Eric Walden's NFL Four Downs: Lacking optimism? Just forget everything
Denver at Houston, 11 a.m., Ch. 2 • So the Broncos are keeping Wes Welker on the shelf the next two games to make sure he has sufficient time to fully recover from his second concussion of the season. The Texans are undoubtedly a bit envious foremost that a team can sit a Pro Bowl wideout and not expect to suffer a precipitous offensive decline, but perhaps more so because having significant portions of this season disappear into the black hole of a concussion-induced memory gap probably sounds pretty good to them right about now. Then again, maybe they treasure every moment of their 12-game losing streak.
Arizona at Seattle, 2:05 p.m., Ch. 13 • Seahawks CB Brandon Browner failed a drug test as a rookie, left the NFL for the CFL, didn't acknowledge the NFL's request for follow-up testing in the interim, earned a four-game suspension last season for testing positive for PEDs, failed a drug test this season for smoking marijuana, drawing a yearlong suspension, and has now vowed to sue the league unless the ban is overturned. Clearly, the man's got a drug problem. Specifically, a chicken-and-egg type of drug problem. Does he need the attention-boosting Adderall to counter the lethargy from his pot use? Or is the weed just to take the edge off the Adderall?
New England at Baltimore, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 2 • "Isn't it so impressive," asks everyone drinking the New England Kool-Aid, "that the Patriots are so good despite losing so many key players?" OK, I'll bite. Yes, the Pats lost Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead and Aaron Hernandez in the offseason, and yes, the Pats lost Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Rob Gronkowski during the season. You know who the Ravens lost from their Super Bowl roster? Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Anquan Boldin, Matt Birk, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams. Where's the love for Baltimore? Maybe if John Harbaugh wore a hoodie and Joe Flacco married a model you'd be impressed.
Chicago at Philadelphia, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5 • The optimist part of your brain sees two teams barely holding on to division leads, knowing if they falter they won't make the playoffs, and thus will give their all. The pessimist part of your brain says the Eagles gave up 48 to the Vikings sans Adrian Peterson, and the Bears benched the QB who kept them in the playoff race, so neither is gonna go far even if they make the playoffs. Then the optimist part tells the pessimist part, "Hey, clownshoes, three of the last eight Super Bowl champs were seeded fifth or sixth, and six of the last eight didn't have a first-round bye." And the pessimist part quits arguing.