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					NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 1, 2008): 11-5 (+$1,470)
NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 2, 2008): 7-7-1 (-$100)

Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Line: Bills by 9.5. Total: 37.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Bills -8.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Bills -9.
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The Game. Edge: Bills.
Injuries: Raiders: OUT: FB Oren O'Neal (IR), WR Drew Carter (IR), OT Mark Wilson (IR), G Paul McQuistan (IR), CB John Bowie (IR). Bills: OUT:
OLB Angelo Crowell (IR).

What a rotten week. Going 7-7-1 shouldn't be the end of the world, but how that record came to light makes it just as bad as a 4-10 mark. At
one point in the afternoon games, I was looking at a 7-1 performance. Unfortunately, the Vikings (5 Units), Saints (3 Units) and Bears (4 Units)
all blew double-digit leads in the second half. The one comeback that went my way (Lions turning 24-0 into 25-24) didn't last because Green
Bay went on to score 24 points in the final 11 minutes of the game. Later in the day, Seattle blew a 14-0 advantage to the beleaguered 49ers,
though that was only for one unit. Seriously, whose grave did I piss on to deserve this sort of misfortune?

The Bills are another team that relinquished a moderately sized lead, though they were able to recapture it against the Jaguars. Buffalo is a
pretty talented squad; they're getting pressure on the quarterback (7 sacks) stopping the run with ease (no 100-yard rushing performances
allowed thus far) and enjoying the fact that Trent Edwards evolve into a solid quarterback.

BUFFALO OFFENSE: Edwards has a sterling completion percentage of 70.9 and has yet to throw a pick. What's more impressive is that
Marshawn Lynch hasn't even been able to get on track yet, given that he's gone against the Jaguars (13th versus the run) and Seahawks (11th).
The Raiders are slightly better than both of those squads in the run-stopping department (9th), so Edwards will once again be asked to convert
third downs on his own. That could be a bit of a problem against a talented Oakland secondary, but I have faith in Edwards, Lee Evans and Fred
Jackson out of the backfield.

Though the Raiders have five sacks this season, I don't think they'll be able to rattle Edwards behind a decent offensive line. Of those five sacks,
four came against the Chiefs, so Oakland has just one legitimate sack this year.

OAKLAND OFFENSE: I mentioned that the Bills have yet to surrender 100 rushing yards to an opponent this season. You can thank the
monstrous Marcus Stroud and a talented cast of linebackers for that.

Buffalo's ability to completely put the clamps on the run is going to give the Raiders major problems. Thanks to Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas,
Michael Bush and a solid run-blocking line, Oakland moves the chains well via the ground attack. However, once that is shut down, JaMarcus
Russell will be forced to take matters into his own hands.

Given that Russell was just 6-of-17 for 55 yards against the Chiefs' lowly defense, things look a little bleak for Oakland's offense in this contest.
The Bills have seven sacks on the year, and they'll be able to add four or five more to that total because the Raiders cannot pass block

RECAP: There's no question the Bills are infinitely superior to the Raiders. But that would explain a high spread of nine. Can they cover this line?

I think they can, but I wouldn't bet on it. Here's why: Buffalo is coming off two grueling contests against playoff opponents. According to Vegas,
they weren't supposed to win both of them. The Bills came out 2-0, and are now huge favorites for the first time in years. In fact, the last time
this team was favored by more than a touchdown was on Jan. 2, 2005, a must-win game against Pittsburgh's reserves. Buffalo lost 29-24, which
axed its playoff aspirations.

It seems like the Bills, especially under Dick Jauron, are better in an underdog role. I'm not sure if they're ready for the responsibility of being
favored by nine points.

SURVIVOR PICK? It's down to either Buffalo or Seattle as my Survivor Pick. Buffalo is the better team, but I feel as though Seattle has the better
matchup. I'll let you know what it is later in the week.

The Psychology. Edge: Raiders.
After victories against a pair of tough opponents, the Bills are actually "supposed" to win for the first time this year. They're a young squad.
How will they handle that responsibility? As for the Raiders, they'll be a fade if they fire Lane Kiffin this week. Stay tuned to see what Crazy Al

The Vegas. Edge: Raiders.
You're going to have a tough time selling Joe Public on the Raiders, which would explain why three-quarters of the action is on Buffalo. The line
hasn't moved yet.
 Percentage of money on Buffalo: 80% (23,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Raiders.
 Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 23-37 ATS since 2002 (Lane Kiffin 2-1).
 Road Warrior: Teams are 107-75 ATS in their second straight road game after a loss since 1996 (Lane Kiffin 1-0).
 Opening Line: Bills -9.
 Opening Total: 37.5.
 Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Bills 20, Raiders 13
Raiders +9.5 (1 Unit)
Under 37 (1 Unit)

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
Line: Falcons by 5.5. Total: 36.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Falcons -4.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Falcons -4.5.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Falcons.
Injuries: Falcons: OUT: OT Pat McCoy (IR), DT Trey Lewis, CB Von Hutchins (IR). QUESTIONABLE: OT Sam Baker.

Each week, I like to take a look at how Vegas fared.

The books took some hits early on, as the Packers, Bills, Colts and Giants all covered despite being heavily backed by the public. Oakland's
victory over the Chiefs was the house's sole win in the 1 p.m. games. After a 50-50 late afternoon (Atlanta covering helped the books, while
New England and Arizona doing so did not), Vegas needed some help on Sunday night. That could possibly explain Romeo Crennel's inexplicable
field goal late in the game to cover the +6 (I'll have more on this later). In total, the sportsbooks had their second consecutive losing week. If
this keeps up, you may see more shady stuff down the road. For now, I'd advise Vegas to refrain from posting soft lines like Packers -3 over
Detroit and Colts -2 over Minnesota if they're not going to "Tim Donaghy" anything.

At any rate, this Kansas City-Atlanta line definitely isn't soft. It opened at -4, and with tons of public money on the Falcons, the books have
moved this up to -5 (as of Tuesday afternoon). At CRIS, it's already -5.5.

Talk about public overreaction. The Chiefs were favored last week, but after their awful home loss to the Raiders, everyone is betting on a
rookie quarterback as a moderately sized favorite.

ATLANTA OFFENSE: Speaking of the rookie quarterback, Matt Ryan had his first taste of the real NFL last week. Sure, it's easy to throw for
15,000 yards against the woeful Lions, but beating a legitimate defense is another story. Ryan began the game 0-of-9 with two interceptions.

Now, you may argue that the Chiefs don't have a legitimate NFL defense, and I couldn't disagree with you even if I wanted to (Emmitt-ism).
However, there's a good chance Falcons left tackle Sam Baker could miss this game. After Baker left the Buccaneers contest with a head injury,
Gaines Adams wreaked havoc upon Ryan. Tamba Hali is a pretty formidable right end, and should be able to beat backup Todd Weiner with

The Falcons will obviously attempt to establish the run with Michael Turner. That'll work to perfection because the Chiefs are 31st against the
rush. Putting eight men in the box won't work; you saw what Darren McFadden and Michael Bush did to them last week despite the fact that
JaMarcus Russell completed only six passes.

KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: I never thought I'd say this, but the Chiefs need Brodie Croyle. Damon Huard could be out with head trauma (a.k.a.
quarterback suckiness), while Tyler Thigpen is a joke. John Abraham (4 sacks) is going to crush Thigpen, who was 14-of-33 for 151 yards, one
touchdown and a pick against the Raiders. I also like Brent Grimes and Chris Houston going against Kansas City's wide receivers (Dwayne Bowe
and one of many bums). The Falcons surrender a 6.6 YPA, which isn't too bad.

Other than Tony Gonzalez, Larry Johnson is the Chiefs' only hope. He had problems going against the Patriots and Raiders, but Atlanta is much
worse against the run. If Johnson doesn't have a good game this week, his career is probably over. If so, try to trade him for 50 cents on the
dollar if you own him in fantasy for some reason.

RECAP: The Falcons are obviously the better team, but I can't lay five points or more with a rookie quarterback and a Falcons squad that really
isn't that good.

Besides, Herm Edwards is at his best in situations like these. Herm could be the worst Xs-and-Os coach of all time, but he's a great motivator.
That's why I liked the Chiefs against the Patriots in Week 1. Conservative Herm gets his teams up in an underdog role. In fact, the Chiefs are 7-2
ATS as a road dog the past year and two weeks.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found. Just two crappy teams going head to head.

The Vegas. Edge: Chiefs.
There is no way the public's touching the Chiefs. Line movement is matching the action.
 Percentage of money on Atlanta: 89% (14,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
 Loser Coach: Herm Edwards is 1-4 ATS after losing as a favorite.
 Chiefs are 7-2 ATS as a road underdog since 2007.
 Opening Line: Falcons -4.
 Opening Total: 36.
 Weather: Dome.

