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What I Want from the NFL in 2013

By Harry Cheadle

First of all, I want football to continue to happen and not cease to exist because the world has been devastated by disease/war/starvation/robots and we no longer care about frivolous things like what large men do with an oddly shaped ball.

Then I want the Seahawks to end up playing the Packers for the NFC title. The Seahawks have beaten their last three opponents by a score of 160-some much smaller number, and the Packers are 9-1 in their past ten games. Wouldn’t that game be fun? Doesn’t that sound fun, watching that game? Lambeau Field! Cold-weather football! That’s just how you win football games in the NFL ! One for the Gipper! Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth! Etc.

I want ESPN and the rest of the mainstream sports media to mention FootballOutsiders and their DVOA stat more often, then I want other mainstream sports people to argue about egghead bloggers and so on because those “debates” are always enjoyable.

I want all the good young quarterbacks who came out this year to continue being good and healthy. I dream of a world where all 32 teams have competent quarterbacks and we don’t get any games where Matt Leinart and Chad Henne are competing for the league lead in Balls Thrown Behind the Receiver.

I want Tim Tebow to be happy. He’s a nice guy and he doesn’t deserve all this.

I want cities to stop paying NFL teams millions of dollars so they don’t leave, as Buffalo just did.

I want this concussion shit to be over—I don’t know how you fix the situation when even apparently legal hits can cause concussions. Maybe you just ban football? But then there’d be no football! Maybe you just say that the players are grown men who decide to play a sport despite knowing they could become brain-damaged as a result? I’d like a less depressing answer than that, somehow. Please.

Then I want the following playoff scenario to play out:

NFC
Seattle beats Washington, San Francisco beats Minnesota
Green Bay beats San Francisco, Seattle beats Atlanta
Green Bay beats Seattle

AFC
Baltimore beats Indianapolis, New England beats Cincinnati
Houston beats Baltimore, Denver beats New England
Denver beats Houston

Denver beats Green Bay in the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers make out at midfield as confetti rains down and the crowd cheers. Tolerance comes to America at last.

 

THE GAMES

New York Jets (+3.5) at Buffalo
Tim Tebow was an unnecessary distraction on the Jets, his teammates anonymously attacked him in the press, and he didn’t contribute anything on the field. But on the other hand, he may go to Jacksonville now, so… hmm, that’s not really an upside, is it? I guess the Lord’s not through testing Timmy’s faith.
PICK: Buffalo

Baltimore (+2.5) at Cincinnati
Of course the Bengals got into the playoffs last week thanks to an unwatchable 13-10 win over the Steelers in which they didn’t score an offensive touchdown. I look forward to stuffing dirty socks in my mouth in an attempt to reach orgasm instead of watching the Bengals play this postseason. I hate the AFC North.
PICK: Baltimore

Cleveland at Pittsburgh (no line)
Speaking of the AFC North, this game between teams who have missed the playoffs reminds me of something… what could it be… oh, yes, the inexorable passage of time and the approach of all our deaths.
PICK: [cries softly to self]

Houston (-7) at Indianapolis
The only interesting thing about this game is that if J.J. Watt gets more than two sacks, he’ll break Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record. This is exciting because if he does, we can look forward to such fascinating articles as “Is Sack Master J.J. Watt the Best Defensive Player of All Time?” and “How Good Is J.J. Watt, the Guy who Broke the Sack Record?” and “J.J. Watt Sack Record SEO Optimization Travel Vacation Cheap Defensive NFL.”
PICK: Houston

Carolina (+5) at New Orleans
Both of these teams have fun-to-watch offenses and have had late-season success long after they were out of playoff contention. So it could maybe be good and I’ll probably watch it because Drew Brees and Cam Newton trading touchdowns is fucking great television, even when the game is "meaningless." I’ll miss you, football.
PICK: Carolina

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (no line)
Atlanta doesn’t have anything to play for because they’ve got the first seed in the playoffs wrapped up, and Tampa Bay doesn’t have anything to play for because, well, they’re Tampa Bay. Instead of watching this game, why not get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to finally clean out the garage?
PICK: [hums tunelessly while going through a drawer full of hammers and old mayo jars]

Jacksonville (+4) at Tennessee
Via @cjzero, here’s Jacksonville’s season in .gif form:

PICK: Tennessee

Philadelphia (+7.5) at New York Giants
This season, the New York Giants have been like your erratic cousin Eric. One minute they’re blowing out the Saints and Packers, the next they’re not even competitive in games with the Falcons and the Ravens—just like Eric, who went on that bender and stole that car just a week after finally making shift supervisor at Applebee’s. How’s Eric doing these days, anyway? You should ask your mom about him.
PICK: Philadelphia

Chicago (-3) at Detroit
I know the Lions aren’t very good and don’t match up particularly well with the Bears, but I think about Jay Cutler and I can’t picture him doing enough to get his team into the playoffs. Oh Jay, football hasn’t been good to you lately, has it?

PICK: Detroit

Green Bay (-3) at Minnesota
I just realized I have all of the teams fighting for the sixth seed (the Giants, Bears, Cowboys, and Vikings) all losing this week, which would leave the Vikings and Bears tied at 9-7 for the final playoff spot—I think that means the Vikings make it in thanks to their record in divisional games. What an exciting way to determine who advances to the playoffs!  
PICK: Green Bay

Miami (+10) at New England
Oh look, the Dolphins may be considering changingtheir logo to better reflect their boring brand of let’s-just-send-our-running-back-into-the-line-over-and-over football:

PICK: New England

Kansas City (+16) at Denver
No one cares about the Pro Bowl selections but it’s sort of odd that the Chiefs, holders of a 2-13 record, had five guys picked for the NFL’s supposed all-star game. Not odd as in “These other five guys got their spots stolen by UNWORTHY CHEIFS SCUM! I’m going to WRITE SOMETHING ON THE INTERNET ABOUT IT!” It’s more like, “If those guys were actually good, talented players, how bad were the rest of the players and coaches?” You can find the bad in every good story about the Chiefs.
PICK: Denver

Oakland at San Diego (no line)
I don’t want to think about this game, because those negative Norv Turner vibes are going to bring me down, and I’ve been spending the holiday week focusing on a can’t-miss scheme that’s going to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams! So long, suckers!
PICK: [Finishes business plan for store selling “sweet bagels,” realizes he is just talking about donuts, goes on long walk]

Arizona (+16.5) at San Francisco
This line seems high to me, but that’s probably because I’m a moron. San Francisco could easily beat Cardinals and their current quarterback, E-Z Bake Oven McGee, by 45 points. Here’s a sad picture of a dead cardinal:

PICK: Arizona

St. Louis (+11) at Seattle
I’m in Seattle, where I grew up, this week, and after the Seahawks blew out the 49ers on Sunday, the whole town underwent a surge of confidence. People are talking about the Super Bowl even though the team is probably going to have to play all of its playoff games on the road. You know that strutting, cocky attitude you got the first time you had really good sex? The whole town is like that right now.
PICK: Seattle

Dallas (+3) at Washington
If you’re into learning about how the tactics of the read-option and the pistol formation are spreading throughout the NFL thanks to the Redskins and Robert Griffin III, this article by Chris B. Brown at SB Nation will tell you all you need to know. If you aren’t into that stuff—or diagrams of blocking schemes—I’m afraid this relationship isn’t going to work out. The physical attraction is there, but it’s like you just aren’t listening when I talk to you about cutback lanes, even when I use the whiteboard to demonstrate them.
PICK: Washington

@HCheadle

Previous week’s record: 11-4-1

Overall record: 129-100-11

Previously: The NFL Is Terrible This Week

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