Take It To The Bank, Express Week 8 Special Edition

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By Paul Schmidt

OK, I’m running late today…I am a victim of the daylight savings.  Sort of.  My alarm didn’t actually go off…I can blame it all on daylight savings still, right?

Yeah….I know, probably not.

Anyway, as an extra added bonus, here’s EVERY GAME for this week, with lines courtesy of Harrah’s Casinos in Las Vegas.

Denver +4 at Baltimore
Cleveland at Chicago -12
Houston -3.5
at Buffalo
Minnesota +3.5 at Green Bay
San Francisco +13 at Indy
Miami +3.5 at New York Jets
St. Louis at Detroit -3.5
Seattle at Dallas -10
Oakland at San Diego -16.5
Jacksonville +3
at Tennessee
Carolina at Arizona -10
New York Giants -2.5
at Philadelphia
Atlanta at New Orleans -11

Last Week: 2-2
Season Record: 15-13

NFL Mock Draft 10-27

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By Paul M. Banks and Peter Christian

Team needs have been taken into account for this mock draft. And of course, this is all highly subject to change between now and late April.

Team                             Player             Position    School

1. St. Louis Rams    Ndamukong Suh    DT    Nebraska

Suh is an expert at winning his battle at the line of scrimmage and causes disruption in the backfield constantly. He is an every down defensive tackle due to his dual ability to stuff the run or crash the pocket.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers    Russell Okung    OT    Oklahoma State

Russell Okung is as good a left tackle you will find in all of college football. He has the fundamental base of a franchise tackle to go with his physical skills. Okung also gets praised by pretty much everyone for his intelligence as well.

3. Cleveland Browns    Eric Berry    S    Tennessee

If you don’t know who Eric Berry is, look him up. He could be the heir apparent to Ed Reed as the elite defensive playmaker in the NFL.

4. Tennessee Titans    Gerald McCoy    DT    Oklahoma

McCoy is a pillar of strength that can dominate from the center of the field. He is very agile for a guy just shy of 300 pounds and will be a combine favorite.

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5. Oakland Raiders    Trent Williams    OT    Oklahoma

The Okung or Williams debate over who is the better choice at offensive tackle is one where there really isn’t a loser. Trent Williams, like Okung, has good feet, strong hands and the talent to become elite in the NFL.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars    Brandon Spikes    LB    Florida

You’ve heard that they were going to draft Tim Tebow, in order to get a badly needed publicity injection to help the ailing ticket sales. But Tebow’s pro potential is not worth a pick this high (or anywhere in the 1st round for that matter). This fact is easy to forget when you consider the ludicrous slurping job the press do for Tebow and the ridiculous amount of of overcoverage he receives. Lost in the hoopla is Tebow’s teammate Spikes who could be a star on the next level.

7. San Francisco 49ers (From Carolina)    Jevan Snead    QB    Ole Miss

Snead’s stock has solidified as a first rounder but a good run through the SEC could determine if he is picked near the top or bottom. He isn’t elusive by any means but his pocket presence and second nature footwork in the pocket makes him a quarterback with a future in the NFL. He has the ability to throw to any spot on the field but his accuracy fails him when he gets lazy.

8. Kansas City Chiefs    Greg Hardy    DE    Ole Miss

Greg Hardy may be the purest sack artist in the draft. He has a lethal combination of speed and power that he mixes up to get to the quarterback. Hardy also has a sort of “Overdrive” that he shifts into once he smells a possible sack.

9. Buffalo Bills    Carlos Dunlap    DE    Florida

Dunlap is one of the biggest reasons Gator opponents have backfield mishaps. He is fast AND strong which will allow him to cause nightmares for opposing tackles for years to come. But because the press is busy kissing Tebow’s a$$ every time the Gators play, he’s a well kept secret.

10. Detroit Lions Charles Brown    OT    USC

Brown is a people mover that has the benefit of playing in a pro-style offensive scheme that will make the college-to-NFL transition much easier than some.

