CBA negotiations are expected to heat up today and tomorrow, with Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith, several owners and a handful of player reps in the room. But as always, nothing’s guaranteed.

At least one NFL general manager thinks the process is at the five-yard line, noting that there’s still plenty of time and space for a game-changing fumble. But even if the sides don’t commit a turnover, there’s a chance they turn it over on downs or settle for a field goal.

Still following the metaphor? Essentially, it wouldn’t surprise anybody if the labor stalemate were to last into next week or beyond. The well-connected Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal doesn’t think we’ll get a resolution today or tomorrow, which is sort of scary considering that next Friday might be a magic deadline if the league and players want to save the preseason.

Making matters worse, US Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, who is mediating the discussions, is scheduled to go on vacation Saturday.

That means that the two parties will have to act like grown-ups with a major deadline looming next week. The key, if momentum builds between now and the end of tomorrow, might be for the negotiators to keep pushing through the weekend and beyond.

For everyone else, the waiting game continues.