Gobblers beware! ”˜Tis the week to find your neck on the chopping block if you’re a turkey of a coach. And Butch Davis, Norv Turner and Dennis Erickson have been doing various versions of the Turkey Trot.
These three have given their respective teams little hope this season. Expect one or all to get the ax shortly or by the end of the season.
Enough poultry banter; let’s sniff out some winners.
Colts —8 at Lions: Peyton Manning’s belly should be full. He’s crammed enough footballs into end zones to suppress his appetite for awhile, even this week. Besides, Detroit is accustomed to carving up turkeys on the holiday weekend. They’ll be tough at home. Lions.
Bears +3.5 at Cowboys: Too many old turkeys in Dallas, including the coach, who, I might add, looks a little bit over-stuffed these days. Bears.
Ravens +4 at Patriots: Baltimore’s on a three-game winning streak and Kyle Boller is a huge factor in their success. Boller had been below the radar all season, but the last four games he’s been flying high. The roll continues for both Boller and the Ravens. Baltimore.
Eagles -7 at Giants: Too much was expected of Eli Manning in his debut last week. Archie’s second son was much more effective than the stats indicate. He should be more relaxed this week. New York.
Redskins +10 at Steelers: Pittsburgh has evolved as one of the league’s elite teams as we head toward the Big Money games in December. In fact, they might be the league’s best team, and they’ve done it all with a rookie quarterback. Big Ben and the Steelers are finally getting the respect they deserve. Unfortunately, too much respect often means too many points. Let’s play the Skins game. Washington.
Browns +4 at Bengals: Cleveland played well at home early in the season, even though they lost their two top draft picks. But things have gone downhill steadily. There are injuries along the offensive line and Jeff Garcia is hurting. The countdown for Butch Davis has begun. Cincinnati.
Jaguars +4 at Vikings: The Vikes came home to squeeze out a tiny win over overmatched Detroit. But it’s difficult to pour money on a team that’s given up an average of 29 points over the last four games. Plus Jags may get Leftwich back. Jacksonville.
Bucs -1.5 at Panthers: Carolina is trying to make the best of an injury-riddled season. Anything they get from their running backs is gravy with Foster and Davis out. And they’ve been getting production. Tampa Bay looks improved with Brian Griese under center, but they cool off considerably on the road. Carolina.
Chargers -3 at Chiefs: The ”˜Bolts’ are zapping lights out on the scoreboard over the last three games to the tune of 35 points per. Tomlinson is only 80 percent, but that’s better than most backs. The Chiefs didn’t play well after their last Monday night affair. Chargers.
Titans +1 at Texans: Steve McNair is back and that will spell trouble for Houston. If Chris Brown’s turf toe hasn’t healed, Titans know Antowain Smith can fill his shoes nicely. Tennessee is motivated to return the favor and win a divisional battle on the road. Texans won 20-10 in week six, but Tennessee poised to turn the tables. Titans.
Saints +9 at Falcons: One team is making all the right moves. The other has the Midas touch in reverse. The Saints, for whatever reason, have been finding ways to lose. But Michael Vick has been inconsistent as well — one week it’s his arm, the next week’s it’s his legs. In any case, the spread is much too large. New Orleans.
Jets +3 at Cardinals: No two head coaches have had more explaining to do the last two weeks Denny Green and Herm Edwards. First, the Jets showed how not to use the clock in the two-minute drill. Then Green benches his starting quarterback after two consecutive wins. Quincy Carter is once again looking unimpressive. Cardinals.
Bills +3 at Seahawks: Buffalo had a big win at home against the Rams. It’s time for Mr. Hyde to take over on the road. Seattle.
Dolphins +1 at San Francisco: The 49ers are led by a man named Kevin Barlow, as in lower the BAR. The Dolphins aren’t much better but do have a better defense. That’s enough. Miami.
Raiders +10 at Broncos: Denver is overrated by the lines makers for this Sunday night tilt. Are they expecting Turner to bench all his starters? It’s true the Broncos have won their last two impressively, but that was against Houston and New Orleans. Remember, they were pummeled by the Falcons. The Raiders showed huge improvement in the second Charger game. Look for the same upward movement at the Mile High city. Raiders.
Rams +4 at Green Bay: It doesn’t get any better than Brett Favre driving for the winning score. Plus the Pack has won five straight since Mike Sherman resumed calling the offensive plays. The Rams are not very good outside of the dome — they’ve lost three of four on the road. Their only win was at Seattle in overtime, a freaky game by all accounts. Packers.
Last week: 10-4