As unbelievable as it may be, there is still football to be played and unfortunately watched which does not involve the Steelers. Brutal. So what is a Pittsburgh fan supposed to watch? It’s still way too early in the season to worry about the playoffs and we’re still sorting through the dreck of the first four weeks of play to really get a feel for each team. Consider the following a guide for what the average Steeler fan should watch this weekend, enjoying the relative silence before Ben Roethlisberger’s return next weekend.
(Unless you want to follow my classic guide on how to spend the bye week without football, which if you are able to pull off, more power to you.)
Jacksonville Jaguars – Buffalo Bills “Well, there’s never a dull moment in the NFL, especially when you’re losing,” according to Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Not sure about that one, Fitz. It cannot be that exciting if Buffalo is facing their first blackout in nearly four years. Then again, maybe everyone in Buffalo realized how boring losing is and decided to finally get around to visiting the local Kazoo Factory and Museum (the only metal kazoo factory in America).
Steeler fans recommendation: Remember the Steelers – Falcons game of ’99? Final, 13-9 Steelers even though Josh Miller gave up a safety by stepping out of the back of the end zone. Steelers ended the season 6-10, while the Falcons went 5-11. The Bills have little hope of winning five games, much less six and the Jags are not much better off. Pass.
Denver Broncos – Baltimore Ravens The Broncos have never won in Baltimore, probably due to salt retention brought on by exposure to Old Bay. The odds of seeing Ray Lewis spiking Tim Tebow into the turf are off the board, since Josh McDaniels seems enjoy messing with both Tebow’s and Brady Quinn’s head and not naming a second string QB until late in the week.
Last week’s loss to the Ravens still stings, so watching this game is a double-edge sword. If the Ravens defense destroys Kyle Orton like they did last season, it makes our loss to them slightly less infuriating but then gives them a leg up in the divisional race. If the Broncos win, Steeler fans are going to be kicking themselves even harder after the final minutes meltdown of Week 4.
Steeler fans recommendation: Watch, but be prepared to put the children and the pets outside once you start in with the swearing.
Kansas City Chiefs – Indianapolis Colts It’s obscene that the Chiefs are the last undefeated team left in the league. Chargers, 49ers, Browns; this is all your fault. The whole city of Kansas City — both the Missouri and the Kansas sides — is filled with happy people high on victory and barbecue sauce. Disgusting.
I have two friends who are Chiefs fans out here in LA. One is the sweet-as-pie type of guys who’s in a band, hangs out at the beach, bikes with his dogs, and generally is fun to be around. Loves football and fun so much, was actually even a season ticket holder for the LA Avengers. The other guy, also a nice guy in his own weird way, but believes we all should be buying gold, recycling is a government conspiracy and an infringement of his rights to be a litterer and that climate change — either man made or natural Earth cycles — are a myth. So unfortunately, due to the latter fan’s Ron Paul politics, this particular Steeler fan is rooting for the Colts. Plus, screw a 4-0 Kansas City team.
Steeler fan recommendation: Pass. You’ll get enough Manning during the commercial breaks.
Green Bay Packers – Washington Redskins Something something McNabb, Portis out with his private spot area, Green Bay has no defense, Redskin wives beat the Eagles wives at a charity basketball event, Mr. Cheesehead Goes to Washington.
Steeler fan recommendation: Pass. Both of these teams have had enough prime time coverage this season the average Steeler fan has seen enough of their play to be reminded that the NFC blows.
St. Louis Rams – Detroit Lions What is the line just above this one? Oh, yeah. The NFC blows.
Steeler Any fan recommendation: Pass. There is a new biography out, Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, by Harriet Reisen. Smart and well researched. Read that instead.
Chicago Bears – Carolina Panthers Sometimes being a fan of professional sports, especially football, is hard to defend. Jay Culter’s repeated head thumps last week were gruesome to watch, even for the most hardened of fans. Now take Culter’s drubbing and imagine it’s happening to a team week after week and you have the 0-4 Panthers, except they get to experience the added insult of having to face their old hero, Julius Peppers. Nothing worse than running into an old coworker who managed to escape while you still toil away in the deepest, darkest pit of football existence.
Steeler fans recommendation: Pass, because lord knows there isn’t going to be any of that going on in this game with Todd Collins and Jimmy “The Emu” Clausen as your starters.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cincinnati Bengals Damn you T.O. for scoring 29 points in fantasy the week I decide to bench your usual 4-point ass as my third string wide receiver. Marginally interesting since the Steelers have already beaten the Bucs and have yet to face their divisional opponent the Bengals.
