Recapping a certain NFL prognosticator's week …
Picked five NFL games for the Star Tribune. Struck out five times. Sending résumé to the Twins.
Made a great survivor pool pick. Whiffed again. Thanks for nothing, Pittsburgh.
Got COVID. Gave it to the wife. Sitting around all achy, blowing noses and thinking how Taylor Swift could make this a good country song.
Oh, well. There's no predicting life in general, and the NFL in particular.
At least the final prediction pratfall of the week was prime-time entertainment. The "Lock of the Week!" Jaguars over Jake Browning in Jacksonville on "Monday Night Football!"
Jake's line: 32 of 37 (86.5%) for 354 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in a 34-31 overtime upset thriller.
In NFL career start No. 2! Win No. 1! After spending 2019-21 on the Vikings practice squad before moving to the Bengals as a backup buried behind Joe Burrow.
"Some guys play 10, 12 years and don't have the night Jake Browning is having," ESPN analyst Troy Aikman said on the telecast.
Troy knew what he was talking about. The Hall of Famer played 12 years for the Cowboys. Went 94-71 in the regular season, 11-4 in the postseason, 3-0 in Super Bowls.
And he never completed 86.5% of his passes. Only five times did he throw for that many yards. And only three times did he ever complete that many passes.
Welcome to the 2023 NFL season.
December games are just beginning and already the league has used 53 starting quarterbacks with all sorts of highs, lows and wildly unexpected results.
The number will grow by one Thursday night with Kenny Pickett (ankle) already out in Pittsburgh. Trevor Lawrence (ankle) could join him on the sidelines when Jacksonville visits Cleveland on Sunday.
Other teams are contemplating changes based on performance. The Vikings spent the bye week noodling over brainiac Joshua Dobbs, their rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags-for-now story, after he threw four interceptions in a kick-to-the-gut loss to the Bears at home on "Monday Night Football."
Dobbs had helped the Vikings win two games while causing the league to ask why Cleveland and Arizona didn't keep him. Then he helped the Vikings lose two games while causing the league to maybe ask why the Vikings didn't keep Jake Browning.
What should the Vikings do now?
Start the guy who restored hope to an entire franchise only a month ago. The guy who's still 2-2 in games played since coming in cold at the trade deadline. The guy who can sometimes make even Patrick Mahomes go "Wow."
Use coach Kevin O'Connell's new-school gift of gentle persuasion to make the rocket scientist understand some parameters and corresponding punishment as it pertains to ball security. Make the "Passtronaut" realize he's not actually Patrick Mahomes, but a good backup who needs to take better care of the ball or take a quick seat behind Nick Mullens, a safer option with a lower ceiling.
Dobbs is worth giving a second chance. And this is a good week to see what he can do with it.
The Raiders are 27th in scoring (16.8) and haven't topped 17 points in a month. They've thrown a league-high 17 interceptions. And their turnover differential (minus-7) is almost as awful as the Vikings' (minus-8).
Aidan O'Connell, a fourth-round draft pick, is one of 10 rookie quarterbacks to start an NFL game this season — the most since 1950, not including the 1987 strike year. He's 2-3, including 2-2 since the Raiders fired coach Josh McDaniels and General Manager Dave Ziegler after 1 ½ seasons.
Dobbs also should be given at least one opportunity to start alongside the Vikings' best player, Justin Jefferson, who returns after missing seven games.
Throw Jefferson in with a slightly more restrained Dobbs and a stellar defense facing a rookie quarterback and, well, the Vikings should win.
Of course, that's probably not what you wanted to hear after recapping a certain NFL prognosticator's week.