Prediction: Falcons 16, Chiefs 13
Chiefs +5.5 (1 Unit)
Under 36.5 (2 Units)

Houston Texans (0-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-0)
Line: Titans by 5. Total: 39.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Titans -4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Titans -6.
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The Game. Edge: Titans.
Injuries: Texans: OUT: RB Chris Brown (IR), G Fred Weary (IR), C Scott Jackson (IR), CB Dunta Robinson, CB Jimmy Williams (IR), CB Roc
Alexander (IR).

I was really pissed off this weekend - and not just at all the comebacks that went against me on Sunday. I was angry the NFL postponed the
Ravens-Texans game. Couldn't they have played it in New Orleans or San Antonio or Mexico City? Seriously, I had to sit players like Andre
Johnson and Willis McGahee on my fantasy teams. I was also confident in the four units I had on Houston. And last but not least, I spent about
30 minutes on the write-up of the game. I understand Bob McNair stood to lose a bunch of money if the game wasn't played in Reliant Stadium,
but that doesn't matter to me. Who cares about a leaky roof anyway, teams play in the rain all the time? Actually I just feel like complaining
right now. Rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble!!!

The extra week helped the Texans prepare for this contest. And based on how they played against the Steelers, they really needed it. Houston
was beaten in every facet of that game. They couldn't run the ball. They couldn't pass block. They couldn't convert first downs. Their passing
attack was shut down until garbage time. They couldn't stop the run. And they couldn't contain Ben Roethlisberger. It was a pathetic
performance for the ages.

TENNESSEE OFFENSE: But that was against the Steelers, arguably the best team in the NFL. Tennessee's offense isn't as close to as lethal as
Pittsburgh's. Kerry Collins, sober or not, is not Ben Roethlisberger. Justin Gage, Alge Crumpler and Tennessee Wide Receiver #XX (e.g. the NCAA
Football video game) don't even compare to Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller.

That said, the Titans are still great at running the ball. Chris Johnson is averaging 5.9 yards per carry, thanks to his blazing speed and great
blocking up front. Johnson is also an effective weapon out of the backfield, so the Texans could have some problems containing him. Houston
surrendered 4.7 yards per rush to Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall.

Mario Williams versus Michael Roos figures to be an intriguing matchup. Tennessee's offensive line has surrendered just two sacks this year, so
even if Williams manages to get a sack or two, that's all Houston's defensive front is getting. The Texans really need a secondary pass rusher.
What were they thinking with Rosevelt Colvin?

HOUSTON OFFENSE: More bad news: The Texans go from Pittsburgh's stellar defense to Tennessee's. The Titans have already racked up eight
sacks this year. The Texans gave up five to Pittsburgh. Tennessee is also second versus the run and sixth against the pass.

With no rushing attack or pass blocking, it's going to be tough for Houston to score points in this contest. Andre Johnson presents a matchup
problem for any team in the league, but the Titans' secondary, led by emerging shutdown corner Cortland Finnegan, will put the clamps on all
of Matt Schaub's other targets.

RECAP: Houston's offense won't get anything going, while Tennessee's scoring attack isn't very explosive, so this will likely be a defensive

Houston and the points are worth a shot here. I don't really trust the Titans as a favorite of more than a field goal. Their offense is just too
unreliable. Plus, I don't think the Texans are as bad as people are making them out to be. And with the public backing Tennessee at a very high
rate, this line hasn't moved.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.

The Vegas. Edge: Texans.
Joe Public is falling in love with the Titans. The line hasn't budged.
 Percentage of money on Tennessee: 88% (14,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: None.
 History: Titans have won 10 of the 12 meetings.
 Titans are 3-5 ATS as a home favorite in the post-Steve McNair era.
 Opening Line: Titans -5.
 Opening Total: 37.5.
 Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Titans 19, Texans 17
Texans +5 (2 Units)
Under 39 (2 Units)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Chicago Bears (1-1)
Line: Bears by 3. Total: 35.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Buccaneers -1.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Buccaneers -1.5.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Buccaneers.
Injuries: Buccaneers: OUT: WR Joey Galloway*, G Davin Joseph, CB Torrie Cox (IR), CB Sammy Davis (IR). Bears: OUT: OT Chris Williams.
It's time for my weekly NFL Primetime rant. If you're new to this, I like to make it a habit of complaining about the fact that ESPN has ruined its
best show. Instead of 1) Taping Chris Berman and Tom Jackson doing all of the highlights and then airing it at midnight and Monday afternoon
(around 5 - moving Around the Horn and PTI to 4 and 4:30), or 2) Having Berman and Jackson do the highlights of ALL of the games on the NFL
Blitz, which airs on SportsCenter, ESPN decides to give us a watered-down version of NFL Primetime, featuring the excruciating Merril Hoge.

I really don't understand the point of annoying SportsCenter anchors like Neil Everett doing the highlights when Boomer and T.J. can just do
them. This Sunday's SportsCenter covered NASCAR and some chili-eating contest when Boomer and T.J. could have given us more highlights.
Fantastic. If ESPN had half a brain and actually cared about its viewers, they would follow my advice. Until they do, I'll keep complaining every
single week. Rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble!!!

Like my inability to comprehend ESPN's foolish decision-making, I can't understand why the Bears are favored by three. If you shift the spread
three points for home field, a Buccaneers-Bears tilt on a neutral field would be a pick 'em. I guess I missed the telegram that said Chicago is just
as good as Tampa Bay.

CHICAGO OFFENSE: While both teams run the ball well and play great defense, the difference between these two squads, especially with Devin
Hester potentially out, is Tampa Bay's passing attack. Brian Griese has a much stronger arm than Kyle Orton does. Joey Galloway, Antonio
Bryant and Ike Hilliard are superior to Chicago's scrub wideouts. And I trust the Buccaneers' pass blocking more than I do Chicago's.

Orton isn't terrible because he's great at managing the game and converting third downs. It's just that Matt Forte is going to have extreme
difficulty finding running lanes versus Tampa Bay. Forte was able to run well against the Panthers and Colts, but the Buccaneers are seventh
against the rush. They completely shut down Michael Turner last week.

Orton will have to do more than manage the game in this contest. Gaines Adams and the rest of Tampa Bay's front seven could feast on him in
long-yardage situations. Orton will have problems finding his targets against an exceptional Buccaneers secondary.

TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: I don't expect Tampa Bay to light up the scoreboard either. Chicago's defense is laden with Pro Bowlers, and Earnest
Graham is going to struggle to find the running lanes he had last week. The Bears also have a solid pass rush, so even though the Buccaneers
have the superior offensive line in this matchup, Griese could be sacked a few times.

However, when it comes down to it, I have more confidence in Griese moving the chains than Orton. Without Steve Smith, Jake Delhomme,
Jonathan Stewart and the Panthers were able to put up 17 points in a half, eclipsing a relatively solid scoring output from Chicago's offense.

RECAP: I don't get this line, and I don't get how the public is betting this game. As soon as I saw Bears -3, I said to myself, "This must be some
sort of trap." Guess not.

Unless I'm reading at least one of these teams incorrectly, the Buccaneers should be able to come away with a win. No multiple units here
because I'm a bit concerned that because Griese played with the Bears last year, Lovie Smith could have the formula to neutralizing him.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Joey Galloway is out. I know I said I liked the Buccaneers in this contest because of their superior aerial attack, but I have
to believe they'll play harder with Galloway out. Teams usually cover without their best player because they bring more effort to the table,
while the opponent is relieved they don't have to deal with that athlete.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.

The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
I can't believe the public is all over the Bears. The line hasn't moved.
 Percentage of money on Chicago: 96% (16,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: None.
 Buccaneers are 7-20 ATS on the road after a win under Jon Gruden.
 Bears are 2-5 ATS as a favorite since 2007.
 Opening Line: Bears -3.
 Opening Total: 35.5.
 Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Buccaneers 10, Bears 9
Buccaneers +3 (1 Unit)
Under 35.5 (2 Units)
Arizona Cardinals (2-0) at Washington Redskins (1-1)
Line: Redskins by 3. Total: 42.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Redskins -2.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Redskins -2.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Cardinals.
Injuries: Cardinals: OUT: C Scott Peters (IR). Redskins: OUT: DE Phillip Daniels (IR), DE Alex Buzbee (IR).

I mentioned all the double-digit comebacks that went against me, and the one that actually looked like it was going my way (Lions-Packers)
went awry when the Packers scored the final 24 points of the game. What does that have to do with anything? Well, believe it or not, but that
game was actually the greatest comeback in Detroit franchise history. They came back from 24-0, yet still managed to lose 48-25! Only the
Lions... at this point, no one should be surprised if Matt Millen isn't fired after a potential 0-16 season.

I bring this up here because 1) I have a different lead for the 49ers-Lions contest and 2) Until recently, the Cardinals and Lions were linked as
the craptastic duo in the NFL. But pertaining to Arizona's transformation, as the seemingly drunk Axel Foley slurred in Beverly Hills Cop, "You
chaangeeed man!!! Yoouu chhannngeed!"

