I have a theory about Peyton Manning.
I think for the past six weeks, he was trapped in an alternate dimension or an oubliette of some kind, and a body decoy/Mirror Universe version/Zygon was playing in his stead. Then, just before the Packers game, Manning somehow escaped, killed his body double, took the field and put Green Bay in it’s place.
To wit: 21 of 29 passing for 340 yards (39 yards above his average in prior games) with an average of 11.7 yards per completion — a full 4.7 yards better than he’d been doing. No TDs and one pick, but I assume that’s rust from not having thrown for six weeks while his impostor was playing.
I watched a good chunk of this game, and it was noticeable just how much more zing he put on the ball. He managed the game well, of course, and relied on his running backs to good effect. His passes were on target. He was just…good again. Combine that with a ferocious Denver defense, and I’m a lot more confident about the Broncos in the playoffs.
So the rest of you NFL quarterbacks…watch out for Zygons.
On with the picks. (Winners in italics.)
Cleveland at Cincinnati: The latest edition of the Battle of Ohio will be decidedly one sided. Not even a band of Ewoks or a horde of Orcs will help the Browns.
Green Bay at Carolina: I can’t fathom this Green Bay team losing two in a row, and I also can’t see how the Panthers go undefeated for much longer. Of course, I’m frequently wrong.
Washington at New England: Kirk Cousins says he studies Tom Brady in order to be a better QB. That’s fine, but a Stormtrooper can study shooting all he wants and still can’t hit the side of a Star Destroyer.
Tennessee at New Orleans: That Giants-Saints game was insane. I expect the same out of Drew Brees this week, but without the annoyance of the other team, you know, scoring.
Miami at Buffalo: Both of these teams have more question marks that the Doctor’s old sweater, so I’m going with the home team.
St. Louis at Minnesota: And lo, verily, Thor shall harness these Rams to his chariot! (Obscure Nordic myth reference for the win.)
Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets: Hey, the Great Bearded One will suit up Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick, mind you…not Chuck Wendig or Kevin Hearne. Though I’d pay to see that.
N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay: I’m sorry, I can’t pick the Bucs. I just can’t. It’s not them, it’s me. And I’m not even a huge Giants fan. I just can’t overlook years of dysfunction.
Atlanta at San Francisco: Now, I’m not a psychologist, but I’m not sure how relieving someone of his job is going to help get his mental state in order. It would stress me the hell out, frankly.
Denver at Indianapolis: Dude, Peyton’s going to set the all-time yardage record in the house of the team that didn’t want him anymore. That’s Klingon-level vengeance.
Philadelphia at Dallas: Even I’m starting to wish Tony Romo would come back, and I’m really not a Cowboys fan…at all.
Chicago at San Diego: Yay! It’s a Monday Night showdown…of teams with two wins apiece. Time for a Farscape rewatch.
Last week’s record: 10-4. (I somehow forgot to include the Packers-Broncos game, but dinged myself for it anyway because I thought Green Bay would take ’em.)
Season record: 76-43, and doing better against these professional prognosticators.