Brownlee’s back in the Barcalounger saddle

Wow, it’s been both a whirlwind and a slow waiting game in the time I’ve been away for the past six — actually now that I think about it — seven weeks.

Fortunately, my colleague and good friend, Renee Prusi, kept the Armchair Quarterback Barcalounger in good shape while I was away.

One week — the one when I had my open-heart surgery on Oct. 30 — was kind of crazy for Renee and myself as I had to make all my picks that Monday just in case I was really out of it after U.P. Health System cardiac surgeons brought my heart back to health.

I’m happy to report things are going pretty well, only my stamina has been a bit slow to return, but it’s getting there.

If I try to thank all the people who have made this ordeal not an ordeal, there won’t be room for anything else today.

Suffice it to say, the doctors, nurses and other staff at the hospital were great, as was my 84-year-old mother, Donna Brownlee, who took me in for about 2 1/2 weeks and had to do all my heavy lifting for me.

And my sister Bridget and brother-in-law Jeff Hozeska who made two extra trips beyond their initial visit here from Saginaw to get me back and forth for post-op rehab.

And several coworkers who made runs to my apartment for things like my phone charger, along with all the various people who sent me get-well wishes, especially since I’m not on any social media.

Unfortunately, I see during my time off that things didn’t go as well for Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

But I think he’ll land on his feet, whatever he decides to do.

Heck, why not take a year or two off and let the TV networks pay you several million dollars so you can spout off on what’s going on around the league?

Just a thought.

Now onto this week’s picks, which with the success Renee had including both of ours, I’ll be doing the same.

The predicted scores of each game are my own, however:

Today, 8:20 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City — Can you ever pick against KC at home? No way, say Renee and I. Chiefs, 35-30.

Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

Houston at New York Jets — The league thought the Jets would be better this season, sticking — stinking? — this game in a Saturday prime-time slot. Renee and I agree, Texans, 31-21.

Saturday, 8:20 p.m.

Cleveland at Denver — This would’ve been a real stinker if the Browns were making a run at another 0-16 season.

Instead, they have the same 5-7-1 record as the Packers and are a half-game better than the Lions’ 5-8. Still, us AQBs agree, Broncos, 24-19.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Arizona at Atlanta — The Cards couldn’t muster enough offense to challenge Detroit at home last week. Renee and I agree, Falcons, 37-24.

Tampa Bay at Baltimore — Despite glaring holes, Baltimore has a chance to take over first place in the AFC North. Ravens, 26-20.

Detroit at Buffalo — I’m clueless picking Detroit lately, so it’s probably a good thing for Lions’ fans that Renee takes Detroit while I have the Bills, 23-17.

Green Bay at Chicago — Da Bears could wrap up the NFC North this week. Just what Chicago needs, more incentive in their twice-annual games against the Packers. We agree, Bears, 24-16.

Oakland at Cincinnati — Tweedle-Dee or Tweedle-Dum? One team has been terrible all year till last week, the other awful during the second half. Renee and I each take the Bengals, 30-29.

Dallas at Indianapolis — Two teams that have risen from the dead this season. In our only other split decision, Renee takes Indy while I have the Cowboys, 27-22.

Washington at Jacksonville — Both of us AQBs worry that with “quarterback” in our title, we’re going to be the next signal caller the Redskins look at to take the field. So we agree, Jaguars, 16-10.

Miami at Minnesota — Personally, I think the Dolphins are still celebrating their upset of the Patriots on Sunday. Renee and I in agreement again, Vikings, 23-19.

Tennessee at New York Giants — When I left for surgery, I was convinced the Giants were the worst the NFL had to offer. What a turnaround for these New Yorkers, Renee and I agree. Giants, 21-19.

Sunday, 4 p.m.

Seattle at San Francisco — I’m just hoping that a lot of teams with playoff hopes don’t follow big wins with bigger letdowns against the league’s bottom feeders. Like this one us AQBs agree on, Seahawks, 27-17.

New England at Pittsburgh — The Steelers’ running game is in trouble with RB James Conner in the same condition as Pittsburgh’s defense — questionable. Renee and I go with the Patriots, 33-26.

Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams — The Eagles look like road kill as L.A. tries to retake the No. 1 seed in the NFC, leading Renee and I to agree on the Rams, 29-23.

Monday, 8:15 p.m.

New Orleans at Carolina — I think Carolina’s a better team at home, but that much better? Two out of two AQBs agree, Saints, 34-24.

Last week — Renee, 11-5, 69 percent. Steve, 9-7, 56 percent. Season — Renee, 133-73-2 (I’ve secretly kept track of all her picks), 65 percent. Steve, 126-80-2, 61 percent.