Every NFL week promises action. Week 14 also offers clarity. And not just playoff-picture clarity, though some teams may clinch, many others will be eliminated, and a few can establish home-field priority. Week 14 teaches us that the fortunes of young quarterbacks rise and fall, that bad Cowboys and Bears defenses cannot be blamed on the last administration, and that turnovers (or avoiding them) can raise a rebuilding Eagles team over a should-be contender like the Lions. All the video equipment in the world can't bring clarity to the Browns quarterback situation, nor is MRI resolution sharp enough to determine the fate of Aaron Rodgers, but careful Sunday observation will reveal the best rookie quarterback in the NFL and the best team in the NFC South. Are the Seahawks the NFL's team to beat? Open your eyes, my friend! Game Riffs offers clarity by stating the obvious.

Seahawks at 49ers

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Line: 49ers by 2 ½

Moment of Clarity: The Battle for the NFC West... ended weeks ago.

Let's get any manufactured drama out of the way immediately. The Seahawks are the better team. They are better on offense (by a considerable margin), defense (narrower margin), and special teams (a big part of each team's business model). The Seahawks lead the 49ers in the division race by three games and are likely to control all tiebreaker scenarios if the teams somehow end the season tied. The Seahawks have won the last two matchups by a 71-16 combined score; when the 49ers last beat the Seahawks 13-6, fourteen months ago, Alex Smith was still their starting quarterback.

The Seahawks can smell an opportunity to not just sew up the NFC West on Sunday, but endanger the 49ers playoff chances entirely, diluting the NFC postseason pool and making their path to New Jersey even smoother. The 49ers may be in do-or-die mode, but do-and-kill mode is a pretty powerful motivator too, so this game's point spread is a source of mystery for me. I triple-checked it on Thursday afternoon, then scanned multiple news sources to assure that Russell Wilson wasn't struck by a meteor.

Most individual matchups favor the Seahawks. Their greatest current weakness, the second-through-fourth cornerback positions, matches up precisely with the 49ers biggest weakness, their second-through-fourth receiver positions. A healthy Michael Crabtree gives the Niners hope in this matchup, but Crabtree only bridges part of the gap between a station-to-station offense and the best defense in the NFL. If the Niners were still goofing around with Jonathan Baldwin and using a jumbo package for half of their snaps, the Seahawks would win this game by 24 points, even in San Francisco.

The Seahawks also nullify some of the 49ers greatest strengths. The 49ers have been the best field position team in the NFL since Jim Harbaugh took over. Their average drive starts on the 31.34 yard line this year, the best field position in the league (stats courtesy Jim Armstrong at Football Outsiders). Field position is something Harbaugh and the organization focus on: ball control offense, defensive turnovers, punter Andy Lee and his coverage. With the offense puttering, they beat many weaker teams by pushing them back toward their own end zone, then turning short drives into field goals while opponents struggle just to punt out of trouble.

But the Seahawks are the second best field position team in the NFL, starting their drives on the 31.30 yard line. Punt-and-pin doesn't work on the Seahawks; in fact, it is likely to backfire. The Seahawks allow 1.3 yards per punt return. The Niners average just 4.0 yards per punt return, once fair catches are factored in (though the Niners return game has improved since since LaMichael James replaced Fair Catch Williams). Football Outsiders ranks the Niners as the fifth best defense in the NFL deep in opponent's territory, but the Seahawks rank third. The field tilts toward the 49ers 14 games per year, but it tilts away from them when they face the Seahawks.

It must be frustrating for the 49ers to be so out-49ered by their kid brothers to the north. Seattle's dual-threat quarterback sensation is more sensational, their bruising running back more bruise-inducing, their former Pac-12 coaching mastermind more masterly. The administers of 27-6 thumpings become the victims when the Seahawks arrive, and this year the Niners cannot win the NFC West thanks to an early-season head start. The 49ers are a great team that can be beaten at their own game, and they are cursed to play in a division with an opponent custom-built to do so. That curse will cost them another game; the 49ers must then spend the rest of December making sure it does not cost them the postseason.

Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 16


Panthers at Saints

Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Line: Saints by 3 ½

Moment of Clarity: Nothing is as eternal as a championship, though airport delays come close.

