Zombie Apocalypse! The Undead Will Infect the NFL
by Justin Henry
Cold Hard Football Facts' Dr. Death (@jrhwriting)
Industry is found in the animate deceased
Zombies quaint for marketing release
Much green to be had amongst dripping red
No such enjoyment on gridiron grass
Where resurrected ghouls stagger en masse
Stalk the living as football's Walking Dead
Yeah, zombies, what about 'em? I've created a few in my day, although not by choice. It just happens, you know?
I'm just your garden-variety coroner, alright? What happens to the cadavers after I've examined the
remains is out of my rubber-wrapped mitts. More specifically, what the cadavers themselves do after I'm done is of their own accord.
I've heard the stories, but how am I to feel? So an NFL team that I've probed and embalmed came back to life, and feasted on some unsuspecting reprobate. How am I liable? There's nothing in my years of training and work that teaches me how to detect when a corpse will exhume itself, and walk the earth as brain-chomping undead, alright?
Much like aneurysms, unskippable ads on YouTube, and the Duggar family's reproductive organs, you can't prevent or stop the genesis from 'dead' to 'dead, but capable of biting you.'
All you can do is be careful, stock up on ammunition, and use your weapons wisely.
This is the advice I have for any NFL team that wants to make it into the New Year with their pulse in tact. Just because a team dies doesn't mean they can't still harm you, perhaps irreversibly so.
Case in point: over the course of the next few weeks, I will begin my annual spree of twenty autopsies for the NFL teams who miss the postseason. I already see three teams whose brush with death is looming with an ecliptic shadow. Their demise is inevitable, and I'm beginning my examination from afar. Saves time when the actual carving-and-prodding begins; I'll already know where to look in terms of defects.
Those three teams all have either one win, or zero wins. As such, they have a pecan pie-in-Vince Wilfork's refrigerator's chance of making the postseason. Their death is as certain as a Peter King "my first class seat had some cookie crumbs on it" woe-is-my-entitled-ass anecdote.
Just because those three teams are snuffed by the field, and stuffed by me, doesn't mean they won't pose a threat in the waning weeks.
Listed are the three teams joining the brigade of the 'Walking Dead' before anyone else. Among their names, I also list their strongest qualities, as well as the teams on their schedules most likely to be endangered by these departed dolts.
Let's gander at these lifeless louts, shall we?
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (1-6)
Watch Out For: their running game, which boasts 4.61 YPA. Adrian Peterson alone boasts 4.46 yards a carry, and maligned quarterback Christian Ponder is capable of a decent run when flushed out.
Additionally, the Vikings have the league's sixth best Scoreability rating of 13.14. That means Minnesota scores a touchdown every 91.98 yards gained. Boosting that average are two kick return touchdowns by rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, as well as a Brian Robison fumble-six. Even without those return scores, the Vikes' offensive Scoreability is 15.08, good enough to be a mid-level team.
Potential Victims: Washington, Dallas, and Detroit. All three are fairly poor against the run, giving up 4.39, 4.42, and 4.74 YPA respectively. The Redskins get worse marks for their rusty-gated defense, which gives up 32.7 PPG, and owns a Bendability rating of 12.14 (a touchdown merely every 84.98 yards given up).
While the Redskins will likely expire long before winter solstace, the Cowboys and Lions will be fighting for late playoff spots. Detroit will clash with the Vikings on the season's final day, and that elusive playoff berth could come down to "we have to stop their run and, crap, it's Adrian Peterson"?
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (0-7)
Watch Out For: their punishing run defense, which allows just 3.68 yards a carry. Tampa Bay was able to contain the likes of the Jets, Saints, Cardinals, and Falcons on the ground in relatively close games. Their own bonehead mistakes, and poor pass coverage, were another story in deciding the outcomes. For the most part, the Buccaneers form a nice ground blockade. Such defiance was their calling card last season.
Another area to consider is Mike Glennon's comparative efficiency. While the oblonged rookie is far from a pigskin Picasso, Glennon's only been sacked ten times in four games, throwing just three interceptions. His safe and smart play has improved Tampa's Negative Pass Play percentage on offense, which sits at 7.88%. Said average is tenth best in the league.
Potential Victims: Miami, Buffalo, and St. Louis. All three teams would need to go on a swift run to be playoff contenders, but Tampa creates a curious roadblock. The Dolphins and Bills struggle in the passing game, while the Rams have to make do with backup Kellen Clemens. If the Bucs shut down the run, the pressure goes to the QBs, and one dimensional offenses have uphill battles.
The Rams will especially have problems if Glennon continues to avoid costly plays. St. Louis' 104.48 Defensive Passer Rating is among the league's worst. Pick up their pressure, and Glennon will be able to make the plays he needs.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (0-8)
Watch Out For: well, nothing really. I hate to say it, but there's so little that's impressive about the team as a whole (believe me, they *are* a hole). Their 1761 passing yards are more than what 12 other teams have, but a lot of that comes in garbage time, when they're down a ton to nil.
Something nice you can say about the Jaguars: they've only lost three fumbles this season. That's not nothing, right?
Potential Victims: Houston. Not that Houston's going to get off their own current skid in time for a playoff run, but what better way for the sniveling Schaub-deriders to be deflated further than a loss (or two) to the league's worst?
When the Texans are involved, stats hardly matter. I mean, no one thought a pick-six in five consecutive weeks was possible, but Houston went and did it, didn't they? A loss to the Jags is certainly hard to rule out.
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