11. Washington Redskins    Dez Bryant    WR    Oklahoma State

Bryant’s body of work is more than enough to impress scouts even with his current eligibility issue. His body control and athleticism is something that has NFL coaches very intrigued. He has battled injury issues, but when he’s on the field he is a force.

12. Miami Dolphins    Taylor Mays    S    USC

If you asked a scout to write down their ideal size and speed numbers for an NFL free safety they’d list: 6-3, 235, 4.4. Oddly enough that is Taylor’s height, weight and 40 time on record. Enough said.

13. San Diego Chargers    Terence Cody    DT    Alabama

Cody is a big time anchor guy who could go higher if he stays in good shape throughout the combine and workout process. He is a perfect 3-4 true nose tackle and can really control the flow and direction of a play.

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14. Seattle Seahawks    Jahvid Best    RB    Cal

Best is exactly what is name proclaims at his position. He has very good vision and an even better instinct on when to turn on the jets. He is very good at making defenders miss at every level. He isn’t a bruiser back but if coupled with a versatile offense he has the makings of the next young playmaking running back.

15. Houston Texans    Sergio Kindle    OLB    Texas

Kindle is a versatile linebacker that is an excellent attacker. He takes very good angles to the ball and makes tackles all over the field. Sergio’s mix of energy and instincts allows him to overcome the fact that he is a little slower than coaches would want.

16. Dallas Cowboys    Arthur Jones    DT    Syracuse

Jones’ is a gap filler and is stronger than Atlas. He is in a Pat Williams type run stopper that will be look like a man amongst boys at times. He plays hard on every play and is of the rare breed of football players that will never quit on any play.

17. Denver Broncos (From Chicago)    Sam Bradford QB    Oklahoma

Falling 16 spots? Yep that’s what season ending surgery will do. But he’s said he’s for sure going on to the next level, so get ready. If heals up properly than he could be a steal. Besides Kyle Orton is still (despite the record) a “game manager” not a franchise QB.

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18. Green Bay Packers Jonathan Dwyer    RB    Georgia Tech

Dwyer is an old school workhorse running back. He can run inside and outside and can handle as many carries as the coach gives him. Dwyer’s a big back, but he has good speed as well and can be the muscle of a two back system or handle the lone number one duties as well.

19. New York Jets    Brandon LaFell    WR    LSU

LaFell is a rubber band man when it comes to contorting his body in the air to make the catch. His hands are his biggest asset as he catches the ball softly and away from his body. He needs to improve his route running as he isn’t a super fast runner but as long as he makes catches to bail out his quarterback he’ll be a good NFL player.

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20. San Francisco 49ers    Sean Weatherspoon    OLB    Missouri

Weatherspoon can play both sides of the field (he’ll end up near the ball anyway) and is always around a big play. Whether he’s rushing the passer, busting up a play in the backfield, breaking up a pass or chasing down a receiver from behind, Weatherspoon can do it all.

21. Atlanta Falcons    Brandon Graham    DE    Michigan

Graham is a big body that plays very well upfield. Scouts will love that he is versatile enough to play the end position in either scheme.

22. Arizona Cardinals    Joe Haden    CB    Florida

Haden has jumped to the top of the board amongst other corners with solid coverage and ball skills. He makes good reads and adjusts well to the ball when its in the air. And if weren’t for all of the college football media devoting 90% of their coverage to telling us what a model American Tim Tebow is, we’d all be more well aware of these facts.

23. Philadelphia Eagles    Rolando McClain    LB    Alabama

McClain is an amazing tackler in space and can cover a lot of ground from the middle linebacker spot. He’s got great fundamentals and has a knack of shedding blockers to make big tackles.

24. New England Patriots    Derrick Morgan    DE    Georgia Tech

The Pats LB corp certainly got hold, seemingly overnight, didn’t they? The same thing might happen with their DL soon. Especially with Adalius Thomas seemingly wearing out his welcome.

