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First, let me say, happy new year to each of you. I hope your holidays were quiet and filled with family and friends.

It seems like it’s been more than two weeks since I last typed out this column, but that’s how long it’s been.

It’s not unusual for me to have a number of days off in the last days of the year and I enjoy the time off.

That said, I do miss this place when I’m out, but I find and have plenty to do to occupy my time.

I usually try to take in a basketball game or two during that time off, but this year that just didn’t happen.

One of the bright spots was my wife, Rayma, and I narrating the cantata at our church, the Havre de Grace United Methodist Church.

I have sung in a few in years past, but this time Rayma’s and my speaking voices were on tap. It was a lot of fun and the three performances were great, getting better with each one. I have to give a special thanks to conductor/director Debbie Heydt for asking us to contribute. We really enjoyed it.

Even though I did not get the chance to get out to a ballgame or two, I did see my share of the action on TV.

I watch whatever football games I can, especially those NFL thrillers.

I have to keep up with the fantasy leagues that I am part of. This wasn’t the best of years.

Like baseball season, we also have a football season with current and former employees.

This year, L’Oreal Thompson was crowned champion, edging fellow co-worker and friend Kristen Melamed in the championship. Congrats to both on a good year.

As for me, eighth out of 10. Yuck.

In my other fun-only league I did make the playoffs, but lost in the semifinals when the New York Giants decided to quit playing defense against Michael Vick in the Philadelphia Eagles’ monumental comeback.

A week later, it was Vick’s lackluster outing that allowed Bob Lomonico to win by a nose. Congrats to Bob, too.

For the record, both L’Oreal and Bob had the Pittsburgh Steelers defense/special teams.

I’m just sayin’!

No, really, I had the Steelers defense too, in my other league that has a little stakes to it. Uh, I didn’t win, finishing third. Congrats to Brian Hurst, the league champ. A well-earned victory.

So, the high school action in all sports heats back up this week and takes us right into March and the hope of an early spring.

The first of a handful of big girls basketball games is set for Thursday with Joppatowne visiting Aberdeen. The Mariners have already knocked off Fallston, but the Eagles will be no easy test.

I look forward to seeing these two talented teams get up and down the floor. Good luck to both.

OK, here’s my predictions for this weekend’s NFL playoff games.

First the NFC — I can’t see any way the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints lose in Seattle, despite not having past success on the road in the playoffs. Saints win big, 30-13.

The other match-up is a classic for first round match-ups. The Green Bay Packers at the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick might be asking who let the dogs out when the Packers defense gets done. Packers win, 24-17.

In the AFC, a rematch of the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts will headline Saturday night’s action. I know that defense wins championships, but I hope the Colts put a whipping on the Jets and their mouthy head coach Rex Ryan. Take the Colts, 20-10.

For the final pick, the Baltimore Ravens will visit the Kansas City Chiefs. A lot of the talkers out there are saying the Chiefs will win, if they can run the ball. The fact is a few have run the ball against the Ravens but I’m not buying it in this one. Too much at stake. Ravens win, 17-7.

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