Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
Baltimore @ Atlanta (-1)
The NFL Network's first of several Thursday night games feature the NFC South-leading Falcons hosting the AFC North-leading Ravens in a game that is sure to be watched by millions.....online.
"That's right," Matt Ryan said. "NFL Network is slightly less available than Randy Moss for after-game interviews. Unlike Moss, though, their address never changes.
We know that preparation is the key when facing the Ravens. And that preparation includes intense film study, crisp practices, and face shields on all helmets. Now, we're undefeated at home, which makes us hospitable hosts. I won't let an alleged spitting incident cloud my sportsmanship, however. Win or lose, I'll shake each of the Ravens hands after the game, and graciously welcome them to the after-game party at Atlanta's Cobalt Lounge."
The Ravens stuffed the Dolphins 26-10 last week, and will look to physically outman the Falcons in the same fashion.
"All spitting accusations aside," Ray Lewis said, "this team seems to have its nasty streak back. I'm not sure whether Le'Ron McClain did our did not spit in Channing Crowder's face. I know Le'Ron's a black man, but I'll be damned if he's not the spitting image of Bill Romanowski.
Whatever the case, Channing knows not to run his mouth before he plays the Ravens. We shut him up, and if we could put that in a soup can, we'd call it ???Clam Crowder.'
Anyway, if LaRon did spit in Crowder's face, it was probably just an accident. LaRon probably just had a bad taste in his mouth. And, it seems, Crowder left with one."
Luckily for the Falcons, the forecast calls for no chance of precipitation, although there's a chance that someone will make it "rain" in one of Atlanta's fine stripping establishments. But the forecast does call for an 80% chance of Ed Reed intercepting Ryan to preserve a Ravens win.
Baltimore wins 20-16.
Tennessee @ Miami (+1)
The Titans assumed a share of the AFC South during their bye week, thanks to Indianapolis' loss in Philadelphia. It capped an eventful week in Nashville, as the Titans snatched Randy Moss off waivers after the Vikings released the enigmatic wide receiver.
"Indeed," Jeff Fisher said, "we used our bye week wisely. Not only did we rest our weary legs, but we also added Moss to our team. And Randy finally got his bye week, but it's definitely not the first week in which he's done nothing.
Anyway, with three teams in one year, Moss is the NFL's version of a gypsy. That being said, this has to be the first time he's been accused of being a good ???speller.' But Minnesota's loss is our gain. Already, Moss' No. 84 Titans jerseys are selling like hotcakes. I'm just hoping that Randy, unlike hotcakes, doesn't ???go bad' after three weeks. If it does, that's okay. I know exactly what I'm getting into by signing Moss. Heck, Randy's got a tattoo across his chest that reads ???Results may vary.'"
Against the Titans, the Dolphins will be looking for their first home win this year. The big question is, "Can Miami win at home?" The bigger question, however, is "Did Baltimore's Le'Ron McClain spit in the face of Miami's Channing Crowder, as Crowder alleges happened in the Dolphins' 26-10 loss to the Ravens last week?"
"Apparently," said Tony Sparano, "both McCain and Crowder have trouble keeping their mouths shut. But since Channing is my player, I tend to believe his story. That makes McCain a dirty player. If you're a player who responds to routine trash talk by spitting, then you, son, have a problem. And that problem is called ???ass-ed reflux.'"
Chris Johnson rushes for 109 yards, and turns a short screen pass into a 57-yard touchdown jaunt in which he jukes Crowder, leaving the linebacker grasping for air and spitting in the wind.
Titans win 26-20.
NY Jets @ Cleveland (+3)
The 3-5 Browns look to make it 2 for 2 against the AFC East's best, fresh off a 34-14 whipping of the division-leading Patriots, a game in which Browns head coach Eric Mangini got the best of his former boss, Bill Belichick.
"As awkward handshakes and uncomfortable midfield liaisons go," Mangini said, "that was one of my favorites. I'm just disappointed Belichick wouldn't look at me, eye to eye, man to Mangini, and congratulate me properly. There seems to be a great divide between us. No, I'm not talking about our relationship. I'm talking about our winning margin."
