NFL Happiness: Week 5
It was a happy week for both Mike and me last week; happy for me mainly because the Chiefs took out Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, happy for Mike because the Chargers resuscitated their season by coming back and beating the Texans.
As always, we are adding another twist to the NFL Happiness Formula™. As you must know by now, we rank the teams from +16 to -16 based on how much we like them and how happy it would make us if they won.
In the third week, we added the Double-Down Rule where we are allowed to double-down our happiness on one game if we feel like the game means something extra special.
In the fourth week, we added the Nullification Game, where we are allowed to nullify one game based on the simple fact that we honestly don’t care.
And this week, we are adding a Scorigami score. Both of us are obsessed with Scorigamis — that is to say obsessed with games that have unique NFL scores. Last week, Seattle beat Detroit 48-45. That was the first 48-45 game in NFL history and thus a Scorigami, which brought us great joy. Our question is how many points of happiness is a Scorigami worth? We agree that if the Scorigami comes in a game where your prefer the losing team, the Scorigami nullifies all the negative points in the game.
But what if the team you favor wins by Scorigami?
I think that’s worth 25 happiness points.
Mike thinks it’s worth 10,000 happiness points (and in the case of a double-down it should be worth 5 million points).
Now you decide:
Thursday: Indianapolis 12, Denver 9
Mike: Colts -3 vs. Broncos -12 — 9-point win!
Joe: Colts -6 vs. Broncos -13 — 7-point win!
Here will be my suggestion for next week’s adjustment — we should eliminate all happiness from Thursday Night games. They are a pox upon America. They are pretty much always terrible games. They put teams in terrible situations with the short weeks. They are dangerous and injury-filled. They are the clearest money grabs by this money-grabbing league. The NFL will never get rid of them because they don’t care about anything nearly as much as the Amazon dollars, but that doesn’t mean we have to acknowledge them. I derive no happiness whatsoever from Thursday Night Football, even if the team I like better wins.
New York Giants at Green Bay (London)
Mike: Giants -7 vs. Packers -13 — 6-point game
Joe: Giants +7 vs. Packers -9 — 16 point game
If rooting for Danny Dimes is wrong, I don’t want to be right. He’s got some sort of ankle injury, so I’m not sure how he will play … and being honest, against Aaron Rodgers, I’m not sure it will matter. But I’m invested in this one, even if it does start at 9:30 in the morning. Incidentally this is the first time a London game has featured two teams with winning records.
Pittsburgh at Buffalo
Mike: Steelers -2 vs. Bills +16 — 18-point game
Joe: Steelers -9 vs. Bills +15 — 23-point game
Mike let certain friends convince him that he doesn’t truly dislike the Steelers. I believe he’s kidding himself. There’s a reasonable chance that Pittsburgh will have a losing record for the first time in NINETEEN YEARS … and the first time in Mike Tomlin’s coaching career. I say “reasonable chance” because these Steelers are not good at all, they would probably be a 5-12 or even 4-13 team if they were called the “Arizona Cardinals” or “Miami Dolphins,” but because Tomlin’s still the coach and they still wear the black and gold, the Steelers could still figure out a way to finish with a winning record. That’s just what they do.
By the way, this week: I’m trying on the Bills as my new team. I have a lot of optimism about this one.
Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland
Mike: Chargers +15 vs. Browns -15 — 30-point game
Joe: Chargers +10 vs. Browns +1 — NULLIFICATION GAME
This is Mike’s biggest game of the week — he loves the Chargers and despises what the Browns have become. He’s basically investing a week’s worth of happiness in this one. I like the Chargers too, and have written plenty about how my lifelong passion for the Browns has simply faded away. That said, I can’t derive any joy out of the Browns losing; I have too many friends who take those losses hard.
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Houston at Jacksonville
Mike: Texans -10 vs. Jaguars -8 — NULLIFICATION GAME
Joe: Texans -10 vs. Jaguars -5 — 5-point game
Mike nullifies this game because, as he says, “Come on.” I mean, who cares about this game? I don’t expect five points of happiness or sadness to come from this, but at least, theoretically, I dislike Jacksonville less than I dislike the Texans.
Chicago at Minnesota
Mike: Bears -6 vs. Vikings +7 — 13-point game
Joe: Bears +9 vs. Vikings +3 — 6-point game
I am not going to lie here: My affinity for the Bears is fading a bit. It has been two weeks since my daughter Katie and I went to watch the Bears at Soldier Field and it was a magical day, and some of that magic definitely was still around the following week. But watching that Bears-Giants slog made me realize that I really don’t like the Bears any more than I like the Giants. I probably don’t like the Bears any more than I like the Vikings, either, but we’ll see how the game plays out.
Seattle at New Orleans
Mike: Seahawks -1 vs. Saints +4 — 5-point game
Joe: Seahawks -2 vs. Saints -3 — 1-point game
Seahawks vs. Saints used to mean Russell Wilson vs. Drew Brees. It is now Geno Smith vs. probably Andy Dalton or, if somehow healthy, Jameis Winston. Wow is THAT a downer.
Detroit at New England
Mike: Lions +11 vs. Patriots +14 — 3-point game
Joe: Lions +14 vs. Patriots -14 — 28-point game
Just gauging Mike’s reactions as we’ve talked about football — I don’t think he’s rooting for the Patriots to beat the Lions this week. I’m not saying he’s rooting for the Lions, either, but I think he will feel absolutely no sadness whatsoever if the Lions win and might even feel a smattering of joy. As for me, the Lions moved up the chart after last week’s Scorigami vs. the Seahawks; I felt right at home rooting for the Lions. They are a darkhorse contender for becoming my next team.
