Week 13 NFL Winners From Anne V.

I Could Use Some Anne W's.

I Could Use Some Anne W’s.

It’s going through the motion season.  The Eagles are going through the motions, fantasy owners are going through the motions, and I’m going through the motions in Pick ‘Em.  I wish I could say I’m motivated to pull myself out of the cellar, but this is an all or nothing proposition.  No one is going to remember who finishes third.  Tough to digest another year where I didn’t figure out the system and pick 70% winners.  Every September I feel so confident.  So, here we go, I’ll try to keep my nose above .500.

Big Dub, 33-26-2

Chicago (-3.5) over Seattle.  Lynch is banged up and Wilson is still the QB.  Lock. It. Up.

St. Louis (+7) over San Francisco.  I’m waiting for this to blow up in Harbaugh’s face.

Dallas (-10) over Philadelphia.  It has blown in Andy’s face and I’m waiting to see how bad it will get.  I think it’ll get worse.

Oakland (+1.5) over Cleveland.  The Browns are laying points on the Row-Add?


Nichols, 33-27

San Francisco (-7) over St. Louis.  QB controversy doesn’t matter when you play teams like St. Louis.

New York Jets (-4.5) over Arizona.  Jets need something to feel good about.  This is their only shot.

Buffalo (-6) over Jacksonville.  Henne is bound for a fall.

Houston (-6) over Tennesee.  Titans are horrible.

Cincinnati (-1.5) over A Whale’s Vagina.  Red and Green put up points.  Rivers sucks and his 0-line is even worse.


Kraft, 33-26-1

Tampa (+7) over Denver.  Tampa Bay needs a “w” to stay in the wild-card race.  They played Atlanta tough.  I just don’t see Denver winning their last 11 straight.

New York Giants (-3) over Washington.  This RG3 Fairy Tale needs to calm down.  Giants assert their will.

Seattle (+3.5) over Chicago.  I’ll take the points.  Bears are banged up, Marshawn is going to be able to run the ball effectively.  Cortez Kennedy causes problems for that shaky Bears O-line.

Cincinnati (-1.5) over San Diego.  When you give up a 4th and 29, you lose your soul.  Cincy is in the playoff hunt and they take advantage of a team that has clearly quit.  There’s no Natrone Means to light a fire in that locker room.

Jacksonville (+6) over Buffalo.  Gross baited me and I’ll oblige.  Ride the Jags.  If I won the Powerball for 550 million, I would have spent it all on Chad Henne’s right arm.


Grossy, 29-28-3

New York Giants (-3) over Washington.  Washington can hang with the rest of the slop in the NFC East, but I think it’s clear after Sunday night that New York is easily the best team in the division.  Eli doesn’t play well against Washington, but after seeing RG3 earlier this year, I think the Giants will be better prepared and should win easy by a TD.

Tennessee (+6) over Houston.  Because it doesn’t make any sense.  I guess Tennessee is playing better and Houston doesn’t have their blowout magic from earlier in the year, but six still seems awfully low.  The AFC South is the division of the missed blowout opportunity.  It always used to be Indy @ Tenn, or whatever, but now Houston has taken that role.  You saw them struggle with Henne, this week they struggle with Eddie George.

Jacksonville (+6) over Buffalo.  Speaking of Henne.  I can’t turn away from six points.  The Jags are reinvigorated by the hiss of the Henne spiral and they’ve also added noted “glue guy,” Jason Babin.  Is it too late for a Super Bowl run?  The good news is, the Jags are going to blow right by the Eagles in the standings.  Hello top-3 pick.

Carolina (-3) over Kansas City.  Unfortunately for the Birds, they’ll never catch Kansas City.  They’ve zeroed in on the top pick.  They also need to zero in on a new coach.  Romeo has no Juliet.  I’m afraid the Chiefs might end up at 1-15.

Tampa Bay (+7) over Denver.  Hoping for a push here.  I would like to lead the contests in *no actions.*  I think that’s my only shot at any glory.  The Broncos have won six straight.  I think they’ll probably be looking forward to that epic battle against the Raiders next week.  When you’re preoccupied with trying to game plan for Todd Marinovich, you’re not going to be able to blowout these Bucs.


JCK, 36-24-1

  1. Green Bay (-8) over Minnesota
  2. San Francisco (-7) over St. Louis
  3. Carolina (-3) over Kansas City
  4. San Diego (+1.5) over Cincinnati


DC, 33-26-1

Seattle (+3.5) over Chicago.  I think Seattle will win this outright in a very close game.  Even if they don’t win, I LOVE the extra half point.  The outcome just makes sense.  Chicago falls into a tie with Green Bay in the NFC North and Seattle puts itself in prime position to be the sloppy 9-7 second NFC wild card team that no one will especially want to play.

Green Bay (-8) over Minnesota.  Part II of the NFC North scenario.  Green Bay’s secondary sucks, but Minnesota’s passing offense SUCKS WORSE.

Washington (+3) over New York Giants.  I think RG3 may be in line for a transcendent performance this week.

Indianapolis (+5) over Detroit.  I don’t know if everyone else has noticed yet, but Detroit has GIVEN UP.

