Despite a play that called for him to run a hitch-and-go on Sunday, Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss instead decided before the ball was snapped to run a sigh pattern.
"Fhhhhhhhh," Moss sighed, as the play began, first walking off the line of scrimmage before almost getting up to a slow jog by the time Patriots quarteback Tom Brady threw the ball 30 yards over his head where he was supposed to be. "I just don't feel like it today. We're 7-5. What's the point?"
Moss said he almost half-heartedly raised his hand over his head as the ball flew over him, but didn't think he was up to it.
"I was running a sigh pattern. That would have been a bitch-and-go," he said, shrugging his shoulders and lifting his hands on "go."
Oh the next play Moss changed a slant route into a sleep route and then, on the next play, instead of running a post just leaned against a post near the sidelines.
"Tom said 'post,' so I leaned on a fking post," said Moss. "It's not my fault they're not more specific with their language. How was I supposed to know? These are the same problems I had with the Raiders. It's not me."
The Patriots' quarterback defended his receiver against charges of loafing.
"Whoever is saying that needs to shut their mouth," said Brady. "Randy Moss doesn't loaf. Loafing means you do what you're supposed to, just in a half-hearted manner. Randy doesn't do that. Randy doesn't quit half-hearted. He quits with everything he's got. He's a true professional."
1:00 p.m. ET
New Orleans at Atlanta (+10)
Matt Ryan is probably out again for the Falcons. They're blaming it on his toe. Riiiiiight. Toe injury. Sure. I wonder how he got that toe injury. He is a Gillette spokesman, after all. Those guys are total perverts. What were you sticking that toe in when you hurt it, Ryan, huh? What kind of sick toe transgressions get you off, you freak?
My pick: New Orleans
Green Bay at Chicago (+4.5)
There is a lot of pressure on Jay Cutler. No, I don't mean to play well or win. That ship has sailed (and was then intercepted upon leaving its port). I mean there has to be pressure on him to keep finding a Jay Cutler "Fan of the Week" every week. How big is the Cutler Family?
My pick: Green Bay
Denver at Indianapolis (-6.5)
Just another example that you don't get a lot of factual reporting from the mainstream sports media. Josh McDaniels supplanted Mike Tomlin as the NFL's youngest head coach upon getting hired last spring? Umm, no. He supplanted Peyton Manning.
My pick: Denver
Buffalo at Kansas City (+2)
Because this game sucks, enjoy this.
My pick: Kansas City (and to win)
Cincinnati at Minnesota (-6)
CIN at MIN. CIN at MIN! Hey! That sounds like CINNAMON! I'm just writing game previews like a kid out here! (See, Brett Favre? See how annoying it is?)
My pick: Minnesota
Carolina at New England (-13)
Bill Belichick sent some of his players home this week because they showed up late for practice due to snow and traffic. I'm with Belichick on this. There are ways to know in advance what the weather will be and prepare for it. It's kind of like illegal videotaping your opponent's offensive signals to know what's coming. Only it's not illegal to do this to the weather. You just turn on your local weather report on TV. The best part? It won't earn your trip to practice an asterisk that will never, ever, ever be removed.
My pick: New England***
New York Jets at Tampa Bay (+3.5)
Mark Sanchez is pissed PISSED! that the Jets aren't letting him play this week. On top of that, they didn't even let him take the trip to Tampa. This rookie dreamboat is plenty angry. SportsPickle has secured exclusive video of Sanchez after he learned the news from Rex Ryan:
My pick: New York Jets
Miami at Jacksonville (-2)
It's the Battle of Florida. And if Jacksonville wins, perhaps they'll convince a few more Floridians that a team called the "Jaguars" actually exists. Unlikely, but it's a nice bit of motivation for the players.
My pick: Miami (and to win)***
Detroit at Baltimore (-14)
I feel bad for Ravens fans. I really do. They actually thought Joe Flacco was a great quarterback. They had been subjected to such horrific play at quarterback since getting a team, when they got something slightly better they thought he was a star. But he's not. He's a Ravens quarterback just as much as Jay Cutler is a Bears quarterback. Ravens fans seem to me like that guy in high school who never had any success with girls. Then, the first time someone pays him any attention, he falls madly in love. But then, eventually, he comes to his senses and realizes he's been hooking up with a total ugger. A girl who looks like Joe Flacco. A girl with an unsightly unitaint.
My pick: Baltimore
Seattle at Houston (-7)
Steve Slaton is out for the season with a neck injury. Too bad this happened for the opening week of the fantasy playoffs. Not that anyone who had Steve Slaton this year made their fantasy playoffs. YOU PRICK!
