A few weeks ago, looking ahead at an uninteresting slate of NFL games, I wrote that it might be a good weekend to turn off the TV, not worry about your fantasy team, and do something with your Sunday other than sit on your couch all day watching football.
This weekend we are faced with a similarly disappointing tally of games. Aside from the Packers versus the Vikings and the Cardinals versus the Bengals, Week 11 is a week of backup quarterbacks and teams squaring off with losing records and mud-coloured jerseys.
And it sort of seems like basically every week for the rest of the season will be this way.
There are now only 11 NFL teams with a winning record, the fewest entering Week 11 since 1990.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 19, 2015
The NFL loves parity, as you already know, and I’ll spare you a rant about why parity is bad.
But I do have to at least wonder if this is the worst year of football in some time. Let’s take a look at the big stories:
There’s Greg Hardy. There’s the growing number of players taken off the field in ambulances each week. There’s the fact that the NFL accepted money from the Department of Defence to televise its support of the military. There’s DraftKings and FanDuel. There’s the swan song of Peyton Manning, which hasn’t been the most pleasant viewing experience. We’ve obsessed over Cam Newton’s touchdown dance after laughing at baseball for bat-flip outrage.
And then there’s the parity. At least in other years, when the scandals and press have also been bad, fans could turn a blind eye and say, well, at least the games are great. But this year less than half the league has a winning record. This year of football has been terrible.
Speaking of terrible, on to my (still above .500, thanks very much) picks!
[Last week: 5-9]
Tennessee Titans (+3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
If you’re a fan of the AFC South, mustard uniforms, and/or Blake Bortles, you’re in luck! If you’re a fan of football, maybe skip ths one!
The pick: Jaguars -3
Washington Redskins (+7) @ Carolina Panthers
Between Cam’s dabs and Kirk’s freak-outs, this game has amazing #viral potential. And if anything’s important these days in football, it’s #virality.
The pick: Redskins +7
Oakland Raiders (-2) @ Detroit Lions
The ultimate Would You Rather game. Which of these suffering franchises would you rather be a lifelong fan of, if you were starting today? The Raiders have the better history, fair, but I’m picking the Lions because Martha Ford is a terrifying, loveable, semi-despotic owner, and Mark Davis is, well, whatever Mark Davis is.
The pick: Lions +2
Dallas Cowboys (PK) @ Miami Dolphins
YEE HAW, TONY ROMO’S BACK AND THE COWBOYS ARE —
*cut to Ndamukong Suh breaking Romo’s pelvis*
The pick: Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts (+6) @ Atlanta Falcons
Matt Hasselbeck Fever!
The pick: Colts +6
St. Louis Rams (+2.5) @ Baltimore Ravens
I still haven’t recovered from how terribly the Ravens blew that game on Sunday. They made the Giants loss to New England palatable. That’s no easy feat!
The pick: Rams +2.5
New York Jets (-2.5) @ Houston Texans
Why isn’t ESPN covering Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return to Houston?
The pick: Jets -2.5
Green Bay Packers (+1) @ Minnesota Vikings
How many weeks can I write R-E-L-A-X before maybe picking against the Packers? At least one more, that’s how many.
The pick: Packers -1
Tampa Buccaneers (+5.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles
There are about three interesting games of football this weekend. This is not one of them.
The pick: Buccaneers +5.5
Denver Broncos (+1) @ Chicago Bears
I’m riding with all the backup QBs this week. Do it for Montana, Brock Osweiler.
The pick: Broncos +1
Cincinnati Bengals (+5) @ Arizona Cardinals
Bruce Arian’s Kangol is the best and he should wear it on the sidelines of every Cardinals game. I’d contribute to a Kickstarter to pay his weekly fine.
The pick: Cardinals -5
San Francisco 49ers (+12.5) @ Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are a mess, probably won’t make the playoffs, might have to blow up their team in the offseason, and certainly will not lose at home to Blaine Gabbert.
The pick: Seahawks -12.5
Kansas Chiefs (-3) @ San Diego Chargers
People are talking about the Chiefs stealing a wild card, but if Peyton Manning is out for the rest of the season, could they steal the division?
The pick: Chiefs -3
Buffalo Bills (+7) @ New England Patriots
Congratulations to Tom Brady on being named one of GQ’s Men of the Year and also in advance on winning his fifth Super Bowl ring.
The pick: Bills +7
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