The Armchair Quarterback’s Guide To The NFL: Week 3

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Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) scores the game-winning touchdown past Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook (20) during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. The Bears won 31-30. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Armchair Quarterback Take Of The Week

NFL Fans Should Enjoy Every Win Their Team Gets

The Scene: Soldier Field, Chicago

The Bears are down 24-30 to the visiting Minnesota Vikings. With time winding down and facing a 3rd -and-10 from the 16 yard line, Jay Cutler drops back and floats a perfectly placed ball to tight end Martellus Bennett who brings it in just inside the pile on for a game-winning touchdown. The crowd goes absolutely crazy.

I know, I was there.

If you’ve read the first two Armchair Quarterback columns then you know that I’m actually a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan, so I didn’t have a routing interest in either team in this game. I found myself pulling for the Bears, because the energy and passion of the fan base there was infectious and reminded me a lot of my own beloved Arrowhead Stadium. It was actually my first ever NFL game that didn’t involve the Chiefs, so it was the first time I ever left a stadium neither riding the high of a victory or feeling the agony of defeat. I was able to really step back and observe the fan reaction, and what a reaction it was.

Bears fans were hooting and hollering through the halls of Soldier Field, slapping each other on the back with big smiles on their faces. Some were even singing the Chicago Bears fight song (if that is what they call it?) “BEAR DOWN….CHICAGO BEARS” (It’s actually pretty catchy). As long as you weren’t a Vikings fan, it was a joy to watch.

“I love that feeling!” I thought to myself, remembering a Monday Night Football victory against San Diego from 2010 when Chiefs fans filled the concourses with the Tomahawk Chop chant all the way out to the parking lot.

As a sports fan, there is no better feeling in the world.

However, too often, the feeling is fleeting.

In addition to having my spirits boosted by the throngs of Bears fans basking in their latest victory, I was also enjoying the fact that my own team had just moved to 2-0 on the season with a one point victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Confession time: I actually watched the game-winning Martellus Bennett TD catch through a concourse window because I left my seat to go find a TV with the Chiefs game on since it was so close. I’m not sure if I deserve credit for being such a dedicated fan or grief for abandoning my seat for such a great game. Judge me as you will.

Back to my original point…

When I returned to my hotel in Chicago and began making the rounds on the Internet to see the reaction to the Chiefs win, I was stunned to find there were actual Kansas City fans out there that were still not happy. Now, this is a vocal minority, but I was still shocked.

“We got lucky, once teams realize that Alex Smith can’t throw the ball more than 15 yards they’ll pack it in to clog the run game and short pass game and we’ll be done for.”

“Our best cornerback (Brandon Flowers) got owned by Dez Bryant all day long and if Dez doesn’t drop that last deep ball we would have lost.”

I’m sure every fan base has these fans. I’m sure among the happy mob of Bears fans there were those grumbling about the turnovers and kick return for a touchdown that they allowed. I’m sure there were Ravens fans upset about their close call against the Browns. I’m sure there were Texans fans that were upset that they had to pose a dramatic late win for the second week in a row.

I’m not saying that NFL fans should be ignorant to their team’s flaws. I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place to discuss and vent about the perceived shortcomings. What I’m saying is that even for a good, playoff caliber team, there are only 10-12 times in a calendar year where you get to celebrate a win.

Think about that…

We spend countless hours watching, reading, listening and blogging about these teams that we love seven days a week and 12 months a year. With all those countless hours invested in these teams, we only get a handful of times where we get to really celebrate them. Only one team will win the Super Bowl. That means only one fan base gets that ultimate satisfaction that we are all craving. So unless we want this football addiction that we’re all inflicted with to bring us nothing but misery, we have to be able to enjoy what victories that we get.

After all, what good is a pastime if it brings us ten times the misery it does happiness?

I get that sometimes it’s warranted. Trust me, I understand. My team went 2-14 last season, had a coach that tried to fix things by hanging a sign in the locker room that said “Eliminate Bad Football” and when that didn’t work he changed the sign to “Play Good Football.” — seriously, that really happened. There was a fan revolt where they wore all black to games and flew banners over the stadium, one of the players committed a murder/suicide and they got the first overall pick in a draft that didn’t have anyone worthy of the first overall pick.

I know all too well just how bad things can be.

That’s why I’m enjoying my team’s 2-0 start even though I recognize that they have flaws. I understand that the Chiefs won’t likely make a Super Bowl run, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the wins that they do get.

So whether your team is 0-2, 1-1 or 2-0, if they win this coming week, enjoy it. There are only a few times per year where you get to high five your buddies after a game. Only a few times to sing “BEAR DOWN….CHICAGO BEARS” or do the Tomahawk Chop out to the parking lot. Enjoy it, it’s the best feeling there is in following a team.

At the very least, if you can’t enjoy it, stop bringing the rest of us down. There will be time to discuss the problems the team has as we start to look ahead to next week.

Speaking of which, now on to this week’s game predictions…

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Tags: Arizona Cardinals Armchair Quarterback Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Kansas City Chiefs Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New Orleans Saints New York Giants New York Jets Oakland Raiders Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans Washington Redskins

  • gib

    What were you doing in Chicago ?

    • Lyle Graversen

      I was actually there as part of a Verizon sports blogger program. They hooked me up with free tickets to the game.

  • Houston Rockets Harrison

    Red Birds win in NO. Honey Badger retursn to Louisiana he might do something great.