25. New York Giants    Jermaine Gresham    TE    Oklahoma

Gresham is an elite pass catching tight end. He can run a perfect seam route or he can cover a lot of space over the middle. He needs to work on his blocking but he should be a touchdown machine with his hands, size and route running skills.

26. Baltimore Ravens    Arrelious Benn WR    Illinoisarreliousbenn

To cite the film Wedding Crashers: “Crab cakes and football, that’s what Maryland DOES!” And the Ravens will help bring the D.C. area native home once he formally decides to skip his senior season. And why would he not? with the clusterf@%k going on in Champaign, the Illini coaching staff has ruined his draft stock enough already for him to stick around another year.

27. Cincinnati Bengals    CJ Spiller    RB    Clemson

Spiller’s a fast runner built on a solid frame. His outside running game and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is where he’ll make his mark, but he’s not afraid to go right at a defender. A little extra muscle and being able to show his durability will help Spiller’s stock go up.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers    Jermaine Cunningham    DE    Florida

Cunningham isn’t as explosive as his teammate Carlos Dunlap but he is more reliable on a play by play basis. He gets to the quarterback with regularity and makes a lot of tackles in the run game as well.

29. Minnesota Vikings Patrick Robinson    CB    Florida State

Robinson is a super fast coverage man that is above average in nearly every aspect of the game. He anticipates routes but isn’t a huge risk taker and tackles well in the open field. He is also a very good return man.

30. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver)    Jake Locker    QB    Washington

Locker’s draft stock has shot up with his solid play this season for the Huskies. I expect things will come down by draft time but he’s raised enough eyebrows to maintain his status as a potential number one pick.

31. New Orleans Saints    Trevard Lindley    CB    Kentucky

Give how potent their O is, NOLA will obviously draft for D this spring. And Lindley is about to put the finishing touches on what could be the best-ever career by a University of Kentucky defensive back.

32. Indianapolis Colts    Bryan Bulaga    OT    Iowa

A big reason why Iowa is so good, yet so BORING to watch, is that their best talent is at the OL. And Bulaga is big reason that the Hawkeyes are winning ugly this season. Well, actually winning hideously.

Week 5 NFL Live Blog

11:00 AM – Hey everyone, welcome to what has now become just as much of a weekly institution as NFL Sundays!

OK, OK…maybe BECAUSE of NFL Sundays…

That’s right it’s our NFL live blog, come on in and chat about the things that we know, that you want to know!  We have the answers! We have the knowledge!  THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

Sorry…late night TV rots your brain…

Anyway, here’s some links to occupy you for the next hour while we get caffeinated and ready for you!

Check out Paul Schmidt’s quest for a perfect weekend (4-0 yesterday against the spread in college football) with his NFL picks!

Paul Banks had a great little feature about NFL offenses and the gimmicky nature of many of the new twists.

Tom Lea is back with his weekly musings, and they’re sleep deprived.  Maybe THAT will help him win some games…

And as always, don’t forget to come back and chat today!

NFL Live Chat Week 2

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You could say that last week was our favorite national holiday- NFL kickoff week. But we had such a blast that we’re going to do it again this weekend. And even though we did a full day’s worth of activity yesterday with the college game, we’re back for more with a full day of NFL live blogging, so come join in on the fun by commenting below:

The announcer just said “Touchdown Vikings” as Calvin Johnson just scored to go ahead 10-0 , 5:40 to go in the half. hilarious, I guess announcers had a script and don’t deviate from it. LOL!

–PB

The Lions have a theme/fight song? I cna hear it in the background. The Lions are actually winning? Am I really truly seeing this? Just witnessed history with Stafford’s 1st career TD pass. this has been a bit of a boring game, but I just want to put you all on notice. Vikings are on upset alert!

–PB

Gunther Cunningham…the NFL needs more people named Gunther in it

Vikings 7 – Lions 10
So we’re up and running perfectly in-sync with the Vikings offense. There was absolutely nothing during the first half, and now we are both finally starting to get the ball moving a bit. We’re also planning on running over anybody who gets in our way, just like Adrian Peterson does. So watch out. –Shaymus M.

