The Preview is normally a TGIF adventure, but this week it's going to be a Hump Day / Wacky Wednesday / Wine Wednesday thing. Partially because I don't want to turn the computer on on Friday, but mainly because with 6 NFL teams playing on Thirsty Thursday, some of the AFFL matchups might be obvious picks by the time Friday rolls around, and where's the fun in that? I'm not Dick Cheney on a caged dove hunt (timely reference!), I like it to be a bit sporting, chap!
In some cases, I've going to have to assume some lineup changes will be made before kickoff and guys just haven't set their lineup by Wednesday. For example, I am assuming Bri will start Cam over Teddy, but realizes he has 85 hours remaining to get that move in. If I assume a lineup change that doesn't actually happened, blame that owner for not realizing what's best for them.
By the way, just one more time for fun, here is what the current standings would be like if the AFFL adopted the Krogmann 11 v. 1 system, which would reward the consistent scoring that Gary raves about, as opposed to peaks and valleys scoring. Not that I invented the system, I merely trumpeted its benefit. But, you know, I've said my peace about it.
1st - HGAC: 94-38
2nd - ISIS: 84-48
3rd - LOTHBROK: 79-53
4th - ANIMAL HOUSE: 79-53 (Lothbrok wins the tiebreaker by going 7-5 against Animal House counting all weeks)
5th - RIGGINS' RIGGS: 77-55
6th - LITTLE BABY JESUS: 68-64
7th - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS: 65-67
8th - THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL: 55-77
9th - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS: 52-80
10th - ASSTANNER: 52-80 (Similarly, TDHAF was 7-5 against AT in all weeks)
11th - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA: 45-87
12th - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS: 42-90
Now, I am a straight shooter. Send me to Washington so I can shake up those fatcat career bureaucrats! So I will fully admit that I started on this list in order to show that system would have more teams alive for the final playoff spot than the current system does. But no. Only Timmy would have a chance at making the playoffs this week since all other team are more than 11 wins back of the 6 spot. I suppose the AFFL technically has 2 teams that still have a chance of getting inside the playoff mix, though it's a long shot. Gary sure could save himself a lot of time on that playoff possibilities chart, though. It would be one row long.
ISIS (7-5) vs. HGAC (8-4)
ISIS (7-5) vs. IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (5-7)
Another little metric I've been keeping tabs on lately are the Passing, Rushing, and Receiving Ranks of each team. I add the 3 ranks together and the lowest number indicates the team with the best balance and talent. HGAC and ISIS are the league leaders in Total PRR(tm). HGAC ranks 4th in Passing, 1st in Rushing, and 5th in Receiving for a TPRR of 10, while ISIS is 9th in Passing, 3rd in Rushing, and 3rd in Receiving for a TPRR of 15. Gary's TPRR is 18. Mike Barker's is 21. Scott's is 23.
(Yes, it is indeed amazing how many little stats I can dig up to show how good my team is.)
Anyway, I was in this exact same situation in Week 13 of 2013, only the opposite. I was 10-2, Scott was 8-4, and we were facing each other in one of the matchups. If I could win a single game, or if Scott lost a single game, I would clinch the division and a bye. So naturally I went 0-2, Scott went 2-0, I lost in the Wild Card round and Scott rode his bye week to the title. Had Scott played in Wild Card round, he would've lost but that is how life goes sometimes.
The point is, I am again in control of my own destiny. If I go 2-0 this week, I will clinch the Western Division and a playoff bye. If I win 1 game, I'm in the playoffs. If I go 0-2, I'm in the playoffs as long as Tim beats Brian Barker. If I beat HGAC and Tim does too, I clinch the division. This is all well and good, but what I really need is a playoff win lest I turn into the Peyton Manning of this league.
CBS is predicting 127 points for HGAC this week, which...seems a little high? Although Ben should be able to tear up the Saints, and Murray shouldn't have much trouble against the Eagles. Even Beckham and Tate have great matchups this week. I'm going to need the Chiefs defense to hold Demaryius to 9 instead of 29, and I'm going to need the great Geno Smith to not give the Dolphins a bunch of turnovers.
On the other hand, it's not like ISIS is hurting for good matchups this week. CBS is only giving 12 points to Colin Kaepernick, but I am expecting 22. He always comes up big in big games, it's in San Francisco / Santa Clara, and there is no way old ass Frank Gore will be able to do anything against the Seahawks defense. Kaep is going to need to air it out early and often and 3 TD passes will be quite nice, thank you.
