Your Week 14 NFL Field Guide
By TJ Hatter
Warm Greetings to all! We here at Football.com hope your bodies have adjusted from Thanksgiving/Thanksgivukkah and have re-learned how to function without you ingesting copious quantities of food an alcohol. Many of you may have entered into the playoffs in your fantasy football seasons, while many more have had your dreams of glory die like a Jaguars fan experiences in late September.
We'll do our best to help you coordinate your Half-Watch, Hate-Watch and Have-To-Watch NFL priorities as we march toward the end of the season. Remember, you have holiday shopping to do.
Houston at Jacksonville
This week begins early – the first time a Thursday Night Game appears on this list! – because of a game so hateable it cannot be ignored. Neither of these teams are particularly hateable per se, any more than it is fair to hate Charlie Brown as he misses the football, yet again. It is the spot they occupy on the calender paired with their tremendous ineptitude which makes this game imminently hateable. The Football.com position on Thursday Night Football is fairly clear. One of the many problems with this format is that games like this can occur. Yet it is the NFL and as the temperature outside continues to drop for many across the U.S., more than a few of us will find ourselves clicking over to this game than we'd like to admit. Frankly, a quest for words to describe how hideous a national game with these two records is at this point in the year will fail us. Thus, we can turn only to the most apt comparison: this game is The Kramer a grotesque brute, and yet you cannot look away. Get your haterade ready.
Both of your samples here have the early start times on Sunday. Another Hate-Watch opportunity does exist if you choose to check out the Dolphins at Steelers early or Giants at Chargers late, for those inclined to continue lambasting those franchises with your contempt. However all of these games are more worthy of your time and where you should focus in place of spewing bile on Twitter. At least partially. Both of these are quite good for Half-Watch games, but if you have to sacrifice time to accompany people to the mall, it's better to go early than late this week.
Detroit at Philadelphia
This has the potential to be a shootout, impacting plenty of fantasy teams, as a Detroit team that should start to put the NFC North in the bag matches big-time offenses with a Philadelphia team with the inside track on the NFC East. There are plenty of big-time and big-name players in action and it'll be interesting to see how Nick Foles – who has been utterly unstoppable – fares against a Lions front four that will be doing it's best to take him out. The over-under on this game is interestingly low at 54 which could be a reflection of possible weather changes or someone knows something. Take a look at that if you're interested in wasting some of the money you should be spending on your family this holiday season gambling on NFL games.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati
Andrew Luck and the Colts have some of the more impressive wins of the NFL season. They're the sole team to knock of Seattle thus far, knocked off Peyton Manning in his return to Indy and took out San Francisco to boot. But they're also not the same team without Reggie Wayne. Cincinnati finally looks like they've put the puzzle pieces together to win their division, granted it's weak this year, but they also could be very interesting in the postseason. Again, this game will likely have fantasy implications for you and you'll be checking your smartphone while glancing around a variety of stores buying things that cost too much for people you don't really like and who don't need any more stuff. Unless you and your significant other are shopping at Victoria's Secret or an establishment that sells adult beverages.
Unless you're sampling the adult beverages or are being treated to a personal version of the Victoria's Secret fashion show, do your best to have paid your penance and escape the crush of humanity on the roads and in the stores and be home. It's game time.
Seattle at San Francisco
Two of the trendiest picks to win the Super Bowl feature intriguing quarterbacks, stout defenses and coaches who pure and simply hate each other's guts. It's really all you could ask for in a December game. Seattle, coming off the heels of totally disemboweling the New Orleans Saints, head to San Fran to face another team that had to remove itself from the ground with a spatula when the Seahawks got done with it earlier this year. Random note: the 49ers mascot is “Sourdough Sam” and perhaps this doesn't get enough publicity because we've gotten used to him, but he looks as potentially creepy as the current clubhouse leader in creepy, the New Orleans Pelicans mascot, “Pierre” who will kill and eat everyone I've ever loved.
Carolina at New Orleans
This is a sneaky good game for you on Sunday Night Football, which continues to have the best contract with the NFL of any broadcast network around. I'm planning on writing about this next week, but just as Clay Travis showed that CBS has the best football deal around, yup not just college football but all of football, NBC clearly has the best NFL deal. Carolina is coming in with a ton of momentum and a stifling defense but they're inside the Superdome against a New Orleans team that was embarrassed on national TV. If that weren't enough, these two teams are playing for control of the division, meaning the loser could wind up on the road against a lukewarm NFC East team which, for New Orleans, is a nightmare from which they're trying to awake. All of that is a perfect cauldron of the NFL at its best.
Your Random Aaron Sorkinism For The Weekend:
Dan: If you wear something blue you get two dollars off a giant blue margarita.
Casey: You know I make a pretty good living. I can actually afford to wear what I want and pay full price.
Dan: I'm not promoting the economic upside as much as I am the opportunity to drink something giant and blue.
Enjoy the games and the weekend.