First of all, I would just like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. I want to thank all the readers who have supported this site and am grateful to put my stupid thoughts on the internet. So, enjoy, read a good book, sit next to a fire, enjoy some good food, give people you care about an extra hug and swear at Roger Goodell.
NO @ DAL (-3)
RG: This just feels like the perfect time for the Cowboys to blow a big game. This has not been a good scenario for Dallas during recent times. Of course, the season is basically over for the Saints and their defense stinks while Romo has been able to still put up his yards. But, with things in doubt here, I'll just take the points. Pick: New Orleans
MK: Saints fans hate the Cowboys and would love nothing more than to play spoiler, but I always talk myself into picking Dallas. Since the start of November, Tony Romo is throwing for 313 yards per game and is completing 67.7% of his passes (on 285 attempts) for an average of 7.7 yards per attempt. He's thrown thirteen touchdowns to three interceptions and the Cowboys are 5-2 during that time. I know a lot of Cowboys fans who complain about Romo at least a couple times a season, and I've always told them that I would love to have the problem with Tony Romo being the quarterback of my team. Pick: Dallas
CIN @ PIT (-4)
RG: It was stated in the non-ATS picks column how meaningful this game is for the Bengals. Despite their record, the only really good team that Cincinnati has faced this season was the Broncos. They lost to them and they lost to the Steelers earlier in the season. Like Dallas, history is just not on the Bengals side here. I think Dick LeBeau will find a way to contain A.J. Green enough that Dalton is forced to throw the other less-talented or still-developing receivers. Pick: Pittsburgh
MK: The Bengals have lost five in a row to Pittsburgh. The Steelers have lost four of their last five because they have been making the kinds of mistakes their fans associate with the Browns and the Bengals. Unlike last week where I spoke a bit early on a Dallas-Pittsburgh playoff game, this week the loser is truly behind the eight ball. They're not out, but will need help from a rival. Just call it a feeling, but I expect Cincinnati will be looking north to Cleveland for aid. I hope it will be forthcoming, but while I think the Steelers will win, they haven't won a game by more than four since October. Pick: Cincinnati
MIN @ HOU (-7.5)
RG: AD is going to need to burst a couple big runs early in each of his final two games if he is going to take down Eric Dickerson. For the game, Houston is a solid team and they can keep leads, but Arian Foster still can't average 4 yards a carry and I just don't think the offense is prolific enough to give more than a touchdown against anybody. Pick: Minnesota
MK: The Texans have run the ball more times than any team in the NFL this year, and have had the ball run against them the fewest times of any team in the league. This happens when you typically play with a lead. I expect Houston to do just enough to win this game, but I think Adrian Peterson will do more than enough to keep his team in it. Pick: Minnesota
NYG (-1) @ BAL, o/u 47.5
RG: Every single time I go back and watch a Ravens game, one name keeps coming up. That name is Cary Williams. It just isn't his fault that he is being forced into doing things he just cannot do. The Giants also have secondary issues. I just have no confidence in the Ravens and the Giants need to win out, have the Saints win this week and have the Skins knock out the Cowboys next week. Doesn't that seem completely plausible? Pick: New York N, Under.
MK: This is a really exciting national game of the week in view of the fact that Baltimore and New York were outscored a combined 68 to 17 last week, and vitually all of those points--belonging to the Ravens--came in garbage time. Mercifully, I'm in Cleveland for Christmas and will get to watch my team instead, however frightening the result in Denver might be. I just can't bet on Baltimore, even at home. I'm searching their schedule for games they deserved to win, and I'm coming up with three, maybe four. The Giants, at least, have been occasionally impressive. Pick: New York N, Under.
SF (-1) @ SEA
RG: The crowd in Seattle is the last dominating home field advantage in the league. They won't need a fake ref to decide this low-scoring playoff-like game. Pick: Seattle.
MK: Last week, I started out picking San Francisco, and then noticed that the Patriots hadn't lost a home game in December in a decade. I over-corrected, and picked the Pats to lay six. Six! Has any team been more impressive, even against shabby competition, than Seattle? An impressive home winning streak, too, albeit not a decade-long. Am I over-correcting again? Pick: San Francisco
• Cake mix or homemade cake recipe and ingredients either one calls for
• 1 container of icing (Chocolate) or your own homemade icing recipe because reindeer are brown
• Holiday colored M&M’s (red-white-green)
• Cake decorating gel in red and black
• Small twist pretzels
• Small Reese’s peanut butter cups
• Cupcake pan
• Cupcake liners
• Large bowl
• Rubber spatula
• 2-cup measuring cup
1. Choose your cake mix or if you’re feeling adventurous, make it from scratch
2. Preheat oven according to box/recipe directions. Sorry, George Carlin, I believe in preheating…
3. Make your cake batter
4. Use a hand mixer and rubber spatula to get the batter all mixed up and ready to go
5. Pour the cake batter into a 2-cup pourable measuring cup…. It’s the easiest way I’ve found to pour batter into the cupcake pan
6. Put your cupcake liners in the cupcake pan
7. Fill cupcake liners about ½ the way full
8. Pop the first batch in the oven.
9. While they’re cooking, start cleaning up. This is where dogs come in really handy.
10. Wash the bowl and beaters, and wait for the first batch to be done.
11. When the cupcakes are done, take them out and let them cool.
12. Replace the cupcake liners and continue pouring the batter. Put them in the oven and remember again to set your timer.
13. If you don’t have patience, like me, put the cooked cupcakes someplace extra cool to get them ready for icing more quickly. Living in Cleveland in the winter means that the garage is the perfect place.
14. Once they’re cool, ice them. This is the most time consuming and annoying part thanks to my OCD/Type A/ perfectionist/lack of patience qualities.
15. After all of the cupcakes are iced, add the eyes (M&M’s). Nobody knows what color eyes Rudolph has because the only thing anyone ever talked about was his red nose. So, use whatever color you prefer. Since you bought the holiday bag of M&M’s that means his eyes will either be green or white.
16. Add the black decorator gel dots to the middle of the “eyes” to make them look, well, like eyes.
17. Add a small Reese’s peanut butter cup to the cupcake to use as Rudolph’s snout.
18. On top of the peanut butter cup, squeeze a little red decorator gel and then add a red M&M…the gel is a little like edible glue
19. On top of the red M&M, add another dot of red decorator gel….. Because you know, Rudolph’s nose glows!
20. Last but not least, Rudolph’s antlers! Add pretzels right before serving or giving away-if you put them on too early, the pretzels get super mushy and not very tasty to eat.
Breckenridge Brewing Company
ABV: 7.4 percent
When Ohio’s trademark winter warmers start tasting too sweet and spicy — yes, you can have too much of a good thing — grab a bottle of this holiday brew made in Colorado. Technically listed as an American strong ale, it’s a more traditional sipper with toasty, hearty malts that will withstand winters in Colorado and Ohio.
LAST WEEK: A couple 3-3