This has been the craziest, the least predictable and arguably the worst NFL season in recent memory. Let’s start with the St. Louis Rams. They stink, right? I mean, they must. They opened their season with a loss to the pitiable Vikings and have won just four games since. However, in the past five weeks, they’ve knocked off the 49ers, Broncos and defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks, all of whom are supposed to be good. The Falcons were supposed to be good as well, but like the Rams, they have just four wins. Incredibly, that’s good enough for first place in the wretched NFC South. It’s possible that a record of 6 – 10 could win that division.
Meanwhile, the surprising Arizona Cardinals have a three game lead in their division, a two game lead on the rest of their conference, and are 9 – 1 for the first time since the Hudson Super was still one of the most popular automobiles in America (1948). The Browns have a legitimate chance to win their division. And if the playoffs started today, the Dolphins would make it in as a wildcard.
About the only thing we can still hang our hat on is knowing that the Raiders still suck. They haven’t recorded a win in a calendar year. Of course, if they were in the NFC South, they’d still be in the running for a division championship. Instead, they’ve already been eliminated from playoff contention. It’s the earliest that’s happened to any team in a decade.
I really thought I could go at least one week without saying anything about the Bears or Jets. After all, the Jets were on bye and riding a big one-game win streak, and I was pretty sure the Bears would beat my beloved Vikings, which they did, and I didn’t want to draw attention to that. Then, Jets coach Rex Ryan was fined $100,000 for profanity for some things he said prior to last week’s post game handshake. Did I mention that the Jets won that game? You’d think he would have been in a better mood.
Outspoken Bears receiver Brandon Marshall let his emotions get the better of him as well when a conversation with a Lions fan on Twitter ended when Marshall challenged him to a boxing match. Seriously? Dude, it’s probably the same fan who got in trouble for using a laser pointer at a Lions home game. You think he’s going to fight fair in a boxing ring?
Players are often criticized for saying or doing something before they take time to consider the implications. But the alternative doesn’t seem much better. Seattle runningback Marshawn Lynch is facing a possible $100,000 fine for refusing to speak to the media following the Seahawk’s’ Week 11 loss to the Chiefs.
I’ll end with this. The New York Giants are pathetic. In Week 10, they were blown out by the Seahawks and gave up 350 yards on the ground. I’d like to think that’s a franchise worst but I wouldn’t bet on it. Big Blue followed that up with a loss to the 49ers during which quarterback Eli Manning threw five interceptions. That’s definitely not a franchise worst. If memory serves, Manning has done that twice before. He still has twice as many Super Bowl rings as his big brother. Such is life in the NFL.
This week’s game day recipe is one even the Oakland Raiders couldn’t screw up. Warm up that crock pot once again because we’re making Slow Cooker Chicken Cheese Steak Sandwiches.
4 boneless chicken breast halves
6 hearty sub rolls
16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
3 cloves minced garlic
1 packet Italian salad dressing mix
1 medium white or yellow onion
2 bell pepper
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
Start by seasoning your chicken. You can use a favorite rub or just some salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place chicken in a slow cooker. Add the minced garlic. and Italian dressing. Slice up your onion and peppers and toss those in along with the mushrooms. Pour chicken broth on top of all of it. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours (or on high for about two and a half hours) . Use two forks to shred the chicken. Spoon onto sub rolls and top with shredded cheese. As a finishing touch, you might want to throw your sandwiches under the broiler for a minute or two. Like last week’s Chicken Wing Dip recipe, this is best served with cold beer! If your team is losing, if, for example, you are a Raiders fan, just add more beer.
If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book reviews blog. You can also visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook, and on Twitter @Micsova. Please pick up a copy of A SHOT AT REDEMPTION, my debut mystery novel.