Denver (-7) over Tampa Bay.  I don’t like Tampa Bay getting on a plane and flying out to Denver during a letdown week.


Mid-Week Mailbag.

What to Do?

I was making some food the other day.  Little bit of rice, some steak and I was mixing it all together in a frying pan to “finish” the dish.  Gotta finish that rice in the pan, but my pan is SO non-stick that the rice was too much to contain.  I stirred with too much gusto and a mouthful of rice comes flying up the side of the pan, ejects itself and lands on my foot.  I was wearing a flip-flop.  Searing pain.  I dropped a standard double profanity, kicked the rice all over the place–it was a real scene.  The moral, as always is don’t cook barefoot.  The mailbag…

Q:  With the Eagles record at 3-8 and only two teams with a worse record (Jax at 2-9 and KC at 1-10) do I start rooting for the Eagles to keep losing and Jax and KC to win a few so the Eagles get the first pick?  If this was last year, I think the answer is yes so the Eagles could pick either Luck or RGIII, but this year there doesn’t seem to be a franchise QB coming out in the draft.  So, what do I do?  Mr. Corteleono, Great Valley, PA.  

A:  This is the scenario you never want to find yourself in if you are a fan.  Here’s my stance.  You never root for the team to lose.  It’s not something a true fan can do.  The Eagles are playing Dallas this Sunday night.  Are you going to tell me that an Eagles fan can sit there and root for Dallas to win?  NOT POSSIBLE.  The fact that there is no franchise QB available this year just seals the deal.  It would be nice to have the top pick, but there will be no RG3 and also Howie Roseman is making that pick?  Are you comfortable with that, because I’m not.  God forbid Daniel T’e0-whatever has a younger brother.  So, here’s what fans do in this scenario.  They say and do things to make themselves feel better.  You’ll hear a lot of Eagles fans saying things like, “I hope they lose out.”  This is like when the bully stole your ball from you at recess and you said, “I was done playing ANYWAY.”  Nice try.  So, you try to lessen the blow, laugh when they blow yet ANOTHER coverage, but at the end of the day it’s going to hurt like usual.  That’s just what being a fan is, rooting for them to win and taking it hard when they lose–regardless of the stakes.  

Q:  If you were a waiter do you think you would ever get to the point where you would tamper with a diner’s food?  You know what I’m talking about.  Dice E. Mayo, Collegeville, PA.

A:  There’s a classic scene in Road Trip where the kid said he didn’t want powdered sugar on his french toast so the waiter takes it back to the kitchen and removes the sugar…with his crotch and undercarriage areas.  It’s the type of scene that often pops up on TV and in the movies and makes you want to forget about anything that might go on behind closed kitchen doors.  Considering how much trust you put into the waiter or waitress, it is surprising how poorly they are treated at times.  I was never a waiter, but I have spent a lot of time cleaning golf clubs.  Weird things can happen in a bag room.  Clubs disappear.  The head of a driver can snap off.  Maybe that fancy ball marker takes a walk?  I never stole or damaged property, but the nicer you were to me, the nicer I was to your stuff.  If you were a little slow to the wallet, I probably wasn’t going to clean your clubs that well.  You’d get a tw0-swipe special with a damp towel.  I don’t think I could ever spit in someone’s food.  That’s disrespectful.  TO THE FOOD.  And, at some point, someone has to take the high road, right?  I might be tempted to explore other passive aggressive avenues, though.  I might eat 1/2 your fries on the way to the table, or let your soup sit and get cold for a while.  But let’s be honest.  I could never be a waiter.  

Q:  The Powerball jackpot got absurdly high this week.  Over 500 million.  The question is, if one of your close friends won the jackpot, what would you expect to get out of it?  Kenny Sponge, Louisville, KY.

A:  I would like to be one of the leeches that causes these people to lose hundreds of millions of dollars within a few years.  I’d be like, “Let’s start an Airline!”  I’m joking.  It is interesting to think about what you would do if someone you knew won the lottery, because you usually picture yourself with the winning numbers.  I don’t daydream too much about winning a big jackpot, but I have thought enough about it that I have thought about what I would do for other people.  What would I buy my family?  Would they want my gifts?  If you win the jackpot are you OBLIGATED to pay the college tuition of your 7th cousin?  I DON’T KNOW.  It’s nice to say that you wouldn’t expect anything, but I think you would.  I probably would too.  You’d at least like to get a trip out of it, right?  Do you expect the person to pick up the check every single time?  That probably causes some tension, because sure the guy with 100 million can grab the check, but you’d get tired of it and then you’d feel guilty for not picking it up when your buddy is making 23.5 LARGE a year.  Catch-22.  There are a lot of pitfalls to winning the lottery.  If one of my friends did, I think I’d try my best to act like it didn’t happen.  And, hope like hell we get to go on that trip before things get weird.

Q:   So I was watching someone clear a parking lot of some snow the other day (with a plow, not manually) and they might have run into a parked car.  I can’t be sure, but it looked shady to me.  I didn’t have the benefit of audio.  How often do you think this happens?  A. Drift, Wheeling, WV.

