Before we get started, a few words on America's financial crisis. (Because hey, who knows more about our economy than a sports blogger from Nowhere, Illinois?) I am going to apply my years of insight as reporter for Registered Rep. magazine, as well as my minutes upon minutes of CNBC viewing, to explain to you exactly what it all means. Ready? We're all fucked. Every single one of us. And if you think you're fucked, wait until your children grow up. In 25 years, this country is going to have six rich people, and the rest of us are going to be living in teepee, huts or igloos, depending on your local climate. (That is to say: Forget the igloos.) Eventually, we will all flee to Canada and other indigenous lands, much like the plot of the upcoming HBO series "Americatown." What's "Americatown" about?
Set 25-40 years into the future when the precipitous decline of the U.S. leads to a mass exodus of its citizens, "Americatown" takes place in a cluster of newly arrived American immigrants in a big foreign city.
I am reminded of the New York City blackout. My old boss, when the lights went out in our office, began running around, screaming, "This is how they do it! Al Qaeda shuts down our power grid and then attacks while we're defenseless." I kind of feel like that right now. Everything fun any of us have ever done is about to end; life's gonna turn into "Of Mice And Men," with Sarah Palin's child good-heartedly and accidentally crushing the skull of a lovely migrant worker. Whole world's comin' to an end, Mal. Might as well enjoy some football before it all implodes. 32. St. Louis Rams (0-4). Interesting factoid I discovered this week: Ousted coach Scott Linehan is actually the brother-in-law of Jim Caviezel, last seen as the guy getting the shit beaten out of him, supposedly for our sins, though the movie never quite made that part clear. I have a feeling Linehan's going to have a similar career the rest of the way as Caviezel, last seen in Outlander, a direct-to-DVD "adventure epic." Here's the plot summary: "During the reign of the Vikings, Kainan (Caviezel), a man from a far-off world, crash lands on Earth, bringing with him an alien predator known as the Moorwen. Though both man and monster are seeking revenge for violence committed against them, Kainan leads the alliance to kill the Moorwen by fusing his advanced technology with the Viking's Iron Age weaponry." Shit, I'd watch that.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-4). Carson Palmer reportedly wanted to play last week, but, you know, at this point, why? Get surgery right now, Carson, and miss the rest of the season. Even if you don't actually need it. Run for the hills. 30. Detroit Lions (0-3). The Lions went ahead and practiced yesterday, their first runthrough without Matt Millen as GM. Wouldn't it have been kind of awesome if, suddenly, all the players were five times more talented? Or if they could, like, fly? If the Lions go 13-0 the rest of the way, it will be the greatest sports story of all time. Maybe it'll be a ragtag bunch of scallywags who somehow claw their way to victory in amusing ways. Perhaps they'll sign a kicking mule.
29. Houston Texans (0-3). I agree with Daulerio's post yesterday: No one would have mentioned Matt Bryant at all if he had missed three field goals, though it's not like he's any happier now that he hit three. That is to say: The NFL has absolutely nothing to do with family tragedy, whether it's a player's or yours. Did anyone think to ask Kris Brown if he's had any tragedies in his life? Because he has. 28. Oakland Raiders (1-3). So, when Crazy Al eventually does fire Lane Kiffin, who's the first team to hire him? Doesn't he have to go to the top tier of coaching candidates now? In true Simmons fashion, I've been trying to come up with an analogy for the practice of taking a job coaching for Al Davis, knowing that you'll be fired eventually even if you do a good job, all just to promote yourself down the line? I'd guess it'd be like signing up to be Lehman Brothers' PR person right now.
27. Cleveland Browns (1-3). The Browns are set to lose their next six games, which means this is probably as high as they'll be the rest of the year (and considering they just dropped a spot by winning, that's probably a safe bet), and that we're getting Brady Quinn really soon. Just for old times sake, I think someone should station a camera on him the entire time he's waiting to enter the game, watching him grow more uncomfortable until he finally just leaves. 26. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3). Larry Johnson is still alive! Jason Whitlock and this site have had some disagreements over the years, but I consider it a quite victory that he's now writing in the first person plural. 25. San Francisco 49ers (2-2). I was in San Francisco for about 48 hours over the weekend — sorry I didn't call, Chandler; no time! Love you! Miss you! So glad Daulerio's actually, you know, letting you do work — and ran into the Folson Street Fair. Boy, do those Californians know how to tailgate!
By the way, something I just noticed: STEVE GUTTENBERG IS WEARING A DARRELL PORTER JERSEY IN THAT CLIP! HOLY CRAP! I do love me some Darrell Porter 24. Atlanta Falcons (2-2). Matt Ryan still has a while to go to become the world's most famous Matt Ryan. 23. The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals (2-2). I was stuck on a JetBlue flight Sunday, flipping back and forth between this game and the Mets' final implosion. No matter what happens — and you know this already — whoever wins the NFC West might be the worst division champion of the last 25 years. And you know what? If it means the Buzzsaw sneaking in, that's fine.
22. Seattle Seahawks (1-2). See above. 21. Miami Dolphins (1-2). Because the NFL is helplessly screwed up — how will they do a 32-team 8-8 tiebreaker, anyway? — I have no doubt that Dolphins will smoke the Chargers this weekend, thanks to Ronnie Brown's four touchdown passes, two from each hand. 20. New York Jets (2-2). It's worth noting that had the Buzzsaw stayed upright in this game, they might have actually come back. Bad sign. That said, the Jets could win their next three, and then some. And of course Favre is cheering that Aaron Rodgers is hurt. Did you have any doubt? 19. Minnesota Vikings (1-3). It has come to this: Vikings fans breathed a huge sigh of relief when Gus Frerotte's hand turned out to be OK. Whew! 18. Indianapolis Colts (1-2). The whole Colts season is going to come down to this week against Houston; if they lose on the road, they'll be 1-3 with games against the Ravens, Packers, Titans, Patriots and Steelers coming up. I was going to try to find a goofy picture of Peyton Manning to add to this paragraph, but every photograph of Peyton Manning looks exactly the same, even if he's wearing a mustache.