ARIZONA OFFENSE: Well, the Cardinals' fanbase, which has grown from 10 to 20 people this past week, can thank Kurt Warner's resurrection
and Ken Whisenhunt's decision to play him over Captain Beer Bong. Warner was prolific against the Dolphins last week, going 19-of-24 for 361
yards and three touchdowns. Warner had more than 200 yards in the first half, and could have shattered some single-game records if woeful
Miami could have kept up.

I know, the Dolphins' secondary is an abomination, but Washington's didn't look much better in the season opener. The Redskins "held" Drew
Brees to 22-of-33, 216 yards, one touchdown and two picks, but Brees didn't have the services of his top wideout, Marques Colston. Shawn
Springs' return to the lineup definitely helped, but containing Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald is a much more daunting task than covering
David Patten, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem. Warner should have plenty of time to find his Pro Bowl wideouts, given the Redskins'
pass rush (4 sacks) isn't that devastating.

Meanwhile, I wouldn't expect much from Edgerrin James, even though the Redskins are giving up five yards per carry this season. James' rush
average is just 3.5, and he couldn't even get going against the Dolphins.

WASHINGTON OFFENSE: So, Jason Campbell goes 24-of-36 for 321 yards and a touchdown, and suddenly he's comfortable in the West Coast
offense just one week after looking completely lost? I'm not buying it. No one is talking about this, but the reason Campbell put up solid
numbers last week is because the Saints were missing their top three defensive backs, Mike McKenzie, Randall Gay and Roman Harper. That
means Jason David was given more playing time than he should have had.

Arizona couldn't stop the pass late last year, but the team is much better in that department with Adrian Wilson back in the lineup.
Washington's receiving corps doesn't scare me all too much, especially with the Cardinals' ability to get to the quarterback.

Clinton Portis had a solid performance last week as well, rushing for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. However, Arizona is much
better at containing the run (19th) than New Orleans is (30th). And that 19th ranking is a bit inflated because of a long Frank Gore run the first
week of the season. The Cardinals did a great job of bottling up Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown last Sunday.

RECAP: Let's think about the line this way. The Redskins are larger favorites over the Cardinals than they were over the Saints, who were
missing Colston and their top three defensive backs. Yet, Arizona is better offensively (without Colston) and defensively than New Orleans is.
Doesn't make much sense to me.

Two things pushed this opening spread up to -3. First is the public overreaction to Washington's win against the Saints and their skeleton crew
secondary. Second is the fact that Arizona has to travel across the country to play this game. But as you can see below, the Cardinals actually
thrive in early East Coast battles.

The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
The Cardinals are two up on everyone but the 49ers, whom the beat in Week 1. I'm not sure how much this game means to them. A possible
Letdown Alert, though Washington's win over New Orleans could have Arizona fooled into thinking that this is a tough game.

The Vegas. Edge: None.
The public's 50-50. No edge.
 Percentage of money on Washington: 50% (16,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
 Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 23-37 ATS since 2002 (Ken Whisenhunt 3-1).
 Redskins are 3-9 ATS in September home games since 2001.
 Opening Line: Redskins -3.
 Opening Total: 42.
 Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Cardinals 24, Redskins 20
Cardinals +3 (3 Units)
Over 42.5 (1 Unit)

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at New York Giants (2-0)
Line: Giants by 13.5. Total: 41.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Giants -8.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Giants -9.5.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Giants.
Injuries: Bengals: OUT: RB Kenny Irons (IR), WR Marcus Maxwell. Giants: OUT: QB Anthony Wright (IR), WR David Tyree, DE Osi Umenyiora (IR),
ILB Jonathan Goff (IR), S Craig Dahl (IR), K Lawrence Tynes.

After 40 percent of the field was eliminated after Week 1, only one contestant was axed in Week 2 of the $350 Survivor
Pool. That person picked the Chiefs. Who would in the world would pick the Chiefs!? (Cough, my next-door neighbor, sneeze). Remember to get
your picks in if you're still alive!

The Giants would be an obvious survivor choice for me if I hadn't used them already. The Bengals are pathetic and are putting forth absolutely
no effort right now. As I wrote in my NFL Power Rankings page, it's almost as if the entire team is being forced to play football against their will.

As you can tell, I think New York is going to win. But can the team cover 13.5 points? Let's delve into the matchups.

NEW YORK OFFENSE: I was a bit surprised to see that the Bengals are currently ranked 17th against the run and an amazing fourth versus the
pass. Surprised for about five seconds, that is. Then, I remembered whom they've played: The Ravens and the Titans. Not exactly the most
prolific offenses in the world. In the Baltimore contest, Cincinnati couldn't get off the field on third downs. In the Tennessee matchup,
meanwhile, there were winds gusting around 40 mph, so there was no threat of a passing attack.

The fact remains that the Bengals don't have the personnel to shut down Brandon Jacobs, Plaxico Burress and all of Eli Manning's weapons. And
speaking of Manning, he may not even hit the turf, as Cincinnati's pedestrian defense has just one sack on the year.

CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Carson Palmer has been brutal thus far. He has a completion percentage of 49 and a YPA of 4.5. He has no touchdowns
and three interceptions.

Granted, he's gone against two suffocating defenses in Tennessee and Baltimore, but it doesn't get much easier with the Giants. New York
thrives on putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, as they already have seven sacks on the year. They're consequently fifth versus the pass,
so it'll be tough for Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ocho Cinco (who definitely isn't 100 percent with an injured shoulder) to get back
on track.

Don't count on Chris Perry either. Perry will have his good days against porous defenses, but the Giants relinquish only 3.8 yards per carry.

RECAP: This is a blowout all the way. I'm usually hesitant to take the Giants as a big home favorite, but given that they have their bye next
week, they should be completely focused for the Bungles.

Check out the Hello, Good Bye Trend below. It's worked extremely well in the past.

The Psychology. Edge: Giants.
A quick three-and-out for the Giants, who had the Redskins, Rams and now Bengals on the slate prior to their bye. With nothing on the horizon,
New York should be focused for Cincinnati.

The Vegas. Edge: Bengals.
The money's all over the Giants, and the line is starting to move up toward 14.
 Percentage of money on New York: 74% (20,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Giants.
 Hello, Good Bye: Favorites of 6.5 or more are 29-4 ATS going into their bye (Tom Coughlin 0-1).
 Giants are 8-14 ATS as favorites of 6.5 or more the previous 22 instances.
 Opening Line: Giants -13.
 Opening Total: 41.5.
 Weather: Sunny, 72 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Giants 38, Bengals 14
Giants -13.5 (4 Units)
Over 41.5 (1 Unit)

Miami Dolphins (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Line: Patriots by 12.5. Total: 36.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Patriots -9.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Patriots -11.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Patriots.
Injuries: Dolphins: OUT: G Donald Thomas (IR). Patriots: OUT: QB Tom Brady (IR), OT Ryan O'Callaghan (IR), OT Oliver Ross, OT Anthony
Clement (IR), OT Barry Stokes (IR), G Stephen Neal, S Tank Williams (IR).

Some college football notes: I hope East Carolina, Utah, BYU, Boise State, Ball State and Troy State all go undefeated. I would love nothing more
for all but one of those schools to be excluded from the BCS, which would undoubtedly cause riots outside of the BCS headquarters, which may
or may not be located in Hell. And speaking of mid-majors, the Buffalo Hail Mary over Temple was fun, though I have to express my surprise
when I looked at the box score and saw that the Bulls' quarterback was "D.Willy." Stupid Temple. I can't believe they didn't realize that Bubble
Lead works best against D.Willy. No wonder they've sucked for so many years.

I have to say it was refreshing to see the Patriots win in a defensive struggle as underdogs. The 2007 New England squad was fun to watch at
first, but that team became way too sloppy. The Patriots that won on Sunday was more like the 2001 longshot that the nation fell in love with.

Unfortunately, New England's return to its former glory will be a bit short-lived. The Patriots, willing to do anything to prove that they could win
without Tom Brady, threw the kitchen sink at Brett Favre and New York, and still managed to win by just nine points. If Jets offensive
coordinator Brian Schottenehimer had half a brain and decided to actually throw the ball inside the 5-yard line, last week's battle could have
gone a lot differently.

MIAMI OFFENSE: The national consensus is that Matt Cassel can manage enough games to get the Patriots 10 victories and a playoff berth. I
can't agree with that. It's not that Cassel is terrible or anything; he's average and capable of leading a strong-defensive team into the
postseason. Unfortunately, New England doesn't have that sort of stout stop unit.

The linebacking corps as a whole is old, thin and slow; the cornerbacks can't cover; and the safety position is a huge question mark.

Of course, that may not matter against the hapless Dolphins. Though they surrendered more than four yards per carry to Thomas Jones, the
Patriots have the personnel to stop the run. Plus, it's not like Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown have been that great this year anyway. Williams
and Brown are averaging 2.5 and 2.8 yards per carry, respectively.

