Archive for November, 2003

November 26th, 2003 Comments off

NFL — Week Thirteen

It’s Thanksgiving week. And you know what I’m not at all thankful for? The fact that this week’s games are absolute murder, which would be bad enough if I didn’t have to pick ’em way out ahead and with a good number of important questions (will Steve McNair start for Tennessee? will Jeremy Shockey play? are we having real cranberry sauce or the shit from the can?) still unanswered. I’m gonna keep these short and sweet (mostly) since there’s no real point in pretending I know anything.

As usual, I’ll warn you that taking my advice about betting is a good way to lose money. This week, though, taking my advice would probably be about the stupidest thing you could possibly do. Happy Thanksgiving.

Green Bay (-6.5) at Detroit All I can say is thank goodness this is the early game. Now I can sit at the table for dinner like an actual human being, with no fear of missing anything other than Ahman Green running wild. Take Green Bay and give as much as double the points.

Miami (+3) at Dallas Wasn’t it during a Dallas-Miami matchup on Thanksgiving 10 years ago that dopey Leon Letts stopped short of the goal line in the snow, blowing the game for Dallas (or something like that)? Doesn’t matter. Leon’s gone. And Big D has big, big D. The Cowboys win this one, though the Fins probably cover. Should be a good game, and a season-killer for Miami.

Arizona (+4.5) at Chicago And you are planning to watch this game because … ? Chicago wins. Chicago probably covers. And both teams go right on not mattering.

Atlanta (+3) at Houston Nope. Michael Vick isn’t playing after all. Neither is Warrick Dunn. Neither is David Carr. But Domanick Davis is, which is why the Texans win and cover.

Buffalo (+3) at NY Giants The Giants say Jeremy Shockey, whose season was supposed to be over, may return for this game. That’s actually meaningful. The Giants are gonna need some production on O. They can’t stop the run, which isn’t a good thing with Travis Henry in town. And Bledsoe’s gotta have a decent day sometime. I think it happens here. But I think the Giants get it done, probably by more like four — make it six if Shockey plays.

Cincinnati (+3) at Pittsburgh I don’t give half a damn what happened in Cleveland last week. Pittsburgh’s an uneven team at best. So Cincinnati, but a bit less so. Take the Bengals in the upset.

Minnesota (+6) at St. Louis If Daunte Culpepper could hold onto the damned ball, I’d be inclined to think Minnesota had a chance to win this. One way or the other, expect lots of offense on both sides of the ball. Also look for the Vikes to cover (as Moss has a big day), but the Rams to pull it out thanks to some heroics by Marshall Faulk.

New England (+4) at Indianapolis I’m not a homer. Not in the least. So it’s not wishful thinking that’s led me to conclude the Pats will pull off the upset here. It’s the fact that Indy just hasn’t looked all that good the last few weeks. Peyton Manning’s looked good, sure, but the rest of the squad not so much. I expect the Pats’ D to find a way to shut down Manning (even though he’s tended to play fairly well against New England in the past), as the Patriots continue their cruise toward the AFC’s #2 playoff seeding.

Philadelphia (+1.5) at Carolina Jumpin’ Jesus. It’s another impossible to pick affair. If Donovan McNabb can pick on Carolina’s sometimes soft secondary, the Eagles will be able to pull this off. But I don’t think that happens. I think the Panthers’ excellent pass rush takes McNabb out of his game and opens the door for the Carolina O to sneak out a win by a field goal.

San Francisco (+3) at Baltimore Baltimore probably shouldn’t count on getting help from the officials again this week. But that’s OK. They won’t need it. Jamal Lewis has his last great game of the season here and leads his team to a two-point victory.

New Orleans (+2) at Washington Deuce McCallister should have a field day against the Redskins’ D. Look for him to win this one single-handedly, rushing for 150-plus yards and two touchdowns.

Cleveland (+6) at Seattle The Seahawks will be keeping a very close eye on the clock, and their lead, which they’ll pad at every opportunity. Look for Seattle to win this one by something on the order of three touchdowns.

Denver (-3) at Oakland The Broncos, even with Jake Plummer back, are beatable. So say the Chicago Bears. And the Raiders played Kansas City very close last week. I’m hoping for an upset here. But I’m certainly not counting on one. I’ll take Denver straight up and leave the betting alone.

Kansas City (-7) at San Diego The Chiefs spotting the Chargers seven is a bit like a cheetah giving three steps to a wounded wildebeest. It’s not merely ridiculous; it’s gonna get real ugly real quick.

