When last we left Peter Downer, he was beseeching us to please, for the love of God, let Michael Vick try to earn the MVP award. But we were stubbornly unwilling to listen. Lucky for PK, Michael Vick would not allow Michael Vick to win the MVP award, except for that mind-bendingly perfect throw he made to Brent Celek in quadruple coverage.

What of this week? Does Peter King blow the proverbial lid off the festering sewer that is New York City? Will Matt Ryan answer his question about home cooking? Why don’t NFL uniform regulations allow Michael Vick to wear a cape? Is there anything Peter King can’t absolve Josh McDaniels of doing? Is there a there there? Is the news new? Find out after the jump.

Watch your back, Josh McDaniels. Get ready for January, Matt Ryan.

Enough with the tired gimmick, Peter King.

What’s gotten into you, Matt Cassel? The interim tag is a good thing, Leslie Frazier.

Make him stop, Jesus Christ.

You might be going on vacation for a week, Cortland Finnegan. Sleep much last night, Steve Johnson?

Cure what ails me, Johnny Walker.

The NFL wants your secrets, Ron Rivera. Yours too, Rod Marinelli. Believe in the Fine Fifteen jinx, Arthur Blank? Apparently you really don’t wear a cape, Michael Vick.

Those are only for overrated white linebackers.

Way to make the Hall of Fame semifinal list, Ed Sabol. Way to run, Peyton Hillis. Way to Tweet, Ryan Clark. What a play, Alfred Malone.

Alfred Malone?

I like it when writers feign surprise at something they’ve made a clear effort to frame a certain way. “Why, did I just spontaneously insert something that presumably survived several rounds of editing before making it to your eyes? Such is the off-the-cuff nature of my scribblings!”

Josh, Lies and Videotape.

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The one question no one is asking in the wake of the six-minute tape that got video director and McDaniels friend Steve Scarnecchia fired is who ratted him out?

Was it WikiLeaks? I bet it was them.

And who spilled information from a private meeting McDaniels had with his coaches Friday to Fox’s Jay Glazer — information that the Patriots’ taping practices, in Glazer’s words, quoting McDaniels at his meeting, “that was practiced, that was coached, that was worked on.”

It’s the cloak-and-dagger story of espionage that Peter King never had the talent or imagination to write. If only Stieg Larsson were still alive, he could weave this tense tale of deception.

Some would view that as throwing the Patriots under the bus. Some would view it as a simple admission of the facts of the league’s well-publicized findings against the Patriots.

Some would posit logical reactions to this story and lazily attribute each to an undefined segment of the population.

Nothing McDaniels said or did will re-open the league’s investigation. The league doesn’t see the connection between McDaniels’ statement and any new information. I was told by one league official Sunday that I was way off base, and there was nothing in Glazer’s report to suggest the league has a reason to re-open the case. In the same vein, the Patriots declined comment Sunday, saying, in essence, there was no there there — no new news.

No cheats cheating. And, yeah, I’m sure the NFL has already destroyed more evidence of Spygate than McDaniels could ever give them.

None of this will matter if the Broncos keep losing, like they did Sunday to St. Louis. The Broncos leave on a three-game roadie this weekend (at Kansas City, Arizona and Oakland in 15 days), and the road is probably the best place for him to be right now. Less booing there, probably.

Oh yeah, the Broncos are totally safe from boos at Kansas City and Oakland.

It’s a results business, and the Broncos are 5-16 in McDaniels’ last 21 games, and the fans have turned on him viciously.

If it were a personality business, that asshole should still get canned.

I find all of this sad. I know McDaniels fairly well, and my gut feeling is he neither watched the videotape nor ordered the taping.

“Nobody I know is capable of wrongdoing! He said so in this kind-hearted text to my barista.”

That’s good cozying, Peter King’s gut.

He’s a smart kid with a very strong family background who’s made some terrible personnel decisions; Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn, trading a 2010 first-rounder to choose Alphonso Smith in 2009 — and then dealing him for next-to-nothing a year later. But he’s a smart offensive strategist.

