by Dave Staba (@DavidStaba) - posted 12:13 pm, December 1, 2013
Amid this week’s panic-inducing (at least for the easily panicked) reports that Jon Bon Jovi plans to smuggle the Bills across the border, and the prospect of sitting through Buffalo’s traditionally awkward neutral-site game at Rogers Centre, there is some good news.
Toronto’s mayor-in-name-only has been disappointingly quiet since bull-rushing a city councillor a couple weeks back.
No new videos causing Ford to issue another, “What do you expect? I was hammered!”explanation.
Nothing, really, but a few interviews in which he offers his unique thoughts on leadership.
Ford has remained in the Toronto headlines, kicking off a 2014 re-election campaign that, despite everything, seems to have some supporters. But he has not produced the sort of did-he-really-do-that moment that scores interviews on American news networks and inspires Saturday Night Live sketches in a while now.
This can mean only one thing.
The man is due.
Maybe Ford will crash the Fox broadcast booth and regale Dick Stockton and Ronde Barber with details of the coup being orchestrated against him.
Maybe he will run onto the field before the opening kickoff, grab the ball off the tee and pretend to be a quarterback before collapsing.
Or maybe he’ll demonstrate his ability to retain his faculties while intoxicated by sliding down a rail in the upper deck.
Whether Ford chooses one of the above, or, more likely, comes up with something no one could have possibly predicted, We Want Marangi fervently hopes that he does so wearing a form-fitting Bills jersey. The CFL’s Toronto Argonauts have suggested — in typically restrained Canadian tones — that they might prefer he not wear their gear during his escapades.
But it seems that during one of the publicity tours for the annual Toronto trip, someone must have provided the mayor with a Bills sweater (as our Canadian friends call it). Preferably, one of the gruesome multiple-shades-of-blue, gray, red and white numbers they modeled through the 2000s.
Please, Mayor Ford — don’t let us down.
The game itself features two teams that appear headed in diametrically opposed directions. For this week, at least.
The Bills return from their bye as healthy as they’ve been all season, with Kyle Williams’ late-week back problem the only source of concern on the injury list, looking to build on theirrather comprehensive thumping of the New York Jets against one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments. Winning two in a row for the first time this year would put Buffalo at 5-7, one game out of the second wild-card spot in the crashingly mediocre AFC with one quarter of the season remaining.
Atlanta, coming off a 13-3 record and tight loss to San Francisco in the NFC title game last year, was supposed to be jockeying for home-field advantage in the playoffs. Instead, the Falcons have lost five straight, along with any semblance of a running game (31st in the NFL) or run defense (29th), and find themselves tied with Jacksonville and Houston in the race for the first pick in next spring’s draft.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has shown a propensity for being sacked and intercepted, while Buffalo is tied for second in the former category and first in the latter.
E.J. Manuel, meanwhile, faces an Atlanta defense that has produced just six interceptions, a big reason the Falcons are at minus-12 in giveaway/takeaway. C.J. Spiller should have every opportunity to finally break loose, as well.
If the Bills are to sustain or improve their mathematical chances at that last playoff spot, a win of any sort will do nicely. To make a real run at separating themselves from the Ravens-Dolphins-Jets-Titans-Steelers-Chargers mess in the middle of the AFC standings, the Falcons are the sort of struggling team on which they need to drop the hammer.
David Staba has written about the Buffalo Bills, among other topics, since 1990 for a variety of outlets, including We Want Marangi since way back in 2012.