They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues
– Steely Dan

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as these week 16 NFL picks are accurate.

How dreary the world would be if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if the NFL playoffs started without including the Cleveland Browns. There would be no childlike faith, no poetry, no romance… what do you mean, the Browns aren’t going to the playoffs?

That’s dreary!

Look Virginia, reports are that when Santa Claus left the North Pole he was wearing a Colt McCoy jersey under his red suit. A few years ago, he wore a Derek Anderson jersey, and  before that a Charlie Frye jersey under the suit. It’s true. Santa is a Browns fan.

It’s an under-reported fact that Santa Claus grew up in the snow belt of Cleveland. For those of you unfamiliar with Cleveland’s snow belt, think of it as being to snow as the Bible belt is to the Bible.  Full of it. Yes, Santa Claus comes from that much snow. This explains the cookies.

So you see, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus because why else would a fat old man fly around the world year after year giving gifts to every person in the world, or at least some of them, if it were not because the man was Browns fan trying to do anything to change his team’s luck.

Is Santa Claus real? Virginia, this is not 1997 or 1998 when the Cleveland Browns didn’t actually exist. Of course Santa Claus is real.

Santa’s favorite NFL team is not real good, so Santa sometimes gets confused. If you get a drill instead of a doll, it’s because Santa is sad about the Browns and not thinking straight. This doesn’t make Santa a bad person. Do you you understand, Virginia? Nothing is more real than Santa’s excruciating sadness about the state of his favorite football team so you should feel damn lucky you’re not getting coal.

Santa is as real as this is actually whatzgonnahappen.

TEXANS AT COLTS – Tough luck Colts fans. Colts 19, Texans 16

BROWNS AT RAVENS – Two trick plays, a blown referee’s call, and a weird bounce of the football is the formula to a sure Browns victory. Ray Lewis is buried under reindeer droppings. Browns 20, Ravens 17

VIKINGS AT REDSKINS – While the Vikings ponder their luck, Rex Grossman’s one-man stage show of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde continues. Redskins 27, Vikings 19

JAGUARS AT TITANS – While Blame Gabbert is this year’s Jimmy Clausen, Matt Hasselbeck is back to make Jaguar stew for Christmas. Titans 24, Jaguars 17

RAMS AT STEELERS – Charlie Batch fills in fine during this exhibition game. Steelers 24, Rams 10

GIANTS AT JETS – The Giants have to travel, but Eli Manning is better on the road than Mark Sanchez is at home. New York, New York, if you can make it there, you’re probably on the Giants 27, Jets 20

BRONCOS AT BILLS – On this day, God roots for the Buffalo Bills. That’s right, people, it’s time to go Fitzpatricking. Bills 23, Broncos 20

BUCCANEERS AT PANTHERS – Most of the Buccaneers are already home opening presents by the time the game begins. Panthers 30, Buccaneers 13

CARDINALS AT BENGALS – Interesting matchup of two young quarterbacks and two spectacular receivers from two snake-bitten franchises. Bengals 23, Cardinals 20

RAIDERS AT CHIEFS – Kansas City’s romance with Romeo is in full bloom. Chiefs 24, Raiders 22

DOLPHINS AT PATRIOTS – In Miami, coal looks like Bill Belichick. Patriots 32, Dolphins 24

CHARGERS AT LIONS – Gentlemen, start the scoreboard. The touchdowns will be flying faster than Santa. In other words, this is going to be fun. Lions 40, Chargers 38

49ers AT SEAHAWKS – There is something, I don’t know what, that worries me about the 49ers. Whatever it is, it shows up in this game. Seahawks 17, 49ers 10

EAGLES AT COWBOYS – I don’t like either one of these teams so I hope they both lose. The Eagles are better at losing. It’s like a Christmas dream. Cowboys 30, Eagles 20

BEARS AT PACKERS – Perfect? How about a perfect blowout… Packers 34, Bears 12

FALCONS AT SAINTS – Saint Nick has a good day, so Drew Brees should find it just as easy. Saints 42, Falcons 32

This column is sponsored by the Tinsel Workers Union.

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