Raiders redeem ‘selves and take AFC West title

December 19, 2000 11:31 PM
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It’s the final regular schedule games of the NFL season, offering all kinds of scenarios. Some teams master their fate. Others need help.

The Jets, one team that’s master of its fate and blows opportunities, will try to make amends against Baltimore. Don’t bet on ‘em making their dream come true.

Saturday, Dec. 23

Jacksonville 20, NY Giants 16: The Jaguars have been a live team the last three weeks, then fell apart versus (of all teams) the Bengals. The Jags come to play and stymie the Giants after gaining the top spot in the NFC East. Jags +4 gets the money.

Denver 41, San Francisco 33: It’s a wide-open game. The Broncos are going for first place in the AFC West. The Niners are out for the "air." Niners play loose and win the money +8.

Seattle 24, Buffalo 13: The Bills are finished for the season. The Seahawks are playing like the Super Bowl’s in sight. Take hot Seahawks –3.

Sunday, Dec. 24

Green Bay 24, Tampa Bay 17: The Packers have life all of a sudden. If the Bucs blow versus the Rams on Monday night, you can bet your wallet on Green Bay. The Bucs may have problems with the "sunny" Green Bay weather. Packers –3 gets the Green Bay bucks.

Arizona 20, Washington 2: Skins dogged it the last half of the season. Is there any reason they’ll play this time? Cards +8 (if you’re brave) gets the money.

St. Louis 34, New Orleans 20: Rams make believers of the Saints. Last game proves to be a fluke. The Rams are on top of their game. With Kurt Warner shooting from the hip, the Saints don’t stand a chance. Rams –4 ½ gets the job done – with gusto.

New England 17, Miami 13: The Dolphins’ luck has run out. The Pats are looking to build on next season with a win to end this season. The game in the snow versus Buffalo is a case in point. Wrong favorite here. Pats +4 is a piece of cake.

Kansas City 23, Atlanta 7: Chiefs ended their season with a win over the Broncos at Arrowhead. Don’t know if they’ll show up, but the Falcons are so bad, you can’t use them. Take the Chiefs –3½ for this game.

Detroit 24, Chicago 12: The Bears didn’t show up last week against the Niners. A division game makes the Bears go all-out, but the Lions need this one. Don’t feature giving 9 ½ points.

Baltimore 16, NY Jets 15: On the premise that the Jets will shoot the works and take chances to win this, they may fall short of winning outright. Taking 7 points makes me go for them a little. The Ravens’ offense isn’t that great. If you find 7½ someplace, go all-out with the Jets.

Cincinnati 20, Philadelphia 17: The Bengals are playing hard. The Eagles are passing on every down and will have a problem with this scenario. Bengals spoil the Eagles’ party. Take the Bengals +13. It’ll be much less by game time.

Pittsburgh 24, San Diego 17: If the Jets upset the Ravens, the Steelers will be playing for pride. It’s an iffy situation here. Steelers –4 is a scary play.

Indianapolis 31, Minnesota 21: Another game that depends on the outcome of Jets-Ravens. Which Colts team will show up? I’m going on the premise that the Jets will lose, which makes the Colts a real solid play –4.

Oakland 23, Carolina 20: The Panthers give the Raiders all they can handle, even though they’re out of any playoff position. Raiders are playing for home field advantage. Panthers + 9½ is our play.

Tennessee 24, Dallas 6: The Cowboys are playing for pride; the Titans, for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Our money’s on Tennessee –12.