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Nothing funny about the Warner finger

Oct 1, 2002 8:58 AM

   What is it about a broken pinkie that I find so comical? Kurt Warner is out for at least four weeks and I'm having a difficult time controlling my laughter. I suppose because the pinkie sounds so darn dainty for a huge football player.

   In the rough and tumble world of the NFL, players should have fingers. Index fingers, middle fingers (for opposing fans, players and referees), ring fingers and certainly thumbs are allowed. But pinkies? Come on.

   I guess a QB does have to grip the ball with all his pinkies. It just seems like the rugged football world would demand that NFL players refer to their hands as paws. That's a much tougher sounding word.

   Speaking of paws, the dawgs are still howling just in case you're keeping track. As it turns out, after four weeks, you didn't need those handicap services after all. No need for experts. Just pick dawgs and you can't go wrong! Eight dogs covered Sunday, still hovering right around 65%.

   Lets get to the business at hand. And while you're at it, try not to hurt your pinkie when the rubber band snaps off your bankroll!

   Patriots (+3) over DOLPHINS: Pats have won 12 of their last 13 games. Can't give up on the champs after one thumping. Dolphins D not quite as tough as San Diego's right now. Chiefs slowed Ricky down a little last week. Pats have struggled two weeks in a row defending great runners. Williams is very good, but not as elusive as Holmes or Tomlinson.

   SAINTS (-3) over Steelers: Saints were the ultimate dog for the first three weeks. Everyone and their brother jumped on their bandwagon for the big blow-out over the Lions and yikes, the Lions upset. Steelers may have a new QB with Tommy Maddox's late rally last week. I like Aaron Brooks to rebound big over either the arena football legend or Mr. Inconsistency, Kordell Stewart.

   TITANS (-5) over Skins: Both clubs leaning against the ropes, hoping to be saved by the bell. In one corner you've got Eddie George running nowhere near 100 yards saying his foot is fine. In the other corner you've got Lavar Arrington frustrated with the new defensive scheme. So frustrated he found a way to get ejected from the Penn State game. By the way, what's he doing at the game anyway? Shouldn't he be trying to learn a new system?

   Bucs (-1) over FALCONS: Atlanta fans are going bonkers over Michael Vick and who could blame them. I give the big edge to Tampa Bay's defense. And a slight edge to Brad Johnson and his targets over the more inexperienced Vick.

   Raiders (-3) over BILLS: Look for a big number here! Bills give up points just for fun and Bledsoe has been able to move the offense with ease. Raiders have a hard time scoring less than 30 and have the better special teams.

   Cards (+4) over PANTHERS: Rodney Dangerfield match-up. Neither team getting much respect from the oddsmakers or fans. Taking the points in a game where the talent seems very even.

   Giants (+11/2) over COWBOYS: Both teams up and down. Can't figure out if they're contenders or pretenders. G-men have the better QB and D.

   Bengals (+131/2) over COLTS: Not expecting Bungles to break the goose egg here. But winning the money should be a possiblity.

   Chiefs (-4) over JETS: Since beating Bills in OT week one, Jets have been grounded. Lost three straight and now three starters, including Testaverde, went out of the game Sunday. If Rams are looking for their offense it seems to have landed in K.C. with their old coach, Dick Vermeil. After Priest Holmes runs over them, Jets may need a priest for last rites.

   Chargers (+3) over BRONCOS: An undefeated dog? How do you pass it up?

   Rams (+7) over 49ERS: No Warner. Broken pinkie! Line will be overinflated in favor of Niners. Take the points, Jamie Martin will be an improvement over Warner. And Martz will get back to what should have been the focus of the Greatest Show on Turf in the first place, Marshall Faulk!

   JAGUARS (+3) over Eagles: Beware of home dog. Mack and Taylor are starting to pound the ball on the ground and Brunell is always dangerous.

   BROWNS (-6) over Ravens: Cleveland confused Baltimore last season with two 10-point wins. Browns are much improved since then. Ravens are in for a long year.

   BEARS (-2) over Packers: Bears coming back to earth. Last season all the bounces went their way. But Chicago is not short on offensive weapons. Packers are 3-1 but could easily be 1-3. Pack could have easily lost to Panthers.

Best Bets for this week-PA

LAST WEEK 10-4

(Includes Bucs win Monday nite).

SEASON: 34-23-2.

TRIOTS, CARDS, GIANTS