Ravens may lose, but I'll win

October 08, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

In the wake of another terrific week of pro football prognostication, I embark on Week 5 with the same kind of confidence that Joe Namath expressed in the title of his 1969 autobiography:

I Can't Wait Until Tomorrow ... Cause I Get Better-Looking Every Day.

When you go 9-4-1 against the spread in Week 4 and extend your perfect record in games involving the Ravens to 4-0, it's hard to be humble. In fact, I'm feeling so good about this week's picks that I'm not even going to waste time with the standard disclaimer about the Law of Averages rearing its ugly head. I'm on a roll and I'm not looking back. The Ravens, however, may not be so fortunate.

Ravens at Broncos (-4): Steve McNair's late-game heroics have carried the Ravens to the best start in franchise history, but Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer will be the hero this week. The thin air and the Ravens' thin running game will be their undoing in a game that may not be close. Broncos.

Redskins at Giants (-4 1/2 ): This is a much bigger game for the Giants than it is for the Redskins, but Washington is gathering confidence and should be able to move the ball against a defense that has given up 30.6 points per game. I still think the Giants will win, but not by much. Redskins.

Bills at Bears (-10): Every important indicator points to the 4-0 Bears stomping all over the 2-2 Bills at home, which makes me a little uncomfortable. It's times like these that it's great to be a contrarian. Bills.

Lions at Vikings (-6 1/2 ): This is a case of the movable object meeting the resistible force. The Vikings rank next to last in the NFL in scoring and the Lions rank next to last in the NFC in scoring defense, which can only mean one thing: My head is going to explode. My heart says "take the Lions," and my head says "if you take the Lions, you are a total moron." Vikings.

Rams (-3) at Packers: Brett Favre got his bell rung Monday night and will be pitching on short rest, but I'm banking on the "wounded animal" effect. The Rams won't know what hit them. Packers.

Titans at Colts (-18 1/2 ): The Colts are averaging 30 points and the Titans are averaging 12. You don't need a calculator to figure out how they came up with the 18-point spread. I'm usually a sucker for the points in this kind of situation, but the Colts might win this one by 50. Colts.

Dolphins at Patriots (-10): The floundering fish have made fools of the preseason pundits, some of whom actually thought Miami was a deep-playoff team. The Dolphins aren't even a deep-October team, and the Patriots are looking forward to illustrating that today. Patriots.

Buccaneers at Saints (-6 1/2 ): The Saints may be the feel-good story of the early season, but they aren't going to be on top of the NFC South standings much longer. Earth to oddsmakers: The Bucs have had two weeks to figure things out and the Saints shouldn't be a 6 1/2 -point favorite against anyone in the NFC except the 49ers. Bucs.

Browns at Panthers (-8): There is a section in the NFL injury report for players who are "questionable" for today's game. I could have sworn the entire Browns team was listed in it Thursday. Panthers.

Raiders at 49ers (-3 1/2 ): This is one of the worst pairings since Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett. The Bay Area has perhaps the sorriest team in each conference, but the game should be competitive. 49ers.

Jets at Jaguars (-7): New coach Eric Mangini has been getting the most out of some marginal talent, but the banged-up Jets will have trouble keeping the Jaguars out of the end zone today. Jaguars.

Chiefs (-3 1/2 ) at Cardinals: Didn't I predict that Matt Leinart would take over as the Cardinals' starting quarterback during the second half of last week's game? Now watch him surprise the inconsistent Chiefs. Cardinals.

Cowboys at Eagles (-2): I'm not sure how the Cowboys are going to sneak Terrell Owens into the Linc, but I'm guessing that the Eagles can't wait to see him. Eagles fans don't need much of an excuse to get crazy, but they've got a big one this week. The Cowboys are in for a long day. Eagles.

Steelers at Chargers (-3 1/2 ): This great Sunday night matchup features the rested Steelers against the irritable Chargers, who are still trying to figure out how they lost in Baltimore last week. I'm looking for a big play from Steelers safety Troy Polamalu to keep it close. The Chargers win on a late field goal, but the Steelers bust the spread. How's that for a specific prediction? Steelers.

My overall record improved to 33-25-2 (.567), but that should not be construed as an encouragement to bet real money on NFL games ... and I've been told that the Treasury Department can get real cranky if you try to bet fake money. It's best to just enjoy the games and marvel at my amazing clairvoyant powers. E-mail me if you want your horoscope, too.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

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

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