Believe it or not, sports fans, we have reached the midpoint of the 1988 NFL season. Isn’t that exciting! Do you know what that means?

Good.

Please tell me.

Actually, it means nothing at all. Except we now realize how pathetically wrong we’ve been about Phoenix. Personally, I don’t want to pick a game with Phoenix in it ever again. A man can only be embarrassed so many times.

What other grains of knowledge can we glean from two months’ worth of head-bashing in pursuit of the NFL pigskin?

1. Bernie Kosar should be well rested for the Super Bowl.

2. Chuck Long should be well rested for the off-season.

3. Detroit’s off-season should begin tomorrow.

4. No. Check that. Today.

5. The “rebirth” in Dallas was false labor.

6. Doug Flutie is still too short.

7. Brian Bosworth is a better author than player.

8. You can never bury a Don Shula team.

9. You can always bury Atlanta.

10. Quarterbacks should wear armor.

11. Buffalo jokes are out.

12. Bo Jackson may be on to something.

13. Mark Gastineau will dance no more forever.

And now, this week’s picks. . . .
* KANSAS CITY 20, DETROIT 17: Every dog has its day. Unfortunately, both teams are dogs.
* CLEVELAND 21, PHOENIX 20: Kosar returns. Big Bird fans everywhere applaud.
* NEW ORLEANS 30, LA RAIDERS 24: Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen in the starting backfield. That’s four legs, three contracts, two Heisman trophies, and one ball.
* MINNESOTA 20, TAMPA BAY 18: Guess what? The Vikings are switching quarterbacks again! Can you believe it! What a surprise!
* BUFFALO 27, NEW ENGLAND 12: This ban on Buffalo jokes is killing me. Just killing me.
* NY GIANTS 30, ATLANTA 12: Sports fans in Atlanta have petitioned to move to Los Angeles, where the teams win once in a while.
* LA RAMS 24, SEATTLE 20: I’m sorry. I still think Kelly Stouffer sounds like a frozen dinner.
* DENVER 20, PITTSBURGH 17: Can you imagine the Denver huddle without John Elway? They’ll look at replacement Gary Kubiak and say, “Who are you?”
* PHILADELPHIA 27, DALLAS 20: Can you believe both these teams are trailing Phoenix?
* CINCINNATI 23, HOUSTON 20: That wasn’t really Boomer Esiason who threw five interceptions last week. That was his younger brother, Bummer.
* ERIC DICKERSON 20, SAN DIEGO 17: As if somebody cares.
* WASHINGTON 31, GREEN BAY 13: Doug Williams returns. I guess Disneyland wasn’t as much fun as we all thought.
* MIAMI 27, NY JETS 24: You think Dan Marino took it personally when people said, “Miami’s finished”?
* (MONDAY NIGHT) CHICAGO 27, SAN FRANCISCO 24: The difference between Jim McMahon and Joe Montana is a headband, a taco and the home-field advantage.
* BEST PICK LAST WEEK: GIANTS 30, LIONS 3 (Giants won, 30-10).
* WORST PICK LAST WEEK: CINCINNATI 28, NEW ENGLAND 14 (New England won, 27-21).
* RECORD LAST WEEK: 9-5.
* RECORD FOR SEASON: 61-36-1.
* LAST WEEK VS. SPREAD: 9-5.

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