As the season winds down, we surprisingly have a lot of stories to digest that don’t have anything to do with the playoff picture. And, all of them are weird:
- Sal Alosi…So a Jets strength coach intentionally (yes, intentionally) trips a player on the other team as he’s running out of bounds on a play. But oh wait, there’s
more. Apparently Alosi ordered several Jets players to create a wall with him in order to intimidate “gunners” who run down to tackle punt returners. Does that actually work? Did they honestly expect a player who violently smashes himself into other people for a living to be scared off by three dudes in street clothes standing side-by-side? I guess Alosi realized this wall he ordered was about as daunting as a stick of gum so he took matters into his own hands and stuck his knee out. He clearly was caught and now is serving a suspension that will last the rest of the season. What’s great about all this is that after months of smack talk and singing his team’s praises since training camp, Rex Ryan is finally going to take it in the chin with this one. Yeah, like you had no idea this was happening, Rex. C’mon. You can’t run and hide now. Especially since your team is sucking.
- Favre…Ding dong! The witch is dead. Which old witch? The wicked witch! Ding dong! The Wicked Witch is dead! (That’s right: I googled the exact lyrics for you. You’re welcome.) And if Favre is the Wicked Witch, does that make Joe Webb a flying monkey that rips out the straw of every scarecrow Vikings fan?
- Metrodome…Speaking of Minnesota, how nuts was that footage of the Metrodome dome collapsing? Unreal. Now I hear that thousands of fans who already bought tickets may get screwed because TCF Bank Stadium can’t hold that many people. Can things get any worse for the Vikings fans? (someone handing me a note) Oh, I’ve just been informed that they aren’t serving alcohol. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday: snow, freezing temperatures, Joe Webb and not a drop of beer in sight. I wonder if this Vikings-Bears matchup will set the record for the most number of unique methods to smuggle booze into a sporting event. It has to.
- Tebow…Is it time? I believe I heard the oven bell ring. Yep, it’s time.
- Vick and a dog…If Michael Vick gets a dog, will PETA have to assemble a mob? When was the last time we had a good angry mob? Imagine a crowd of angry
protestors swarming Vick’s mansion. Wouldn’t this be the single most fascinating television event ever? You’re telling me you would stop watching a raid of the Vick compound to rescue that “poor” dog like Elian Gonzalez? I’d be riveted.
- McNabb benched…And we’ve finally reached a topic relevant to fantasy. McNabb being benched this late in the season is interesting for two reasons: (a) If you are in the playoffs and you were relying on McNabb, then you either made a deal with Satan or the rest of your team is simply unstoppable. Still, this move could cripple your chances, but hey, Joe Webb is available! (b) Was there any point to that extension? What on earth prompted Redskins management to make that deal when they knew full well that they had no intention of keeping him? It sounds like an intern sent a sarcastic email to Bruce Allen: “Hey boss, the numbers totally add up. Donavan McNabb is worth 5 years, $78 million; he’s still young right? LOL” and Allen thought it was funny so they decided to pull the trigger on a deal they could back out of at any time, just for kicks. Mike Shanahan really has a vice grip on that team, though, almost like Steinbrenner did with the Yankees. He’s really pinching down hard when you opt to play Rex “Yes, I Made a Super Bowl” Grossman. You know you’re headed for trouble when someone named “Rex” is involved.
Okay, enough of the bizarre NFL stories. Let’s hit the Ferrells and Fallons…
QB: Tom Brady (NE). Do I need an explanation? No? Okay good. Let’s just say this could be a performance of epic proportions by the soon-to-be MVP. For kicks, I’ll list a few fragments that may explain why he deserves to be here: Matt Flynn; foxes in boroughs; Laurence Welk; concussion grenade; Matt Flynn; Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington; mauled by lions; Matt Flynn. Okay let’s move on.
