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FOOTBALL FREAK: Annual reindeer awards

['John Turner']
['John Turner']

Columnist offers up picks on Week 16 matchups

Please remember readers that Santa’s a huge football fan, and would really appreciate some football snacks like chips, pizza, wings and brown pop instead of the traditional milk and cookies on his busy Sunday night. 

Merry Christmas! 
In honour of Santa and his great team of reindeers, here are The Freak’s 14th annual reindeer awards:
Vixen is tough and would be the first to pull Santa’s sleigh through any injury. Giants defensive tackle Damon (Snacks) Harrison has played every game this season, playing with different injuries every week, hustling, playing hard at a high level for a bad defence.
Cupid never lived up to Santa’s expectations, and this goes to this season’s biggest bust. Six players come to mind – Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Doug Baldwin, Amari Cooper and Julio Jones. Give it Baldwin.
Prancer is known for having an attitude, and that’s Cam Newton. Without a doubt, he can be am elite NFL quarterback with his physical talents, but needs to tone down all the other stuff that goes on with him after first downs, touchdowns, etc.
Dancer has great moves and can run like the wind, which sounds like quarterback Russell Wilson, who has been running for his life this season behind that terrible Seattle offensive line. Wilson has accounted for about 80 per cent of the Seahawks’ offensive yards – passing and rushing – from scrimmage.
Dasher is known for his ability to run fast and get open, which is definitely Steelers’ MVP candidate Antonio Brown, who leads the NFL in yards, receptions and has nine touchdowns. Hope he gets healthy for the playoffs.
Comet is known to run with any reindeer during their football games. The coverage skills of second-year Jags corner Jalen Ramsey, who had four picks, is one big reason Jacksonville is in the Super Bowl hunt.
Donner persevered through many hoof injuries, so this award goes to the comeback player of the year. Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who blew out his knee last season, is back and helping the team’s playoff run with 88 catches, 1,200 yards and five touchdowns.  
Blizten loves to blitz during reindeer football games. The Rams’ Aaron Donald is just a monster at defence, and he disrupts so many passing plays as he gets quarterbacks off their spot in the pocket and in their face. He has 11 sacks and four forced fumbles playing inside.
Rudolph is Santa’s top reindeer, and the top player in the NFL is Todd Gurley. Where would the Rams be without him? He plays every down at running back, which is unheard of in the NFL these days. Gurley is the safety valve for young quarterback Jared Goff, and has ripped off big runs all season. He’s the biggest reason the Rams are leading the NFC West.

Stat of the week
Thirty-eight-year old Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers recorded his 10th sack of the season against the Packers.

Sure thing
The Steelers lost a heart-breaker against the Patriots, and will take out their anger on the road in Houston. The Texans quit last week in Jacksonville, so the Steelers will get an early Christmas present.
The Ravens play on Saturday against the Colts. Baltimore was once the Colts, and the Colts were once a good football team. Only thing the Colts want for Christmas is for the season to end. The Ravens stay in playoff hunt with a home win.
The Chargers head to New York for the second time this year. They beat the Giants there in early October, and get another gift this week against the Jets. The Chargers love the Big Apple!

Don’t mortgage the house picks
Seattle laid an egg against the Rams, and it’s near Christmas not Easter. Dallas gets a nice Christmas gift with the return of Ezekiel Elliott. The Seahawks couldn’t stop Todd Gurley, and won’t stop Elliott. Santa can be heard shouting, “How about them Cowboys?” when flying over Texas.
The Chiefs need a win against Miami. Santa likes the cold weather and snow, but the Dolphins don’t like coming north in the winter season. KC takes controls of the AFC West.
No one thought that in Week 16 the Bills-Pats’ game would mean anything for Buffalo. Surprisingly, it does. Not surprisingly, the Patriots will run over the Bills’ defence like the reindeer fly over houses. Take the Pats.

John Turner is a Summerside school teacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Thursday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

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