The season has started! Millions of fans across the world finally took a deep breath of relief, a large gulp of beer, and about 3 pounds of wings while flicking on their televisions with the same kind of glee that Christmas morning brings. Let’s face it, we should almost consider opening weekend of the NFL season an extended holiday, then include Tuesday as well for the sheer amount of hangovers. I bet the national productivity drops about 30% the morning after opening weekend.
That said, it also means it’s time to get back in the groove with your weekly Lochdown! Let’s get into it.
Who Fed It, Who Ate It
This was an unusual week to be sure. It seems every week 1 brings a new twist that makes them entirely unpredictable (except for your cousin who doesn’t even *watch* football but still goes like 13-3 in the pick’em every week). This year it was a record-setting number of close games. Only 3 games across the league were decided by 10+ points. The rest were held closer than Tiny Dancer (or Tony Danza, depending on which way you swing… and you’ll never sing that song the same way again… you’re welcome). So in actuality there were only 3 good ol’ fashioned feedings and eatings, 2 of which were on Monday night.
It started on Sunday, however, in a game nobody could predict the outcome of, except for everybody who actually knows what football is and has a basic grasp of geography and how points work. The Eagles smacked the Browns around like a deleted scene from Angry Birds. To top it all off, RG3 went down with a shoulder injury and won’t be back for some time. Looking at his stat line, however, I don’t think the Browns should be worried. Well, at least about the quarterback. They should be very worried that they all play for the Browns.
Monday started innocently enough, with the ‘Skins going up by 2 field goals on the Steelers. That innocence was shattered just like the ‘Skins team, however, as Pittsburgh rolled to a comfy 38-16 win. To the ‘Skins credit, they tried to uh… well… show up…? With no rushing attack and a porous defense, it was kind of like watching the Steelers play one of those white, picket fences the fans sometimes use to cheer when they think beer makes them clever.
The slaughter continued into the night as the nation slogged through a laborious double-header. The Niners-Rams game was so bad, they probably could have inserted a solid half hour of a documentary on labor-breathing and as long as it didn’t wake any watchers up, it would have gone unnoticed. The Rams, quite frankly, I think were themselves sleeping in the hotel room and they sent out a posse of the biggest high school kids they could find in their uniforms. This is not to say the Niners looked particularly awesome in their 28-0 rout. Rather they looked like all the energy they saved by taking a knee during the anthem was used in extra-wiggly celebration dances every time they made a play rather than making more plays.
The best play of the night was the fan who eluded police for a full lap on the field with the amazing play by play from Kevin Harlan. One of the best calls in football history.
The Glory of Victory!
The Vikes won. They won ugly, but they won. They won in the same kind of ugly one finds in the burning leer of Rosie O’Donnell sizing up a buffet, but they won.
The Vikings offense and kicking harnessed all that ugly to exhibit the power of uselessness and missed uprights. No offensive touchdowns, 2 missed field goals and a missed extra point… to be fair they made 3 other FG’s for a whopping total of 9 points. To be fair, Shaun Hill looked as good as Shaun Hill is gonna look, but apparently Norv has decided that since he can successfully run AD against nine-man defensive fronts in Madden, he should be able to in real-life as well.
The offense certainly lived up to “offensive”, but thankfully their collective bacon was saved by a killer defensive performance. By killer, I mean we literally would have lost the game without it.
Somewhere during halftime, after each player had a new butthole chewed into their very being, the D decided that it was up to them to take over the game, and they did. The not only shut down the Titans offense, they locked the doors, turned on the alarm and rolled down the protective gate (barring one garbage time drive). Eric Kendricks also had a 77 yard pick-6, followed closely by a Danielle Hunter 24 yard fumble return (a swipe-6?) for another score, thus outscoring the offense yet again. This seems to be a recurring theme, but I’m sure glad we have a D that can do this when needed. It would be foolish to count on it, though.
The Lochdowns for Week 2
Looking ahead to Week 2… we are already chilling beer around these parts. Meat shall be cooked. Jerseys shall be donned. Beverages will be swilled late into the eve of our first semi-annual border-battle holiday only to be regretted come morning (stay hydrated folks and don’t drive!). Before that, however, I feel a need to gloat a wee bit. Not only did I go 3-0 in my picks, but I called the Vikes going between 24-28 (we went 25) vs 17 (they got 16) for the Titans. Yeah that’s right, for a small weekly fee I can give you my winning insights!
