soccer at meadowlands

hiding from world cup draw simulators

What a month it’s been! Between wasting hours on World Cup draw simulators and watching AFC teams do their best to NOT make the playoffs, it’s been quite the emotional rollercoaster for fans of these two sports. But this week is crazier than ever…so GET READY!

World Cup Draw, 11am on Friday
The draw might sound like a glorified Powerball selection, but I promise it’ll be a nail-biter. Everything is on the line, and ending up in the Group of Death can seal a country’s fate an entire six months before kickoff. In true FIFA form, they’ve introduced a mysterious “Pot X” to shake things up and sound dramatic. But in reality it’s nothing drastic – the new rules simply ensure that three European teams can’t end up in the same group. Pot X or not, the teams look absolutely terrifying, and this is one of the toughest fields in a long time. For USA fans, the possibility of a Group of Death with Brazil, Netherlands, and Italy is more depressing than Tim Howard shaving his beard. My advice? Cancel your meetings, hold a paper bag, and pray to Sir Ian Darke – the draw is here!

Fantasy Football Playoffs
As a Jets fan, fantasy football is my only hope for happiness in the NFL. I control my own fate (to an extent), which is a wonderful respite from the never-ending turmoil of following Rex, Geno, and the antics of Gang Green. For most fantasy players, this is the first week of playoffs, where your regular season success goes out the window and you’re at the mercy of injuries, infuriating coaching decisions, and other factors that can result in a dud week for even the most reliable starters. If you don’t play fantasy, I advise you to maintain a ten foot distance from anyone who does during the hours of noon to midnight on Sunday. If you do play and survived into the playoffs – may the odds be ever in your favor.

Colts @ Bengals, 1pm on Sunday
We’re just going to go ahead and ignore the heinous situation that is the AFC sixth seed. If you’re interested in going down that rabbit hole, I recommend the NFL Playoff Machine, partially because I built it and am shamlessly self-promoting, and partially because it’ll kill the next six hours of your life. Anyway, the matchup to watch this week is Colts-Bengals. They’re both pretty much guaranteed to make the playoffs at 8-4, but they’re neck and neck as the third and fourth seeds. Indy wins the tiebreaker currently, and a win over the Bengals would seal that position. Why is the third seed so important? They play the sixth seed in the first round of the playoffs, which is pretty appetizing in the AFC this year (see above).

With only four weeks left in the NFL regular season, and the biggest international soccer event until the World Cup on Friday, you should probably just park yourself on the couch Thursday through Monday. Who needs sunlight anyway?

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