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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 20, 2011 1:44 PM. The previous post in this blog was Our charities thank you. The next post in this blog is Late afternoon update. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On, Bradford! On, Hillis! On, Marshall and Freeman!

The Big Daddies of pro football play most of their games this weekend on Saturday, Christmas Eve. And so players in our charity underdog game, please note that except for the Thursday night game, all picks are due by kickoff of the first game on Saturday -- 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

16 ST. LOUIS at Pittsburgh
13 CLEVELAND at Baltimore
9.5 MIAMI at New England
7.5 TAMPA BAY at Carolina
7 JACKSONVILLE at Tennessee
6.5 MINNESOTA at Washington
6.5 ATLANTA at New Orleans
5.5 INDIANAPOLIS vs. Houston (pick due Thursday 5:20 p.m. PST)
4 ARIZONA at Cincinnati
3 BUFFALO vs. Denver
3 NEW YORK GIANTS at New York Jets
3 SEATTLE vs. San Francisco
2.5 SAN DIEGO at Detroit
2.5 PHILADELPHIA at Dallas
1 OAKLAND at Kansas City

There's no line posted yet for Bears/Packers. Good luck with the predictin', players, and get it done a day quicker, please.

UPDATE, 12/21, 8:22 p.m.: Here's the last 'dog for the weekend, and it's a big 'un:

14 CHICAGO at Green Bay

Comments (7)

"Mojo's Best Bets"
'It's A Marshmallow World' Solstice Edition

"Best Bets"
(Last week: off; overall: 12-19)

NY GIANTS (+3) at NY Jets -- Big-time hyping in the Big Apple, with the Jets doing their usual trash talking (Jets WR Holmes says Giants’ defensive backs are ‘poor tackling guys’ -- Washington Post, 5 hours ago). An essential game for both teams, and THE Game of the Week for millions of NFL fans. Should be a classic. Giants QB Manning gives the old team the edge over the new team Jets' QB Sanchez. Ol' "Wake & Bake" Holmes may not get a chance to be tackled if Sanchez can't get the ball to him. Look for the Giants to pressure the bejeezus out of Sanchez, and on offense use ball control to their advantage, with Manning pouncing for scores on the edge of the red zone.

Revis Island is about to experience another strafing.

SEATTLE (+3) vs San Francisco -- Seattle has to win out in its remaining 2 games to have any chance of making the playoffs, so will play hard and take it to the 49ers, who were unimpressive offensively in their win against the Steelers. SF hasn't done so great on the road this year, and has already won their division title.

"Upset Special"
(Last week: off; overall: 3-14 -- all I want for Xmas is another big upset pick this week)

ATLANTA (+6.5) at New Orleans -- The Saints barely won in the previous meeting between these two division rivals back on Nov. 13, with the Saints getting a FG in overtime to win 26-23. In the meantime, the Falcons seem to have recovered well with quality wins against quality opponents, and All-Pro DE John Abraham was named NFC "Defensive Player of the Week" after his spectacular performance last week against the Jaguars.

While the Saints' offensive line is bigger and heavier and is the key to NO's great QB Drew Brees' record-pace performance this year, the Falcons DL is faster and very skilled at causing havoc and creating turnovers all over the field. The Falcons have a lot to prove and will be highly motivated to win this game. Falcons QB Matt Ryan is a proven clutch performer and is a rising star in the NFL. The Falcons need to ensure that the Saints do not get off to a fast start or lead by more than 7 at halftime. This might be another nail-biter won by a kick (or kick return!) in OT.

Did I say that NO QB Drew Brees is great? He's great. But hopefully, a little less so this week. Let's see how Matt Ryan rises to the challenge. He has to. Should be a good game to see.

"Gamblers Corner"

INDIANAPOLIS (+5.5) vs Houston -- A gambler might figure that Indy's found out how to win and that Houston could take them lightly after the Texans have this division wrapped up for the playoffs with a second string QB. I figure otherwise.