Steeler fans recommendation: Watch, but only if the Broncos-Ravens game is too much for you to handle. The TOcho Show is less annoying when it’s during a football game and not a reality series.
Atlanta Falcons – Cleveland Browns Much like the Bucs-Bengals game, the Steelers have already beaten the Falcons and still haven’t played their divisional foe Browns. Cleveland isn’t as bad of a team as their 1-3 record suggests, losing in close games to Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Baltimore. Mention the name Peyton Hillis and you’ll see Browns fans’ eyes light up and Broncos fans curse the day Josh McDaniels gave away this massive running back as part of the Brady Quinn deal. The Steelers play the Browns next week, and Cleveland would love to get geared up to play spoiler in Ben Roethlisberger’s first game back in Pittsburgh with a win over Atlanta.
Steeler fans recommendation: Watch, especially with the possible return of Jake Delhomme, but if this game gets away from either team in the first half, don’t feel bad to switching over the Broncos-Ravens match-up.
New York Giants – Houston Texans At some point in the last couple of years, Houston and its fans have reached the top of the annoying scale in the AFC South. I hope they get their playoff dreams crushed on the final day of the season again this year. Eli Manning is currently one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve ever had on my fantasy football team, so personally I’m hoping to see him have at least a decent game against one of the league’s weakest defenses.
Steeler fans recommendation: Pass. It’s too early in the season to worry about how the Texans are doing in the Wild Card race.
New Orleans Saints – Arizona Cardinals Remember a few years ago when Bill Cowher “retired” and fans were upset that Ken Whisenhunt was passed for the Steelers head coaching job in favor of Mike Tomlin? And then it seemed like fate that Pittsburgh would face the scorned coach in Super Bowl XLIII? Good times. Unfortunately, the wheels seemed to have fallen off Team Whiz, with their two wins this season barely eked out against anemic Raiders and Rams teams. Hard to believe that starting QB Derek Anderson was a Pro Bowler just a couple of years ago.
Steeler fan recommendation: Pass. We’ve seen so much of the reigning Super Bowl champs Saints, I’m beginning to loathe the other black and gold (AND TACKY GOLD AT THAT).
Tennessee Titans – Dallas Cowboys Probably the best of the late afternoon games, which isn’t saying much with a 2-2 Titans squad and 1-2 Dallas team.
Steeler fans recommendation: Eh. Watch, but only if you’re done with all of your household chores. Much like the Texans, it’s much to early in the season to be concerned about the AFC South.
San Diego Chargers – Oakland Raiders According to NFL.com, you should watch this game because, “These games have a tendency to get batty and bizarre. Strange things can happen. The Raiders generally find a way to beat themselves regardless of the opponent, but still, this could get interesting.” This is pretty much how I describe every visit to the WeHo Target, so take the league’s sell job with a grain of salt. There’s still 12 more weeks of regular season football to enjoy without pulling out the excuse, “Well, at least it’s football.”
Steeler fans recommendation: Pass. It’s the AFC West, which has only produced three AFC Champions in the past twenty years.
Philadephia Eagles – San Francisco 49ers Musical injured quarterbacks in Philly versus an incredibly disappointing San Francisco team run by a mad man. This is our Sunday night game? Sorry NBC, even Bob Costas is going to be off in the corner watching baseball on Sunday evening.
Steeler fans recommendation:Pass. Instead, check out Patton Oswald on this week’s “Bored to Death” on HBO. I was lucky enough to watch a screener of this a few weeks ago, and it’s Ted Danson’s best turn as George the Magazine Publisher yet. Why this season doesn’t seem to getting as much buzz as last year is beyond me, because the first few episodes of season two are streets ahead of last year’s much talked debut.
Minnesota Vikings – New York Jets Favre! Penis! Randy Moss! Rex Ryan! Nacho! Return of Santonio Holmes after being suspended for pot with a new team! It’s like the league designed a game just for the team over at Kissing Suzy Kolber.
Steeler fans recommendation: Watch. Not only is it the Monday night game, but it’s a chance to see how well Holmes plays while not wearing black and gold. Plus, between Favre and Sanchez, I’m hoping to see at least 20-25 interceptions just in the first half. (20-25 of them belonging to Favre, of course.)
Note – Not going to publish a second Friday Football Foodie post this week since it’s the bye week, and well, I want to start stocking piling recipes for later in the season. But don’t worry, you still should totally make the Hot Pastrami Reuben Dip posted on Wednesday. Don’t forget to add your pictures to Football Foodies Flickr Group from last weekend and be sure to get some new shots this weekend if you cook.