Don't let scary Browns pick frighten you from Ravens

October 01, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

This may be the political season, but I'm not going to go negative after eking out a 7-6-1 record last week in my ongoing battle to outguess the oddsmakers and impress all of you with my amazing acumen against the spread.

It's hardly amazing to finish one game over .500 (unless, of course, you're the Orioles), but it was quite an improvement over the previous week (5-11) and it improved my record to 3-0 in games involving the Ravens.

In fact, last week's Ravens prediction should have come with The Twilight Zone theme as background music. I took the points and, if you missed it, I said the game against the hapless Browns "scares me," and that the Ravens would win the game "but your heart is going to be beating real fast at the end."

Which brings me right back into severe conflict with my good friend the law of averages, since the Ravens are going for their fourth straight victory and I'm trying to go 4-0 with them, even though the San Diego Chargers are favored and are the first quality team on the schedule.

Chargers (-2) at Ravens: While all eyes are on LaDainian Tomlinson, the Ravens will rush for more total yards and win this game by double digits. Ravens.

Jaguars (-3) at Redskins: Mark Brunell completed 22 passes in a row last week to set an NFL single-game record, but I fear the Jags secondary will catch a couple this week and win by at least a touchdown. Jaguars.

Cowboys (-9) at Titans: That's a long spread for a team that just went through a major emotional controversy. Obviously, somebody believes Terrell Owens will come up big today. I think Jeff Fisher has something up his sleeve this week. Titans.

Dolphins (-3 1/2 ) at Texans: Nobody believes the hype after Miami averaged 12 points and lost two of its first three games, but the Texans are giving up 32.7 points a game. If Nick Saban can't win big this week, he ought to petition the league to move the Dolphins to Conference USA. Dolphins.

Cardinals at Falcons (-7 1/2 ): So far, the Falcons have the second-best defense in the NFC. The Cardinals already have a quarterback controversy, which will be resolved after Kurt Warner struggles again and gives way to Matt Leinart in the second half. Falcons.

Colts (-8) at Jets: My perfect record in games involving the Ravens is offset by an 0-3 mark when the Jets are part of the equation, and I'm taking the sucker spread this week. The Colts are good enough to win by nine, but they'll end up scrambling to win at all. Jets.

Vikings at Bills (-1): The Bills lost their home opener last week to the Jets and play a better team from Minnesota this week, so logic would dictate that they are in serious danger of a second straight home loss. Logic has nothing to do with it. Bills.

49ers at Chiefs (-7): Chiefs quarterback Trent Green remains sidelined after suffering a concussion during the opener, so how are the winless Chiefs favored by a touchdown against anybody? Obviously, somebody knows something I don't. Chiefs.

Saints at Panthers (-7): I picked against the Saints last week and lived to regret it, but they really aren't that good. Somebody has to burst their bubble, and the Panthers are behind schedule to put a hurting on somebody. Panthers.

Lions at Rams (-5 1/2 ): This just doesn't appear to be the day the Lions finally get a heart. Marc Bulger is coming off his first 300-yard passing performance and figures to have another today. Rams.

Browns (-3) at Raiders: The fact that the winless Browns are favored on the road should tell you all you need to know about the toothless Raiders, who will be without quarterback Aaron Brooks and any semblance of black and silver pride. Just lose, baby. Browns.

Patriots at Bengals (-5 1/2 ): Tom Brady has looked human this year, which can happen when your top receiver gets traded at the beginning of the season, but I'm banking on him to keep the Patriots close to the banged-up Bengals. Patriots.

Seahawks at Bears (-3): This one ain't brain surgery. The Bears are healthy and putting points on the board. The undefeated Seahawks just lost one of the top running backs in the league and will be hard-pressed to move the ball against the NFC's stingiest defense. Bears.

Packers at Eagles (-11): Blowout alert. Nobody hates giving double-digit spreads more than me, but the Eagles are gathering steam and the Packers appear to be overmatched ... last week's victory over Detroit notwithstanding. Eagles.

The standard disclaimer applies. These picks are for entertainment purposes only and are not meant to encourage gambling. My overall record so far is 24-21-1, which would barely get you back the vig.

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

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