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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Week Nine: Back to Reality

Since the tanks aren't in the streets yet, I guess we can go on and enjoy the NFL. Not only did Kerry lose this past week, but so did the Patriots, and the confluence of the two were a great way to kill the high I was on from the Red Sox championship. Now, to top it all off, I want to make last moment fantasy football changes but the page won't load. Woe is me.

Last week was a typical 10-4 straight up and 8-6 against the spread. The two spread-busters were 7-point favorite Philly beating the Ravens 15-10 (Baltimore's 4th quarter TD enduced groans across the land) and 7.5-point favorite Seattle winning over Carolina 23-17 (same thing, Panthers scored a TD inside two minutes). Those late garbage scores are what makes picking against the spread so foolish.

And one more thing, can we retire that Coors Light song they keep playing with the highlights every week on the SportsCenter? "And I -- LOVED -- WEEK -- NINE!!" There are about a billion better songs they could use than that, sheesh.

On to the selections, which of course are not an endorsement of gambling, before we get the early kickoffs. Let's play at Mirage today:

NY Jets (-3) over Buffalo

The Bills got some crazy special teams scores on Arizona last week, putting up 38 points on less than 300 yards toal offense. The Jets don't give games away quite like that.

Pittsburgh (+1) over Philadelphia to cover and win

OK, I'm sold on the Steelers now. They ran the ball right down the Pats' throat, and run defense happens to be Philly's weakness too. Brian Westbrook is playing but will be limited for the Eagles. And can we all please leave Terrell Owens alone? The guy is entertaining and we love it, so let's let him be, it doesn't hurt anyone. My all time favorite T.O. moment has to be the celebration on the star in Dallas, that was hilarious.

Detroit (-3) over Washington

It's so pathetic to watch the exhaustive Redskins coverage here every week as the TV people try to figure out what's wrong with the team. You know, guys, maybe the team just isn't that good. It happens sometimes. They're so bad that even when they lose, an incumbent president wins reelection.

Cincinnati (+1) over Dallas

There's really no way to figure this matchup of inconsistent clubs. Thus I go with the home team.

Oakland (+7) over Carolina to cover but lose

Yikes, both of these teams are having rough years. Seven points seems a lot.

Miami (-3) over Arizona

Well, the warm weather won't be an advantage over the visitor not used to such conditions. I didn't catch the MNF debacle, but it suggests to me that the Dolphins defense might be demoralized and giving up on the season. Still, they can beat the Cardinals, who didn't show up last week themselves as they were blasted in Buffalo.

Kansas City (-3) over Tampa Bay

I think the Chiefs are officially back. With the Broncos dropping two in a row the AFC West race is now looking interesting, with both the Chiefs and Chargers coming on (Denver has beaten both of those teams already, though).

NY Giants (-9.5) over Chicago

ESPN knew they had a dog of a game last Sunday night with Bears-49ers. I tuned in for a few minutes and the announcers were interviewing Mike Ditka back in a studio somewhere and essentially ignoring what was happening in what was then a tie game. The Giants get their second shot at Philadelphia in three weeks.

Seattle (-7) over San Francisco

Jerry Rice returns, etc. The Seahawks showed last week they really can win a road game against a weak opponent, now they get a chance to do it again (but let's cover this time, OK guys?).

San Diego (-6.5) over New Orleans

Who would've though the Chargers would be such a favorite in this game before the season started? I heard a Chris Mortensen report that the Chargers are going to let Drew Brees go in free agency this offseason. That's rather hard for me to believe considering the guy has played at a Pro Bowl level of late. As I've written before, the Chargers are a very intriguing story, so stay tuned.

New England (+1.5) over St. Louis to cover and win

Everyone's talking about the Patriots' injuries in the secondary putting them at a disadvantage against the Greatest Show on Turf. Yes, but that forgets that the Steelers won last week because they ran the ball so effectively. Mike Martz, unlike Bill Cowher, lacks the patience to stick with the running game. The Rams are masters of the letdown, and the Patriots can win a wide-open game, people sometimes forget.

Houston (+7) over Denver to cover and win

I'm back on the Texans bandwagon this week, after their win over the Jaguars (who may lose Byron Leftwich for the year, bad break for them). As mentioned above, the Broncos have lost two straight now and had trouble running on the Falcons last week. Seven points is too much, and since I'm a Texans-backer, I'll take them outright too.

Baltimore (-6) over Cleveland

The Browns somehow beat the Ravens back in week one. They're not the same team on the road, though, and Jamal Lewis is back from his suspension too tonight.

Indianapolis (-7) over Minnesota

The Vikings are screwed here, with their offense hampered by injuries right at a time when they'll have to put up points to beat a Colts team (like KC did last week, that's the formula). Randy Moss has finally figured out he needs to let his hamstring heal by not playing in a football game for at least a week.