17. New England Patriots (2-1). All told, the Patriots (and Jets ... and Bills ... and Dolphins ...) are rather fortunate to have the NFC West as their oppo division this year. Theoretically speaking, that's four wins, right there. Add that to the Jets and Chiefs game they've already won, we're looking at a minimum of six wins here. Of course, the way the NFL is now, they could just as easily run the table. 16. Green Bay Packers (2-2). If Aaron Rodgers is unable to play Sunday, it'll be Matt Flynn, not Brian Brohm, as the starting quarterback. What a drop, man: Two years ago, Pro Football Prospectus was calling its prediction on which team would have the worst record in the NFL the "Brohm Watch." Now he can't even beat out a guy picked in the seventh round. But hey: Those Packers coaches know quarterbacks better than the rest of us. 15. Chicago Bears (2-2). Without looking at the schedule, without even knowing who's going to play where and when, I can confidently predict that the Bears are going 8-8 this year. And Sunday night proves what we've always known about Kyle Orton: The man is at his BEST when under the biggest spotlight.
14. New Orleans Saints (2-2) I don't know what this says about the fanbase, but the only two Saints fans I know are avid Tumblr impresarios Alex Balk and Cajun Boy. Actually, it doesn't say anything, which is about as much as I have to say about the Saints this week. See? This ranking thing always gives you your money's worth. 13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1). Tampa remains my blind spot, as well as many of yours, because their level of performance seems diametrically opposite to their talent level. But forget them: Springsteen's playing at the Super Bowl! Yes, yes, I know: My Springsteen love is not always appreciated here. But here's hoping that he ignores all requests and plays nothing but songs about poverty, racial strife and tragedy. It'll go well with the acoustic set, which he'll have to do, considering, by then, no one will have enough money to afford the amps.
12. Baltimore Ravens (2-1). As usual, I don't have anything to say about the Baltimore Ravens. So! Paul Newman! As sad as anyone over here, particularly because "Slap Shot" is the most I've ever cared about hockey. Honestly, that movie's so good, and so scrappy, that it's no wonder Newman made it. (It probably seemed like an odd choice for him before they started filming.) In Newman's honor, I am now eating 50 eggs. By the way, Roger Ebert has been running a rather outstanding retrospective of Newman; here's a feature Ebert wrote years ago.
11. San Diego Chargers (2-2). I don't know about you, but I still have a sense this team is poorly coached and underperforming. JUST A HUNCH. 10. Denver Broncos (3-1). While in San Francisco, I was flipping to the NFL Network, because my sister does not live in New York City and can therefore watch the NFL Network. (Grrrrr.) They were showing that Monday Night game when Joe Montana led the Chiefs to a game-winning drive over the Broncos. I had completely forgotten that Dan Dierdorf had once done "MNF." Wow. At least he hasn't fallen as far as Dan Fouts, who I think is actually serving as a bellboy at Dierdorf and Hart's.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2). For a team that supposedly turned a corner last week, they sure did have a lot of trouble sneaking by a winless Texans team. They could very well lose their next two, as well. By the way, here's what life is like in a "major" "metropolitan" newsroom8. Carolina Panthers (3-1). I have decided the new tradition is talking about Sarah Palin every time the Panthers come up. At this point, it's clear that as long as she doesn't show up at the debate this Thursday wearing a fish on her head (always a real possibility) and speaking in tongues, she's going to "exceed expectations." It reminds me a little of when Mariah Carey — who had spent the last year desperately hanging on to her sanity — performed at the 9/11 special. (You know, the one where Fred Durst sang "Wish You Were Here." Who invited him to that, anyway?) She didn't break down and start clawing out chunks of her stomach, so no matter how it went after that, she was just fine. That's all Sarah Palin has to do: Come across as a human being capable of completing a sentence. It's 50-50, I'd say.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2). Westbrook or not, I'm concerned, and if I could pry him away from his Mitch Williams blow-up doll, I'd bet Daulerio is too. 6. Washington Redskins (3-1). I know, it's not fair to keep them below the Cowboys after winning on the road and having the same record, but like you're reading this for actual analysis anyway. (Hahahaha, just kidding: I know you're not still reading.) But if you watched that first game of the season and thought, "Man, Jim Zorn's gonna prove himself a genius," you're clearly KOGOD. 5. Buffalo Bills (4-0). Awfully shaky against the worst team in organized sport, if they didn't play the Buzzsaw this week, they might be concerned. Looking at the economy right now, I think the odds are good that, in December, there will be more people at a Bills game that actually live in the city of Buffalo.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1). Let's pour a 40 out for Rashard Mendenhall, the star Illini running back who fractured his shoulder (ouch) last night and will miss the rest of the season. If Mewelde Moore stubs his toe this week, the Steelers are absolutely signing Barry Foster again.
3. Dallas Cowboys (3-1). Yep, you're seeing it too: The impending Terrell Owens explosion is starting to come in focus now, isn't it? Oh, and for the record: None of us have forgotten about the porn film, T.O. You didn't bury that around these parts, nope. 2. Tennessee Titans (4-0). You know, if Vince Young would come out from under the bed, he might find his team is awfully fun to watch. Maybe we can lure him out with some cheese. 1. New York Giants (3-0). Merely by outlasting everybody else (thanks largely to a bye week), the defending champs are at the top of the rankings. Hey, I had no choice: Who wants Plaxico Burress beating their ass?