JACKSONVILLE (+7) at Tennessee -- With the Titans getting humiliated last week and now in danger of falling out of contention for the last AFC wildcard spot, and with the Jags coughing up giant fur balls at this point in the season, this is not a good gamble. You'd be better off taking CHICAGO over Green Bay. If you're going to lose, lose going grand.

TAMPA BAY (+7.5) at Carolina -- The Bucs are still too banged up and discombobulated to beat a better-than-their-record-indicates Panthers team. Nice matchup between these young, rising star QBs: Tampa's Josh Freeman & Carolina's Cam Newton. Might be a fun game to watch...for awhile.

MIAMI (+9.5) at New England -- Do you really believe that there's any reasonable chance that the flip-floppy Miami Dolphins are going to go up to Foxboro, MA in late December and beat Belichick, Brady & the Patriots? God love ya. Well, there's always Santa Claus to fall back on, eh?

CLEVELAND (+13) at Baltimore -- It could happen with Seneca Wallace at QB for the Browns, but slim chance with the Ravens at home, fighting for a high playoff seeding, and coming off a 34-14 scorching by the Chargers. The Browns have the edge in special teams and maybe the difference-maker comes out of special teams play. If this game were at Cleveland, it'd be the "Upset Special" since the Ravens are a crummy road team.

Rejuvenated Peyton Hillis hopes for another big game against Ravens
http://www.ohio.com/sports/browns/rejuvenated-peyton-hillis-hopes-for-another-big-game-against-ravens-1.251666

CHICAGO (+14) at Green Bay -- Without a decent QB in Chicago now, though Portland local boy Cade McCown will take another crack at it, and with their star running back out, it's a grizzly lookin' pick. From CBS Sports' game preview:

An assistant high school football coach until the Bears signed him Nov. 23, McCown saw his first action in two years last Sunday after Hanie was pulled for throwing three interceptions - two of which were returned for touchdowns - during an embarrassing 38-14 home loss to Seattle. McCown, who last started in 2007 for Oakland, threw 35 TDs and 41 interceptions for Arizona, Detroit, the Raiders and Carolina from 2002-09.

McCown won't have the opportunity to hand off to Matt Forte, who will miss a third straight game with a knee injury. Receiver Johnny Knox is done for the season after he suffered a back injury against the Seahawks.

ST. LOUIS (+16) at Pittsburgh -- Roethlisberger looked great in practice the past couple of days, recovering well from the high ankle sprain he suffered two weeks ago and played through (though poorly executing) in the earthquake-interrupted MNF fizzle by the Steelers offense vs. the 49ers. At home, and striving to capture the best possible seeding in the playoffs -- with still a chance to take the overall #1 AFC seed (and with the first-round bye that comes with it) -- the woeful Rams will have a miserable day upriver at the Forks of the Ohio.

The Rams' (and formerly, OSU) RB Steven Jackson deserves better and should look forward to next year with a healthy Sam Bradford returning at QB. Meanwhile, he's just 34 yards away from becoming one of just seven RBs in NFL history to run for at least 1,000 yards seven years in a row, joining some guys named Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Eric Dickerson, Curtis Martin and LaDainian Tomlinson.

And, hey how 'bout those Billikens!?!

"It's A Marshmallow World"
Dean Martin Christmas Special 1980
(Duet with Beverly Sills!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ShQ-BkqYco

Giants-Jets Trash Talk Intensifies
http://espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/story/_/id/7377245/talk-cheap-new-york-giants-new-york-jets-plenty-say

Excerpt:

"I just say, regardless of the talk, it will be decided at one o'clock Saturday afternoon," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in his Wednesday press conference. "Regardless of what is said. Talk is cheap, play the game. That is the way I've always believed."

Coughlin was repeating one of his longtime mantras. But, of course, Ryan responded.

