Hey, it’s Moneyline Mo, the man in the know. I’m feeling good after Week 11 and I’m ready to tackle Week 12. I’m thankful for a lot of things in this world, but most importantly, I’m thankful for what was statistically my best week yet in the history of writing this column. So, for everyone who thought I might have lost my touch after to back-to-back losing weeks, shame on you for doubting me!

One thing that these professional athletes have over me is that they get a bye week. There are no weeks off for Moneyline Mo and that could be a problem this week. There’s a lot of close calls with the Week 12 slate, no coin flips required, but enough to know that I can’t gloat too much about my impressive Week 11. Yeah, that’s right, I’m calling it impressive even if you’re not willing to use that word. Oh shit, I guess I am gloating. Let’s delve into Week 12:

THURSDAY

CHICAGO OVER DETROIT
I’ve done plenty of complaining over the season about the schedule, but they absolutely nailed this Thanksgiving game, as it marks the 22-year anniversary of the first Thanksgiving halftime show I can recall watching. On November 25, 1999, Chicago and Detroit played a Thanksgiving game which featured a halftime performance by Third Eye Blind. The band played selections from their sophomore album Blue, which had just been released two days earlier, and this performance was the first time I heard “Never Let You Go,” which I knew would be a hit. (I’m still shocked that “Anything” was the lead single on that album. It’s a solid opener, but the track is barely two minutes long and just kind of abruptly ends.)

Oddly enough, for as much as I remember watching this halftime show in my childhood bedroom, I can’t seem to find any audio or visual evidence of it online. If someone recorded the game on VHS in 1999, you could be sitting on a historical piece of lost media! In my search for it though, I came across the band’s performance of “Never Let You Go” on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno that happened the day after they dumped their lead guitarist from the band AND IT SHOWS!

As for the game, my guess is that Chicago wins by 3…EB.

DALLAS OVER LAS VEGAS
I think the aerialists from Creed’s 2001 Thanksgiving halftime show should have gotten lifetime contracts from Jerry Jones. Regardless of the artist playing the halftime show for Dallas, they should have to incorporate the aerialists. We don’t need to know their names or where they’re from, we just need them to take us higher with their art.

BUFFALO OVER NEW ORLEANS
We will get our first glimpse of what the eventual post-Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth broadcast may look like as Mike Tirico and Drew Brees will be on the call for this game. And the halftime “entertainment” for this game is Drew Brees getting honored by his former team. Will the tribute include the ad he filmed for Focus On The Family? If I was putting that tribute together, I would sneak that in somehow.

SUNDAY

PITTSBURGH OVER CINCINNATI
Last week, Cincinnati’s win kept them in position for a playoff spot, while Pittsburgh’s loss dropped them below the final spot for the playoffs. I think we’re about to see a huge drop from Cincinnati and a loss this week could bump them out of a current playoff spot. In football, just like fashion, one day you’re in and the next you’re out. Say that like Heidi Klum on Project Runway. I miss her on the show…one day she was in and the next day she was out.

INDIANAPOLIS OVER TAMPA BAY
As you know, I’m a big believer in this Indianapolis squad. Originally, I thought Frank Reich might unlock some vintage 2017 Carson Wentz, but instead the real star of the team is Jonathan Taylor. What a coup for the Wisconsin businesses that brought him on as a spokesperson last year! He’s bound to get some national gigs now. That’s right, in addition to being a football fan, I’m constantly evaluating the commercial prospects of all current players. This could be another factor on my eventual Mo Football Focus database.

CAROLINA OVER MIAMI
It feels like Cam Newton was away from Carolina for way more than just one season, right? Maybe it’s because he got hurt so early in the 2019 season? With his homecoming game last week, it just stunned me that it was only the 2020 season that he spent away from Carolina. To be fair though, 2020 and 2021 have been long fucking years. Maybe you also thought Cam Newton was out of Carolina for a longer period as well. If so, you’re not alone.

NEW ENGLAND OVER TENNESSEE
Last week, I called it that New England would take over the top spot in the division, and I don’t think they’re about to relinquish it. In fact, depending on what happens with Baltimore’s game, a New England win this week could launch them into the top seed in the conference. I can feel the shift in the air, too, of people realizing New England is back and the dread that they might make a run. If this leads to Josh McDaniels getting offered a head coaching gig and then spurning his suitor, it’s all worth it to me.

As for Tennessee, they clearly read these columns, which is what prompted them to get rid of Adrian Peterson this week. From Moneyline Mo’s lips to Jon Robinson’s ears. (Jon Robinson is Tennessee’s general manager. Yeah, I had to look that up!)

PHILADELPHIA OVER NEW YORK (N)
Earlier this year, I complained about how the movie Big Fan was inaccurate because they had a Monday night game on the final week of the season, which doesn’t happen. However, beginning this postseason, there will now be a Monday night game during the Wild Card weekend. So, congratulations to Big Fan for having the last laugh as my decade-plus complaint about the film’s inaccuracy has now been rendered moot.