…Or maybe we’ll just settle for a field goal.

Vikings 10 – Lions 10

Vikings 14 – Lions 10
This game is going eerily similar to the way last week’s Browns game went. The Vikings come out and look completely unprepared, can’t run the ball, get 40-year old QB killed, and let an inferior team grab a lead and hang around.

The 2nd half starts, the Vikings have a nice drive once they get the ball back, then turn up the pressure on a young QB, force some turnovers, and let Adrian Peterson run them to the promised land.

Why can’t this team just come out and dominate a team that’s clearly worse? They seem incapable of simply crushing a team, and that scares me. –Shaymus M.

Vikings 17 – Lions 10

Harvin is like the Vikings’ offensive version of Antoine Winfield. He’s small in stature, but much, much stronger than he looks. He’s going to be fun to watch the rest of this season. The coaching staff just needs to figure out a way to get him the ball before the 3rd quarter. –Shaymus M.

Bears 7, Steelers 7 Halftime

Chi needs to keep running the football. Not because of Boring-ass Lovie’s favorite aphorism/cliche “we get off the bus running. We are a running football team” but because you have to keep trying, and keep doing it. so what if Steelers have a great run defense, you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t remain committed and conssistent.

–PMB

I wonder if there’s something wrong with Forte? Peterson is getting more time on the field today, and he’s essentially having his 6th subpar game in a row here going back to last season. This is a low scoring game, but you have to hand this to the offenses- both scoring drives were of 90 yards or more. And ate up a lot of clock

–PB

As the second half gets ready to start, I have to admit the Bears do have a bonafide chance of pulling the upset. I don’t know if they will, I just know it will go down to the last minutes. I can guarantee that.

And today is upset Sunday: Bengals, Jets, etc.

From text, David K.’s brother Mark “Jay really likes Davis today”

true, but I don’t respond to it..people text me stuff about live sporting events all the time. and I tell them to just join the discussion here. I don’t have time to keep this up, and get into text conversations with people. They can just chat with me here.

still 7 all, but Steelers deep inside Chicago territory, middle of the 3rd qtr

So how is Northwestern’s Nick Roach doing today in just his ninth career start? 2 tackles so far. but ultimately take a look at the live box score, qb numbers are almost identical. and total yardage is as well.

If you haven’t heard by now the Jets actually made good on their promise to upset the Pats 16-9. Tom Brady has a very uninspiring day statistically.

At least his wife had an inspiring Sunday. If you missed the story on Thursday when the announcement was made. Today was Gisele’s official unveiling. Obviously, her husband couldn’t be there, he had work to do

Brazil-born Gisele Bündchen, among the most recognized top models of all time, has been designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

As Goodwill Ambassador, Gisele Bündchen will help UNEP in its mission to raise awareness and inspire action to protect the environment. The darling of the fashion industry will take on some of the biggest threats facing the planet, climate change and environmental degradation.

Gisele Bündchen, passionate environmentalist said:

“The environment has always been my passion. I grew up in a small town and I had the opportunity to live surrounded by nature. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood. We must act now, so future generations have the same opportunity. Mother Earth is our fundamental life-support system, and by becoming aware and responsible now, we can assist in preserving the planet.”

She added: “I have been working on environmental issues for a long time and agreed to become a Goodwill Ambassador to be part of a global and far-reaching organization. Now it’s about action on a global scale to secure a healthy future for the next generation, wherever they live in the world.”

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Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director said: “Gisele is among a handful of talented individuals and personalities that have a truly global reach. She is also a committed and passionate environmentalist. UNEP is delighted to welcome her on board as a Goodwill Ambassador so that with her help, we can make environmental action a global brand and a life-style choice, from New York to Nairobi and from Sao Paolo to Shanghai.gisele-bundchen-picture-6

under 3 min, 3rd qtr. Steelers 14, Bears 7

Hearing the boos at Soldier Field for how pathetic the running game has been today. Can’t argue against that. when you pay what seems like $400,000 a seat for a ticket to a game. You’d like to see some kind of offesnive push.

