The Mud Bay Slackers are one game behind the leaders in the Mud Bay Pro Football Pick’Em league, with a record of 142 correct picks and 66 incorrect picks.

It’s been a close race all season. The Slackers led from weeks one to ten or so, at one point boasting a three-game lead. Then too much European travel made its presence felt on my knowledge of what was going on stateside, sports-wise. I’ve bounced back from one particularly nassty 7-7 week, but this week’s games, I’m just not sure about (Green Bay at Baltimore? Atlanta at Chicago? and others). My fingers are crossed, my picks are made, but I fear these will be the weekend that does me in…

The NFC North still seems the whipping boy of the leagues. The Bears outing against the Steelers may have been an aberration (as Bears fans will tell you), but they’ve still only scored three touchdowns in four or five games. And nothing against the Vikings (well, nothing that a Packers fan wouldn’t have, anyway), but their winning streak seems to have come against some very soft teams. It’s been nice that the Packers haven’t given up, and have played most of their games close, but ten losses are ten losses. And the Lions are just sad, at the moment.

I’m more interested in seeing how far the Bengals can go. As a Steelers fan, of course, Sunday’s game was great to watch. I wonder if the team is back on track, or if the Bears just made things easy for the Black and Gold. This Sunday the Steelers take on the Vikings. We’ll see which team (if any) is for real as the season winds down.

I’m personally hoping that the Colts go 16-0, just so the networks will finally stop showing live shots of the remaining ’72 Dolphins celebrating anytime an undefeated team finally goes down. Also, much like the Patriots, it’s hard to hate the Colts. I mean, once you get past the “dammit, they beat the (insert favorite team here) again” factor.

My favorite non-Pittsburgh/Green Bay team of the last few years was the Rams, circa “The Greatest Show on Turf.” That offence was just amazing to watch (unless, of course, you were a fan of smash-mouth defences or the Tenessee Titans).

Excellence in just about any field is wonderful to behold, though. When the ’85 Bears were on their tear, I thought it was a thing of beauty.

I’ll miss American Football when the season is over in a few weeks. I spent almost half of it this year abroad, unable to watch any games.

So I welcome the return of Saturday games (a late-season tradition in American Football’s Sunday-centric schedule) with open arms.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in front of the TV, with Tivo fired up and ready.

Go (insert favorite team here)!

****

The Fantasy Football League version of the Slackers missed the playoffs by one measly point, ending the season with seven wins and six losses.

They took the first consolation game handily, but the oh-and-four start is what really whacked us. Well, that and damnable Chad Pennington, when I should have played Roethlesburger.

The lineup for the season’s last game was:

SLOT PLAYER, TEAM POS
QB – Kurt Warner, Ari QB
RB – Warrick Dunn, Atl RB
RB/WR – Jerry Porter, Oak WR
WR – Marvin Harrison, Ind WR
WR – Santana Moss, Was WR
TE – Heath Miller, Pit TE
D/ST – Panthers D/ST, Car D/ST
K – Jay Feely, NYG K

Bench – Ben Roethlisberger, Pit QB
Bench – Steelers D/ST, Pit D/ST
Bench – Ashley Lelie, Den WR
Bench – Eli Manning, NYG QB
Bench – Chris Perry, Cin RB
Bench – Matt Jones, Jac WR
Bench – Dallas Clark, Ind TE
Bench – Greg Jones, Jac RB

Let us speak no more of this season in fantasy Football…

And remind me to NEVER bench Roethlisberger again!

John

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