HOUSTON OVER NEW YORK (A)
Last week saw the return of Joe Flacco as a starting quarterback! In Flacco’s rookie year, I was watching a playoff game at a friend’s house and my buddy’s dad kept referring to Flacco as Joe Flippo, the King of Clowns. I didn’t get the reference, so the first thing I did when I got home was look up Flippo and it turns out Flippo, the King of Clowns was a television entertainer in Columbus, Ohio. I admire the obscurity of the reference and the huge stretch to turn Flacco into Flippo. Classic dad move.

JACKSONVILLE OVER ATLANTA
I’m impressed at how quickly the Urban Meyer restaurant story went away. I’m still amazed that I only found out this year that he had a restaurant just outside of Columbus, Ohio. Wait a second…COLUMBUS, OHIO!? Do you think if I went to Urban Meyer’s Pint House, I could get the bartender to change one of the TVs to some Flippo, the King of Clowns reruns? Hell, I’ll settle for this 91-minute documentary.

What do you guys think, should we pivot this weekly article away from football picks and instead focus on different regional clowns? I went to a taping of the Bozo Super Sunday Show when I was 11, so for all intents and purposes, I’m an expert on this matter.

LOS ANGELES (A) OVER DENVER
I’m proud of my guy Slick Vic Fangio for hanging around in the playoff race this year. Unfortunately, I currently project them to win only three of their final seven games, which would put them at 8-9 to finish the season. Not quite .500, but maybe enough to convince John Elway to keep Fangio around for one more year. As I’ve said, Fangio is a defensive genius, but the offensive side led by Pat Shurmur is a mess.

Fangio has one year left on his contract, but the team has an option for a fifth year. So if he gets to come back as head coach, whoever he might bring in as a replacement offensive coordinator would come in aware that they might only have one shot in a lame duck year. So, if I’m Fangio, I want someone who is willing to take that risk, someone who maybe at one time had a reputation as an offensive genius and it wouldn’t hurt if it’s someone that I’m familiar with…

Oh shit. It all makes sense. Vic Fangio is going to hire Matt Nagy as his offensive coordinator after Nagy inevitably gets fired by Chicago. When this happens, remember you heard it here first! That’s a Moneyline Mo Scoop!

GREEN BAY OVER LOS ANGELES (N)
As you probably know, I’ve been skeptical of Green Bay’s success, especially on defense, but last week I finally let my guard down and picked Green Bay for the first time in a while. And after last week’s outcome, I’m back to doubting their chances for this year. However, I have even bigger doubts about Los Angeles. They’re coming off a bye and maybe have had a chance to figure some things out, but they’ve looked disjointed the past few weeks. They’re supposed to be a superteam, but it isn’t clicking currently. This could be an opportunity for Green Bay to steal a win before Los Angeles gets their act together.

Get YOUR act together and join Milwaukee Record this Sunday at the Cactus Club for the game! This week’s halftime entertainment is Daydream Retrievers, featuring local water aficionado Ian Olvera. Enjoy the show and maybe some Topo Chico talk as well!

SAN FRANCISCO OVER MINNESOTA
I’m telling you, folks, San Francisco is in the middle of an under-the-radar push just like Indianapolis! They’ve already made it back to .500 and a win this week would currently put them in line for a playoff spot. I just have a feeling about this San Francisco team. As for Minnesota, they got to have their fun with a close win over Green Bay, but I think they’ll find a way to make this another one-score loss.

BALTIMORE OVER CLEVELAND
I will reiterate what I said last week: Baker Mayfield needs to protect his commercial money at all costs. He is a natural on camera and has genuine comedic timing and delivery. I think his media career with surpass his playing career, especially when you see some of the former quarterbacks who now have TV gigs, he’s a shoo-in to have even greater generational wealth awaiting him off-the-field. However, I’m not sure if he knows this yet. Can someone put all of this on a sign and bring it to the game Sunday night?

MONDAY

WASHINGTON OVER SEATTLE
Okay, I began the article praising how the schedule got it right with Chicago and Detroit playing on Thanksgiving, but I’m not about to take a break from ripping on the construction of this season’s schedule. Check out this upcoming stretch for Washington beginning in a few weeks:

Week 14: Dallas
Week 15: @ Philadelphia
Week 16: @ Dallas
Week 17: Philadelphia

And then they wrap up the season with a game in New York, who they played in Week 2. So, to reiterate, Washington has played one divisional game way back in the second week of the season, and now will play five consecutive divisional games to end the year…including a stretch where they alternate the same opponent every other week. It’d be one thing if this was the only schedule anomaly, but I’ve been consistent in pointing out all the flaws and disadvantages currently in place.

Roger Goodell, I will happily freelance this for you. Bring me in for one weekend, inform me of all the conflicts and hurdles I need to clear with each stadium and network, and in less than 48 hours, I will have a balanced, fair, and fun schedule for the 2022 season. Otherwise, Commissioner, prepare for me to continue my criticism every week from here on out. I’ll never let this go.

LAST WEEK: 13-2
SEASON TO DATE: 101-63-1

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