Say good-bye to the bye weeks.
After the Broncos, Saints, Pats and Niners take a final breather this weekend; the byes will be history for the remainder of the season. Survival of the fittest will be the battle cry for the last couple of months, as every player will need to play through injuries.
One player that will have a difficult time escaping the season with all his body parts is Patrick Ramsey. Steve Spurrier taking some heat from the owner and fans for not protecting his "QB". But the blame might not rest completely on Spurrier’s run-and-gun shoulders.
Whoever was involved in permitting Stephen Davis to leave town needs to step up to the plate and take some of the high heat. Skins owner Daniel Snyder might be one of the culprits who helped open the barn door, stood there, and watched a great work-horse run like the wind down to Carolina.
No bye weeks for Denny The Dog. The faves beat him up a little the first half of the season. But he’s ready to go for the second half.
Falcons (+10Â½) at Giants: Everyone is asking when Michael Vick will return when all they have to do is ask me. I know the answer to that question and have known for two weeks. Vick will return too late. When he does come back there may not be anyone left to block for him. Atlanta is finished for the season. May see an effort here indicating the bags are already packed for the off-season. GIANTS.
Seahawks (—5) at Skins: I have to agree with the critical observations of Cris Collinsworth and Troy Aikman. Spurrier is not protecting his valuable young "QB". Not many players could have withstood the pounding Ramsay has. Seahawks "D" gaining confidence every week. Hasselbeck has Shaun Alexander backing him up along with a better corps of wide receivers. SEAHAWKS.
Cards (+6Â½) at Steelers: Hard to believe but Cards actually have the better record. The once-feared Steelers have dropped five straight. Tommy Maddox is really struggling. Cards have won two consecutive at home. Marcel Shipp has back-to-back 100-yard plus games. That should be enough for Jeff Blake to succeed in taking the winning show on the road. Like most Cards opponents have found, Steelers may have difficulty covering rookie Anquan Boldin. CARDS.
Bears (+2) at Lions: Bears beat Lions two weeks ago in Chicago, 24-16. Chandler has Bears on a two-game winning streak. At his age and with his history of concussions, I’m still reluctant to back "Da Bears." LIONS.
Texans (+5) at Bengals: The Bengals are no better than the Panthers, Houston’s upset victim last week. If the Texans can hang with Carolina, they can hang with Cincy. Domanick Davis gives Texans scary ability to stay around for the cover with great rushing efforts the last three games. TEXANS.
Bucs (—3) at Panthers: The same matchup in Week 2 yielded a 12-9 OT thriller, which went in favor of Carolina. It wouldn’t surprise me if this game went five quarters as well. I’m giving the edge to Stephen Davis over Michael Pittman. PANTHERS.
Dolphins (+4) at Titans: Fish have been a great defensive team all year. But they seem to step up the intensity on the road and have plenty of incentive this week. Titans have scored 30-plus points in five straight games. Miami coming off third home loss this season. The last two times Miami dropped home games, the opponent was crushed the following week. DOLPHINS.
Colts (—6) at Jags: Colts defeated Jags 23-13 in Week 3 at Indy. Colts saw Brunell for most of the game. This time they get Leftwich, who has a few games under his belt now. This kid is due for a mistake-free big game. May have a chance here with Indy coming off emotional win down in Miami. JAGS.
Browns (+9Â½) at Chiefs: You want to jump on KC bandwagon? Too many points? That’s the price you have to pay when you want to put your bankroll on the league’s only unbeaten team. Kelly Holcomb chewed up this defense last season. Be careful. BROWNS.
Vikings (—7) at Chargers: Vikes are not a bad road team. You just might not realize it because they haven’t been away from home in over a month. Chargers grasping for straws, unsure of what to do about Drew Brees. Even tried Doug Flutie last week. Tomlinson is the only weapon. Much easier to shut down one guy when you don’t have to worry about anyone else! VIKINGS.
Bills (+4) at Cowboys: Bills have been buffaloed in their last two road games, outscored 68-8. Dallas finding ways to win without best stuff, as witnessed last week versus Skins. COWBOYS.
Jets (—2) at Raiders: Could the Raiders possibly be the defending AFC champs? Raiders threw Tuiasosopo and Mirer into the mix at Detroit. Al Davis was seen late Sunday night looking for some old phone numbers. Who’s next? Tom Flores? George Blanda? Heck, why mess around, get The Snake on the line! No "QB" concerns on Jets sideline. Pennington is back and rust is wearing off. JETS.
Ravens (+7) at Rams: Like I said last week, I’m not waiting on Boller to blow up. He keeps making small mistakes from time to time, but has a swarming "D" holding the opposing offense down and great running game to boot. RAVENS.
Eagles (+4) at Packers: Philly has been the more consistent team over the last couple of games. McNabb coming off his best performance of the season. Two evenly matched clubs. I’m taking the points. EAGLES.
Last week: 7-6