I’ve been kicking this thought around my brain for the past couple of weeks and I’m just now getting a chance to put my thoughts down on paper, so to speak, for the rest of you to digest, disagree with, and mercilessly berate me for. It first occurred to me during the Jets/Patriots game a couple of weeks ago. My brother happened to be in town to visit and it was myself, my father, and he watching Red Zone on my dad’s couch. They’re both cheering and excited about how the Jets are making a game of it and when they eventually win, they’re even happier. And I get why they feel that way, after 10+ years of division domination by the Patriots, it’s occasionally nice to see them get taken down a peg or two.
But the whole time I’m sitting there, I feel this deep sense of disgust digging its way out of my gut and slowly perking up to my brain as a coherent thought. And that thought is simple “I hate the Jets just as much as I hate the Patriots, why should I root for them to win?”. I voice this opinion to my brother and he responds with “Well, the Patriots are the better team, if they lose it improves our chances to win the division”. Again, totally logical reasoning and yet I cannot shake this feeling. And so I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply no longer care about the Patriots winning the division. It doesn’t bother me when they win anymore; I’m numb to it because it’s happened so many times. What I hate more than the Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick combined is the thought of another division team wrestling the division title away from the Patriots before my team, the Bills, can do so. I don’t want the Patriots to lose, unless the Bills are the ones to come out on top. It would make me physically ill if somehow the Jets won it this year, or the Dolphins, for that matter. Maybe it’s just my deep fandom of the Bills. Maybe it’s because the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Or maybe it’s just petty selfishness, the sentiment of “if I can’t be happy, then having more people being unhappy is the next best thing”.
The truth is that I don’t know why I feel this way, exactly, but now I wonder if anyone else feels the same way about their team.
Beyond that, I know everyone has been waiting anxiously for my weekly predictions before they submit their pick’ems, so I’ll throw those down while I’m here.
Bills @ Steelers
The Bills are coming off a heartbreaking loss at home in a game they should have easily won. The Steelers are returning home from a demoralizing beat down at the hands of Tom Brady. Both teams should be fired up and ready to get their team back on the right track. I really feel like the Bills have a great chance of winning this game on the road, despite having only won in Pittsburgh once in their team’s history. The Bills one-two punch at RB is back and ready to go, EJ Manuel is back under center with that deep touch, Stevie Johnson, TJ Graham, and Marquise Goodwin are all ready to rock, and the defense is clicking at last. If they run relentlessly like they did against KC, they can literally run away with this game against Pitt’s 31st ranked run defense.
Bills – 31 (Freddie and CJ get 200+, 2 TDs combined, Manuel hits one bomb deep for a score. Last week they ended their streak of 20+ points per game, this week they get their first 30+ game)
Steelers – 23 (Big Ben has a rough day, takes multiple sacks and throws multiple INTs)
Dolphins @ Buccaneers
Well, the Dolphins get to leave home this week, at least. They’re facing a winless Tampa team that has actually been playing somewhat better of late with Mike Glennon under center. Regardless of distractions, Miami is clearly the better team and I look for them to establish themselves as a Wild Card contender with a win on Monday. Look for a big game over the middle of the field with Charles Clay and Brian Hartline, but expect little from Mike Wallace as he will certainly be covered by Darelle Revis. Lamar Miller will also get his chance to show he can be a true #1 RB this week as well.
Dolphins – 27 (Tannehill overcomes a leaky O Line to throw for 300+ and 2 TD:1 INT, Miller runs for 100+ and a score)
Buccaneers – 24 (A special teams score keeps this close, but they lose the game in the end off a late pick from Glennon)