It's Week 10 in the NFL, and by now, some of you may be feeling that your team is not horrible.
That line of thinking, like your wardrobe choice, would be a terrible mistake.
I'm not cynical, and it's certainly not pessimism; it's just that your team is literally one of the worst institutions known to man. After the Huns and possibly the IRS, your team is the biggest blight on Western civilization I can think of. Each week, the only thing that gives us solace that your favorite team still exists is that it is destined to lose.
So, in a way, your favorite team's loss is a gift to the rest of mankind. Yes, we revel in your pain, and yes, we do so joyously because it is your pain. Your grief gives us a respite from the horror that is your favorite team. Also, if you could possibly wear one of those "my team sucks" paper bags, that would be great too, because we'd rather not look at your face.
So, what will give us joy this week? Why will your team lose?
New York Giants
Eli Manning wakes up Sunday morning, rolls over and hangs off of the top bunk to ask: "Coach Coughlin, is it the playoffs yet?"
"No Eli," his coach replies, "it's only Week 10, we have eight more weeks until the playoffs start, but you still have to play those games to get to the playoffs."
Sadly, by then, Eli has already put his earbuds in and is rocking out to the latest Justin Bieber jam.
Deciding to play a sick joke on the Bengals and knowing they don't have anything resembling a real scouting staff, Jerry Reese pulls the stickers off of a VHS copy of The Longest Yard and drops it on Marvin Lewis' desk. Adam Sandler finishes the game 3-of-25 passing with a touchdown and six interceptions. Everyone decides he's a pretty big step up from Andy Dalton.
Jake Locker gets the start, much to the delight of Titans' fans. Then, Locker takes his first snap and every single Titans fan immediately realizes their huge mistake. Sadly, moxie doesn't score points (at least, not since the old AFL days, when everything scored points), and Locker is unable to get his team into the end zone.
Reggie Bush and Ryan Tannehill get to the stadium and start their weekly game of Madden '13. Brian Hartline walks in just as Tannehill (using himself and the Dolphins) drops back and fires a pass to Brandon Marshall.
"Man, you guys need to get the roster update!" Hartline says as Bush and Tannehill look nervously at each other.
"We did," Bush replies. "We just made some trades to help the team..." In real life, Hartline's 12 drops would later doom the team...those jerks.
Dominic Raiola, who believes the Vikings' Rick Spielman is the infamous "anonymous GM," gives up six sacks in the first half and charges into the crowd. As he is seen scaling the wall of the Metrodome, up to the press boxes, a battle axe flies up from field level and strikes him down. No, no...it wasn't Ragnar—the Vikings' lovable and odoriferous mascot—rather, it was Matt Stafford, who finally had a good reason to get rid of the guy.
Of course, Rick Spielman was the anonymous GM (at least for the purposes of this article) and spent his entire week penning a really creepy letter to Pro Football Weekly using letters cut out from his subscription to Tiger Beat magazine. He forgets to respond to any emails and doesn't give the go-ahead for payroll. Thinking it's another lockout, the Vikings' players don't show up on Sunday.
Because they're not very good.
New England Patriots
In an attempt to appeal to a wider audience and garner some goodwill, Tom Brady decides to participate in "Movember" and wakes up on Sunday morning with a bit of peach fuzz on his upper lips. Twelve hours later, he is found in a warehouse in Southie hung up by his wrists, feet in a bucket of water and hooked up to numerous car batteries. When revived, the only words that is able to escape his chapped (yet bare-skinned) lips are: "Sorry Gisele..."
After, literally, just needing to show up to get wins for the first nine weeks of the season, Matt Ryan decides to up the degree of difficulty and convinces the team to try getting a win without showing up. Interestingly enough, the ploy almost works against the Saints when a rag-tag group of fans are able to score 40 points, but Drew Brees pulls out a close win in overtime.
New Orleans Saints
Just to make sure "Bountygate" is really over, commissioner Goodell stops all payments to the New Orleans Saints, including their regular paychecks. He also shuts down the power, water and garbage service to the Superdome...just in case. Just before game time, he declares the entire team free agents and randomly assigns most of them to other teams. "Nothing personal," he is quoted as saying. "I just hate them."
San Diego Chargers
C'mon guys, it's a little ridiculous to make me invent reasons the Chargers should lose when Norv Turner, Philip Rivers and A.J. Smith have done such a great job coming up with those in real life. What's that? Oh...I'm being told that, yes, I still have to. So...aliens. #FireNorv
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While, normally, the Chargers would be at a disadvantage on the road, since no one shows up to Tampa Bay games either, both teams are in their element. With no one in the stands and no one able to watch at home, both teams put up one of the best games in NFL history. However, like a hole-in-one on a morning practice, no one believes that this game actually happened, so the league office gives both teams a loss.