Miami at New York Jets
Mike: Dolphins +7 vs. Jets +2 — 5-point game
Joe: Dolphins +11 vs. Jets +8 — 3-point game
We have a couple of people on here who would like me to try the Jets on for size as a fan … and I think I’m going to do it. Not this week, but soon. I like the energy of this Dolphins team, but I have to admit that they might be over-ranked at +11.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Mike: Falcons +1 vs. Buccaneers +5 — 4-point game
Joe: Falcons -1 vs. Buccaneers -11 — 10-point game
One thing that we are still trying to figure out in the Happiness Scores is how much one player should matter in the score. For example, I have long loathed the Baltimore Ravens because they are the old Cleveland Browns, and Art Modell owned them, and they weren’t particularly likable in their Super Bowl years, etc. But I absolutely adore Lamar Jackson, love everything about the way he plays the game. So, I’m not sure what to do with that. How do you root against a team but for their quarterback? With the Buccaneers, I used to love them with their goofy uniforms and haunted history and pirate motif. But I don’t think I’m alone in despising Tom Brady. So I have the Buccaneers at -11 entirely because of Brady, and I’m not sure that’s right. But I’m going with it anyway.
Tennessee at Washington
Mike: Titans -7 vs. Commanders -14 — 7-point game
Joe: Titans +5 vs. Commanders -16, DOUBLE-DOWN — 42-point game
OK, I’ve been avoiding this for a while now … but the Commanders are my least favorite team in football. True, I still loathe the Cowboys as I have all my life. But I really, really, really don’t like those Commanders. I don’t like the owner. I don’t like the name. I don’t know why they didn’t just stick with Washington Football Team. I don’t like their defensive coordinator. I can’t keep up with who their quarterback is. I want them to lose every week, twice if possible (and this is even though I very much like their head coach, Ron Rivera). And I have to say I kind of like those Titans. Big game for me.
San Francisco at Carolina
Mike: Panthers -5 vs. 49ers +8 — 13-point game
Joe: Panthers +4 vs. 49ers +6 — 2-point game
I think I have finally found my Panthers happiness level. I live in Charlotte, so I’d kind of like to see them do well. But I have developed absolutely no affinity for the team, and watching Baker Mayfield try to play quarterback has become a weekly gallbladder operation. Mike actively dislikes the Panthers, which seems hard to do, and so this is a pretty big happiness game for him.
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Philadelphia at Arizona
Mike: Eagles +9 vs. Cardinals +10 — 1-point game
Joe: Eagles +12 vs. Cardinals +2 — 10-point game
I like those Eagles more and more all the time. I think I’ve written about this, but I have a great Eagles sweatshirt. I bought it the day the Phillies won the World Series so that when I went back to my hotel after the game ended, the gigantic throng of people celebrating would either ignore me or shout, “Go Iggles!” The Eagles are moving their way up into contender status for my next team. As for Mike, his insistence that he likes the Cardinals continues to baffle me. I wanted to like the Cardinals too, but have come to realize that other than Kyler Murray, I don’t really like anything about them.
Dallas at Los Angeles Rams
Mike: Cowboys -16 vs. Rams +3, DOUBLE-DOWN — 38-point game
Joe: Cowboys -15 vs. Rams -4 — 11-point game
Mike’s doubling-down on his hometown Rams, which makes this the must-win happiness game of the week for him. The Cowboys actually moved up a spot for me because I now fully understand that Washington is my least favorite team in the NFL. But I’m still invested in Dallas losing. Some things never change. I was thinking about this — when I was a kid and the Steelers played the Cowboys in Super Bowl X and again in Super Bowl XIII, I instinctively rooted for the Steelers. I loathed the Steelers with every fiber of my being. But I still wanted them to beat the Cowboys.
Cincinnati at Baltimore
Mike: Bengals +6 vs. Ravens -11 — 17-point game
Joe: Bengals +13 vs. Ravens -7 — 20-point game
The Bengals started the season high on my chart, dropped a bit, and are now back up near the top. I realize that they can never be my favorite team, but I do like them and want them to win.
Monday: Las Vegas at Kansas City
Mike: Raiders -9 vs. Chiefs +13 — 22-point game
Joe: Raiders -12 vs. Chiefs +16 — 28-point game
Huge Monday Night tilt for both of us. I actually considered doubling-down on this one because it makes me mad all over again that the Raiders left Oakland for Las Vegas. Oakland vs. Kansas City was pure hatred, the most wonderful kind of sports hatred, and now that’s ruined because the Raiders play in a mall in Las Vegas and that’s just not even close to being the same thing.
Since Scorigamis become rarer as more of them hit, the happiness points should increase every time. So if the first Scorigami is worth 25 points, the next one should be worth 30 points. It's a way to make this meaningless activity more difficult to score for no reason whatsoever.
I totally agree about the Thursday night games. If there were more games, it would make sense for a coach to sit some players but each game is two precious in the NFL. We need somebody like Belichick to list every player on the injury report as “questionable, fatigue.” Or, if it has to be body parts, “questionable, legs, arms, neck, back, torso. “ Or maybe for all coaches to do that.