Contract ‘Bungals’

Oct 15, 2002 5:32 AM

   Baseball was talking contraction for the Twins and Expos prior to this season. Maybe football should start a movement to push for contraction of the Cincinnati Bungles. Oh, those poor Bengals' fans. The pussycats began 0-6 for the fifth time in 11 years.

   The Bengals have been a dog every week. And in a year where the dogs have covered the spread over 60% of the games, it's been a season to stay away from this one. Cincy is 1-5 ATS.

   But they're about the only dog players have wanted to stay away from this year. Dogs barked out a 9-4 mark Sunday as the underdogs outnumbered the faves for the sixth straight week. What a streak!

   CHIEFS (+2) over Broncos: Both teams coming off blown leads. Both lost in the final minute. Chiefs have been in every game this season and have no reason to think they won't put up a great fight at home.

   DOLPHINS (—3) over Bills: No team more on fire than Miami. Defense came up big in Denver. Offense will have no problem scoring points on a vulnerable Bills' defense. Bledsoe has been putting up big numbers but it won't happen in Miami this Sunday.

   SAINTS (—3) over 49ers: Saints have been waiting for Niners since 38-0 skunking last year in New Orleans. Niners have second straight road game, coming off Monday night road trip. Saints very explosive with McAllister and Brooks. The D is highly underrated.

   JETS (—3) over Vikings: Vikes broke into win column with last minute drive over Lions. Jets haven't won since opening day. N.Y. reeling after four straight losses. Jets do have a week off to prepare for a team that's every bit as bad as they are.

   EAGLES (—3) over Bucs: Philly coming off bye. Two great defensive clubs with evenly talented offenses. I'm giving the edge to Donovan McNabb's mobility over Brad Johnson's sluggishness.

   RAMS (—4) over Seahawks: Mike Martz had the depth chart upside-down! Rams will be fine now that they've found the number one QB, Marc Bulger? Bulger threw four TDs in his debut versus Raiders. Marshall Faulk helped make the Rams look like their old Super Bowl team.

   Panthers (+3) over FALCONS: Doug Johnson did just fine filling in for Michael Vick. After starting out 3-0, the Panthers figured out another way to blow a late lead and lose. But you have to respect their defense. Julius Peppers should keep the Atlanta offense disrupted.

   Jaguars (+2) over RAVENS: Brunell suffered concussion and left early in Tennessee. If Brunell plays, I play the Jags. If he doesn't play I'm going over to Ravens' side.

   LIONS (+4) over Bears: Chicago has lost three straight. They've had one week to regroup. Lions are scoring plenty of points and playing very competitive with Harrington under center, especially at home.

   Chargers (+7) over RAIDERS: Junior Seau gave it a go but had to watch from the sidelines in the second half as Brees led a last minute comeback over Chiefs. Raiders a little overrated after getting off to 4-0 start against a few struggling teams. Brees looks like the real deal and so does Tomlinson.

   Texans (+10) over BROWNS: How the Browns can be favored over anyone, including an expansion team, is beyond me. Team is rapidly falling apart. Might be able to pull it together to squeak out win. But feeling here is they will struggle to win straight up!

   PACKERS (—8) over Skins: Red flag went up on Patrick Ramsey after second NFL start against Saints went very bad. Brett Favre is on a roll and Ahman Green is beginning to run like the Ahman Green of old.

   CARDS (—3½) over Cowboys: If the Cards don't get the Cowboys here they never will. It's all set up. Jake Plummer just needs to step up to the plate and prove the Cards are the better team.

   STEELERS (—2) over Colts: Edgerrin James seems to have lost his edge. The Steelers have regained their competitive edge with a new flashy bus. But what's really making the bus drive smoother is the old guy behind the wheel, Tommy Maddox.

   LAST WEEK: 7-7 (Includes Bears loss last Monday nite)

   SEASON: 49-35-3