Life is starting to imitate cough syrup commercials for Drew Brees and the Saints. First, there was the three-hour pummeling in the rain with a Motorhead din echoing from all directions on Monday night. Then, a long delay on the tarmac and a late-night return to the hotel because the Saints plane had a cracked windshield (there is nothing like hearing that your cross-country charter flight experiences the same mechanical problems as Uncle Carmine's 1982 Cutlass Ciera). Finally, a 9 p.m. west coast flight that arrives home 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday, obliterating any opportunity to recuperate during a short work week. Drowsy? Headache? Scratchy throat? Medicine would help you get some rest. If you had time to rest.

It takes a week to shake a cold, but good medication can shorten that to seven days. Either way, the Saints only have four days to prepare for a Panthers team rapidly developing immunity against all attempts to stop them. Four days of practice means Rob Ryan has only four days to concoct one of his defensive gameplans consisting of "Engage Eight Blitz-Blitz-Blitz" and "Four deep, five-under zone" with very little in between. That may be a mixed blessing for the Saints. We will address the possibility that opponents figure Ryan out as the season wears on in a moment (Jerry Jones is clearing his throat), but the Seahawks had the perfect counter-strategy ready whenever Ryan blitzed the house or sent everyone fishing in the Puget Sound.

Some coordinators dictate what they plan to take away from the offense, but at his worst, Ryan changes the Google homepage to announce what he plans to allow. Ryan defenses, stout in many circumstances, can be exploited by offenses do many things well (run, pass, misdirection-option stuff) with base personnel: they can react to Ryan's extremes without making major substitutions or adjustments. Last year's Redskins did it against last year's Cowboys. Last week's Seahawks did it against the Saints. The Panthers have been doing it to opponents all year.

Changings of the divisional guard are rarely cut and dry; the Seahawks are still asserting themselves against the 49ers, and it will take more than one win to vault the Panthers completely over the Saints. Fate played a hand by handing the Panthers a battered, exhausted opponent. But we have reached the point where the Panthers don't need fate's help anymore.

Prediction: Panthers 24, Saints 21

Colts at Bengals

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Bengals by 6

Moment of Clarity: The dinner choices are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. You are just a pair of appetizers.

The Bengals are the Colts after therapy. Their highs are lower, their lows higher, and if they seem a little dull and predictable, dull and predictable can be compliments after you spend some time hanging around a total psychotic.

Despite Sunday's win against the Titans, the Colts are still in their trough, unable to move the football without Reggie Wayne or a reliable running back. The "lose-to-bad-teams, beat-great-teams" pattern was fun while it lasted, but the Colts haven't beaten a really good team since Wayne went down. The Bengals, winners of back-to-back games after a Halloween scare, are quietly hiding the facts that their quarterback throws 20 yard passes an average of 35 yards and their pass rush misses Geno Atkins as much as Andrew Luck misses Wayne. They will go as far as screen passes, a two-headed backfield, and solid-not-spectacular defense can take them.

Both the Colts and Bengals are closing on division crowns -- the Colts have the AFC South all-but sewn up -- but with both teams destined to serve as foreplay for another Brady-Manning consummation, it is more fun to combine them to speculate about who is better. For example: if Andrew Luck played for the Bengals, would they be the best team in the NFL? If Gio Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis joined the Colts, would Chuck Pagano and Pep Hamilton perform a happy dance? And what can either team do to break through in the AFC, except wait for a pair of retirements? The final question must wait for the offseason. Until then, destiny and playoff losses await.

Prediction: Bengals 23, Colts 13


Lions at Eagles

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Eagles by 2 ½

Moment of Clarity: 'Tis better to give than receive. Unless you want to reach the playoffs.

The Eagles' turnover differential in their last five games is +8. The Lions turnover differential in their last five games is minus-13. Seventeen Lions turnovers in five games have led directly to two losses which kept the Lions from taking control of a division that is begging to be conquered. One Eagles turnover in four games has spurred a four-game winning streak, moving the Eagles near the top of a division that looked out of reach on Halloween.

Sometimes, this "statistical analysis" racket is really easy.