A: I imagine it happens on the regular.  Attaching a plow to the front of your truck gives you all kinds of liberties.  Damage done by a plow is pretty much just eminent domain, right?  Mailbox destroyed?  Shouldn’t have put it there.  The plow is NOT RESPONSIBLE.  You know what always amazes me?  The youthful enthusiasm of the plow guy during that first snow of the season.  Certain parts of the area got an inch or two of “fresh pow*” the other day and I was at work watching a guy go to town in the parking lot.  Keep in mind the parking lot didn’t REALLY need to be plowed.  It made things a bit easier out there, but it’s not like we had 45 disabled Honda Civics out there spinning their tires.  Things were pretty much under control, but this guy was going to clean the lot.  He was out there forever.  It was a meticulous effort and I’m not sure if he was just trying to earn his money, or if he loved his plow that much.  Of course, you’d rather they be conscientious.  Back in the day we had a circle in the driveway (fancy) and some other obstacles.  The snow plow guy would routinely churn up an acre of dirt.  Stone moron. 

*If you are a person who uses the term “pow” as an abbreviated form of “powder,” when describing skiing or snowboarding exploits, you need to reevaluate.  It’s life coach time.

Q:  Heard a commercial for Smirnoff “Iced Cake” Vodka the other day.  Where’s the line for flavored liquor?  Peach Rumm, Miami, FL.

A:  The line has been obliterated.  Do they even sell plain vodka anymore?  Is that what it’s called?  Plain?  If I was an actual drinker of vodka, I’d be offended.  There have to be some vodka purists out there who take this personally.  You go to a bar and there are 63 bottles of vodka lined up all highlighted in a different pastel color.  Vodka has become the wine cooler of the spirits aisle.  At best.  At worst, it’s approaching Boone’s Farm.  Here’s what I don’t like about hard liquor.  So much of its consumption is based on masking the taste.  At least I can say with a straight face that I enjoy the taste of beer.  If you are sucking down a flavored vodka with various other ingredients, you are mostly just trying to get drunk, right?  And, what’s the deal with iced cake?  As a bit of an icing savant, I say “Unhand my 10-x sugar, Smirnoff.”  Stay in your damn lane.  People shouldn’t be getting drunk off cake, at least not literally.  

Q:  How many mulligans do you think you would need to shoot even par at Augusta National from the tournament tees?  Hit M. Tillurhapi, Honolulu, HI.

A:  I assume you mean in non-tournament conditions.  If I have to shoot 72 at Augusta with 40.000 people around, we might as well just move on to the next question.  I’d be there all day.  But, what if I had the place to myself?  It’s an interesting question.  What kind of opinion do I have of my own golf game?  How many pars could I make legitimately?  Birdies?  Do I dare predict a birdie?  I don’t think I can be so bold.  I’m going to say I could par 4 (four) holes though, without any help.  This involves getting lucky on a few greens, maybe a 3-putt par on 13?  Who knows, but we’re now down to 14 holes I need to finish with the assist of our friend, 1 for 5, 3 for 10…the Mulligan.  I’d need two off the first tee, just out of principle.  Just to get the ball anywhere near in play.  Honestly, I think I’d spend most of them on chip shots and/or lag putts, because I don’t see myself making many putts outside of about 30 inches at Augusta.  And, not only that, if you miss a 3-footer, you might have an 8-footer coming back.  VICIOUS CYCLE.  Gotta figure out a grand total here.  Thankfully, Augusta isn’t that penal off the tee.  Off the tee on the 14 holes I have left I’m thinking I need 7 Mulligans to keep par on the table.  From there, I’ve got maybe 12 approach shots.  I’ll take another 6 here.  This is where things get tricky.  With mulligan help, let’s assume I can two putt par, or accidentally get up and down on half the remaining holes.  That leaves holes where I need multiple mulligans.  Let’s say one each on four, another two on two additional holes, and a 3-mully putting debacle to close it out.  So, the grand total becomes….26 mulligans.  Does that mean I’d shoot 98 from the tips at Augusta?  Sounds about right.  



Need Help Studying For Your Finals?

Call Chooch.

While Phillies fans sit around waiting for the team to sign two outfielders, a third baseman, and about six relief pitchers, the 2012 season managed to get a little bit worse.  One of the few bright spots, Carlos Ruiz’s career year, has now been tainted by a positive test for Adderall.  It’s Ruiz’s 2nd positive test for a stimulant (the first positive is not reported) and it will cost the catcher the first 25 games of the 2013 season.  Considering this is a 2nd offense for Ruiz, and the NFL hands out 4-game (1/4 of the season suspensions for Adderall), I suppose the punishment could have been worse.  Missing a month is something the team should theoretically be able to overcome, but the fans might fall out of love with Eric Kratz by May 1st.  

The use of stimulants in baseball is nothing new.  Before the steroid era was the “greenie” era when, depending on who you listen to, uppers were as readily available as gum and seeds in the clubhouse.  The issue with stimulants is that some are legal to use and some are not.  Also, it’s tougher to draw that straight line to improved performance.  When a guy throws on 30 lbs of muscle in an off-season, the benefit is right there in front of your eyes.  But if a guy is on a stimulant, the differences might not be as noticeable to the naked eye.  

