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News » Am I smarter than 5th-graders?

Am I smarter than 5th-graders?

Am I smarter than 5th-graders?
This is the third year that Peggy Cacciabeve's fifth-grade class at Cheney Elementary in East Orlando has competed in the "Beat Jerry" contest as a math and Americana project. (They don't pick against the spread, just straight up.) I'm an (extremely) mature man and a pro prognosticator, so you know the outcome, right? Yes, they clobbered me both years. But I've got a real shot this time, so we'll let you see the showdown. Each game will have my pick (JG) and their pick ("CH." for Cheney Elementary.)

Game of the Week 1

Miami (10-5) at E.R. Jets (9-6)

If you want juicy melodramatic Football, it doesn't get better than this. Let former Jets and current Dolphins QB Chad Pennington explain it: "This is the only way fate would have it, right? This is how sports works." This is how sports should work. Chad back in East Rutherford, staring down Brett Favre, the "living legend" who's already started his "will I or won't I?" Retirement Party game. Well, if "fate" loves a good finish, Chad and the reborn Fish will send Brett and the Jets packing.

LINE: Jets by 3

CH: Jets

JG: Fish by 3

Oakland (4-11) at Tampa Bay (9-6)

Boneheaded Move of the Year: Calling a timeout before the snap for a field goal to "ice" the kicker. In Week 7 Raiders Bonehead Tom Cable "iced" the Jets' Jay Feely, who missed what turned into a 52-yard practice -- and made the second try.

LINE: Bucs by 13

CH: Bucs

JG: Bucs by 5

Detroit (0-15) at Green Bay (5-10)

It must happen now. Speaking of fate a moment ago, this is fate at work in a biblical fashion. There's something bigger going on that demands the Lions finish 0-16. As Lions Coach Rod Marinelli said: "I'll let the record speak for itself."

LINE: Pack by 9 1/2

CH: Pack

JG: Pack by 1

St. Louis (2-13) at Atlanta (10-5)

The Falcons are best story of this season. Even more than Miami, Atlanta's rise from the canine ashes of 2007 is remarkable. As amazing RB Michael Turner said: "There is something that's bigger out there for us." Can you see the Super Bowl in prison?

LINE: Falcons by 14 1/2

CH: Falc.

JG: Falc. by 18

New England (10-5) at Buffalo (7-8)

You want a team you can count on? That would be your Buffalo/Toronto Bills under Dick Jauron. He's in his third season, and the Bills were 7-9 in the first two. Note that Patriots have won last 10 meetings by an average of 20.8 points.

LINE: Pats by 6 1/2

CH: Pats

JG: Pats by 20.8

Kansas City (2-13) at Cincinnati (3-11-1)

Shouldn't they just call this off as a favor to everyone? But if you watch, remember the Chiefs have just nine sacks, and the NFL-low in a 16-game season is 13 by the Baltimore Colts in 1981. A lock.

LINE: Bengals by 3

CH: Chiefs

JG: Beng.by 6

Chicago (9-6) at Houston (7-8)

To make playoffs, the Bears must win and have outside help. Or as Coach Lovie Smith said: "A lot of times when your backs are really up against the wall, the best in you comes out." Or, if you're really frightened, a change of pants is needed.

LINE: Tex. by 2 1/2

CH: Bears

JG: Texans by 5

E.R. Giants (12-3) at Minnesota (9-6)

Vikings Coach Brad Childress played the Obama Card, saying: "As Barack Obama said, 'Our destiny won't be written for us. It'll be written by us.' And our guys understand that." Well, if the Bears lose early, the Vikings need not sack nor pillage.

LINE: Vikes by 6 1/2

CH: Giants

JG: Vikes by 2

Game of the Week 2 Jacksonville (5-10) at Baltimore (10-5)

This isn't really a "Game of the Week," but the NFL, CBS and the Jags (rhymes with "gags") think otherwise. Said Coach Jack ("Gack") Del Rio: "I still feel we're a good Football team that had a bad year." Well, then, it must have been the coaching, right? But got to love this from RB Maurice Jones-Drew: "If we didn't want a challenge, we wouldn't be Football players. We'd be sports writers." Good one, Maurice. Oh, if you want to thank the NFL for this game, the number is 212-450-2000.

