N ews item: : The Ravens will be favored by nearly two touchdowns when they host the hapless Detroit Lions - who will be without starting quarterback Matthew Stafford - Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
My take: : Lions backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper has a puncher's chance to make a game of it, but the Ravens have a much better chance of rebuilding two months' worth of lost self-esteem with a blowout victory.
News item: : The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered their fifth consecutive loss Thursday night against the lowly Cleveland Browns and fell below .500 (6-7) in the AFC North.
My take:: It's a shocking reversal of fortune, but don't leave them for dead. They remain the major obstacle on the Ravens' road to a possible wild-card playoff berth, and they're not going to lie down in a rivalry game Dec. 27 at Heinz Field.
News item: : MASN television analyst Buck Martinez has left the Orioles/Nationals network to join the Toronto Blue Jays' television crew.
My take: : Good luck to Buck, who's a class act and a solid color guy. Now I guess we'll find out whether the Orioles really want to bring Mike Flanagan back in a broadcasting capacity.
News item: : The Orioles traded former closer Chris Ray and their Rule 5 draft pick to the Texas Rangers for veteran pitcher Kevin Millwood at the winter meetings this week in Indianapolis.
My take: : Millwood isn't going to win 18 games next year, but he's going to be an impact pitcher even if he wins only 12. Just having him at the front of the Orioles' young rotation should make everyone else - particularly Jeremy Guthrie - more comfortable and more productive.
News item: : Heisman finalists Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, Mark Ingram, Tony Gerhart and Ndamukong Suh are scheduled to be in New York when the Downtown Athletic Club announces the winner of college football's most prestigious individual award today.
My take: : It's going to be McCoy. Mack Brown already called everybody to make sure.
News item: : Former Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly has been hired to replace Charlie Weis as coach at Notre Dame.
My take:: Seems like only yesterday that Kelly was telling everybody that he and his family were happy at Cincinnati and not interested in going elsewhere. It was actually about two weeks ago, but who's counting.
Bonus take: : Apparently, you don't have to be greedy and disingenuous to be a major college football coach, but it sure helps.
News item: : The number of women alleging that they have had affairs with Tiger Woods has reached 12.
My take: : That sounds pretty bad, but with his handicap, I don't think he can put down more than a seven.
News item: : Golfer John Daly has lost more than 100 pounds and is hoping to resurrect a career undermined by a lifetime of excess.
My take: : With at least a dozen beautiful golf groupies back on the market, his timing couldn't be better.
News item: : The Chicago White Sox have signed reliever J.J. Putz to a one-year, $3 million contract.
My take: : For obvious reasons, I was hoping the Orioles would show more interest, even if he continues to claim his last name isn't really pronounced that way.
News item: : Agent Jeff Borris said this week that all-time home run king Barry Bonds does not plan to play baseball anymore.
My take: : Bonds, who last played in 2007, never formally announced his retirement, apparently holding out hope that someone would develop a designer drug that would make everyone like him again.
Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "Sportsline" on WBAL (1090 AM) and check out "The Schmuck Stops Here" at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.