Everyone has his or her own idea of how everything will go Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan’s way en route to the most euphoric pro football season in more than two decades in Washington.
Everyone also has a Schleprock friend to tell them how it can all go horribly wrong.
This is how it will go down, and the long-suffering fans will raise their arms, not regret buying Griffin wedding gifts on a fixed income, and sing joyous hosannas into, just maybe, a New Jersey February blizzard.
Three hours before kickoff, in an absolute shocker, Dr. James Andrews rules Robert Griffin III out. But Adidas, Gatorade and ESPN execs overrule Jimmy, ensuring the boffo box office matchup between RGIII and Michael Vick on “Monday Night Football.” Jon Gruden announces on the second possession that “both of these hombres are as tough as two-dollar steaks.” First play from scrimmage RGIII connects with Pierre Garcon on a bomb and Washington jumps out to a 35-0 first-quarter lead in a payback for the Monday Night 2010 rout. Ketchup-and-Mustard Jerseys 59, Chip Kelly’s Chumps 28. 1-0.
On the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, which is actually 73 and balmy that day, Aaron Rodgers and Griffin engage in one of the great modern shootouts, combining for 900 yards and nine touchdowns. An amazing Washington comeback is stifled, though, when Bacarri Rambo’s missed tackle on Jermichael Finley on fourth and goal from the 9 in the final minutes ends the suspense. 42-38, Pack. 1-1. (Good omen: After Washington beat Green Bay in 2010, the Packers got mad and won the Super Bowl. Trust me: You want to lose this game.)
Alfred Morris trucks Ndamukong Suh on the opening drive, setting the table for a thorough dismantling of an inferior NFC team whose drought of not playing in the conference championship game is equaled only by Washington (1991). (Ha, it only took our town 21 years to rebuild.) In related news, Griffin flies to Detroit and visits the city’s most impoverished areas on his day off. Property values instantly return. Robert Gandhi III and friends 34, Lions of Losing 10. 2-1.
In a battle of kickers who can’t miss, Kai Foregone nails a record-setting 64-yarder with two minutes left, taking the throne from Sebastian Janikowski, who looks as old and feeble as the home team’s stadium. B&G Nation 18, Black Hole Vagrants, 15. 3-1.
Banged up at cornerback, General Manager Bruce Allen signs Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, a 5-foot-10 Nigerian American who once played at Bowie State. Griffin actually scouted the little-known player for Shanahan and Allen at a Wale concert in Norfolk during the bye week. Unfortunately, Tony Romo picks on the new DB, and Dez Bryant hauls in four touchdowns. It’s only later that team officials learn their new player is Wale, who wasn’t even that good when he played at Quince Orchard in Gaithersburg. Mixing business with pleasure, Griffin and Wale bust a rhyme from “The Gifted,” before the rapper is designated to the practice squad. Dallas 35, Washington 21. 3-2.
A tight game goes into overtime when, in the tradition of great Chicago linebackers like Butkus, Singletary and Urlacher, Ryan Kerrigan blows up the Bears’ backfield. He picks off Jay Cutler, tipping the ball to himself theatrically nine times because he knows the camera is on him, and races to the house for the deciding score — because that’s all Kerrigan does when he intercepts a pass, okay?Jim Haslett’s Band-Aid D 16, Da Bad News Bears 10. 4-2.
The Shanahanza. Featuring My-Way Mike, who piggybacked on John Elway’s shoulders to two Super Bowls, returning with his new young gun against Old Man Peyton. Kyle was just a little Shanny when he left, but now he’s all growed up. He keeps the Broncos off-balance with a tremendous run/pass balance that makes even Robert Griffin Jr. happy. But Wes Welker is too much, catching 10 of Peyton’s balls, three for scores. Shanahan’s Old Team 24, Kyle’s O 23. 4-3.
This is a joke, right? Washington 48, Crybaby Rivers and that Pathetic Has-Been of an AFC Contender, 3. 5-3.
In the battle of reconstructed ACLs, it’s a win-win for fantasy league owners who started Griffin at QB and Adrian Peterson at RB. 750 yards and six TDs later, they were down with RGIII and AP. Griffin wins it with a 76-yard gallop down the right sideline. 35-30, Washington. 6-3.
