INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL wraps up its regular season this weekend (pending the decision about the status of the Bills-Bengals game from Monday Night). While 11 of the 14 playoff spots and six of the eight division slots are spoken for, there remains a lot at stake. Home-field advantage and the coveted first-round bye remain an open question for both conferences. Multiple teams still vie for the final wild card slot in both conferences, and yes, even that most glorious of divisional crowns, the AFC South, is still up for grabs.
“Man, after the New Year’s gift we gave them Glitter Kitties, they better not waste it by blowing it against the BE-SFs of Far Western Georgia” grumbled GM Nick Caserio. “After all, I know they have been down for a few seasons. Heck, my bro in their front office was public embarrassed by some drunk [Easterby] fan last season. So, was glad to see that continuing the spirit of giving from the Christmas seasons and the attempt to start the New Year off right, we, the Houston Texans organization, did the right thing, and gave Jacksonville the win they so richly deserved. Yes, it does really benefit us, but still…caring is sharing”
“I don’t know, man. Losing to Jacksonville. JACKSONVILLE?!?!?! Nothing good ever happens to us when we lose to Jacksonville in a season. Last time that happened, that was 2017. I think we ended up using some of the season-ticket holders along the 45-yard line on kick coverage for the last couple of games. Rough times” lamented Long Snapper Jon Weeks.
The mood in Jacksonville was considerably lighter.
“Yeah, we saw all that [Easterby] about the “Toro Constant”, or whatever that bull[Easterby] was. Always guaranteed two wins against us? Well, [Head] Coach [Doug Peterson] wasn’t gonna let that slip by. I mean, we could have just coasted, but Coach, he saw something. Figured we still needed to prove a point. He busted out the Toro Constant, then told us to go all Galileo on their dogmatic [Easterbys]! Man, did that [Easterby] work! We were so into breaking that Constant that Coach had to call off the dogs” noted Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk.
“Getting pulled in the third quarter of the game, I could have sworn we were playing Furman or Georgia Tech again. I kept having to do some double takes to see if Dabo Sweeney was back on the sidelines, but nope. This is the NFL, and we just issued a buy-a-win [Easterby]-kicking on the Texans” observed Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
“I guess if that makes them happy in Jacksonville, breaking the “Toro Constant” observed Texans mascot Toro. “Of course, being Jacksonville, they are guaranteed to never read beyond the first few headlines. The ‘Constant’ had some corollaries. A big one is that the Texans will ALWAYS win at least TWO games in a season. Yes, Jacksonville is an expected win most of the time, but the Constant still stands, even if it must be redefined from time to time.”
“That [Easterby] constant!!!! Could have made life SO much easier if this team wasn’t destined to always win a couple of games” groaned Nick Caserio. For while the Jaguars did not clinch the AFC South with the 31-3 win last weekend, the Texans could not lock up the #1 pick. They still have the best chance to clinch that #1 overall selection with a loss or tie at Indianapolis.
“Look, normally I would feel okay about this game.” Caserio noted. “We don’t win in Indy all that much. I think we’re something like 2-17 all-time. However, I am wondering if there is a higher power out to sabotage my plans, er, make life more difficult.”
When asked why he would think this way, Caserio noted the following:
“You saw where the Colts decided to go back to Sam Ehlinger as their starter for this Week 18 tilt? You know that he wasn’t all that good to begin with. Then I see where the Bears, who are only a half-game back of us for the #1, and they own the “tie-breaker” for their win earlier in the season, are going to start Nate Peterman as QB. Are you [Easterby] kidding me?!?!?!? If ever a team was telegraphing its intent to tank/lose bigly, you would start a Nate Peterman. Man, why didn’t I sign him in the off-season again?”
“Wait? What was that last part about Peterman?” our reporter asked.
Caserio then attempted a series of wild hand-waving moves, muttering the phrase “This is not the question you are concerned about.” When it didn’t seem to have its intended effect, Caserio immediately bolted from his chair and ran out of the room.
“Oh, don’t mind Nick. He is just a little stressed right now,” said Texans CEO Cal McNair. “The season is almost over, and he is starting to stress out. The holidays and then all the concerns/issues that face a GM in the off-season. It is only his third year with us. He is only looking at the most important off-season of his career, with actual cap space, and no religious zealot to blame on if things go horribly, horribly wrong. He is going to get some high draft picks. Hey, if he wants Will Levis, then I am sure we can make that happen. Look, I know that Bryce Young and CJ Stroud had some great games in the bowl season. Still, I feel Levis will fit just what we want to do with this team. If it doesn’t work out, hey, Caserio will only lose his job and life’s ambition. I’ll be just fine.”
When further asked about the ending of perhaps the worst season in Texans history, Cal McNair took an optimistic view of things:
“Look, I think people need to understand there is some great drama outside of the ‘playoff’ chase. I think we are borrowing from the English Premier League, when their fans tune in as much to see who is gonna get regulated, more than who will actually win the league. The winners are usually decided weeks in advance. The regulation…that is where the real drama is. So, I think that it is great to see the drama for the #1 pick. I am glad to see the Colts and Bears responding in kind. Great drama, and should lead to some great games. Gonna have to bust out my new flambe steak recipe for this one.”
When asked about “tanking” allegations and concerns about whether the fans will be mad with a win, Head Coach Lovie Smith offered the following: “We will play with the same effort and focus we have the entire season. We are going to do what we have done all year. No reason or concern about us doing anything different.”
When we asked him why our beat reporters already saw a majority of the squad boxing up most of their equipment already and many talked about the best vacation resort, he only replied “We will do what we’ve done all year. Play our style and type of football.”
To which Nick Caserio added “We can only hope.”