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Spare us any more Drew-Patriots routs

Nov 16, 2004 7:02 AM

Let’s declare a moratorium on any further Bills-Patriots national telecasts so long as Drew Bledsoe is the Buffalo quarterback.

Bledsoe again had that "deer in the headlights" look from seeing the Patriots defense coming at him during a 29-7 beating Sunday night in Foxboro.

Drew treated us to a few more picks in the red zone and Tom Brady again dissected a Buffalo defense ranked No. 3 in the NFL.

The Pats swept and covered both games with the Bills this year by double digits and are 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. New England still looks in Super Bowl form, but the one team in the NFL playing better is Pittsburgh. The Steelers went into Cleveland and easily handled the Browns as a3½-point favorite, 24-10.

It’s insulting to call Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger a rookie. Big Ben has won his last 20 starts, seven with Pittsburgh and 13 at Miami of Ohio. Beating Cleveland was more impressive than knocking off New England and Philadelphia because the betting public was all over the Browns.

In our view, the three best teams in the NFL all live in the AFC — Pittsburgh, New England and Indianapolis. We’ll see what happens in the next six weeks now that all the bye weeks have ended.

Speaking of byes, the Atlanta Falcons again came through with the extra time off. The Falcons improved to 7-2 with a 24-14 victory over Tampa Bay as a 3½ point home favorite.

Atlanta is the X-factor in the Super Bowl picture with nobody wanting to deal with Michael Vick.

In college football, we’re waiting to see if either Utah, California or Louisville can make its way into a BCS bowl. Boise State being pushed to the limit in overtime to beat a terrible San Jose State squad probably ended any chance the Broncos had to crack the elite Top 6 that will go BCS bowling.

What caught our eye were a number of teams placed in unfamiliar point spread roles. Miami was a 3-point underdog at Virginia, which GT’s Jimmy Vaccaro correctly said offered great betting value for the Hurricanes. Miami won by 10.

Wake Forest, a great underdog play, continued to struggle as a favorite and lost to North Carolina by seven at Winston-Salem. In nearby Durham, the Clemson Tigers were a double-digit favorite at Duke based upon the upset win over Miami the previous week. Duke showed how bogus that line was and won outright, 16-13.

This is rivalry week, our favorite in college football, featuring Auburn-Alabama, Michigan-Ohio State, Clemson-South Carolina, Florida-Florida State and Stanford-Cal.

Now that’s a good way to discuss this week in football.

NCAA

Maryland (+9½) at Va. Tech: A Thursday night special. The enigmatic Terps getting too many points to pass up. Friedgen gets fatter for national TV. Expect a close game. MARYLAND.

Stanford (+25) at Cal: The Cardinal will need every member of the band to step up. Cal is 6-3 ATS and will be looking for a big performance to impress the BCS folks. CAL.

Wisconsin (+3) at Iowa: The Badgers will imitate Minnesota in a mini-collapse this week following the loss at Michigan State that ended national championship aspirations. Iowa is on a roll and tough to beat at home. IOWA.

Michigan (-4½) at Ohio St.: With Wisconsin losing, the Wolverines all of a sudden can go to the Rose Bowl with a win in Columbus. That should happen against Ohio State,haunted by the absence and mouth of RB Maurice Clarett. MICHIGAN.

Arkansas (-9) at Miss. St.: A building block toward next season for Bulldogs HC Crimm. Pigs a far different breed away from Fayetteville. Home conference dog trend applies. MISS ST.

New Mexico St. (-4½) at Utah St: This point spread is a gift against the No. 2 ranked team in the Dirty Dozen. NEW MEXICO ST.

Last week: 2-2-2

Season: 25-39 (ouch!)

And now for a more complete look at the NFL, which featured three overtime games won by a safety, field goal and touchdown.

Rams (PK) at Bills: Just when you think the Rams are the greatest show on turf again, a road game appears. Mike Martz reverts to his fumbling ways and the Bills do circle the wagons well at home. Remember it’s late November in Buffalo, which means weather concern. BILLS.

Cowboys (+5) at Ravens: Parcells has had two weeks to prepare for the nightmare of seeing Ray Lewis run wild against the Cowgirls. Baltimore covers this game strictly on defense. RAVENS.

Jets (+1) at Browns: The late time-management disaster against Baltimore could be a sign the Jets are not as good as their record. Cleveland isn’t as bad as theirs and not likely to lose a second straight home game. BROWNS.

Steelers (-4½) at Bengals: We made the mistake of getting off the Big Ben bandwagon at Cleveland. We’re on again until he loses. Bus service is available in Cincy. STEELERS.

Colts (-7) at Bears: Big Ben isn’t the only unbeaten QB. Craig Krenzel is 4-0 as the Chicago starter. His stats aren’t good, but the former Ohio State star wins with his mind and heart. Peyton Manning on his way to a record stats year, but the Colts don’t play as well on the road. BEARS.

Lions (+7½) at Vikings: Detroit better find a ground game quick or this will be a runaway. Vikes lost a tough one at Green Bay after a gallant late comeback. Moss or no Moss, QB Culpepper will have another big day. VIKINGS.

Titans (+3) at Jaguars: Jacksonville’s success is determined by how well Fred Taylor plays. Right now, that’s bad news for Tennessee, which needs McNair at QB. Volek puts up good stats, but Stevie Mac wins games. JAGUARS.

49ers (+7) at Bucs: Long year continues for 49ers, which blew a 17-0 lead last week to Carolina’s M.A.S.H. unit. Bucs come back strong at home after Atlanta loss. BUCS.

Chargers (-3½) at Raiders: Talk about point spread value! Since 1994, In the last 10 matchups at Oakland, the Chargers have never been favored. San Diego is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings overall, including a 42-14 win three weeks ago. An acid test for "Marty Ball" with both teams off a bye week. CHARGERS.

Falcons (-1) at Giants. Where’s Eli? Kurt Warner seems to have hit the wall after a nice start. The Giants still can’t protect the QB. Atlanta loves to blitz and Michael Vick is in the Big Apple. Talk about marquee! FALCONS.

Redskins (+12) at Eagles: This is Bills-Patriots. Eagles take no prisoners as T.O. pumps up McNabb at Washington’s expense. Theismann can do a better job at QB for the Skins. EAGLES.

Packers (-3) at Texans: Two teams headed in different directions. However, Houston is much better at home and Green Bay worse on the road. We’ll take the hook now before it disappears and trust Houston at home on a Sunday night. TEXANS.

Patriots (-1) at Chiefs: Both teams can score, but only one can defend. New England is 4-1 ATS in last five meetings in the series, including two straight at Arrowhead. Make it three as the Chiefs say good bye to any postseason hope. PATRIOTS.

Last week: 1-1

Season: 18-13

(prior to Eagles-Cowboys)

For the NFL games not discussed, spend a few bucks and visit the website. Money well spent, we think.

Speaking of the website, I’m on a bit of a mini-roll in the NCAA, going 11-4 ATS over the past two weeks.

Of course, that doesn’t wipe out a horrible effort in print.