The end is in sight, Doormat denizens, and only the hardiest survive to very VERY stale beer end that is the Doormat Division Championship Trophy.
Teams that once thought they could blow any game, anywhere, find themselves awash in the doldrums of parity, with the threat of playoff relevancy, and an opportunity for fans to witness their gridiron warriors to become this year’s lambs to the slaughter in the first round.
Only the determined and truly gritty will make it through the gantlet of teams giving up on the season, and manage to lose the final five games, and wear the Best of the Worst crown.
Only one team will eventually hold (however briefly before needing to go wash their hands) the Moldy Carpet Trophy, and, at this writing, five teams still have a legitimate shot at the Doormat Championship. With five games remaining, any team with a 5-6 record could still be champs, but let’s be realistic: 5-6 is parity, and don’t wave that banner at me.
It’s the Browns, 49ers, Bears, Giants, Broncos, and Colts. Let’s take a look at the standings and then call the shots.
DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK TWELVE
W-L PF PA DIF
SANTA CLARA 1-10 187 284 -97
NY GIANTS 2-9 172 267 -95
CHICAGO 3-8 177 252 -75
TAMPA BAY 4-7 223 262 -39
GREEN BAY 5-6 232 261 -29
W-L PF PA DIF
CLEVELAND 0-11 166 289 -123
INDIANAPOLIS 3-8 195 300 -105
DENVER 3-8 197 280 -83
MIAMI 4-7 174 289 -115
NY JETS 4-7 228 57 -29
HUGE GAMES NEXT WEEK:
49ers at Bears
Broncos at Dolphins
Brownies at Chargers
CLEVELAND (0-11): with Sunday’s nail-biter loss against the Bengals, the Turnover Browns showed that, under the right circumstances, they might yet win a game this season. They do try. WR Josh Gordon, who hasn’t played in 3 years, returns next week from purgatory. He will play WR, QB, announce the game and sing the national anthem. Not that expectations are high or anything.
The Brownouts are in the driver’s seat for a perfect season, but they could win their games against the stumbling Packers (12/10) and for sure against the Bears (12/24). Still, they’d only be 2-14, tops, and that leaves only the Giants and 49ers as competition. But they’ve tailed off with the turnovers (leading the league at -17 give/take) lately, and that makes them vulnerable against teams that don’t score.
Predicted finish: 0-16
SANTA CLARA (1-10): The 49ers overdid it with the losing thing yesterday, and punching bag QB C.J. Beathard finally got knocked out of a game. Enter “star” backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who promptly throws a TD pass in the waning moments of another grindingly annoying loss to the Seahawks, causing the entire Red and Gold fan base and media in the Bay Area to elect Jimmy G to the Niner Hall of Fame with that one ray-of-hope toss. Even if only 47 people were actually in the stadium to see it.
This much is true: if Garoppolo starts next week in Chicago against the Bears…look out. The Whiners could win a game, and give the Giants and the Bears an opening to the NFC crown and perhaps the Moldy Carpet. The remaining schedule: Texans (danger), Titans, Jags, Rams (finish season with massive blowout).
Predicted finish: 2-14
NEW YORK GIANTS (2-9): The Giants gave up so long ago, it was amazing to watch the Chiefs hand them a game two weeks ago. Now they have to run the table for a shot at the Moldy Carpet. But they have a shot, because this team really is mailing it in from so far away, they’re about lap everybody. The last five: Raiders, Cowboys, Eagles, Cardinals, Redskins. Raiders appear to need to get into all-out brawls before they wake up, so the Giants should toss in a couple scuffles early, and get out of Oakland with an L. The Cowboys pose a threat, because they can lose anywhere they like, and the Cardinals prefer to score only one touchdown a game if the competition would only comply. Giants might beat the Cardinals.
Predicted Finish: 3-14
The Broncos have to lose all 5 remaining games. They sure are going after it, with a hard-charging -16 turnover differential and showing little sign of slowing that down. The Raiders got their FIRST interception of the season yesterday, so you know the Broncs are dealing. But good luck with this schedule: Miami, NY Jets, Indianapolis, Washington and Kansas City. They could win 3 of those games. Still, they managed to be sloppier and more undisciplined than the Raiders yesterday, and lately that’s been hard to top. And they won the Brawl and Lose Your Cool challenge yesterday, so…
Predicted finish: 4-12
A tweak here, a bad game plan there, and the Bears could be 1-10. Interestingly, though, the Bears’ three victories are against the Ravens, Steelers and Jaguars, none of whom have losing records. This is the Upset Team from the Doormat Division this year, and for that alone, we have to be proud of these bums down here in the Basement. Upsets are in extremely short supply this season, and if you ever hear someone say “on any given Sunday”, stuff a cream pie in their face, and rub it in a little.
daBares amassed 140 total yards against the Eagles on Sunday, and six giant yards of rushing offense. So, uh, they could also lose every single game left.
They should win this Sunday against the Whiners, Jimmy Garoppolo or not, and the rest of the schedule is this: Bengals, Lions, Browns, Vikings.
Predicted finish: 4-12.
The Puntin’ Clots almost upset the Titans on Sunday, but killed off their offense for the second half, and eventually the Titans woke up and scored. The Colts have the Jags, Bills, Broncos, Ravens and Texans to finish up the grind, and they will probably wind down Frank Gore for the last 4 games, to save some wear and tear on him.
Colts should beat the Broncos….and that’s it. Maybe the Texans, who may give up even more extensively than the Colts.
Predicted finish: 5-11
Upsets don’t happen very often, and, in the Basement, it’s almost never. Like I said above, don’t give me that “On Any Given Sunday” baloney. The worst teams never upset anybody. They just hope another bottom dweller comes to town and somehow they might stumble through to victory. Upsets are usually between middle of the road teams and dubious division leaders. Like this:
CARDINALS 27, JAGS 24
Teetering high above their usual perch, Jacksonville gets vertigo and slides down the rigging and hides in the hold and…why am I on a boat? The Jags aren’t used to leading a division, so pulling off an upset for the Cruds engineers a safe tie with the Titans in the AFC South. Whew. Jags still have a chance to fade and miss the playoffs.
The Chiefs are the league’s designated ‘upset’ target, having delivered an upset to the Raiders, Cowboys, Giants and Bills. So, by the time the Flailing Giants beat the Chiefs, it didn’t even count. Just not really satisfying.
PACKERS 28, STEELERS 31
This would have counted, had the Pack somehow pulled it off. Without Aaron Rodgers, Gangrenous Bay plays a solid game, their shaky rookie QB settles down, and…they lose on a FG with 0:00 on the clock.
We wait…and wait…for a real upset down here in the Basement, but on the other hand, the Moldy Carpet…it’s so close I can almost smell it. Wait. I can smell it.
aaaAAAAAAnd That’s the View From the Basement!!!!