Friday, September 23, 2005

Welcome to the third week of the National Football League, where the fans of both the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings have our sympathies.

Seriously, it's tough to figure out who came into the fall with a more flawed plan -- FEMA or the Viking front office. You can bet another head man named Mike will be losing his position soon.

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and Celine Dion won't return my phone calls.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as betting "The War At Home" will be on FOX in six more weeks.

Tennessee at ST. LOUIS (-6.5): Wow, what a difference a few years makes. This would have been a hot ticket in 2001 -- you know, back when Steve McNair could still walk and Mike Martz was still a genius? St. Louis 24, Tennessee 23.

Oakland at PHILADELPHIA (-7.5): I'm pretty sure whatever Andy Reid stuffed up his players' rear ends last week is still burning. Philly 27, Oakland 16.

Jacksonville at NEW YORK JETS (-3): I picked up a milk carton this morning and the Jaguar offense's picture was on the back. New York 19, Jacksonville 14.

Cincinnati at CHICAGO (+3): The Bengals look fantastic, having rolled up 64 points on the way to a 2-0 record. That was accomplished against Cleveland and Minnesota, however, which is on a par with smoking your grandmother in the 40-yard dash. Still, Bears QB Kyle Orton will face a stiffer test this week -- namely, an actual defense. Cincinnati 31, Chicago 17.

New Orleans at MINNESOTA (-3.5): The Vikings -- the NFL's equivalent of "Gigli." New Orleans 22, Minnesota 21.

Carolina at MIAMI (+3): A field goal? Didn't the Panthers just humble the defending champion Patriots? Oh, and what's Ricky Williams's favorite Pat Benatar song? "Weed Belong". Carolina 23, Miami 13.

Cleveland at INDIANAPOLIS (-13.5): All Browns QB Trent Dilfer does is win ... except this week. He'll still get a couple TDs, though, and that's enough to cover. Indianapolis 30, Cleveland 17.

Atlanta at BUFFALO (-1): This is all speculation that Michael Vick won't play this week due to a hamstring injury. If he plays, the Falcons win. If he doesn't and Matt Schaub is the QB, Atlanta wins bigger. Atlanta 21, Buffalo 13.

Tampa Bay at GREEN BAY (+3.5): The Bucs have found the next great running back in Carnell Williams. The Packers have found out they need to blow their team up and start over. Tampa Bay 24, Green Bay 17.

Arizona at SEATTLE (-6.5): The Seahawks made huge progress last week by just hanging on to beat Atlanta. The Cardinals also had big success in talking the league out of relegating the franchise to NFL Europe. Seattle 20, Arizona 10.

New England at PITTSBURGH (-3): The popular pick is Pittsburgh, but I think this is where Willie Parker gets parked. The Patriots will be pissed, and I'm out of alliteration. New England 21, Pittsburgh 20.

Dallas at SAN FRANCISCO (+6.5): The Cowboys will bounce back after last week's collapse. Man, that was like Kirstie Alley walking on a balsa bridge. Dallas 28, San Francisco 13.

New York Giants at SAN DIEGO (-5.5): Given the difference in their temperments, do you think Eli Manning considers his brother a spaz? Expect lots of Ladainian. San Diego 24, New York 20.

Kansas City at DENVER (-3): Here's a simple equation -- Denver moron QB + vastly improved Chiefs defense = home Monday Night loss. Kansas City 31, Denver 19.

Lock of the Week: Carolina
Trifecta: Carolina, Kansas City, Cincy

Week Two, Straight Up: 10-6
Week Two, ATS: 8-8
Week Two, LOTW: 1-0
Week Two, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Two Bank Statement: even steven

Season, Straight Up: 15-17
Season, ATS: 17-15
Season, LOTW: 1-1
Season, Trifecta: 0-2
Season Bank Statement: -$200

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