“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
Ho ho! And how’s that for some serious old-style wisdom, huh? Things are indeed going to start getting weird once the seven or so football coaches who were fired last Monday stumble out into the cold light of day, forced to spend the final Sundays of football season on the couch instead of the sidelines, listening to the mundane chatter of their children and idling wild in the ruins of a once-great season. Black Monday is a bad time to be wandering the windswept streets of Chicago or Kansas City alone with people like Andy Reid and Chan Gailey roaming around free and deranged. Things will start to get very heavy, very fast in the dark alleys of winless cities as they always do at the end of another football season when the realization slowly sets in that the only question left to ask is “where were you when the fun stopped?” How weird will it get?
News reports out of Pennsylvania will start circulating a story based on numerous eyewitness accounts about an escaped, possibly rabid, oddly dressed walrus spotted loitering alone on street corners in Philadelphia. A disheveled and unwashed Reid will be mistakenly apprehended and sold to a travelling circus where they will attempt to teach him to catch and throw a ball. Though it’s not part of the act, every attempt will be intercepted.
Chan Gailey will institute an absurdly complicated and rigid system of audibles and force his family to only speak to each other using them. This will lead to a series of strange and unfortunate though altogether mundane household errors, and Gailey, convinced his system is working, will spend most of his mornings, having once again confused the signal for milk, reluctantly pouring tomato sauce on his cereal.
The first half of Smith’s 950-page anthology on the 2012 Bears season will receive unrivaled rave reviews, but critics will note that at exactly page 475 the tome seems to fall apart, lacking discipline, direction and, at times, seemingly not even familiar with the concept of football at all.
Whisenhunt will lead a relatively normal life, save his daily calls to Kurt Warner in which the confused but otherwise normal ex-coach will try to recruit the veteran QB-turned-broadcaster to play for the Arkansas Mud Badgers, a “professional” football team that doesn’t exist in a league that never will.
Like Whisenhunt, Shurmur will live a relatively normal life, aside from repeated phone calls to Brandon Weeden in which the ex-coach will never say a word, only ever breathing heavily into the receiver. Weeden, confused by the phone calls (indeed, confused by the very notion of a phone, which he refers to as the “ringing speaker box”), will do the same. Eventually, a very dull made-for-TV movie will be made about the exchange. Brandon Weeden will play himself.
To prevent any further embarrassment to the franchise and the brand, Roger Goodell gets a court order to seal the contents of Norv Turner’s playbook for a requisite 75 years, ensuring that anyone involved with the 2012 season will be long dead before any damning evidence is revealed regarding the Chargers’ seemingly endless string of bad luck. The playbook becomes something of a myth, a legend that grows with each passing year. In the year 2088 it is opened, but all it contains is a series of poorly drawn doodles and squiggly lines only somewhat resembling a football play.
The only thing worse than being fired on Black Monday after a disastrous season is being retained by the Jacksonville Jaguars for 2013.
This Week’s Lines:
Minnesota (+7.5) over Green Bay
The question here is who learned less last week. Maybe Green Bay wasn’t giving it their all but maybe not; Aaron Rodgers threw for 326 yards and at no point did it look like the Packers were just gonna lay up and take the loss. Minnesota’s pass defense fits nicely inside the top ten and have been a tough out all season against even the best teams so no one’s expecting a runaway game here.
Seattle (-3) over Washington
No amount of tom foolery on the part of Mike and Kyle Shanahan is going to undo the Seahawks solid secondary. They’ve shown you need 30 points just to hang and despite Washington’s outstanding season, they’re averaging just a bit better than 27 and are up against a league leader (by a long shot) in PPG…on both sides of the ball.
Indianapolis (+7) over Baltimore
It takes something to turn a 2-14 team around to 11-5 inside a year and usurp one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game but Andrew Luck has managed to do so. This is an Indianapolis team that has played well under pressure, rarely bowing out and between Luck, Wayne, Avery and Vick Ballard, they’ve got offensive weapons to spare. Baltimore on the other hand lives and dies on its defense which has been shaky all season. They’ll be spared relying too heavily on it if Flacco can come out his shell and throw for over 300 and 3 TDs, but that’s becoming more and more of a rarity.
Cincinnati (+4.5) over Houston
“JJ Swat” might cause a lot of problems for Andy Dalton but Andy Dalton has a lot of options. Between the 6’6” giant Jermaine Gresham, A.J. Green and the sneaky good Andrew Hawkins, the Bengals can hurt you in a whole bunch of ways and as good as Houston’s D has been, it will be their offense that will have to keep up if they want to win this game. If they do, it won’t be by more than three.
Last (Two) Weeks: 14-17-1
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