NFL WEEK 14: The big dogs are playing: Texans, Broncos, Patriots and Ravens

In September, all 32 NFL teams are little puppies with dreams. This is December. To quote Hall of Famer John Randle, Photo: Baltimore Ravens, shown going head to head with Redskins, are one of the Big Dogs AP

LOS ANGELES, December 9, 2012 — The last couple of Saturdays have featured tragedies involving NFL players that have cast a pall over the beloved NFL Sundays. People have died, in some cases needlessly. Many columnists (including me) have dedicated and will continue to dedicate time and words to the darker aspects of what is going on with NFL players and society at large.

Yet on the Sunday, in this one column, a peaceful oasis from reality is in order. Narcotics For Leatherheads is not about society at large. It is about one small slice of society that plays a significant role in so many lives. This column is about football — and only football.

Week 13 of the NFL 2012 season is now in the books.

The point spreads for Week 14 have been set.

The Week 14 games will be live-blogged and updated throughout the day, with all of them recapped by the time Monday Night Football is finished.

Yet as we watch these games, this is a special week of football. Each team has played twelve games with only four regular season games remaining. This is the month of December. This is dedicated to one of the great players and characters in the history of the National Football League. This is about Hall of Fame Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle John Randle.

In September, all 32 NFL teams are like little puppies. They all have dreams in their eyes. They dream of growing big and strong. In September, all 32 puppies have a shot. Some will grow, and some will not. Then comes to December, and the words of John Randle: 

“This is when the big dogs come out.”

You can yap and yelp in September. You better be snarling mad dog mean come December to win in this league.

This is when the big dogs come out.

In September there is room for finesse. In December the weather is colder, the bodies are bruised, beaten, bloodied, and battered. Yet some of them will refuse to stay down. Super Bowls are not won by talking. The Lombardi Trophy is not hoisted by engaging in words. December is when the teams with the battering rams get the job done.

A battering ram matters with the game on the line. It’s fourth down. The offense needs one yard. Everybody on both sides of the ball know what is coming. The snow is blanketing everything and everyone, creating a winter wonderland. The players see their breath. Yet some of them have their sleeves cut off, with their arms exposed to the cold elements.

This is when the big dogs come out.

The coach does not call a trick play. He gives it to his biggest smashmouth running back, and sends the battering ram straight up the middle. The offense tries to block. The defense tries to shed those blocks. Bodies are sprawled out. This is all about attitude. Whoever wants to hit harder and knock the other guy backward will determine who wins December games. Those teams make the playoffs. The losers go home and watch the Super Bowl from their television sets. 32 teams start the season, but only 12 will have a shot to play in January.

This is when the big dogs come out.

The best four teams in the AFC are Houston, Denver, New England, and Baltimore. They play each other in December. They may play each other again in January. Only one of them, and maybe none of them, will play in the Super Bowl in February. In the NFC, Atlanta has the upper hand, but Green Bay, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York are all getting ready to dethrone them.

There will be plenty of time to celebrate in February. December is about grinding out tough wins yard by yard, and in some cases, inch by inch. It’s not pretty. It can be downright ugly, but for true football fans, absolutely beautiful. Sometimes it involves simple basic brute force. The best teams take on their opponents and just hit them in the mouth.

So get ready for four weeks of bone-jarring hits in the pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy. The talent levels among the best teams are not that far apart. The desire will separate the contenders from the pretenders. The will to win it all starts now.

Put the puppies to bed. This is December football. It’s on. 

This is when the big dogs come out.

Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian who is obsessed with the National Football League. There is no offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.

Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”  When not watching football, his only other hobby is Republican, Jewish women. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.

Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.

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Eric Golub

Eric Golub is a politically conservative Jewish blogger, author, public speaker, and comedian. His book trilogy is “Ideological Bigotry,” “Ideological Violence,” and  “Ideological Idiocy.” 

He is Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and has lived in Los Angeles since 1990. He received his Bachelors degree from the University of Judaism, and his MBA from USC. A stockbrokerage professional since 1994, he began blogging on March 11th, 2007, the three year anniversary of the Madrid bombings and the midpoint of 9/11. He has been inflicting his world view on his unfortunate readers since then. He blogs about politics Monday through Friday, and about football and other human interest items on weekends.

 

 

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