ENCROTCHMENT WEEK 12, POST THANKSGIVING EDITION, WITH EDDIE GOBBO

Adele’s “Hello” : Helping people drunkenly call their exes and make writhing asses of themselves since three weeks ago.

Thanks, for Noth... Oh Wait, Seriously, Thank You!

My Thanksgiving weekend started out with me receiving a message via Decibel Magazine Wednesday morning, stating that no one was coming in the office on Thursday or Friday for the holiday, so my column would be postponed for a week.

Office closed for a holiday? How anti-American is that?

I was lost.

When I found myself, I was at a Mariano’s in Glenview, IL. It was Thanksgiving morning. I talked the ear off of a produce clerk about my frustration with Chip Kelly’s use of DeMarco Murray. I lured him in to the conversation with a fruit question, and then segued nicely by referencing the color of the Forest Green Eagles-colored smock he was wearing. He licked himself and left the room.

Then I noticed a man wielding a Mariano’s donut, wearing a Bears cap, and reaching for a pack of cigarettes while yelling on his cell phone.

“Dad!”

“Oh hey. What’s up?"

“Oh, nothing. Kind of depressed about my football column being postponed 'til next week.”

“You still write that thing? Oh, hey, are you coming to the house?”

“Well, I’m in the suburb where you live, which is nowhere near where I live, and, you know, it’s Thanksgiving and all…”

“Who do you like today?”

“I’m feeling the Bears pull out the win in Green Bay tonight for sure.”

It was at this point that my dad started laughing and pointing at me, going up to strangers laughing, saying, “He thinks the Bears are gonna win tonight!”

I didn’t have time to deal with his shade-throwing. I had to get home for the Thanksgiving day games.

Game 1:  Philadelphia vs. Detroit was amazing. It was a lot closer than that 45-14 score. I’m the only person in the world who started Matthew Stafford in my fantasy league that day. And yes, he set it off. For my money, there is not a more inconsistent player in the league with less scrutiny following him than Stafford. A couple years ago, he was a labeled a big-time QB. Now he ranges between middle-of-the-road and bottom-of-the-barrel. But every now and again, he’ll explode for a 400+ yard game. This is what ultimately assures Stafford a starting job in the league for at least the next three seasons, more than likely for the Lions.

Then there was the mid-day eradication of the Dallas Cowboys. Tony Romo, mercifully, is out for the season with a broken collarbone, Old Yeller-style. His wife’s look said it all.

It’s just such a shame for Cowboys Nation, who had a great team going into this season. Interesting thought: What if the Cowboys finish with the worst record in football this season? Do they draft a QB with the first overall pick next year?

So, I was bummed with the first two games. No contest in either. Total blowouts resulting in me bitching out my grandfather in front of my entire family when he asked me if I was still “doing the music thing.”

I calmed down and saddled up for the night game of the century: the Bears in Green Bay on Brett Favre jersey retirement night. My grandfather left early.

I was thankful with the result of the Bears pulling out a win on the road, which I predicted, by the way. I often say that Aaron Rodgers is overrated. I guess technically that’s true because he’s often rated as the best player in football. It doesn’t help matters that his receiving corps has totally dogged him since the Broncos loss back in mid-October. They are dropping catchable balls that are ultimately leading them to lose close games. They assume that Rodgers will pull them out of the fire at the last minute, which he almost did on the final drive of the game. But the Bears D stood up. Early X-Mas gift for me.

I celebrated later that night by going out with some high school friends to the local burb bar and getting tanked. When I passed a girl with resting bitchface in the bar wearing a Jordy Nelson jersey, I didn’t hesitate to say, “The Packers suck. Happy Thanksgiving.” She hit on me later that night, by the way. I gave her a fake number and got the fuck out of there.

Shout-out to my high school teacher, who posted on my Facebook wall after the game:

"Best thing about the game was seeing Bart Starr. One of the greatest to play the game."

Proof once again that high school teachers don’t know dick.

Brock-ly

Compelling win for the Denver Broncos over the New England Patriots this past Sunday night, lead by Brock Osweiler.

The first is that Osweiler hasn’t lost since starting in place of Peyton Manning, and he’s won two hard games: Bears on the road and New England at home. What this basically means is no matter what, Brock is going to get a shot as the QB of the future when Peyton packs it in. Even if he loses the next couple games, he’ll still get his shot. Very big for Brock, who could have the ball as soon as next year.

