NFL home teams overdue to sizzle during Week 11

Nov 12, 2002 6:33 AM

   I remember a time, not so long ago, when home field advantage meant something. Like maybe about three points. Being on home turf has meant only one thing to NFL clubs this season. No cover!

   Road teams have won the money 68 percent of time over the last two weeks. Through 10 weeks this season, home teams have fizzled against the point spread 57 percent of the time.

   Time to see if I can find some sizzle among all the fizzle for Week 11.

   VIKINGS (+6½) over Packers: If the NFL North division was a Skins Game you’d have to say the Vikes, along with the Lions and Bears, were closed out. Although technically the Pack hasn’t clinched yet, it’s all over. Packers have to let down their guard a bit here. Culpepper on the verge of being replaced. Vikes can’t derail Pack from division title, but they can stop the pain with a big effort here. Bennett hoping to go over 100 yards for fourth straight game.

   FALCONS (-3) over Saints: Warrick Dunn rushed for over 120 at Pittsburgh, proving Michael Vick isn’t the only Falcon that can run. Saints very nearly upset at Carolina. Looks like they may have more leaks on defense than Atlanta.

   Browns (-3½) over BENGALS: Brownies pound the teams with losing records. They only lose to clubs with winning records. Cleveland’s injuries have healed considerably with help from the bye week.

   COLTS (-7) over Cowboys: What’s a Mungro? The Eagles’ D didn’t have an answer either. Amazing how smart and good the QB becomes after his team establishes the running attack. Suddenly, Peyton Manning looks dangerous again. Dallas was playing as poorly as any NFL team prior to the bye. Cowboys should be ready to resume their consistent play.

   CHIEFS (-3) over Bills: Buffalo has to be doubting themselves slightly after being blown out by Pats at home. Bledsoe has been playing Santa Claus, carrying most of the wins on his sleigh. But Chiefs have been a great money team too. Can’t remember the last time anyone lost a dime in recent weeks backing the Chiefs.

   DOLPHINS (-3) over Ravens: Not overly excited about either team. Road teams have done so well this season, it’s amazing. However, I’ll take a stab at history and take what used to be called “home field advantage.”

   GIANTS (-4) over Skins: G-men are a different team since head coach Jim Fassel assumed the play-calling. Kerry Collins looks better and so does the running game. Tiki Barber over 100 yards two straight games.

   EAGLES (-11) over Cards: Jake Plummer used to be the bankroll kick a punter relied on when betting the Cards. David Boston was the latest receiver to bite the dust. Are there any targets left for Jake? Cards fumbled three times inside the red zone versus Seattle. Philly should be steamed after being trampled by the Colts!

   TITANS (+3) over Steelers: Steelers tied in OT, but it had to feel like a loss after blowing 17-point lead to the Falcons. Titans have quietly strung four wins together. It’s been a confidence booster even though the competition hasn’t been real keen.

   49ers (-1) over CHARGERS: Best reason for this selection? Simple answer. Jeff Garcia. His body brings back images of Barney Fife. But his scrambling ability, arm and heart remind me of Brett Favre. Niners are firing on all cylinders. Very balanced attack on offense and the D has been super stingy the last two weeks.

   Panthers (+9) over BUCS: Keep wanting to take opposite side of Panthers. But John Fox’s team always seems to be in or around the money. The Carolina D is tenacious!

   SEAHAWKS (+7) over Broncos: Seattle saves face with big effort at home. Matt Hasselbeck used to be a scary play. Betting on his side a little less frightful now with a couple games under his belt.

   LIONS (+4) over Jets: Neither team motivates me to open up the wallet. Hoping home field advantage makes a big comeback in this game!

   TEXANS (+6) over Jaguars: Didn’t they just play last week? Maybe it was three weeks ago. Doesn’t matter, Texans beat Jags by 2 on the road. Now it’s the same deal only at home.

   Pats (+3) over RAIDERS: Pats have impressed last two games. Even though nobody circles the wagons like Buffalo, Pats broke the circle big time. Then they marched back from certain defeat at Chicago. This is Pats’ third consecutive road game which is usually a very bad situation. In this case, fear no evil!

   RAMS (-9) over Bears: Bears on a seven-game losing skid. They’ve been Bad News Bears against the point spread for nearly the entire run. Rams, riding a four-game streak, pulled off incredible comeback against Chargers. Bulger is making St. Louis fans ask, “Kurt who?” Bears weakness is at QB with both Miller and Chandler hurting.

   LAST WEEK: 5-8

   SEASON: 73-62-8

   BEST BETS: 16-11-3