InVINcible Manning-kind

Despite the inspirational presence of a hard-won Vin Scully bobblehead on my desk (I have the best husband), the Dodgers seem intent on limping to a will-they or won't-they wild card finish, so perhaps a little focus on football is in order.

I feel like it's 2005 up in here, as I'm ahead in my fantasy league game and needing a big - or rather, typical - outing from Peyton Manning to solidify the win tonight. I didn't actually draft Peydie Pie, as myself and fellow friends once smitten with his dorky cuteness and passing stats call  him. (Isn't adorable how he's one of the greatest quarterbacks ever and still has that Jupiter-esque red spot in the middle of his forehead when he takes off his too-tight helmet)? Our league got stuck on autodraft, and the player rankings I spent all of a minute on were locked in. But I"m not complaining. Peydie's first outing in Denver orange looked a bit odd but pretty darn good. And it's always exciting to see Archie and Olivia (no Cooper this time, dang it) looking on.

Of course, it seems little brother Eli wanted the spotlight all to himself this weekend, as he passed for 510 yards (199 of them to Hakeem Nicks, for which my fantasy team says a hearty thank you) in the Giants' 41-34 win against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Eli of course has one more Super Bowl title - and one more Super Bowl MVP - than his big brother, so it can't be said that he toils in Peyton's shadow anymore. But nothing lil Manning does or says, from offseason quotes to quirky commercials to Saturday Night Live appearances, turns quite as golden as when Peyton tries his hand at it. It's not a scenario any Manning wants to see, and in fact it's one that Peyton went to great lengths to avoid as he was courted by every NFL team with a pulse and a pocketbook as a free agent, but perhaps the only way to settle this sibling non-rivalry will be on the field in Super Bowl XLVII. The thought may make Pa Manning's heart sink faster than his lovely house in New Orleans' Garden District (which a tour guide once told me loses an imperceptible smidgen each year to sea level), but it could delight a legion of football fans.

Other thoughts from This Weekend in Sports: Is it possible, nay even conceivable, that the NFC West could have two good football teams? Seattle, fresh off a loss to Arizona, made neon proud in a 27-7 stomping of Dallas, while the Cardinals took out New England in a 20-18 shocker that soiled sweatshirts everywhere in the Northeast. (Again, fantasy thanks to Marshawn Lynch's 122 yards, and a speedy recovery to Sidney Rice,  he of the three catches for 33 yards and the alma mater affiliation.) 

Speaking of, now that the shine has rubbed off the other USC two games into its redemption season (my heart BREAKS for Lane Kiffin), can we maybe give No. 7 South Carolina its letter due? After all, only Alabama, LSU, Oregon and Oklahoma have been ranked for more consecutive weeks than THIS USC. All my Missouri friends can thank me for putting that in print, but here's hoping for a rude welcome to the SEC for the Midwestern Tigers. I was sorry to see gutty Connor Shaw re-injure his throwing shoulder Saturday against UAB, but it was a rare sort of fun to see Dylan Thompson flinging the deep ball on his way to 177 yards and two touchdowns in the Gamecocks' 49-6 win. The victory was "one of the closest 49-6 games I have ever been around," according to Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier, speaking out of an unspecified side of his poormouth.

With Saturday  and Sunday in the sports books, I'm rooting for a Monday night Manning monster mash - and, if it's not too much to ask, maybe the Dodgers could beat the Nationals? I asked Vin if it was possible, and he nodded.