Chad Pennington will have to convert first downs on his own, and I think he'll be able to do that on occasion. Pennington usually plays the
Patriots closely, and the secondary he's going against lacks talent. Miami should be able to put together a few long drives, but if it ever gets into
third-and-long situations, New England will apply pressure on Pennington. The Dolphins have surrendered six sacks this season.

NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: Randy Moss fantasy owners are panicking. I can't blame them; Moss, a first-round pick in most leagues, tallied just 22
yards on two catches last week. Cassel doesn't have the deep accuracy to get the double-covered Moss the ball. Besides, it's not like the
suddenly conservative Bill Belichick is going to let Cassel air it out as often as Brady did.

Cassel will instead focus on short routes to Wes Welker, putting together long, Pennington-like drives. The difference is that Miami doesn't
have the pass rush New England does, and the Patriots' offensive line can actually pass protect.

Running the ball could be problematic for New England for two reasons: 1) Laurence Maroney is an injury-prone no-talent. 2) Miami is
somehow sixth versus the run. It's true - they shut down Thomas Jones and Edgerrin James. Not exactly the most talented running backs in the
NFL, but I'd put Maroney, LaMont Jordan, Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris in the same category.

RECAP: Taking the Dolphins could be a tough pill to swallow, but I'd rather side with them than lay 12.5 with a potentially flat Patriots squad
whose goal is to put together clock-consuming drives. This will be a slow, conservative, low-scoring, grind-it-out game for both sides.

In all honesty, I wouldn't be surprised if Miami won. First of all, they always give New England problems. Secondly, I can't see the Patriots
coming close to maintaining the same energy level they had against the Jets.

The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
This has to be a Letdown Alert for the Patriots. They just threw the kitchen sink at the Jets in order to prove that they're not a one-man show.
Do they have any gas left? Do they even need any gas to beat the Dolphins by two touchdowns?

The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
With three-quarters of the action on New England, the spread has yet to shift.
 Percentage of money on New England: 62% (18,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: None.
 History: Home Team has won 9 of the last 13 meetings.
 Road Warrior: Teams are 107-75 ATS in their second straight road game after a loss since 1996.
 Dolphins are 29-19 SU in September since 1994.
 Chad Pennington is 16-9 ATS off a loss.
 Dolphins are 3-15 ATS vs. AFC East since 2005.
 Patriots are 25-11 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
 Patriots are 38-28 ATS at home under Bill Belichick.
 Opening Line: Patriots -13.
 Opening Total: 34.5.
 Weather: Sunny, 67 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Patriots 16, Dolphins 9
Dolphins +12.5 (3 Units)
Under 36 (2 Units)

Carolina Panthers (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Line: Vikings by 3.5. Total: 37.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Vikings -4.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Vikings -3.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Vikings.
Injuries: Panthers: OUT: WR Jason Carter (IR). Vikings: OUT: G Mike Jones (IR), DE Kenechi Udeze (IR), DE Jayme Mitchell (IR), DT Kendrick Allen
(IR), OLB Heath Farwell (IR), S Madieu Williams, S Michael Boulware (IR). EXPECTED TO START: QB Gus Frerotte.

You'll like this edition of the YouTube Video of the Week if you're a fan of old-school video games like Final Fantasy or Zelda, and you hate
vegetarians: Click here to see it.

Handicapping NFL games can be tough for some people who do so solely based on matchups. Picking winners in the NFL is all about finding
good spots for teams and fading the bad ones. And sometimes, you have to determine which team will be putting forth more effort in a
particular game.

Take this contest, for example. The Panthers just won two games without their best player, who returns this week. Meanwhile, the Vikings,
credited as playoff contenders before the season began, are in an 0-2 hole. The Panthers don't need to win this game as much as the Vikings

MINNESOTA OFFENSE: But Tarvaris Jackson sucks (Gus Frerotte is the starter, check below for an update)! How can he possibly defeat the 2-0
Panthers!? Well, if Kyle Orton could begin the game 6-of-6 for 62 yards and maintain a lead until the final minutes of the fourth quarter against
Carolina, then it's possible that Jackson could possibly match that production. I don't know. I'm grasping at straws here. Let's just move on
before I recall how horrific Jackson was against the Colts. I'm still having nightmares about watching Jackson hang on to a 15-0 lead.

At any rate, the Vikings are obviously going to attempt to ride Adrian Peterson to victory. The Panthers are pretty mediocre against the run
(15th), as they allowed Matt Forte to rush for 92 yards on 23 carries. The Vikings are obviously a better running team than the Bears are, so I
could see Peterson registering about 135 on the ground.

That said, there will be times where the Vikings will have to throw the ball. When that happens, Jackson should have enough time to locate his
receivers, and subsequently over- or under-throw them. Carolina has two sacks on the year. Julius Peppers has none, despite going against San
Diego's backup left tackle and the mediocre John St. Clair the following week.

CAROLINA PANTHERS: I guess it's a good thing Smith is back because the Panthers are going to have major problems establishing the run
against Minnesota's prolific front seven. Jonathan Stewart finally broke out last week, gaining 77 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries,
but he won't find any running lanes against the Vikings' eighth-ranked ground defense.

With Jake Delhomme forced to air it out on first downs or long-yardage situations, Minnesota's defensive line will put major pressure on him.
Jared Allen and company knocked Peyton Manning around last week, and it seems like Delhomme is in for a similar treatment.

RECAP: Under different circumstances, I might take the Panthers, but the Vikings absolutely need to win this game to avoid a potential 0-3 hole.
If they fall to 0-3 and the Packers win on Sunday night, they'll be three back of the division lead.

Here's something odd. Vegas set an opening spread of -3. With nearly three-quarters of the action coming in on the Panthers, this line has
moved up to -3.5. First of all, the spread is moving against the money. Secondly, Vegas seldom moves the line off key numbers like three and
seven. Something's up.

I'm not wagering multiple units on the Vikings for two reasons. 1) I'm not messing with Delhomme as an underdog (check the stats below). 2) I
don't trust Tarvaris. The nightmares won't go away!

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Gus Frerotte was named the starter for the Vikings. It took Brad Childress long enough. All Minnesota needs from the
quarterback position is someone who can consistently convert third-and-mediums, connect with wide-open receivers and refrain from turning
the ball over. Frerotte can do that. I don't think he can win the playoffs, but Frerotte can get the Vikings there.

With Frerotte under center, I'm more confident the Vikings can cover this game. Still, I wouldn't go crazy and lay multiple units because of
Delhomme's unbelivable record as an underdog.

The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
The Vikings need to dig themselves out of this 0-2 hole. Meanwhile, I'd say the Panthers would be in a letdown situation with Steve Smith back
if they weren't an underdog here.

The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
Odd that nearly 70 percent of the action is on Carolina, yet the line moved up from -3 to -3.5.
 Percentage of money on Carolina: 82% (15,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Panthers.
 Panthers are 26-15 ATS as an underdog the previous 41 instances.
 Jake Delhomme is 26-12 ATS on the road.
 Jake Delhomme is 22-4 ATS as an underdog in his career (WOW!).
 Jake Delhomme is 17-7 ATS off back-to-back wins.
 Opening Line: Vikings -3.
 Opening Total: 36.5.
 Weather: Dome.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Panthers 17
Vikings -3.5 (1 Unit)
Over 37.5 (.5 Units)

Detroit Lions (0-2) at San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Line: 49ers by 4. Total: 46.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): 49ers -3.
Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: 49ers.
Injuries: Lions: OUT: FB Jon Bradley (IR), WR Reggie Ball (IR), TE Dan Campbell (IR), CB Von Hutchins (IR). 49ers: OUT: QB Alex Smith (IR), G
Damane Duckett (IR), OLB Jay Moore (IR).

Last year, I theorized that Mike Martz was secretly trying to hurt Jon Kitna enough so that Kitna's organs would pop out of his body, allowing
Martz to sell Kitna's organs on the black market. That would explain all of the sacks Kitna took during Martz's two years in Detroit. But what if
Martz has a bigger scheme in mind? Think about it: He purposely told Matt Millen not to draft any talented offensive linemen because as an
offensive genius, he didn't need them. Now, one year later, he's in San Francisco, where J.T. O'Sullivan took eight sacks last week. What if this is
the game where both Kitna and O'Sullivan are sacked so much that Martz is able to collect a couple of livers, kidneys, lungs, hearts and spleens?
He seriously could walk away with $500,000 worth of organs. This man needs to be stopped.

If you've been reading this Web site for a while, you know where I'm going with Martz. Yes, he coached the Lions the past two seasons. But
does that give the 49ers enough of an edge to cover this spread? And are there any major trends telling us that Detroit is the right side? First,
let's get to the matchups.

SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: Both quarterbacks could seriously throw for 400 yards in this contest. J.T. O'Sullivan managed 321 yards and a
touchdown against Seattle's solid defense. Detroit has a non-existent pass rush (two sacks) and a horrific secondary (9.6 YPA). With all the time
in the world to find his open receivers downfield, O'Sullivan could eclipse last week's performance.