That last drive for Pittsburgh was all Mendenhall. in just his 6th pro game. biggest play of the day so far. and he started showing something finally. why he was drafted in the first round in 08.

Mendenhall’s big production calls for the Illini fight song. hit it.

Cutler started slow, but turned it on in this game later. 6/7 on the drive finding Johnny Knox to tie the game. Maybe Knox itsnt as bad as I thought. he might actually become serviceable. And the Bears are doing it all through the air today

14-14 with about 5 min left

Time to sing Bear Down Chicago Bears. Or in this case Beard Down! Check out this guy from the lyric opera singing the Bears fight song. His booming voice is almost as impressive as his facial hair.

NFL Gameday Live Blog

ALex Brown injured. I have to hand it him and the defensive front today though for getting into the backfield. Roethlisberger and company have really gotten to know Bears defenders today. Would be a shame to lose him, even if I hate his sack and TFL celebration. 4 min to go Pittsburgh just converted big 3rd and 5. big ben runs for it.

Peanut with a huge PBU, and ball falls through Pit WR hands, sets up missed FG, high drama here

now Bears get 1st and 10, completion to forte, fumbled but recovered by G Reg,

the TWO MINUTE WARNING. with the Bears possessing the Ball just across midfield. Need a 1sr down or two yet to get into Gould’s range!

1:07 left. Trying to set up or Gould now. 3rd and 3 from the 27. Forte looked TIMID there runing. bad play, bad play call Ron turner.

so here we go. Gould will attempt from about 45-46 with 21 sec to go

44 yards……..ITS GOODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD Bears.

17-14 Bears with 15 seconds to go. HUZZAH! for the local sports team. huzzah indeed (that’s meant to be read in a Monty Burns voice)

Chicago recovers onside kick and this game is OVAHHHHHH

Bears FG kicker Robbie Gould NEEDS to be in a Pro Bowl. Look at how much a difference he was today, and better than Jeff Reed. Big upset of the Super Bowl Champs. On that note…I’m done here, and I will send you over to PS and HJB for the night game live chat. Till next week, peace –PMB

CHICAGO BEARS 17, PITTSBURGH STEELERS 14 FINAL

Week 2 NFL Picks

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Tom Lea

It was only a matter of time until I was blessed with the flu. Heck, I do cover a football team (Wisconsin Badgers) on a daily basis that saw 40+ players get sick last week, so I knew it was coming. As bad as being sick sounds, it has actually shed some light on my week two picks. Call me crazy with some of these, but since I averaged 12 hours of sleep the past few nights, I have had plenty of dreams. And I decided that most of them are trying to tell me something. That they are an omen and I am destined to pick that way.

Oh yeah, just so you guys know, I went 11-5 last week. Not a bad debut. oakland
OAKLAND over Kansas City:

I know, I know, I saw it too. Jamarcus Russell couldn’t complete a pass to save his life. He looked downright awful. I understand that. But the Raider defense looked pretty good against a tough Chargers squad, so I figured if they can carry that over against a bad Kansas City team, they will surely get the win.

TENNESSEE over Houston:

I thought Houston was supposed to be a high-flying offense that scored a ton of points. That still may be the case, but when you don’t score an offensive touchdown with all the talent the Texans have, there has to be cause for concern. Plus, I kind of like how the Titans handled themselves in Pittsburgh. Yeah, I know they lost, but still, it’s never easy to go into Heinz and leave with a win. So, I will give them the nod over Houston.

NEW ENGLAND over New York Jets:

For all intents and purposes, I pray that Kerry Rhodes is right. I pray that he sees something in that film room that suggests he can use such wording as “embarrass” when talking about an upcoming game against the Patriots. No matter how bad the Pats looked against the Bills, the one thing I have learned over the years is…never say anything to rile them up. When you talk trash to the Patriots, you are just as likely to win the game as you are to see Bill Belichik wearing a suit and tie on the sideline.