There’s also the question of where to draw the line.  Over 100 players in MLB are allowed to use Adderall due to ADHD or some other medical diagnosis.  So, has Adderall become the medical marijuana of MLB and other professional sports?  Is every player prescribed the drug taking it for legitimate reasons?  And if not Adderall, what other stimulants will players gravitate toward?  Is amphetamine use a byproduct of stricter testing for steroids and other known performance enhancing drugs?

What makes Ruiz’s case unique is that the catcher is coming a career year.  A year that far eclipsed anything he had ever done offensively.  Ruiz went from a guy known for a couple of solid post-seasons to a legitimate 1st-half NL MVP candidate.  He led the league in hitting for a time.  He carried a hobbled Phillies offense.  There was also a shift in physical appearance.  Ruiz looked stronger.  He spoke of a different off-season program, but now everyone is left to question how much of Ruiz’s career year was legitimate?  I’m not sure PEDs ever made a .270 hitter a .330 hitter, but Ruiz did have more power and there was a much more consistent level to his at-bats.  

I also remember several times during the year where announcers would talk about the “old” Ruiz.  The player who was prone to slumps.  His swing gets long, they’d say.  Maybe he gets a little run down.  That wasn’t happening in 2012.  At the time the success was attributed to the increased physical fitness and confidence.  Now?  Who knows?  

I have no idea how much Ruiz benefited from the Adderall use, but because you can see a significant spike in his 2012 numbers, he may end up becoming a poster boy for those who want stricter rules and guidelines regarding stimulant use in professional sports.  And while I don’t think Ruiz’s big season is due entirely to Adderall, there is the fact that this was a second positive test.  Carlos knew what he was doing.  There had to be something to it, otherwise why risk another positive test and a suspension?  He must have felt like he needed it last year, or in the coming year as he tried to build toward one last contract?  

The Phillies won’t be looking for a replacement for Ruiz.  They have too many other holes to fill.  Not having their starting catcher will be another obstacle for a team suddenly overwhelmed by them, but I think most sensible Phillies fans were expecting some type of regression to the mean for Ruiz regardless.  At least they should be hoping that the front office wasn’t counting on Ruiz as a middle of the order bat for 2013.  

Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

Bad Uniform. Bad Fantasy Season.

One of the great things about the NFL season is that you can so often be so definitively wrong.  This happened several times over to me on Sunday alone, but most notably in my cautious approach to Colin Kaepernick.  Kaepernick could still fizzle.  Let’s be clear about that.  Give teams time to plan for him instead of Alex Smith and let’s see him against a defense that isn’t as putrid as New Orleans, but it’s clear he was the right choice Sunday.  The point being, maybe the head coach occasionally knows better than I do.  Some other things I’ve gotten wrong this year:

1.  Antonio Brown.  I was incredibly high on Brown.  Took him in fantasy.  Patted myself on the back with vigor.  He’s now hurt, but was mediocre while he was in there.  Starting to wonder now if Brown was just a fad while teams focused too much on Mike Wallace.  

2.  I said this year, “The Good Thing About the Eagles is that they could beat anyone.  If they make the playoffs, it’s not like they’ll be overmatched against anyone.”  That’s a paraphrase, sometime around week four or five.  As I write this the Eagles are hanging in against Carolina.  Somewhat of a surprise.  But, the Panthers stink.  The Birds have been getting blown out on the regular.  Never thought it’d get this bad.  

3.  The Ravens.  If you go back and look at the Power Rankings from a month ago, or thereabouts, I started predicting the demise of the Ravens.  Something about their defense being cooked.  At press time, the Ravens are 9-2.  

Enough of that, let’s get to the Main Course:

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:

  1. JCK, 35-24-1
  2. DC, 33-26-1
  3. Kraft, 33-26-1
  4. Big Dub, 32-26-2
  5. Nichols, 33-27
  6. Grossy, 29-28-3

The “Jeff George 2.0” Pick of the Week:  Kraft (Jacksonville +3.5)

Big week for Kraft, who got himself right back into this thing.  Kraft always has a great feel for Jacksonville.  Is it a little disturbing?  Yes, but it certainly came in handy this week.  All I need to see is, “Chad Henne at Home? Check.”  Perhaps my fondness for Henne is a bit misplaced, but it’s clear that Jacksonville is a much better team with Henne at QB instead of Blaine Gabbert.  Hell, they have viable fantasy receivers at this point.  That hasn’t been the case since that cokehead Matt Jones.  Check back in next week with Kraft to see if Henne can keep it going.  

The “8-8 Is Not Acceptable,” Awful Pick of the Week: Grossy (Eagles +2.5)

I officially fell on the sword this week.  It’d take about a 20-5 run for me to get back into this thing, and I just don’t see that happening.  It’s like when people said the Eagles could make the playoffs if they finished 7-1.  Technically yes, but NO.  I really don’t know what I was thinking.  I’m OK with my Denver and ATL picks, but from there things got a little foggy.  Did I have a fever?  Did I triple reverse go against my gut jinx myself?  Perhaps.  But picking the Eagles is inexcusable.  I’d been picking against them and winning.  Did it look too easy?  It’s not just that the Eagles are playing poorly, they are very banged up.  They have no discipline.  All that played out in the 4th quarter and this was the best the Eagles have looked in a month.  Says all you need to know.  Only question is does Andy get the axe now that 8-8 is the ceiling.  

