Ye Olde Rhino’s Sports Pub and Grille is hearing things.
The good word around the watercooler is that the NFL is considering eliminating two weeks of preseason games and adding two more weeks of play to the regular season. We know. This is groundbreaking stuff.
Once upon a time, the NFL played six preseason games. As recently as the 70s (well, not so recently, as a matter of fact), there were six preseason games and 14 regular-season games. That’s just plain nuts … way too many games that didn’t count for anything. And, that 14-game season really had to mess with fantasy football players (did the playoffs start in Week 11? Geesh!).
With this year’s NFL preseason set to blissfully kick off in just eight days in Canton, Ohio, here are the five preseason games that will be featured on the big screen at Rhino’s Sports Pubery …
“After the first game, we were kind of embarrassed at home. We had kind of put it on the back burner until this week. Now, it’s occurring so now we have a chance to do something we didn’t do the first game.” — Patriots DT Vince Wilfork, on Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
In Week 2, unveiling something that fans would soon learn to know as the “Wildcat,” the Dolphins administered a 38-13 pants-down spanking to the Patriots in their own backyard, Gillette Stadium.
Chances are, the Patriots — totally, and uncharacteristically, caught off guard by the “Wildcat” in Week 2 — will be ready for the Dolphins’ single-wing inspired offensive formation after being “Wildcatted” to death in Week 2.
Odds are, the Dolphins will break out some “Wildcat” again on Sunday, probably with a new wrinkle or two to throw off the masses. However, Greatest Pro Bowls of all time, and other stuff is suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Miami should consider some other offensive strategies to throw the Patriots off tilt and send them back to Massachusetts feeling more shame.
How about …
The Statue of Liberty play? Hey, it worked for Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, why not against the Pats?
Pig in a poke? Might Greatest Pro Bowls of all time, and other stuff suggest Ricky Williams try to pull this one off?
Crusty bob? Nothing will send the Patriots back home with more shame than this slick maneuver.
Should be a fun game to watch and, conveniently, both teams appear in this week’s edition of the the Just-Totally-Made-Up NFL BCSTM rankings. Check it out …
1. Tennessee Titans (Previously: 1) — Magic number to win AFC South down to three.
2. New York Giants (Previously: 2) — Return to the scene of their most glorious victory in what could be an NFC Championship preview. Don’t laugh!
3. Carolina Panthers (Previously: 3) — Arguably the least impressive 8-2 team in NFL history.
4. New York Jets (Previously: 4) — Brett Favre has managed to go two consecutive games without throwing an interception, but will have to be extra careful with that pigskin against a Titans team that features a plus-10 turnover differential. How’s that for applied statistical analysis?
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Previously: 8 ) — That defense looks championship-caliber. That offense? Not so much.
6. Arizona Cardinals (Previously: 9) — With a win over the visiting Giants, and a 49ers loss to the Cowboys, the Cardinals clinch their first division title since 1975 (when the team resided in St. Louis) and the first home playoff game for the franchise since 1947 (when the team played its home games in Chicago’s Comiskey Park). It’s true, you can look it up.
7. Indianapolis Colts (Previously: 11) — A Peyton vs. Eli Super Bowl matchup would be loads of fun.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Previously: 12) — Likely won’t be in a very giving mood against the Lions, a team desperately hoping to get that first win, especially before a nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game.
9. Baltimore Ravens (Previously: 5) — Had that we’re-not-quite-ready-to-play-with-the-big-boys look in a 30-10 mauling at the hands of the Giants.
10. Miami Dolphins (Previously: NR) — Can really put the Patriots in a hole with a win on Sunday.
11. New England Patriots (Previously: NR) — Better hope they don’t get crusty bobbed to death by the Dolphins.
12. Denver Broncos (Previously: NR) — The AFC West is brutal, and the Broncos are taking complete advantage of that.
Teams in danger of relegation if the NFL were like European soccer …
30. Kansas City Chiefs — That 1-9 record may not show it, but the Chiefs are showing improvement behind the surprisingly productive Tyler Thigpen.
31. Cincinnati Bengals — Became a footnote in history with that tie last week.
32. Detroit Lions — Really rooting for an 11-0 team to face an 0-11 team on Thanksgiving Day.
Week 12 picks
Steelers over Bengals (nailed it!)
Ravens over Eagles
Browns over Texans
Buccaneers over Lions
Chiefs over Bills
Bears over Rams
Titans over Jets
Patriots over Dolphins
Jaguars over Vikings
Cowboys over 49ers
Broncos over Raiders
Panthers over Falcons
Giants over Cardinals
Redskins over Seahawks
Colts over Chargers
Packers over Saints
Week 11 record: 13-3 (counted that tie as a loss, given Greatest Pro Bowls of all time, and other stuff didn’t actually pick that game correctly)
Overall record: 103-59