I'm not getting off the underdog this week. Well, actually I've leaned to them six times out of my 11 selections. Eleven selections! Is the guy desperate or what? That's right, desperate. I'm having one of those blue periods that guys like Picasso knew about so well. My formula is tanking, my shoulder hurts and this morning the toaster caught on fire.
Not only that, but I'm worried about my man, Vic Mackey, on The Shield, especially in light of the company he chooses to keep.
The Jets are coming off a bye. Last year, despite their dysfunctional 4-12 year, they whipped the Steelers by three in overtime, the week after their bye. The year before, they went up to New England and upset the Patriots, an affront that was happily avenged, 37-16, in the playoffs. So here they are, coming off their bye week, which saw the Bengals putting Dallas on the ropes for a while.
The number is 6, New York over Cincinnati. Jets will cover, thanks to their history.
Do you believe in the Falcons? I'd like to, but I'm having trouble. Chicago is giving a teeny weeny 2 1/2, in Atlanta naturally. Could the Bears be looking ahead to Minnesota? Nah, they wouldn't do that to me, considering the kind of year I'm having. But gosh, that number sure looks like a trap. So what? I'll take the Bears anyway.
Miami plus 3 at Houston. The Wildcat will be defensed. I mean, the direct snap is not a vision out of a Superman movie. But I don't like the Texans' QB situation, either. Well, they have to win one of these weeks. But not this one. Take the Dolphins.
And the Ravens, getting 3 at Indy. They used to give them hell when all the pieces were in place for the Colts. Now that the O-line is struggling, I can't see it holding up against the kind of heat Baltimore will bring.
Here's my theory about coaching changes during the season. The game immediately following one of those changes generally is upscale. Everyone's concentration is a bit sharper. Thus, I'll take the Rams and their new coach, Jim Haslett, getting 13 1/2 in Washington. And the Raiders, who find themselves in the same situation at New Orleans...well, that's different.
"Why is it different?" says a red-headed bystander, on cue. Because I'm picking the Saints and giving the 7 1/2, that's why. They'll be approaching this game in a blind fury after the Vikings upset them on Monday night.
The Panthers seem to enjoy it in Tampa. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's those gigantic Spanish dinners at the Columbia. But they've won their last five there. No. 6 coming up. Carolina plus 3 against Tampa Bay is the choice.
I can't help it. I must lean to the formula one more time. It just can't desert me completely. Do you really think the Seahawks deserve to be a 2 1/2-point favorite over the Packers? No, of course not, even with the game in Seattle, now that the 12th man or 13th man or whatever personality they attach to the crowd noise, has packed it in. They're practically begging you to take the Pack. Not me, folks. I won't crack. I can't be begged. I've got the Hawks, giving the points.
I pass the following three games on to you without comment, strictly because one of the more serious investors I know says they're his three favorites on the board. Two out of three winners and he'll be consulted another time. Anything less and into the dumper he goes, along with his selections.
Cardinals getting 5 at home against the Cowboys.
Eagles giving 5 1/2 at on the road against the 49ers.
Giants giving 7 1/2 to the Browns in Cleveland.
Last week: 1-4Season record: 10-15