NFL Flyover: Why Not Play Every Night?

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Welcome back to the Pregame Flyover, where the best laid plans of mice and men actually come to fruition. 

Before we get to this week’s impressive schedule of games – and tell you which games will Probably be worth watching, which games will be of Questionable worth, which games will be of Doubtful worth, and which game will be played for the soul of Ohio – let’s discuss the matter of Thursday night games.

Earlier in the season I suggested the league’s introduction of season-long Thursday night games should be the prelude to playing games seven days a week. Apparently commissioner Goodell has been too busy arbitrarily adjusting his Bountygate suspensions, because I haven’t received a response to my Western Union missive.

At the beginning of the year, it was difficult to rate the Thursday night matchups because a) we had no idea how teams like the Browns would play, and b) we didn’t want to jump the gun and prematurely declare that the Browns would once again disappoint. But with five weeks of the season in the bank, we can reasonably come to some well-informed conclusions about every NFL team and whether we want to spend our Thursday nights watching them play. 

Using our patented template of Probable, Questionable, Doubtful, and Out, let’s slot the remaining nine Thursday night games into their respective notches.

PROBABLE THURSDAY NIGHT GAME OF THE YEAR: Seattle at San Francisco on Oct. 18.

Ripped from the next day’s headlines! – “EAST COAST SLEEPS AS WEST COAST WATCHES END OF 2-2 TIE.”

(Other games receiving votes: Saints at Falcons on Nov. 29; Bengals at Eagles on Dec. 13.)

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QUESTIONABLE THURSDAY NIGHT GAME OF THE YEAR: Steelers at Titans on *checks calendar* last night.

Ripped from the next day’s headlines! – “HASSELBECK LEADS TEAM IN PASSING, RUSHING, RECEIVING; TITANS FALL.”

(Other game receiving votes: Dolphins at Bills on Nov. 15.)

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DOUBTFUL THURSDAY NIGHT GAME OF THE YEAR: Buccaneers at Vikings on Oct. 25. 

Ripped from the next day’s headlines! – “BUCS DIVE INTO VIKES PREGAME WARMUPS, GAME CANCELED.”

(Other game receiving votes: Colts at Jaguars on Nov. 8.)

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OUT THURSDAY NIGHT GAME OF THE YEAR: Chiefs at Chargers on Nov. 1.

Ripped from the next day’s headlines! – “BOLTS’ GM: FANS NOT CHEERING RIVERS INJURY, CHEERING ADVENT OF CHARLIE WHITEHURST ERA.”

(Other game receiving votes: Broncos at Raiders on Dec. 6.)

 

THAT PAPA JOHN’S COMMERCIAL WITH PEYTON MANNING

I think I speak for everyone when I say that Papa John’s commercial with Peyton Manning seems to promote teen pregnancy. I’m surprised Peyton’s agent didn’t look at the script and say, “Wait, you’re going to have John, the 50-year-old founder of the company, say welcome back, Peyton? And then you want Peyton, who’s about 15 years younger than John, to reply, ‘Thanks, Papa’? Did anyone do the math on this?”

 

THE QUESTIONS TONY ROMO DIDN’T ANSWER

Something went awry during Wednesday’s conference call between Tony Romo and members of the Baltimore sporting press. Romo claims there were technical difficulties, but writers claim he became annoyed by their questions and hung up. Whatever happened, writers were unable to ask some potentially insightful queries, so they asked if they could share their questions here, in the hopes that Romo will respond thoughtfully and at length.

1. “Tony, what the f*ck were you looking at in that Chicago game?”

2. “Five interceptions in one game: Is that your ceiling, or can you go higher?”

3. “Eric Johnson reportedly had sex with his ex-wife while dating Jessica Simpson. Cheating? Or just good looking out?”

 

THE WEEKLY BEST

Here ye for the Weekly Best, where we horse-collar the best in the NFL. 

Best pick-six: Ryan Kerrigan.

Best 10-yard touchdown reception: Percy Harvin.

Best way to say you’re unneeded: Brian Cushing says Texans will still win Super Bowl without him.

Best show of balance: The Niners were first team with over 300 yards passing and rushing in same game.

Best confidence boost for sports writers: “Sports writing is fairly formulaic, and I thought that I could automate what sports writers do,” says the head of an organization that produces automated fantasy-football summaries.

Best unofficial NCAA mascot: Dartmouth’s Keggy the Keg.

Best grab your popcorn: If the Jets take Terrell Owens up on his offer.

Best touchdown streak in NFL history: 48 straight games for Drew Brees.