The Jets overcame a 20-10 fourth quarter deficit to stun the home-standing Lions 23-20 last week, a win which gave the Jets the outright lead in the AFC East but did little to support the idea that they are a dominant team. After a week 7 bye week, the Jets have looked ordinary is a 9-0 loss to Green Bay and last Sunday's win.
"I refuse to badmouth this team," Rex Ryan said, "except on HBO. I still say we're the best team in the NFL. I may have graying hair and a mild case of dandruff, but that gives me the ???frosted flakes' to say ???They're great!'
As you may know, my twin bother Rob is the defensive coordinator, and the sexier of the Ryan brothers. We both adhere to the defensive principles that our dad, Buddy, promoted during his 27 years in the league, although Rob nor I has yet to punch our offensive coordinator. We're fairly young, so there's still time to make Dad proud."
Rex Ryan nearly chokes when he realizes that he has to game plan for Peyton, but he recovers when he realizes it's Peyton Hillis, not Peyton Manning. Ryan is flabbergasted when he finds out that Hillis has 644 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and even more stunned when Mark Sanchez tells him that Hillis has his own reality show on MTV, called "The Hillis." Ryan buys it, and promises to shut down Hillis and force Colt McCoy to beat the Jets.
New York wins 23-13.
Cincinnati @ Indianapolis (-6)
The Bengals bring their traveling sideshow to Lucas Oil Stadium, where the 5-3 Colts look to bounce back after last week's 26-24 loss in Philadelphia. Peyton Manning was uncharacteristically subpar last week, throwing only one touchdown against two interceptions.
"Admittedly," Manning said, "I wasn't myself. Heck, even my parents mistook me for Eli.
"But I welcome the Bengals, especially Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, to Indianapolis. I've been telling myself to watch The T. Ocho Show. Unfortunately, prior commitments, and the bounds of good taste, have prevented me from doing so. Sometimes, ???can't miss' t.v. becomes ???did miss' t.v.
I have the utmost confidence in our defense stopping ???Batman and Robin.' And, in keeping with the ???Batman' theme, you can call me the ???Joker.' As such, there's no way the Cincy defense can read my, can read my, no they can't read my ???Joker' face."
The Bengals have dropped five straight games, and barring a string of miracles, their reign as AFC North champs will end. Cincinnati is 2-6, in last place in the division.
"I'll even admit," said Owens, "that it's sad when I'm the glue holding this team together. That's because I'm sticking it to all the teams that thought I was washed up, all 31 of them. I'm having a great year, so despite our record, I'm all smiles. Not so for Ochocinco. He's starting to pout, and his effort is lacking. He discussed the matter on his new social networking site, ???Quitter.' And, you can check out our new tandem show on VH1, called ???Whine And Cheese.'"
Colts win 27-24.
Houston @ Jacksonville (-1)
After a 4-2 start, the Texans have lost two-straight, and now face the 4-4 Jaguars in Jacksonville, as both teams need a win to keep pace with the division-leading Titans and Colts. Houston's major flaw lies in its pass defense, ranked last in the NFL, giving up 298 yards per game through the air. David Garrard will certainly try to target this fatal weakness.
"I hear the Texans owner just ordered a search of the Houston locker room," David Garrard said. "It appears Bob McNair was looking for some quality defensive backs. From what I gather, it was not a very thorough search. Like the Texans' pass defense, the search lacked ???coverage.'
Our owner, Wayne Weaver, ordered a similar shakedown, in search of illegal drugs in the Jacksonville facility. You can imagine everyone's surprise when a searcher exclaimed ???Jack pot!' Never fear. It was just a false alarm. They didn't find any marijuana in Jack Del Rio's office."
Del Rio is clean, and all the drug paraphernalia left Jacksonville with Matt Jones back in 2009, except for the "Matt Jones Official ???More Pounce For The Ounce" Mirror And Razor" set.
Jacksonville wins 34-31.
Minnesota @ Chicago (+1)
Prior to Minnesota's 27-24 overtime win over the Cardinals, Brett Favre stated that the Viking's season could have a storybook ending. If the season unfolds like last Sunday's win over the Cardinals, then Favre could be right. He tossed two touchdown passes in the last four minutes to send the game into overtime, then led the Vikes downfield in overtime, and Ryan Longwell kicked the game winner.