Tampa Bay (-3) at Jacksonville As it turned out, dumping Keyshawn Johnson really did seem to get the Bucs back on track. They’ll stay on it, too, for at least one more week. But that’s mostly because the Jaguars are awful. Tampa wins by seven.

Tennessee(-1) at NY Jets If Steve McNair doesn’t play, the Jets will win this one by seven. If McNair does play, the Jets will only win by three.

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November 18th, 2003 Comments off

Well, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has finally got around to issuing its long-awaited ruling on gay marriage. The court damn near got it right, too. In fact, it came so close to actually getting it right that one can only conclude the justices knew what they ought to do and simply didn’t have the backbone for it. Instead of just throwing out the state’s ban on gay marriage, instead of ordering that the Commonwealth start allowing same-sex couples to marry immediately, the court ruled that the ban is unconstitutional but gave the Legislature 180 days to fix the problem. I’ve yet to read any report that tells what happens when 180 days go by and the problem hasn’t been fixed, which, as you know if you live in Massachusetts, is exactly what’s likely to happen. This isn’t to say the Legislature will never address the issue, only that I’d happily give you 10 to 1 it hasn’t managed to pass legislation by the SJC’s deadline. (The Mass. Legislature couldn’t pass a resolution praising chocolate chip cookies and buttered popcorn with less than eight months of debate, backroom bargaining and some nasty strong-arm tactics from Tom “Who Me?” Finneran.)

What’s truly bad about all this, though, is not how long it’s gonna take Beacon Hill to address this matter, but how it’s going to do it. I see this going one of two ways. Best case scenario: The Legislature enacts some kind of bullshit, separate-but-equal civil unions law that satisfies the court and only pisses off the Neanderthals on the right enough to make for semi-entertaining talk radio (if you’re the kind of person who finds outright idiocy entertaining). More likely: The Legislature actually moves forward with a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, which would set civil rights back a good 100 years. One can only hope that such an amendment wouldn’t win the approval of the voting public, but that’s a head-in-the-sand kind of hope. People love to be mean and rotten and homophobic. They especially love to be hateful when they can claim they’re standing up for good old-fashioned traditional values. (Oh, yeah, gotta love those traditional values. Slavery. Wife beating. All that wonderful stuff we humans used to do before those crazy liberals took control.) So, no, unfortunately I don’t trust the voters to make the right decision on a gay-hating amendment any more than I would have trusted the voters in 1800 to make the right decision on a slavery ban.

What I’ve never been able to understand in this whole debate, though, is how is it that values of any kind are seen as justifying discrimination. Look, if your church thinks it’s bad to be gay, that’s your business. This is America. You’re entitled to be as ignorant and hateful as you please. You can even march through Skokie with signs proclaiming what an ignorant, hateful person you are (or, you know, if you’d rather use the euphemism “conservative” or “supporter of traditional values,” you can do that, too; we all know the code terms by now). But as long as you’re saying, these rights, these privileges (whether to do with taxes, rights of inheritance, hospital visitation … whatever) are reserved for people who are married, you can’t go saying you people can get married and you other people can’t. You can’t. Even though we have for centuries and will continue to, probably for a few decades. It’s wrong. It’s to do with this oddball notion our founding fathers had about equal protection under the law. So here’s what you can do: Get marriage out of the law. Don’t require licenses. Don’t offer rights to married couples. Just make it something you do in church or wherever, something that has personal meaning but no legal standing. (And then deal with the headaches that come up with couples split and there’s nothing in the law to say who owns what, who owes who support or who gets the kids, the dog, the fucking Sea-Monkeys.) Or make marriage accessible to everyone, regardless of whom they like to fuck and how. Seems like the latter approach is the more sensible to me. But that’s just me. And, I admit, I don’t have some hateful social agenda to push. Nor am I so insecure in my spirituality that I feel the need to thrust my religious beliefs on everyone around me. Weird, I know, but it’s working for me.

But what I do and don’t understand about gay marriage is irrelevant, really. What matters is what I do understand. And that’s the fact that no matter how wrong it is to deny gay couples the right to marry, the ever-enlightened Massachusetts Legislature and the oh-so-liberal Massachusetts voting public will conspire to do just that. Because they are ugly, ignorant, fearful people — just like the majority of Americans.

I know I’m raining on everyone’s parade here. And I’m sorry. But I just don’t think this is such a big victory. I think we’re still years and years away from making the law blind to sexual preference. It makes me unbelievably sad, but it’s true just the same.

