THIS WEEK: 6-0
A perfect 6-0 week for the picks! The ISIS now have 6 wins! A touchdown is worth 6 points! The power of the dark one, Satan, Beelzebub, The Prince Of Evil is strong with this one. Out! I command thee!
ISIS 98.4 - THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 91.8
I was extremely worried going into the Monday Night game. Mark Ingram had been stopped at the 1 two times on a 1st and goal possession for the Saints, Randall Cobb had a ball in his hand in the end zone but didn't haul it in, Calvin dropped a few passes, and the Eagles went for a meaningless 4th and goal touchdown at the end of their game instead of a meaningless field goal which would've been very meaningful for my goal of cracking the century mark.
It was extremely conceivable that Brown and Bryant could combine for 23 points with a couple of touchdowns. Hell, Brown could cover 23 points by himself. So I decided to take PIT -6 in my betting pool just for some karmic balance. I figured if those dudes went off, then at least I would be happy win the betting pool. And if the Steelers couldn't cover 6, then Brown and Bryant probably weren't doing too much.
Two Bryant drops in the end zone (which even out the problems I referenced above) and one second half benching later, and I was over .500 for the first time since Week 1. And, more importantly, officially in the playoff picture, as tenuous as that may be with 3 games remaining.
Not to say this game wasn't without drama. I watched Bri get out to a 20-point lead, cursing Dalton and AJ Green for a splendid fucking of my week. I began looking forward to cutting AJ next August just for the spite of it all. Because he clearly was not a top-tier receiving option. And then the Bengals had one single AJ drive. 80 yards for AJ and a TD, and I was within 5 at 50-45. Then Cam and Brandon went off a bit and I was back down 20 before I even knew what was happening.
Before the late games kicked off, I emailed Bri that I figured Parkey, Cobb, Lacy, and Calvin needed to average 15 points per. That I needed to get up to about 110 to be safe from Brown and Bryant. They didn't, but I didn't. Eddie Lacy's monstrous TD, through a swarm of hapless Eagles defenders, was the play that sealed the win for me. It was wonderful. I was in the other room when it happened. An entire day of watching every moments, and I missed the most crucial play of the whole week. Nice work.
But don't fret for Bri. Seeing as how he is in the AFFL's NFC South, his 5-6 record keeps his playoff dinner warm. Hell, seeing as how he is playing the hapless Albert this week, and Gary is playing the ever dangerous Riggins' Riggs, Bri could be leading the division by next Monday.
LITTLE BABY JESUS 96.3 - LOTHBROK 64.8
The least evenly scoring team in the league strikes again. Only 64.8 points for Lothbrok this week in an extremely sorry showing. It's almost like the incredible seasons from Luck and Julius Thomas have been covering up the significant deficiencies in Gary's lineup all season and a below average week from those two can submarine his whole game.
Jeremy Hill had another great game with 16.5 points, but Gio is returning next week, and so Hill's is about to turn into Mohammed Sanu. Sanu was great with AJ out, but he has 4.3 total points in the last two weeks. Hill probably won't have such a drastic dropoff, but his glory days are over.
In fact, I'm going to call it right now. LOTHBROK IS GOING TO MISS THE PLAYOFFS. That's right, you heard me. Division leaders today, out of the playoffs tomorrow. Not literally tomorrow, like in 14 tomorrows. You get that idea.
Please do not tell Chris that Mike Evans had 32.9 points this week. And if you do tell him that for some cruel reason, please do not remind Chris that he cut Mike Evans by Week 4, even though this is a dynasty league.
Rodgers, Evans, and Gronk alone posted enough points to win this game, with 72.5 for that trio. Only atypically bad games from Watkins, Ellington, and DeSean kept Jesus from really ringing the bell in this game. Jesus now leads their division - a division that I predicted them to win in the Season Preview! - with a league-leading 8-3 record. Bully for them. It's hard to even remember when they started off the season scoring 40.7, 65.4, and 57.4 points.
Folks, this just in. I'm being told that Cordarelle Patterson will be available for a first round pick at next year's draft, even though nobody would actually use a first rounder to take Patterson, even if he didn't have 2 years left on his contract.
SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 83.3 - ASSTANNER 50.1
Although the Albert family had a hat trick of losses this week, I do have to point out that months back I predicted they would have 15 wins total as a clan, and they currently sit at 16 wins. Since Gary plays Chris one more time in a division matchup, that's a guaranteed 17 family wins. Doesn't my prediction look so foolish!
So anyway, Chris got housed this week despite a pretty strong game from Jordan Matthews. Rookie QB Derek Carr only scored 4.7, and even if Chris played rookie QB Zach Mettenberger instead, like he should've done against a banged up and terrible Steelers defense, the extra 10 points wouldn't have mattered. Dan Bailey scored 0 points since he was on a bye and all, but that doesn't mean he was the worst performing Tanner. That would actually be the Eagles DST, which posted a robust -2.