Nick Foles is going to throw an interception one of these days, and the Eagles winning streak will end, but their turnover differential is as indicative of the Eagles' rapid growth as the Lions' fumbling problems are a sign of their permanent preadolescence. Chip Kelly has answered every challenge this season, and the Eagles are much better for it. His scheme has proven NFL viable, and his unheralded quarterback can get (effective) plays off faster than Tom Brady, but there is much more to it than that. Quarterback controversy? Handled, modified, and handled again. Racial flare-up that would have sent the Dolphins running for the Dungy extinguishers? Didn't last a news cycle. Defensive adjustments? Bill Davis is on them: everyone has bought in, and there are no Spurrier-esque "what's a defense?" moments. Hinky college tactics? The gate has swung shut. This has been a season of steady progress for the Eagles. The Lions, in Year Five of the same coach-management-quarterback nucleus, still have 13-turnover Novembers.

Even if the Lions lose, they are still on pace to win the NFC North. If the playoffs started after Week 13, the Lions would host their first playoff game since 1993. Their opponent? The 49ers. Sounds like just desserts for squandered opportunities.

Prediction: Eagles 28, Lions 24


Cowboys at Bears

Monday, 8:40 p.m.
Line: Bears by 1

Moment of Clarity: You cannot win without defense, and getting defensive about it doesn't count.

December is the month when the Cowboys play poorly while talking endlessly about why they played poorly in past Decembers and how they plan to avoid playing poorly this December. Jerry Jones, the Mozart of blame deflection, came up with an easy scapegoat after watching Monday Night Football. "I'm gonna talk about Rob Ryan a minute," Jones said on his radio show, so you knew it was about to get good. "There's no question we were rendered almost really helpless as the last part of the season came along to really be what we wanted to be defensively. We're not that way this year."

This year, the Cowboys defense was rendered almost really helpless immediately at the start of the season. The Cowboys allowed 414 net yards per game in five December games last year, three of which were victories (albeit high-scoring shootouts which Tony Romo was blamed for losing). They allow 421.6 yards per game this year. They allowed a 62.9% December completion rate last year and a 64.3% completion rate this year. Yes, some indicators have improved, but blame-dropping your former defensive coordinator when you currently rank dead last in the NFL in yards per game is wifty even by Jones' incomparable standards.

The Bears are 3-8 in the last few December-Januaries (counting Sunday) and have a defense that could give up 150 rushing yards to the kid collecting shopping carts outside the supermarket. But instead of blaming a former Cowboys employee, they are counting on one. Jay Ratliff played 23 snaps in his Bears debut, and coaches hope to get him more involved now that troubling hamstring problems are finally fading. Stephen Paea (turf toe) also returned to the middle of the Bears defense, and Julius Peppers has been sliding from end to tackle in the hope of disrupting some blocks and bringing relief to both the run defense and pass rush.

In other words, there's fixing the problem, and there's fixing the blame. One is useful, the other easy. Jerry Jones only has the hang of one of them. 

Prediction (with long-range forecast of wind and cold factored in): Bears 27, Cowboys 21


Geno Smith is likely to start Sunday's game for the Jets, but that doesn't mean he'll finish it. (Getty Images)

Raiders at Jets

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Jets by 2 ½

Moment of Clarity: Quarterback development is a process, not an escalator.

Six weeks ago, this game looked like a Terrelle Pryor-Geno Smith circle-it showdown. Last Sunday, it appeared we would settle for a Battle of the Matts: McGloin versus Simms. Rex Ryan then gave Smith one more set of Christmas lights to hang himself with, while Dennis Allen mused about bring Pryor back, someday, maybe soon, but not Sunday, except perhaps in a Wildcat-type package.

Young quarterback development is a process, with ups and downs, adjustments and readjustments, crises of confidence and even benchings. Evaluating young quarterbacks is like aiming for a moving, partially-visible target with a crossbow, and in the Internet sports fizz biz (where waiting to dissect film in February is not an option) we have a tendency to aim too high (ALL DOUBTERS HAVE BEEN SILENCED) or too low (HE'S AN EPIC BUST, FAKE SMILE AND ALL). Ryan -- who may get an electro shock from John Idzik whenever he thinks for himself at this point -- and Allen -- whose bosses must approach their 2014 budget as if they have triplets entering private colleges -- must balance short-term and long-term goals, differentiate development from results, and manage the high expectations and (yes) fragile self-confidence of young quarterbacks with the talent to save the franchise but alarming, festering bad habits.

