There is nothing quite like the nonsense of sports – because only sports could take something like Deflategate and turn it into a national story, or spark a lengthy debate over the difference between a turtleneck and a tie – as Cam Newton helped do this year.
It’s at its worst during NFL season, when there’s a whole week between games, with nothing but the little things to entertain us until Sundays, and never was that more clear than during the days leading up to the 2008 Super Bowl, when the sports world debated whether it was smart for Plaxico Burress to predict a 23-17 win for the Giants, and risk motivating Tom Brady and the Patriots.
As if they needed motivation to play in the Super Bowl.
It was the Super Bowl, not week 17.
Giants at Redskins: The Redskins are playing for their playoff life and the Giants are playing for nothing. Redskins
Panthers at Buccaneers: The Bucs need to navigate a complicated, mile-long Rube Goldberg machine to make the playoffs, but they’re still alive. Buccaneers
Browns at Steelers: Pittsburgh may be locked in, but the Browns won their Super Bowl last week and still managed to slide into the first overall pick – where they’ll want to stay. Steelers
Saints at Falcons: Atlanta needs to win to shore up a bye, so they’ll win this shootout. Falcons
Texans at Titans: Both are locked into their spot, but the Titans just lost their quarterback. Texans
Bills at Jets: Neither is going anywhere – ever, it seems. I’ll take Fitzpatrick over Manuel. Jets
Ravens at Bengals: Neither is going anywhere, again, but Steve Smith will want a win in his – likely to be – final game. Ravens
Jaguars at Colts: Neither is going anywhere, again again, but Luck gets the nod over Bortles. Jaguars
Bears at Vikings: Neither is going anywhere, again again again, but Minnesota’s defense will dominate Matt Barkley. Vikings
Cardinals at Rams: Neither is going anywhere, last time, but the Rams aren’t going anywhere for years, while the Cardinals are talented enough to bounce back in a few months. Cardinals
Raiders at Broncos: The Raiders are about to play postseason games for the first time in nearly 15 years, but they’ll be doing it with Matt McGloin. Even if that Broncos’ defense is playing their last game of the year, they’ll win this one. Broncos
Cowboys at Eagles: Philadelphia is working for next year and the Cowboys should be working toward keeping their stars from the same injuries that doomed the Raiders and Titans. Eagles
Patriots at Dolphins: Matt Moore needs more reps – get it? – but the Patriots have had more than enough. Dolphins
Chiefs at Chargers: San Diego’s season ended weeks ago. Chiefs
Seahawks at 49ers: The Seahawks want the best seeding possible and the 49ers want the worst draft position possible. Seahawks
Packers at Lions: Are you betting against Aaron Rodgers? Packers
Author: Joseph White
Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at Joe@noticketsports.com.