London Fletcher figures out Chip Kelly’s all-of-these-things-is-just-like-the-other placard code on the sideline. Seeing an Oregon duck, a dollar sign, the word “probation” and a portrait of the Eagles coach, Fletcher knew the Eagles would take the money and run. Scooping up a fumble by LeSean McCoy, he laterals it to Kerrigan, who purposely tips it to himself eight times to make it look difficult and takes it to the house late in the fourth quarter to seal a season sweep. Surging Snyder Employees 27, Philly Road Kill 17. 7-3.
Read option vs. Read option. RGIII vs. Tatted-Up Man Who Doesn’t Have As Many National Commercials. Nails Niners Defense vs. Bend-And-Sometimes-Break D. Still, Griffin is too much for Kaepernick, Patrick Willis and that famed D. He rocks the defending NFC champs to sleep, passing for 300 yards, rushing for 150 more and turning in his most dramatic performance since the Gatorade documentary. Touchdown Threesus and the boys 38, Angry Man Jim Harbaugh and the Niners, 20. 8-3.
Please. Memo to Eli: This team no longer loses divisional games at home. London Fletcher is the difference, playing in his 252nd straight game. With a monstrous hit that shakes the NFL-head-neck-and-spine committee, he dislodges the ball from Eli late in the third quarter. Kedric Golston, who was so good early that Jarvis Jenkins never got his job back, recovers the fumble at the 2 and Morris punches it in. Team Too Good To Be True 21, G-Strings 9. 9-3
In a battle of Indigenous Peoples where I’m not even going to go there even though I just did, it’s ugly. Washington 45, K.C. 17. 10-3
Matty Ice is tired of the hype for the new kid. He rears back and throws for 425 yards against a porous secondary that Jim Haslett finally couldn’t bail out with his blitz schemes up front. Griffin is uncharacteristically rattled by the Georgia Dome. He’s also tired, having stayed up all night writing hand-written thank-you notes to fans who bought up future registries for he and his wife, Rebecca, on Buy Buy Baby, even though the couple isn’t expecting yet. 24-10, Falcons. 10-4
Payback time from October. Roy Helu Jr. and Leonard Hankerson become unsung heroes in a rout on cold, drizzly day in Prince George’s County for Jerry Jones, Monte Kiffin and that figurehead of a coach. Romo is crushed to smithereens by Brian Orakpo, Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield, who pull his jersey apart like a wishbone. Back-To-Back NFC East Champs 31, Cellar Dwellers 20. 11-4.
Before final regular season game in East Rutherford, N.J., Griffin and wife drive 19 miles to Union, N.J., headquarters of Bed, Bath & Beyond. There they swap Vera Wang Wedgwood with Love Toasting Flutes, 11-foot Outdoor Round Cantilever Solar Umbrella with Steel Frame in Latte (retail $299.99), Calphalon Easy Release Melon Baller and other unnecessary gifts purchased by fans living on fixed incomes for . . . diapers and pacifiers. Page 6 of the New York Post speculates the pending arrival of RGIV. But instead Griffin sends them to the Giants’ locker room after Eli Manning and his inferior crew boo-hoo over a no-call. In a scrum on the last play, DeAngelo Hall takes down Victor Cruz in the end zone with no time remaining. Eli’s Hail Mary goes awry. Washington 17, Little, Bawling G-Babies Who Want Their Mommies, 10. 12-4.
Wait, 12-4! Just like Jason Reid predicted in The Post two months before the season started. Sadly, this has all been a J. Reid dream. Time to get up, sleepy head.
Given the four or five games it’s going to take for Griffin to get his legs and genuinely feel comfortable in the pocket again, RGIII realistically leads his team to 9-7, losing to the Packers, 49ers, Broncos, Falcons, Kansas City (inexplicably) and splitting with the Giants and Cowboys.
But 9-7 qualifies Washington for wild-card status, and RGIII and the fellas beat Green Bay and Atlanta on the road in January and make it all the way to the NFC championship game — where Kirk Cousins is intercepted three times after halftime and they lose in Seattle, 34-31. Shanahan is roundly criticized for not playing a gimpy RGIII the entire second half, but saves his job and gets a three-year contract extension for worrying about health concerns before his Hall of Fame bust in Canton.
And Washington takes the next logical step toward the Lombardi Trophy. Meanwhile, Griffin is actually healthy going into the offseason. It’s not fantasy, but it’s practical and all Jimmy Andrews-approved.
For more by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.
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