Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
Indianapolis @ Houston (even)
The Colts nipped the Jaguars 16-13 last week without Andrew Luck, who missed his first game as a Colt with a shoulder injury. Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals, including the game-winning 27-yard boot in overtime.
“Adam became the first player in history to score 1,000 points for two teams,” Chuck Pagano said. “That other team was the Patriots. I asked Adam what it’s like to be in the Patriots locker room. He said he’s seen some things that are unspeakable, as well as balls of all shapes and sizes.
“As for Luck, he’s dealing with a slightly separated shoulder. Colts fans are alarmed. They’ve seen first-hand an injury that saps a quarterback of his arm strength. And we all know there’s fine line between a ‘trophy’ and ‘atrophy.’”
The Texans were hammered 48-21 at Atlanta last week, facing a 42-0 fourth quarter deficit before scoring three meaningless fourth quarter touchdowns.
“That’s called ‘garbage time,’” Bill O’Brien said, “not to be confused with ESPN’s First Take.’ On that note, I told Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer, under no uncertain terms, ‘You do not want to make an enemy out of me. I’m not having it, and I’m not going to tolerate it.’”
“Yes, it was ugly, but it’s not the end of the world. In times of crisis like this, it’s important to take a deep breath. More importantly, you must remember to exhale, or ‘blowout.’”
Prior to the game, Chuck Pagano gathers his squad of quarterbacks and asks, “Raise your hand if you can start on Thursday.” Luck is the most enthusiastic of the bunch, thrusting his hand in the air accompanied with an exclamation of joy which happens to sound an awful lot a cry of agony.
“That settles it,” Pagano says.
Luck plays, but runs into a desperate Texans team in dire need of a win. Arian Foster scores twice, and Houston wins, 23-20.
Chicago @ Kansas City (-9)
Jay Cutler returned to the lineup after a one-game absence and led the Bears on a game-winning drive that culminated in Robbie Gould’s 49-yard field goal, which gave Chicago a 22-20 win over the visiting Raiders.
“Jay threw an interception in the fourth quarter that almost cost us the game,” John Fox. “But surprisingly, Jay didn’t let it get in his head. Look, it’s not the first time Jay’s been accused of being ‘mentally-challenged,’ and it certainly won’t be the last.”
The Chiefs have lost two in a row, the latest a 36-21 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati. Alex Smith was sacked five times, and Kansas City never found the end zone, managing only seven field goals from Cairo Santos.
“Seven field goals look remarkably similar to three touchdowns,” Alex Smith said. “Cairo’s seven field goals set a franchise record. He’s from Brazil, so he’ll probably have his own cheering section in Arrowhead Stadium, probably called ‘Three-O De Janeiro.’ If you’re looking for them, they’re situated right next to the Washington-Redskins-by-way-of-Kansas-City fan club, the ‘Tomahawk Chaps.’
“I still have only one touchdown pass this season. They tell me I’m running Andy Reid’s offense; the stats tell me I’m running Hank Stram’s. I’m ‘matriculating’ the ball down the field just fine. But when it comes to getting the ball in the end zone, I’m not ‘passing.’”
One week after getting embarrassed in Cincinnati, the Chiefs defense rebounds with a vengeance, unleashing a furious pass rush on Cutler.
Kansas City wins, 30-17.
Seattle @ Cincinnati (-2 1/2)
“We’ll have to be ready for the Seahawks,” Marvin Lewis said. “They’ve appeared in the last two Super Bowls. Heck, this game could be half of a preview of Super Bowl 50.
“Andy Dalton has done everything but win a playoff game. And that leaves him with an empty feeling. Usually, a ‘glory hole’ is a good thing. Not in this case.”
After two losses to start the season, the Seahawks have rebounded with two consecutive wins, culminating with Monday night13-10 win over the Lions. Seattle survived thanks to Kam Chancellor’s forced fumbled on Calvin Johnson, who was inches away from scoring to give the Lions the likely game-winning touchdown.