My pick: Houston
St. Louis at Tennessee (-13)
Kyle Boller's current skank, Carrie Prejean, has a book called "Still Standing: My Untold Story About Gossip, Hate, and Political Attacks." It has inspired Boller to write: "Still Starting: My Well-Known Story About Sucking, Turnovers, and Getting More Chances."
My pick: Tennessee
Washington at Oakland (+1)
Washington's non-division schedule this season has included the Rams, Lions, Buccaneers, Panthers, Chiefs, and Raiders. Since they don't really deserve to be in the NFL anymore, maybe the SEC or Big Ten will take them.
My pick: Washington
4:15 p.m. ET
San Diego at Dallas (-3)
The Cowboys' December/January schedule looks like this: Giants, Chargers, Saints, Redskins, Eagles. Oh, and Tony Romo is their holder again. That's all I've got. (I don't always have the jokes. Sometimes I just set it up so the team can deliver the punchline. Cowboys? Don't let me down.)
My pick: San Diego (and to win)
8:20 p.m. ET
Philadelphia at New York Giants (+1)
Andy Reid just signed a three-year contract extension. Eli Manning Eli Manning! is the highest paid player in football. I guess in a way it's comforting to know that the NFL is just like any other job, in that often times the least competent people have the most job security.
My pick: Philadelphia***
Arizona at San Francisco (+3.5)
I don't know if people have grown tired of the Madden "curse" storyline or what. But Troy Polamalu's downfall this season has flown under the radar. He hurt his knee Week 1. The Steelers opened 1-2. He returned and played well, the Steelers improved to 6-2. Then he hurt his knee again a month ago in a home game against the Bengals. A win would have moved Pittsburgh into first place. They lost, he hasn't returned, and they have continued losing. Five in a row, in fact, and they'll miss the playoffs. And if that's not bad enough, Larry Fitzgerald's future is Matt Leinart. The poor bastard.
My pick: Arizona
Pittsburgh at Cleveland (+9.5)
In Pittsburgh's six losses this season, they have led in the fourth quarter in all but one of them. In fact, ever since James Harrison returned Kurt Warner's last pass before the half in Super Bowl XLIII for 100 yards and a touchdown, the Steelers have gone from one of the best defenses of all-time to one of the least reliable in all of football.
Hmm. What could have happened since halftime at the Super Bowl that could have caused this?
That's right. The curse of Bruce Springsteen's old man balls. No doubt the Steelers witnessed this at halftime and decided they never again wanted to make such an impact with the ballcarrier. And you can't really blame them.
My pick: Pittsburgh***
Picture "What would House do right now?"
In a shocking new study released by the NFL Players Association, nearly 10-percent of all retired NFL players who have suffered concussions are homosexual.
“It’s a shocking finding,” said Dr. Robert Franklin, who led the study commissioned by late NFLPA head Gene Upshaw. “We began this study trying to figure out how concussions lead to symptoms such as severe headaches, memory loss, and light sensivity. But now we’ve found that many of these concussed players are also gay. You wouldn’t have ever guessed that.”
Until now, there has never any medical link between repeated blows to the head and homosexuality. But Franklin says this report may change that thinking.
“Obviously, none of these players started their careers gay,” says Franklin. “But after prolonged exposure to hard contact, it appears these men have, quite literally, had the gay knocked into them.”
One anonymous former player who participated in the study said he was shocked to learn that he was gay as a result of the study.
“I mean, I always was curious about men and their penises,” said the player, who asked to not be named. “But then I got hit by a Jerome Bettis' kickout block a while back, and BOOM! I’m as gay as the Tony Awards. You know, one day you’re having a nice time with your wife and children, the next minute you’re in a back alley going down on Trevor, whose name you got from a crude etching on the bathroom stall at the truck stop.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has acted swiftly in trying to protect players from concussions, and eventual gayness.
“Absolutely,” said Goodell in a press conference earlier today. “We are going to have a neurologist present on the sidelines of every game. If a player takes a blow to the head, we have a test in place they must pass if they want to re-enter the game. They need to know who they are, where they are, what the date is, and that they aren’t gay.”
But some argue the commissioner’s actions aren’t enough to protect players.
“Bottom line,” wrote one Washington Post columnist, “this is a violent game, and it’s going to turn some players gay unless the commissioner had a more clear cut policy about sitting out games, and not loitering around the Blue Iguana.”