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary Top-10:  

1.  Atlanta, 10-1.  Do the Bucs count as a quality win?  Atlanta hasn’t had a convincing win in ages, but they are piling up wins in close games.  Fourth quarter poise?  Has to mean something.  

2.  Houston, 10-1.  My other Super Bowl pick.  So, I haven’t gotten everything wrong.  Just most of the important stuff.  

3.  New York Giants, 7-4.  Blew out opponents in two biggest tests of the year.  What else matters?

4.  San Francisco, 8-2-1.  Kaepernick?  We’ll see, but the Niners’ players look on-board, which could have been one of the deciding factors to make the switch.  

5.  Baltimore, 9-2.  I still don’t think the Ravens are as good as their record, but they are plodding along and now Ray Lewis might return this season.  

6.  New England, 8-3.  Patriots wins getting more convincing?  Or, opponents getting weaker?  The Pats beatdown of Sanchez and Company gave everyone a good chuckle.  

7.  Chicago, 8-3.  Nice performance by the Bears, beating up on Minnesota, but I worry about them against elite competition.  

8.  Denver, 8-3.  Not exactly a signature performance in Kansas City.  The Broncos’ division is so bad we may not know what they have until the post-season.  

9.  Green Bay, 7-4.  Big time speed bump for the Packers who need to figure out how to protect Rodgers better against a real pass rush.  

10.  Tampa Bay, 6-5.  Watched them on Sunday and better than I thought.  Welcome to the Top-10!

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Ryan Lindley.  

Check out the D.A. link at the top of the page to check in on the heated playoff push and read about Arizona’s continued dominance of all things D.A.  


Camille Rowe Studies Your Picks;

Lines Up Some Winners.

Does anyone think the Niners are going a little overboard with Colin Kaepernick?  Don’t misinterpret this as an endorsement for Alex Smith, who doesn’t have Kaepernick’s raw skills, but do you want to start a QB controversy on a team that is 7-2-1?  Kaepernick shredded the Bears, but that was one game.  What happens if Kaepernick doesn’t get the job done in New Orleans?  Now the Niners are going back to Smith, you might have factions of the locker room supporting each guy, seems like unnecessary drama.  Why not re-insert Smith with a short leash?  My only thought is that Harbaugh doesn’t believe he can win a Super Bowl with Smith, so to gear up for a run with Kaepernick he’s going to keep him in the lineup so he can continue to develop.   Let’s get to some picks…finally.

JCK, 33-23-1

  1. St. Louis (+2) over Arizona
  2. Baltimore (-1) over San Diego
  3. Green Bay (+3) over New York Giants


Nichols, 31-26

  1. Indianapolis (-3) over Buffalo
  2. Denver (-10.5) over Kansas City
  3. Carolina (-2.5) over Philadelphia


DC, 31-25

  1. San Francisco (-1) over New Orleans
  2. Tampa Bay (+1) over Atlanta
  3. St. Louis (+2) over Arizona
  4. Green Bay (+3) over New York Giants


Big Dub, 31-25-2

  1. New Orleans (+1) over San Francisco.  I. Hate. Kaepernick.
  2. Carolina (-2.5) over Philadelphia.  I. Hate. The. Eagles.


Kraft, 29-25-1

Jacksonville (+3.5) over Tennessee.  Chad Henne at home?  Check.  And, I saw a gentleman sporting a Tony Boselli Texans jersey last week in the stands.  I cannot ignore that omen.

Buffalo (+3) over Indianapolis.  Buffalo is going to creep back into the wild-card hunt with this W.  Fitzy shreds Indy’s pass defense.

St. Louis (+2) over Arizona.  With ‘Zona’s QB situation, I’ll take the Rams who should have something to prove this week.  Jackie Slate keeps Bradford upright so he can hit Henry Ellard.

Giants (-3) over Green Bay.  I don’t like betting against Rodgers, but this is where NY shines.  Just when people start to doubt them they make a statement.  Off a bye they clinch the division.

Carolina (-2.5) over Philadelphia.  Monday night sponsored by Energizer.  Throw your batteries.


Grossy, 29-24-2

Denver (-10.5) over Kansas City.  I feel like I’m in a bit of a fog this week and I’m regretting not getting in on that Patriots’ layup on Thursday night.  So, how about another big line for a good offense over a putrid opponent?  Denver looks like they’re in a real good rhythm offensively.  The self-esteem of Chiefs fans is in worse shape than Peyton’s neck.  A non-offensive TD seals this cover.  Just a hunch.

