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Snow job: He needed all the help he could get

It was a football game unlike any other football game. Ever. It was a trip to Gillette Stadium unlike any other trip to any other football stadium. Ever.


They said we could bring in blankets, so we brought in blankets.

But we needed more.

They said we could bring in shovels, so we brought in shovels.

But we needed more.

They said we could bring in sled dogs, so we brought in sled dogs.

But we needed more.

They said we could bring in mountain-climbing gear, so we brought in mountain-climbing gear.

But we needed more.

They said we could bring in Admiral Byrd for navigation, so we brought in Admiral Byrd for navigation.

But we needed more.

They said we could bring in Sir Edmund Hillary for leadership, so we brought in Sir Edmund Hillary for leadership.

And that worked. We made it to our seats way up there in the back of Gillette Stadium.

But more than four hours later, we needed more.

They said we could bring in Flexible Flyers, so we brought in Flexible Flyers.

But we needed more.

They said we could bring in toboggans, so we brought in toboggans.

But we needed more.

They said we could bring in Franz Klammer, so we brought in Franz Klammer.

And that worked. We made it down from our seats.

The picks

Jacksonville at New England (-7) -- The Jaguars will keep it close. So, too, will the Patriots. Pick: Jaguars.

Cleveland at Denver (-10 1/2) -- So now the Browns will go back to Tim Couch at quarterback. You get the idea Butch Davis puts a black sock on one foot and a brown sock on the other because he can't make up his mind? Pick: Broncos.

Carolina (-6 1/2) at Arizona -- If it were golf destinations, this would be a difficult choice. But it's football and it's the Arizona Cardinals, for crying out loud. Pick: Panthers.

Seattle at St. Louis (-7) -- Football pundits are wondering why the Seahawks have lost five straight on the road. Have they looked at the points allowed? Thirty-five in Green Bay, 27 in Cincinnati, 27 in Washington, 44 in Baltimore, 34 in Minnesota? Isn't the problem obvious? The Seahawks save on airfare and don't take any defensive players for road games. Pick: Seahawks.

Green Bay (-5) at San Diego -- Marty Schottenheimer won't reveal his quarterback. Will it be Doug Flutie? Or Drew Brees? Marty, you've spent way too much time locked in a dark room looking at game films. You're 3-10! Put "The Cat in the Hat" at quarterback. No one cares. Pick: Packers.

Atlanta at Indianapolis (-7 1/2) -- Michael Vick is back and when he's not running, he has a target who can gain big yards -- Alge Crumpler. Ah, but the Colts are ready. They've hired a player named Algaecide to defend against Alge. Pick: Colts.

Detroit at Kansas City (-14) -- The Lions can tie the NFL record for most road losses in a row, 23. They are to home teams in the NFL what the Washington Generals were to the Harlem Globetrotters. Pick: Chiefs.

NY Giants at New Orleans (-7) -- Concern yourself about this game, if you like. I have more pressing matters. Like choosing which package of Oreo cookies to buy. Have you seen the choices lately? There are 173 varieties. It now takes me three hours to do the grocery shopping. Good gracious, whatever happened to the simple times? Pick: Giants.

San Francisco at Cincinnati (-3) -- The Bengals' right tackle, Willie Anderson, said, "I know everybody's probably going to jump off the bandwagon, but we're getting to the playoffs. I guarantee it." Since Anderson is 6 feet 5 inches, 340 pounds, has shoes bigger than me, and can eat a piece of meat that weighs more than me, who am I to disagree. I'm still on the bandwagon, Willie. Pick: Bengals.

Baltimore (-6 1/2) at Oakland -- Rick Mirer's quarterback rating in last week's loss to Pittsburgh was 14.6. He had X-rays on his left ankle after the game. Since they were negative, league officials upgraded the rating to 14.8. Pick: Ravens.

Dallas at Washington (even) -- Dat Nguyen. Dat Nwhy? Pick: Cowboys.

Buffalo at Tennessee (no line) -- OK, so the Titans have lost two straight. "But the wind's not out of our sails, by any means," said Eddie George. That's the spirit, Eddie. It's exactly the attitude my mates and I aboard the Kookaburra had during those lively America's Cup bids all those years ago. Pick: Titans.

Pittsburgh at NY Jets (-3) -- Each team is mathematically alive for the playoffs. In the NBA and NHL, that is. Pick: Jets.

Houston at Tampa Bay (no line) -- The Texans are down to about 28 healthy bodies and last week they gained a grand total of 124 yards against the Jaguars, of all teams. "Every man has to ask himself what to do to make sure this doesn't happen again," said Houston head coach Dom Capers. Well, Coach, I did as you demanded. I asked myself that question not once, not twice, but three times this week. I couldn't answer it, so I asked my wife, who is saturated with wisdom. She stared at me for three minutes, not saying a word. Then she suggested I shovel more snow. Pick: Buccaneers.

Minnesota (-3) at Chicago -- Rex Grossman will make his NFL debut for the Bears. Granted, this news pales in comparison to the discovery the other day of the world's largest prime number (it has 6.3 million digits, FYI), but surely it's important to the Rex lobbies everywhere. Pick: Vikings.

Philadelphia at Miami (-2) -- My head says Philadelphia, because the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. My heart says Miami, because it's sad to see grown men in pretty aqua, coral, blue, and white uniform colors cry every December right before Christmas. 'Tis the season to go with the heart. Pick: Dolphins.

Last week: 11-5, which is probably my greatest sporting thrill since I correctly predicted the number of corner kicks in a Cameroon-Zimbabwe World Cup soccer zone qualifier many, many years ago.

Season: 108-90-9, which, coincidentally, represents the numbers John W. Henry is trying to iron out with Tom Hicks to rid himself of Manny Ramirez and acquire Alex Rodriguez -- $108 million a year for 90 years with an option for nine more.

last game
Last game / Dec. 7 vs. Miami
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Sunday vs. Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
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afc east standings
  W L T Pct. PF PA
Patriots 11 2 0 .846 20.7 16.1
Dolphins 8 5 0 .615 18.5 15.6
Bills 6 7 0 .462 16.5 15.4
Jets 5 8 0 .385 18.5 19.6
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