Now, if Brock starts lighting it up in these next couple games, I guess we’ll have a QB controversy in Denver on our hands, right? Why would the Broncos not roll with the hot hand over the cold hand of Peyton? Sort of reminds me of Tom Brady replacing Drew Bledsoe in the early 2000s and leading his team to a Super Bowl win. There’s a difference, though: Bledsoe was great, but he’s no P. Manning, and the Broncos know this. Case in point, a Michele Tafoya interview with C.J. Anderson after the game, where he immediately said their goal is to win these games for Peyton before he gets back.

The team is all on the same page, including Brock: This is Peyton’s team. They are winning games with a push with him at the helm dancing in their head.

This is the stuff that Super Bowl teams are made of, folks. Success and escalated teamwork all stemming from adversity.

They’ve been my Super Bowl pick all season, and they continue to be. They are getting healthy. DeMarcus Ware is coming back this week, by the way. Compelling team. Potential Cinderella story in the works, which is an interesting dynamic because P. Manning is not used to being the She’s All That of the league.

Target: Gronk

I was surprised to see Erykah Badu rear her mean-ass wrapped head this week on the Soul Train awards. Badu, not to be confused with India Arie, is a mean-as-hell bitch who is basically a superhero. She has the power to make gangsta rap dudes she dates into hipsters.

For no reason whatsoever, she targeted in on Iggy Azalea at the award show and threw her under the bus for being a horrible rapper or something.

One thing's for damn sure: When you’re successful at something, haters will try any way to knock your hustle. Case in point, the brewing feud between the NFL refs and Rob Gronkowski.

We all know Gronk's had a monster season thus far. He may currently be the most go-to receiver in the game. It’s because of this that the refs have been accused of zeroing in on Gronk on offensive penalty calls. He has five offensive interference calls this season, which exceeds the amount he’s had in his entire career combined. Gronk has a habit of throwing elbows off the ball to get separation from a defender, thus creating space for his textbook short completion/monster gains. Now with the refs privy to the knowledge of Gronk’s m.o., they’re calling it more. And Gronk is PISSED about it!

Not to throw Gronk under the bus, but I think like many Baby Huey frat boy bros of the world, he likes playing the victim. I think he lacks the dark streak that comparable frat boy Johnny Manziel has coursing through his body. But maybe it just hasn’t been exposed yet? Gronk entered the NFL to the most sterile and tranquil of environments: the New England Patriots. Manziel entered the pit of hell known as the Cleveland Browns. I’d argue that Gronk may have not been the man the NFL knows and loves had his road to greatness not been paved.

I remember the golden boy frat boys in college. They’d party, sleep in, show up for class sometimes. When they got a bad grade, it was the teacher’s fault. Obviously they were jealous of them and the six-figure future they had ahead of them as the head of a company. But at the end of the day, it all worked out for them. They went on to take over their DAD’s company (a place they said they’d NEVER work at growing up, because they didn’t “want his life”) and made seven figures instead of six. These frat boys were a lot different then the frat boys that came from broken homes, whose mothers started dating their gardener. Those kids became alcoholics, got caught cheating on exams, became cokeheads, eventually punched out a professor, and were eventually kicked out of the university.

Again, environment to some degree will dictate which emotions and qualities shine through. If we see Gronk over-penalized in the tail of end of the season, I see us getting a much more rage-filled, head-in-the-clouds Gronk then we are used to seeing. He needs to modify his game a bit, become a smidge less physical, and continue to produce consistently.

Gronk’s battling a minor injury right now, so he’ll be out at least this week against the Eagles. He’ll have time to soul-search.

Side note on Iggy Azalea: She should join Psychopathic Records and become the queen of the Juggalettes.

Wild and Crazy Kids

December is here. Time to put on your Donnie Jeffcoat.

We are in the home stretch of the regular season. Five pivotal weeks remain. We’ve got some clear-cut favorites and an assload of teams, including my Chicago Bears, “In the Hunt.”

While I was on vacation, my friend Roger posted this on my Facebook timeline, presumably to kiss my ass so I allow him to stay at my house when he wants to visit Chicago in a couple months.

Let’s talk about all things Wild Card for a second.

NFC Wild Card

Seattle is the sexy pick for this to slip into the fifth slot and maybe go on a tear once in. They had a statement win this past weekend against the Stillers. A huge win that will give them great momentum over this five-week stretch.  

Ironically enough, Seattle draws the Minnesota Vikings this week, who are the team currently holding the 5 spot. If they end with a tie, the winner of the head-to-head gets the nod and the loser likely goes to Green Bay in the Wild Card round.

