(Editor's note: Every week this season, gay teenage NFL fan Jeremy Brener will give his perspective and predictions for the upcoming week).
This week, the youth basketball team that I coach begins its season. I'm a big sports guy, and I love being a basketball coach almost as much as I love being a player. It requires so much strategy and the ability to know how to direct a team through the game and to correct any problem that may come your way.
Being a coach in the NFL magnifies the responsibilities I have as a youth basketball coach immensely. A team in the NFL needs a good coach in order to succeed. Being a gay coach, I have always wondered if there are people like me. Outsports has shown that there are gay basketball coaches, like Chris Burns and Anthony Nicodemo, but what if a high-profile football coach were to come out? What impact would he have?
If an NFL coach were to come out tomorrow, I would definitely be inspired. I think that he would make a difference in the LGBT rights movement in sports, and he would forward the movement of equality and acceptance in sports. I think that the general public will have mixed opinions, some positive and some negative, which is expected given the current situation of how LGBT rights are currently perceived in the United States.
If the man coming out were to be a position coach anywhere in America at any level of football, the story would be relevant, but then everyone would move on from the story a week later. If the coach coming out were to be a head coach, it would create more of a buzz. In fact, it could be just as impactful as if a player were to come out. On some teams in the NFL, but mostly in college, the head coach is the face of the team. When the Bills come up, Rex Ryan is one of the first people that comes to mind, and Chip Kelly is arguably the face of the Eagles. In college, Nick Saban is the face of Alabama, Jimbo Fisher is the face of Florida State, and Les Miles is the face of LSU. The head coaches are always in charge of handling the media. The head coach would do his best to make his sexuality the least of the team's news. If the team were to play poorly, would the public pin it on the coach's sexual orientation? Hopefully not, but it brings an interesting situation into fruition.
Soon, football and other professional sports will have gay coaches and female coaches, and any coach that doesn't fit the current idea of what a coach of a professional sports team is right now. Somebody will be the first, and maybe it will be me. At 17 years old, I know that I can be anything I set my mind to. I love coaching, and it could be the passion that leads me to a career someday. Somebody will be the first gay head football coach someday, and I can't wait to be inspired by the bravery and courage and example that person exhibits.
Here's what's going down for Week 13:
Game of the Week
New York Jets vs. New York Giants
The Subway Series. The Battle of Gotham. The New York Bowl. The Must-Win Game. The Most Important Game of the Season. All of those titles ring true for the Jets and Giants this weekend. The last time these two played was Christmas Eve 2011. The Giants won the game 29-14 and stringed their first of six straight wins en route to the Lombardi trophy. The Giants are fighting to get the division lead back after they relinquished it to the Redskins in a loss last week. The Jets want to capitalize from their win last week against the Dolphins and get to 7-5. The backstory of the game isn't all that excites me about this matchup. If we're lucky, Darrelle Revis will return to action this week and face off against the league's biggest rising star, Odell Beckham Jr. The Jets have been one of the year's surprise teams and their receiving corps with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker is fascinating to watch. The Giants have played poorly at times during the season, but they have shown signs of being a contender. They held the Buffalo Bills to 10 points on the road and lost by one point against the New England Patriots. Both have the credentials, but I like the Jets in this one. The defense has been strong this season and should give Eli Manning fits all day. It will be another step in the right direction for the Jets, and they will win 27-21.
Upset of the Week
Indianapolis Colts over Pittsburgh Steelers
The Colts and Steelers enter the final month of their respective bizarre seasons. Both teams have dealt with quarterback injuries. The Steelers have used three quarterbacks and Ben Roethlisberger has been injured on three different occasions. Andrew Luck will miss his fifth game of the season this week, but every game he has missed has resulted in a win for the Colts. Matt Hasselbeck's 4-0 record as a starting quarterback has lifted the Colts to the top of their division, while the Steelers are on the outside looking in as a wild card. This is an extremely important game for both teams and could very well affect whether or not they will make the postseason. Last season when the Colts went to Pittsburgh, the Steelers won 51-34, and Roethlisberger threw for a career-high 522 passing yards. However, this is a banged-up Steelers team and a Colts team that is riding momentum off of wins against Denver, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay. The Colts just allowed a season-low 12 points to a Tampa team that put up 45 the week before that. This is an underrated defense playing in what could be their most important game of the season. I like the Colts to beat the Steelers in a shootout, 39-35.
