Spurrier should score, but cover is not in cards

Sep 3, 2002 7:11 AM

Only in the NFL can a team dream Super Bowl after spending the prior season in the toilet bowl. The past three champs were a combined 17-31 the year before winning all the marbles. The Rams went 4-12 in 1998, the next year they won it all.

The following season the Ravens went 8-8 only to hoist the Lombardi Trophy the next season. And in 2000, the Pats were a mighty 5-11 before turning it around and stunning the Rams back in January.

Denny The Dog is dreaming about having another season like the last one for my master, the readers of GamingToday. I aim to please my masters so lets start fetching winners again this season.

Let’s roll!

Thursday, Sept. 5

49ers (-3) over GIANTS: Bucking a five-year trend. Niners haven’t covered a spread on opening day the last five times! G-men lost several key players with only significant upgrade being TE Jeremy Shockey. Niners upgraded a defense that was already young and aggressive. Jeff Garcia gets the nod over Kerry Collins.

Sunday, Sept. 8

Eagles (+1) over TITANS: Not much separating these two clubs. Slight edge possibly to Philly on special teams and McNabb over McNair. Titans have lost their first three games against the spread the last two seasons! Philly on the other hand didn’t lose the money until week 4 last year.

BILLS (+3) over Jets: How long will Testaverde hang on to his starting position? Chad Pennington should be knocking on the door Bledsoe has the team and town excited. Should be enough to carry the day for a very lively home dog.

Cards (+8) over SKINS: Will Spurrier’s "superior" high-octane offense work with mediocre QBs , receivers and first team defenses for all four quarters (we’re not in the preseason anymore)? Skins may win but I believe the Cards will make it a close encounter like last year’s regular season finale!

PANTHERS (+21/2) over Ravens: Both teams expected to struggle. John Fox is a rah-rah type coach who should have his players highly excited for the home opener. Big question is whether Chris Weinke can deliver. Maybe a bigger question mark on the other side with Billick trying to win with Chris Redman?

Vikings (+41/2) over BEARS: All the bounces went the Bears’ way last season. Vikes have enough firepower with Culpepper and Moss. All they need is one bounce to go their way and Vikes will cover the spread.

BENGALS —2 over Chargers: Drew Brees is the new QB in San Diego. Schottenheimer is the new coach and a great one. But he’s not a fast starter and the defense he inherited (and what he’s most noted for is D) is suspect. Frerotte is going to get a deserved opening day start at QB for Cincy. Corey Dillon gives the Bengals more punch than you might think.

BROWNS (—21/2) over Chiefs: Trent Green still shaky in the pocket. Tim Couch is much improved and his surrounding cast is even better with the addition of William Green in the backfield.

Falcons (+8) over PACKERS: Atlanta went to Green Bay last season and lost by three. Atlanta is more improved than Green Bay from last season. Vick is more mature and has more support at RB with T. J. Duckett and Warrick Dunn.

Colts (—4) over JAGUARS: Tony Dungy ready to prove the Bucs lost a great coach. Peyton Manning ready to QB with a much improved defensive unit which will give his offense a much needed rest. Jags have been hit hard by injuries and free agency.

Lions (+8) over DOLPHINS: The Lions were 2-14 last year but won the money in six of their last nine games. The Fish and their fans might get a little jumpy before this opener is over.

BRONCOS (+21/2) over Rams: Denver usually quick out of the gate. Rams have been sluggish in early performances the last couple seasons (haven’t covered a point spread the first two weeks of the last two seasons).

Seahawks (+7) over RAIDERS: Raiders have the better talent. But the line is over-cooked a little.

Saints (+7) over BUCS: Saints may be ahead of the game without Ricky Williams. Deuce McAllister brings more speed to the offense. Bucs will be much improved on offense with Gruden’s expertise. But Bucs should be no more than 5 point fave in this game.

Cowboys (—7) over TEXANS: Both teams are from Texas. That means one thing for sure, there will be an execution! Houston will be about as good as the NFL will allow an expansion team to be these days, and that’s just so-so.

Monday, Sept. 9

Steelers (—1) over PATS: Everything came together for the Pats last season. All the bounces went their way, especially in the 24-17 victory over Steelers in AFC championship. Pats won’t repeat as Super Bowl champs , they’re too old!