T.Y Hilton and Brandon LaFell somehow combined for only 8.6 points, even though they played in a 42-20 shootout. And Shady...he is basically just a big problem this year.
Peyton had his worst game of 2014, but it didn't hurt Tim at all. Partially because he got to play Chris this week, partially because the rest of the Sea Monsters stepped up and contributed. Tre Mason even scored 11 points! Michael Floyd, who Timmy would not include as part of a package for Calvin Johnson earlier this year had 17.4 points on the bench while Fitz only had 3.3 in the starting lineup, but that didn't hurt Timmy either.
By the way, the one thing we definitely do know about Peyton Manning is that he wilts under pressure, but he will carve you up if you just sit back and try to cover. So why don't teams just blitz him constantly? If you don't, he definitely will put up points on you. But if you blitz all game long, yeah, he might beat you, but your chances of stopping him and winning the game are much, much greater.
This was a big win for Tim, giving him a fighting chance at the final Wild Card spot. Such a shame that I'm going to absolutely nuke his season next week.
ANIMAL HOUSE 108.5 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 73.8
I predicted that this game would finish 100-73. Excellent job by me!
Remember early in the season, when Runny was getting fat and happy on inferior competition? They've faced 210 points in their last two weeks and have lost four straight. I guess the luck does balance out eventually!
Speaking of the universe balancing things out, Brian Barker informed us that he asked his wife to pray for a Tom Brady injury Sunday night. Although Brady only scored 12.5 points because Jonas Gray was hogging all of the touchdowns, Ahmad Bradshaw broke his ankle and only scored 1.1 points for Runny.
A quick list.
Believing In The Power Of Prayer - This is acceptable. Billons of people around the world share this belief, though their long distance providers vary.
Agreeing To Pray That Another Human Being Will Be Hurt - Well...this has fallen out of favor somewhat since the 1800s, but is probably still pretty common among Italians. Borderline acceptability.
Watching Your Own Player Get Hurt Instead - Amazing. We can only assume God was distracted by somebody else praying for food so they could continue living and misheard Christy's initial request. This is the source of like 75% of all ancient literature. The rest is sex stuff.
Anyway, Runny is out of the playoffs. Let's worry about them no longer.
As for Animal House, they are the yin to Chris' yang. The Garfunkel to his Oates. The healthy vegan alternative to Chris' Taco Bell. The point is, he makes way less moves and is way more patient with his team and look at it paying off. 28 points for LeVeon Bell. 28 points for Jamaal Charles. 13 points for Roddy White, slowly returning from the dead.
And even when something goes wrong for Animal House, it goes right. Ben Tate was waived by the Browns this morning, which means Animal House's own Terrance West could be in line for more carries. Plus, the desperate Colts might take a flyer on Tate since the last Cleveland running back they landed is so shitty they don't want to have to play him. Animal House is going into the stretch run with Bell, Charles, Ryan Mathews back from injury, and some sort of boost for West or Tate or both. Plus Maclin, plus Brady (really, Gronk).
This team is absolutely stacked, and I can't wait until Scott beats them 71-69 in the first round of the playoffs.
RIGGINS' RIGGS 66.2 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 59.3
Winning with only 66 points probably evens out all of the other Barker's luck for the year as well. This family is really leveling out nicely! With a big win against Gary coming up this week, RR could get back to 5-7 and have a real shot at winning the division during the big double week. Especially with Josh Gordon returning to the fold. Let's just hope that Mark Sanchez keeps his job and his health for the rest of the season, since he's the only QB Riggins is carrying on the roster.
With Phil Rivers allegedly playing through a severe rib injury, getting Royal and Gates out of the lineup in favor of Dez and Gordon is certainly going to PowerStack(tm) this lineup.
The Rippers have lost 8 straight, and both Sanders and Cooks were knocked out of their games this week with injuries. Cooks will definitely miss time, and Sanders probably should if the league's concussion protocol has any merit, which it probably doesn't. The replacement options on the bench include Carlos Hyde (backup), Lorenzo Taliaferro (backup), Zac Stacy (benched), and Marques Colston (old and no longer good). Let's go ahead and call it 9 straight losses while we're here.
HGAC 66.9 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 59.5
Well, as I predicted, it was Scott's turn to lose to a team that didn't score a lot of points. Only scoring 59.5 points is an extremely bad look for a team with a 7-3 record, but keep in mind that is only Scott's THIRD worst score of the season. He's actually been lower than 59.5 twice before.
Sankey and Wright made some brief noises about leading the comeback for Scott in this one, but then the Titans decided to get away from Sankey, and Wright dropped a key 3rd pass (it was behind him, but still), and that was that. At Thanksgiving next week, Gary and Scott can hold a family-wide vote to determine if Wright or Patterson's 3-year contract is the worse signing. I look forward to hearing the results of that informal straw poll.
