By Ron Borges
Consistency is an important thing in pro football and no one other than the Patriots have been more consistent than these picks. Another 2-4 week last Sunday makes clear one thing – readers who listened to those suggesting gamblers do the opposite of my suggestions each weekend, as I do myself, would be rich by now.
This public service announcement will begin again just below, with the final six regular season selections of the year. The playoffs are a different matter, of course.
My sterling post-season record flies in the face of my consistently backwards regular season mark the past two years. So it goes.
With all that in mind we wish you all a Happy New Year and we fervently hope you’ve done as suggested when this all began and bet the opposite way. If you have, enjoy the second home in Bimini. If you haven’t, you have some idea how the sub-prime mortgage crisis’ victims feel.
1.GREEN BAY -4 vs. Detroit – The Packers have nothing to gain from this game but their swagger back going into the playoffs and that is not an inconsiderable thing. Green Bay and Brett Favre stunk out Soldier Field last Sunday, as they’ve consistently done for years and head coach Mike McCarthy knows it’s unwise to go into a playoff bye week with a two-game losing streak. Detroit has lost six of its last seven and you can bet none of the disappointed Lions want to go into the post-season with their knee in a cast. So lay the small number and take the PACK at home.
NEARLY 50-50 CHANCE MEANS YOU LOSE THE VIG
2. Seattle +1 @ ATLANTA – I understand the Seahawks don’t have much to play for but neither do the Falcons and getting points and Seattle, even on the road, seems the wise choice here. While it’s true the Seahawks have to worry about next weekend’s wildcard match up, head coach Mike Holmgren also knows his team was dreadful the last time it went cross country, losing to the Carolina Panthers. Seattle pass rush figures to harass Chris Redman, retired insurance salesman, and Holmgren has said he’ll play his team hard. He won’t but he’ll play them hard enough to win. Take SEATTLE and the points.
3. Pittsburgh -31/2 @ BALTIMORE – The Ravens have quit. If the Steelers can’t beat a team that’s already checked out for the year, they should join them. Plus, they’re still in the hunt for the No. 3 seed. If the Steelers don’t get it they face Jacksonville and then New England in the playoffs. If that’s not incentive to play hard what is? Take the STEELERS and lay the 3 ½ against a team that has no quarterback and no heart.
THIS IS WHY THEY CALL IT GAMBLING
4. San Diego – 8 ½ @ OAKLAND – The Chargers seem to be gaining some momentum while Oakland seems as lost as it was a year ago. San Diego doesn’t want to face the Patriots in the post-season any sooner than necessary and if they can beat Oakland it guarantees they won’t seem them until the AFC Championship Game. Add to that the following: JaMarcus Russell makes his first career start against the first 3-4 defense he’s ever seen; Oakland’s best back, Justin Fargus, is out and the Raiders run defense is non-existent. If that’s not enough reasons to take the CHARGERS and lay the points, maybe Norv Turner isn’t the answer to Marty Schottenheimer.
5. TAMPA BAY +3 vs. Carolina – Sure Jon Gruden wants to rest his starters before next weekend’s wildcard game against the Giants but is he stupid enough to go into the post-season on the heels of a two-game losing streak vs. the 49ers and Panthers? I don’t think so. I also don’t think it wise to not grab the points at home for a team that might win the NFC title. So ride the BUCS and the points.
6. Jacksonville + 61/2 @ HOUSTON - The Jags have to handoff to somebody and whomever that is will run for big yardage. Sure the Jags have nothing to play for and may be resting people for the playoffs but head coach Jack Del Rio is a hard-nosed guy who puts winning first. He also would love to finish 12-4 to stick it to his many critics who thought he would be fired after this season. You’re getting some form of one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment plus nearly a touchdown against a Texan team that has again been a disappointment and will be trying to win with Sage Rosenfeld at quarterback. Take JACKSONVILLE with nothing to play for over Houston with nothing to play with.
Last Week: 2-4
Record to date: 14-28
Upset special: 4-3.