So… he should have stayed an offensive coordinator?

The Broncos did him no favors by giving him an inexperienced GM, Brian Xanders, who clearly hasn’t been strong enough to save him from making some bad personnel calls. The team should have invested in a savvy, veteran GM to help McDaniels navigate his way early.

And they should have hired a coach who didn’t cow his GM into making retarded personnel moves.

If he goes, Denver will have to start over with another coach, and that coach may well have no belief in Tim Tebow as a quarterback of the future, and there would go another prime piece, wasted. And so it goes.

Well said, Kurt Vonnegut. Hopefully the next coach realizes the significance of a first-round pick wasted on a gloried goal line gimmick player.

Don’t ask Matt Ryan about the home cooking thing. He doesn’t have an answer.

“I’ve always trusted a head coach whose mother unfailingly packs me a doggie bag every time I visit her home. I have no question.”

Atlanta now has a quarterback it can trust in very big moments. January moments?

5:01 p.m., January 16, 2011 – Mike Smith trusts Matt Ryan to explain to the press why the Falcons lost in the second round of the playoffs.

But Matty Ice, in year three, has shown no signs of freezing in the big moments yet. Why should the playoffs be different?

I don’t know. Ask Peyton Manning.

The surprising thing to me is that some owners would have an I-hate-interim-coaches ethos. Look at the record. Interim coaches, mostly, bring fresh air and new approaches. Look at what Jason Garrett and Mike Singletary did with discipline and rules, for instance. It works.

Peter King presents a graphic that shows seven interim coaches who posted a combined losing record only slightly better than their predecessors.

It’s rare that you see a fight in football when both players’ helmets have been yanked off, allowing players to land punches on unprotected heads. But that’s what happened in this one. With Houston protecting a 17-0 lead in the fourth quarter, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub took the snap and Finnegan immediately bolted across the line and shoved Johnson’s facemask into his face. That lit the fuse. After each had his helmet yanked off by the other, Johnson landed two roundhouse right-handed punches to Finnegan’s head; then the officials separated them. “I just lost my cool,” Johnson said. “I wish I could take back what happened, but I can’t.”

“I wish I could unkick his ass.”

A month ago, Anderson told me he was convinced that to get players’ attention with fines the league needed to ratchet up their levels. Seymour, twice fined for over-the-top hits in the past two years, drops a marquee quarterback and gets fined the flyspeck amount of one-fifth of 1 percent of his salary. If I’m Seymour, I’m laughing all the way to the bank.

That expression only applies if you’re still making money in the given scenario. It may not be as severe as you or others may have liked, but Seymour is still losing money. Unless Peter King assumes players leisurely stroll to the bank to withdraw money, then laugh at the tellers. Then at the branch managers who say they can’t let him take out $25,000 in cash. But then everyone laughs anyway. Richard Seymour’s laugh is infectious like that.

Anytime a man beats Peyton Manning, and beats him handily, we in the media question him like he’s got the truth about the Kennedy assassination or somesuch.

A lot of people were in on the Kennedy assassination, apparently.

The Chargers had just defeated Manning and the Colts in Indianapolis Sunday night, 36-14. Manning losing by 22 or more? Ridiculous. Yet when I spoke with Rivera, he was very Manningish about it.

So he blamed the Colts’ O-line, too?

Oh, and one other thing: Never let Reggie Wayne get behind the defense. Rivera thinks — surprise! — this is the key to sure death with Manning at the controls.

Except Wayne did get behind the defense last night and dropped a couple passes.

Manning had a funereal look on his face through much of the fourth quarter.

Like Peyton would ever look that sad at a funeral.

1. Atlanta (9-2). The Falcons are 4-0 in the last 22 days against teams with a combined record of 27-17. Matt Ryan and his teammates deserve this lofty perch — especially with him playing like a latter-day Peyton Manning.

Latter-day? You do realize Peyton Manning is still in the NFL? You were just talking about him a few paragraphs back.

