News item: The Ravens could clinch a playoff berth before they take the field for today's late-afternoon game against the Jacksonville Jaguars if the New England Patriots lose their 1 p.m. season finale in Buffalo.
My take: That would be nice because there are several banged-up Ravens players who would look good relaxing on the bench all afternoon, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Related news item: Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is expected to miss today's game against the Bills, and defensive end Richard Seymour is out.
My take: Losing two key defensive players would make it that much tougher to win on the road, but I agree with John Harbaugh. The Patriots will find a way to win, so the Ravens had better take care of business.
News item: Detroit rookie Gosder Cherilus referred to today's game between the Lions and Green Bay Packers as "our Super Bowl."
My take: Unless Paul McCartney is playing the halftime show, the rest of us are probably safe in just treating it as the Lions' 16th loss of the season.
News item: The old Baltimore Colts got together Friday night at M&T; Bank Stadium to commemorate the 50th anniversary of "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
My take: In the same spirit - but with a Curious Case of Benjamin Button twist - the Orioles should plan a similar event 50 years in advance of their next World Series victory.
News item: Florida Atlantic defeated Central Michigan, 24-21, on Friday night in the Motor City Bowl.
My take: Yes, I said that there was a bowl game Friday night featuring Florida Atlantic University and Central Michigan. Do I need to spell it out for you?
Bonus take: Guess I didn't make myself clear. I think it's fair to say there are way too many bowls when you have to be a sports trivia buff just to know the nickname of each team in one of the games. On the brighter side, if Cal State-Fullerton still had a football program, I might have been hanging out in Boise, Idaho, this week.
News item: The Los Angeles Angels announced Tuesday that they are not interested in free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez.
My take: Got to give the Angels credit. They made national headlines twice last week for announcing stuff they aren't going to do. That's impressive, in a weird, backward sort of way.
News item: The New York Yankees announced last week that bleacher seats for their two exhibition games against the Chicago Cubs at the new Yankee Stadium will sell for 25 cents, the same price as bleacher seats for the opening game at the old Yankee Stadium in 1923.
My take: What a bargain! Throw in round-trip train fare from Baltimore and two nights at the Waldorf-Astoria, and that's still less than half the price of a front-row seat on the field level for Opening Day.
News item: Randy Johnson has signed a one-year contract worth $8 million with the San Francisco Giants and says he and his surgically repaired back will be healthy and ready to go from Opening Day.
My take: If that's true, the Giants could be the surprise team of 2009 ... at least in the very surprise-able National League West. They are the first team with three Cy Young Award winners on the same staff (Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito are the other two) since Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz pitched for the Atlanta Braves in 2002.
News item: Notre Dame salvaged a winning record with a 49-21 victory over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl.
My take: The Warriors were actually favored when that matchup was announced, which proves even the oddsmakers got caught up in the Notre Dame anti-hype. If they were horseplayers, they would have factored in how far down Notre Dame was dropping in class.
News item: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones testily waved off suggestions that he might replace coach Wade Phillips if his team does not beat the Philadelphia Eagles today and salvage a playoff berth.
My take: He also insisted Friday that he will not change his mind no matter what happens today ... which has got to be real comforting for the coaching staff because he has never been a very impulsive guy.
News item: Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams has joined Terrell Owens in publicly expressing frustration at his limited role in the team's offense.
My take: Got to sympathize with him. He had a right to expect much more in exchange for giving up that great situation in Detroit.
News item: Sammy Sosa says he's in great shape and is ready to make another comeback after sitting out the 2008 major league season.
My take: He's got Washington Nationals written all over him.
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090AM) at noon most Fridays and Saturdays.