The byes are finally over, so it’s time for my annual “I Have All The Answers For NFL Scheduling” screed.
The NFL needs to go to 18 games – 6 games with the other teams in your division, 4 games with the teams in 1 division in the other conference (rotating), and 8 games against 2 of the other 3 divisions in your conference. You address the safety issues with 3 tiers of injury designations – 3 weeks, 8 weeks and 8 months – with any player eligible to return from the 2 shorter injury periods at any time. You also make the roster 60 players with NO required gameday inactives (and still keep a 10-player practice squad in addition to this).
The regular season starts Labor Day weekend like it used to. No one plays the weekend before Thanksgiving or the week prior to that, when the Pro Bowl is played. College football returns to having all their big rivalry games the weekend before Thanksgiving. On this year’s calendar, that’s 10 weeks of games, 2 weeks off, then 8 weeks of games. The NFL plays games all Thanksgiving weekend – 2 games each on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9 games on Sunday and 1 on Monday. The second Sunday in January is the 18th game for everyone. The conference championships are the first weekend in February, and the Super Bowl is the 3rd Sunday in February. FOX won’t like this, as it puts the Super Bowl on the same day as the Daytona 500, but NASCAR needs to overhaul their schedule anyway. Now for this week’s games…
New Orleans at Dallas – Interesting. Dallas plays its usual Thanksgiving Day game, then plays on Thursday the next week too. So they get 10 days to get ready for Philly. Yeah, there’s no bias in NFL scheduling! As for the game, they’ll need that prep for Philly, because this squad isn’t slowing down the unstoppable machine. They’ll slow it, but not enough. Aints 27, Cowgirls 20 
Baltimore at Atlanta – As a bitter, jaded Panthers fan, I always expect the worst possible outcome. The worst outcome here would be for Atlanta to magically find studs on their injury-depleted defense and stop the now-efficient Ravens and Lamar Jackson, and leave their fans thinking it’s not time to throw Joe Flacco away just yet. Sounds about right. Falcons 27, Ravens 24 
Chicago at NY Giants – Despite signs of life in recent weeks, NY has no shot against this defense. Bears 28, Little People 17 
Indianapolis at Jacksonville – Speaking of games with 2 teams going in opposite directions, here’s another one. Not only are the Jags plummeting, Leonard Fournette is suspended for his stupid fight against Buffalo. This one should also be over by 2:00. Colts 37, jag cubs 13 
Buffalo at Miami – Now that the Bills have their QB back, these squads are going in opposite directions. No reason to expect a reversal. Buffalo, NC 23, Fish 21 
Cleveland at Houston – Things are looking way up in Cleveland these days, with the emergence of a whole slew of first- and second-year players. But Houston is looking like the ’85 Bears all of a sudden. Just think of this as a bump in the road. I do have to stop calling them Brownie Troop. Texans 26, Browns 10 
Denver at Cincinnati – The train wreck actually got worse, as Andy Dalton is done for the year. Denver is rolling. This will not be pretty. Donkeys 34, Bangles 13 
LA Rams at Detroit – This guy that is supposed to be a defensive genius got the HC job in Detroit this year. He ain’t seen this, even when he was in the sanctuary of New England. Rams 33, Lions 16 
Arizona at Green Bay – One of the NFL’s other Preferred Teams gets a schedule break. Immediate improvement is needed if Washington is to get a second year as head coach. Packers 33, Cards 13 
NY Jets at Tennessee – The Who Cares Game of the Week. Titans 23, J-E-T-S jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets 13 
Kansas City at Oakland – Gruden’s guys show some life every now and then. They can be as alive as they want to be this week, and it won’t help stop the crooked numbers on the scoreboard. Another notch in the race to the #1 pick. Chiefs 44, Fakers 17 
Minnesota at New England – Now this one should be fun to watch. Both sides have some dynamic playmakers and have had some injuries and inconsistency. I think this is another one where home field advantage provides the difference. Patriots 27, Norwegians 24 
San Francisco at Seattle – The 49ers are very young and somewhat injured. If Russell Wilson can gulp down a gallon of Jesus Juice and throw for 400 yards and save my fading fantasy football playoff hopes, I’d be most grateful. Seahawks 33, 49ers 17 
LA Chargers at Pittsburgh – Now this looks like fun. Both offenses are peaking. It might be a nice pinball game. I think the home-field advantage will be the difference. Steelers 38, Clippers 31 
Washington at Philadelphia – Both of these teams are nearly impossible to figure out, especially Washington rolling with a career backup QB. I just don’t see them re-creating Nick Foles with Colt McCoy here. Eagles 24, Dead-skins 20 
Carolina at Tampa Bay – With the 2nd-biggest collapse of the season in full swing (thank you Jacksonville for keeping us from being the laughingstock of the league), this one is easy to predict. Crab Legs Guy is going to have a ton of fun throwing to his crew of somewhat decent receivers, who will look like world-beaters against our non-existent pass defense. My main purpose for watching will be to see if Cam will keep throwing to Curtis Samuel in the end zone and boost my fantasy hopes. But I have no expectation of a win. Yuck-aneers 34, panthers 28 
Last week’s record: 11-4
Season: 108-69