Best Alex Karras film role: Mongo, who set the standard by which all horses should be punched.

Best opportunity to break a major record: Reggie Wayne is on pace to break Jerry Rice’s single-season yardage record (1,848 yards).

Best comparison to Cam Newton at this stage of his career: Vince Young in 2007, says Don Banks of Sports Illustrated.

Best indication that the NFL only cares about half of its players: There is no rule against blocking an opposing player in the knee from behind.


Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out

Just as the NFL puts out an injury report on the likelihood that certain players will suit up each week (Probable, Questionable, Doubtful or Out), we rate the NFL schedule on the likelihood that games will be worth watching. Because let's face it, you can't watch them all.

 

Probable Game of the Week: Giants at 49ers.

Be sure to follow the game on Twitter: #KyleWilliamsFumbleCount

Revenge is no doubt on the mind of former Giant Brandon Jacobs, who couldn’t reach a contract agreement with his old team and signed with San Francisco in the offseason. Jacobs suffered a knee injury in the preseason, and has yet to play this year. But he said he’s all better now and wants to be active for this game. The Niners are 4-1 without him, and their running game looks just fine with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.

Odds Jacobs scores a touchdown in this game: 100:1

Odds a fan catches a helmet thrown by Jacobs: 2:1.

A storyline to follow: Will Carlos Rogers of the Niners intercept a pass and then mock Victor Cruz by dancing the salsa?!?!

The NFL is definitely predicated on entertainment, but watching any man – be it Cruz, Rogers, Fred Astaire, Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs” – dance provocatively in front of an audience that is overwhelming male is something that will not sit well with Brandon Spikes.

(Other games receiving votes: Lions at Eagles; Cowboys at Ravens; Packers at Texans.)

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Questionable Game of the Week: Patriots at Seahawks.

It was only two short years ago when the NFC West sent a 7-9 Seattle team to the playoffs, giving apoplexy to many NFL observers. Thankfully Seattle silenced many of these critics by beating the reigning Super Bowl champion Saints in the postseason. 

Flash forward two years and the NFC West is considered one of the premier divisions in football, with stout defenses from top to bottom. If the Seahawks can keep the high-scoring New England offense in check, they’ll look like legitimate contenders. And if the Patriots can keep Russell Wilson from looking like an NFL quarterback, they’ll be like everyone else the Seahawks have played this year. 

We wonder if Bill Simmons of Grantland remains a believer in the rookie Wilson, whom he tabbed as the best signal-caller in the league entering this season. If the 3-2 Seahawks (2-3 if you live in Green Bay) are going to fulfill Simmons’ prediction and reach the Super Bowl, they should be able to beat a team led by Tom Brady, whom Simmons ranked fifth among quarterbacks, behind Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers and Wilson.

Odds Wilson wins the Super Bowl MVP: *Snorts fairy dust* Pretty good, man, pretty good.

Odds Matt Flynn is the starting QB of the Seahawks in a few weeks: 2:1.

(Other games receiving votes: Colts at Jets; Rams at Dolphins; Vikings at Redskins; Broncos at Chargers.)

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Doubtful Game of the Week: Kansas City at Tampa Bay.

Last week some diehard Chiefs fans rented a plane for approximately $700 to fly a sign over Arrowhead Stadium that read, “WE DESERVE BETTER! FIRE PIOLI -- BENCH CASSEL.” 

This is a time-honored tradition in Kansas City, where fans won’t tolerate losing. Some plane banners from years past:

“BUY ME THE GUN, I WILL SHOOT LIN ELLIOTT.”

“MARTY BALL: KILLING PEOPLE SINCE 1989.”

“RAIDERS FANS CAN’T SPELLE.”

(Other games receiving votes: Raiders at Falcons; Bills at Cardinals.)

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Out Game of the Week: Bengals at Browns.

Well, that’s the last time I pick the Browns to go on the road to beat a defending Super Bowl champion. 

Cleveland has definitely shown flashes of promise this season, and it's definitely among the best two teams in Ohio. Other than that, I can’t say many positive things about this franchise, its name, or its color scheme. 

Perhaps the strangest development coming out of last week’s loss to the Giants is that a Browns fan was arrested for allegedly stabbing his father following an afternoon at Buffalo Wild Wings. Had the father asked the bartender to hit the Buffalo Wild Wings button, prolonging the Browns game? That might explain why his son turned violent.  

Cameron Martin has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, ESPN.com, Yahoo! Sports, and CBS Sports. Send your ideas to cdavidmartin@yahoo.com.

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