Ok, just in case you've all lost track of what season it is, Hanukkah's on the way. Now, my calendar says that it's Saturday when the Festival of Lights begins. But, of course, this is a Pizza Hut calendar, so it probably means Friday night, which would make more sense, especially if your lost tribe is a high school football team. All confusion aside, check with your local Maccabean Revolutionary, but don't forget. And, all you Christmas lovers out there, let's use Hanukkah as a reminder that these things are about family and tradition and good will. The presents are the bonus, not the focus.
But, until then, we're stumbling into the excitingest part of the season, the Wild Card race. I'm about to wee with excitement because of a guy named Vince and what the Giants might do to the Cowpies today, which would make life better for my beloved Iggles. Anyway, cause I know you've been waiting.
We all knew that the Jets were going to beat the Bills. Or, at least I did. But, boy was that not what I was expecting. Ryan Fitzpatrick really fascinates me, mainly because I like Ivy Leaguers in the NFL. But also because he seems to be making TO happy, which means that they should get married and solve a load of problems.
The Eagles are going to murder Atlanta. I know Jackson's out, but I've heard tell of others named Maclin, Celek, McCoy, and an enemy named Ryan, who is out this week. This whole Michael Vick back to Atlanta is infuriating. Shut up. Play McNabb. Vick isn't doing anything worthwhile. This is about winning games and getting into the playoff, hopefully atop the NFC East. I could give a damn that Michael Vick used to play in Atlanta. Win the game, deal with the hype after the clock says 00:00. Eagles by 10.
The Bucs could sneak up on the Panthers here. Maybe Ronde Barber shows us why he's still worth watching. Maybe Josh Freeman's been getting smarter and better. Dunno, but I'm voting yes, especially with Jake DelInterception and DeAngelo Baby! out for the day. This is where I make a reckless prediction, but I'm going Bucs, by 6.
I don't know why I'm voting for the Bears here. I'm going with the weather, which means that I'm now checking the weather reports when I make these predictions, which means I'm in the depths of nerddom more than I was last week. And I love it. It's like realizing you can read conservation reports as well as patronage documents. Mmm, nerddom. Oh, and the Rams are currently God forsaken. Poor Rams. And they're a dome team, so they're screwed out in the Chicago weather. Bears by 14, but Jackson will run like an antelope out of control.
Detroit will lose to Cincy, though Cincy is looking a bit less stout than they did at earlier points. But, c'mon. They swept the AFC North? That's unbelievable. Really unbelievable. Congratulations to Cincinnati for proving us all wrong, for winning games, and for reminding us that Tigers are grrr-eat. By 21. Let's get Esteban a few touchdowns today.
In the most improbable moment of the week, I'm going to say that Vince leads a team to victory over Peyton. I don't know why or how it'll happen, but I think it will. We've got some receivers on the rise, and more than a few of them (Lavelle Hawkins, holla!) to compliment some nice TE work (I actually forgot about Jared Cook for a minute before last week) and what's his face who might just turn into Eric Dickerson. Hoochawackadingdong, this team might be scary soon. And, you know, Gonzalez is still out, that defense is a bit beat up, and Peyton Manning is actually listed as having a butt muscle dilemma. Finally, something is finally a pain in his ass. Let's hope the Titans defense makes it a twofer. Titans, by a hair, by the grace of God, by 3, which will bring them a Wild Card berth. Or so I hope.
Houston'll beat Jacksonville, don't ask me why I know this, other than that I live in AFC South territory, so I have a sense. I just think the Schaub-Johnson-Jacoby Jones Axis of Aerialism will trump the Jags more ground-screen-check down sort of thing. By 7, in a great game.
Denver vs. Kansas City? I couldn't possibly care less. Neither of these teams is consequential for me, unless Denver gets in the way of the Titans, or somehow is their opponent in a Wild Card tiebreaker or somethingish. The best news I've heard about Denver this week is that Mike Shanahan may be coaching again next year and that Kyle Orton is probably going to play. Phooey on you Jay Cutler. Get a winning record and then we can talk. Broncos by 7.
The Steelers will beat the Raiders, though it won't be amazing, and it won't be worth watching. I sure hope Palumalu will recover well. He's too beautiful to watch for us to live without. If his career goes belly-up due to injuries, it'll be tragedy on the order of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. But the Steelers will win by 10, and we'll worry about everyone's careers later. Ben, throw it away. Slide feet first. Protect your health.
New Orleans is going to kill Washington. That's all there is to it. If not, I will be shocked and awed. And happy for Jason Campbell, who I still think is getting the short end of the stick unjustifiably. But, poor Campbell won't win today. I just hope this all doesn't cost him his career, which needs to be recalibrated elsewhere to be judged appropriately. Saints by 28. Maybe more. I mean, did you see what they did to the Pats? Mon dieu.
The Chargers will be able to sleepwalk through this one. Let's hope that they don't sit Rivers just for the hell of it, because I need Vincent Jackson to receive a number of touchdown passes. My fantasy team stinks, mainly because of the other Chargers receivers, who are getting Jackson's touches. Let's turn it around. And someone call Bernie Kosar. The Browns might need him today. Bolts by 21.
What is the big issue with Minnesota against Arizona? I know Kurt Warner is a future Hall of Famer, with a silly sick corps of receivers, but that won't matter. The Vikings will beat them. Probably badly. Let's say by 14 in what will be a clinic on why American QBs are the real players of The Beautiful Game. Kids, eyes on the QBs. Two all time greats are going to be dueling today. Could be poetry, in a Homeric manner.
This is the only time in my life that I will hope for a Giants victory. See, if they beat those idiots, and the Eagles win, the NFC East begins to look promising. Let's just pray that December present will treat Romo like Decembers past. And that the weather in NYC turns for the ugly. I'm going with the Mara family by 7. If anyone sees Roy Williams do something interesting, will you please email me?
49ers against the Seahawks? What the hell is wrong with the NFC West? I mean, maybe we should just let the NFC West and the AFC West have their own league. The winner could play the winner of the UFL for entry into the NFL, like they do in Serie A and B in Italy. Just a thought. But the 9ers will win, by about 10. What I care about is Julius Jones coming back and getting another Domer some TV time.
New England vs. Miami. God do I not want to be Miami tonight. The Pats are going to be pissed. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but those being force fed will be the Fins, who will need to have their hospital bills paid for by the Saints when the Patriots decide to break their spirits and necks. Coach, don't beat up on the Dolphins just because Drew Brees looked like Tom Brady last week. Save it for the playoffs. Get a good win, but a smart one, without any Old Testament vengeance, which you'll need to save for the playoffs. Pats by 17, though, cause they're still going to be pissed.
Monday night is going to be so sad. The Ravens will probably lose, which is depressing, especially because Joe Flacco has been underachieving. My faith is not shaken, but I don't know how the hell the Titans and Ravens both are going to get Wild Card berths. That'll be my Christmas present, ok? But, the Packers will win by 10, mainly because they're at Lambeau.
Ok, everyone, enjoy the game.
And, please do me a favor. I don't know what any of you think about religion or God or whatever semantics you use, but a childhood friend of mine just lost her father recently, so please send out whatever positive vibes you've got. Aim them towards New Jersey.
And have a great first few nights of Hanukkah.