If you thought Detroit's pass defense numbers were awful, check out how they perform against the run: Through two games, the Lions have
given up seven yards per rush. That means Frank Gore could automatically get a first down every two times he carries the football. But let's get
real here - Martz doesn't believe in running the ball at all.

DETROIT OFFENSE: Calvin Johnson has arrived. He caught six balls for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He's an unstoppable force, so even
though the 49ers surrender only 5.9 YPA, I don't see how they can cover him.

The main difference between these two offenses is that San Francisco can run the ball but won't want to. Detroit, meanwhile, will attempt to
establish the run, but won't be successful. Go figure.

At any rate, if Jon Kitna has to throw in long-yardage situations, he should have enough time to locate Johnson or Roy Williams; the 49ers have
only four sacks this year.

RECAP: Oh, the irony. The 49ers have the worst coach/coordinator in this game in Martz, yet he's the one who makes San Francisco -4
worthwhile because he used to coach the Lions.

Meanwhile, the Statfox Trend applies against the 49ers; they're a home favorite that is coming off a 1-3 point road victory. That sounds
random, but it's tough to muster the same energy as a home favorite after a tough, grueling win as a visitor.

With those two things colliding, picking this game becomes a lot tougher - until I realized that I was actually considering the Lions on the road.
Look how they've fared outside of the Motor City below. Awful.

Here's a fun fact: The last time Detroit covered a game on the West Coast was in 2003 - a 24-17 loss to the 7-9 49ers as a 7.5-point dog.

The Psychology. Edge: 49ers.
Mike Martz coached the Lions in 2006-2007.

The Vegas. Edge: None.
Line movement is matching the action.
 Percentage of money on San Francisco: 60% (16,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Lions.
 Statfox Trend: Home favorites coming off a 1-3 point road win are 17-38 ATS in Weeks 2-10 since 2000.
 Lions are 4-11 ATS on the road since 2006.
 Opening Line: 49ers -3.5.
 Opening Total: 44.
 Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.

Prediction: 49ers 38, Lions 27
49ers -4 (1 Unit)
Over 46.5 (1 Unit)

New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Denver Broncos (2-0)
Line: Broncos by 5.5. Total: 51.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Broncos -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Broncos -4.
Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Broncos.
Injuries: Saints: OUT: WR Adrian Arrington (IR), DT Hollis Thomas (IR), DT DeMario Pressley (IR), DT Lance Legree (IR), DT James Reed (IR), ILB
Mark Simoneau (IR), S Steve Gleason (IR). Broncos: OUT: RB Ryan Torain, WR Edell Shepherd (IR), C Tom Nalen, DT Carlton Powell (IR).

The second installment of the new Emmitt Smith feature will be up on FRIDAY! The year is 2013. Coming off a Week 1 victory, the Patriots get
into trouble for Sypgate II. Roger Goodell orders the team to replace Bill Belichick with Emmitt. Emmitt then wins his first game against the
Falcons, 11-4, despite major confusion and thanks in part to a Michael Vick arrest. Each week, I'll follow the 2013 Patriots from a newspaper
reporter's perspective. Get ready for 2013: Emmitt on the Brink!

The way the Broncos-Chargers game was officiated could belong in the 2013: Emmitt on the Brink. From the shady malfunctioning replay
equipment to the blown call on the fumble, it definitely seemed like someone was trying their hardest to make sure Denver covered this game.
But hey, with all the B.S. that went against me last week (check the opening paragraph of the Raiders-Bills game for more) I'll take anything.

DENVER OFFENSE: Despite those blown calls, one thing is certain: Jay Cutler is the man. Cutler now leads the league with 650 yards and six
touchdowns. His YPA is 8.8. His completion percentage is 70.3. He has just one interception, and was only sacked once. If I continue, this is
going to sound like a love sonnet.

How can you not love Cutler against New Orleans' secondary? Jason Campbell, who struggled mightily against the Giants in Week 1, torched the
Saints for 321 yards and a touchdown. That's a bit misleading though, seeing as how New Orleans didn't have its top three defensive backs,
Mike McKenzie, Randall Gay and Roman Harper.

I'm not sure about Gay and Harper just yet, but it looks like there's a good chance McKenzie will play in this contest. That'll be huge against
Cutler and his heavy artillery. That said, even if all three defensive backs are in the lineup, they're going to have problems slowing down
Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler.

Still, it doesn't hurt to have the top guys in the game, especially when they can also help against the run. The Saints and their skeleton crew
secondary couldn't contain Clinton Portis last week. They'll need all hands on deck to prevent the Broncos' RBBC from gaining 5.8 yards per
carry - which is what New Orleans is currently giving up this season.

NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: Even without Marques Colston, the Saints were able to score 24 points against a Redskins defense that was missing
Shawn Springs and still limited the Giants to 16 points in Week 1. Colston would have put New Orleans over the top, but the 24-point output
was still decent.

The Broncos are 27th against the run and the pass. They also have just four sacks this year. Let's ignore the inept Raiders game for a second;
Denver had severe problems containing a quarterback off ACL surgery (Philip Rivers), a backup running back (Darren Sproles) and a banged-up
tight end (Antonio Gates). I don't think Denver will have much success stopping Drew Brees' offense, despite the fact that Colston won't be

RECAP: This game figures to be a high-scoring, thrilling shootout. So, who gets the win and cover?
In my Panthers-Vikings write-up, I mentioned that you have to look for good and bad spots, and determine which team needs a victory more in
every contest.

Well, this is a bad spot for Denver. They just had an unbelievable, emotional victory over their new arch-nemesis. Now up two on everyone in
the division, except for Oakland, whom they've beaten, they have to come back and match that same intensity against another pretty toe foe. I
don't see that happening.

Meanwhile, the Saints can't afford to go 0-for-2 on this road trip. If Carolina beats the Vikings, they'll be two back in a division they were
projected to win this offseason.

The Psychology. Edge: Saints.
The Broncos are two up on the Chargers. How can they rebound off an emotional win like that? Letdown Alert!

The Vegas. Edge: Saints.
The public is pounding the Broncos in the wake of their impressive performance against the Saints.
 Percentage of money on Denver: 94% (15,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Saints.
 Road Warrior: Teams are 107-75 ATS in their second straight road game after a loss since 1996.
 Saints are 39-26 ATS on the road since 2000.
 Saints are 24-17 ATS as a road underdog since 2000.
 Drew Brees is 26-17 ATS as a dog.
 Broncos are 6-16 ATS as a favorite since 2006.
 Opening Line: Broncos -4.
 Opening Total: 51.
 Weather: Cloudy, 76 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Saints 34, Broncos 27
Saints +5.5 (5 Units)
Over 51 (1 Unit)

St. Louis Rams (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (0-2)
Line: Seahawks by 9.5. Total: 43.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Seahawks -9.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Seahawks -9.
Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Seahawks.
Injuries: Rams: OUT: WR Keenan Burton, OT Brandon Gorin (IR), Mark Setterstrom (IR), CB Justin King (IR). Seahawks: OUT: WR Deion Branch,
WR Bobby Engram, WR Nate Burleson (IR), WR Ben Obomanu (IR), WR Seneca Wallace, WR Logan Payne (IR), G Rob Sims (IR), OLB Wesley
Mallard (IR), LS Tyler Schmitt (IR). QUESTIONABLE: OT Sean Locklear.

More quotes of Emmitt Smith! Happy time!

1. "Brett Favre establish himself as one of the best quarterbacks ever." (Commentary: And with that quote, Emmitt establish himself as the
most amusing analysts ever.)

2. "As a rookie in this league, first of all, no one knows who you are." (Commentary: Oh, I guess all the networks and Web sites that dedicate
their time to NFL Draft coverage and all the fantasy magazines who list rookies are just wasting their time, huh?)

3. "He deserve the Lambeau leap." (Commentary: And we deserve more Emmitt on ESPN! Put him back on Sunday NFL Countdown!)

If you looked at this page on Wednesday morning, you may have noticed that I skipped over this pick. I did so for a reason.

I needed another night to make sure that I was going to use this as my Pick of the Month. Well, I'm making it official. I love Seattle in this spot
for a wide variety of reasons. Rather than delving into the matchups, I'll list why I like them so much:
DESPERATION MODE: The Seahawks are a proud, veteran-laden team. Players like Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones, Sean Locklear (who missed
the first two games), Patrick Kerney, Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson, Leroy Hill and Marcus Trufant are all winners. They've been to the playoffs
every year and made an appearance in the Super Bowl in 2005. But if they lose to the Rams and the Cardinals beat the Redskins, which is very
possible, they'll be three back in a division they were predicted to claim.

This is a must-win for Seattle. Going 0-3 for a talented, veteran group is unacceptable. You may argue that the Rams don't want to get into an 0-
3 hole either, but they're a bunch of losers. They haven't had a winning record since the 2003 season, and they began the 2007 campaign with
an 0-8 mark.