“Another Monday night game in Seattle,” Pete Carroll said, “another officiating controversy. This time, it wasn’t the ‘Fail Mary,’ it was the ‘bat out of hell.’ If there’s a ‘bat’ in Seattle, I bet it has ‘Seattle Super Sonar.’
“We were able to beat the Lions without Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is nursing a hamstring injury. And when I say ‘nursing,’ I mean he’s soaking it in a bath of that miracle healing water that Russell Wilson advocates. You don’t often hear Russell use foul language, but he swears by that stuff.
“It won’t be easy in the ‘Jungle’ against the Bengals. For once, we won’t have the ‘stripes’ on our side.”
As long as Wilson has legs, the Seahawks have a chance. The Cincy defense will test Seattle’s shaky offensive line, but turnovers are likely to decide the outcome.
Seattle wins, 18-13.
Washington @ Atlanta (-8)
The Falcons look to remain undefeated, hosting the 2-2 Redskins. The Falcons are 4-0 after whipping the Texans 48-21 last week.
“I’m not sure anyone can stop this offense, except Mike Smith. Devonta Freeman has established himself as one of the league’s top backs. He has a certain elusiveness that is only taught at Florida State.”
“Kirk deserves a lot of credit for his preparation,” Jay Gruden said. “He’s faced more distractions than any quarterback this season. It’s hard work digesting a game plan in our quarterbacks meeting, but to do so with an elephant in the room? That takes concentration.”
Atlanta wins, 27-13.
Jacksonville @ Tampa Bay (-3)
The Bucs suffered a 37-23 loss at home to the Panthers last week and fell to 1-3 on the year. Jameis Winston threw 4 interceptions.
“The NFL isn’t a Publix grocery store,” Lovie Smith said. “Jameis has to limit his giveaways, not his takeaways. Jameis is tied with Andrew Luck for the most interceptions with seven. I know Jameis will be upset to hear this, but when you make bad throws in the NFL, you don’t get away with it.”
The Jaguars had the Colts on the ropes in Indianapolis, but kicker Jason Myers missed a field goal at the end of regulation, then one in overtime, either of which would have given Jacksonville the win. Instead, Gus Bradley’s crew left with a 16-13 overtime loss.
“Let’s face it,” Bradley said, “the Colts should be 0-4. See, they even lucked out with Luck out.
“Three female journalists were stopped from entering our locker room after the game,” Bradley said. “Let’s not make a big deal out of this, because they were eventually let in. But if anyone needs to be ‘shown the door, it’s Jason Myers.”
Jaguars win, 27-19.
New Orleans @ Philadelphia (-5)
The Eagles fell to 1-3, falling to the Redskins on the road, 23-20. Sam Bradford passed for 3 touchdowns, but the Philly run game managed only 87 yards.
“We just can’t seem to put things together,” Chip Kelly said. “Is that because I got rid of some players and replaced them with ‘my guys?’ It could be. If that’s the case, then we are ‘clique-ing,’ but we’re not ‘clicking.’
“DeMarco Murray said he’s not getting the ball enough. Not enough? Murray’s averaging 2.5 yards a carry. For him to say that, well, that’s too much.’”
Drew Brees connected with C.J. Spiller for an 80-yard touchdown pass on the second play of overtime to give the Saints a 26-20 win over the visiting Cowboys. It was Brees’ 400th TD pass, and the New Orleans defense played with an urgency that had been lacking in the Saints previous three games.
“I told Rob Ryan I needed to see some vast improvement out of the defense,” Sean Payton said. “I gave Rob an ultimatum: get your points per game surrendered under your BMI, or else. Thankfully, Rob responded, not by eating more, but by demanding improvement.
“The words Rob fears most are not ‘You’re fired.’ The words he fears most are ‘Holding. No. 39.’ Branden Browner not only gets flagged for holding, he also gets ticketed for jaywalking, because he’s a ‘walking penalty.’ Do I need to take the field and hold his hand? I would, but I think that would send the wrong message.”
Eagles win, 30-23.
