We took a two-week vacation. Sometimes there's more to life than football, more to life than reheated gossip and barely sober Nostradamus cribbing. We've never been one to break a sports story anyway. And sometimes the boy just accidently signs up for XBOX Live.
Did we miss anything?
Atlanta lost, but they're still Atlanta so we're forced to believe the national narrative revolves around Tim Tebow. The Giants are tanking, but a well-timed bye week means they'll probably wind up winning the Super Bowl and I'll be found in the corner of some bar drowning in student loan debt and a nice mélange of my own urine and unmet expectations.
At least the Jets are a nonstop laugh track.
How's your team? Still breathing? Oh, your quarterback has been concussed. I don't know if I'd go out on a limb and call Jay Cutler a quarterback. I mean to say, I wouldn't want to call him my quarterback.
Sometimes I have this dream where I'm at a Papa John's and Jerry Jones and Peyton Manning walk in. Peyton actually walks in before Jerry. He's chasing Peyton, reaching out to grab his arm. Peyton gets to the counter and looks around for help. We make eye contact, but I'm paralyzed and have been rendered mute in the way one is in dreams. Jerry pulls out a checkbook and pats Peyton on the back. A delivery driver enters and walks past all of us. A girl answers the phone. “Yes, they're here,” she says. Jerry positions himself so his back is to me and obscures most of my view of Peyton. I can still see his eyes, though. He looks at me for help. He mouths the word “help.” Someone from the back approaches the counter holding a stack of pizzas. He sets the pizzas down and steps to the side revealing himself. “John!” Peyton shouts. “John,” Jerry says calmly. John ignores Peyton and shakes Jerry's hand. He retrieves an iron brand from below the counter, its star-shaped end glowing with heat. “I'm sorry, Peyton,” says John, and Jerry folds the signed check and puts it in Peyton's breast pocket. He taps it flat and says, “See, my boy, it's already done.”
I'm not sure what to make of it. It's Week 11, though, and by my watch it's still early. Line your parka with as many cans as you're able, stadium beer is expensive. Do you have any money left? Get ready to double it.
Miami at Buffalo
“I'm just happy everyone saw what the Bills are all about,” defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said. “We're not no pushover. We're a whole 'nother team.” Do we tell him the game only aired on the NFL Network?
Arizona at Atlanta
At one point, professionals – people actually paid to fart on television about a child's sport – told us to watch out for the NFC West. “Watch out,” they said. The sample size, however, was much too small. The easy thought here is that Atlanta bounces back after their first loss and punishes Arizona for simply being on their schedule. I almost want to pick Arizona, but that's only to be a contrarian, and the Cards will fold if it's close at the end. Falcons by 18
Cleveland at Dallas
The big engine that really just doesn't want to. Dallas has walked away from several victories this season, and now they've been given the easiest remaining schedule. Too bad they have to play so many home games. Cowboys by 67
Green Bay at Detroit
“Is this the week Detroit gets back on track?” asks someone for the thirty-seventh consecutive week. Green Bay by 3
Cincinnati at Kansas City
Does Cincinnati have a hangover after destroying the Giants? Or do they remember they're playing the Chiefs? Bengals by 21
Philadelphia at Washington
The Skins are looking toward the future with, more or less, a plan. The Eagles are looking toward the future and shitting themselves with no plan and a kid playing quarterback that looks like he should be starting for the Little Giants. We should note, though, first throw last week beaned a receiver in the head. Even if the receiver wasn't looking, it was on target. This is going to be a sad game. Washington by 8
Tampa Bay at Carolina
It's not that Tampa Bay is that bad, I'm just slowly realizing that Malcolm Gladwell small market stays small market thing. I've been conditioned to not care at all. Bucs by 3
Jacksonville at Houston
Yeah, right. Houston by 31
NY Jets at St. Louis
The locker room is fractured. The coach is leaving at the end of the season to do a Chris Christie biopic. What we talk about when we talk about Tebow. I hate sports. St. Louis by 13
New Orleans at Oakland
Raiders by 300
San Diego at Denver
Oh hell, I didn't realize Peyton was in the same division as Philip Rivers now. Give us an encore Peyton. Broncos by 11
Indianapolis at New England
Luck has been conscripted into this rivalry. The kid is obviously talented, and brought the Colts along for a better record than many thought possible after they torched the barn last season. It's just not time, yet. Small steps, young blood. Pats by 10
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Big Ben is out, so the Steelers will start Byron Leftwich and his chubby-kid-Gucci Mane face. This makes the Steelers only slightly more tolerable. Ravens by 29
Chicago at San Francisco
Two defensive juggernauts. Smash-mouth, old school football. How the game was meant to be played. Give me some more platitudes. Is Alex Smith still seeing spots? What about Jason Campbell? This week it's all shout-outs to the quarterbacks that never were. Bears by 3
Year-end Predictions, take heed:
AFC Champs – Houston Texans
NFC Champs – Dallas Cowboys
Super Bowl Champs – Dallas Cowboys
Season MVP – Tony Romo
Offensive Player of the Year – Adrian Peterson
Defensive Player of the Year – J.J. Watt
Rookie of the Year – RGIII