Atlanta (-1) over Tampa Bay.  Have we gotten a little carried away with Tampa Bay?  I know that this is Tampa’s Super Bowl, but let’s not confuse that horsebleep pirate ship stadium for a house of horrors.  Tampa gets blacked out more than the Jags.  It might not be pretty, but the Falcons are going to win this game.  Andre Rison bounces back from having his house burnt to the ground to “torch” the Bucs secondary and Tampa cools a bit on Greg “Captain High School,” Schiano.

New Orleans (+1) over San Francisco.  Monster revenge/respect spot for New Orleans and Brees.  That’s all I’ve got.

Green Bay (+3) over New York Giants.  Monster revenge spot for Rodgers and the Packers.  I’m a little conflicted, because the Giants are coming off a bye-week, but if the Eagles can lose after a bye–anyone can lose after a bye.  There is a lot of talk about this being a classic Giants scenario, but I’m starting to wonder if this NY team is going to flip the switch like they did last year.  Eli Manning has spent the better part of a month looking like Dave Brown.

Philadelphia (+2.5) over Carolina.  

The Eagles opened as 2.5 point favorites.  That’s a massive swing in the spread for an NFL game.  As in, I don’t recall one ever moving quite like this.  Do the Birds deserve to be underdogs?  Probably.  They’re terrible.  They’ve lost six straight. They give up a ton of points and are playing a true D.A. prodigy at QB.  Oh, and LeSean McCoy is out too.  But, the Panthers are 2-8.  I’m bringing back the old, “Who is Carolina to be laying points, on the road to ANYONE?”  I’m serious about that one.  Also, I don’t want the Eagles’ fans to burn the Linc to the ground Monday night, so I’m trying to stay positive.

Cornucopia Bag.

BFF Material?

I imagine everyone has pretty much shut it down for the week.  Four Day Weekend.  Amateur Night.  High School Reunions.  Me?  I’m chugging along with the usual schedule.  The football must go on.  The mailbag cannot be allowed to overflow with “correspondence.”  Whether you read this while burping pumpkin pie, or on Monday morning is of no real concern to me.  Just read the damn thing.  The mailbag…

Q: Would you rather be friends with an Oompa Loompa or one of the members of the Lollipop Guild?  I mean actual friends, not acquaintances.  Chaz Buckit, Evansville, IN. 

A:  What about the Lullaby League?  Tough one right out of the gate.  By the way, would you be able to get away with calling something “Munchkin Land,” today?  Wouldn’t someone have an issue with this?  Dunkin Donuts, perhaps?  But both of these groups of fine gentleman bring similar things to the table.  They make unique sartorial choices.  Their hair is unconventional.  They also have varying degrees of access to candy.  The Lollipop Guild is self-explanatory.  Care for a Dum Dum?  NO PROBLEM.  The Oompa Loompas would seem to have access to a treasure’s trove, but is that actually the case?  Just because you know someone who works at Best Buy doesn’t mean you’re getting a free 50″ television, am I right?  The Oompa Loompas are laborers.  They might not even like candy at this point.  The Lollipop Guild is a social organization centered around the appreciation of candy on a stick.  One area where the two groups differ is in tone of voice.  The Oompa Loompas rock a deep baritone, while the Lollipop Guild members sound like a toddler inhaled about four helium balloons.  Are either of these deal breakers?  For me, despite the lure of Wonka’s factory I would end up choosing the Guild.  Those Oompa Loompas are just a little too dark for my taste.  They probably sit around all the time watching A Clockwork Orange.  

Q:  If chickens were the size of turkeys and turkeys were the size of chickens, would chickens still be more popular?  And, what would we eat on Thanksgiving?  Don Poultry, Baltimore, MD.

A:  Chickens the size of turkeys?  Sounds terrifying.  Also sounds like heaven.  I don’t know anyone who thinks that turkey is better than chicken in an overall contest.  Turkey is superior in two areas.  First, sliced deli meat.  I once made the mistake of getting sliced chicken at a deli.  Barbecue chicken breast.  It sounded good.  AWFUL.  So, turkey there and ground turkey is better too if you like turkey burgers or are one of these people that makes chili or some such horse bleep.  But, anywhere else–it’s chicken all day.  Are there turkey fingers?  I think not.  But if chickens were the size of turkeys, would they become too unwieldy to crush on a regular basis?  Have you seen the size of a turkey breast?  It’s not like you can just quickly throw that hoss on the grill.  You’d need a plan of attack.  And someone always around to help you finish the thing.  If turkeys were the size of chickens I think they’d be a much more popular roasting option–year round.  I’m also certain we’d eat chicken on Thanksgiving.  You need that imposing size.  You need the wow factor when you open the oven.  You need to brag about how big it was to people who don’t care.  Oh what?  OUR BIRD?  Twenty three pounds this year.  Thanks for asking.  


Q:  Is there a number of puppies that could be charging at you that would make you nervous?  Klaus Trophobic, Newark, NJ.

A:  I don’t think so.  Are we being realistic?  I suppose if three million puppies CRESTED A HILL and started charging down toward me that would be a bit disconcerting, but that could never happen.  How many swans does it take to make me nervous?  One.  But, puppies are benevolent.  They couldn’t trample you.  They couldn’t do any real damage.  I assume you’ve seen 101 Dalmatians.  There’s a great reference point.  Did 101 puppies seem like a problem?  Not really.  The only thing dangerous about seeing a bunch of puppies is that you might end up OWNING a bunch of puppies.  But, round up as many as you can find.  I’m ready to take the puppy challenge.  

