So when yesterday’s notes were written the big story was Gruden getting $100MM. $100MM! Since then, ESPN printed a story about cracks in the Patriots armor that included very little rebuttal from the franchise or anyone else, for that matter. That story looks like it’s going to die out more quickly than Austin Powers without his Swedish-made penis enlarger pump.
We at IWI are too smart for that. The Wickersham story was an ESPN smoke screen to draw attention away from Gruden. Some Disney shareholder eventually will figure out that Gruden is taking a pay cut to get back into coaching.
But we digress. Brady is the real story. We’ve been on it all year. Father Time is toying with him. He’s probably going to win MVP this year, but he’s slowed down materially as the season progressed. He looks like Peyton Manning might have looked at 40 if he didn't have like 5 neck surgeries. It’s usually sad to watch someone who refuses to age gracefully, but with Brady it’s a spectacle. Watching him prepare for our comprehension of his immortality is fascinating. We last saw this about 700 years ago in an English forest. Yes, Brady is The Black Knight of this millennium.
JACKSONVILLE (10-6) -8.5 vs Buffalo (9-7)
This is the Black Knight None Shall Pass Game of the Week. How do you handicap a game where the winner is the team that protects itself the most from its own quarterback?
Buffalo has no business being here. With a gimpy McCoy their offense just sucks and is paired with a mediocre defense. Just like, um …. Tennessee. Note to Bills fans who made the trip. : It's 53 degrees in Jacksonville. Not being in Buffalo is your victory.
Buffalo had their Super Bowl last week. Their fans spent their Super Bowl travel money on Andy Dalton’s foundation, which is no joke heartwarming. Google searches for “What is Blake Bortles’ Foundation?” went way up this week from Bills fans preparing to reward the next QB that may gift them into the next round. Sorry, Bills - “Beating Miami” doesn't count as mastering your destiny.
Jacksonville has a 3-step plan:
Step 1: get up 3 touchdowns.
Step 2: replace half the O-line with defensive players.
Step 3: sack Bortles yourself before he can fuck it up.
PICK: Jacksonville -8.5
NEW ORLEANS (11-5) -6.5 vs Carolina (11-5)
In life you go through bad times. Your friends are there to tell you that things will get better and good times are right around the corner. That’s how we feel about today’s games. We're all going to have to watch Jacksonville/Buffalo to get to the good stuff.
The NFC South is for real. It's too bad that Carolina couldn't pull off the 2 seed, because that would have meant 3 of the 4 teams next week would have come from that division. We've said all along that the NFC Super Bowl team comes from this division. After yesterday it may be the Falcons on the inside track. (They also get the 3rd place schedule next year - don't sleep on this. They're going to win the division.)
Same as game 1. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. The "it's hard to beat a team 3 times in a season" isn't real. If the Saints get up by 14, you really think that Cam can bring them back quickly? We don't, either.
Pick: New Orleans -6.5
Bonus Pick: Falcons will win the division next year.