9. San Diego (6-5). If you send me a bunch of e-mail and tweets with your slings, arrows and Molotov cocktails, blasting me for putting a 6-5 team so high, then you didn’t watch the game Sunday night. It might be criminal putting the Chargers so low.

Also criminal: sending Molotov cocktails through e-mail.

10. Pittsburgh (8-3). Saved by the Johnson.

HARF HARF HARF BATHROOM STALL DOOR WIDE OPEN FOR THE BEN JOKES

11. New York Giants (7-4). As shaky a home win to stay in the pennant race as there’s ever been. Bright side: Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, 23 carries for 136 yards (5.9 per rush) against a decent front like Jacksonville’s is a good combo platter.

If you order the lunch-size portion of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants throw in a complimentary Derek Hagan. But only between the hours of 1-3 p.m. on Wednesdays.

13. Kansas City (7-4). This Dwayne Bowe’s amazing.

So succulent. I tried to Dwayne Bowe at the Palm the other week and you wouldn’t believe how gamy it was. Really turned me off to that place.

It might be time to worry, Colts’ fans. Indy’s looking very much like an AFC fourth seed, having to beat the Jets or Patriots in the Wild Card game just for the privilege of then having to try to win two road games in the playoffs.

Oooooohhh, poor fucking spoiled obnoxious Colts fans. Your team might ONLY get a Wild Card berth this season. And they’ll face a tough route to the Super Bowl that proved to actually work out for them once, say, four years ago. You poor put-upon pudgecunts.

MVP Watch

1. Tom Brady, QB, New England. Masterful in carving up the Lions Thursday, presumably before carving some fowl Thursday night in his Back Bay home.

MOST VALUABLE PLACEOFADDRESS!

2. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego. I cannot argue with you one scintilla if you put Rivers over Brady. Numerically, it’s a push, I’d say. Rivers has a 659-yard edge in passing yards. Brady is plus-19 in TD-to-INT ratio, Rivers plus-14. Brady’s passer rating is 0.9 points higher, 105.8-104.9. Rivers has a big edge in the important yards-per-attempt stat, 8.94 to 7.59. Wins? Brady’s three up.

Marmalard holds the edge in Laserfaces with one. But Brady has a prohibitive lead in children born out of wedlock. Brady also has a decisive lead in yelling at teammates to play to the cameras while Rivers has yelled at more people overall. Tough call.

4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay. Pushes his teammate, Clay Matthews, out of the competition — for now.

Until he gets guilted into including someone who isn’t a quarterback.

Offensive Players of the Week

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh

This was the kind of game the old Steelers won — not playing well offensively, smothering the other guys on defense, and surviving because of a grinding running game.

Pretty sure that’s not why the Steelers survived that game. Mendenhall also had a fumble deep on his own side of the field. But anything to gush about the myth of DURRRR OLD SCHOOL GRIND ‘EM OUT STILLER FOOTBAWW that hasn’t existed in, like, a decade.

Defensive Players of the Week

Kevin Burnett, LB, San Diego


RT @rjb1816: The Charger linebacker is named Kevin Burnett. You called him “Rob” twice in your article … My mistake. Fixing.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

He made quite the impression, huh?

Chris Long, DE, St. Louis.

Repeat after me:

Repeat after me

The Rams enter December in first place in the NFC West.

The Rams enter December in first place in the NFC West.

The Rams enter December in first place in the NFC West.

The Rams enter Decem – HEY I ALREADY SAID THAT, FUCK-O! QUIT PLAYING GAMES!

And as much as the team deserves credit, and as much as Sam Bradford has been incredibly important to getting the Rams to 5-6, this 36-33 win over Denver on the road had one Mariano Rivera: Long.

Oh, I’m not repeating that obnoxious baseball-referencing bullshit.

With 60 seconds to play, and Denver down by three with the ball at its 34, Long sacked Kyle Orton for a six-yard loss on first down. Then, on fourth-and-16, he rattled Orton and changed the direction of a last, desperate, incomplete pass. He keeps playing like that and he won’t be known as Howie Long’s kid much longer. Howie will be Chris Long’s father.