"And you know how I like my storybook endings," Favre said. "With plenty of ???text.'
But with my 446-yard, two-touchdown performance, my legendary status is still intact, and I may be the most popular man in Minnesota. Heck, if I could have foreseen this rise in popularity, I would have surely declared myself a candidate in the gubernatorial race. People all over the state are saying there's ???nobody like Brett Favre.' Here in our locker room, everyone's saying ???Nobody likes Brad Childress.
Of course, you've probably heard that Vikings owner Ziggy Wylf considered firing Childress after Childress released Randy Moss without consulting with Wylf. It's too bad Wylf could only ???consider it,' as opposed to being able to ???consider it done.'"
The Bears beat the Bills 22-19 in Toronto behind two touchdown passes from Jay Cutler. Cutler also rushed for 39 yards and only one turnover in probably what was his most efficient game this year. He'll need that same efficiency against a Vikings defense that will likely come after him with pressure from a defense that sacked Derek Anderson six times last week.
"Well, I'm no Derek Anderson," Cutler said. "And I'm sure Derek Anderson will be overjoyed to hear that.
But I am efficient. In this offense, I provide all the drama. That's opposed to Minnesota, where it takes four to six players, and one coach, to provide all the drama. Of course, without Favre, there would be no drama. It's ironic that when he opened his fly, he opened Pandora's box as well."
The Vikes and Bears duel in a game with a decisive Republican stamp, as both offenses keep things extremely conservative. Tied at 17 late in the forth, Favre overrides Childress' decision to take a knee on 3rd and 8, and instead hits Percy Harvin for the first down, which leads to Ryan Longwell's game-winning field goal. In the locker room afterwards, Chilly berates Favre as he celebrates with his teammates. Favre accuses Childress of "male-pattern blandness,' then texts him a picture of his ****.
Minnesota wins 20-17.
Carolina @ Tampa Bay (-7)
After last week's 27-21 loss in Atlanta, it's clear that as far as the Buccaneers are concerned, the true "NFC's best" is not Tampa, but Detroit's Jahvid. Although they battled gamely, the Bucs eventually fell to the Falcons, repelled by an Atlanta goal-line stand that preserved the victory. Now, Tampa hosts the 1-7 Panthers, whom the Bucs beat 20-7 in week 2.
"There's no reason to think we can't lick a Panther in Tampa," Raheem Morris said. "And there you have your ???Carolina Panther cheerleader quote of the day.'
Now, just because we lost doesn't mean I still can't speak confidently and carry a large, laminated play sheet. Because I will. I ???talk the talk;' Carolina will ???walk the plank.'"
The Panthers lost to the Bucs in Tampa 20-7 in week 2, and seem even less likely to avenge that loss after last week's 34-3 loss to the Saints. In that game, Carolina lost Matt Moore for the season. Jimmy Clausen replaced him, but was yanked by John Fox in favor of third-stringer Tony Pike.
"You know what they say about a ???three-quarterback day?'" John Fox said. "It leads to a ???four-alarm fire.' All this talk in the NFL lately about head-hunting has me intrigued, because I'll certainly be in the job market next year, and a head hunter seems like a logical choice."
Not only are the Panthers unsettled at quarterback, but their running back situation is in shambles, as well. Both Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are questionable, which means Clausen will have the hopes of Panther Nation riding on his gently sloping, slightly effeminate shoulders.
Tampa wins 22-9.
Detroit @ Buffalo (-3)
The Bills are still winless after dropping a 22-19 decision to the Bears in Buffalo's annual game in Toronto. With the loss, the Bills joined the Broncos in the ranks of teams with losses in multiple countries.
"Historically," said Ryan Fitzpatrick, "the Bills are 0-3 in games in Canada, and 0-4 in Super Bowls. So, that makes Buffalo 0-7 in games Canadians don't care about. We can't win one for the ???gipper,' nor can we win one for the ???hoser.'
But that could change with the addition of Shawne Merriman to our team. Merriman is no longer one of the most feared hitters in the NFL. Not by far. When Merriman gets on the field Sunday against the Lions, you can best believe knowledgeable Bills fans will point and exclaim ???Lite's out.'"
