Bottom-rung NFL teams take a step upward
Parity was dead.
That’s what everyone was saying for the first 8 weeks of the regular season. There was an exclamation point on the funeral for parity after week 7 results, which featured 6 games decided by 28 or more points! And if that weren’t enough, final scores were separated by double digits in 11 of 13 games that same week.
But the reports on parity’s death were greatly exaggerated. In week 8 the dawgs came away with a one-game edge in an old fashioned back door cover on Monday night in New Orleans.
But the underdogs were just getting warmed up for the "coming back from the grave" act of week 9! Ten dawgs covered the points spread last Sunday. Their overall record was 10-2 and 6 of the puppies barked loud enough to win their games straight up.
Denny the Dog loved every minute of the dog day afternoon. Hopefully parity will show its beautiful face more in the second half of the season and the dogs will be wagging their tails along the way.
Bears +3 at 49ers: Both teams had similar first halves of the season. San Francisco and Chicago won three of their first four games and in their fans’ eyes could do no wrong. But what have they done for their backers lately? The Niners have dropped four straight and most recently blew a 7 point lead at home to the Titans. Three interceptions and one fumble did not help their chances of ending their losing streak. Alex Smith has lost his last 7 starts and the type of game he came up with last week will not endear himself to Mike Singletary or the Niners’ fans. But the Bears are not in any better shape. Da Bears have almost matched the futility of the Niners by losing 3 of their last 4 games. The Bears are having big problems moving the ball on the ground and their defense has been torched two of the last three weeks by Cincy and Arizona. If the Niners can cut the turnovers down, they should be able to run the ball better than Chicago and cover this tiny number at home. NINERS.
Falcons -1½ at Panthers: The Falcons defeated Carolina 28-20 on week 2. The Panthers don’t protect the football well at all. And they haven’t earned any respect from visiting clubs when enjoying the comforts of home field advantage. Atlanta should have no issues convering this small number. FALCONS.
Bucs +9½ at Dolphins: Josh Freeman is undefeated as a starter in the NFL. He thinks the QB gig is easy. But it won’t be as easy this week on the road in Miami. Now that the Bucs are off the shnide and have tasted the fruits of a straight up victory over Green Bay, who’s to say they won’t be hungry for more of the same. I think this will be a tougher game for the Bucs but it wouldn’t shock me if the game was extremely close. Miami is banged up a little on defense and could be vulnerable. BUCS.
Lions +16 at Vikings: Vikes coming off a bye and that scares a little. Detroit has lost half of their games by at least this point spread so as big as the number is, it’s not out of whack. But no matter what angle you look at that number, it’s still huge and the Lions could cover easily if Stafford just concentrates on throwing the ball to players with Lions on their helmets. LIONS.
Jaguars +6½ at Jets: I believe the bye came at the perfect time for the Jets. Rex Ryan and company had a chance to regroup after following up a great start to the season by losing 4 of their last 5 games. I know the Jags went to full pads practices and back to a 4-3 scheme. I know Del Rio ripped his defensive players last week and they responded. I don’t care what they did, the Jags have still been too inconsistent this season and have suffered too many embarrassing losses to get excited about them in this game. JETS.
Bengals +6½ at Steelers: Why 6½? The Bengals received no respect from the oddsmakers with the release of this number. Cincy has only lost 2 games all season long and only lost week 1 on account of Denver’s immaculate reception. I’m quite confident I have the right side in this game as a taker of as many points as I can get my hands on. Pittsburgh coming off a Monday night game in Denver might not have quite as much energy for this one as Cincy. BENGALS.
Saints -13½ at Rams: The Saints are very impressive. But something scares me about a team that allows their opponent a lead each week and then has to stage a dramatic comeback like the Saints have done the last 3 weeks. As impressive as New Orleans has been, they haven’t won the money the last 2 weeks. The Rams, who are coming off a bye, call Stephen Jackson "the beast." I still call him "the best," considering the talent that surrounds him on his one win team. RAMS.
Bills +6 at Titans: So far the owner of the Titans looks like a genius for "strongly suggesting" that Jeff Fisher promote Vince Young over Kerry Collins. Young has led the Titans to consecutive wins over the Jags and Niners. Next up will be the lousy 3-5 Bills. Easy pickings for the new look Titans right? Not so fast. With the exception of the Panthers blow-out the week before their bye, Buffalo had been in a couple of very competitive games. In fact, they upset the Jets 3 weeks ago. I know Vince Young has improved but the biggest reason is the running game of Chris Johnson. If the Bills can slow Johnson down they have an excellent chance to cover this spread. BILLS.
Broncos -6 at Skins: To say the Redskins have imploded is really an understatement. Until the owner has a chance for a do-over of the front office and coaching staff during the off-season, I don’t give the Skins much of a chance. They might cover a few point spreads but until they at least look competitive the Skins are almost an automatic bet on the opposite side. I’m not sure Dan Snyder’s heart is as dark as John Riggins says it is, but I know the team barely has a pulse right now. BRONCOS.
Chiefs +1 at Raiders: I am not supporting NOW, The National Organization for Women, in their bid to suspend head coach Tom Cable while the league investigates charges of violent behavior toward women. And I’m not supporting the Raiders in this game, as I think the three ring circus surrounding the Raiders has reached the high trapeze. And there’s no net below to save Cable at the end of this circus act. Al Davis can go ahead and send in the clowns. Raiders defeated the Chiefs by 3 on week 2. Chiefs return the favor here. CHIEFS.
Seahawks +7½ at Cards: Cards shuffled the Seahawks 27-3 on week 6. I don’t see much of a change on either sideline. Seahawks couldn’t run the ball one foot if they needed 6 inches. In fact, Julius Jones couldn’t get 6 inches if he needed a foot! Hope he’s not on your fantasy football bench like he is mine. CARDS.
Cowboys -1 at Packers: Tony Romo is on a roll. Going into Sunday night’s game with Philly and since halftime of the Chiefs game, Romo had completed over 60% of his passes for over 750 yards with 8 TDs and no interceptions. Dallas had also outgained their opponents 1,072 yards to 803 during that same span. Classic match up of 2 teams headed in opposite directions as of right now. Aaron Rogers looks shaky at best, coming off a three pick day at Tampa Bay! COWBOYS.
Eagles +1½ at Chargers: Eagles walked into a hot Dallas team last Sunday night. No doubt they’re not the same team without Westbrook but they do have a few other dangerous options on offense. Chargers are the hot team in this game, coming off of 3 straight wins. But I think McNabb has more weapons overall and the Eagles need to rebound. I’m taking the desperate club plus the little crumb and hook. EAGLES.
Patriots +3 at Colts: Here’s the game everyone will be waiting to watch this week. I think the Colts have proven they’re the better team so far this season. I’m taking the better club and I’ll lay the cheap price. COLTS.
Ravens -10½ at Browns: I’m hoping the hook holds up here. Ravens let me down big time at Cincinnati last week. If the Ravens can’t beat the Bengals they shouldn’t be able to blow out the Browns. BROWNS.
BEST BETS: COLTS, BUCS, FALCONS.
Watch every Tuesday for a brand new Denny the Dog article.
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Dennis Ball