might doom yourself to an only slightly less offensive organization like the Lions or the Bengals.
4) Falcons: Yeah, it was kind of like when Lisa Simpson pretended she was a boy, and attempted to gain street cred by punching out Ralphie. But at least it is clear you aren’t a bunch of quitters like the Giants. So much like the bride standing next to her heavily insured cheating husband on the edge of a cliff, we give you a little bump.
3) Giants: Eli Manning threw 5 interceptions. That’s what the stat sheet will show. The reality was Manning threw 5 passes his receivers were too lazy to fight for. Here‘s hoping Hakeem Nicks agent is more tenacious than his client when free agency hits. He certainly will need to be. This year’s “Tin Man” award (no heart) goes to the boys in blue.
2) Redskins: Well, at least they resembled a football team. And Shanahan says he wants to stick around. Of course, he will probably want to ship RGIII to any team with draft picks burning a hole in their pockets. So I wonder who RGIII err, Snyder will hire next?
1) Texans: The Kubiak firing offered no “dead cat” bounce. Flat-line baby. This week the Texans are a 10 ½ point underdog at home against the Broncos. Merry Christmas, right? Wrong. This is the NFL. Somehow, some way, this team will cover the spread at home. Why? Because my instincts tell me there is no way in hell it should happen.