FFF: Week Sex, Oops, I Mean Six

(Welcome to Footyballs. If you’re new here, this is how it works. First off, it’s all and only about the NFL, aka the Niffle. Every week I write a “Monday Wrap-Up” column, and a “Four-For-Friday” column in which I choose four upcoming games to analyze and predict. In between Monday and Friday I write an in-depth column or two on something else: a player, a current Niffle issue, an aspect of the game. My focus is on how narratives affect outcomes. And also, just to spread the joy of football, because football is super-rad and I love it. You can follow me on Twitter as well. Go Broncos.)

What up, Footyballs Nation. Welcome to this week’s Four For Friday. Didja see last night’s game? Footyballs missed most of it, unfortunately, since I was busy having mediocre jambalaya at a restaurant with the ‘rents. I knew that ordering jambalaya at a brewpub in a small-ish town in Colorado, was probably not the right call, but I was really hungry and the whole menu was kind of blurring together, which is generally the classic situation for a mis-order. Oh well, at least there’s something appropriate in ordering mediocre jambalaya on the night of a Taints game. Sure, yeah, New Orleans won, but that’s because they needed to win waaay more than the Falcons did, and c’mon, it was time for Atlanta to stop being undefeated anyways. But make no mistake, New Orleans will continue to be the Taints all year long: if you press it just right it will hit the g-spot, but mostly it’s just a piece of skin between two of the least-good-smelling parts of the body. Anyways, on to this week’s picks!

**Carolina vs. Seattle** (CenturyLink Field)

Remember Bagheera, from the Jungle Book? One of many cool panthers from history. The last time these two teams played each other was in the divisional round a year ago, and Footyballs picked Carolina. Which, was a bad pick, a pick I made because I wanted Le Hawks of the Sea to lose, which is of course a major no-no when trying to successfully predict the outcome of a football game. So, am I making that mistake again this time? The game is being played in Seattle — same as last year — and the Hawks never lose in Seattle, right? Hm, I’m stroking my chin, hm, hm. Well, here’s the deal. Yeah, Seattle started slow last year, as well, before obviously righting the ship, and barely losing the S-Bowl. Which, most people see that as Pete Carroll brain-farting, but my friend proposed to me a different theory, namely that Peter Pumpkin-Eater was trying to put some extra mustard on things by using the Pats’ own patented, sneaky pick-and-slant business to score that game-winning td. Which, y’know, you should really just try and win Super Bowls, as opposed to trying to also dig your elbow into your opponent’s eye while doing so. My point is that hubris leads to downfalls, as we all learned in Game of Thrones when The Mountain watermeloned the Red Viper’s head, yikes. Meanwhile, also, the main reason why Le Hawks of the Sea managed to S-Bowl back-to-back, is because they had a very good starting quab who they were paying a 3rd-round rookie’s salary. Which means you have a lot of money to spend on other players. And guess what? Russell Wilson has a big fat contract now, doesn’t he. Which he deserves, because Jesus loves him so much. Yeah. Once again, Footyballs is going geekly for no-longer-concussed-Kuechly. Panthers 23, Seahawks 19.

**Jets vs. Redskins** (MetLife Stadium)

Check it out, there’s actually a jet with “Jets” on it. Do you want to fly on that jet? If you were at the airport waiting to fly, and you looked out the window and that was the plane you were about to get on, would you get on it? Last year, no way. But this year, yeah, Footyballs would say sure. Sure, I’ll get on the special Jets plane. Also because jets are sweet in general, especially when you are in one upside-down so you can flip off a stupid commie in his Mig. You can be my wingman any time.

Todd Bowles was a super-great coaching hire, a way to finally break the curse of the buttfumble. Which, in a weird way, Brandon Marshall’s self-proclaimed “worst play in NFL history”, that hilarious lateral-thing he tried a couple weeks ago, also sort of buttfumble curse-broke, you know what I mean? Think about it, it makes sense, I promise. In this battle of should-be-backup quabs, Fitzpatrick trumps Cousins. Mainly because the Jets have no choice, but the Redskins could, actually, be playing RG Threepio, who instead is sitting on their bench looking like a zombie. A very highly-paid zombie, as well. It just doesn’t make any sense, and is indicative of a team that will fight to get into overtime against an undefeated Falcons team, on the road, and then quickly throw a game-ending pick-six. In other words, a sad team that is not good. Too much weird voodoo in Washing-town. Jets 31, Redskins 16.

**Steelers vs. Cardinals** (Heinz Field)

Watching Michael Vick throw footballs is one of Footyballs’ favorite things. Right up there with warm woolen mittens, raindrops on roses, etc. It’s just so laser-ey, a real kind of motion-poetry. There are two ways to look at last week’s road win over the Chargers. One, is that he threw a couple balls that very easily could’ve gone back the other way, more or less into Charger-arms. Which, could be read as a function of Vick being careless, or as a product of lack of coordination with receivers who are all used to being Roesthlisberger targets. Either way, shaky, and indicative of a problem. But as Vick said post-game, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, which is a consummate Niffle truth. The most important thing that Footyballs saw was not the almost-picks, but Vick’s rushing stats, 1 carry for 24 yards. That carry was on the game-winning drive, but the notable thing is that it was his only carry on the day. Meaning he waited and waited and waited, which is not how the old Michael Vick went about his business. And when he did finally go, it was through a Moses-red-sea style hole, because the Chargers had fallen asleep on the fact they were playing against Michael Vick. The other thing about this game, is that I think Bruce Arians has a weakness, which is that he is a little too ornery about holding a beef; which, he has one against the Steelers, from when they fired him a couple years back. It’s the sort of thing that could be chip-on-shoulder, motivational, but also has a possible backfire component, in that it can mislead and re-direct focus. In the end, as well, this is a home game for the Steelers, and they need to keep pace with the Bengals; while meanwhile the Cardinals are obviously on top of the NFC West. Steelers 27, Cards 22.

**Packers vs. Chargers** (Lambeau Field)

Dang, lightning is crazy. Tornadoes, volcanoes and earthquakes are all obviously intense and badass, but lightning wins. Which is why the Chargers have a lightning on their helmet. You know who else understood that lightning is in charge (oh man, that pun wasn’t actually intended, no seriously): Elvis Presley.

That’s his personal logo. It stands for “Takin’ Care of Business…in a flash”. Which you would know, if you had gone to Graceland as Footyballs once did. You would also have seen the “jungle room”, which is covered with green shag carpeting, floor walls and ceiling. And you would’ve heard about how Elvis and the boys used to ride around on 4-wheelers and shoot things. Pay homage to the King. Lost in the story of last week’s Steelers comeback win, was that Philip Rivers, bless his dippy lil heart, did as good a quabbing job as I’ve ever seen in the 4th quarter, leading two td-drives like he’d been elected as mayor of Audible City. None of San Diego’s losses are that bad, really. And on the flipside, none of Green Bay’s victories are that impressive. My point is that what we have here is Footyballs’ weekly upset special. The Chargers are a) not crappy, and b) somewhat desperate. Meanwhile Green Bay is 5–0, and while not a team to rest on its laurels, they are heading into the bye next week, and playing Denver and Carolina back-to-back after that, and just maybe they won’t be paying quite as much attention to this home game with the 2–3 Chargers. San Diego, somewhat like Baltimore, has schizophrenic voodoo power at times. Footyballs predicts Danny Woodhead will run through Clay Matthews’ legs for the winning touchdown. Chargers 30, Packers 26.

And finally, in case you forgot, since Footyballs hasn’t mentioned it much this year: I love Demaryius Thomas! Have a great Football Day everyone. Sweet sweetness.