I see Seattle making the playoffs this year. If any other team were to sneak in, it would be based on Minnesota laying an egg during this final stretch, which could easily be done. Their schedule is SUPER difficult (Seattle, Cards, Bears, Giants, Packers). If they lose four of five, the likely scenario is Hotlanta going about .500 and making it in. Or, I wouldn’t put it past the suddenly hot Chicago Bears to run the table against four teams with losing records and stealing one in Minnesota.

Wild Card Picks:

5) Seattle. 6) Minnesota.

AFC Wild Card

Strap it on. This one is gonna be good!

I can’t say enough about the fight of the Kansas City Chiefs this season. I have no fucking clue how they are here, but they currently own a Wild Card slot right now. Andy Reid, for better or worse, is the Bizzaro Bill Belichick. His players never give up on him, and they are here late in the season about to face five teams in a row with losing records. They’ll smoke those clowns. They’re in.

Mark my words on this one: Either the Colts make the playoffs or the Texans make it. Not both. Their schedules are equally difficult, even though the Texans draw the Pats two weeks from now. It’s the uncertainty at the QB position of the Colts that levels the playing field. These two have a head-to-head match-up in three weeks, which will ultimately decide who takes the division and who will stay home.

The Jets schedule coming up is The Exorcist, if you will. The Bills schedule coming up is more like Krampus. But the two end the season against each other. Pending which games the Jets win and lose, they could be a game behind the Bills in Week 17 with a tiebreaker in their back pocket.

Wild Card Picks

5) Chiefs. 6) Jets.

Anvils Falling on Heads

Years ago, Anvil (the band, not the blunt metal object) came out with a documentary. That same year, Six Feet Under (the band, not the TV show) came out with a covers record featuring their take on Anvil’s "Metal on Metal." I sat on the floor of my parents' basement as a young man wondering why, considering no one had spoken of Anvil (the band) for 20 years prior to that.

This was my first lesson in what’s known as “cross-promotion.”

This week, a film is coming out, aptly titled Concussion, featuring Will Smith and a Jamaican accent, played by '90s rapper Shaggy.

Considering that Hollywood often dictates life, it doesn’t surprise me that the word "concussion" was thrown around a million times this week surrounding one of the NFL’s biggest players.

As usual, Ben Roethlisberger was injured this past Sunday. That’s nothing new. These days Roethlisberger gets injured playing Madden. However, this was an interesting instance which I feel needs to be noted: Big Ben, for probably the first time in his career, took himself off the field. He’s been known to play through injury his entire career, and has been forced to come off the field by his coaches a plethora of times. But not this time.

The NFL preaches for all players to monitor their own health during the course of the game. For Big Ben to actually lead by example on this policy is commendable.

The silver lining: Roethlisberger actually doesn’t have a full-blown concussion and likely will be cleared to play this Sunday in the night game against the Colts. I feel the Steelers get a big, and convincing, win against the Colts this Sunday. And no one in their right mind sees Concussion.

First Ward Problems

One of my favorite NFL players over the last 20 years was Hines Ward. For my money, I think he is one of the greatest slot receivers of all time, just ahead of Wes Welker. Also, Ward is without a doubt the greatest blocking receiver I’ve ever seen. This is a lost art for a position usually filled with pansy-ass divas.

There’s an interesting rumor going around that Ward may actually pursue college football coaching next season. He’s is being reported as being intrigued by the idea of having a assistant position in Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s regime.  

Ward is only 39 years old, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he got in to the college mix next year, and eventually jumped shipped to pro coaching sometime in the next five years. You heard it here first.

Blinding Me With Science

I don’t know who he is. I don’t want to learn his name. I fucking hate the ESPN Sport Science guy! He’s beyond annoying. Useless info that goes in one ear and out the other in a Sesame Street-esque fashion. Here’s a segment where he talks about a cool catch Odell Beckham, Jr., made this week against the Skins. Got two minutes to completely throw away?

Out of Lein

Wait, what the fuck?! Is that Matt Leinart making a cameo in the new Pizza Hut commercial featuring Michael Bolton? JaMarcus Russell/Five for Fighting guy for the follow up?

Have a Bomb Ass Birthday

And finally this week,

Happy Birthday to Aaron Rodgers, who turned 32 years old yesterday.

I hope he got the present I sent him.

 

Pick of the Week

Detroit +3 over GB

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