Other options: Joe Webb (MIN, why not??? Have YOU seen him play? He could be the next Vick for all we know), Matt Schaub (HOU), John Skelton (ARI, because anytime you have the miraculous opportunity that a third-string QB out of Fordham will have a decent game, you have to do it)
(Last week: Flacco vs. HOU…22-33, 235 yds, 2 TD)
RB: Peyton Hillis (CLE). Have you seen the Bengals play? They are shockingly bad. You know things aren’t going well when T.O. spouts off to the media about how
crappy his team is…and no one gets mad at him. I think everyone realizes he actually has a case this time. I live in Cincinnati, and they have what is called “Bengals Group Therapy” on ESPN Radio every Sunday after the Bengals’ (probably losing) effort. Everyone blames management there, and they’re mostly right. But we’re getting off track. The last time these two teams met, Hillis ran for 100+ and a TD. The Bengals are 24th against the run and haven’t really been a brick wall for opposing rushers the last couple of games either. They can’t stop anyone. Maybe they should call up Sal Alosi; I hear he’s looking for work.
Other options: Steven Jackson (STL; sorry Jamaal Charles, you didn’t cut it last week. We had a good run.), Darren McFadden (OAK), Jacksonville Running Backs (JAC)
(Last week: Moreno vs. ARI…19 rush, 81 yds, 1 TD, 5 rec, 32 yds)
WR: Calvin Johnson (DET). How flukey was that Lions win over the Packers? The two teams COMBINED for ten points in a major crapfest that probably bankrupted hundreds of furious gamblers out there. Don’t be fooled: this wasn’t a defensive standoff. When you have Matt Flynn and Drew Stanton under center, you know watching the game will be like watching any movie with The Rock: painful. Anyway, the Lions have an injury-plagued matchup with the Bucs this week. I like Calvin to have a monster game.
Other options: Miles Austin (DAL), Jacoby Jones (HOU), Pierre “Not So Slippery Fingers Anymore” Garcon (IND)
(Last week: Knox vs. NE…2 catch, 16 yds, fumble lost)
QB: Jimmy Clausen (CAR). Reading Bill Simmons’s weekly NFL picks column, I enjoyed the reader who mentioned that this is Jimmy’s one chance to prove to management that they don’t need to take Andrew Luck first overall in the upcoming draft. Now I know the Cardinals only have 4 wins, but don’t get too confident, Jimmy. This has serious trap potential. The Cards only have the 25th best pass defense in the NFL, mind you, and are tied for 20th in sacks.
Okay, so really you have no excuse Clausen. This is your only shot and if you don’t make it count, you’re as good as gone. Just like John Fox was five weeks ago. (someone whispering in my ear) Oh, he’s not fired yet? WHAT!?
Other candidates: Matt Flynn/Packers hopes of the playoffs (GB), Colt McCoy (CLE), David Garrard (JAC)
(Last week: McNabb vs. TB…22-35, 228 yds, 2 TD)
RB: Michael Turner (ATL). The Burner has been fantastic this year. 1,174 yards on 275 carries (4.3 avg) and 11 touchdowns, all while helping his team reach an NFL-best 11-2 record. Now to tear it all down: Turner has had (only) four bad games this year: 42 yards (@Pit), 50 yards (SF), 45 yards (@Phi), and 39 yards (Bal). Now, those are all very good run defenses; Seattle is not (20th in the NFL). But those stats show you that Turner is capable of underperforming, and the Seahawks have the ability to spontaneously uncork lighting in a bottle. I expect the Falcons to pull out the win, but I don’t think it will be as lopsided as people think. I predict Turner has less than 90 yards rushing.
Other candidates: Donald Brown (IND), Matt Forte (CHI), Rashard Mendenhall (PIT)
(Last week: Ivory vs. STL…7 rush, 47 yds)
WR: Brandon Lloyd (DEN). Last three games: 9 catches for 139 yards, 2 TDs (both coming in the first game). All I’m saying is that he isn’t the same dynamic threat he was for the first 10 games of the season. Chalk it up to the losing streak or McDaniels being fired or maybe Orton has been partying too much. Either way, Lloyd isn’t getting the ball as much. With the Mile High Messiah lurking, the deep ball may go extinct in the Broncos offense to accommodate him. We should see more runs and more short passes. Sorry, Lloyd. You had a great season anyway.
Other options: DeSean Jackson (PHI, who may get punched this week. Just saying.), Marcedes “I Spell My Name Weird” Lewis (JAC), Randy Moss’s Decaying Corpse (TEN)
(Last week: Bowe vs. SD…1 catch, 3 yds)