Football doesn’t stop for America’s turkey hangover, or its bruises and pepper spray wounds after a day of violent shopping. So we forge ahead bravely on another NFL Sunday, but there’s one moronic and idiotic soldier who didn’t make it through the Thanksgiving festivities with his sanity still in tact, and we likely won’t be seeing him for a few weeks.
His name is Ndamukong Suh, and it’s expected that he’ll be suspended for two games. Next time just be more careful when you’re getting up from a pile, Ndamukong, and don’t accidentally kick an opposing player after shoving his head into the turf repeatedly.
Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
Bill Musgrave is now the offensive coordinator in Minnesota. But a few years ago when Matt Ryan was a highly-touted rookie Musgrave was an assistant coach in Atlanta, and Ryan was eager to gush about Musgrave’s influence on his development when he spoke to the Minnesota media earlier this week.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Friday we learned that former Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is a verbally abusive douchebag who went to the Mike Singletary school of coaching (if you scream louder, they’ll listen more and win more). But as Waiting for Next Year notes, if Daboll’s abuse did indeed make Colt McCoy a stronger man as he claims, he still hasn’t shown that on the field yet.
Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts
Colts fans, players, and coaches (assuming they’re not canned) can gaze at the opposing sideline today and see hope, and hope’s name will be Cam Newton.
Carolina’s record may not reflect the renewed energy and enthusiasm Newton’s brought to the team, but it’s there. If Peyton Manning can’t be the franchise anymore, then there has to be faith in Indianapolis that another quarterback who currently attends Stanford can fill that massive void through the draft. Newton’s performance this year and his impact on the Panthers franchise should feed that faith.
Meanwhile, back in insanity land, Jim Irsay said something about a hard-boiled egg, Andrew Luck, and his desperate desire to get one win this season.
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Matt Leinart will be eased into the Houston offense while making his first start in two years, and he’ll be asked to start consecutive games for the first time since 2007. For the Texans, the next six games will be a franchise-defining stretch that could and should end in their first playoff berth, and Leinart’s now at the offensive helm controlling that push.
For Leinart this could be a career-defining stretch, and his play over the next six games could determine if he’s ever given another chance to be a starting quarterback.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
The Jets have only one 40-plus yard pass this year, and it was essentially a run play that happened to be a forward pass when Ladainian Tomlinson ran 74 yards after receiving a screen pass against Oakland. That shows Mark Sanchez’s regression in 2011 and his near non-existent downfield ability, because one year ago the Jets were tied for sixth with 11 pass of 40 yards or more.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
Kevin Kolb isn’t quite ready to return, and he’s expected to sit out his fourth straight game with a toe injury. Sadly, this is good news for the Cardinals.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans
LeGarrette Blount will face the Titans for the first time since Tennessee released him during training camp last August. It’s a move the Titans may soon regret as Chris Johnson’s baffling regression continues.
Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders
Even with a healthy Jay Cutler, the Bears’ offense was already moving in a different direction, with Mike Martz using two tight ends on 23 percent of the plays he called, and running the ball on 52 percent of those plays. That shift will likely continue as the transition to Caleb Hanie begins today.
Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks
It’s been exactly four years since Sean Taylor died. Whoever said that time heals all wounds will have to convince Redskins fans and former Redskins blogger Matt Teri.
In his excellent column Teri describes why it’s still hard to write about Taylor, and why it’s getting harder each year.
New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles
Patriots third string quarterback Ryan Mallett spent the week mimicking Vince Young in practice, and in doing so the former Razorback revealed that for a brief time he was a Longhorns fan, or at least a Vince Young fan.
Young will be starting because Michael Vick is officially out, and he’ll be throwing against a Patriots secondary that’s still a mess because of key injuries. Chad Ochocinco reportedly won’t play in this game either, but will anyone notice? More importantly, will anyone care?
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
Denver Post columnist Woody Paige is often mildly insane, but in his latest piece filled with Tim Tebow drool he passed along a few interesting Tebow nuggets. Paige’s numbers provide a stark contrast in today’s game between a Broncos quarterback who transforms into a winner late in games regardless of how many wobbly ducks he’s thrown throughout the other three quarters, and a Chargers quarterback who’s done the opposite this season.
In just eight career starts Tebow has already tied the team record for fourth quarter comebacks by a quarterback in his first two seasons. And despite his overall poor completion percentage this year (44.8 percent), Tebow is completing passes at a significantly better rate in the fourth quarter (56 percent).
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
The Steelers have served as a motivational tool for Todd Haley and his inconsistent 4-6 Chiefs. Not the 2011 Steelers, though.
Haley is more concerned with the 1989 Steelers, and that team’s ability to be resilient and quality for the playoffs despite the number in their loss column at any point in the season.