HELLO, GOODBYE: If you haven't heard of the Hello, Goodbye Trend before, here it is:

Favorites of 6.5 or more are 29-4 against the spread going into their bye (Mike Holmgren 2-0).

That record of 29-4 is pretty damn good. If you hate trends, you may scoff at this, but it makes sense if you think about it. If a team is favored by
6.5 or more, they're probably pretty good, right? Well, good teams tend to be focused going into their bye, and because the line is 6.5 or more,
chances are they're playing a crappy opponent.

Here's a neat tidbit. The Seahawks hosted the Rams in Week 7 of the 2007 season. Same situation - Seattle was going into its bye, so as an 8-
point favorite, the Hello Goodbye trend applied. The Rams were winless. The Seahawks crushed their divisional opponent, 33-6.

RAMS SUCK ON THE ROAD: The Rams have covered only 33 percent of their games (16-32) since 2001. That's awful.

Last year, St. Louis had road losses of 24-3 (at Tampa Bay), 22-3 (at Baltimore... BALTIMORE!!!), 33-6 (at Seattle), 35-7 (at Dallas), 48-19 (at
Arizona... ARIZONA!!!) and 19-10 (at struggling Cincinnati). I consider this year's version of the Rams to be just as bad as last season's.

RAMS SUCK IN GENERAL: Prior to last week, I had never taken a road team in any Survivor Pools. But I felt safe with the Giants because the
Rams are an abomination. Following up on their 38-3 loss at Philadelphia, they were trampled by the Giants, 41-13, at the Edward Jones Dome.

The Rams were somewhat competitive against New York, but that's because they're not completely inept at home. As I mentioned, they're one
of the worst teams in NFL history on the road.

St. Louis' offensive line can't pass protect. Seriously, poor Marc Bulger is getting knocked around and beaten to a pulp. I guess it doesn't bode
well for him that the Seahawks thrive on getting to the quarterback. They sacked J.T. O'Sullivan eight times last week. One can only wonder if
Bulger will make it out alive.

SEAHAWKS KICK A** AT HOME: Yes, I know, the Seahawks are coming off a home loss as a big favorite to the 49ers. Before we move on, let's
talk about that game.

Holmgren's gameplan was flushed down the toilet when Seneca Wallace suffered an injury in warmups and Logan Payne had to leave the game
after making a spectacular 14-yard reception.

Still, Seattle led 14-0 but relinquished the lead, thanks in part to three things: 1) A Hasselbeck pick-six that bounced around and hit a few
players before landing in Patrick Willis' lap. 2) A Billy McMullen fumble in the red zone; Seattle surrendered possession on what would have
been first-and-goal at the 9. 3) Hasselbeck tossed an interception deep in his own territory in the middle of the third quarter.

Now with another week of experience under their belts, rookie tight end John Carlson, second-year receiver Courtney Taylor and journeyman
Billy McMullen should be more comfortable in the offense. Also, Koren Robinson, who had a 1,000-yard season with Hasselbeck and Holmgren
a few years ago, is back with the team. And while Hasselbeck and company struggled against the 49ers, moving the chains versus St. Louis will
be a lot easier. The Rams can't get to the quarterback (two sacks) or cover anyone (10.0 YPA). Oh, and St. Louis is also 30th versus the run, so
Julius Jones should have another big game.

At any rate, the Seahawks have a great homefield advantage. They were 7-1 against the spread as hosts last year, winning by an average score
of 28-14. I can't see them dropping a second-consecutive contest at Qwest Field.

THE PUBLIC: When I've told people that I'm considering Seattle as my Pick of the Month, they've all looked at me as if I just escaped a psyche
ward. In fact, no one I've talked to this week likes the Seahawks.

That matches public betting. As of Wednesday evening, about 90 percent of the action is on St. Louis. This line hasn't moved, so it looks like
Vegas is content to have a lop-sided cash flow. Considering how brutal the past two weeks have been for the books, this Sunday could be a
blood bath for the public.

SURVIVOR PICK: As indicated earlier, I was deciding between Buffalo and Seattle. I've chosen the latter. It was pretty even, so it came down to
looking ahead. I couldn't find one instance where I could use the Seahawks again. On the other hand, the Bills host the Browns, 49ers and
Dolphins down the road.
The Psychology. Edge: Seahawks.
The Seahawks have tons of veteran leaders. They'll do whatever it takes to avoid an 0-3 hole - even if it means ripping Marc Bulger's limbs off.

The Vegas. Edge: Seahawks.
The public's backing the Rams!? The line isn't moving.
 Percentage of money on St. Louis: 85% (14,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Seahawks.
 History: Seahawks have won the last 6 meetings.
 Hello, Good Bye: Favorites of 6.5 or more are 29-4 ATS going into their bye (Mike Holmgren 2-0).
 Rams are 16-32 ATS in road games since 2001.
 Seahawks are 11-3 ATS in September home games since 2000.
 Matt Hasselbeck is 7-2 ATS off back-to-back losses.
 Opening Line: Seahawks -9.5.
 Opening Total: 44.
 Weather: Showers, 60 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Seahawks 34, Rams 3
Seahawks -9.5 (8 Units - September Pick of the Month)
Under 43.5 (1 Unit)
Survivor Pick (2-0)

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Line: Ravens by 2. Total: 38.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Ravens -2.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Ravens -2.
Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Ravens.
Injuries: Browns: OUT: WR Joe Jurevicius, G Lennie Friedman, DE Robaire Smith (IR), OLB Antwan Peek (IR). Ravens: OUT: QB Kyle Boller (IR), RB
P.J. Daniels (IR), TE Quinn "Miracle Man" Sypniewski (IR), DT Dwan Edwards (IR), ILB Prescott Burgess (IR), CB David Pittman (IR).
QUESTIONABLE: RB Willis McGahee, DT Kelly Gregg, CB Chris McAlister, S Ed Reed.

Given how the Browns have looked the past two weeks, I can't believe they were a Titans loss away from making the playoffs last year. Braylon
Edwards has seven drops already. Romeo Crennel can't manage the clock for his life, and kicked a meaningless field goal instead of going for a
much-needed touchdown because he had a box of Oreos riding on Cleveland +6. And did you hear the fan yell, "Put in Winslow!" when Crennel
took Kellen Winslow Jr. out of the game on the final play of the Steelers contest? Unbelievable. If Phil Savage wasn't in danger of getting eaten,
Crennel would have been fired already.

I've talked about teams needing wins in good spots this week. Projected by many to win the AFC North, the Browns are now 0-2. Does this
apply to them?

I don't think so. First of all, unlike the Panthers-Vikings and Broncos-Saints matchups, the Browns and Ravens are fierce rivals. Second,
Baltimore is craving for double revenge after Cleveland beat them twice last year. Third, the Ravens are coming off an idle weekend, so they'll
be completely focused and healed up to wreak havoc upon the Browns.

CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The Browns go from the Cowboys and Steelers to playing the Ravens, so this should be an easier matchup for them,
right? Well, not really. Baltimore still has dominant play-makers on its defense. Jamal Lewis will be eaten alive by the NFL's top-ranked run
defense. Lewis should be used to this, as he mustered just 38 yards on 19 carries against Pittsburgh on Sunday night. His output could be even
worse here.

Derek Anderson will be forced to move the chains on his own, which could be a problem versus a secondary that limits opponents to a league-
best 4.0 YPA. Baltimore has an opportunistic secondary, so an incompletion- and interception-prone Derek Anderson may commit a few
turnovers. Anderson has two picks and a completion rate of 51.8 this season, though all of Edwards' dropped balls aren't helping.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: I can't trust Joe Flacco on the road, especially against a tough opponent just yet, but he should be fine at home versus a
soft defense. Flacco did a solid job of managing the game the first week of the season, and should be up to a similar task here.

Despite acquiring Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers, the Browns are 23rd against the run. Whether it's Willis McGahee, Ray Rice or LeRon
McClain lining up in the backfield, you can be assured that Cleveland's defensive front will surrender about 4.7 yards per carry.

Cleveland is even worse against the pass (30th), thanks to an injury-ridden secondary and a non-existent pass rush (3 sacks). Off of McGahee-,
Rice- or McClain-induced play-action, Flacco will be able to locate Derrick Mason and Todd Heap downfield without much pressure in his face.
It's good the Texans game was cancelled because opening up with two home contests against the inept Ohio teams is the best possible scenario
for Flacco's confidence.

RECAP: As noted earlier, the 0-2 desperation mode doesn't apply to Cleveland because the Ravens, coming off a bye week, hate their guts and
are seeking double revenge. The Browns are a mess right now, and I really wouldn't advise laying any of your hard-earned money on them,
especially with the public backing them at a 70-percent rate (as of Wednesday morning).

The Psychology. Edge: None.
The Browns, a supposed playoff team, need to avoid an 0-3 hole. The Ravens are seeking double revenge. No edge.