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November 10th, 2003 Comments off

Election season.

You know, I guess there really is some kind of specific energy or something surrounding next year’s presidential election, because even I can’t stop thinking about it now. I’m consumed with news of last week’s typically insipid Rock The Vote Democratic debate, with reports of Howard Dean’s decision to reject public campaign funds and the spending limits that go with them, even with the news of John Kerry’s decision to fire his campaign manager.

Never mind that I find Rock The Vote idiotic. I mean, really, what is Rock The Vote, but an effort to get privileged kids who can’t be bothered to follow world, national or even local news and politics to go cast a ballot supporting one of a field of candidates they don’t actually know a damned thing about. If you’re not part of a group that has been deliberately disenfranchised and you have to be coaxed into pretending to give a shit, you don’t deserve a vote and I don’t want you at the polls. Pretending you get better results from higher voter turnout is absurd; high voter turnout only ever results in Governor Schwarzenegger (is this how you spell his name? I don’t know; Christ, I like those Terminator movies — I even had fun watching Kindergarten Cop back in the day — but for fuck’s sake, California, grow up already).

Never mind that I think it’s bloody great that Howard Dean is gonna pour money into his campaign like a drunken Republican — and ridiculous that other Democrats feel a need to whine about it when we all know they’d do exactly the same if they could.

Never mind that it doesn’t matter one damned bit who’s running it, Kerry’s campaign is dead in the water — specifically because he’s happily become just another Democrat. (I used to think highly of Kerry. I used to be proud of both of Massachusetts’ senators. Now, not so much. Why? Mostly because of Kerry’s decision to support the war in Iraq, for his inability to stand up to W the way he stood up to W’s daddy. Because I believe he’s lost his vision, his spine and whatever connection he ever had to the political left. He wants to be president more than he believes he should be president; and that doesn’t make for good presidents. People can see right through that. If Al Gore had believed he was the right man for the job, he’d have made better campaign decisions and blown W out of the water (rather than just edging him by enough votes that the right wing Supreme Court could appoint their guy to office).

The thing I really can’t stop thinking about is the fact that, once again, the Democrats don’t seem to have it in them to nominate a candidate I could possibly support. Dean’s as close as they get, I think. And there’s a lot to recommend him. He says what he thinks. He doesn’t give a good goddamn about what the so-called experts say he should and shouldn’t do. He’s running a big campaign on little contributions. He’s governor of the only state in the union that currently has a semi-sensible approach to gay marriage (you’re not quite all the way there, though, Vermont, so don’t act all smug and shit). Still, I’m not sure I trust him. And even if I did, it’s become abundantly clear that the Democrats are gonna find a way to take him down. He’s just too real for the party. And maybe a bit too outside the grasp of their corporate masters.

So what the hell do I do? Well, I’m starting here. Here are a few elements of my litmus test for a presidential candidate, a list of the positions I want a candidates to take before they can get my support.

Choice. I will not vote for any candidate who doesn’t espouse an absolute belief in a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. That’s it. I don’t want to hear about late-term abortions (what the anti-choice movement calls partial-birth). I don’t want to hear about anyone’s fucking sense of personal morality. I don’t want to hear about compromise with the religious zealots and assorted morons in the anti-choice movement. I want to hear candidates say they’ll do whatever the fuck it takes to defend Roe v. Wade and to repeal this ban on late-term procedures. That’s it. No choice, no vote.

Gay marriage. The fact that this is even an issue is offensive to me. There’s no intelligent, honest and truly moral argument for denying same-sex couples the same rights and privileges accorded to the rest of us. It’s as simple as that. If you belong to a religion that holds that homosexuality is wrong (except when it comes to priests buggering altar boys, of course), good for you. No one is insisting that any denomination perform marriage ceremonies for anyone they don’t like. Fuck, man, if your church is opposed to interracial marriage, that’s fine by me. I mean, stay the hell away from me, please, but do/believe whatever idiotic thing you want. Just cut the crap with foisting your ignorance on the rest of us. I want a president who says that. Think I’ll get one? No. No, of course not. Not ever.