Hearing that an inaccurate QB who has alienated his teammates is coming to town, the Broncos' defense spends the entire week game-planning for the Jets. (ZING!)
In his weekly meeting with Jerry Richardson, Ron Rivera surprises the owner: "Hey, you know I've been watching this Broncos' defense all week. Is there any chance we could get this John Fox guy as a defensive coordinator?" Richardson, in a rage, starts drawing his next cartoon for the Charlotte Observer.
"No, really, I'm sure Carson Palmer will have a perfectly fine time against the Baltimore Ravens defense...especially with that offensive line in front of him. I hear they're excellent. His receivers won't drop any of his passes this week, either, and Darren McFadden will acclimate to the zone-blocking scheme magically in Week 10."—Every Raiders fan this week after finishing his/her third beer.
Looking to finally get some healthier players than the ones he has, Ozzie Newsome is seen scouting local pediatric wards and a pull of his Internet history reveals a Google search for, "Is leprosy still a thing?" Sadly, his efforts prove fruitless and the team is unable to take the field in the second half with only six healthy bodies.
New York Jets
Promising to reveal his "secret Tebow offense" this week, Rex Ryan blows the minds of Jets' fans everywhere when Tebow, inexplicably, puts his hands behind the center and actually takes the ball from between his legs!
"TRICK PLAY!" Ryan shouts, as Tebow just stands there, unable to decide what to do next. The loss of two on the play represents the Jets' best offensive production of the day.
Pete Carroll goes through his regular pregame routine of getting the autographs of everyone on the other team for his scrapbook and he runs into, quite literally, Mark Sanchez. His former quarterback tries to say hi, but is rebuffed when Carroll seems to be preoccupied looking for someone else. "Oh, hey Mark, do you know where the Jets' starting quarterback is?" Sanchez, finally having a reason to try, throws for 12 touchdowns against a stunned Seahawks secondary. Carroll is just happy he got his scrapbook filled.
Jerry Jones, after giving everyone (including himself) votes of confidence, is incredibly surprised to see that the Cowboys are 3-5. He immediately fires the person responsible—the guy who cleans his glasses—and re-signs 32-year-old Tony Romo to a 10-year extension and promotes Jason Garrett to general manager, giving himself the title of "Lord High Ruler." The Cowboys lose by 40, but Jones is already safely tucked into bed.
Andy Reid, eager to prove he's worthy of keeping his job at the end of the season, makes himself defensive coordinator. Todd Bowles becomes offensive line coach, Marty Mornhinweg starts coaching special teams, and Howard Mudd becomes head cheerleader. The Eagles still lose, but management takes one look at Mudd in a skirt and forgets that it was about to fire Reid.
St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford talks to Alex Smith before the game, and Smith tells him about all of the things he went through at the beginning of his career—all of the offensive changes and all of the rotating coaches. Bradford, sensing that Smith is a kindred spirit, dreams of how his career could get to the point Smith is at now. In the meantime, he's been sacked seven times and has thrown six interceptions. Fans are confused why he keeps smiling.
San Francisco 49ers
Smith, chuckling because he's seemingly bested Bradford in the mental game, takes the field and is immediately separated from this plane of existence by Robert Quinn. No, he's literally hit so hard, he ceases to exist. There's just a wisp of vapor and a wide-open Michael Crabtree down the field. The CIA shuts the game down and declares the 49ers the losers while they investigate.
J.J. Watt and Julius Peppers meet at midfield before the game and, in the lineage of great warriors everywhere, decide that no one else has to get hurt here. They wave their respective teams off and start an epic battle that lasts for days. Watt looks to have the advantage in Hour 37, but Peppers' second wind (actually a nicotine high after Cutler slips him some gum) wins the day.
After having his third pass batted down by Watt, Cutler chucks a ball right at the back of his linemen and it flies straight up into the air. Watt leaps, enshrined in golden light, and bats the ball straight back at Cutler. Cutler, used to evading things after nine weeks of practice, is able to dive out of the way, but the impact levels Soldier Field.
Kansas City Chiefs
Scott Pioli re-signs Stanford Routt before the game and gives him a $20 million signing bonus, exclaiming, "I couldn't believe a player with his talent was on the market!" Routt gives up 200 yards passing to the receivers he covers, and is given an extension before being cut on Tuesday morning.
Ambassador Rooney, ecstatic with the Obama win, demands a holiday in Pittsburgh and (against the advice of everyone in football operations) tells the Steelers to take a day off. Somehow, even though they're just scrimmaging air, the Chiefs are embattled in a close one, but they manage to score when a Matt Cassel fumble rolls forward and is kicked out the back of the end zone. Since the Steelers aren't there to collect their two points, the safety is awarded both to and against the Chiefs. Later, James Harrison is fined $20,000 by the league offices. Just because.
Michael Schottey is the NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff alongside other great writers at "The Go Route."