You saw them. I saw them.
They were smiling. They were triumphant.
So sure. So confident. So privileged.
They never thought that anything could happen to them. They showed themselves to the world.
That's how it started.
This is how it's going.
-- Guy sitting at Pelosi's desk: Arrested.
-- Guy with horned helmet: Arrested.
-- Podium Guy: Arrested
-- West Virginia State Representative: Arrested (and Resigned).
Lots more have been identified, many by people who knew them (even family), and saw them on TV or social media. Some have been arrested. Others have lost their jobs.
As for those who haven't been identified, the FBI is looking for them.
They're really looking.
I mean, they're REALLY looking.
Stay tuned, folks. Those arrest numbers are going to be climbing. It might take some time, but hopefully, they'll get a lot of them.
Week Eighteen Picks
Baltimore (11-5) at Tennessee (11-5)
Last year, Baltimore's gimmicky, college offense was being hailed by everyone (except me) as the future of the NFL, and Lamar Jackson was being fitted for a gold jacket by the sports media. This year, Baltimore came back to earth, as the better teams adjusted to their tricks. A lot of people are pretty high on Baltimore again, after they finished the season on a high note by fattening up their numbers on some weaklings. And that brings us, and them, to Tennessee. Tennessee's offense isn't exactly a weakling, but their defense sure is. Given the opportunity, Baltimore is more than capable of carving up Tennessee for big points. Fortunately for Tennessee, their offense can definitely hang with Baltimore. The key to this game for both teams is sustained drives, dominating time of possession, and finishing drives with points. I'm with King Henry, Ryan Tannehill, and the rest of Tennessee's efficient offense. Winner: Tennessee
Chicago (8-8) at New Orleans (12-4)
Alvin Kamara is the biggest x-factor here. Last I heard, he hasn't been cleared to play yet, but he still might be. Kamara gives his team a better chance against Chicago's strong defense. Drew Brees, banged-up, old, gross, will have his work cut out for him in this one. Fortunately, with New Orleans's excellent defense, and with Mitch Trubisky as the opposing QB, Brees might not have to do too much. Winner: New Orleans
Cleveland (11-5) at Pittsburgh (12-4)
Barely winning against an undermanned Pittsburgh team in Week 17 to secure their first playoff berth in forever, thereby earning the right to face a Pittsburgh team that WON'T be resting key starters like Ben and TJ, then having their coach get COVID, rendering him unavailable for the game, is about as Cleveland as it gets. Winner: Pittsburgh
Look, I'm exhausted.
I've spent a LOT of time these past three days watching videos and looking at pictures of what happened on Wednesday. Every few hours, it seems, there were new revelations, more footage.
I was, and am still, outraged.
I don't really know what to say right now. I COULD say a lot. However, there have been SO MANY takes, too many, really. Not that the story isn't important. It is. It is THE STORY. I, however, am only interested in facts right now.
Evidence and identifications are the things I'm most interested in. What happened. How it happened. How it was ALLOWED to happen. Who was involved.
There has to be a full accounting of this. There HAVE to be CONSEQUENCES; far-reaching, grave, lasting consequences.
Lessons must be learned.
There must be a reckoning.
This is THE STORY. THE STORY is not over. Not yet.
For now, I am not ready to add my voice to the din. I will keep watching, though. So should you.
Indy (11-5) at Buffalo (13-3)
These were two of my favourite teams entering the season. Indy underachieved, mostly due to injuries and the inconsistent play of Philip Rivers. When healthy, Indy's defense is among the best units in the league, and this is as healthy as they've been in a while, thought CB Rock Ya-Sin is Out and DeForest Buckner, the achor of their D-Line, is hobbled. They'll have their hands full with a Buffalo offence that has exceeded even my expectations this year. Adding a true STAR WR in Stefon Diggs to an already talented receiving corps has greatly helped in the maturation process of Josh Allen. I think that Indy could absolutely give Buffalo a scare on Saturday if Rivers plays well. However, with the game in cold Buffalo, and with what I've seen of Rivers this season, I don't believe that Indy will be able to keep pace with red-hot Buffalo. Winner: Buffalo
LAAries (10-6) at Seattle (12-4)
Both of these teams are likely too flawed to make a deep playoff run, but here we are, with one of them set to survive at least one more week. I've been thinking for a while that as good as LA's defense is playing, if I had ANY faith in their offense, then I'd have them as potential championship contenders. Alas, their offense isn't nearly good enough. As for Seattle, it seems that the opposite is true, as their defense has not played nearly to the level of their offense. LA has given Seattle a lot of trouble this season, and I'm tempted to pick them. However, in a low-scoring game like I expect this to be, I can clearly envision some late-game heroics by a battle-tested Russell Wilson to pull this one out for the home team. Winner: Seattle
Tampa (11-5) at Washington (7-9)
First off, let me just say how sorry I am to Big Blue fans that this game is being played in Maryland instead of Jersey. Your team played its guts out last week, and Doug Pederson disgraced himself and screwed you over ROYALLY. So now, instead of the story being Brady vs. his Superb Owl nemesis team, we get weak storylines comparing Washington's O-Line to the New York units that plagued him in the past.
Now, while it's true that Washington's defensive front if fearsome, I don't see this game as being much in doubt. Though Tampa will be without its best player on defense, LB Devin White (COVID), the Washington offence is pretty bad. Also, even with WR Mike Evans hobbled, Tampa has enough depth at receiver to keep things humming along, at least enough to outpace Washington. Winner: Tampa
Glad to be back for this, the final week of this most irregular NFL season. I’ve missed a couple of weeks, due to illness (No, not COVID. I’ve been a VERY good boy.)
