The NFL: A look back at Week One, and forward to Week Two

This is your Fearless Football Forecaster here, reporting in on my perfect prognostication of games in week one of the NFL season.

I was a flawless 16-and-0, predicting the winner of every single contest played in the opening weekend of pro football. My secret? It’s a careful analysis of offensive strengths pitted against defensive weaknesses, with an “X Factor” in which I multiply the quarterback rating of each starter times the number of suspected felons on the special teams and divide that by the number of traumatic brain injuries suffered during the preseason.

Then I take that number, I write it on a piece of paper and I flush it down the toilet. Because all I really need to consider is the nickname of each team, and how that character would perform against its opponent in a real-world fight. So the sharks always beat the tuna, the leopards always defeat the wildebeests, and any dogs beat any cats, any cats beat any birds, and any birds beat any worms or insects (which explains why there’s no such thing as the San Antonio Silverfish or the Minneapolis Mealworms, except maybe in the Arena Football League).

It’s a simple system but you have to know how to use it. And, boy, did I use it this week!

New Orleans 14, Minnesota 9
Both saints and vikings are long dead, so you’d think this was a close call. While the final score was indeed tight, you have to consider that, on average, Nordic seafarers of the tenth century have been dead longer than most saints, and that increased decomposition time is sure to play havoc on endurance, especially in the fourth quarter. And if they were both alive, the Saints have good on their side, while the Vikings had mostly herring going for them.

Miami 15, Buffalo 10
Dolphins are generally known for their friendly nature, their comical laugh, and their unstoppable desire to rub their fishy privates against you during a Dolphin Encounter. But they can turn violent, especially when confronted by a squad made up of Bills: Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Billy Bob Thornton and the Rev. Billy Graham. The 91-year-old Graham, who opens the season at quarterback for the Bills, at least provided inspiration to Brett Favre that he’s got another good 50 years in him. But the wheelchair-bound evangelist’s 12-for-26 passing performance with two picks and only one TD make you wonder how long he has left.

New York 31, Carolina 18
The panther is one of the animal kingdom’s most dangerous predators and, were the team from Charlotte made up of giant panthers, they would’ve easily overcome the giant men. However, the New Yorkers used their superior size to literally step all over the cats, opening their new state-of-the-art stadium with a resounding victory.

Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 20
Meat-packing businesses usually offer butchering services as well, which does not bode well for a raptor that, while admittedly fierce and majestic, still provides little match for an abattoir full of burly Wisconsinites. The Eagles did manage to peck the eyes of a few of the Packers, but it wasn’t enough to overcome carnage on an assembly-line scale.

Washington 13, Dallas 7
On paper, you see a matchup between cowboys and Indians, and you’re thinking it’s a no-brainer to pick Dallas. The Redskins, however, are red not only because of their native American heritage, but they’re also boiling mad about preseason controversies which kept them out in the sun too long. And remember that cowboys, despite their portrayal in popular media, spent most of their time herding cattle and strumming guitars around a campfire, not battling indigenous peoples with six-shooters.

Now, a look forward at next week’s schedule.

Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee
Steelers are merely factory workers employed in an industry that’s shipping most of its jobs overseas. I’m not sure what Titans are, though — unless I miskeyed their name into Google — they appear to be an outfit of sixteenth-century Italian painters. I’m thinking the Titians’ loose brushwork and subtlety of polychromatic modulations without precedent in the history of Western art will be too much for a group of working class stiffs from the Rust Belt.

Kansas City vs. Cleveland
This inter-ethnic match-up could be the week’s most entertaining game. The Chiefs were Plains warriors who held white intruders at bay for nearly a century before succumbing to disease and forced relocation. The Browns are a melting pot of Hispanics, South Asians and Pacific Islanders who don’t have a strong tradition in football, but whose expertise in landscaping, business process outsourcing and tossing coconuts back and forth will likely give them the edge.

Seattle vs. Denver
Only in the NFL might you see a fight between a seahawk and a horse. Normally, these two creatures leave each other alone, considering one flies high above the ocean while the other is largely confined to rodeo stadiums. I predict a low-scoring affair, as it’s entirely possible they might just stare at each other for the entire contest. In the end, though, I think the bronco will be able to kick just high enough to knock the hawk out of the air, bringing new Seattle coach Pete Carrell his first loss of the season.

St. Louis vs. Oakland
Were this contest to take place in St. Louis, I’d give the rams the edge, even though their massive horns would do little damage to men who have peglegs. Since the game will take place in the Raiders’ arena, I anticipate an entire flock of sheep walking the plank.

Arizona vs. Atlanta
Both the cardinal and the falcon are birds, so this could be a close one. When they’re not hopping around among your azaleas, it’s important to remember that cardinals also serve in a prominent position within the Catholic Church, where their power is second only to that of the pope. I pick the Cardinals over the Falcons in this week’s Upset Special.

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