NFL Midseason: Let's Celebrate Mediocrity!

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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: Pittsburgh at New York Giants.

It’s amazing how a team’s fortunes can change in just two games. After their humiliating loss to the Titans three weeks ago, the Steelers were 2-3 with a seemingly decimated offensive line, a third-string running back (Jonathan Dwyer) elevated to starter due to injuries, and a No. 1 wideout who was dropping passes with a consistency only Braylon Edwards could appreciate. But after victories over the Bengals and Redskins, the Steelers are 4-3 and amazingly just one game behind the vulnerable Ravens in the AFC North. 

Is this matchup against the Giants a possible Super Bowl preview? You could certainly do worse. Like, say, a Green Bay-Houston rematch? 

Matchup to watch: The Giants’ defensive line versus the escapability of Ben Roethlisberger.

Another matchup to watch: Emmanuel Sanders versus his tendency to get cramps when the Steelers’ play clock is winding down.

Likelihood Sanders develops cramps in this game: Not good. His cramp incident against the Bengals only happened two weeks ago, so he’s got a few more weeks until it’s that time of the month again. 

Greg Schiano’s take on Sanders’s tactics: “That’s bush league, I love it!” 

(Other games receiving votes: Denver at Cincinnati; Minnesota at Seattle; Pittsburgh at New York Giants; Dallas at Atlanta.)


Questionable Game of the Week: Miami at Indianapolis.

If the playoffs started today, the Colts and the Dolphins would both be playing in the postseason, which is astonishing when you consider that both teams are starting rookie quarterbacks, one of whom actually thought that the Kansas City Chiefs play in the NFC East.

It’s not your fault, Ryan Tannehill. It’s the fault of the NFL that the Dallas Cowboys play in the NFC East, the Indianapolis Colts play in the AFC South, the Miami Dolphins play in the AFC East, and the Chiefs and Rams play in West divisions. No rookie quarterback should be expected to remember five things. You’re just children, babes, geography neophytes. Jerry Jones still hasn’t figured out that he’s wasting millions of dollars to ship his team cross-country for three NFC East games per year. If he knew, don’t you think he’d be bitching about it?

(Other games receiving votes: Arizona at Green Bay; Baltimore at Cleveland; Tampa Bay at Oakland; Miami at Indianapolis; Philadelphia at New Orleans.)


Doubtful Game of the Week: Carolina at Washington.

Are they bringing in Doug Williams to do a ceremonial coin flip before this game? God knows they should, since Cam Newton and RGIII have so much in common. 

Speaking from a fan’s perspective, I have to say I hope Cam Newton and the Panthers lose the rest of their games and finish the season 1-15. I have nothing personal against Newton (though I wouldn’t stand beside him at a bus stop.) I just look forward to watching him navigate press conferences following a loss. 

Knowing the press, these are questions Newton might reasonably encounter after losing to the Redskins:

“How long have you been a losing black quarterback?”

“RGIII, he’s right-handed and black, just like Doug Williams, and they’re both winners. What sets you apart?”

DeAngelo Hall: During last week’s loss to the Steelers, Hall took off his helmet and screamed in the face of an official because Hall was angry that the Steelers’ Emmanuel Sanders wasn’t called for a penalty on an alleged cheap shot. Hall was ejected from the game, though he hasn’t been suspended for this game against the Panthers. That’s only fair to Carolina: Suspending Hall would be doing the Redskins a huge favor.

(Other games receiving votes: Buffalo at Houston; Chicago at Tennessee; Carolina at Washington.)


Out Game of the Week: Detroit at Jacksonville.

Why this game is intriguing: The Lions just acquired wide receiver Mike Thomas from the Jaguars, so people watching this game will inevitably learn more about Mike Thomas than they knew before. They’ll learn that Mike Thomas lost his starting position as a wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and that the Lions recently lost wide receiver Nate Burleson to injury. These two developments made the Jaguars and Lions perfect trade partners. Mike Thomas will add depth at wide receiver for the Lions and he will possibly take over as the team’s punt returner. Adjust your fantasy team accordingly.

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Cameron Martin's Pregame Flyover column on the upcoming NFL weekend runs each Friday. He may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @CameronDMartin.

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