Q:  I was flipping through the Brooks Brothers holiday Gift Book, IT’S NOT A CATALOG, and they are offering a trip to Scotland to play golf and do some other really high brow sh*t.  I don’t remember the exact price, but it was ballpark 15 grand.  I don’t doubt that people with means take trips like this,  but do they really buy them out of “gift books?”  Kat Alogge, Mobile, AL.

A:  I bet they do.  You have to put it in perspective.  Say you are listening to the radio and you hear about a charity golf scramble over at Goat Farm Hills to benefit the local fire department.  It’s $150 bucks–for a foursome.  Maybe your uncle was a fireman.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to play Goat Farm Hills?  But regardless of the reason you grab a few guys and play that outing.  Now, multiply your income by one hundred.  That trip in the gift book = Goat Hills Outing.  Some fellow of means is flipping through, and thinks, “I’ve been talking about going to Scotland for years.  Isn’t that right Mitzy?”  Mitzy agrees and they book that sumbitch.  The price is negligible.  Brooks Brothers is an interesting store, because I’m not going to say that they sell things that are inexpensive, because they certainly don’t, but they dabble in things that aren’t outrageous.  But you have to be careful in there, because right next to a $80 sweater might be a $480 sweater.  Is that cashmere?  Of course it’s cashmere! *

*George Costanza. 

Q: I have a friend who claims to be immune to Nyquil due to the amount of alcohol he consumes.  Putting aside things like immune clearly being the wrong choice of word, do you think something like this is possible?  Bit Sniffly, Aston, PA. 

A:  Well, Nyquil, as far as I know isn’t ALL BOOZE.  There is some medicine in there, correct?  I suppose you could build up a tolerance to the medicine, but I don’t see how drinking would play any part in that.  Sometimes I wonder how much Nyquil I should take, because they give you that tiny little cup and say it’s for an adult.  Have you seen adults lately?  They come in varying sizes.  I can’t imagine some size 0 chick should be taking the same amount of Nyquil as King Dunlap, but I always stick to the cup, because I don’t want to anger the Nyquil.  I want to make sure I wake up in the morning.  Here’s a thought–maybe your friend’s body is so busy processing Vodka that it doesn’t have time to worry about things as petty and insignificant as viruses?  Could that be it?  I think he’s (she’s?) probably just using this as an opportunity for some bravado, though.  Sometimes I like to brag about odd things.  I’ve claimed several times to be immune to all meat-borne illnesses.  How could meat hurt me?  Is that true?  PROBABLY NOT.  But, it’s a fun thing to say, just to watch people react.  I’m putting Nyquil immunity in the same category.  Or, just tell him to switch to the straight Tussin.  

Q:  Is three NFL games too many for Thanksgiving?  And, who do we think is coming out victorious today?  

A:  I’m tempted to say the night game is overkill.  Are you going to stay up?  Can you sustain the momentum?  It’s a long day of watching football and like the players, you are coming off a short week too.  We just did this on Sunday.  But, for a long time the Thanksgiving games were duds.  There was a long stretch where if you didn’t like the Cowboys, Thanksgiving was torture.  They’d beat someone, Troy Aikman would make you vomit and if he didn’t the Lions surely would.  So, maybe the night game is a good idea, just to have one more chance at a decent matchup.  Though, that’s certainly not the case this year.  I can’t imagine many people care to see the Jets.  The good news is, the earlier games aren’t that bad this time around.  Hey look, it’s RG3!  Megatron! Arian Foster!  There is some real star power.  Who’s going to win?  Let’s ask some people in the know…

Nichols, 30-25 & JCK, 32-22-1

  1. Houston (-3.5) over Detroit
  2. New England (-7) over New York Jets

Big Dub, 29-24-2

As the King of Thursday Night games I’m going for the clean sweep on Thanksgiving.

Houston -3.5 over Detroit: If the Texans play halfway decent against Jacksonville this line is up near 7. But since they were in a trap-game situation they nearly lost and now the line is a bargain. Oh, and the Lions stink.

Washington +3 over Dallas: When you get two awful teams, take the points. I wish ths line was 3.5 so there wasn’t a chance for a push. Doesn’t it seem like that’s the most likely scenario,

New England -7 over New York Jets: The last time the Jets had a prime time game against a quality opponent they pulled off the miracle cover against the Texans. This time around there is no miracle. The “-7” should represent the number of Patriot touchdowns. 

DC, 31-24.  

  1. Houston (-3.5) over Detroit.  


All right, that’s the mailbag everyone.  A bit abbreviated.  What are you going to do?  Hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving.  Did that sound genuine?  Eh, whatever.




Alternate Viewing Guide — Thanksgiving.

“Franklin & Marshall”–Everyone Who’s Never Been to Lancaster.