People over corporations. It’s very bloody well past time we stopped making laws for the benefit of companies. I want a president who will speak the truth: Corporations have no rights. People have rights. Workers have rights. Every single goddamned thing a corporation does can (and quite possibly should) be subject to regulation. If corporations can’t stop themselves from paying their CEOs millions upon millions while they eliminate the jobs of hard-working people, the government should do it for them. If corporations can’t bring themselves to behave like they owe the planet and its people more than they owe their own fucking bottom lines, the government should do it for them. And they can’t. So we should. I want a president who can lay out a plan for ending the reign of these criminal corporations. I also want a president who will launch initiative to tax the shit out of corporations and their overpaid officials. Am I ever gonna get that. Not on your life. I know who owns the government in this country, and it sure as hell ain’t the people.

End the drug war. You want my vote? Admit what every last intelligent person in America knows: The drug war is a failure. And more than that it’s an expensive failure. It’s done nothing other than put thousands of Americans behind bars unnecessarily, turned city streets into war zones, destroy third-world countries and waste billions of American taxpayer dollars. It needs to end and it needs to end today. Legalize it all. Or don’t, and simply stop enforcing prohibition. Put some money into helping addicts. Put more into improving schools. And put the rest into infrastructure projects that will not just put people to work but actually create something useful. Anyone who claims there is any value in the drug war is either an idiot or a liar. Either way, they don’t belong in office.

What else? I don’t know. Plenty. That’s just what’s on my mind today. Maybe I’ll post some more in the future. Or maybe not. Because, honestly, what candidate is ever even gonna measure up to these expectations? None. So what do I do? Do I compromise next November and take what the Dems have to offer? Mmmm, probably not. Do I advocate for revolution? Nah. It’s not gonna happen anyhow. So probably I just keep on feeling contempt for everyone involved in the political process, voting for guys like Ralph Nader, whose hearts are in the right place even if they’re not with me all the way and pretending things might get better someday. Even though I know down deep they never, ever will

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November 7th, 2003 Comments off

NFL — Week Nine

Goddamn, I hate weeks like this. Lots of heavy, heavy favorites mean there aren’t gonna be a whole lot of upsets. But there are, of course, gonna be one or two. And there’s almost no telling where they’re gonna happen. So picking straight up, you’re tempted to try to ID them, which is a giant trap. If you’re right, awesome. But if you tag two upsets and you miss both, and then they happen somewhere else, you’ve gone and missed four games making your best possible week 10-4, when you know you’re gonna need to finish 12-2 or even 13-1 to win your pool. Picking against the spread is even worse, because, look, heavy favorites are heavy favorites for a reason. But those games go one of two ways: either the 10-point favorite comes in, plays its game and absolutely blows the dog out of the stadium, or that big favorite gets overconfident and gets surprised, either losing or just managing to win by a field goal. Do you know which fave is gonna show up to play and which is gonna take the week off? I sure as hell don’t. And giving anything more than a touchdown pretty much scares the bejesus out of me. So what do I recommend? Read through the picks below. If my reasoning makes no sense to you, pick or bet the other way. If my reasoning makes sense to you, spend some time wondering why that is, and whether you’re the kind of person who ought to be gambling on pro football to begin with. Really, I have no fucking idea what I’m doing here. So whatever you do, do not take my advice.

Arizona (+7.5) at Pittsburgh Seven and a half points is a lot to give, particularly when the team giving it has one of the most uneven and unreliable offenses in the league. Then again, Arizona, despite two straight wins, ain’t exactly a juggernaut. Hell, even with Marcel Shipp piling up the yards, Arizona is still only the 18th best run offense in the league. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has the league’s fourth best run D (and the second best D overall). Unless you think Hines Ward is in for a two touchdown day, you have to question whether seven and a half points will actually be scored by both teams combined. So take the Steelers straight up, but take the Cards getting the points. Then hold your breath and hope Ward does just enough, but not too much. (And don’t start Shipp for your fantasy team this week.)