With the Saints outdoors in the cold, look for Mark Ingram to get yards and TDs against the Steelers, Lacy and Cobb will be in a shootout against New England, and Tampa Bay hasn't had somebody who could slow down AJ Green in like 3 years. Which leaves us with Calvin Johnson. Calvin owes me a big game, goddammit, and the Bears defense is just what he and Stafford need to get going. I say 25 points for Calvin on 2 TDs and 130 yards.
With Calvin and Kaep for me, and Murray and Tate for HGAC, I'll have a slight lead as we fart ourselves awake Friday morning. 47 - 30 sounds about right. And you know what? I am going to finish this game off and win the damn division, just like I predicted way back in the Season Preview!
Oh my gosh! I forgot to include Runny in this! Whatever, they suck.
SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS (5-7) vs. IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (5-7)
SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS (5-7) vs. HGAC (8-4)
I have really, really put my bare balls on the table here. If Runny goes 2-0 and I go 0-2, they are in the playoffs, I'm out, and good god will I never hear the end of it. But although Peyton and CJ don't have an ideal matchup in Kansas City this week, the rest of this roster will be able to carry the day against a thoroughly disappointing Runny roster.
Show of hands, how many people want me to spend more time on this matchup? Just Brian and Tim? The motion to move on carries. Runny clinches last place in the Western Division. Anti-congratulations.
ISIS 109 - HGAC 105
ISIS 109 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 65
SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 83 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 65
HGAC 105 - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 83
LOTHBROK (7-5) vs. THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL (5-7)
LOTHBROK (7-5) vs. ASSTANNER (4-8)
The only way the Central gets jostled is Bri going 2-0 and Gary going 0-2. So wouldn't it be nice for Gary to know whether or not Julius Thomas is actually going to play this week? Problem! The Broncos don't play until 8:30pm on Sunday night. Solution! The Dolphins play Monday night, so Gary can actually hold Mike Wallace in the lineup all of Sunday and swap in JT if he gets the good news. If not, no roster spot is burned. Isn't it nice how life works out sometimes?
But this week is not going to work out perfectly for Gary because cousin Chris is going to pull off an upset here. Mettenberger will be decent enough, McCoy will dazzle like the old LeSean against the Cowboys, and T.Y. Hilton will go off against Washington. Yes, Gary having Luck will compromise Chris' advantage a touch, but it's still nice points for Chris. Plus, if Chris plays Joique Bell against Chicago instead of Percy against Geno Smith, that will be a smart play.
Meanwhile, Cincy will struggle in Tampa just because that is what Cincy does. They are due to look terrible after playing 2 good games in a row and convincing everybody to take them as a road favorite against a bad team. Plus, Keenan Allen and the Chargers are going to have a rough old time in Baltimore.
So...fine. Chris ruins his lottery standing just a touch. All Gary needs to do is beat Bri head to head to clinch the division. Surely he can do that much, right?
Well, it's going to be about 17 degrees in Minnesota this Sunday, so don't expect Cam to do a whole heck of a lot there. And then Bri REALLY needs to figure out his roster options. Obviously Tonio Brown gets back into the lineup, but who sits? Rashad Jennings, even though he is facing the Jaguars? Gio, because Jeremy Hill is stealing his touchdowns? Crabtree because he's facing Seattle? Or Alfred Morris because Washington is certainly going to be trailing all game and Colt McCoy is the quarterback again? And do you try to squeeze Martavis Bryant into the lineup against a bad Saints defense?
I'm not going to try and predict what roster moves Bri will make. I would put in Brown for Jennings and Bryant for Crabtree, but that's just me. What I will predict is that Bri makes all the right moves. Whatever roster decisions he makes will prove to be the correct ones.
And there is one last factor working in Bri's favor...
RIGGINS' RIGGS (4-8) vs. THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL (5-7)
RIGGINS' RIGGS (4-8) vs. ASSTANNER (4-8)
...and that is the power of playing Mike Barker. Last week, Gary thrived on the power, tallying up an amazing 111-105 win. But like the one ring, this power can bring ruin to those who don't abide by it properly. Because of the power of playing Barker, both Bri and Chris are going to go off this week.
Bri wins both games, Gary loses both. Gary is knocked out of the playoffs by the very head-to-head system he so relishes. The Krogmann system, the superior man's way, would've put Gary into the playoffs. Lo, he is hoisted on his own petard.
By the way, Bri will be trampled in the Wild Card game like a Wal-Mart greeter standing in front of $29 Blu-Ray players on Black Thursday, Formerly Known As Thanksgiving.
THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 94 - LOTHBROK 69
THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 94 - RIGGINS' RIGGS 88
ASSTANNER 81 - LOTHBROK 69
RIGGINS' RIGGS 88 - ASSTANNER 81
ALTHOUGH! Gary could still make the playoffs at 7-7 because he kicked the shit out of Scott head to head. Of course, that would require Scott falling to 7-7 with 2 losses himself this week. But what are the chances of that?
TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS (7-5) vs. THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS (4-8)
TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS (7-5) vs. LITTLE BABY JESUS (8-4)
MOST IMPORTANTLY, can Drew Brees have a tremendously good game? A game so good that it secures a win for Scott, puts him into the playoffs, and justifies the Great Trade of 2014? Or at least pushes the heavy, heavy interest payment due on the trade out of our minds for a while.
PLUS - He is facing the Steelers defense, which is terrible against the pass, even if Ike and Troy return this week.
MINUS - The game is going to play outdoors, most likely in a cool rain.
I say Brees' outdoor issues are just too much. He won't put up more than 17 points. Maybe Pierre Thomas can save the day now that he's back? Maybe? Scott certainly hopes so since he plugged Thomas into the lineup even though he only had 5 points last week. Thomas is going to need to get a lot of work between the 20s for that move to pay off since Ingram is the goal line back. Though, to be real, it's not like benching Bishop Sankey and Kendall Wright are some major gamble.
Dwayne Bowe won't do anything, and Marty B. of the Bears won't do much, so we're down to Marshawn Lynch needing about 45 points this week for Scott to have a chance. A tight back, a ferocious defense, and a slobberknocker of a divisional game? 45 points might be a little high. I'll be generous and give Marshawn 95 yards, 1 TD and 16.5 points. That is not going to be enough to mess with the Jesus! It's a loss for Scott in this one.
So...can Scott beat Larry to back door his way into the playoffs? Wow, is it going to be close. Larry isn't going to do a whole heck of a lot this week outside of Romo eating up the Eagles, and Vereen probably gets some action against the Pack. But Julio is going to have a tough time with Patrick Peterson, which means that Emmanuel Sanders is really going to have to pick up the slack.
In fact, this game is going to come down to Sanders vs. Bowe on Sunday Night Football, with the whole league watching, but not chatting on the app. Gary cursing up a storm, causing Brenna to condescendingly shake her head. And when Emmanuel Sanders catches a 4th quarter touchdown, Scott will officially be out of the 2014 playoffs. Scott is unable to get one last lucky win when he needs it most. I'd say there's always next year, but in this case, there's always 2016 is more accurate.
Gary is back in, folks! His head-to-head system saved him. It does work after all!
But wait! There's more! If you call now, I'll also tell you who is going to win the Eastern Division! A $19.95 value!
ANIMAL HOUSE (8-4) vs. LITTLE BABY JESUS (8-4)
ANIMAL HOUSE (8-4) vs. THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS (4-8)
As of this moment, Little Baby Jesus has the tiebreaker because they already beat Animal House in the beginning of the season. With a 2-2 division record, Animal House has the inside track on the 2nd tiebreaker because LBJ is 1-3 in the division. In short, if Animal House beats Little Baby Jesus, that will give them the division on the division record tiebreaker. And if Little Baby Jesus wins, they clinch the division on the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Eastern Division winner also clinches a bye, so you can see how important this is.
(Oh my God, this is exhausting. Are you still following along? I'm not even sure I'm still following along at this point.)
Animal House is the winner here. Brady against Green Bay, Le'Veon against the Saints, Jamaal against the Broncos, and Maclin against the Cowboys will just be too much.
ANIMAL HOUSE 105 - LITTLE BABY JESUS 84
LITTLE BABY JESUS 84 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 65
THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 68 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 65
ANIMAL HOUSE 105 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 68
So there you have it. Exactly what will happen this week. Feel free to skip the games and just come back on Tuesday. Assuming all 12 of these predictions come to pass, which is extremely likely, that will leave our seeds looking like this...
#1 - Animal House (10-4)
#2 - ISIS (9-5)
#3 - That Kangaroo Stole My Ball (7-7)
#4 - HGAC (9-5)
#5 - Little Baby Jesus (9-5)
#6 - Lothbrok (7-7)
...setting up TKSMB v. LOTHBROK and HGAC v. LITTLE BABY JESUS in the Wild Card round. Yeah, exactly. A 7-7 team is guaranteed to make the AFFL Semi-finals. What do you want from me? Though it does potentially sets up some extremely intriguing reseeding possibilities. If Bri beats Gary in the Wild Card, I'd end up playing Bri while #1 Animal House gets HGAC or LBJ. Interesting.
And then 4 different teams finish at 5-9, but I'm not going to bother to figure out that lottery tiebreaker situation. It'll be an insult to all of us.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Or don't. It's your life.