Cleveland @ Baltimore (-6)
The Ravens overcame a 13-point deficit to beat Michael Vick and the Steelers 23-20 in overtime at Heinz Field. Justin Tucker sent the game into overtime with a 42-yard field goal, then won it with a 52-yard boot in OT.
“There were some questionable calls made in that game,” John Harbaugh said. “That’s what happens when Phil Simms is the color commentator.
“I can’t fault Mike Tomlin for gambling on fourth down. Mike’s a gambler and likes to roll the dice. Either his favorite game is craps, or that’s what he says after going for it on fourth down.
“I’m not sure you should put the ball in Vick’s hands with the game on the line. He seemed pretty dejected in his post-game comments. On that note, what do you call it when Vick makes statements to the press? His ‘sentencing.’”
The Browns lost a shootout in San Diego, going down 30-27 to the Chargers. Josh McCown passed for 356 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the Cleveland defense gave up 458 yards of total offense.
“We played without cornerback Joe Haden,” Mike Pettine said. “Joe was out with a broken ring finger. With that lack of toughness, you can best believe Haden will never have a ring finger.
Baltimore wins, 23-20.
St. Louis @ Green Bay (-10)
The Packers defense shut down the 49ers offense, and Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to an efficient 17-3 win at Levi’s Stadium. Green Bay is 4-0 and leads the Vikings by two games in the NFC North.
“We rushed for a whopping 162 yards,” Aaron Rodgers said, “and that was the downfall of the 49ers. Maybe our running backs should be compared to Michael Jordan, because they really know how to run a team into the ground.
“We play on natural grass at Lambeau Field, but even so, I’ve been known to light the turf on fire. The Rams should feel right at home.”
“That was a big win for this team,” Jeff Fisher said. “Had we lost, we would have been 1-3 and three whole games behind Arizona in the NFC West. And I would have become the biggest ‘fire’ hazard in the Edward Jones Dome.
With Gurley healthy, the Rams most effective game plan entails 20-25 touches for Gurley, along with hope and prayer that when the Packers inevitably move into Rams territory, they’re held to a field goal.
Green Bay wins, 26-21.
Buffalo @ Tennessee (+2 ½)
The Bills committed 17 penalties in last week24-10 home loss to the Giants.
“I’m not much on discipline,” Rex Ryan said, “unless it’s administered by a bare-footed dominatrix.
“Seventeen penalties is a number that is unacceptable. Strangely enough, though, not to the Giants. They accepted all of them.”
The Bills pass rush gets to Mariotta, sacking him five times, and Tyrod Taylor rushes for two scores. And a real “Music City Miracle” occurs, as the Bills are flagged less than six times.
Buffalo wins, 27-16.
Arizona @ Detroit (+2½)
The Lions lost 13-10 to the Seahawks on Monday night, done in by an officiating error that robbed them of a chance for a road win against the defending NFC champions. The loss left the Lions 0-4, the only winless team in the NFL.
“You’ve all seen it by now,” Jim Caldwell said. “The official failed to flag the Seahawks’ K.J. Wright when he clearly batted the ball out of bounds. That’s called ‘illegal touching,’ and by golly, that’s something I thought I’d never have to hear once Ndamukong Suh left. Suh’s now wreaking havoc in Miami, not necessarily on the field, but more so with the Dolphins salary cap.
“First all this talk of a ‘bat,’ now I hear the Cardinals have a ‘Honey Badger’ on the team. This is something new for us. We haven’t been ‘badgered,’ this year, but we have been ‘skunked.’”
After 13 offensive touchdowns in their first three games, the Cardinals found the end zone only once in their 24-22 loss to the Rams last week.
“I’m not worried,” Bruce Arians said. “If I was worried, would I be sporting these hipster spectacles and this fresh Kangol? I’m cooler than jazz, and ‘more hip’ than Jerry Jones.”
Arizona wins, 27-22.
New England @ Dallas (+9)
The Cowboys lost in overtime 26-20 to the Saints last week, giving up an 80-yard TD bomb from Drew Brees to C.J. Spiller on the second play of overtime.
