NFL ‘rush’ is on

Dec 4, 2001 9:34 AM

December has arrived. And that usually means a greater chance of cold, nasty weather. It also means that teams with better rushing attacks win games.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at these stats. Going into last weekend, NFL teams who produced a 100-yard rusher are 58-14. Amazing how teams with 300-yard passing games seem to lose much more frequently than the top running clubs.

It’s definitely worth deep consideration as we keep searching for live dogs. Those mutts have been easier to find the last two weeks. Nine wins on Sunday for the dogs, and that’s on the heels of 11 wins for the underdogs the previous weekend.

Here are three dogs looking to help you out with your early holiday shopping.

Bears + 4
Browns + 6
49ers + 6

Sunday, Dec. 9

49ers +6 over RAMS: The Rams finally won their backers some money. But last four games prior to Falcons win they averaged five turnovers a game. I’m not sure I’d rate Kurt Warner any higher than Jeff Garcia right now. Rams won by four in Week 2. Since that time the Niners have exploded on offense.

VIKINGS —3 over Titans: Randy Moss only plays hard when he wants to. He told me he feels like playing this Sunday. Vikings’ entire team feels more like playing when they’re at home. Vikes haven’t won on the road this season.

BILLS —3 over Panthers: I have to respect the Panthers even though they’ve lost 11 straight. They’re all banged up, they have no running game, yet if you bet them every game over the last eight weeks you’d be ahead of the game. As the colder weather sets in, I’m favoring the home team when it’s too close to call.

Bears +4 over PACKERS: Green Bay would have had a difficult time covering the spread or winning the game a month ago if it weren’t for Allen Rossum returning punts and kickoffs. Packers will miss him, out 3-5 weeks with a knee injury. Bears have a super D and quite a 1-2 punch in the backfield with Thomas and Allen. If one can’t beat you the other one will. Dream season continues.

Browns +6 over PATRIOTS: Tom Brady is 7-3 as starter. Offensive line is knocking the crap out of opponents. Antowain Smith rushed for 100 yards four times in last five games. Brady making $295,000 this season while Bledsoe picks splinters out of his butt and $10 million per year out of his wallet. Pats overrated in this spot. Look for letdown after emotional win over Jets.

Lions +4 over BUCS: Lions a lot like the Panthers. Both have lost 11 straight. It’s just the Lions have yet to win a single game. But they keep playing hard and have won the money three out of last four games. Mike McMahon looking good and might be forced into starting QB role this week because of Batch’s shoulder injury. Bucs just don’t blow teams away!

Jags —5 over BENGALS: A month ago the Jags mauled the Bengals, 30-13. Both teams appear to be going nowhere and little has changed since that first meeting.

Saints —2 over FALCONS: Ankle injury to Maurice Smith weakened the Falcons. And Saints are feeling the loss of Willie Roaf. Another big hit to Chris Chandler has him seeing big stars. Michael Vick’s eyes might be seeing those same stars as the Saints D licks their chops over possibility of fresh meat at the QB position.

COWBOYS +4 over Giants: Dallas has only won three games (two from Skins) but continues to play hard D, winning the money two weeks in a row. Quincy Carter has changed his grip and he managed to throw at least one to The Rocket that didn’t wobble one bit.

Chargers +7 over EAGLES:  The Eagles are another cold weather home team showing signs of running the ball better. Bolts have lost five straight and Flutie appears to have lost his magical scrambling flute. But I’ll take the seven points. Any decent team plus a touchdown has a chance to find the magic.

CARDS PK over Skins: Arizona’s theme song is Please come to Boston. Wideout David Boston shoots for his eighth 100-yard receiving game this season.

RAIDERS —9 over Chiefs: K.C. wants to run the same offense as the Rams but they don’t have the horses. Priest Holmes has stepped up at running back but Trent Green has yet to do the same at QB.

STEELERS —3 over Jets: Didn’t Kordell Stewart used to throw interceptions once every 10 or 20 passes? Vinny tossed two last Sunday. Jets may have problems running Curtis Martin through one very tough D.

Seahawks +5 over BRONCOS: Seattle dusted Denver in the first meeting, 34-21. Shaun Alexander has mysteriously slowed down the last two weeks. On the other side of the field Terrell Davis was three yards shy of 100 last week. Result, Denver has to lay one or two more points than they normally would have in this spot. Take the bonus points!

DOLPHINS —6 over Colts: Miami won by three at Indy a month ago. Since that time the Colts have lost four straight. I have to agree with coach Mora, the Colts are bad.