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You really don't have to say you're sorry

This is the season not just for making Chex Mix an honorary food group, but also for apologies.

Recently, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson essentially apologized for this lost season.

Last Sunday, Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen apologized to the defense for not being Tom Brady.

And, New York Jets conditioning coach Sal Alosi apologized for sticking his knee out and tripping Miami's Nolan Carroll when Alosi was apparently seized by a middle-school flashback.

Just as there's no crying in baseball - unless you're Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Cliff Lee has given you a $150-million stiff-arm - there should be no apologizing in football.

It's a rough game. Feelings get hurt. So do thighs, though not generally by a guy wearing sweats on the sideline who suddenly turned into Paulie Walnuts.

No team tries to go 1-12 - except for the 2008 Detroit Lions who didn't get there. Sometimes it just happens.

But it's better when it happens someplace else.

ARIZONA at CAROLINA: Call it an early Christmas present. Panthers 20, Cardinals 14.

DETROIT at TAMPA BAY: Is Raheem Morris the coach of the year? Has anyone done a better job? Don't think so. Bucs 32, Lions 21.

NEW ORLEANS at BALTIMORE: Drew Brees knows what time it is. Jambalaya 29, Crab cakes 21.

BUFFALO at MIAMI: I was planning to watch this one but I have to water the Christmas tree. Dolphins 18, Bills 13.

JACKSONVILLE at INDIANAPOLIS: It's a cold winter already, but Colts coach Jim Caldwell should be feeling some heat. And it's only going to get hotter. Jags 28, Colts 17.

PHILADELPHIA at NEW YORK GIANTS: Tough week in the Big Apple. First, the Phillies steal Cliff Lee from the Yankees. Now this: Eagles 27, Giants 20.

CLEVELAND at CINCINNATI: Let's see ... Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer has thrown 18 interceptions, including five that were returned for touchdowns. ... The Browns wouldn't go for it on fourth-and-1 against the league's worst run defense in a key situation against Buffalo last week and lost. ... Jake Delhomme isn't getting it done. ... Neither are Eric Mangini or Marvin Lewis. Should be a beauty. Browns 13, Bengals 10.

HOUSTON at TENNESSEE: The Titans have lost six in a row but are still technically alive for the playoffs. Hold that thought. Titans 23, Texans 14.

WASHINGTON at DALLAS: Loser most likely comes to Charlotte to play the Panthers next season. Really. Cowboys 34, Redskins 13.

KANSAS CITY at ST. LOUIS: Show me. Rams 31, Chiefs 28.

ATLANTA at SEATTLE: What's the prize for having the league's longest current winning streak (seven)? A long plane ride - and eight in a row. Falcons 33, Seahawks 16.

NEW YORK JETS at PITTSBURGH: The Jets are so bad right now, even Charlie Sheen is embarrassed for them. Steelers 26, Jets. 7.

DENVER at OAKLAND: Who'd have guessed the Raiders would be the franchise in this game that looks the best? Raiders 37, Broncos 21.

GREEN BAY at NEW ENGLAND: Let's review, class: In the Patriots' past five games, they've beaten the Steelers, the Colts, the Lions, the Jets and the Bears - the last two by a combined 71 points. They've also not made a turnover.

Any questions? Didn't think so. Patriots 29, Packers 14.

CHICAGO at MINNESOTA: If you haven't heard this, allow me to share this tidbit I swiped from the internet. Brett Favre's consecutive games streak ended Monday night in Detroit - less than 2 miles from the spot where Lou Gehrig's famous streak ended. Bears 27, Vikings 17.

Last week: 9-6

Season: 119-67