Smith threw zero touchdowns and eight interceptions in his last five games, completing less than 40% of his passes and playing as though he was looking downfield through tiny slats in a giant brick wall. Pryor threw one touchdown and eight interceptions in his final four games, enduring 18 sacks and scampering out of the pocket every time he saw a defender's shadow. As young quarterback valleys go, these were Grand Marianas Trenches, making it easy to forget that these quarterbacks were given so many opportunities to fail because they spent the first quarter of the season proving their capacity to succeed.

So we get Geno versus McGloin, a rookie quarterback undercard to Buccaneers-Bills. It could get ugly, and both Ryan and Allen may have made the wrong choice this week. But all juries are still out, and will remain out until the offseason arrives and two franchises examine four quarterbacks (five: Mark Sanchez still exists) and makes decisions that are too hard to make while preparing for next week's game.

Prediction: Jets 19, Raiders 17


Dolphins at Steelers

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Steelers by 3

Moment of Clarity: These teams don't do moments of clarity. And with the big games out of the way, let's retire this meme.

Some things the Dolphins and Steelers can do with their time together:

  • Superimpose the Steelers' regret about letting Mike Wallace leave upon the Dolphins' regret about signing Mike Wallace to create a smooth Came-to-Terms-Mike Wallace curve.

  • Combine their two dysfunctional offensive lines into one functional offensive line, with a supersized, enigmatic Pouncey at center.

  • Reinstate Richie Incognito and assign him as Mike Tomlin's Get Back coach. This may be a bad idea: extended contact between Incognito and Todd Haley could result in the most epic hotel trashing since the Led Zeppelin II tour.

  • Combine for at least a dozen sacks and about 90 rushing yards in a game that should not have playoff implications but somehow does.

Prediction: Dolphins 23, Steelers 17


Chiefs at Redskins

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Chiefs by 3

The Redskins front office took offense to some parodies produced by local radio station 106.7 The Fan. Radio personality Danny Rouhier impersonated Redskins broadcasters calling the fake play-by-play of a Redskins game gone wrong, and the team confronted the station, claiming that the comedy skits sounded "malicious" and that the team was considering legal action.

A few meetings settled the matter, but in the meantime professional sports comedian Rouhier earned lots of media attention and professional sympathy, and probably advanced his career significantly, simply... by... provoking... the... Redskins...

Welcome back to Redskins radio. This is Michael Larry with the call along with Sonny Jerkingerkin. It's second and five, RG3 keeps it on the read option, plants his foot in a field divot, and falls forward for a five-yard gain. While RG3 clutches his ankle in agony, a reminder that FedEx turf maintenance is handled by Freddie's Fallow Fields, which is actually Dan Snyder's unemployable cousin carrying a Weed Eater.

The referees aren't going to measure: one is signaling third down, one is moving the chains, and a third is calling for a jump ball. Shanny doesn't seem to care. He calls for the read option again and RG3 is hammered by six defenders for a four-yard loss. It's encouraging to see RG3 bounce back from his fifth brutal hit of the fourth quarter with the Redskins trailing 27-7.

Now the refs have straightened things out, it's fourth down, and out comes the punting unit! Ethel Titwillow of Glen Burnie is today's Block Party contestant: if Sav Rocca's punt is blocked, her neighborhood gets a block party hosted by Dr. James Andrews, who will perform MRI screenings on lucky guests while Coach Shanahan contradicts him. Rocca's punt is... blocked! Congratulations, Ethel Titwillow! Hey folks, stay tuned for the coach's show, when callers can scream for Kirk Cousins while Shanny drops hints that he secretly wanted Ryan Tannehill all along.

That outta do it.

Prediction: Chiefs 28, Redskins 21


Vikings at Ravens

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Ravens by 7

Three of the Ravens' six wins were decided by a field goal or less, as were four of their six losses. The Ravens hold the head-to-head tiebreakers over the Dolphins and Jets, so if the sixth AFC Wild Card is selected from primordial 8-8 ooze, the Ravens are in position to be the Slime Kings. They face an opponent that has played ten quarters of football in two weeks and is making their fifth starting quarterback change of the season. Wins against the Vikings and either the Lions or Patriots (in Baltimore) would give the Ravens an 8-7 record entering the season finale at Cincinnati; having beaten the Bengals once, they could be in position to claim the division.

All this in a season in which they average 2.9 yards per rush, the offensive line is in shambles, the quarterback is coughing up the ball while complaining about the offense, the defense is surviving through the efforts of a few high-profile veterans, and the kicker needs to consult the National Weather Service and bend space-time to hook 50-yarders through monsoon conditions to keep games close.

