So much has happened since the last column, both in football, and in life. December 21st came and passed without any epic disasters of note. Disappointing, considering the History Channel had spent millions on producing various Armageddon programs. They almost had me convinced.
I wanted something exciting to happen. At least a small meteor crashing into the Pacific, maybe a few decent tremblers, rain in Arizona, you know events nobody could possibly predict. Now that the fate of the Earth appears safe some of my favorite television programming is going to be taken off the air. You may not know this, but my life doesn’t revolve entirely around American Football.
The lack of destruction has left me wondering what my own future will hold without “Doomsday Prepper’s” to entertain me. I mean who doesn’t love watching some hillbilly reveal his canned food collection to the entire world? The irony of the show, which is entertaining and extremely awful at the same time, is that by revealing your ammunition storage, or your canned food cellar on National TV your only making yourself an obvious target if something catastrophic actually were to happen.
Imagine a meteor just hit, and everyone is panicked. Are you racing to your local food mart first to battle the masses over a jar of mayonnaise, or over to Billy Bob’s canned food cellar and gun rack?
It’s undeniable, the Mayan’s whiffed on this one, but how does the swing and miss affect their cultural legacy? The Mayans after all were renowned time keepers. No culture before or since was as obsessed with time as the Mayan. So what went wrong? Scholars have argued that they didn’t account for leap years. Others note that the Mayan concept of time was cyclical, opposed to the linear view our culture has. Which means they didn’t predict the end of the world at all, but simply that the world would enter into a new age. Those are excellent theories, but the answer could be as simple as they had used too many recreational Central American drugs that night and mis-calculated. We’ll never know the truth. Does the truth matter?
I’m not going to allow their inaccuracy to diminish their cultural worth. That would make me a hypocrite. You see, the Mayan and I are peas in a pod. We’ve attempted to predict the future with fearless bravery and failed. Knowing the exact date when the world will end isn’t any different from knowing which New York Giants team is going to show up on Sunday, the really crappy one, or the one that can win a Super Bowl. How am I supposed to know if Tony Romo is going to throw four interceptions or not? Romo does incredibly dumb things at random, his failures are not preordained and neither is mine. This is the week I go 16-0 and end my first season of writing pigskin pick’em columns for the Peninsula Clarion as a meteoric success!
An 8-7-1 mark last week leaves us at 118-113-8 for the season. When I post a 16-0 record over the final weekend I’ll end the year 134-113-8. The Mayan may not be able to predict the future but I can!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ ATLANTA FALCONS even
The Falcons are undefeated (7-0) at home this season. The Buccaneers, losers of five straight, don’t have much hope going into this one. You have to be concerned about the possibility of Atlanta resting their starters but they’re still the play this Sunday. Falcons win 30-17
New York Jets @
BUFFALO BILLS -4
The Jets and Bills are two of the worst teams in the NFL. You couldn’t pay me to watch this game, but pick’em rules require that I make a selection. I’m the exact opposite of a Tim Tebow supporter but I don’t like the way the Jets treated him this season. I hope Rex Ryan got a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking. Bills win 24-13
BALTIMORE RAVENS @ Cincinnati Bengals -1
The Bengals are locked into the number six seed in the AFC regardless of this game’s outcome. Baltimore, the four seed, could move up to number three with a win and a New England Patriots loss. Cincinnati has been mysteriously bad at home (3-4) this season and the Ravens have more incentive to play their starters. Baltimore is the play. Ravens win 21-16
CHICAGO BEARS @
Detroit Lions +3
The Lions are 2-5 at home this season, not surprising since they’re really bad no matter where they play. The Bears, desperate for a win, are currently on the outside of the NFC playoff picture despite a respectable 9-6 record. Motivation and ability favors Chicago. Bears win 26-21
Jacksonville Jaguars @
TENNESSEE TITANS -4
Jacksonville should be really battling hard to lose in this one. A win would knock the Jaguars out of contention for the number one overall pick in next year’s draft. Something the team can’t afford. The Titans are horrible, and I feel real silly siding with them, but you have to pick one of these teams. Titans win 28-20
HOUSTON TEXANS @ Indianapolis Colts +7
The surprising Colts have been excellent at home this season. With coach Chuck Pagano making his return from cancer treatments the environment in Indianapolis will be inspirational. Houston has been shaky in recent weeks, they’ll win a close one, but the Colts cover. Houston wins 27-23
Carolina Panthers @
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -5
Both of these NFC South rivals got off to horrific starts this season. They have since turned things around, but it was too late to impact the playoff race. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is playing like a rookie again which in Cam’s case is a positive. The Panthers won’t win but they’ll keep it close. Saints win 30-27
Philadelphia Eagles @
NEW YORK GIANTS -7
Michael Vick is still stuck in Philly’s doghouse but he’ll get another chance this weekend with Nick Foles out due to injury. I have no clue which Giants team will show up. They could still backdoor their way into the postseason or they could completely give up. Giants win 28-14
Cleveland Browns @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS even
I’m not sure why the line is where it is? Does Pittsburgh have injury issues I’m not aware of? I realize this isn’t your grandpa’s Steelers team but straight up against the Brownies at home? Steelers win 21-13
Kansas City Chiefs @
DENVER BRONCOS -16
Minus sixteen!? Wow. That’s the level of disrespect the 2012 Chiefs demand. Normally I would take the points and run. Two touchdowns is supposed to be a lot but when you’re the Chiefs and you’re playing in Denver against Peyton Manning it’s not near enough. Broncos win 33-7
GREEN BAY PACKERS @ Minnesota Vikings +3
The Packers are beginning to resemble their championship team from two seasons ago after four consecutive victories. The Vikings will secure a berth in the playoffs with a win or losses from the Bears, Cowboys, and Giants. In other words, Minnesota needs this game. Sadly for Tom Hodel and all the Vikings fans out there it’s not happening. Packers win 30-20
Miami Dolphins @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -10
Something fishy is going on in New England. They got dominated by San Francisco before rallying late, and struggled against lowly Jacksonville a week later. The Brady Bunch isn’t clicking. The Dolphins are a feisty bunch. I think they keep the game interesting. Patriots win 26-17
Oakland Raiders @ SAN DIEGO CHARGERS even
Surprising line considering how awful Oakland is. San Diego fans must really be depressed by this number. If you’re not favored at home against the Raiders who can you possibly beat? I think the Raiders will really struggle without Carson Palmer at quarterback. Chargers win 27-14
Arizona Cardinals @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS -17
The Cardinals offense is pathetic and San Francisco’s defense is strong but 17 points is just way too much to spot any opponent. The Cardinals play well defensively and I don’t think they’ll quit in this game. 49ers win 24-9
ST. LOUIS RAMS @
Seattle Seahawks -11
My anti-jinx policies have killed my ATS record. The Seahawks are 11-4 ATS this season, the top mark in the NFL, but with the team looking like a Super Bowl contender I refuse to change course. Rams win 21-20
Dallas Cowboys @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS -3
This match-up is a fantastic way to end the regular season. The game will determine the NFC East division title. The Redskins have a team-of-destiny feel to them and the Cowboys have suffered injuries to key players. Robert Griffin III gets it done. Redskins win 31-24