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Friday, November 28, 2003

Pro Picks, Week 13: Post-Thanksgiving Fun

Football makes me as happy as a turkey lucky enough to be alive on the day after Thanksgiving. As I continue to fight my gravy-induced stupor this morning and to try to shake off an 0-2 Turkey Day, I offer the following week 13 predictions, which, as always, are for recreational purposes only.

New England at Indianapolis

Boston is abuzz over this meeting of 9-2 teams with major playoff implications. But enough about that, let's recall Peyton Manning's appearance in the Gatorade ad that asks "What Drives You?" Peyton gives his response, "to be my own Manning," a punny reference to his lineage of athletic prowess (his elbow is OK, by the way). My preferred response in the commercial is that of female soccer star Mia Hamm-Garciaparra, who avows to be driven by "millions of little girls." Funny thing is that's what motivates me to work out too.

Pick: Colts

Philadelphia at Carolina

Another great matchup of division leaders fighting for home field in the postseason. But enough about that, let's recall that Carolina has a kick returner by the name of Rod Smart, who went by the nickname "He Hate Me" as an XFL player a few years back. Smart is the subject of Kenny Mayne's "Mayne Event" this week on ESPN, a weekly feature that attempts to satirize something about players. Kenny Mayne used to be very funny ad-libbing highlights on Sportscenter, though now his Mayne Event pieces are too forced and not laugh-inducing at all. They are a pale imitation of the Jimmy Kimmel/Frank Caliendo humor bits on Fox NFL Sunday. On the other hand, giving yourself a nonsensical nickname like "He Hate Me" and having people actually call you by it, that is comedic genius. Hopefully Smart, who fumbled a kickoff last week leading to a Dallas score, can stick around in the league.

Pick: Eagles

Buffalo at NY Giants

I think the debate over whether the Patriots should have kept Brady or Bledsoe is officially over now. By taking an intentional safety on Monday night (no, Jim Fassel, you're not Bill Belichick), the Giants went from covering to not covering the spread late in the game, sparking anguished howls across the land.

Pick: Giants

San Francisco at Baltimore

OK, how in the hell was the Seattle-Baltimore game last week 44-41? I watched the Ravens the previous week lose 9-6 in OT, and their bad offense and good defense both made it impossible for many points to be scored either way. I feel like I need to see a tape of this one. Meanwhile, the Niners continued to lose on the road with a defeat at Green Bay last week. Going against Anthony "Marino" Wright shouldn't help.

Pick: Ravens

Minnesota at St. Louis

More division leaders going head-to-head. Rams are undefeated at home, so go with them. The danger for St. Louis is Mark Bulger's interceptions and the good hands of the Vikings secondary. That was straight analysis, by the way.

Pick: Rams

Other Games

Cincinnati over Pittsburgh, Houston over Atlanta, Chicago over Arizona, New Orleans over Washington, Oakland over Denver, Kansas City over San Diego, Seattle over Cleveland, Tampa Bay over Jacksonville, Tennessee over NY Jets

Last week: 12-4
Season Record: 109-67