Atlanta (+10.5) at New York Giants This game poses rather a problem for me. You see, it seems the Giants are out to kick my ass. If I pick ’em to lose, they win. If I pick ’em to win, they lose. My best guess is that it’s a bit of revenge for the fact that I’ve kinda abandoned them in recent years. The Giants used to be my NFC team, and the team I rooted for most consistently after my real team, the Raiders. But then when Jon Gruden went and signed on with Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers became my NFC faves. I almost switched back to the Giants after the Bucs beat up on my poor Raiders in the Super Bowl last year, but then I realized that whole thing was Al Davis’ fucking fault (because, as I said often two years ago, he never, ever should have let Gruden go) and there was no sense holding that against Gruden and the Buccaneers. So I stuck with the Bucs, leaving the Giants short one almost fan. That has to hurt. So I figure they’re out to get me. And they’ve been doing a very good job of it. But now comes this game and, well, hell, you’ve gotta like the Giants straight up, right? I mean, the Falcons aren’t beating anyone, and they’re not gonna beat anyone until Michael Vick starts suiting up again (and Dan Reeves starts circulating his résumé). Look, the way the Falcons have been playing, you’ve gotta even like the Giants giving the damned ten and a half. Only, on Monday I swore that from then on, I’d always pick against the Giants when I thought they would win and with them when I thought they would lose. This means I should pick against them here. But doesn’t that kinda mean I think they’re gonna lose? So I should pick them. But then that means they’re gonna win. So I should … well, you get the point. This loop could go on and on. Maybe it’ll keep on spinning me around right through Sunday and I’ll never make a pick. Maybe this game is headed for a tie. Maybe if I stop thinking about this right now my head won’t explode. Damned Giants.

Chicago (+2) at Detroit The Bears have the Lions’ number. Marty Booker has caught for 100-plus yards in two of Chicago’s last three games against Detroit. And Chris Chandler has thrown more touchdown passes against the Lions in the last two years than he has against the rest of the league in his career (that last stat is totally made up, but it’s illustrative of a greater point, so deal with it). So take the Bears, take the points. And if you pick Detroit because they’re at home don’t come crying to me.

Cleveland (+10) at Kansas City Will the Browns be the team that earns champagne and whatever the hell else it is the ’72 Dolphins send to whatever team beats the last of the undefeateds each season? Probably not. I mean, eventually even the powerhouse Chiefs (coming soon to a Super Bowl near you — if, that is, you live near Houston) are gonna fall to someone. It’s just not even remotely conceivable that a team could go unbeaten through 16 games the way the NFL is these days. But there’s a good reason the Chiefs are heavy favorites, particularly with William “Mean” Green sitting on the sidelines with a bottle in his hand. The Chiefs are definitely gonna win this one straight up. Against the spread, though, I’ve gotta like a Browns team whose D has allowed 215-plus yards passing only once this season to keep it a bit closer than 10, maybe closer than a touchdown, even.

Houston (+5) at Cincinnati Here comes a classic QB duel: the Bengals’ Jon Kitna vs. the Texans David Carr. Think you can handle the anticipation? Holy Jesus, this is a dog. Add to the fact that neither of these teams is worth a damn, the fact that both starting running backs, Corey Dillon and Domanick Davis, are banged up and you get the ho-hum game of the week. Why’s Cinci gonna win it? Because they’re at home? No. It’s because they win games when they don’t turn the ball over. And facing the Texans’ 31st ranked defense, they ain’t gonna have much chance to turn the ball over. Take Cinci straight up, but lean toward Houston getting the five. And then look the other way.

Indianapolis (-6) at Jacksonville Look, there’s simply no question about where this game is headed. Peyton Manning eats the Jags for breakfast. He’s put up10 touchdowns in his four games against Jacksonville, and some of those were against much better teams than this year’s Jaguars. So round up his average and expect Manning to log about 300 yards and three touchdowns as the Colts absolutely smashify the Jags. (What I’m saying here is, give the points.)

Miami (+5) at Tennessee I’ve got a weird feeling about this game. I’ve got this thing inside me telling me Miami’s gonna find a way to win. They have to, you know. They really can’t afford to fall another game behind the Patriots in the AFC East. Plus, they’ve got Brian Griese playing for the starting job (which he’s probably already lost, only he doesn’t know it). And Ricky Williams is way overdue for a big game. That said, Javon Kearse lining up against a hideously weak O line, which doesn’t bode well for Mr. Griese. And , I don’t know, I can’t bring myself to pick Miami against a much better team strictly on a vibe. So I say go with Tennessee straight up in your pool unless you have much bigger balls than I do. And definitely take the Fins getting five. They’ll keep it within a field goal.

Seattle (-3) at Washington Looking at this game on paper, you can actually get to thinking the Redskins stand a semi-decent chance of pulling off the upset here. They’re at home. They’re facing a not particularly good pass rush from Seattle, which should give Patrick Ramsey a bit of time to find Laveranues Coles. And Seattle, which had had trouble completing touchdown
passes lately, is looking at playing without its best wideout, Koren Robinson (who’ll come in gimpy if he comes in at all). Still and all, you’ve gotta like Shaun Alexander’s chances against the Skins’ 26th-ranked run D a buttload better than barely healthy Trung Canidate’s chances against the Seattle run D, which is ranked 11th. So all that stuff you’ve been thinking about upsets is probably just bunk. Play it safe. Take the Seahawks and bet your hard-earned money on some other game (I’ve got a few suggestions in that regard below).

