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News item: The Ravens travel to Cleveland to face the hapless Browns and - they hope - break a string of five consecutive losses on "Monday Night Football."

My take: I don't really think it matters what day it is when you face the Browns, but the short week heading into next Sunday's showdown against the Indianapolis Colts is another one of those scheduling anomalies that make the NFL-hates-Baltimore conspiracy buffs crazy.

News item: The Browns will be the third consecutive team the Ravens will face that is coming off its bye week.

My take: Do you think there's a grassy knoll anywhere near the NFL scheduling department?

News item: Former Oriole and baseball superstar Sammy Sosa made headlines recently when he admitted to using a bleach-based treatment on his skin and evoked comparisons to the late Michael Jackson.

My take: Counting the period right after Major League Baseball started testing for steroids, this is the second time Sammy has gotten noticeably lighter.

News item: The free-agent signing period begins this week, and Orioles fans are eager to see what president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail can do to make their beleaguered team more competitive in 2010.

My take: So am I, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. The Orioles still have a huge credibility problem that is going to make it extremely difficult to persuade top-quality players to come to Baltimore.

Bonus take: It might have helped, however, if there were more than a handful of high-quality players available this year. The law of supply and demand is a cruel mistress.

News item: Notre Dame associate head coach Corwin Brown publicly criticized Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo last week for his post-game comments about the Irish defensive strategy in the Midshipmen's victory Nov. 7 and also called out the Mids for alleged dirty play.

My take: I agree. I'm tired of Coach Ken and Navy siccing their 230-pound linemen on all those unsuspecting big-time opponents. This kind of bullying should not be tolerated.

News item: Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw five interceptions Thursday night in a 10-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The last guy to throw five interceptions in a game for the Bears was Kyle Orton, who appears to be playoff-bound with Cutler's old team in Denver.

My take: Apparently, it's also a coincidence that Cedric Benson has emerged as a very productive player since leaving Chicago.

News item: During their annual meeting this week in Chicago, major league general managers chose not to consider any expansion of baseball's limited video-replay system.

My take: Too bad. MLB created a slippery slope when the owners instituted replay for "border" calls on questionable home runs. They might as well slide all the way down to a comprehensive replay system right now and get it over with.

News item: Rumors have surfaced that Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis is trying to build a case to justify the firing of embattled head coach Tom Cable "for cause."

My take: I'm not going to take sides here. I don't really have a rat in this fight.

News item: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez insists that he and his wife had some clothes on when they posed - seemingly nude - for one of those "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" ads for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

My take: I don't know. I've been staring at the photo of Mrs. Gonzalez for the past six hours, and I can't see a stitch.

Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "Sportsline" on WBAL (1090 AM), and check out "The Schmuck Stops Here" at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.

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