By Jeff Labrecque
Updated December 05, 2011 at 03:41 PM EST
Tim Tebow
Credit: Morry Gash/AP

Yes, you too can pretend to know something about football on Monday morning. Your Get-out-of-jail-free card today is the official news that Madonna will be performing at this year’s Super Bowl. That should at least get you from the lobby to the elevator to your office. Be careful, though. If you express too much interest in her potential half-time playlist, your charade will be ruined. Instead, drop one of these field-tested conversation starters as a diversion and make a swift escape to your cubicle, where you can play old Madge music videos to your heart’s content.

1. “Jeez, when did the NFC East turn into the NFC Least?”

Traditionally, the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Redskins make up one of the most competitive divisions in football. The Eagles have crashed this season after huge expectations, and the other three teams lost yesterday in painful fashion. The Giants dropped their fourth in a row to the undefeated Packers. The Redskins gave up 21 fourth-quarter points to lose to the Jets. And the first-place Cowboys erased their own game-winning field goal with an errant time-out call and lost in overtime to the Cardinals. In all, the Giants were the only team that played relatively well this week, but do any of these teams want to win this division?

2. “I didn’t go to church yesterday, but I watched Tim Tebow perform another miracle, so…”

The Broncos won their fifth game in a row, and rugged quarterback Tim Tebow performed his magic again, leading Denver from behind to win in the last seconds, 35-32. No point in judging his style points any more. The devout Christian and humble warrior just keeps winning. Without him, Denver was 1-4. With him, they’re tied for first place in their division.

3. “You know Brett Favre threw some balls in his backyard yesterday.”

The 42-year-old gunslinger is officially retired, but quarterback injuries have put some teams’ potential playoff hopes in jeopardy — and surely they have his number on speed dial. The Bears started Caleb Hanie yesterday and his numbers were brutal (11-24, 133 yards) in an upset to the Chiefs, who themselves were led by the immortal Tyler Palko. The first-place Texans sent out third-string T.J. Yates, who looked shaky but still led Houston to a win against the Falcons. Favre Watch lives!

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