  • Dr Muon Funk

    Of course you’d pick the chiefs to win. I hope Philly smokes KC. Philly O is better than Dallas and Jacksonville. Holding them to 17 points will be chore.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Hey, at least I’m open about my Chiefs fan status. They are the one team I can’t be very objective about. I’ve embraced it. I picked them to win vs Dallas and had someone make a similar comment about picking them. That worked out well for me so I’m rolling with them again.

  • Rod

    on your comment about the cardinals and the saints…I agree with your score, but your assessment of their defenses is not evidence based…Arizona is 16th in total defense and Nola is 11th in total defense…Arizona 3rd against the run, but 21st vs. the pass. Nola is 27th vs. the run but 8th vs. the pass…given Nola’s ability to put points up I say their lack of performance vs. the run will be irrelevant vs. a poor run offense…this game matches up well for the saints, but I will be certain to throw caution to the Larry Fitzgerald effect impacting their ability to put up points unanswered (as you indicated earlier)…and I hope drew doesn’t sleep on the honey badger…

    • Lyle Graversen

      I wasn’t trying to say that their defenses were terrible, just that neither of those teams rely on their defense to be the strength of their team. Will their defenses be factors? Of course, but I stand by my assessment that these teams both live and die by their passing attack and I like Brees to out perform Palmer here.

  • Lem

    On the Chiefs / Birds game, can KC’s offense control the tempo of the game like Rivers did by changing the play calls at the line, not so much with Alex. The Eagles OF will make some plays, just weather the storm! Constant pressure on Vick will provide a win because the Eagles D sucks. Chiefs will be able to establish the running game and win the short passing match-ups because of play action. Chiefs defense is better than SD’s, offense not yet, the Andy factor will bring home a WIN.

  • Alter Ego

    Hmmm…I don’t believe the Titans can win against the Chargers. I believe the Chargers win by no less than 10 points. The Titans got a boost in watching the Chargers play the Texans…if not for some critical mistakes the Chargers win that game. The Titans don’t have the defense or the offense to pull this out.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Look, you could be right. This was one of the games that I struggled with this week. That having been said, you say the Titans don’t have the defense to pull this out?

      Titans: 19.5 PPG allowed, 323 YPG allowed, 4.9 YPP allowed
      Chargers: 30.5 PPG allowed, 480 YPG allowed, 7.2 YPP allowed

      • Alter Ego

        The stats are relative to who they are playing. That whole defensive stat line will look much different after the Bolts top four offense meets the Titans.
        Sometimes you have to do the eyeball test.
        Case in point – Chris Schroeder’s comments on how the Raiders D is going to keep the Broncs Raiders game close is just a fan wishing. The Raiders lose huge in that game – there is no chance barring 50% of Denver’s team going down with injury in the first quarter that they remain even competitive. The Raiders are horrible. They barely beat Jacksonville and they lost to the Colts – Manning hangs more than 41 points on them.

        • Lyle Graversen

          You are 100% right about the stats be relative to who they are playing. I just have doubts about SD’s defense. That having been said, I basically think this is a pick ‘em game. So I won’t be surprised at all if SD wins.

  • Jesse R

    Thank you for not basing your Cowboys Rams prediction on what DeMarco Murray did to Steve Spagnolo’s defense 2 years ago. Rams are little different up front now then they were on that Sunday 2 years ago.

  • Chris Schroeder

    Okay well I will say this about your article. I know you’re a big Kansas City Chiefs fan so for that reason I hate to tell you this. You guys will not beat the eagles this Thursday. I can guarantee you that buddy.

    Also if you think Peyton Manning is going to put up 41 points against the sixth best defense in the NFL you are smoking crack. So far peyton Manning has faced two very subpar defenses in teams that were “defense depleted” and has very inflated numbers because of it. That won’t even be close to the case on Sunday. If the Broncos do end up winning, it will be of a margin no more than 10 points, another thing I will guarantee you. A realistic prediction is 24-17 broncos but with the possibility of a upset because they are the leagues leading rushing team. In other words, the Raiders are more versatile than anybody Manning will play this year and can show him more things to confuse him. Manning is a guy who needs his games scripted and in this case he won’t have a clue what’s going on.

    Other than that all your predictions are pretty close.

    • Alter Ego

      Fat chance the Raiders come within 20 points of the Broncos…Chris – go to your AAA meeting – and don’t be late – your’e embarrassing yourself – sober up.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Let me ask you this Chris, if Manning does get Denver up a few scores in the second half, do you have faith in Pryor’s ability to throw the ball when everyone knows he has to throw? I don’t. That’s why I think this game will get away from Oakland down the stretch. Denver’s offensive passing attack is as good as any in the NFL in several years. For what it’s worth, as big of a Chiefs Homer as I am, I still won’t pick them to beat Denver with a healthy Peyton Manning.

      • Chris Schroeder

        Lyle, to say that pryor does not have a good ability to throw is inaccurate. Remember he is only two games into the regular season and this will be his third career start. The Raiders did not have a standout wide receiver in training camp so he does not have a number one target yet. Against the Colts I saw him thread needles in some of his passes so he can throw spot on when he wants. Denarious Moore has also had trouble dropping passes. If he uses Rod Streeter, Michael Rivera, and Nick Kasa on short yardage situation i think he will be fine. Despite what the clown thinks, the Raiders will not get blown out by the Broncos on Sunday and it will be a closer game then a lot of people are anticipating. The Raiders are proving themselves this season and will compete in every game. I won’t even respond to the clowns AAA comment. He probably meant AA, unless he was talking about insurance. Sounds like a bronco fan so I would expect nothing less considering the high altitude.

  • Matthew Marcella

    I honestly think Miami could pull this one off

  • Santee Jack

    We’ve used flour tortillas for pizza