"That's the old saying, 'Talk is cheap, money buys whiskey,'" Ryan said at Jets practice. "I understand all that and that's the truth. But I don't care about Tom Coughlin or anybody else. I know how I believe. I don't care what's acceptable in everybody's opinion. I really don't care. I'm worried about my opinion and this is how I feel. Quite honestly, I don't care what anybody thinks."

The Jets (8-6) and Giants (7-7) face each other in a crucial game on Saturday with a lot more than bragging rights at stake. Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot in their respective conferences and are basically entrenched in must-win situations. The two teams have met 11 times during the regular season with the Giants winning seven of them. But this will be the most important regular-season meeting between the two franchises with playoff survival on the line.

****

Both teams started the week off by stating that they felt they were the better team. After Ryan fired the first shot, Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka answered back by saying, "I know we're the better team. We just have to go out there and prove it."

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck then said on his weekly radio appearance on WFAN on Monday that "there is kind of bad blood between the two" teams and that he is looking forward to winning "in our stadium" even though the Jets will be the home team in MetLife Stadium, which both teams share.

"[Ryan] has made the Jets relevant again," Tuck continued. "But we still feel as though we got the best team. Like he said, you get an opportunity to prove it on Saturday. But the best trash talker is not going to win the game. My goal is to get the Giants to have more points and have Giants fans leaving the parking lot happy and Jets fans leaving sad."

"It's not what's said before the game," quarterback Eli Manning said. "Everything will be decided on Saturday. That's the mindset around here. It's going to come down to how we perform on the playing field."

Woo hoo!

Colts stun Texans on TD with :19 left
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/recap;_ylt=AjbD1bFsVjPtQUOiiVO4tFdDubYF?gid=20111222011

Nice goin', John Ch. & Pete Rozelle!

Correction: Steelers playing to capture #2 seed, still a sport worth striving for. New England won #1 seeding for the playoffs by defeating the Denver Tebos last week. The lowdown (w/video): http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7383405/houston-texans-loss-good-news-pittsburgh-steelers

Week 16 Matchups: It’s a Wonderful Game
By MIKE TANIER

A fun excerpt:

Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez are down in the dumps as Christmas Eve approaches. Fans are a little fed up with both. But can you imagine a world where neither of them had even been born? (That’s your cue, Clarence.)

The Giants enter this game with a 3-11 record. They are trying to build the franchise around quarterback/defensive tackle Jared Lorenzen. Tom Coughlin, fired long ago, is now a punctilious librarian who fines children for returning Dr. Seuss books two minutes early and blacks out all references to vampires and werewolves in the Twilight series — the resulting novels are only 600 words long but much improved. Without a younger brother for whom to set an example, Peyton Manning became an arrogant, underachieving jerk who hangs out on Ryan Leaf’s couch playing Call of Duty. Riding a wave of popularity from going undefeated and winning the Super Bowl in 2007, Bill Belichick was appointed secretary of state, and Americans have been implanted with BeliChips that feed all of our thoughts and desires into a master computer that acquired a sentient personality indistinguishable from Tiki Barber’s. With the playoffs far out of reach for both teams, coaches Eric Mangini and Jim Mora Jr. meet before kickoff on Saturday for a rousing duet of “A Fairytale of New York” by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues.

But the most frightening element of all in this alternate reality? Without Sanchez, Brett Favre is still the Jets quarterback. And he has his own basic cable network called Telefavro.

So enjoy Manning and Sanchez, flaws and all, and take solace in the fact that one team’s loss will be the other team’s source of playoff hope. That’s another way of saying that every time a bell rings, or a football skitters off the turf, an angel gets its wings. Pick: Giants

More games previewed tongue-in-cheek & predicted by Tanier at http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/23/week-15-matchups-its-a-wonderful-game/


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
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Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
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Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
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Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
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The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
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Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
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James Joyce - Dubliners
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William Golding - Lord of the Flies
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Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
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Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
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Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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