1. Atlanta Falcons Good news, Falcons players! It doesn't matter how poorly you perform on the field. It doesn't matter if you kill animals. It doesn't matter if you go to jail. It doesn't even matter if you screw over the entire organization with your off-the-field activities. You'll still be loved by many people in Atlanta! If only Joey Harrington had thought to back over a cat or something, he'd be in the team's Hall of Fame.
2. Eli Manning The New York media was being mean to him again. The red hot Dallas Cowboys were coming to town. The Giants' playoff hopes were in the balance. This is where great quarterbacks have to step up. So Eli came out and hit on 11-of-25 passes and the Giants somehow won! Yay, Eli! Also, he signed his name on the wall of the locker room after the game. In cursive! His third grade class only learned cursive last week. Yay, Eli!
3. St. Louis Rams Another game, another loss. You have the inside track for the No. 1 overall pick the No. 1 overall pick in a draft that now includes Jimmy Clausen. That's right, people of St. Louis, this time next year you might get to punch Jimmy Clausen any day of the week. Over the Arch, douchebag!
4. Mercury Morris Whew! That was close! I never thought the Titans would lose again. Barring that 0-6 start, they appeared flawless! FLAWLESS, I say!
5. E.J. Henderson
"What?" you ask. "How does a guy's leg snapping in half and then pin-wheeling over his body make him a winner?" Sigh. That's right: Sigh. You people have no long-term point of view. No vision. This horrific, vomit-inducing injury is just the thing WE'LL LAUGH ABOUT ONE DAY when E.J. Henderson is healed and playing again. Assuming I'm done vomiting by then. What does a break take six to eight weeks? It's going to be close.
1. Bill Belichick So Charlie Weis decided to tell the world that Pete Carroll is banging some grad student in Malibu. Just imagine what this fatass has on Belichick. And I don't think it will be hard to get Weis to talk. He doesn't need truth serum. A deep-fried ham bribe should suffice. Belichick, to keep him quiet you'll have to raise with a chocolate-coated deep-fried ham. Get thee to a lardery!
2. Cincinnati Bengals fans The Bengals are surprisingly good this year. And good for them. But over the past two decades they've been neck and neck with the Lions as the NFL's laughingstock. What makes fans stick with an abysmal team year after year after year? Could it be that they're stupid? Could be. Stupid enough to hold a sign that could easily mean they sit in a row full of flatulence? Is anyone that stupid?
3. Josh Freeman Speaking of stupid, here's Tampa Bay's rookie quarterback after throwing five interceptions in a loss to the Panthers: "That's just completely unacceptable. I want to play in this league a long time. Guys that throw a lot of picks usually don't last." Whaaaa? Guy, look across the field to the other sideline. See Jake Delhomme? All he does is throw picks and he's been gainfully employed as a starting quarterback for the past seven seasons. In fact, he signed a huge contract extension in the off-season after making six turnovers in a playoff game. Six! That's one more than you had, Freeman. What is wrong with your mind? Is the Delhomme Virus now also attacking the brains of opposing quarterbacks? It's a pandemic!
4. Washington Redskins You actually have to feel a little bad for Jim Zorn after that out-of-nowhere loss to the undefeated Saints. He might not be a great head coach, but he seems like an okay guy. At the same time, you have to feel pretty great that happened to Dan Snyder's team. So, let me total up all of my feelings about the Redskins-Saints game let's see, carry the two, have it ripped away from me by Robert Meachem and returned for a touchdown and, yeah, I feel pretty good about that outcome!
5. college football Yeah, I know this is an NFL football column. But the BCS sucks. Sticking TCU and Boise State in a bowl together so there's no way either one of them could embarrass a big conference team is the most corrupt thing I've seen since since since since Roger Goodell destroyed all of the SpyGate evidence so "no one could break in and steal it." Hey! That's an NFL reference! What a save! I RULE.
1:00 p.m. ET
Philadelphia at Atlanta (+5.5)
Michael Vick says he expects to be cheered on his return to Atlanta. Perhaps during all of his legal problems he legally changed his name to Michael Boourns Vick.
My pick: Philadelphia
St. Louis at Chicago (-9)
My pick: St. Louis
Detroit at Cincinnati (-13)
I don't always want to poke fun. So let me commend Cincinnati's Tank Johnson for offering three free tickets to this week's game via Twitter. In the end, Johnson decided to give them to a military vet. There's nothing to criticize there. Assuming Johnson isn't befriending the guy just to have a contact he can use to get military-grade weapons.
