The Friday Clock-Watcher's Guide to NFL Week 7
I don't know about you, but I get a little depressed once the inevitable happens.
The inevitable is, of course, when you leave the office around 5 p.m. to find that it's dark outside. It means, to quote Game of Thrones, that winter is coming.
The inevitable happened this week, and I started to get down. But then, I remembered something very important.
Football is right around the corner.
And this Sunday, there are tons of juicy and fun storylines for all of us to sink our collective teeth into.
So, without further ado, here is the Friday clock-watcher's guide to NFL Week 7:
Ever Wanted to Stick It to Your Old Boss? Then Sunday Night Football Is for You
Imagine you worked at one company for over a decade.
In your time at that company, you were the top dog. The big man on campus. You dominated in every respect. You set sales records. You dated the hottest girl in the office.
You were The Man.
Then, you left that company, and it appeared that it happened under somewhat pleasant terms. You and your boss were seen smiling together, and when you got a new job at another big company and your old boss hired the best young worker on the market, it looked like a storybook ending to a fantastic time together.
Fast-forward a year-and-a-half later: Just as your companies were set to wage battle over an important client, your old boss fired off publicly about how his company should have done better business when you were around. He made it seem like everything you had done wasn't good enough. He made you feel like all your hard work was for nothing.
You would seethe.
You are Peyton Manning. Minus, of course, the millions of dollars, NFL Hall of Fame career and appearing in more commercials than Alec Baldwin and William Shatner put together, but I digress.
Manning had to watch and listen this week as Jim Irsay, the owner of the Colts, publicly lamented the fact that Indianapolis won only one Super Bowl in Manning's time as its quarterback.
Can you imagine how Manning seethed when he heard those quotes? Manning, who is the only reason Lucas Oil Stadium was built? Manning, who won four MVPs and a Super Bowl title?
Sunday night's game between the Broncos and Colts in Indianapolis provides the best boss-revenge porn of all time. Manning is going to try and absolutely eviscerate the Colts in front of the fans who used to cheer him. He's going to try and stick it to his old, unappreciative boss.
And he's going to do to it for all the men and women who have ever felt like their employer didn't recognize their hard work and dedication enough.
I can't wait.
The Toilet Bowl: NFC South Style
Did you have a bad week at work? Did you put forth a terrible effort? Want to feel better about yourself?
Then Sunday's game between the Buccaneers and Falcons is for you!
I'd call the Bucs a train wreck, but honestly, I don't want to insult train wrecks. They are a disaster beyond comprehension.
The Falcons entered the season as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. To say that things haven't gone according to plan would be like saying Billy Ray Cyrus did a good job raising his daughter.
Atlanta is a mess. It's 1-4 and just lost its best player, wide receiver Julio Jones, for the season. The Falcons' other star wideout, Roddy White, has been hobbled all season by a bum ankle, and the team has suffered numerous other injuries to key players.
Other than that, the Falcons are great.
On Sunday, the two teams meet in what's sure to be an awful game of football.
So, I tell you, person who had a rough week at work: check this game out.
If it doesn't improve your disposition, you should probably go sit on an island for a week.
Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday = the Roman Colosseum
Back in the old days (they were only "good" old days depending on who you asked), the Romans would entertain themselves by having prisoners fight against lions, bears and the like in a gigantic forum dubbed the "Colosseum." Thankfully, this barbaric practice has long since been discontinued.
That is, until this Sunday, when the Houston Texans visit Arrowhead Stadium for a matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Texans are starting Case Keenum at quarterback, which begs an obvious follow-up question:
Who the hell is Case Keenum?
Keenum is the Texans' third-stringer, starting in place of an injured Matt Schaub. He was a "system" quarterback at the University of Houston, throwing for yards and touchdowns like you do on Xbox. Those kinds of passers generally don't work out at the NFL level.
So, of course, his first ever NFL start comes on the road at one of the toughest venues in the league to play in and against the defense with the most sacks and turnovers forced on the season.
On Sunday, Keenum is a lowly prisoner. The Chiefs defense are the lions. The fans at Arrowhead are the angry, bloodthirsty Romans, who will be lustily cheering for mayhem, rooting their team on toward a perfect 7-0 record.
And guess what? You won't be able to take your eyes off the carnage.
On Sunday, you will be an honorary Roman.
Enjoy the massacre.
A Fantasy-Owner's Dream: Calvin Johnson vs. A.J. Green
This fantasy season has been one giant train wreck.
Personally, I drafted C.J. Spiller ahead of LeSean McCoy in my league with college buddies. I've never experienced such an intense self-loathing as the one that coursed through my veins after I made that fateful selection.
But it's not just me. Almost everyone has had his or her season turned upside down by underperforming superstars. From Doug Martin to Ray Rice, there's at least one player on every roster who has owners swearing like drunken sailors each and every Sunday.
Just two weeks ago, I pulled off an intricate, three-team trade that netted me Calvin Johnson. I spent more hours putting the deal together than Ted Cruz filibustered for the government shutdown.
That Sunday, 90 minutes before Johnson was to make his first start for my team, I found out he was inactive. I was at the supermarket with my girlfriend at the time. Did I react in a cool, calm and collected manner?
Of course I didn't! I went absolutely nuts! By the time we checked out, I was legitimately concerned that my relationship would end over me losing my mind in aisle three.
But now, two weeks later, it appears as if Johnson is healthy, and on Sunday, he faces a Bengals team with a talented wide receiver of their own, A.J. Green.
It's a fantasy owner's dream: two of the very best receivers in the league going head-to-head. And there's no reason why both won't go off and score at least one touchdown apiece.
So, owners of Johnson and Green: rest easy. On Sunday, your players will perform. They will get into the end zone. You will win your matchup.
Or they won't, you'll lose, and you can join me in the insane asylum on Monday morning.
This Week in Gambling
Last week, I gave you not one, not two but THREE choices for your survivor pool. Why? Because I'm that kind of guy.
And guess what? They all won. Why? Because I know what the hell I'm talking about. That is, of course, until I don't, but I'm not the type to let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Before we get into the possible choices, a word about survivor pools: I generally try and avoid taking road teams. That eliminates attractive options such as the Patriots (at NY Jets) and Chargers (at Jacksonville). If a bad team is going to win a game, chances are, it'll do it in front of its home fans. Avoid road teams if you can.
Don't even consider taking the Falcons. They will likely win Tampa, but as I detailed a few slides earlier, both teams are bad and you cannot hitch your wagons to a 1-4 team.
That leaves three teams to potentially select: the Packers (hosting Cleveland), the Chiefs (hosting Houston) or the Dolphins (hosting Buffalo).
Out of those three, I believe the Packers are the biggest lock to win. There's simply no way that Brandon Weeden is going into Lambeau Field and beating Aaron Rodgers. There's a better chance of Brandon Weeden starting Opening Day for the Yankees in 2014 than him beating Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.
Now, onto actual gambling.
Always be weary of the "home underdog." Teams that play at home have an obvious advantage, and when you have two evenly matched teams and the road squad is favored, more often than not the home team will come out on top.
Keep that in mind when you peruse the spread for Chicago/Washington. As of right now, the game is "pick 'em," meaning you only need to choose a winner. And by game time, the Bears will probably be favored.
You know what that means. The fountain at the Bellagio didn't appear out of thin air. It was built with the dollars of schmucks who loved the road favorite.
Don't be a schmuck. Watch the line movement and wager accordingly.