A father and son take a hike on Sunday, Sept. 9. After they reach the summit, they pause to listen to the sounds drifting to them from afar.
"Hear that sound son? That's the sound of Cowboys fans putting their team in the Super Bowl before the rest of the season has been played."
After a few minutes of quiet solitude, a new sound reached the ears of the two hikers.
"What's that, dad"?
"That, son, is the sound of NFL fans realizing, 'Peyton Manning is back!'"
"It sounds different now, dad."
"That's because fans of the Falcons, Texans, Raiders, Patriots, Chargers, Saints, Bengals, Panthers, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Ravens and Browns just realized, 'Peyton Manning is back.'"
After a while, the father and son turn around to head back. But as they do, they hear in the faint distance yet another sound.
"Pay attention son - that is the sound of replacement NFL officials doing a good enough job to not cost any team a win."
"And what's that sound"?
"That is the sound of the NFL counting its billions upon billions of dollars, knowing they won't have to give any of it to the striking NFL officials."
"Oh. But then what's that sound"?
"That is the resignation call of the striking NFL officials."
Prior to the Steelers' game against the Broncos, Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will remind his defense of Demaryius Thomas' short-reception-that-turned-into-the-80-yard-game-winning touchdown-catch in the 2011 playoffs, and will tell his guys not to let that happen again!
After Demaryius Thomas' turns a short reception into a 71-yard-touchdown-catch, LeBeau will yell at his defense, "what did I tell you before the game?!", before shaking his head and saying "I'm too old for this [stuff]."
(This message is brought to you by comedy, which is created when the same thing is said over and over and over again. Try it. You'll see. Hilarious.)
NFL quarterbacks will combine to throw 33 interceptions in 14 games on Sunday. Six of those quarterbacks will throw at least three picks. Two of those six quarterbacks will throw four picks.
Yet, somehow, miraculously, Detroit's Matt Stafford (three interceptions) and the Eagles' Michael Vick (four interceptions) will lead their teams to last-second victories.
By miraculously, I mean they be playing the Rams and the Browns, respectively.
Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson will reward their
Five rookie quarterbacks will start for their respective teams. Four will combine to throw 11 interceptions, including three apiece by the Colts Andrew Luck and the Dolphins Ryan Tannehill. The second-overall draft pick from 2011 will lead his team to victory. There can be only one Shanahan(der).
But there can be three Robert Griffins, as he is a III.
Saints fans will do their best Matt Damon/Ben Affleck Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back impersonation, going from lemon face (Payton, Vitt, Vilma, Smith suspended) to lion face (Vilma and Smith not suspended) back to lemon face (Saints lose).
Adam Sandler will buy the rights to the 2012 New Orleans Saints' story, tentatively titled, The Waterboy 2: Interim Interim Coach. Gregg Williams is expected to make a cameo ("and that brings me to my next point: don't do bounties!")
The Cardinals will have to bring second-string quarterback Kevin Kolb off the bench after starter John Skelton is injured. Kolb will play well, prompting teams with qb issues to look into trading for him.
Seriously, any team with a question mark at quarterback should go out and trade for Kolb - back up quarterbacks with success in limited action always pay off as starters for another team.
Speaking of back up quarterbacks, Tim Tebow!
(Everyone who writes about the NFL is obligated to mention His name at least once per column.)
The Jets' offense will score more touchdowns in the first half of their game against the Bills (two) than they did the entire preseason (one).
After the game, non-NY Jets fans will check to see if Tebow did anything (he didn't) before shrugging their shoulders and going about their day.
Patriots fans will be happy to know that not only will their new starting running back play better than the previous guy, his name will be much easier to remember and say (Stevan Ridley > BenJarvus Green-Ellis).
Tony Gonzalez, who caught 76 touchdowns as a Chief, will return to Kansas City for the first time since he left the team. He will catch career touchdown No. 96. Not to be outdone, current Chiefs tight end Kevin Boss will catch his 22nd career touchdown. So there's that.
Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano will continue his trend of turning teams around and playing smart, error-free football.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton will continue his trend of throwing for a bunch of yards in a losing effort. If it's any consolation, Newton's fantasy owners will not be entirely displeased with his performance. What? That's no consolation? Oh well I tried.
Randy Moss will make a triumphant return to the NFL but will not mime pulling his pants down, much to the chagrin of his new sponsor, former American Idol contestant Larry Platt.
Alex Smith will use the 49ers' win over the Packers to make an argument that he should have been the No. 1 overall pick in 2005 over Aaron Rodgers. Wait, what?
Not to be outdone, Aaron Rodgers' discount double-check commercial will be played for the 10,000th time, and it will still be just as funny as it was the first time it was seen.
Did I say just as funny? I meant to say just as funny and cute. Rodgers is dreamy!
MNF Predictions, MNF-er!
The Ravens will honor Art Modell by defeating the Bengals on Monday Night Football, an event that Modell pushed for.
That's right, Cleveland - he did more than just tear out your heart and stab your soul.
Millions of fans will tune into the Ravens-Bengals game, hoping that Baltimore linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo will make a play, just to watch ESPN's announcers perform lingual gymnastics while trying to discuss Ayanbadejo (and Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe)'s recent run in with Maryland
Well, maybe not a million, but at least one (me).
The Raiders will definitively prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Six penalties, three botched punts, one turnover...and an Al Davis spinning in his grave.
Did I say "spinning"? I meant to say, "winning," baby.