This may be the most Ravens season in Ravens history.

Prediction: Ravens 23, Vikings 20


Falcons at Packers

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Off the board at presstime due to Aaron Rodgers' injury.

Studying collarbone anatomy and treatment procedures is more interesting and rewarding than watching Matt Flynn play quarterback. In the event Aaron Rodgers misses yet another game, Packers fans should spend Sunday studying this overview from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. They should not -- repeat, not -- perform their own experiments by ramming their heads into thick walls until something breaks.

Prediction (assuming Matt Freakin' Flynn starts): Falcons 23, Packers 10


Bills at Buccaneers

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Buccaneers by 2 ½

The starting quarterback spot on dozens of All-Rookie Teams is up for grabs in this game. Mike Glennon ranks ahead of EJ Manuel in quarterback rating (90.3 to 82.7), Football Outsiders' DYAR (223 to 24, a substantial margin), ESPN's QBR (46.6 to 45.5, whatever the heck that's supposed to mean), and basics like completion percentage, yards per attempt, and most of the raw totals. He has accomplished all of this in a literally and figuratively toxic environment. Manuel has produced more 20+ yard plays, has rushing value, and looks sharp executing an up-tempo offense despite a truncated training camp.

The Bills are also a plucky feel-good bad team, whereas we cringe whenever Buccaneers news comes over the wire; those things should not matter but do. So it's fair to say that the winner of this game takes all, though Keenan Allen of the Chargers gets my Rookie of the Year vote, and if both quarterbacks look terrible, we should not completely discount Matt McGloin.

Prediction: Buccaneers 22, Bills 14


Rams at Cardinals

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Line: Cardinals by 6

Third Place in the NFC West earns an automatic bid for the GoDaddy.com Bowl!

But seriously, life is tough on the hair-ripping, crotch-grabbing underside of the NFC West. Unable to contend with the Seahawks and 49ers, the Rams resorted to reaching around their problems last week, with T.J. McDonald pulling Vernon Davis to the ground by his manhood. The play counted as both a tackle and a triple. It was the second un-flagged jewel-endangering play in two weeks (see the kick to Robert Griffin's crotch in Week 12), so there are probably going to be some hilarious bikini-zone conversations when the competition committee meets in the offseason.

The Cardinals, just weeks removed from Andre Ellington's hair removal at the hands of a Texans defender, may not be sure which body part to protect, though Carson Palmer votes for "all of them." Both teams have talent and the Cardinals have semi-realistic playoff hopes. But with all eyes on the Seahawks and 49ers, the Cardinals and Rams might preempt themselves for a Three Stooges marathon.

Prediction: Cardinals 20, Rams 10


Remember when Eli Manning refused to play for the Chargers? Apparently, he doesn't. (Getty Images)

Giants at Chargers

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Line: Chargers by 3

Eli Manning cannot remember why he was so adamant about not playing for the Chargers a decade ago, when the team held the first pick in the 2004 draft. "It slipped my mind," Eli said on Wednesday. And let's face it: can any of us really remember what we were thinking about in April of 2004?

Well, I can: I was thinking (and writing) about Eli Manning, the Chargers, and the 2004 draft. The Chargers had just finished 4-12. They were fiddling with Drew Brees, which certainly weighed on Eli's young mind: Brees endured a Doug Flutie controversy the previous season, and any young quarterback would face competition from a formidable incumbent, his fate decided by an indecisive staff. Chargers GM John Butler had just passed away; A.J. Smith had not yet earned a reputation as the nastiest negotiator this side of the Wild West, but agents probably had an inkling of what was coming. The Chargers had gone eight years without a winning season, were still just a half-decade removed from the Ryan Leaf fiasco, and Marty Schottenheimer had just endured a brief, tumultuous tour with the Redskins.

In other words, the Chargers were a dire organization. We only remember the happy ending: Smith and the Giants engineered an Eli-Philip Rivers draft-day blockbuster, the Brees situation sorted itself out, the Chargers enjoyed some 12-to-14 win seasons, the Giants won two Super Bowls, and both organizations are now figuring out how to transition into the next cycle.

No wonder Eli cannot remember what happened a decade ago: for him it was a lifetime. For the NFL, it was nearly an era.

