Simplicity boils down to 5 and a bonus

September 04, 2007 4:54 AM
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The misery that is preseason is over and now we have 17 weeks of pro football to prepare our lives around.

These 16 games count. A team can’t make the playoffs in Week 1, but an outcome could make or break a team’s season or a bettors’ savings account.

If you’re looking for hype, it won’t be here. We cut to the chase. A Fab 5 each week, plus a bonus. One of the 5 plays will be a best bet. All counted by Miss South Carolina teen, because we needed someone who understood simplicity.

Sunday, Sept. 9

Chiefs +2½ at Texans: Houston showed a lot in preseason and KC didn’t. Larry Johnson finally plays, but he can’t carry the Chiefs alone. Matt Schaub looks to be a nice fit at QB and expect a breakout season for WR Andre Johnson. If you can get this game at less than 3 points like we did early, then go for it. BEST BET: HOUSTON.

Panthers PK at Rams: Carolina on paper has the talent, but the exhibition results were brutal. This could be QB David Carr’s team by Week 4. Where’s the offense? As for the Rams, the Big 3 (Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson and Torry Holt) will produce plenty of points. If the defense doesn’t break, this could be a 10-win season. RAMS.

Eagles -3 at Packers: Look for Philly to get off the starting blocks fast while Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook are fairly healthy. Each can go down at any time. Brett Favre plays hot and cold. Chances are he could be both in the Pack’s opener. This is a statement game for McNabb. Weather not an issue. It’s not December. EAGLES.

Lions +1½ at Raiders: Polar opposites a year ago. Lions could score, but had no defense. The Raiders had a fine defense, but couldn’t score. Not many would have figured Daunte Culpepper as the answer, but top pick JaMarcus Russell is still holding out. Lions are horrible on the road. Raiders looked good in August. RAIDERS.

Dolphins +3 at Skins: Miami usually plays well in September and gradually fades out of the playoff picture. Jason Campbell is Washington’s future, but his present is shaky. If Clinton Portis isn’t 100 percent, Miami’s excellent defense should turn this one into a sleeper. Maybe another 11-10 result here, even with new QB Trent Green. DOLPHINS.

Bonus play:

MIA/WASH under 35½

Trent Green is not comfortable yet running the Dolphins offense. Gibbs is being conservative with his QB Jason Campbell.