I think it’s fitting that the final week of the regular season is the first NFL football of 2021.
Let me explain.
The 2020 NFL season has been an absolute shitshow. The NHL, NBA, and to a lesser extent, MLB, managed to have successful shortened seasons by maintaining safety standards. The NFL set out to have a full slate of games, and they demonstrated week after week that nothing was going to stop that from happening. They postponed games, changed bye weeks, altered the schedule on the fly, forced players to play under unsafe circumstances. The league made a big show about having stringent safety standards, but their execution was uneven at best, and a mere façade at worst.
A team loses all their QBs due to COVID exposure; just have them start a practice squad WR with no NFL experience at the most important position in a dangerous sport.
A player receives a positive COVID test result on the field after pre-game warmups and after he’s gone around hugging a bunch of his former teammates; don’t cancel the game, just send the player home, try to scrub social media of any evidence, and pretend it never happened.
Week after week, ridiculous things happened, all in the name of playing a full schedule no matter the cost. On Christmas Day, the NFL achieved what I call “NFL COVID 2020 BINGO” by having a game on Friday, thus ensuring that the season would have at least one game played on every day of the week.
Some teams benefitted, while others suffered. It was nigh impossible to appreciate the games, knowing how morally bankrupt the whole operation was.
The whole year 2020 was like that. With social unrest, the rise of extreme right wing and fascist ideologies, the extremely divisive election campaign, the callous, mendacious, treasonous acts of the Republican Party at the federal and state levels, along with the ever-climbing death toll and financial ruin due to COVID, 2020 was a year unlike any other. Even when the election results were confirmed, and the nation (world) erupted in paroxysms of joy, the good feelings were short-lived, tainted by a political and social right wing that proved time and again that it could always find a lower level to which to sink.
So now, here we are, in 2021, 2020 left behind. In spite of everything that has happened, some in the Republican Party still seek to overturn the election. Mask mandates continue to be challenged and ignored. More and more people face financial hardship and ruin. COVID death rates continue to rise.
2020 might be over, but its stain remains.
So too, the mess of illegitimacy that is the NFL season continues. On this, the final week of the regular season, New Orleans, with a shot at the number one seed in the NFC, has had all its running backs declared ineligible due to COVID. Imagine New Orleans heading into the first round of the playoffs without Alvin Kamara.
The NFL isn’t going to suddenly grow a conscience. They’ve had their season, and they’re going to have their playoffs. And millions of people are going to watch and go along and say that everything is ok.
2020 may be over, but nothing is ok.
Here, briefly, is everything you need to know about Sunday’s games:
Week Seventeen Picks
Winners in Bold:
Atlanta at Tampa
Atlanta can’t make the playoffs, but I expect a solid effort from them as they try to finish another disastrous season on a high note against a division rival.
Dallas at NYG
Talent-wise, Dallas has a slight advantage, but I think that Big Blue’s defense will be the difference-maker here.
NYJ at NE
Nothing to play for here, but for Gangrene, a win against this shell of former Pats’ glory is still a win.
Minnesota at Detroit
Nothing but pride on the line here. Dalvin Cook is out, due to the tragic loss of his father.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
No Ben, plus Cleveland punches their playoff ticket with a win here. Just keep Myles Garrett from flipping out and punching Mason Rudolph's ticket.
Baltimore at Cincy
Lets all watch Baltimore beat up on Cincy; one more week for Baltimore fans to think their team has any chance in the playoffs. Personally, I would LOVE to see Cincy eliminate crybaby Harbaugh from the playoffs.
Miami at Buffalo
This could very well be the best game of the day. Miami will likely need to win to get into the playoffs, while Buffalo would very much like to keep the number two seed.
Seattle at San Fran
Even though San Fran is riddled with injuries, Seattle will play their starters with a shot at the number one seed at stake.
Arizona at LAAries
Another potentially good game, as both teams can secure themselves a postseason berth. No Jared Goff for LA, so their defense will have to shut down Kyler Murray and Co.
Jax at Indy
Indy has to win to have any shot at the playoffs. Jacksonville, having already secured the right to draft Trevor Lawrence, should give lousy coach Doug Marrone a blowout loss as his going-away present.
Tennessee at Houston
Houston has had a disastrous season, but beating Tennessee and costing them the division title (and potentially a playoff spot) would be one hell of a consolation prize.
LV at Denver
Nothing to see here.
LABolts at KC
Mahomes is taking the day off (along with numerous other starters) as KC has nothing to play for.
GB at Chicago
Chicago can still make the playoffs even if they lose, as long as they get some help, but a win guarantees their spot. If Green Bay wins, they clinch home field advantage for the NFC playoffs. I believe quite strongly that if Green Bay is the number one seed, they will be NFC Champs.
NO at Carolina
Due to Alvin Kamara’s COVID diagnosis, all of New Orleans’s running backs are out for this one due to close contact. New Orleans’s very good defense will have to be very-good enough to beat Carolina, because Kamara has carried the offense this season.
Washington at Philly
Washington wins the NFC East with a win. Philly has so many injuries, I’m surprised they can field a team. This putrid matchup between two losing teams to decide which seven-or-six-win team gets the privilege of a playoff berth, flexed into prime time, is the perfect capper to this disgustingly illegitimate NFL season. As such, it would only be fitting for Washington to lose, putting New York in the playoffs.