The Lions will face the Bills without Matthew Stafford, who injured his right shoulder late in Detroit's 23-20 overtime loss to the Jets last week. It was Stafford's second shoulder injury this season. The first, suffered in week 1 against Chicago, cost him five games.
"We'll have to rely on Shaun Hill," said Jim Schwartz. "We all are confident he can do the job. The talent is there, and so is the experience. He's started five games this year. So he's been ???in there' more often than Stafford's shoulder."
The law of averages says the Bills should win. But that same law says Calvin Johnson should have a big game after only one catch for 13 yards last week.
Lions win 31-28 behind two touchdown catches from Johnson.
Kansas City @ Denver (+1)
Todd Haley described the Chiefs 23-20 overtime loss to the Raiders as "one of the ugliest" he's ever been a part of. Kansas City was flagged 12 times for 100 yards, while the Raiders committed 15 for 140. Those and various other mistakes contributed to the Chiefs loss, which left them only one game ahead of the Raiders and two up on the Chargers.
"Despite committing even more penalties than us," Todd Haley said, "the Raiders won and are now hot on our error-prone tails for the division lead. I guess it's true, as Sebastian Janikowski can verify, that sloppy seconds can still be very satisfying.
While our record at home is perfect, we're only 1-3 on the road. Apparently, we like to import not only submissive women to town, but submissive teams as well."
The struggling 2-6 Broncos return to action after a bye week, which followed their 24-16 loss to the 49ers in London.
"Although it's probably too late," Josh McDaniels said, "we're still trying to find our identity. We've searched high and low, mostly low, towards the bottom of the rankings, but to no avail. Are we the team that beat the Titans 26-20, or the team that lost to the Raiders 59-14? President Pat Bowlen is trying to figure me out as well. Am I a fiery coach, or a ???fire-y' one?
Now, you may have heard that Tim Tebow is writing an inspirational memoir. No, it's not called Jump Pass Your Way To Success And Enlightenment. Actually, it's much more. In corporating his love of church music, as well as incorporating the notoriety of explicit Brett Favre texts, it's going to be a book of ???hims.'"
Clearly, the Chiefs are a better team, but how will they respond after a tough road loss in the altitude of Invesco Field? By pounding the ball inside the tackles, and with a tough defense that hounds Kyle Orton. Plus a little trickery on special teams.
Chiefs win 26-23.
Dallas @ NY Giants (-13 ??)
While debate still rages concerning who the NFC's best team is, the Cowboys have confirmed, verified, and endorsed that they are among, if not the, NFC's worst. And there will no doubt be more "L's" coming, allowing the ???Boys to clinch the title as the NFL's worst. Their latest debacle was last Sunday night's 45-7 beating in Green Bay that left the Cowboys at 1-7.
"It turns out," Jerry Jones said, "that my ???votes' of confidence in Wade Phillips were just simple cases of bad spelling on my part. What I meant to say were ???vetos' of confidence.
Now, last week I reiterated my previous reiterations that Wade Phillips is still the coach. However, after we fell down 28-0, I felt compelled to amend my statement that ???Wade Phillips won't be fired this year' to ???Wade Phillips won't be fired this game.'
True to my word, Phillips wasn't fired this year or this game. He was fired this instant. I put the ???So long' in ???What took you so long?'"
Up next for the poor Cowboys are the Giants, the NFC's hottest team with five straight wins, most in convincing fashion.
"I can certainly sympathize with Phillips," said Tom Coughlin. "I've dealt with rumors of my firing on a number of occasions. Mostly by flashing this shiny Super Bowl ring.
But don't cry for Phillips. Thanks to Jones, Wade's got quite a collection of ???last straws' with which to occupy his time. He should be better off, as should the Cowboys."
With choices such as Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, and Steve Smith from which to select, it's tough for Manning to choose a favorite target. Not against the Cowboys, though. Manning hones in on Dallas cornerback Mike "Bullseye" Jenkins, who gets beaten repeatedly, and makes the cover of Monday's New York Post, accompanied by the headline "Weekend At ???Burn'-ies.'"
New York wins 34-16.