LINE: Ravens by 12 1/2

CH: Ravens

JG: Ravens by 16

Tennessee (13-2) at Indianapolis (11-4)

We likely will get a look at Titans QB Vince Young, which is interesting. Much better, however, is the annual Week 17 appearance of Colts QB Jim Sorgi! You know the tradition -- if Sorgi sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter!

LINE: Titans by 3

CH: Titans

JG: Colts by 6

Carolina (11-4) at New Orleans (8-7)

The Saints were doomed at the start of the season when TE Jeremy Shockey whined about going to the Super Bowl on a commercial flight in a middle seat. That won't change this time either. But the Panthers are 3-4 on the road and 0-3 on turf.

LINE: Panthers by 3

CH: Panth.

JG: Saints by 3

Dallas (9-6) at Philadelphia (8-6-1)

The Bucs probably will have beaten the Raiders before this one starts, meaning the Eagles have no chance at playoffs. But it's hard to believe the Eagles would "mail it in" against the hated Cowboys (esp. Terrell Owens). This one is always personal.

LINE: Eagles by 1 1/2

CH: C'boys

JG: Eagles by 5

Cleveland (4-11) at Pittsburgh (11-4)

Seems injured Browns QB Brady Quinn was punched in the face by injured DE Shaun Smith in the weight room last week. Said Interim Coach Romeo Crennel: "If it happened, it stays in house." What happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland?

LINE: Steel by 10 1/2

CH: Steel

JG: Steel by 9

Seattle (4-11) at Arizona (8-7)

One of these turkeys has clinched a playoff berth? Cards FS Antrel Rolle tried to explain losing the last two by 82-21: "It's all about execution." Oh, please, Antrel -- don't say "execution" 'cause it's just too cheap a joke by cheap-shot artists like me.

LINE: Cards by 6

CH: Seahks

JG: Cards by 4

Washington (8-7) at San Francisco (6-9)

Redskins Coach Jim Zorn reversed his self-appraisal after beating the Eagles: "I can say I don't feel like the worst coach in America today." Don't be hasty, Jim -- especially after many 'Niners have grown 1970s mustaches. Got to love that.

LINE: Niners by 3

CH: R'skins

JG: Niners by 9

Denver (8-7) at San Diego (7-8)

Sunday night

Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan: "Everybody is sick to their stomachs." Almost everyone expects the Chargers to win and take the division title. But I have a different take. My message to Broncos: "Win one for Ed Hochuli!"

LINE: Chargers by 8

CH: Charg.

JG: Broncs by 3

Last week

This is what's known as "staggering" to the finish line. After falling to 9-7 straight up in Week 15, I slipped another notch to 8-8 in Week 16, meaning I'm like the illegal lovechild of the Broncos and the Cardinals (and what a strange animal that would be). Anyway, that leaves me at 150-89-1, dropping to 63 percent correct for the season. Oddly enough I was 9-7 against the spread (115-116-9 for season), giving me a chance to finish above .500.

Beat Jerry

And a woman shall lead them. On a very difficult week, it was Trish Ethridge of Orlando who was the only player among our 2,343 who managed to post a 13-3 record. Way to go, Trish. Your "Beat Jerry" T-shirt will soon be on the way to wear in 2009. Meanwhile, despite a 7-9 disastrous week, Ed Schuckman of Lake Mary is one week away from becoming our 2008 season champion. With 166 points, he is two wins ahead of Manny Montoto of Jupiter and Richard McCormick of Winter Park. Good luck to everyone. And to all of you, don't quit now. Go out in style by making your picks at orlandosentinel.sportsballot.com because everyone still earns raffle tickets for some nifty prizes.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 28, 2008

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