My pick: Cincinnati
Tennessee at Indianapolis (-6.5)
It drives me insane that people are giving Jeff Fisher any credit for Tennessee's turn-around. He was the one who stuck with Kerry Collins all the way to an 0-6 start. He only went to Vince Young when he was ordered to by Titans owner' Bud Adams. But then I'm not surprised. Fisher has a history of sticking with things long after he should. If Adams doesn't step in, Fisher will die with that '80s hair-sprayed mullet/mustache combo.
My pick: Tennessee
Denver at Kansas City (+4.5)
Josh McDaniels hasn't been seen since screaming that F-bomb on the NFL Network on Thanksgiving night. Because the Broncos haven't played since then. But also because he was grounded by his parents.
My pick: Kansas City
New England at Miami (+4)
The Patriots have struggled to stop the wildcat offense. But it's only the wildcat offense and pro-style offenses that give them troubles. So they should be fine.
My pick: Miami (and to win)
Oakland at Pittsburgh (-14.5)
This used to be a rivalry. A rivalry that was marked by the "Immaculate Reception." But now it's time the Raiders give some payback. Because every time they make a reception it's miraculous. Pittsburgh can't match that.
My pick: Pittsburgh
New Orleans at Washington (+9.5)
I always get the "Who dey" and the "Who dat" cheers mixed up. "Who dat" is Saints, right? And so I guess "Who dey" is Bengals. But what about "Whom dat"? Harvard or Yale?
My pick: New Orleans***
Tampa Bay at Carolina (-5.5)
Jake Delhomme is out with a broken finger. I think it's the one he's been giving to Panthers fans his whole career.
My pick: Tampa Bay
Houston at Jacksonville (PK)
Both of these teams need a win to stay in the playoff chase before getting eliminated in a few weeks anyway because they're not all that good.
My pick: Houston***
4:05 p.m. ET
San Diego at Cleveland (+13)
Rumor has it that Charlie Weis will become the offensive coordinator in Cleveland. If that happens, it will really tilt the field towards Cleveland's side.
My pick: San Diego***
4:15 p.m. ET
Dallas at New York Giants (+2.5)
The Giants are still pissed that Eli Manning signed his name on the wall at their new stadium. But they need to relax. Dumb kids color on walls all the time. It's actually quite impressive Eli knows how to spell his name.
My pick: Dallas
San Francisco at Seattle (PK)
Seattle's general manager got canned this week. It's hard to list all of his terrible moves in a concise way. So I'll just say this. If you could make several years' worth of personnel decisions into a jersey, it would be Seattle's neon green abomination.
My pick: San Francisco***
8:20 p.m. ET
Minnesota at Arizona (+3)
Good try on the speeding, Adrian Peterson. But you're still much slower than Chris Johnson.
My pick: Minnesota
Baltimore at Green Bay (-3)
The Packers plays the Ravens and Steelers in the coming weeks and will play a major role in determining which AFC North teams make the playoffs. More of a role than the Browns will, at least.
My pick: Green Bay
New York Jets "at" Buffalo (+2.5)
Hi, Canada. Hope you are well. I don't know if you follow our football league. But we have a game up there tonight. Full disclosure: I don't follow your CFL very closely. I know a few things. And I know that the NFL is different. For example, NFL players don't wear rouge.
Anyway, to help you enjoy the game more, here are a few storylines to keep an eye on.
1.) The Jets are having New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi teach Mark Sanchez how to slide. And thank God! I watch a ton of football every Sunday for my various NFL-related duties, and I have noticed that poor sliding is one of Sanchez's biggest problems. In fact, it's probably his second biggest problem right after turning the ball over on every possession. But I digress. Joe Girardi is the perfect person to teach someone to slide. In his 15 seasons as a major league catcher, he stole 44 bases. So I think his advice will be: "Just run until your knees give out and then fall to the ground." Well done as always, Jets. You remain a model franchise.
2.) Fired head coach Dick Jauron has been edited out of the Bills' team photo. At least that's the story. But I'm not buying it. I have seen Jauron. He was quickly going from pale to translucent. So I am sure he's in that photo. Somewhere. I'm positive. Unfortunately, he must naked because I don't see any floating clothing. Gross, Dick. Gross. Ewww. Wait. I don't see any floating pubic hair either. So Dick Jauron shaves down there? I did not need to know that.
3.) Canada, if you enjoy the Grey Cup, then you will enjoy this game, too. It's equally pointless.
My pick: Buffalo (and to win)