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Football Fantasy! High time to sack Drew Brees in week 10, the disappearing Falcons RBs, and a new NFL labor grudge

Jermaine Kearse pilots the air raid, Kirk Cousins needs to settle down, Cleveland to Detroit by boat and more pro football fables with less than half the season left

New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Note: If you came looking for fantasy football recommendations, I don’t have anything for you. This season, Football Fantasy! here at Field Gulls will offer a recurring daydream considering the weekly football schedule from a perspective of entertaining narratives and wished-for results across the non-Seattle Seahawks landscape. Here, we welcome storylines and silliness to topple other interests from week to week as we deliver the lowdown on the rest of the league from the land of make believe. For more detailed explanation of the picks, look here.

Coming at you later this week because the Seahawks already played Thursday, and more serious matters to discuss. This page never picks the Seattle game, so it doesn’t touch the outcomes here. All the rest of the games remain ahead of us.

But it also feels late because football is already so far gone in the year. It’s hard to believe really how quickly the football schedule turns from early to late. Compare to baseball, which only finished last week and picks up again like a month after the Super Bowl. The NBA season starts maybe a month after football—and crowns its champ around the time of next year’s OTAs, two months after the NFL draft. I’m pretty sure hockey, every bit as physically demanding as football and certainly the most winter sport of all these, is played year round.

I don’t want them to add more games or anything, rather just marveling how the time contracts, like the play speeding up on a quarterback, or worse—the ref. I mean the pro football season got started two months ago—September 10! But the Seahawks have already played nine games and had their bye week. Every other team at least played eight, even the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers who skipped week 1 for a hurricane. They’re calling this week 10—the season is more than half over. The year is rushing at us. Did we blink? What are our lines of sight? What’s even going on?

In a series meant to chart the distance between an idealized dream of the NFL and the real event, this look around the league as it edges over this hill of its season can be a striking glance at, as Lili Loofbourow put it this week, a "spiraling optimism caught mid-dwindle".

New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills

But fat slices of the season slipping by so soon into directions we never hoped or expected also gives life to new wishes or imperatives. Like needing the Saints to lose. I bet few Seahawks fans in 2017 have spent much of the year thinking about New Orleans at all, after the Atlanta Falcons showed up as the big bad of that division and the Carolina Panthers pacing Seattle at 6-3. But the Saints have now won six in a row, with a defense that’s allowed more than 17 points and 156 passing yards once since week 2.

So I’m going to need to see Tyrod Taylor sauce Marshon Lattimore as shyly as possible at the sideline while also taking advantage deep in the absence of interceptions leader Kenny Vaccaro. And Shaq Lawson and the Bills pass rush to flip the scrimmage strip on New Orleans—which has only allowed eight sacks so far on the year—so Drew Brees doesn’t get a chance to do the same.

My choice: Bills

Sharp pick: New Orleans (-3)

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Six weeks ago Aaron Rodgers faced off against Mike Glennon and the Packers won 35-14. Now it’s going to be Brett Hundley and Mitch Trubisky and you wouldn’t think the quarterbacks could mean that much except that Rodgers threw a touchdown every six and a half passes the first game, while Glennon tossed one score in 33 tries, and also two interceptions and fumbled twice.

My choice: Bears

Sharp pick: Chicago (-5.5)

Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions

Cleveland has the worst pass offense in the NFL and Detroit is the worst running team. With such bad air and ground games, it’s a good thing these cities are only 80 miles apart by boat.

My choice: Browns

Sharp pick: Cleveland (+11)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts

Martellus Bennett wasn’t the only injury release made this week over a grievance between player and club. Indianapolis also cut Vontae Davis who opted for groin surgery the team said he didn’t need. I wonder if the rules around these sorts of disputes will come up again at the bargaining table between the NFL and the players association.

My choice: Colts

Sharp pick: Pittsburgh (-10)

Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars

This should actually be a fun defensive matchup with a lot of rushing, and I’ll be curious to see how the Chargers’ rather secure offensive front (1.5 sacks per game) stands up to Jacksonville’s ferocious rush. We’ve been over how fun the Jaguars’ throwback pass defense makes them, but it’s also important to encourage long-overdue revolution in the AFC. Anybody who might get in the way of another Steelers or Patriots appearance in the conference final is a friend of Football Fantasy! for the rest 2017.

My choice: Jaguars

Sharp pick: Jacksonville (-4.5)

New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With both Washington and Washington State now eliminated securely from the college football playoff, Cougars and Huskies fans can embrace in the common force of the Jets, with former UW wideout and licensed Football Fantasy! mascot Jermaine Kearse powering an offense featuring Mike Leach-inspired air raid designs.

Honestly why did it take so long for New York to involve concepts that fly so aerodynamically with its #brand?

My choice: Jets

Sharp pick: New York (-2.5)

Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans

If the AFC is not careful it could fuck up and get both these teams as Wild Cards.

My choice: Bengals

Sharp pick: Cincinnati (+4.5)

Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins

In the Field Gulls lockerroom this week we debated whether it would do more damage for the Redskins to keep winning now that they hold a tiebreaker over the Seahawks, or to see Minnesota remain ahead of the chance for a bye week in hopes Seattle still gets a division title.

I personally am confident enough in both NFC West supremacy and climbing back into the homefield advantage race that I’m comfortable staying true to myself and cheering against Kirk Cousins no matter what.

My choice: Vikings

Sharp pick: Minnesota (-1.5)

Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams

Only Buffalo has fewer players on injured reserve than the Rams, while Houston downgraded quarterbacks so savagely it went from an unstoppable whirlwind to a guy who screwed up seven plays inside the Colts’ 23-yard line last week with a whole 1:15 to try to win the game. What we hope for here is called a supernatural interposition.

My choice: Texans

Sharp pick: Houston (+12)

Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons

Speaking of unlikely intercession, Zekie Elliott’s stays of suspension have run out, meaning barring another last minute court order the second year Cowboys sensation will begin his six-week suspension in Atlanta. Somebody tell Steve Sarkisian the Falcons running backs have not been suspended for the past six weeks.

My choice: Falcons

Sharp pick: Dallas (+3)

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

One proof of relativity of human perception and empathy is to tell a New York or 49ers fan about the season going by too fast and watch them laugh and laugh. These organizations are already playing in the future while their seasons it appears haven’t ended soon enough.

I understand if you’d rather look away but if you study closely you can see the trick to this existential paradox is how the ball moves backward.

My choice: Giants

Sharp pick: San Francisco (+2.5)

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

In a weird twist, I bet both Denver and New England fans would prefer to see the Patriots just start with the ball every possession because, well because you know Boston fans only care to cup their hands to Tom Brady operating from the shotgun but alternatively Brady will get sacked a ton of times, which is better for everyone than watching Brock Osweiler.

My choice: Broncos

Sharp pick: New England (-7.5)

Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers

Have these teams ever even played before?

I know they must every four years as the NFC South meets the AFC East according to NFL scheduling habits but while I definitely know of some Panthers-Patriots encounters I can't remember a single occasion when these two highly distinct uniforms paired off. Eerie.

My choice: Dolphins

Sharp pick: Miami (+9)

On the year:

My choices (straight up): 48-76 (4-8 last week)

Sharp picks (against the spread): 56-57-3 (6-5-1 last week)