Ravens will leave host Saints marching in step with defeat

October 29, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

The New Orleans Saints have been posted as a slight favorite for today's game against the Ravens at the Superdome, and who's to argue?

The Saints are America's Team, thanks to their inspirational 5-1 start in the area that was hit by Hurricane Katrina. They're the feel-good story of the NFL season, and they have to be feeling good after a late comeback win over the Eagles and a restful bye week.

So, who's to argue?

You know who.

I'm not really a contrarian. I just play one on TV.

The Saints have been running on mojo and adrenaline for the past couple of months, and the last thing you want to do when you've got that kind of momentum is take a week off. The Ravens, meanwhile, needed the bye to patch up Steve McNair and adapt to their new offensive coordinator.

I had to settle for a 7-5-1 performance against the spread last week, thanks to some misplaced confidence in Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe, but I'm gathering a little momentum of my own - if you don't count my World Series prediction. (Why would anybody think I know anything about baseball anyway.)

Ravens at Saints (-1 1/2 ): Brian Billick is now calling the offensive plays, and since I really do consider him to be an offensive genius, I can't wait to see McNair carve up the Saints. Guess I'm just not a touchy-feely guy. Ravens.

Redskins vs bye (-6): Mark Brunell will throw a couple of interceptions playing catch with some kids in the neighborhood. Bye.

49ers at Bears (-16): The last time I gave a spread this big, the Titans almost beat the Colts outright, but I haven't learned my lesson. The Bears defense may score enough points to cover. Bears.

Texans at Titans (-3): If this game was a bigger dog, it would have its own sitcom on the new CW Network. Titans.

Jaguars at Eagles (-8): The Eagles are coming off back-to-back road losses to the Saints and the Bucs, so Eagles fans are going to be particularly liquored up for this one. The Jags won't know what hit them. Eagles.

Falcons at Bengals (-3 1/2 ): Carson Palmer is not playing as well as he did last year, but he has been careful (no interceptions in the past three games) and consistent. That should be enough for the Bengals to win by a touchdown. Bengals.

Buccaneers at Giants (-9): The oddsmakers have placed the over/under number at 40 1/2 which means, if you do the math, they are predicting that the Giants will win 25-16. I think it will be 23-14, and if I hit it on the nose you owe me a drink. Bucs.

Cardinals at Packers (-4): The Cardinals let me down last week, but I'm not a fair-weather Matt Leinart fan. I don't know if they can win at Lambeau Field, but I think they can make the Packers sweat out a field goal at the end. Cardinals.

Seahawks at Chiefs (off the board): The Seahawks are now led on offense by Seneca Wallace and Maurice Morris instead of Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander, but the Chiefs may be down to their third-string quarterback. Not sure either team can win this game. Chiefs.

Rams at Chargers (-9 1/2 ): The Chargers are going to be irritable after last week's dramatic loss to the Chiefs, but the Rams are coming off a bye week and they have played well on the road. The Chargers win, but that's way too many points. Rams.

Steelers at Raiders (-9): The Raiders beat the Cardinals last week, but they're still a train wreck. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a concussion, but Charlie Batch should be able to cover this spread. Pittsburgh, at 2-4, will not want to leave anything to chance. Steelers.

Jets at Browns (-2): The Browns, like the Ravens, have a new offensive coordinator, but what they really need is some new offensive players. Jets.

Colts at Broncos (-3): Don't really care about the spread here. If the Colts show up, they win outright. I think they will show up. Colts.

Cowboys at Panthers (-5): The Cowboys have a new starting quarterback, but it will take some time for that offense to click. Let me apologize in advance for this: Romo wasn't built in a day. Panthers.

Patriots (-2) at Vikings: There's no question that the Patriots are the superior team, but something tells me that they are in for a long Monday night at the Metrodome. Just a hunch. Vikings.

By the way, there was a hint of scandal here a couple of weeks ago, when I inadvertently gave myself an extra win in a losing week. My overall record (53-42-5, .558) has been corrected and is still very impressive when you consider how little actual knowledge I bring to this endeavor.


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

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