“Obviously,” Jason Garrett said, “there was a communication breakdown in our defense. We were confused, then dazed. Once Spiller got loose, we went down like a lead zeppelin.
“Greg Hardy is returning to the lineup after a four-game suspension. We’re hoping he can get some pressure on Brady, because we can’t allow him to beat us through the air. Greg’s job is to rush off the edge and sack Brady, or at the very least, make him uncomfortable in the pocket. Hardy didn’t even blink when I gave him a restraining order.”
The Patriots return from a bye week ready to continue their winning ways, and intent on unleashing Rob Gronkowski on the Dallas defense.
“We’re rested,” Bill Belichick said. “And more importantly, we’re healthy. Any player that was ailing has received treatment from our fine medical staff. Here in Foxboro, we call that getting ‘doctored.’
Brady shows up for pre-game warm-ups in a sleeveless shirt emblazoned with the name “Hardy” on the back, and pictures of the wife-beater quickly go viral.
Patriots win, 34-17.
Denver @ Oakland (+5)
The Broncos rushed for 144 yards, helping to overcome two Peyton Manning interceptions, in a tough 23-20 win over the visiting Vikings. The Denver defense was again stout, sacking Teddy Bridgewater seven times and forcing the game-clinching fumble.
“I’m leading the chants of ‘defense’ this year,” Manning said. “I face our defense in practice every day. You think my stats are terrible in real games? You should see them in practice.”
The Raiders lost on the road, falling 22-20 to the Bears in Chicago.
“We’ve got to hand it to our owner Mark Davis. He’s really made decisions that have vastly improved this team. Mark’s thinking big. He’s got ‘Super Bowl’ on his mind, instead of just ‘bowl’ on his head, which is the case when he gets a haircut.”
Denver wins, 24-15.
San Francisco @ NY Giants (-7)
The visiting Giants beat up the Bills, winning 24-10 to even their record at 2-2. Eli Manning passed for 212 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“Colin Kaepernick just faced Aaron Rodgers,” Manning said. “Now he faces me. I’m honored to take part in Kaepernick’s ’Prove to Me Why I’m Not Elite’ Tour.
“We’re still waiting on Victor Cruz to get healthy. Hebeen receiving injections of platelet-rich plasma. That stuff’s known as the ‘Chunky Soup’ of the transfusion world.”
The 49ers defense held the Packers dangerous offense to only 17 points, but the San Fran offense managed only 196 yards and three points. Colin Kaepernick was sacked six times, and was taunted by Clay Matthews.
“I hear Matthews yelled at me during the game last week,” Kaepernick said. “He said I was ‘no Russell Wilson.’ He’s right. I’m not Russell Wilson. God doesn’t speak to me. But, God does communicate with me. He doesn’t write to me, he writes on me.”
Prior to the game, former 49er great Ronnie Lott and Jason Pierre-Paul meet for a game of poker organized by Comedy Central jokester Daniel Tosh. After the deal, Lott and Pierre-Paul both fold, citing bad hands.
Tosh rejoices, and Manning throws 3 touchdown passes, one to Odell Beckham, Jr., who punches the air with his first, which does the same amount of damage as he does when he punches a Buffalo Bill.
Giants win, 27-24.
Pittsburgh @ San Diego (-3)
The Steelers blew a 13-point second half lead and eventually lost 23-20 to the Ravens in overtime last Thursday. Pittsburgh failed on two fourth-down overtime plays, and Josh Scobee missed two fourth quarter field goals.
“Coach Tomlin had several brain farts,” Antonio Brown said. “And with it being the Steelers, he who ‘smelt’ it, dealt it.
“Le’Veon Bell should get the ball on fourth down. He’s the best running back in the league. You could even say Bell has the biggest ding-dong in the NFL.”
The Steelers commit to the run game, taking the ball out of Vick’s hands, even allowing Bell to take a few direct snaps. Bell racks up 201 yards from scrimmage, and tosses a TD pass to Brown on a halfback option play late in the fourth to give the Steelers the win.
Pittsburgh wins, 31-27.