Monday, November 18, 2013

Patriots-Panthers Drinking Game: Monday Night Football Edition

We've been waiting to see the Patriots play for over 2 weeks. So are you ready for some football? And some drinking? The Carolina Panthers have asked their fans to "black out" Bank of America Stadium by wearing black. Play this drinking game and you too might black out. Here are the lubing up procedures for Monday Night Football...

Anytime a commentator says...
"Blacked out" = 1 shot of "black" liquor (examples: Jim Beam Black, Captain Morgan Black)
"Bye week" = 1 drink from a beer
"Test" = 1 drink
"Prove" = 1 drink
"Statement" = 1 drink
"For real" = 1 drink
"Contain" = 1 drink
"This guy" or "here's a guy" = 1 drink
"Peyton Manning" = drink for 18 seconds
"San Francisco" or "49ers" = 1 drink
"Injuries" = 1 drink
"Mayo" = 1 drink
"Wilfork" = 1 drink
"Dennard" = 1 drink
"Talib" = 1 drink
"Boston College" or "BC" = 1 drink
"Length" = 1 drink

Anytime this is on screen...
Panthers fans wearing black = 1 shot of "black" liquor
A replay of Aqib Talib isolated 1-on-1 against a receiver = drink during the entire replay
Bank of America Corporate Center = 1 drink the first time, with a 25% interest rate each time it's shown (so 1.25 drinks the next time, 1.5 after that)
A college basketball player, team, or coach = 1 drink
Highlights from Super Bowl XXXVIII = drink during the entire highlight
Luke Keuchly's BC stats = drink the entire time the graphic is on screen
Kuechly's NFL stats = drink the entire time the graphic is on screen
An injured Patriot on the sidelines = 1 drink
Tom Brady angry with receivers = 1 drink
Brady happy with receivers = 1 drink
Brady's hand = 1 drink
A graphic featuring the Patriots' young WRs = drink the entire time the graphic is on screen
Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Kraft talking to someone = drink the entire time he's talking
Bill Belichick's sock(s) = drink an entire beer and a shot

Anytime this happens...
You yawn = mix Red Bull with liquor, 1 drink for the first yawn, 2 for the second, and so on
You flip to the Bruins game during a commercial = 1 drink
You think the B's and Pats are playing in the same city = finish beer
Jon Gruden makes himself laugh = 1 drink
Gruden makes a vaguely homoerotic remark about a football player's body, or a part of his body = 1 drink
Gruden compares a player's body or body part(s) to an inanimate object (e.g. a fire hydrant) = 1 drink
Gruden gushes about how large Cam Newton is = drink half a beer
Newton scrambles = 1 drink, then drink the entire time the announcers praise him for it
Gruden gushes about how large Mike Tolbert is = 1 drink
Gruden gushes about how large Rob Gronkowski is = 1 drink, slam can to ground Gronk style, even if it's full
Gronk catches a pass nobody else would catch = 1 drink (bonus points if it is from a Gronk-tini)
Gronk TD = Gronk-spike an unopened can of beer, open immediately, drink as much as possible
Brady yells "Aplha Milk" = 1 White Russian
Brady yells "White 20" = 1 White Russian
Brady points out the "Mike" = 1 Mike's Hard Lemonade
Patriots WR runs wrong route = 1 drink
Patriots WR drops pass = 1 drink
Brady misses an open Patriots WR = 1 drink
You worry that Danny Amendola is hurt = 1 drink (max 10, we don't want you to get too blacked out)
Brady throws to a non-Gronkowski tight end = 1 shot of liquor, add half a beer if the TE catches the ball
You fall asleep before the game is over (barring a blowout) = in the morning, drink whatever warm, flat beverages you failed to finish the night before

Get lubed up responsibly.

The Patriots Begin Phase 2 of the Season Tonight

The bye week neatly divided the Patriots' season into two distinct phases. The first 9 games turned out to be against mostly mediocre competition, with a few good teams mixed in. Five of those 9 games were against teams with a winning record. And 3 of those 5 were against teams that are now 5-5. So only 2 games against truly tough opponents.

Phase 2 starts tonight. This is the test phase. This is the time to prove something.

The first phase of the season was about survival. Without Rob Gronkowski, the offense started the season with one hand tied behind its back. Then Danny Amendola got hurt. Then the runningbacks got hurt. Then Tom Brady struggled with accuracy, possibly due to injury.

The first 9 games were about getting everyone healthy and getting the young receivers acclimated to the offense. And also, of course, to accumulate wins.

The Pats achieved their goals in Phase 1 of the season. They won 7 games and built a lead in the division. Gronk is healthy. The young WRs are playing better. Brady looked great against the Steelers in week 9.

Now the stakes are higher. The tests are more difficult. The Pats play back-to-back nationally televised games. One against the 6-3 Panthers, the next at home against the 9-1 Broncos.

The Panthers have the best scoring defense in the League, allowing 12.8 points per game.

The Broncos have the best scoring offense, putting up an absurd 39.8 points per game, 11 points more than the second best Saints at 28.8.

It's safe to say that both the Patriots offense and defense will be put to the test these next two games. The Pats can win these through balance. If Brady and the offense struggle against Carolina's defense, it's up to the Patriots' defense to shutdown Cam Newton and the Panthers. And next week against Denver, it will be up to Brady, Gronk, and the offense to put up points and eat up clock to make things easier for the Pats' defense.

The Patriots have failed in recent postseasons because they could only win one type of game one type of way. This year we've seen them win games with defense, with offense, by running the clock out in the 4th quarter, by coming back in the 4th quarter with big passes, by playing great defense in the 4th quarter. Three of their wins were by 3 points or less. Four were within a touchdown.

If the Patriots can do well against these two types of teams, we'll all feel much more confident about their chances in the playoffs. If they struggle... well, at least they'll have 5 more weeks to improve.