A reminder to Ravens fans: 4-1 is not a whining record

October 15, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

My memory isn't what it used to be, but I can remember all the way back to Sept. 10, which was the day the Ravens opened the regular season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I remember that the team had not won a road game the previous season and there was plenty of talk that it would be nice to beat the Bucs in Tampa, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if they didn't. I also remember pretty clearly that if someone had gathered all Ravens fans together in one place (and they certainly could have used Oriole Park for overflow at that point) and asked for a show of hands from everyone who would kiss the ground if the Ravens opened with four wins in their first five games, it would have been pretty close to unanimous.

Sure, there might have been a few obsessive compulsives who would have insisted on placing a clean piece of Kleenex down first, but pretty much everybody would have been willing to get down and kiss the parking lot at M&T Bank Stadium and celebrate the fastest start in franchise history.

So, what's everybody whining about? When Matt Stover kicks the winning field goal today, Brian Billick will puff back up like Bullwinkle in the Macy's parade and all will again be right with the world.

The Ravens are favored by three, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the oddsmakers are right on the money. I'm 5-0 against the spread in games involving the Ravens this year and - if the line stays at three -might be 5-0-1, since a 19-16 final sounds about right.

Panthers at Ravens (-3): In the parlance of Wall Street, the Ravens' offense found a bottom on Monday night in Denver. Steve McNair will be more efficient and the running game will be adequate, which will be just enough to go into the bye week 5-1. Ravens.

Bills (-1) at Lions: The Bills go from facing the Bears' stifling defense to a Lions unit that has given up 141 points and ranks 31st in the NFL. What do you think? Bills.

Texans at Cowboys (-13): Terrell Owens spent the past week begging for the ball. He'll spend this afternoon dancing in the end zone. The guy's an idiot, but he can back it up. Cowboys.

Giants at Falcons (-3): The Giants have given up 29 points in two games at home and 66 points in two games on the road. That just might cure what ails the Falcons' offense, which is averaging just 17 points per game. Falcons.

Seahawks (-3) at Rams: Let me get this straight. The Rams are in first place in the NFC West and the Seahawks are coming to town without Shaun Alexander, but the Seahawks are favored by a field goal? Obviously, somebody knows something I don't. Rams.

Titans at Redskins (-10 1/2 ): Here's the logic. The Titans played way over their heads against the Colts last week and the Redskins are coming off their worst performance of the season. This is a pendulum play. Redskins.

Eagles (-3) at Saints: Everybody is rooting for the Saints, but not everybody thinks they're for real. We'll know more after the Eagles put them to a major test on both sides of the ball. Eagles.

Bengals (-5 1/2 ) at Buccaneers: Let's see ... a healthy Super Bowl contender coming off a bye week facing a winless, discouraged and banged-up team with less to play for each week. This is no time to be counterintuitive. Bengals.

Dolphins at Jets (-2 1/2 ): This is the week when the Dolphins find out if they're just a slow starter or a complete fraud. They're averaging 12 points a game, which would tend to indicate the latter. Jets.

Chiefs at Steelers (-7): This is the week that Ben Roethlisberger starts to look like his old self again. The Steelers need to make a statement after losing three of their first four games ... and they will. Steelers.

Chargers (-10) at 49ers: The Bolts looked convincing in the second half of last Sunday night's game against the Steelers, but it only takes one mistake to bust a double-digit spread on the road. 49ers.

Raiders at Broncos (-15): The Raiders couldn't keep up with the hapless 49ers, so why would anyone think they can stay with a first-place divisional rival that can't wait to stomp them into the ground? I hate giving that many points, especially after the Indy game last week, but this should be a major mismatch. Broncos.

Bears (-10 1/2 ) at Cardinals: Matt Leinart's second start will be on Monday Night Football against the most dominating team in the NFL. No one in his right mind would predict an Arizona upset, but Leinart will make it interesting. Cardinals.

With a solid 8-4-2 performance last week, my overall record against the spread this season is 41-29-4 (.581).

Eat your hearts out.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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

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