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0.0 rating worth another loss?

Dec 16, 2003 8:28 AM

The Dallas Cowboys bounced back in a big way at Washington, aided by an unbelievable 0.0 quarterback rating from Skins starter Tim Hasselbeck.

Was this the NFL or another tryout for "Animal House’s" Faber College frat house?

Coach Steve Spurrier will give Hasselback another shot this week at Chicago, where the Bears will look for two straight wins behind Rex Grossman ”” Spurrier’s former QB at Florida. The Bears opened a 4½-point favorite, which could be a good buy considering that the Redskins are well out of the playoff picture.

Seeing the Bears as a solid favorite (4½ is a lot for Chicago) epitomizes a natural Week 15 slate when spreads tend to widen as the teams separate from playoff-bound to setting tee times.

Dallas is an 11-point choice over the New York Giants, who look dreadful in a 45-7 shelling at New Orleans. Carolina is a 10-point favorite at home against Detroit, which will try mightily to avoid losing an NFL record 23rd consecutive road game.

Seattle is a 13-point home favorite to blast Arizona, which makes sense since the Seahawks are unbeaten in their beautiful new yard and the Cards are pathetic on the road.

And, how far have the Oakland Raiders slipped on the oddsmakers scale! Last week, at home, the Silver and Black were 5½-point underdogs to Baltimore, a team they may have been a touchdown better in Week 1. Even with Rick Mirer at QB, the Raiders managed to win 20-12. Now, on Monday night, Green Bay comes to the Coliseum as a 5½-point favorite.

Talk about unchartered territory. Oakland has become the most marketable stock in the league. The Raiders may not cover, but what a buy they are!

In fact, Oakland brings us into a discussion an interesting parlay called the Ultimate Challenge. Last week the Raiders were one of five teams that would have won on that card, which pays substantial odds for teams that win by at least a touchdown more than the closing spread.

The other winners were Dallas, Kansas City, Green Bay and New Orleans. All but the Raiders were favorites.

There has been much written about teams ready to quit as the season reaches the final weeks before the playoffs. The Giants and Washington seem to qualify, with San Francisco, San Diego and Pittsburgh close to reaching that label.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know that last week.