In week 2 we will see the Ravens romp the Browns. Yeah this one is a cheese-pick but I never said these were avant garde. I’m not the Jackson Pollock of sports picks here… else I would say something like “The ravens ecco flashwarm schoolbook” then scribble all over my monitor and vanish for a few weeks. Still the Browns will continue manufacturing sadness and the Ravens will stave off the city of Baltimore becoming sadness factory #2 for one more week.
The Patriots will win once again under the genetically blessed face of Jimmy Garoppolo. Seriously, when you look at Belichick next to his last couple quarterbacks it turns into a creepy Mister Herbert scenario. However, seeing as Jimmy G has some talent, he will lead them over the Dolphins without too much trouble. He’ll then go on to become a start, marry someone like Kate Upton or some other model, and get an endorsement deal for something like the Prius – the car equivalent of wearing Uggs. Then he’ll collect superbowl rings at the center of controversies while spawning beautiful children.
Be right back. I’m going to go drink bleach now and set my computer on fire for writing that.
My unprotected pick of the week is gonna go to the Raiders upsetting the Falcons. The Falcons are reeling at the moment and Julio is hobbled. He may not be singing “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister yet, but with Sanu also not 100% it may ride on Freeman a little more than the Falcons would like. By the same token, the Raider offense seems to be set to “plunder”, although plundering the New Orleans defense is kind of like stealing candy from a candy factory… after a zombie apocalypse has taken away all the guards. We’ll have to see if they can still churn out that kind of production.
Finally… the Vikes
I’m giddy… there’s nothing like this rivalry. Yelling at the TV during a Vikes-packers game takes on an extra-exciting edge that you just don’t get when yelling at “Chopped Kids” (Turn that pork chop over Jimmy… TURN IT OVER BEFORE IT…. GAWD NOW IT BURNED! WHY WERE YOU BORN A LOSER, JIMMY, WHY?!?!)
Green Bay’s offense is the greatest thing to ever happen to the NFL… if you ask the gajillions of bobblehead announcers that rent space in Aaron Rodger’s jock every year. Expect a ridiculous amount of slavering praise like the packer organization just gave them all a beer after a desert crawl. Better yet, mute the television and turn on PA on your local radio station. Or join us in the vikefans.com chat room and make fun of the announcers with us!
As to the game itself… the packer offense is potent, yes… but is it as potent as last year? Their defense is suspect as well, as per yearly tradition. Of course these things are usually mitigated by about 5 or 6 flagrant bad calls by officials, but don’t worry, win or lose we’ll get that letter of apology to make up for it and it’ll be all better, right?
On the Vikes part, they simply have to step it up on offense. If they have another week of the “tie the ball to a balloon” and “kick FG’s towards the sideline” show, we’ll be down 2 scores at halftime and a tired D will have to manufacture another 20 or so points in a half. We won’t get that lucky twice. Only Patriots quarterbacks do.
Going for more bleach… be right back.
All-in-all, I *do* think the offense improves. As long as our QB throws at least 3 passes more than 20 yards, the packer defense will remain haunted by the ghost of Al Harris and get burned on at least 1 of them. Bradpool will start and Bradpool can throw more than 20 yards and pretty accurately. I also think the packers will back off the line some, knowing both about Bradpool’s downfield capability and their haunted backfield. This will open up actual holes for Peterson to run through, and he will take advantage of that. Look for our D to pin their ears back early and seek to rattle Aaron. Probably make him cry. Don’t worry too much, though, McCarthy will cradle him under one of his chins (the chin he named Aaron just for his QB) and make sure the whiniest quarterback in the history of mouths is soothed. If the D can make Aaron cry, then we win. If Aaron reads this and cries already because I was mean, then we’ve already won. Cryyyyyy Aaron, CRYYYYYYYYYYYY!
The Vikes shock the world (again) and win this one 31-17. Yes I’m not predicting a close one. I think this is a shocker in the making.
Enjoy the game, enjoy the night and enjoy it all safely my friends!