At this point in the season it’s critical that you have a sub game. By this I mean a reason to keep watching football outside of your own favored team. For the happy few that get to be excited for the playoffs, I’m glad for you — I really am. Me, I’ve been a Panthers fan since I was 10, I’ve learned how critically important it is to find another distraction in the NFL.
For a lot of people it’s betting on games or fantasy football. More power to y’all, because I’m not here to yuck anyone’s yum. Instead I’m going to share my sub game for 2021: The NFC East.
I love the NFC East the same way I enjoy bad movies. Like, really bad movies. I’ll spare you the plot of 1989’s Laser Mission, but the TLDR is that Ernest Borgnine is a German laser expert kidnapped by the Russians and taken to a nondescript Soviet-controlled island. Only Brandon Lee can get him out. The NFC East is my Laser Mission.
See, I remember the proud tradition of this division not just from past history, but recent accomplishment. Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Donovan McNabb tearing it up, while Washington did whatever they seemed to do for most of the 2000s, which was basically just exist. The zenith of football’s best division came completely crashing down in 2020 when the hapless Washington Football Team made the playoffs with a 7-9 record by default.
By circumstance the NFC East became a joke. Now, hell, we might get three teams from the division into the NFC playoffs. This is my life. This is my subgame. I need this to happen.
The only appropriate way for the 2021 season to end is the NFC East getting 3 teams into the playoffs.— James Dator (@James_Dator) December 6, 2021
We’re close. So painfully close. On Sunday the Eagles and Washington both won, with the 49ers and Vikings losing. As it stands Washington is in, Philly is on the bubble — and we really could see this happen, depending on how the rest of the season plays out.
The NFC is really a case of the haves, and the have nots. You have extremely elite teams like Arizona, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Dallas and Los Angeles — all of whom could lay reasonable claim to a Lombardi Trophy, then a cliff. The NFC East is clinging to that ledge will all their might.
I don’t care if you’re a fan of another bubble team. If you’re a Niners or Vikings fan do you really care about being sacrificed at the Wild Card altar? Or, like me, do you see the unmistakable joy of Gardner Minshew and Taylor Heinicke as playoff quarterbacks? I know which I pick, and the NFC East is my winner of the week.
Fly, my sweet princes. Dare to tempt the sun like Icarus.
Winners: Gardner Minshew and his dad
Let’s stay in the NFC East for a sec and talk about this.
You want to see how much this win and this moment meant to Gardner Minshew?— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 5, 2021
This is @GardnerMinshew5 after the game with an emotional moment with his dad, who tries to make it to every one of his games
Human emotion is delightful, but lemme tell you why I really love this video. If you were to show this to someone who knew nothing about football, what would they think? Seriously, it could be anything, including:
- Unseen test footage from Silver Linings Playbook
- Scenes from a “Dads who went out for smokes and never came back” convention
- Two bros meeting each other before heading to get sloppy steaks
- Man wins $50 on scratch lottery ticket
- Celebration of criminals from the world’s least ambitious Ocean’s Eleven style heist, which was just a smash and grab at a liquor store
Knowing that this is Minshew and his pops just makes it awesome, but this video is art in its own right.
Loser: Kyle Shanahan
Nobody who is a 41-year-old millionaire should look this broken.
This man is completely, and fully, defeated pic.twitter.com/LwlpBDZfOl— Èvan Sowards (@Burner_Sowards) December 6, 2021
This is the look of a man who invested 1,000 Bitcoin in Beanie Babies back in 2011 and woke up from a coma in 2021 to realize the folly of his mistakes.
It’s kinda on you, Kyle. This is why you don’t trust Jimmy Garoppolo. You have a perfectly good Trey Lance right there, but you keep dating the sexy guy who you know is bad for you in the long run. What’s up with that?
Winner: The glorious, victorious, 1-10-1 Detroit Lions
It’s not just that the Lions got a win, though that’s delightful. It’s that they got a largely meaningless win, that basically crippled the playoff chances of the division rival in Minnesota, and got to celebrate like they won the damn Super Bowl.
As called on Detroit Lions radio: pic.twitter.com/sRqYdyXxnm— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) December 5, 2021
Here’s the deal though: The Lions have really been a hell of a lot better than their record shows this season. Call me a stupid idiot fool (I deserve it) but I think there’s something big to build off here in 2022. With a top pick in the draft and a team that’s been buying in all season long, I really do think we could be on the verge of a Detroit run that will result in ... mediocrity.
Okay, I’m a realist, sue me. I think Lions fans would take mediocrity for a few years. You’ve gotta walk before you run.
Loser: Mike Zimmer
Wait ... does Mike Zimmer still have a job? Why does Mike Zimmer still have a job?
Winner: The Arizona cardinal for finding the mirrored, silver phallus of its dreams
December 5, 2021
I know this is Chicago’s bean. It looks like a penis. The Cardinals knew it looked like a penis when they posted this. We’re all talking about it because the angle looks like a penis.
Congrats on the penis, red bird.
Loser: Baltimore Ravens
I have a wild idea. I know it’s going to shake things up and cause some controversy, so apologies in advance.
Maybe try to give Lamar Jackson a little more help so he’s not your quarterback and leading rusher every single game? It’s unorthodox, I know, but y’all are supposed to be a top team in the AFC, Ravens. You cannot expect to hold that spot when your entire offense is based around one player needing to do everything himself.
In a common refrain for Baltimore, the Ravens gained 326 yards of offense on Sunday, and 308 of those came from Lamar Jackson. It’s starting to feel like a college group assignment where one person does all the work, then everyone else takes credit.