Rams reign coming to conclusion

November 28, 2000 7:46 AM
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With each passing game, the St. Louis Rams no longer look like the defending Super Bowl champions, displaying their vulnerability, especially on defense.

After losing to a New Orleans team that started a third-string quarterback and a pair of third-string running backs, the Rams no longer look like contenders. Even San Diego, which finally won for the first time in 12 contests, demonstrated more long-range promise with its gutsy defense.

Yes, Kurt Warner returns to the line-up this week, but the team’s failures are on the other side of the ball.

Thursday, Nov. 30

Vikings 34, Lions 13 — Do they celebrate Thanksgiving twice in Minnesota? It could be that Vikings fans are doubly thankful they have a great receiver in Randy Moss and a rising quarterback in Daunte Culpepper. Whatever the reason, take the Vikes and lay the 9 points to make your wallet fatter.

Sunday, Nov. 3

Buccaneers 27, Cowboys 7 — Dallas could be without Emmitt Smith, but even with the All-Pro back, the Bucs defense is at the top of their game. Meanwhile, the Tampa offense is starting to pick up. Despite the large number, lay the 11. The Cowboys will have trouble scoring.

Redskins 24, Giants 10 — Washington is ready to fall out of playoff contention, but the Giants always seem to fade when playing the Skins. The trend continues. Take the Redskins –6½.

Rams 34, Panthers 17 — The Rams are sliding back to the pack, but Carolina won’t present any problems here, despite winning in St. Louis in previous meeting. Lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice. Take the Rams –9.

Falcons 27, Seahawks 20 — In the "Battle of the Headless Horsemen," the Falcons will fly better than the Seahawks. In a pick’em affair, a scary vote for Atlanta.

Dolphins 23, Bills 20 — Miami put on a gutsy performance to win at Indianapolis, even after the media said the Colts couldn’t win in the cold of Green Bay and Chicago but would waltz under their dome. Now the Dolphins head for the "other" frozen tundra in Buffalo, overcoming snow, wind and either Bills QB. Miami +4 is a cinch.

Titans 27, Eagles 16 — Tennessee fell in a heartbreaker to Jacksonville while Philadelphia played its game to beat Washington. It’s funny how teams linger on past performances and forget the future, so Titans –2 gets the money.

Steelers 24, Raiders 23 — Old AFC playoff rivalry is renewed in the Steel City, but the Raiders, riding the crest of power, will be taken down just as before in the "Immaculate Reception" game. Take Pitt +4.

Cardinals 20, Bengals 17 — Cards can’t get out of their own way. Bengals don’t even know the way. Gotta pick someone, so take the 4 points and the Cards.

Saints 23, Broncos 17 — Denver will need to learn to play on the carpet in a hurry to keep up with the Saints. New Orleans should maintain the emotional high of beating the Rams. At pick’em, it’s an even better choice.

Chargers 23, 49ers 17 — After coming so close so often, the Bolts actually start a winning streak. Niners will have trouble running the ball on the SoCals. Ryan Leaf won’t have problems passing against the NoCals. Take San Diego +2½.

Jets 27, Colts 19 – Something’s very wrong with the Colts. The Jets will expose those weaknesses even more in the Meadowlands. Jets –3 is the money.

Jaguars 33, Browns 9 — Jags are on a roll, so rolling over Cleveland will be a pleasure. Jax –13 is a winner.

Bears 27, Packers 24 — Chicago consistently plays 60 minutes of football. In a high-scoring affair, Bears +3 and the Over is a nice parlay.

Patriots 20, Chiefs 13 — What a game for a Monday nighter! This is more cruel than the presidential election. If Warren Moon is the Chiefs QB, it might as well be the Man on the Moon, so take the Pats. However, if Elvis is in the house, lean toward Kansas City.