Tampa Bay (-3) at Carolina Sooner or later, Brad Johnson is gonna snap out of the down streak he’s been in for the past three games. I’m not so sure it’s gonna happen this week, though. The Bucs have had some trouble on their O line. And Carolina, though they’re really not all that good on D, does have a solid pass rush. Even though he’s a bit banged up (and a big, giant fuckhead), I think Michael Pittman has a good outing against the Panthers and gets Brad just enough wiggle room to pull this game out. The Bucs win it, but maybe only by a field goal. So take Tampa in your pool and just consider any bet you might have made a push (i.e. bet on some other game, some other time).

Minnesota (-5.5) at San Diego Marty Schottenheimer isn’t saying whether he’ll start ineffective and formerly overrated Drew Brees or 41-year-old never-was (unless you live in Canada) Doug Flutie at quarterback. That is, things are really, really, really bad in San Diego right now. Add to that the fact that LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers only real offensive weapon, missed two days of practice this week after having a wisdom tooth removed (shit, I’m no tough guy, but I remember being back at my job two days after having all four out), and the fact that David Boston is still a big, fat, useless load and you’ve got a formula for no offensive output from the Chargers once again this week. Things are even worse on the other side of the ball. The Chargers couldn’t stop Chicago last week. They sure as hell aren’t stopping the Vikings. I’d take the Vikes giving 28 here. OK, not really, but almost. Minnesota is a mortal lock.

Buffalo (+4) at Dallas Quick, who’s dumber, Drew Bledsoe or Quincy Carter? OK, you’re right, it’s an unanswerable question. And it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether Dallas will do a better job of shutting down Eric Moulds than Buffalo does stopping Troy Hambrick. If Hambrick can run, the Cowboys can win, whereas Travis Henry’s ability to run effectively won’t be enough to get the Bills over the hump. I’m betting Hambrick gets loads o’ carries, Terry Glenn has a few key red-zone catches and the Cowboys win it by six or so.

New York Jets (-3) at Oakland I’m a Raiders fan. And I hate, hate, hate the Jets. This makes it extremely painful for me to say that this is easily one of the bargains of the week. Chad Pennington, for those who haven’t noticed, is back in rather a big way. Yeah, the Jets lost to the Giants at the end of OT last week, but did you get a look at Pennington’s numbers? In his first start of the season no less (and only the second game he’s played at all). Santana Moss is catching balls like they’re going out of style. The Raiders D can’t stop the run, and they’re facing Curtis Martin, who gave them trouble even when they were better up front. And, to make this as thoroughly horrifying as possible, with Rich Gannon out another two weeks and Marques Tuiasosopo gone for the season, the Raiders are starting Rick Mirer at QB (with practice-squad QB Tee Martin listed second, and recently signed trainwreck Rob Johnson third). Charlie Garner will probably have a decent day, but he can’t win this game all by himself. The Jets win this one by 10 or more.

Baltimore (+7) at St. Louis Once again, I find myself having to point out that Jamal Lewis is not 11 people. Neither is Marshall Faulk. But the good news for the Rams is that Faulk doesn’t have to be. In fact, Faulk doesn’t even have to be one person for the Rams to win. The bad news for Baltimore, powerful though their defense may be, is that a healthy Faulk is usually two or three people. The Rams win. And, just ’cause they’re pissed off about last week’s slaughter in San Francisco, they cover, too.

Philadelphia (+4) at Green Bay What’s gonna be weird about this game is that Correll Buckhalter is gonna have a bigger night than Ahman Green. That shouldn’t happen. Not anywhere in the universe, and especially not at Lambeau. But the Pack can’t seem to stop the run this season, while stopping the run is what the Eagles do best. Does any of this mean you should take Philly? What, to win at Lambeau? No, numbskull, it doesn’t. The Eagles may be able to stop the run, but they can’t stop the pass, which means Brett Favre is gonna pick them apart all night long. Meanwhile, the only way Donovan McNabb has a big night is if the Packers over-commit to stopping Buckhalter (and maybe Duce Staley). They won’t do that, because they’ll know they don’t need to. The Pack outguns the Eagles to win it 28-21. Watch.

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