I search through my bag. I pull out the packages. Here is what football Santa is giving to special members of the NFL:
To Buddy Ryan: a muzzle.
To Jerry Glanville: same.
To Wayne Fontes: a defensive end who foams at the mouth.
To Bob Gagliano: a team that is actually looking for a quarterback with a lot of experience.
To Victor Kiam: a spaceship. To anywhere.
To Zeke Mowatt: a ticket on Kiam’s spaceship.
To Warren Moon: a calculator.
To Bernie Kosar: an eraser.
To Bruce Smith: whatever he wants.
To the LA Rams: an explanation.
To the average fan, like yourself: a bottomless bowl of popcorn, no more blackouts, a 7:30 start for “Monday Night Football,” and the ability to be smarter than I am when it comes to picking the outcome of these football games.
Speaking of which. . . .
This week’s picks:
* Lions 24, Packers 20: Afterward, Rodney Peete’s father — who coaches for Green Bay — tells his son not to expect any presents under the tree this year.
* LA Raiders 24, Minnesota 10: So much for the Vikings’ comeback.
* Washington 38, Indianapolis 9: Eric Dickerson had a good game last week. He figures that earns him two weeks off.
* Houston 31, Cincinnati 24: For an encore, Moon throws for 857 yards and kicks two field goals.
* LA Rams 28, Atlanta 20: Boy, that Glanville sure has turned those Falcons around, hasn’t he?
* Pittsburgh 28, Cleveland 3: As the game starts, Kosar stands on the sidelines, watches Mike Pagel take the snap, and says to himself, “Better him than me.”
* Philadelphia 30, Dallas 24: Ryan said this week that he had forgotten Jimmy Johnson’s name. Johnson responded: “Buddy? Oh, yeah. I just loved him in
‘Barnaby Jones.’ ”
* Buffalo 14, Miami 13: I know Jim Kelly is out. But Smith isn’t.
* Tampa Bay 9, Chicago 6: Is Mike Ditka giving all his players a bottle of his new cologne for Christmas — or just the ones he doesn’t like?
* NY Giants 24, Phoenix 13: Phil Simms sits in the stands, gets a tan, says to himself, “You know, this injured thing isn’t so bad. . . . ”
* NY Jets 30, New England 10: Sam Jankovich, in taking over the Patriots, proves he has as much business sense as the Tigers’ front office.
* Kansas City 14, San Diego 10: Shouldn’t it be Bubba Butts? Or Rocky Butts? Or Mean Joe Butts? I mean, Marion? Is it really Marion?
* San Francisco 21, New Orleans 10: Since the 49ers have clinched everything there is to clinch, this week they play for the right to choose the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl.
* Seattle 20, Denver 10: One team is praying for a wild-card spot, the other for a vacation.
* Record last week: 8-6.
* Record last week vs. spread: 8-6.
* Season record: 124-72.
* Season record vs. spread: 102-91-3.
* Best pick last week: Miami 21, Seattle 17. (Miami won, 24-17.)
* Worst pick last week: Kansas City 29, Houston 24. (Houston won, 27-10.)