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GREEN BAY over Cincy:

When I saw Brandon Stokely catch the tip and sprint to the end zone, all I could do was laugh. It was the perfect discombobulated play for a franchise in disarray. Watching the Bengals safety proceed to tackle Brandon Marshall after the ball was tipped and Stokely was 15-yards past him, summed everything up. In short, the Bengals are clueless. Chad Ochocinco may score and jump in the Lambeau stands, but that will be the only thing noteworthy from a horrible team on Sunday. I bet the Packers win by 21 or more.

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MINNESOTA over Detroit:

Soon Detroit, soon. Just not when you have to stop Adrian Peterson, because there is no chance you will be able to.

NEW ORLEANS over Philadelphia:

So let me get this straight. McNabb hurts his ribs, so you go and sign Jeff Garcia. Then, though he is an established veteran and has helped the same team to success in the past, you are still going with Kevin Kolb. I don’t get it. Thus, the Saints will win. Brees won’t have as big of a game as he did a week ago, but I can see 321 yards and three touchdowns coming from him.

CAROLINA over Atlanta:

This is where things get whacky. I had a dream last night that I was playing catch with Jake Delhomme. Why? I have no idea. I don’t like him and never will, but I was playing catch with him nonetheless. Then suddenly, before I know it, I am on a yacht with Delhomme and former Panther great Stephen Davis. While all three of us are sipping on Zima’s, (Again, I have no idea) Davis was giving pointers to Delhomme as to how to fix his throw. He then turned and said to me and I quote, “If you want to get back to shore, you better pick the Panthers.” Okay, Mr. Davis of my dreams. I did. Now please stay out of my head. You kind of scare me.

ST. LOUIS over Washington:

Stephen Jackson is going to run all over the Redskins kind of like Brandon Jacobs did last week. It will be close, but Jason Campbell will find a way to screw it up.

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ARIZONA over Jacksonville:

The Jaguars nearly upended the Colts in Indianapolis. But they didn’t. And now, with a healthier Anquan Boldin, the Cards offense will be clicking on all cylinders.

SAN FRANCISCO over Seattle:

I don’t know why, but I just can never find a way to trust Seattle.

TAMPA BAY over Buffalo:

The Patriots ripped the heart out of the Bills in the final five minutes of Monday’s game. That takes some time to recover from. So, Tampa Bay will be playing the right team at the right time and steal a win in Buffalo.

DENVER over Cleveland:

Would this game be the equivalent of a four-game series in mid August between the Nationals and Pirates? They have to play the game, but it will have absolutely no effect on the NFL landscape as the season progresses. Neither of these teams are going to make the playoffs and neither are going to be close. But, with the karma train riding along Denver, I have to go with the Bronco’s again.

BALTIMORE over San Diego:

I was not impressed with the Chargers in week one. I’m sure many of you weren’t either. Anytime a horrible Raiders team has you beat only to choke it away in the final two minutes, you can’t feel good about the state of the team. I like how physical Baltimore plays and I like them to beat up San Diego by going across the country and notching a big win.

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PITTSBURGH over Chicago:

Donald Driver said it during the summer. Jay Cutler is a big name quarterback, but we’ll see how good he is when he has nobody to throw to. Well, we’ve had that chance and his favorite receivers on Sunday night were dressed in Green and Gold. Still, I don’t understand why ESPN is blowing their load about that performance. I have never liked Cutler, and have never thought he was good.

The Bears will be tough and in games only because their defense looks to be pretty solid. Cutler will cost them more games than he will win for them. Even without Polomalu, I like the Pittsburgh defense harassing Cutler all afternoon. I wouldn’t be surprised if he three or more picks again. If he does, I think Chicago may explode.

DALLAS over New York Giants:

There is no way Jerry Jones will let the Cowboys lose the opener to his new palace. If it’s looking that way, expect him to replace Wade Phillips as the coach midway through the third quarter.

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INDIANAPOLIS over Miami:
I picked the Dolphins last week only to be sorely disappointed. So, I vow to pick them on rare occasions throughout the rest of the season.

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