The Vegas. Edge: Ravens.
The public is favoring the Browns to get out of an 0-2 hole.
 Percentage of money on Cleveland: 80% (11,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
 History: Home Team has won 6 of the last 8 meetings.
 Opening Line: Ravens -2.5.
 Opening Total: 39.5.
 Weather: Partly cloudy, 67 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Ravens 20, Browns 13
Ravens -2 (2 Units)
Under 38.5 (2 Units)

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Line: Colts by 5. Total: 41.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Colts -6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Colts -9.
Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Colts.
Injuries: Jaguars: OUT: WR Reggie Williams, G Vince Manuwai(IR), G Maurice Williams (IR), DE James Wyche (IR). Colts: OUT: TE Mike Seidman
(IR), TE Zac Herold (IR), G Ryan Lilja, C Jeff Saturday, DT Anthony McFarland (IR), OLB Tyjuan Hagler, KR T.J. Rushing (IR).

It's time for the Bo-Bo Fantasy Update! If you don't know what this is, check out the Worst Fantasy Football Draft Ever. Bo-Bo was unsuccessful
in his attempt to avoid an 0-2 hole. That said, Bo-Bo was more competitive this week, losing by only two points, 78-76, despite starting Pierre
Thomas and Fred Taylor at running back, and Bo Scaife at tight end. But I doubt Bo-Bo cares that he's 0-2, seeing as how he's busy having sex
with many women and managing all the skyscrapers that he owns.

Like Bo-Bo, the Colts just can't catch a break. There's a good chance center Jeff Saturday could be back, but it has just be announced that Bob
Sanders will miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain. Also, left tackle Tony Ugoh is doubtful with a groin injury. This just in: Tony Dungy is
questionable with a possible nervous breakdown.

JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Bob Sanders is Indianapolis' entire defense. Seriously. The 11 guys lining up to stop the Jaguars might as well not show
In the past, the Colts have had extreme difficulty containing the run without Sanders in the lineup. Well, through two weeks, they're ranked
24th with Sanders starting at safety. Imagine how inept they're going to be without him.

I know the Jaguars haven't been able to run the ball with all of their offensive line woes. Both Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are
averaging less than three yards per rush. Of course, it doesn't help that Jacksonville has played Tennessee and Buffalo, who rank second and
ninth against ground attacks, respectively. Jones-Drew always thrives against Indianapolis' defense, so look for him to have a huge game.

David Garrard hasn't put together a solid performance this year, which includes the preseason, but he'll have more success with the ability to
play-action off of Jones-Drew's eight- and 10-yard bursts. Matt Jones has played well thus far, so Garrard could look his way often. It's amazing
how much better you can play once you stop snorting coke and begin learning the playbook.

INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: Peyton Manning should be better with Saturday back in the lineup, but Ugoh's loss hurts. Still, the Colts should be able
to run the ball against a mediocre Jacksonville ground defense that desperately misses Marcus Stroud. Joseph Addai's YPC is only 2.4, but you
can attribute that to his battling the Vikings and Bears the first two weeks. The Jaguars aren't as strong anymore up front.

Peyton Manning should also have a decent game. The Jaguars have solid personnel on defense, but their pass rush isn't as good as it'll be later
in the year. Rookies Quentin Groves and Derrick Harvey are still learning the ropes. Groves had his first sack last week, while Harvey hasn't done
much of anything yet, save for a fake interception that fell into his lap because Vince Young threw an ugly duck right at him. Jacksonville made a
huge mistake by not offering a contract of market value to Harvey prior to training camp, and now the team is paying the price.

RECAP: The Statfox Trend applies here. Fading home favorites coming off 1-3 point road victories has been very lucrative in the past. The
reasoning is that it's tough to match the emotion and intensity that went into a close road win.

If you watched the post-game press conferences of Manning and Dungy, both looked like they were lucky to be alive. Manning, sweating
profusely, stated that this win over Minnesota was a sweet victory and that his team was lucky to get out of there with a win.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars are in an 0-2 hole. They need a victory, and they usually play the Colts tight to the vest. This is their Super Bowl.
Indianapolis won't be as desperate.

The Psychology. Edge: Jaguars.
This game means more to the Jaguars than it does the Colts, but I can't call this a huge psychological edge. The Colts know they are playing piss-
poor football and they must improve.

The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
Why is the line falling if nearly two-thirds of the public is on Indianapolis?
 Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 64% (14,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Jaguars.
 History: Ten of the last 12 meetings decided by 8 points or less (Colts 9-3).
 Statfox Trend: Home favorites coming off a 1-3 point road win are 17-38 ATS in Weeks 2-10 since 2000 (Tony Dungy 2-4).
 Jaguars are 10-3 ATS as an underdog since 2006.
 Opening Line: Colts -6.
 Opening Total: 42.
 Weather: Dome.

Prediction: Colts 20, Jaguars 17
Jaguars +5 (1 Unit)
Under 41.5 (1 Unit)

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Line: Eagles by 3.5. Total: 44.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Eagles -3.
Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Steelers.
Injuries: Steelers: OUT: QB Charlie Batch, P Daniel Sepulveda (IR). Eagles: OUT: CB Jack Ikegwuonu (IR).

Love 'em or hate 'em, Philly fans have style. After a Shane Victorino home run in a Phillies-Brewers game the day before the Eagles-Cowboys
thriller, the camera panned to the joyous crowd. One fat man in the stands had a white t-shirt with bright green letters that said, "Romo is a

Though the Eagles lost, they played extremely well, which is why I raised them to No. 4 in my NFL Power Rankings. Donovan McNabb looks as
great as he was in 2004, which actually says a lot because he doesn't have Terrell Owens by his side. I still question if McNabb, a very injury-
prone quarterback, can stay healthy the entire year.

PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: Owens is long gone, but it looks like DeSean Jackson, despite having just two games under his belt, is already the most
dynamic play-maker McNabb has had to work with since Owens' departure. He stretches the field for Philadelphia's once-stagnant offense,
allowing a completely healthy McNabb to find him deep downfield. And with Brian Westbrook coming out of the backfield, defenses can't
exactly focus on the electrifying rookie wideout.

Philadelphia's scoring attack looked unstoppable on Monday night, but if any defense can slow the unit down, it's Pittsburgh's. The Steelers are
third against the run and seventh versus the pass. They also have seven sacks, thanks to very quick 3-4 speed rushers who will give old tackles
Jon Runyan and William Tra Thomas some problems.

Don't believe me? Just look at the four sacks Pittsbrugh registered on the younger versions of Runyan and Thomas back in 2004. In that contest,
Westbrook was completely shut down (6 carries, 17 yards; 3 receptions), while McNabb, who was having an MVP-caliber year, was just 15-of-
24 for 109 yards and an interception - with the great Owens by his side. PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The Eagles made a nice upgrade with Asante
Samuel this offseason, but the 41 points they allowed to Dallas wasn't a fluke. They're not a terrible defense by any means, but they have
problems getting to the quarterback and their safeties are a huge liability. Brian Dawkins made a nice hit on Martellus Bennett in the Cowboys
contest, but he has lost a few steps.

One thing Philadelphia does really well is stop the run. The nation saw this when the team limited Marion Barber to 63 yards on 18 carries,
exactly 3.5 yards per rush. The Eagles will contain Willie Parker, but I don't think that will affect Pittsburgh's aerial attack. Like Tony Romo, Ben
Roethlisberger will beat Philadelphia's safeties, connecting with Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller downfield. Roethlisberger's
improved offensive line will offer him solid protection against the Eagles' mediocre pass rush (4 sacks).

RECAP: I think it's going to be tough for the Eagles to go from an emotional contest in Dallas to being a field-goal favorite against the best team
from the AFC.

Speaking of the AFC, Andy Reid tends to struggle versus the opposing conference during his tenure in Philadelphia. I can't give you a reason
why; just note that his Eagles are 9-15 against the spread versus the AFC since 2001.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
Big game for both teams.

The Vegas. Edge: None.
The public is all over the Eagles in the wake of their impressive Monday night performance. The line moved off a key number, which is huge.
 Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 79% (13,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Steelers.
 Ben Roethlisberger is 46-17 as a starter (38-25 ATS).
 Ben Roethlisberger is 7-3 ATS as a road dog.
 Ben Roethlisberger is 10-5 ATS as an underdog.
 Eagles are 9-15 ATS vs. AFC opponents since 2001.
 Donovan McNabb is 18-9 ATS after a loss since 2001.
 Opening Line: Eagles -3.
 Opening Total: 45.
 Weather: Partly cloudy, 66 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Eagles 17
Steelers +3.5 (1 Unit)
Under 44.5 (.5 Units)
Dallas Cowboys (2-0) at Green Bay Packers (2-0)
Line: Cowboys by 3. Total: 51.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Cowboys -1.
Sunday, 8:15 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
Injuries: Cowboys: OUT: S Roy Williams. Packers: OUT: G Junius Coston (IR), DT Justin Harrell.