“Not as long as he’s driving that mamby-pamby Hemi-less vagina with wheels he calls a truck. NO SON OF MINE!”

Special Teams Player of the Week

Alfred Malone, DT, Las Vegas Locos (UFL).

Oh look, it’s Footsteps PK’s UFL beat.

The backup defensive lineman burst through a soft Florida middle on the final snap of the second season of the United Football League, blocking Florida kicker Nick Novak’s 45-yard field-goal attempt as time expired, ensuring the second consecutive title for the Locos, 23-20. “We just crushed the middle of their field-goal team,” coach Jim Fassel told me. “Crushed ‘em. What a way to win.”

And what a pointless league to win in.

Coaches of the Week

Mike Heimerdinger, offensive coordinator, Tennessee.

Heimerdinger found out he had cancer Wednesday morning, and immediately decided to help coach his latest quarterback project, sixth-round rookie Rusty Smith of Florida Atlantic, in his first NFL start instead of starting his chemotherapy regimen.

I see he made the right call on that one.

Stat of the Week

St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford may be on his way to being voted the unanimous NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, a rarity when fractious sportswriters vote for awards.

Who could ever imagine a bunch of sportswriters could be in agreement on praising a quarterback who’s actually been good?

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I

Stolen from reader Jim Connolly of Reading, Mass., and one I could not refuse: Tom Brady wasn’t the only Patriots quarterback to have a good week. Drew Bledsoe’s new winery, Doubleback, had its Cabernet Sauvignon place 53rd overall in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines.

Which of course is only a prelude to the Dreamboat Vineyards Tempranillo placing in the top 10 two years from now.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II

Buffalo safety Bryan Scott rides his bike 2.5 miles to work each day.

Wow, that’s like 10-15 minutes if you’re slow!

In Buffalo.

Where wheels are illegal unless they are cheese.

Still did it all last week, even as the temperatures dipped into the low 30s. “I guess I’m spearheading the ‘green’ initiative for the Bills,” he said. “I’ll be riding ’til the first snowfall. There’s been some mornings where it’s been 34, 35 degrees, but I enjoy the scenery, and it makes me feel like I’m doing a little good. There’s only one Planet Earth. We’ve got to take care of it.”

In related news, Bryan Scott’s farts smell like justice.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

On my way to a lower east-side lunch, I boarded a train at Penn Station and immediately smelled a powerful combination of man-stink, B.O., and a portopot. The doors closed, and I looked over, and there, in the back of the car, stretched out over the equivalent of four hard bench seats, was a 40ish man, maybe 375 pounds, with half of his distended gut pushing out of a worn T-shirt and above the belt of filthy sweatpants. The man was snoring like a steam locomotive. I was on the train for seven or eight minutes and he never stirred. You could hear him snoring in Pennsylvania. I never talk on the subway, but I did make eye contact with a man across from me who, too, was incredulous.

I’m glad you found someone else who had never taken the subway before.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life — how can you sleep that soundly on a moving subway?” I said. The stranger said: “That’s better than I’ve slept in 10 years.”

“Because I’m kept awake by the soul-crushing bore that is my everyday existence.”

I got off the train to transfer to the L train. Waiting for the Brooklyn-bound L, I saw a seven-inch rat scurry along the tracks and look up as if to say, “Got any Jujubes up there for me?”

“As a matter of fact, I do! You want cherry or the lemon? NO GRAPE FOR YOU – THAT’S MY FAVES!”

Gotta love New York. I think with this story and the JFK Airport story of a couple weeks ago, I could be doing quite a bit to slow the Manhattan population explosion.

By reinforcing accepted notions about New York that have existed for generations? People in the subway stink and there are rats. HOW DID EVERY SINGLE DEPICTION OF NEW YORK CITY FAIL TO EXPOSE THIS HIDDEN BLIGHT?! I dare say, you’re a latter-latter-day Upton Sinclair, Mr. King.

Ten Things I Think I Think

e. The Broncos have found a punter. Britton Colquitt’s 50.3-yard gross average against St. Louis was his fourth 50-plus-average day of the season.

