Spread the word: Ravens will get win for the ages

September 10, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

Apparently, we're going to see a kinder, gentler National Football League this year, if the first week of the regular season is any indication.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter, one of the baddest men in the league, planted a kiss on the iron cheek of macho coach Bill Cowher in front of a national television audience on Thursday night. And the big story line in Week 1 is the touchy-feely reunion of Peyton and Eli Manning on Sunday Night Football.

I just want to assure you that there will be no such sentimental dreck in my weekly NFL picks, which began Thursday with my correct prediction that the Roeth-LESS-berger Steelers would handle the over-hyped Miami Dolphins. Here are the rest of my picks against the spread:

Ravens at Buccaneers (-3): The Ravens haven't won a road game, I think, since sometime during the Renaissance, but a cryptic message on the back of the Mona Lisa predicts that streak will end today. Who am I to argue? Ravens.

Vikings at Redskins (-4): Some will argue that I'm blinded by my anti-Redskin attitude, and they may be right since I can't see them covering a four-point spread after averaging about 6 1/2 points during the preseason. Vikings.

Falcons at Panthers (-5): The modest spread reflects the explosive potential of Michael Vick and the uncertainty of opening week. It won't be close. Panthers.

Saints at Browns (-3): Might be the only week this year that the Browns are favored, and it's still a stretch. If Reggie Bush breaks away once, the Saints win outright. Saints.

Seahawks (-6) at Lions: The Seahawks will win this game, but that's a lot of points for a road opener, even in a football gulag like the Motor City. Lions.

Eagles (-5 1/2 ) at Texans: I'm thinking of becoming an Eagles fan this year, if they'll have me. The Texans might be able to mount a defense against Donovan ... if it were the Donovan who sang Sunshine Superman in the '60s. Eagles.

Bengals at Chiefs (-2): Love the Chiefs at home for absolutely no logical reason. Chiefs.

Bills at Patriots (-10): The oddsmakers say this is going to be the most lopsided game of the week. The oddsmakers have computers and spreadsheets and all sorts of information to back that up, but it's still hard to give that many points in an opener. Bills.

Broncos (-3 1/2 ) at Rams: When the Broncos take the field and realize that the Rams can actually run the ball, they're going to have their hands full. Steven Jackson is ready to rumble. Rams.

Jets at Titans (-3): Titans coach Jeff Fisher kept his starting quarterback a secret all week ... and may do that several times this year, but the Titans still should be able to handle the rebuilding Jets. Titans.

49ers at Cardinals (-8): The last time the Cardinals were favored by more than seven, it was against the Milwaukee Brewers. My philosophy: When you're dealing with two bad teams, always take the long spread. 49ers.

Bears (-3 1/2 ) at Packers: Bears favored at Lambeau? This would never have happened when Brett Favre was still playing. Bears.

Cowboys at Jaguars (even): Wonder if T.O. brought along his hyperbaric chamber and personal masseuse on this trip to Jacksonville? It's going to be one of the best games of the day, and the Cowboys won't need any points. Cowboys.

Colts (-3) at Giants: In a microcosm of everyday family life, Peyton Manning will beat up his little brother on national TV. Colts.

Chargers (-3) at Raiders: They say you should never let emotion come into play when you're picking against the spread, but they obviously don't hate Al Davis and the Raiders as much as I do. Chargers.

Of course, these picks are for entertainment only and are not intended to promote gambling. There are Maryland Lottery booths at M&T Bank Stadium for that.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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