I'm a little less confident in my Vikings play now that Harrison Smith has been ruled out, but I still think that MIN is the right side. They're just a better team than Atlanta.
Not sure about BUF. Mario Williams is out and Tyrod Taylor is due for a stinker. On the flip side, Grubbs is out and Kelce is questionable for the Chiefs, who seem slightly overrated and due for a loss. I don't have a solid read on this one and don't want any part of it.
The premise: Coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Patriots open the 2013 season with a blowout win. Unfortunately, they get into trouble for Spygate II. As punishment, Roger Goodell orders the Patriots to fire Bill Belichick and replace him with Emmitt Smith.
This is a weekly feature that will take a newspaper reporter's perspective and follow the 2013 New England Patriots as they traverse the 2013 NFL season under Emmitt's guidance. This page will be updated every Thursday during the real 2008 NFL season.
Emmitt Smith name head coach of the New England Patriots in 2013!
PATRIOTS WIN 84-0 ON SUNDAY; LOSE ON MONDAY
By Brandon Walsh, Boston Beat Senior Writer Monday, Sept. 9, 2013
Bill Belichick may have five Super Bowl rings on his fingers, but whether he has five or 50, the questions will always be there. Is he running up the score? Is he cheating? Has he ever washed his crusty hoodies?
Everyone was asking Belichick the former of those three questions after New England's opening-day win of the 2013 NFL season. Up 77-0 against the Jets with 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Belichick called a pass play at midfield. Brady connected with Randy Moss on a fade route, giving New England an NFL record 84-point advantage.
But Belichick wasn't done. Immediately following the score, he attempted an onsides kick, which New York recovered.
"I wasn't running up the score, damn it!" Belichick yelled at the media. "Do you know how many teams have come back from a 77-0 deficit with half a minute in regulation? A pick-six here, a fumble recovery for a score there, and all of a sudden, you're losing!"
Brady, who threw for 755 yards and 10 touchdowns, declined comment, and stated that he had to leave because he had a date with eight super models.
However, New England's celebration was cut short when Eric Mangini came forward the next day and accused Belichick of cheating once again.
"I was looking over the tape to figure out how the heck we lost 84-0, when I saw something," Mangini said. "I noticed a guy in a suit I didn't recognize on our sideline taking pictures of our playbook! I didn't recognize who it was at first, but then I realized it was Bill [Belichick]!
"Bill must have thought no one would recognize him in a suit, but I did," Mangini continued. "Bill wore the same exact suit to my Bar Mitzvah 10 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. I know it's the same suit because he still had the same mustard stain on it that he had back then. He must not have washed it. But that was a proud day for me. A proud day..."
Patriots owner Bob Kraft was unavailable because he was at Arby's.
Meanwhile, an enraged Roger Goodell offered a brief comment:
"That slob will be penalized! He's going down!"
Goodell stated that he would determine an appropriate punishment by Tuesday. Whatever that may be, Patriots fans can only hope that he doesn't strip the franchise of the five Super Bowls it has collected since 2001.
BELICHICK OUT, EMMITT IN AS PATRIOTS HEAD COACH
By Brandon Walsh, Boston Beat Senior Writer Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013
Thirteen seasons. Eleven playoff campaigns. Six Super Bowl appearances. Five championship rings.
Now, two cheating scandals and a lost job.
Roger Goodell came down hard on the Patriots for Spygate II, ordering Bob Kraft to replace Belichick with former Cowboys running back and ESPN "analyst" Emmitt Smith.
"I couldn't strip the Patriots of their Super Bowls because I didn't want to deal with a lawsuit, and fining Mr. Kraft wouldn't do any good because he's a billionaire who only spends his money on roast beef sandwiches," Goodell explained. "So, I took advantage of an old NFL rule that allows the commissioner to appoint a head coach to any franchise. That explains why Marty Mornhinweg and Art Shell were hired in the past. Sure, Matt Millen and Al Davis are dumb, but they're not THAT dumb! But who knows, maybe they are?"
Owner Bob Kraft wasn't too pleased.
"This is ridiculous!" Kraft barked. "Arby's raised the price of their roast beef sandwiches from $1.99 to $2.49! What am I going to do!?"
Emmitt wasn't able to greet his new employer because he took the wrong flight. Fortunately, Emmitt was able to speak to the media on a conference call.
"I would like to apologize to the Patriots players, coaches, journalisms and my new boss Bob Kramer," Emmitt said. "Someone tolded me that the city of New Zealand where the Patriots play was across the Specific Ocean near the city of Australia. That is where I am right now. If I had known I had to cross the Atlantis Ocean, I could have done... or did these interview two days ago or uhh... the day before today, so to speak."
When asked about the coaching change being a possible distraction for the Patriots, Emmitt shrugged it off.
"I have been through one too three many coaching changes in my NFL career," Emmitt explained. "Two or three years ago when Jimmy Johnson left and Barry Switz come in, all the procrastinators project that we would not even make the Doggone Playoff. Well, we did, and we beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series Bowl."
As many confused media members were trying to figure out what Emmitt was talking about, one reporter asked him what his team needed to do to beat the Michael Vick-led Falcons, who impressively defeated the Lions last week, 34-3.
"That is an easy question to answers," Emmitt responded. "The Falcons run the ball sometime. On the other time, they pass the ball. Our defense need to stop the run and also stop the pass. All we need to do is figure out when Arizona's defense is gonna run the ball or pass the rocks, so to speak."
As the press conference was winding down, Emmitt was asked if he thought he was qualified for the job. Emmitt didn't hesitate.
"I have never been a head coach before in my life in the past couple of years, but I do know one thing. As my friend Michael Irvin tolded me, 'Defense do not wins championships. Points wins championships.' I feel if I follow these advice, the Patriots will go 16-0 every week this season."
If what Emmitt says is true, that comes out to 256 victories in 2013. I think Patriots fans would like that.