By the way, allow me to take a second to again that Scott has Justin Blackmon on his roster. Not only that, he signed him to a 2-yr contract! The MOST RECENT news update that CBS has on Blackmon is from October 1st and the update is that he's entered rehab. That's it. Sure, Blackmon only costs $0.81. But with $0.25 of cap room left, Scott could've signed approximately 110 other players that would definitely be more useful to him this season, and likely more useful next season.
Look, I get that the Drew Brees trade (which did not affect this week's game, either) has Scott in a panic, even though he tries to deny it. But the best case scenario for 2015 is that he's reinstated by the NFL and signs with somebody that isn't Jacksonville. The worst case scenario is that he never plays in the league again. Scott is willing to take that chance.
Here is Scott's roster on draft day 2015: Geno Smith / Bishop Sankey / Kendall Wright / Justin Blackmon / Houston Texas. Then, after the rest of us have picked through the top 144 players, he can go for whatever scraps are left.
He has two options for next season. First, suck it up, take the medicine, go 1-13, get a high pick for 2016 and try to rebuild the proper way. Second, furiously trade away all of his 2016 picks one by one in an attempt to cobble together a halfway decent 2015 roster. You tell me which route he's more likely to take.
BUT! The rest of us can affect this. If we come together, hold strong, and reject all of Scott's trade offers - if we essentially form a quick and dirty union - we can force the medicine down his throat, and all have a great laugh when he sets new records for futility. Who's with me?!?!
Anyway...back to this game. Pretty lucky break for HGAC to squeak out a win with Foster hurt and Murray off. The Western Division is still in play, but this was a pretty crucial win.
So there you have it. Another week in the books. Credit to Gary and the system, only 2 teams have been formally eliminated from the hunt. Of the remaining 10 teams, Runny being eliminated is just a formality at this point. We just have to sign the paperwork and get it notarized. Tim is on his way out. Bri and Gary are still alive, but have too many flaws to be considered serious contenders.
ISIS, Animal House, HGAC, and Little Baby Jesus are the league's Power 4 right now. Any of these teams are capable of scoring 100+ in a given week, any of these teams are capable of winning the title this year. Riggins' Riggs would be included in this group, but their path to the playoffs is somewhat unlikely, so I can't include them just yet.
That just leaves Scott. Scott is very likely to make the playoffs, though frankly, with division games against Animal House and Little Baby Jesus looming, we can't rule out an 8-6 record. Would that knock Scott out of the playoffs?
Try this on for size. Bri beats Chris this week, and Barker beats Gary. Both Bri and Gary are 6-6, but Bri now leads the division due to a better division record and the head-to-head win. Scott loses to Animal House and falls to 7-5 while AH moves up to 8-4. LBJ beats the Rippers, moves to 9-3, and Scott is basically eliminated from the division race.
For the Wild Card spots, we would have:
HGAC: 7-5 (Freak loss to Runny!)
Two of those teams will be division winners, and if Animal House completed the comeback and won their division, Little Baby Jesus becomes the #1 Wild Card, so no change there all in all.
That brings us to the double week. Animal House plays the Rippers in one game, Scott plays Sembrat in one game, I play McCamey in one game, and Bri plays Gary in one game, so right there we can say the Wild Card records will become:
At that point, Animal House secures a Wild Card spot. I also play Runny, and McCamey also plays Timmy, so one of us gets to 9-5, but that might be good enough to win the division depending on how things go. But the other team, in all likelihood, would be 8-6 and have lots of points, so let's give that team the second Wild Card.
(By the way, the division winner between myself and McCamey is also likely the second bye team, so this is quite a race!)
So now we have one Wild Card left, Riggins playing the Asstanner, and moving into the picture at 6-7. One spot left, 4 teams vying for it. The remaining games that haven't been discussed are:
TDHAF - TWR
RR - TKSMB
LOTH - AT
We have to give Scott the win there. He is now 8-6. That's good enough to make the playoffs and play Animal House in the first round.
And all that leaves is the Central Division race. I already said Gary is going to miss the playoffs, but how? Well, after this week, we'll have:
Bri beats Gary in their Week 13 game, and that alone is enough to eliminate Gary from the race based on the plethora of tiebreakers. But if you want things to be more interesting, let's say that Barker beats Chris so it's now:
Gary can beat Chris in the other half of the matchup to get back to 7-7. But here's the problem. Bri plays Barker, so either goes to 8-6 and wins the division outright, or Barker wins and all three teams are 7-7 with Gary finishing 3rd by tiebreakers.
And that's how it happens.
Of course...Scott could possibly lose out and fall to 7-7 and then things really get interesting...