It’s that special time of the holiday season.  It’s time for the alternate TV viewing guide.  Thanksgiving is about football, but more than that it’s about having the television on AT ALL TIMES.  You don’t necessarily have to be watching, but when you get a bunch of relatives around, and the conversation starts to get a bit awkward?  It’s nice for your grandfather to be able to point at the old tube and say, “How ‘Bout That Romo Fella?”  But, in case you are anti-football, or if your fantasy season is already over–here are some other viewing options.  I’m trying not to be too repetitive, so if you’re looking for a dog show, or a Godfather marathon, trust that you can find one.  

12:00-1:00 pm–Breaking Amish on TLC

Breaking Amish follows five Amish youngsters as they head to New York City.  The cast ultimately has to decide if they want to remain Amish or forgo that lifestyle and become, “English.”  This is what Amish people call everyone who isn’t Amish.  That fact alone provides plenty of amusement along with lines like, “What’s a Bachelor Party?”  And to set the record straight, the Amish live in Lancaster County, not the city of Lancaster, which is where F&M is located.  

1:00-2:00 pm–Encino Man on Comedy Central.

The first time I saw Encino Man I couldn’t stop laughing.  I haven’t seen it since.  Deep down I think I know that I saw it at the perfect time in my life.  I was perfectly into the nineties.  I was perfectly immature.  We’re talking about a movie that features Pauly Shore in a starring role.  Could I go back, watch it, and deal with the fact that I once found it hysterical?  Is it still funny?  Maybe I find out Thursday.  

2:00-3:00 pm–Friday Night Lights on ESPN Classic.

I know what you’re thinking, NO FOOTBALL!  This is a compromise, though.  You’ll get to see some great football from Dillon High (East or West depending on the season), but you’ll also get wrapped up in some real drama.  Still waiting for the spin-off that stars Riggins and Buddy Garrity, but in the meantime maybe you can compare the coaching skills of Eric Taylor to Andy Reid.  

3:00-4:00 pm–American Pickers on The History Channel.

You learn a lot about people watching American Pickers.  Why do people spend thousands of dollars on old gas station signs?  Why do some people never throw anything out?  There are questions too.  Should I be monitoring my relative’s attics for hidden gems and overcrowding?  Is there a barn around here I can rummage through?  American Pickers usually has a few good laughs and is like a baby step if you aren’t ready for a full-on episode of Hoarders.  

4:00-5:00 pm–Bad Santa on Comedy Central.  

Yes.  A couple of years back I put Bad Santa at #2 on my all-time list of Christmas movies.  A lot of the magic of this film could be lost in the Comedy Central edit, but it’s still worth a shot.  Actually, maybe it’s a good test, is this movie funny or just profane?  I’m going to lean toward the former.  And, I’m contractually obligated to mention my favorite line every time I mention the movie.  “Sh*t in one hand and wish in the other.  See which fills up first.”

5:00-6:00 pm–Bacon Paradise 2 on Travel.

I really like bacon, but what I’ve found out in the last couple years as food and cooking shows explode is that there are people who like bacon more than I do.  THEY LOVE IT.  I like bacon at breakfast, on top of a burger, but a lot of people are going the extra mile.  On this episode of Bacon Paradise, they explore bacon lasagna, bacon brownies and something called a 5-lb bacon bomb.  Looks like we dodged the pork shortage!

6:00-7:00 pm–Hatfields and McCoys on History.   

It’s Kevin Costner.  And, that guy from Twister!  But we’re talking about the most watched cable show of ALL-TIME.  Is that an impressive stat?  I don’t know.  What better show to watch on Thanksgiving than one about a feud between two families?  This will bring the whole room together.  Then you can storm across the street and invade your neighbor’s living room.  Whatever happens, happens.  

7:00-8:00 pm–Punkin Chunkin 2012 on Science.  

I did not know what Punkin Chunkin was a few years ago, but I now know that it’s a competition to see how far you can launch a pumpkin.  The contraptions are homemade by everyone from rednecks to engineers to redneck engineers and it’s a real celebration of America’s obsession with spectacle.  Or, our need to drink and get rid of excess pumpkins?  I’m thinking maybe you have a 1/2 rotten jack-o-lantern still lying around?  Launch that bitch.  

8:00-9:00 pm–Meet the Parents on Bravo. 

How much do sequels tarnish the originals?  By the time “Little Fockers,” came out did we forget how good Meet the Parents was?  It’s such a quotable movie.  And I think there are still people who do that eyes on you thing, which is a bit embarrassing, but speaks to the lasting power of this film.  Jinxy Cat, Jinxy Cat, Where Are You?  I Love You.  

9:00-10:100 pm–Glee on Fox.

I feel like for the non-football crowd, this is what we’ve been building toward all day.  OMG, did you know there’s a Thanksgiving episode of Glee?  Do people still watch Glee?  I don’t even know.  Does anyone graduate from this high school?  Again, no clue.  But, I think it’s important to end the day on a festive note.  Maybe some people dancing around in pilgrim shoes singing Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving song?  Maybe?  Probably not.

All right, that’s it.  Consider yourself guided.  There is no reason to be up past 10 pm unless you are already at Wal-Mart, in which case, I’d suggest getting it together.