Prediction: Chargers 31, Giants 27


Titans at Broncos

Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
Line: Broncos by 11

The big story of the week: a random couple invited Peyton Manning to their wedding, and he took the time to send back the "regretfully decline" card, along with "best wishes" and an autograph.

In other words, ultra-successful multi-millionaire Peyton Manning has better manners toward presumptuous strangers than you have toward your cousin Eunice and her new fiancé. Yes, it's her third marriage. Yes, it's a Wiccan ceremony in the woods on the winter solstice. Just send the regret card so they can figure out who sits on which tree stump, for heaven's sake.

The couple rewarded Manning's generosity by making sure all of America saw the highly-collectable memorabilia they received in exchange for a wedding invitation. Entrepreneurs around the world will now send crates of wedding, birthday, and Bar Mitzvah invitations to poor Peyton. If you see a suspicious "Cannot attend, best wishes, Peyton '18' Manning" First Holy Communion card for a youngster named Isaiah Goldstein selling for $250 on e-Bay, please exercise some caution.

If you invite Ryan Fitzpatrick to your wedding, the bouquet will get intercepted by another bridal party, and Fitzpatrick will stuff his face until his beard is crusted with cocktail weenie crumbs.

Prediction: Broncos 33, Titans 13


Browns at Patriots

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Line: Patriots by 11 ½

(Two suspicious white vans are parked outside the Browns practice facility: one marked "PATS' 'Pizza'" and the other "Flowers By Isabel.")

FBI AGENT: (entering van with coffee caddie) Hey guys, I just got off the phone with Quantico and they want us to look for diesel receipts in... whoops, this must be the wrong van.

BELICHICK AGENT (crouched over array of monitors): No worries. You watch Haslam. We'll watch Josh Gordon.

FBI AGENT: So the whole "spying" thing is real? I thought that Antonio Smith guy in Houston was just horsing around.

BELICHICK AGENT: He's a disinformation agent. Deep cover. Are any of those coffees light roast?

FBI AGENT: Sure, take one. Seems like a duplication of services to have us both spying on the Browns. Maybe it would be more efficient if we teamed up.

BELICHICK AGENT: Dick Cheney used to say the same thing. The boss wouldn't go for it. Uh-oh, Browns team president Joe Banner is approaching the van. Act natural!

(Both agents lean casually against huge consoles of high-tech surveillance equipment).

JOE BANNER: Hey, guys, you wouldn't happen to be spying on Browns practices, would you?

BELICHICK AGENT: No sir! We're... delivering fresh flowers for Norv Turner's office!

FBI AGENT: That's our cover, you nitwit. You are supposed to make pizza.

JOE BANNER: No worries, fellas. But I think your camera behind the end zone on Field B is out of focus. You cannot get a good look at Caleb Hanie's scripted plays. Here, let me adjust it for you.

BELICHICK AGENT: Wait... you are helping?

JOE BANNER: Of course. We're down to possibly starting Hanie or Alex Tanney at quarterback. With our loss to the Jaguars, the first pick in the draft is still a possibility. Do you think I want to risk actually winning this game? Also, FBI dude: there's a memo titled "Secret Rebate Policy" in the bottom drawer of the third file cabinet in the boss' office. I don't need any unnecessary interference in football operations, if you catch my drift.

FBI AGENT: Man, this organization really is screwed up.

JOE BANNER: The important thing for all three of us to remember is that none of us were ever here.

(Door flies open)

AGENT COULSEN: (brandishing gun) Step away from the equipment and put down the coffee please.

FBI AGENT: Now S.H.I.E.L.D. is real?

AGENT COULSEN: No, I am actually actor Clark Gregg. No one is watching my superhero-themed television show. Probably because there are no superheroes in it, just some Hogwarts wannabes and a foxy hacker who whines constantly. I saw the Patriots-Broncos television ratings and want a piece of the action.

BELICHICK AGENT: Buddy, the Patriots are playing the Browns this week. People would rather watch VH1-Polka than the Browns. I am getting combat pay just to spy on them.

AGENT COULSEN: I see. Carry on then.

JOE BANNER: Say, you seem to be in pretty good shape, Mr. Gregg. Ever consider playing quarterback?

AGENT COULSEN: You would really consider hiring some middle-aged guy to play quarterback?

JOE BANNER: We're the Browns. It's what we do.