I have wallpapered my rusty, crumbling, soon-to-be repossessed trailer home with losing lottery tickets and food stamp applications because it reminds me of how much closer I am to winning, and eating. I am a dreamer.
I am a Browns' fan who suddenly likes the defense.
And extensive beer analysis says that Courtney Brown is the Browns' defensive star, and that winter is coming. He is the Quiet Storm and Cleveland winters hit hard. And as Ben Taylor gets more tackles each week than there are snowflakes in a blizzard and Courtney Brown plays like an actual storm, well, the Browns defense deserves a nickname.
I am the kind of fan that doesn't care about those 295 rumored yards that some Raven doofus allegedly ran for against the Browns' defense. I am the kind of fan that thinks the Browns' defense deserves a nickname because they've played good in the other weeks, even if it was against the likes of the Bengals, Steelers, and inept California teams.
Extensive beer analysis, as you may know, is hard work. All that grandiose thinking, muttering to oneself, and peeing takes its toll on the final product and yet I am convinced that this is a new generation defense - it still has the old bark but it has moved to a new dimension of time, space, and weather.
A quiet storm, more tackles than snowflakes and an approaching winter - I vote for Lake Effect Defense. You cannot be more brutal. It dares other teams to grab a shovel and dig out of this.
SAINTS AT FALCONS - Michael Vick checks his superhero's manual but cannot find instructions to turn back time and win games that have already been lost. There are, however, directions on how to beat the Saints even when you are injured, your team is horrible, and Kurt Kittner was just named to play in your place. Just play the Saints, it says. Falcons 24, Saints 10.
RAVENS AT BENGALS – When a game comes down to who do I want to win versus who do I think is going to win, I go with who I want to win. Bengals 27, Ravens 3.
COWBOYS AT LIONS – If the Cowboys were coached by anyone other than Bill Parcells, they would be due for a letdown. Parcells defies all these rules of prognostication, except the one that says he usually wins. Cowboys 20, Lions 10.
BYE AT CARDINALS – Emmitt Smith finds out that some moron (er, me) predicted before the season started that he would win the NFC rushing title, and he thanks me for being the only person in the world to believe in him. "Even I thought I was washed up," he says.
BRONCOS AT VIKINGS – Steve Beuerlein is surprised to discover he is still in the NFL. Vikings 34, Broncos 10.
TITANS AT PANTHERS – The Panthers have a bandwagon! Can you believe it? And I am on it. Panthers 12, Titans 10.
CHARGERS AT BROWNS – Like one of those little league games when one team doesn't have enough players, the Browns "borrow" a couple of offensive lineman from the Chargers, who play on the line wearing their Chargers uniforms. Chargers' fans, noting that many of their players have been playing for other teams all season, don't seem to mind. Neither does William Green, who routinely gains 100 yards a game once the leaves start to turn colors. Browns 38, Chargers 22.
BYE AT COLTS – Peyton Manning walks past a white picket fence and runs into a fan who tells him he is a super swell quarterback, just the way you would expect it to happen in a 1950s sitcom set in Indiana.
PATRIOTS AT DOLPHINS – Don't look now, Browns' fans, but Bill Belichick is doing another great job in New England. Half his team is injured. Dolphins 23, Patriots 16.
EAGLES AT GIANTS – Donovan McNabb visits EIB studios looking for his new best friend. "Where'd he go?" he asks. Giants 21, Eagles 14.
JETS AT TEXANS – Herman Edwards shouts, "Hello! You play to collect your salary!" Texans 29, Jets 12.
BUCCANEERS AT 49ERS – At halftime, Warren Sapp gives a major foreign policy speech. Buccaneers 30, 49ers 10.
REDSKINS AT BILLS – Drew Bledsoe thinks he is back in New England. Yes, things are getting that bad for him. Redskins 38, Bills 20.
BYE AT STEELERS – Tommy Maddox checks on plans to revive the XFL.
BEARS AT SEAHAWKS – That Cubs fan that single-handedly and intentionally stopped the Cubs from winning the World Series joins the Bears because he figures no one will notice him. He ends up playing as good as most of the rest of the Bears. Seahawks 25, Bears 3.
CHIEFS AT RAIDERS – After committing every penalty in the rulebook, the Raiders pretend they are New York Yankees and begin breaking actual laws too. Chiefs 24, Raiders 10.
Did I mention I am an optimist?
For instance, I visit time-share resorts so I can get the "free spectacular gift". I have a drawer full of watches adorned with a faux counterfeit version of fake Cubic Zirconia, and these watches almost never tell time. Still, I keep going for the gifts because when I attend long boring meetings to get free junk at least the meetings are in small dry towns in Indiana. One time, a watch worked for a whole hour. I think it was an hour.
I am a Browns' fan. I think a storm is coming.
This column is sponsored by this proposed Thursday night utterance of Tim McCarver: "I can't believe Don Zimmer learned karate in just a few days."
Brian Tarcy collaborated with Hap Klopp on The Adventure of Leadership, a book The Boston Globe called "fun to read and irreverent." Klopp is the founder of The North Face, maker of quality outdoor gear.