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Irony runs deep in the world. Rumors have it that, in Texas this week, a young student passed his driving test. His instructor got out of the car and told him to "keep the vehicle in park" while he went inside to file the forms. The excited teen thought the instructor had told him to "park the vehicle" and in his euphoria, accidentally crashed the car into the DMV. That's kind of how the Hecto-tron DA-42 feels. We get so happy with our record of picking outright winners, then we go and crash into a brick wall versus the spread. The record speaks for itself:
Week 13 (No spread): 11-5, Season-to-date: 127-65
Week 13 (Spread): 7-9, Season-to-date: 98-94
So, as we head into the Hanukkah season, let's use the age old pun, "What are you? A menorah mouse?" to inspire us to smile as we light the candles of victory.
Chicago at Washington (-3½)
This game either comes way too quickly for the Redskins, after a very tough loss and an emotional week, or it comes at just the right time. Sometimes emotion can carry a team to victory. Other times, it burns out far too soon, leaving the players drained. We think Washington's oil will burn bright for as long as it takes to secure a win over a spotty Bears team.
Spread pick: Redskins
Carolina at Jacksonville (-10½)
Yes, Vinny Testaverde is old enough to have fought against Antiochus himself. And yes, at some point, the law of diminishing returns takes over and there's truly nothing left in the tank. Young and spry David Garrard takes the day.
Spread pick: Jaguars
New York Giants at Philadelphia (-2½)
Donovan McNabb left the most recent contest against the Giants looking as flat as a latke. Now he is expected to return to the field after the failed Feeley uprising. Really, all the Eagles defense needs to do is stand there and wait for Eli Manning to make a mistake. Because he will. Repeatedly.
Spread pick: Eagles
St. Louis at Cincinnati (-6½)
We know Gus Frerotte won't go. If Marc Bulger can't go, we could see Brock Berlin get his first taste of the doughnut. The Bengals should welcome him with open arms, and as long as the defense doesn't welcome him with open field, Carson Palmer should be able to outperform the second most famous Brock in St. Louis sports history.
Spread pick: Rams
Tampa Bay at Houston (+2½)
From the ridiculous to the sublime. Yes, we just talked about Brock Berlin. Now we're supposed to welcome in the Sage Rosenfels era? Sorry. Methinks that Tampa Bay just spun the dreidel and came up gimel. They'll take the whole shebang.
Spread pick: Bucs
Miami at Buffalo (-7½)
Miami hasn't won all season. This we know. They've been dealt a bad hand. Kind of like thinking they've got a basket full of gold, but all those coins are actually made of chocolate. Nothing new to see this week & Bills take it.
Spread pick: Bills
Oakland at Green Bay (-10½)
According to the book of Judith, the Assyrian general, Holofernes was lured into defeat by a fine assortment of cheeses, and later decapitated. All I'm saying is that Josh McCown better watch his head in Green Bay.
Spread pick: Packers
Dallas at Detroit (+10½)
One of the main points of confusion about Hanukkah is the way it flits about the calendar, always arriving at a different time each year. Reminds me a lot of Jon Kitna, with his myriad of receivers running about the field, giving him limitless options. Alas, Roy Williams is out and suddenly the Lions attack seems a lot less potent. Dallas, on the other hand, knows what time it is. Victory time!
Spread pick: Cowboys
San Diego at Tennessee (+1½)
It is common to give the young presents at Hanukkah. What finer present could you give Vince Young than a victory over San Diego? I can't think of a single one & except maybe Peyton Manning getting the Madden cover next year.
Spread pick: Titans
Minnesota at San Francisco (+8½)
It is said that the purpose of Hanukkah candles is to let others see the lights, and learn about the holiday. It is also said that Adrian Peterson should be taken on the road so opposing fans can learn about the miraculous runs he makes. OK, it's a stretch, but AP is a Minnesota mitzvah!
Spread pick: Vikings
Arizona at Seattle (-7½)
The number eight plays a huge part of the Hanukkah holiday. The number eight is also worn by Matt Hasselbeck, who plays a huge part in the Seahawks' offense. Coincidence? We think not.
Spread pick: Cardinals
Cleveland at New York Jets (+3½)
The lighting of candles represents "miracles and wonders" such as "What a miracle the Jets are not winless like the Dolphins!" and "I wonder what crazy ending to the Browns game is going to happen this week?" We're going with a last minute 100-yard interception return to end the game & but only after a three-hour booth review.
Spread pick: Browns
Pittsburgh at New England (-13½)
Some scholars say the word Hanukkah means to educate. What better method to learn the proper way to play football than to watch the Patriots as they once again keep the perfect season alive? No, how about a joke about Shamash-mouth football? Hello. Is this thing on?
Spread pick: Steelers
Kansas City at Denver (-6½)
Beginning right on the heels of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah tells the tale of the twists and turns three family members go through over the course of a year. Just as the Broncos have seemingly overcome the need to juggle their trio of backs, Travis Henry, Selvin Young and Andre Hall, the story ends in triumph. Wait. I'm sorry that's not the story of Hanukkah. That's the story of "Hannah and Her Sisters" Always get them mixed up. Oh well, Denver still wins.
Spread pick: Chiefs
Indianapolis at Baltimore (+9½)
Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, a triumphant return home if you will. Colts back in Baltimore & hmmmm. Two plus two equals four. Reeling Ravens lose yet another one.
Spread pick: Colts
New Orleans at Atlanta (+4½)
One of the sides of the dreidel is shin. Shin is very important to Reggie "Hanukkah" Bush. Without it, he can't run, and lately that has been the case & but time heals all wounds, and Reggie may be well recovered by Monday night. Just in time to light up the Falcons.
Spread pick: Saints
Steady as she goes &The ESPN Eliminator picks went 3-3 last week, putting us at 49-29 for the season. We're not exactly dancing a hora at this mark, but it could be a whole lot worse. Our picks for this week:
Gold Picks:Washington, Minnesota
Silver Picks:Cleveland, Philadelphia
Bronze Picks: Tampa Bay, Buffalo
And we heard the menorah mouse exclaim as he noshed on his cheese & "Squeak!" because mice can't talk. Good luck everyone!