Forum member bbix1134 mentioned that Terry Bradshaw was drunk during FOX's pregame show. Unfortunately, I didn't see it, so I can't give
you next week's preview. So for now, let's go with the recap of the CBS pregame show:

James Brown: Let's talk about the Vikings-Colts game. Dan, who's a key player to watch for in this game?

Dan Marino: I like every player in this game, James. Every player on both teams is good. I like the Vikings, and I like the Colts. Tony Dungy is a
good guy, and so is Brad Childress. Peyton Manning is a good player, and so is Adrian Peterson.

Boomer Esiason: See, this is why Dan Marino has never won a Super Bowl! He has no opinion on anything! Dan Marino sucks!

James Brown: Shannon, who do you like in this game?

Shannon Sharpe: Foijrewgjo rgorei eor grehgo er rehogrehog reogherov 8r r oherhihe wfo rewhogih.

Dan Marino: I agree with Shannon, and I agree with Boomer. This should be a great, competitive game, and both sides will be winners,
regardless of the outcome on the scoreboard.

Boomer Esiason: Just pick a friggin side, Dan! This is why you always choke in the clutch! I hate you, you son of a...

Gotta love the hostile Dan Marino-Boomer Esiason exchanges. At any rate, I find it strangely convenient that things have gotten progressively
more difficult for this Packers team with their new quarterback. The first week of the season, they made numerous mistakes on offense in the
first half - tons of penalties and a botched field goal - and were able to come away with a victory because Tarvaris Jackson blew opportunity
after opportunity.

Last week, Aaron Rodgers was challenged with winning his first road game. Sure, it was against the Lions, but no visiting contest is ever easy in
the NFL. Rodgers helped the Packers establish a 24-0 lead, and when the Lions inexplicably came back and took a 25-24 advantage, Rodgers was
able to assemble two more scoring drives. Helped by a pair of pick-sixes, the Packers vanquished the pathetic Matt Millens, 48-25.

GREEN BAY OFFENSE: You could say this is the first real test for the new Green Bay regime. The Cowboys, regarded as the consensus top team
in the NFC, defeated the Packers at home last year, 37-27. Brett Favre was the quarterback in that contest, so if Rodgers defeats the foe Favre
failed to vanquish, there's a good chance the media will begin talking about Rodgers being even better than Favre was in 2007.

Philadelphia torched Dallas' secondary, which will now be missing Roy Williams for a few weeks (not that Williams was that effective anyway). If
the Eagles were able to do this without a huge assortment of play-makers, I'm confident Aaron Rodgers should be able to do the same thing
with a superior receiving corps. Rodgers should be given enough time; his line has given up only one sack this year. Sure, they battled the pitiful
Lions last week, but they were also able to keep Minnesota out of the backfield.

One advantage Green Bay's offense doesn't have is a lacking running game. Ryan Grant, hampered by a hamstring injury, hasn't been effective
this season. The Cowboys are pretty mediocre against opposing ground attacks (16th), so the Packers will either hope that Grant can recover in
the next few days or that Brandon Jackson can help move the chains on a consistent basis. Jackson is averaging 5.2 yards per carry, but he really
struggles in blitz pickup, which is why Mike McCarthy is hesitant to go with Jackson on a full-time basis until Grant recovers.

DALLAS OFFENSE: As solid as Green Bay's defense has been against the passing game (5.9 YPA, 6 sacks), I can't see them containing Tony Romo,
Terrell Owens and Jason Witten. That's just an impossible task. Romo hasn't even been sacked this year, so I can't say I'm confident the Packers
will rattle him. Remember, Plaxico Burress torched Al Harris in the AFC Championship. Well, Owens and Witten are an even better duo than
Burress and Toomer.

Because Corey Williams defected to Cleveland and Justin Harrell hasn't been able to stay healthy, the Packers have had problems against the
run thus far. They're currently 22nd in the league, giving up 4.7 yards per carry. Green Bay will be so concerned with getting to Romo and
covering Owens and Witten, I don't know how they're going to focus on Marion Barber (on the ground and out of the backfield).

RECAP: I guess it's natural that the most intriguing matchup of the week is also the most difficult to predict. I could really see this game going
either way.

But because I have to pick a side, I guess I'll choose Dallas. Two reasons: First, Grant's hamstring makes Green Bay more of a one-dimensional
offense. Second, I currently trust Romo more than I do Rodgers. That could change over the course of this season, but given the way Peyton
Manning is struggling right now, you'd have to say that Romo is currently the top quarterback in the NFL.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
The battle of what could be the top two teams in the NFC, though the Giants may have something to say about that.

The Vegas. Edge: Packers.
Three-quarters of the public likes Dallas on a National TV game. The line has yet to move.
 Percentage of money on Dallas: 78% (16,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: None.
 Cowboys are 12-3 ATS after playing the Eagles since 2000.
 Tony Romo is 14-5 ATS as a starter before Dec. 1.
 Tony Romo is 5-1 ATS as a starter in September.
 Tony Romo is 8-3 ATS on the road.
 Wade Phillips is 0-3 ATS after Monday Night Football.
 Opening Line: Cowboys -3.
 Opening Total: 52.
 Weather: Partly cloudy, 53 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Cowboys 38, Packers 34
Cowboys -3 (1 Unit)
Over 51.5 (.5 Units)

New York Jets (1-1) at San Diego Chargers (0-2)
Line: Chargers by 9. Total: 44.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Chargers -6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Chargers -8.
Monday, 8:30 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Chargers.
Injuries: Jets: OUT: ILB Brad Kassell (IR). Chargers: OUT: WR Eric Parker (IR).

Before I get to the final game on the slate, here's the Week 3 NFL Look-Alike Thread, featuring Jeff Fisher and Burt Reynolds.

Why is this spread so high? Nine points? Really, the Chargers are six points better than the Jets?

This is public perception skewing the spread at its finest. Last week, casual bettors saw New York struggle against the Patriots and the Chargers
get screwed at Denver. What they may not have taken out of those games is that New England threw the kitchen sink at New York in an
attempt to prove that they could win without Tom Brady. Meanwhile, San Diego hasn't been able to stop anyone this year.

NEW YORK OFFENSE: So, what happened to the Chargers defense that everyone drafted first or second in their fantasy leagues? Well, in case
you haven't been paying attention, Shawne Merriman's absence has had a profound effect on the entire unit. Without Merriman, San Diego
cannot put pressure on the quarterback (2 sacks) and consequently has major issues in pass protection. Through two contests, the Chargers
have allowed 587 passing yards - ranking them second-to-last in the NFL. Unlike last week, Brett Favre won't have any defenders in his face,
which will allow him to find Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller downfield.

San Diego has also struggled against the run, surrendering a disturbing 5.3 yards per carry to opposing running backs. Thomas Jones managed
70 yards on 17 carries against a superior front seven last weekend, which bodes well for his statistics in this contest. There's a good chance
Jones eclipses the century plateau and gets into the end zone at least once.

SAN DIEGO OFFENSE: The Chargers' scoring attack is keeping them alive in these cardiac contests. Despite LaDainian Tomlinson's turf toe,
Antonio Gates' beat-up body, Philip Rivers' surgically repaired ACL and the absence of center Nick Hardwick, San Diego ranks fifth in the league
in scoring - an impressive feat when you consider all they've had to overcome.

That said, it should be noted that San Diego hasn't played a dominant defense yet. Carolina had problems against Kyle Orton early on last week,
while the Broncos don't exactly have top defensive personnel on their roster.

The Jets' defense is better statistically - the team is fourth versus the run and 13th against the pass, and has eight sacks on the year - but you
also have to consider whom they've played. Chad Pennington and Matt Cassel? Not exactly leading the league in passing right now.

We'll find out a lot about New York's stop unit on Monday night. For now, I'm going to guess that the Chargers will match the Jets point for

RECAP: Anyone who's laying nine points with San Diego is looking at this game from this angle: "The Chargers need to win because they're 0-2,
and the Jets just lost to the Patriots at home!"

That's not a good way to handicap a game. It's not like the Jets are coming off a victory and find this contest meaningless because they've just
knocked off New England. New York will be out to overcome its latest loss. They're not going to lay down for San Diego.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are 0-2 for a reason. Without Merriman, their defense is abysmal. I don't think they'll be able to stop Favre and the

Nine points is way too much in a game that could go either way.

The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
The Chargers cannot afford to start 0-3 and potentially fall three games behind Denver.

Jets OC Brian "Run Three Times Inside the Five" Schottenheimer coached the Chargers in 2002-2005.

The Vegas. Edge: None.
Close to 50-50 action.
 Percentage of money on New York: 60% (21,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Chargers.
 Jets are 17-27-3 ATS as an underdog the previous 47 instances (10-10 under Eric Mangini).
 Opening Line: Chargers -9.
 Opening Total: 42.5.
 Weather: Sunny/clear, 70 degrees. Light wind.

Prediction: Chargers 34, Jets 31
Jets +9 (3 Units)
Over 44 (3 Units)

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