And you plebeians thought Josh McDaniels was a shitty personnel guy.

g. Buffalo’s effort, every week. It’s a little-engine-that-could team. “We feel fortunate to come away with a win,” said Steeler coach Mike Tomlin. Feel? Try we definitely are fortunate .

“Try we were blessed by a cruel unfeeling God that forsook Stevie Johnson for nothing more than a caprice.”

k. Peyton Hillis, 11th in the league in rushing, ahead of Darren McFadden, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Shonn Greene and Cedric Benson. Their fame dwarfs his, obviously.

WHY DOES THE WHITE MAN NEVER GET HIS DUE?! WE BUILT THIS COUNTRY BY THE SWEAT OF OUR BROWS, WHICH WAS ACCUMULATED BY THE EXTENSIVE STRESS OF DELEGATING MENIAL TASKS TO OTHER RACES!

m. Looking frisky, Ricky Williams.

Switched to uppers, I see.

n. Looking great, Jacoby Ford. Oakland’s found a Devin Hester wannabe.

Pretty sure Ford’s already a better receiver than Hester.

o. What an interception, Aqib Talib.

The referee didn’t think so.

p. The game-securing run by Brett “Walter Brennan” Favre.

An “Over-The-Hill Gang” reference. Timely. Dotage must be fun.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 12:

a. Baltimore fullback Le’Ron McClain, who would be invaluable against Pittsburgh next Sunday, leaving the stadium in a walking boot Sunday after spraining an ankle against the Bucs.

If he can’t go, who will be available to spit in LaMarr Woodley’s eye?

c. The Bengals bypassing a 47-yard field goal Thursday night because of no faith in kicker Aaron Pettrey. Why have him on the roster if he’s not good enough to make a 47-yarder?

Because the Bengals are fucking stupid and always have been?

g. Tennessee running back Chris Johnson getting zero carries in the second quarter of a game in the balance. You’d rather give the ball to Rusty Smith every snap, I take it?

Look who’s questioning the cancer patient now.

j. You could take an ugly brawl that gives the game a black eye a little more seriously, Gary Kubiak.

Domestic sports abuse is serious, Gary.

d. Department of Redundancy Department: Please, please, please, NCAA commentators, stop calling the Mid-American Conference the MAC Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference the WAC Conference. It’s not the Mid-American Conference Conference, but that’s what you’re calling it when you say “MAC Conference.”

That’s advice you can take to the ATM machine!

e. Just can’t get into “The Office.” Sorry. I think it’s over for the show. Fun while it lasted, though.

Sorry, Nard Dog. He tried to hang on five years after everyone else, but he could only make it four and a half.

f. Now, “Family Guy.” That’s another story.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Just saw the one with the mentally challenged horse house pet, devouring a sugar cube in a painstakingly licking way off Stewie’s head. Had to pick myself off the floor after that one.

That description alone has me in stitches. Because laughing ruptures my innards. Keep Richard Seymour away, please. Anyway, I haven’t watched Family Guy in five years or so, so I had to see if YouTube had a clip of this. Success!

Wow, it’s the same kind of lingering uncomfortable situation gag Family Guy was doing repeatedly when I stopped watching the show. Five years ago. So PK should be good for another decade on this one.

j. Leslie Nielsen, dead at 84. He was one of the funniest men of our lives. I’ve never laughed harder at an actor, unless maybe it’s John Candy. Thanks for the memories.

John Candy was like a latter-fatter-day Leslie Nielsen.

Who I Like Tonight, and I Mean Ron Jaworski

Arizona 23, San Francisco 20. I declare tonight National Be Nice To Your Better Half Night. You’ve got lots of big prime-time games to steal the TV in the coming weeks. Steelers-Ravens next Sunday, Jets-Pats next Monday, Packers-Pats in a couple of Sundays, Saints-Falcons on the Monday of Christmas weekend and so on. My alternative television recommendation for spousal harmony: “My Cousin Vinny,” at 9, on TV Land.

My dried-up 55-year-old wife who passes out from drink by 8:30 each evening thanks you kindly.