Seattle @ Arizona (-3)
The Seahawks managed a paltry 7 points, 8 first downs, and 162 yards of total offense in last week's 41-7 loss to the Giants. Sounds awful, but in the crazy world of the NFC West, that's still good enough to keep you in first place! Seattle, at 4-4, is tied with St. Louis atop the West, so a win in Sunday's contest at University Of Phoenix Stadium would keep the Seahawks on top.
"That's a heck of an incentive," said Pete Carroll. "And if my players now are any thing like my players were at USC, they're highly motivated by incentive."
The Cardinals could very well find themselves in first place with a win and a St. Louis loss in San Francisco. If that scenario plays out, there would be a logjam atop the West, with four teams knotted at 4-5, and the 49ers a game behind at 3-6.
"The NFC West is obviously a testament to parity," Ken Whisenhunt said. "And that's a fact that is sure to be ???parodied.' Heck, I'll start. It's clear that the West will only place one team in the playoffs. So, let it be known to sexually-active teens out there---the NFC West firmly supports ???berth' control."
Arizona wins 27-21.
St. Louis @ San Francisco (-6)
The 2-6 49ers could play their way right back into the NFC West hunt with a win over the Rams, who are tied atop the division with a 4-4 record.
"Winning in England certainly boosted our confidence," Mike Singletary said. "Mine as well. Had we lost, I could have become the first NFL coach to be fired 30,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. That surely would have put a damper on my initiation to the ???Mile High Club.'"
The Rams are one of the NFL's youngest teams, led on offense by 23-year-old Sam Bradford and on defense by 23-year-old James Laurinaitis.
"Sam's 1/16 Cherokee," said Laurinaitis. "I'm ?? Road Warrior. Add those fractions, and you get 9/16. Nine out of 16 would give us a 9-7 record, and I believe that would be good enough to win the West, by two, maybe three games."
Bradford throws for two scores, and Laurinaitis records a 14 tackles, a sack, two passes defended, and one flying shoulder block.
Rams win 23-22.
New England @ Pittsburgh (-4)
The Patriots suffered a humiliating 34-14 loss in Cleveland last week, and now must face another AFC North road team, this time the physical Steelers, 6-2 after Monday night's 27-21 win in Cincinnati. New England was held to 283 yards of total offense, and will have to be nearly perfect against a Pittsburgh defense ranked fourth in the NFL.
"The Patriots will take a tumble down in the power rankings," Ben Roethlisberger said. "Obviously, they aren't as good as they thought they were. Who hits harder? James Harrison? Or the Patriots, slapping themselves on the back? They'll find out Sunday night. Harrison may be lethal, but he's not against delivering a few ???Pats on their backs.'"
Tom Brady will need to be his sharpest against the Steelers, as the Pats will likely be forced to pass against a Pittsburgh defense notorious for its rush defense. He has promised to be up to the task.
"My team is like my hair," Brady said. "I have no problem putting them on my shoulders," Brady said. "We have a history with the Steelers. And, although I have no ill will towards Roethlisberger, I'd very much like to outplay him, and dedicate it to all the girls I've loved before.
Ben and I are such different quarterbacks. His scrambling ability is uncanny. I'm more of a traditional pocket passer. I'm a loyal user of moisturizer; Ben's more of a lubricant kind of guy. I lock my bathroom doors from the inside; he from the outside. I wear suits; Ben settles them."
The Patriots should put up more of a fight than they did against the Browns, and Brady's savvy and leadership will keep them in the game. In the end, though, the Steelers defense makes a late fourth-quarter stop, as Troy Polamalu, unlike last Monday night, is the pancaker and not the pancakee, with a big hit on tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Steelers win 24-23.
Philadelphia @ Washington (+3)
The 4-4 Redskins host the 5-3 Eagles in a key NFC West contest, and Donovan McNabb will be eager to impress his former team, particularly with his knowledge of Washington's two-minute offense, as well as his cardiovascular conditioning.
"As I've said before," McNabb said, "I think it's hilarious that there's the notion that I don't know the Redskins offense. Heck, I knew the Redskins' offense when I was in Philly!
I'm still offended that I was replaced by Rex Grossman. We're worlds apart talent-wise. I may suck wind; Rex just sucks. Of course, he does more closely resemble John Elway than I."
Grossman is no Elway, nor is McNabb. And Shanahan is no Andy Reid.
Eagles win 24-21.