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Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 8.41.07 PM2015 NFL Week 16:

Quoth the Raven, “Never Score”

Christmas is a time of giving, a time when we can say to our family and friends, “Let’s ditch the family and get hammered like the Wise Men did.”

So in this time of giving, a lunch lady in Pocatello, Idaho named Dalene Bowden was fired for giving a poor student a free lunch, a meal worth $1.70. Fired for feeding a hungry kid.

Last week, School District Superintendent Taters McNasty informed Ms. Bowden via mail that she was fired due to “theft-stealing [the] school district or another’s property and inaccurate transactions when ordering, receiving and serving food.”

Now I’ve never been a big fan of the state that’s most famous for its potatoes and Neo-Nazis but this is just too much.  Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for lunch ladies and the fetching hairnets they wear, but firing a minimum wage worker for an act of kindness and charity is unspeakable. So I’ll speak about it some more.

I fondly remember the lunch ladies at Benjamin Franklin Junior High in Tonawanda, NY (‘Tonawanda’ is a Seneca word meaning “many suburban alcoholics”). And even though the crap they were dishing out was free from most vitamins and minerals, their pleasant smiles and top-of-the bell curve intelligence made me feel good, particularly on Fridays when they served their famous ‘Tuna Boats” with a proud mainsail in the middle made of cheddar cheese. It took me several more years before I discovered that, on real boats, sails were not made of cheese… or even cheesecloth.

These hard-working Angels of the Manifest Meatloaf are to be admired and not punished for acts of goodwill.

As I write this, I’ve learned that Ms. Bowden has received an offer from the school district to return to her old job. She won’t say if she’ll return or not, probably because her story may be turned into a high-power series on NBC next season called “Pocatello Lunch.”

 So the Christmas spirit lives on in all matters great and even in small potatoes. Huzzah!

However, the Baltimore Ravens will not be so blessed as they face a Steelers team on Sunday that is in no mood for niceness. Don we now our shoulder pads and helmets and get ready to kick some major ass!

For the Steelers, the path to the playoffs looks as smooth as a lunch lady’s creamed mashed potatoes. For the Ravens, it’s a case of the Poe boys hoping for a #1 draft pick.

Lest we get too cocky while we warm our cockles, let’s take a look at the many reasons the Ravens could still surprise everybody with an upset victory…

WHEN THE STEELERS HAVE THE BALL

Kidding! The Ravens are going to get their birdy asses beat. IT’S SMACKDOWN TIME!

Benny and the Jets are on fire! That would be Ben Roethlisberger and the three-headed hydra known as Brown-Bryant-Wheaton. They’ve been unstoppable the past few weeks and even if Ed Reed could suit up again and be in his prime, the Ravens would still be on their heels all day despite their Top 15 pass defense.

The weatherman predicts a balmy 73 degrees at kickoff (oh yes, climate change is a hoax!), so the conditions will be perfect for an unrelenting air attack.

And Heath Miller will see the end zone. He won’t actually catch a TD pass, but he’ll see the end zone.

WHEN THE RAVENS HAVE THE BALL

The Ravens have fewer weapons than the average American home. Joe Flacco is out and is replaced by Jimmy “Santa’ Clausen, a serviceable idea in theory, but one that need not overly concern the Steelers defense. The new weapon du jour is WR Kamar Aiken who lit up the Chiefs for 128 yards and one touchdown last Sunday and who could have another nice game against the somewhat porous Steelers secondary.

The running back by committee is average at best and once the Steelers open up a 14-point lead, they’ll be more of a non-factor than former Baltimore mayor and current presidential candidate Martin O’Malley.

PERILOUS PREDICTION

Here’s to another victory for your humble prognosticator (6 in a row!).

The Steelers are going to eat the Ravens’ lunch. Not even the nice Idaho lunch lady will be able to help them out.

Final Score: Steelers 31, Ravens 13.

Phil Lebovits, SCB Steeler Blogger, Standing in a lunch line in Pocatello, Idaho

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