Fantasy Start of the Week
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin vs. Atlanta Falcons
Martin has had a bounce-back year for the Bucs. The former first-round pick has run for 1,038 yards this season (second-best in the NFL). The only running back to run for more yards than Martin is Adrian Peterson, who ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 29 attempts against Martin's opponent this week, the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have allowed the most rushing yards this season in the NFL and Martin should expose Atlanta's major weakness. He ran for 71 yards against the Falcons when they met in Week 8, but in the last two weeks, Martin has been fantastic. He has ran for 332 yards on 41 carries. He has the ability to go for a big run once or twice, and the Falcons are notorious for allowing just that. Start Martin in all formats this week.
Fantasy Sit of the Week
Vikings WR Stefon Diggs vs. Seattle Seahawks
Diggs is the first player this season to be a start and sit of the week. He was the start of the week in Week 8, and in Week 13, he has moved to my bench. In Week 8, I was right about Diggs, and he recorded six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Since Week 8, he has played four games and he has yet to record as many yards as he did in Week 8 and he has yet to find the end zone. Diggs has the potential and the build of a number one receiver, but he is in a slump, and it's hard to expect him to get out of that slump when he's matched up against Richard Sherman on Sunday. It is going to be a cold game in Minnesota and the game will be won on the ground, which means that Diggs shouldn't contribute very much this week and he should be benched.
Fantasy Pick-up of the Week
49ers TE Vance McDonald
Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Martellus Bennett, and Tyler Eifert all went down with injuries, meaning the tight end waiver wire is extremely thick this week. Scott Chandler and Luke Willson should immediately benefit from their respective teammate's absences and be the first tight ends off the waiver wire this week, but take a look at Vance McDonald from San Francisco. Ever since Davis was traded, McDonald has taken the starting job. Garrett Celek is in the fold, but McDonald's recent successes since Blaine Gabbert became the starting quarterback (12 receptions, 155 yards, two touchdowns) is a sign that McDonald is in for another big game on Sunday against Chicago and could come up big for your team in the playoffs.
Lock of the Week
Cincinnati Bengals over Cleveland Browns
Poor Cleveland. You can't help but feel for the Browns. They have had a horrendous season and then they lose to the franchise who walked away from their city in the most devastating way imaginable - a kick-6. They added injury to insult when Josh McCown hurt his collarbone and is out for the year. Johnny Manziel would look like the next logical option to play quarterback, but his antics continue to keep him out of the lineup. Therefore, Austin Davis, the Rams' starting quarterback last season, will make his first start as a Cleveland Brown Sunday. His matchup? The 9-2, Super-Bowl-contending Cincinnati Bengals. Davis performed well in relief Monday night, but that was against the Ravens defense, one of the worst in the league. Now, he faces a Top 10 defense on a short week, where he has had few reps with the first team. The Browns' dysfunction is not the only thing that will affect this result. The Bengals started 8-0, lost two prime time games against division leaders, and bounced back last week in a blowout of the Rams. Cincinnati will take advantage of Cleveland's unorganized offense and capitalize with a win, 34-21.
Buzzer's Best Bet
Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski will make one pick each week against the spread.
San Francisco +7 at Chicago Pick: Chicago.
The 49ers have been dreadful on the road -- 0-5, with every loss but one by 16 or more points. They haven't scored or than 17 in any of Blaine Gabbert's starts at QB and don't expect anything better against a Bears team that has surprised everyone by becoming a wild card contender. Chicago has had 10 days off since upsetting the Packers, so look for an easy win this week.
Last week: 0-1. Season: 7-5.
Hot Player of the Week
Broncos QB Brock Osweiler
Bill Belichick was 13-0 against quarterbacks in their first or second career start heading into Sunday. Now, he's 13-1. Osweiler may not have the hottest numbers and he may dress questionably, it is arguable that he is the hottest quarterback in the NFL. Regardless, he is 2-0 in two NFL starts and he has done what no other quarterback has done in the league this season - beat the Patriots. No matter how long he will continue to start for the Broncos this season, Denver knows they have an answer for when Peyton Manning finally hangs up his cleats. And Denver is extremely fortunate to have a QB that is both hot on and off the field.
Jeremy Brener lives in Houston. He can be reached via email (email@example.com) or Twitter (@BrenerJeremy).