Lance Burton, Monte Carlo master magician (4-5)
Broncos –9 at Chiefs
Jets –2 1/2 vs. Cardinals
Steelers -7 vs. Ravens
Anthony Crivello, star of "Phantom -- Las Vegas Spectacular" (7-2)
Jets –2 ½ vs. Cardinals
Packers +1 ½ at Buccaneers
Chargers –7 ½ at Raiders
Carrot Top, Luxor headliner (4-5)
Chargers –7 ½ at Raiders
Eagles –3 at Bears
Panthers -7 vs. Falcons
Danny Gans, Mirage headliner (3-6)
Eagles –3 vs. Bears
Browns + 3 ½ at Bengals
Cardinals +2 ½ at Jets
Oscar Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas (5-4)
Bengals –3 1/2 vs. Browns
Saints –6 ½ vs. 49ers
Steelers –7 vs. Ravens
Kevin Janison, KVBC meteorologist (4-5)
Browns-Bengals under 44 1/2
Saints –6 ½ vs. 49ers
Redskins +11 at Cowboys
Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas" (6-3)
Saints -6 ½ vs. 49ers
Broncos 9 over Chiefs
Packers +1 ½ over Buccaneers
If something unexpected were to happen to me soon – and no, I’m not talking about actually posting a winning record this season, I mean something tragic – I will have at least accomplished one thing of significance before I go.
My apologies in advance if I am being overly morbid this week, but hey, this is an NFL column, and every game that goes to overtime goes to “sudden death,” right? Quarterbacks get “sacked” all the time. Punters routinely aim for the “coffin corner” or hope the ball “rolls dead” before reaching the “end zone.”
And don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on being called into Coach Reaper’s office anytime soon. But if something happens, I can at least take solace in the knowledge that I have fulfilled a huge parental responsibility regarding my 10-year-old son – I’ve prepared him for life as a Jets fan.
Forget teaching him to ride a bike, or how to tie his shoes, or make a prank call to his mother-in-law, or any of that stuff. This is perhaps the most important function in a father-son relationship – especially when your favorite team routinely underachieves.
It’s a rite of passage for every dad. You teach the boy about life as a football fan. Then he teaches you how to use your computer and cell phone. That’s just how it works.
I remember when my dad took me to the AFC Championship game in Miami on Jan. 23, 1983. I was 15 at the time, and ready to watch Richard Todd lead my beloved Jets to the Super Bowl. Ah, if I only knew then what I know now.
I vividly remember watching A.J. Duhe return an interception for a touchdown as the Orange Bowl crowd erupted. My heart sank. Duhe had three picks in the game – Todd threw five in all. Final score: Miami 14, New York Jets 0. Yep, zero. Since that game, want to guess how many times a team has been shut out in an AFC Championship Game? That number would also be zero. This is life as a Jets fan.
I watched a few more losses in person in the early ’80s, but the proverbial last straw came in 1986 – the Jets came to Miami for a Monday Night Football game against Dan Marino’s Dolphins riding a nine-game winning streak and a 10-1 record. The Dolphins were only 5-6, and it seemed like the perfect setting for a Jets romp. Final score: Miami 45, New York Jets 3. Foolishly, I had driven down to the game with friends (or so I thought they were), who refused to allow me to leave the stadium until the final snap. Since that game, want to guess how many times the Jets have lost a game by as many as 42 points? Nope, that hasn’t happened since, either.
I had not seen the Jets play live since that drubbing (it’s generally painful enough watching on TV, anyway) until this past Monday night, when I provided my son with his introduction – and first story for his son someday – as we watched the Jets and Brett Favre face the Chargers in San Diego. Junior fared better than his old man, because at least the game was exciting. The Jets intercepted a pass for a touchdown to take an early lead, and Favre finished with three TD tosses. But in the end, San Diego rolled up a convincing 48-29 win. Was I surprised? Hardly. In fact, the 48 points were the most allowed by the Jets since the opening game of the 1995 season, more than three years before my son’s birth. Yep – he’s a chip off the old block, no question about it.
A 1-2 week against the spread was made particularly painful when Detroit and San Francisco finished two points shy of the total (thanks for that missed field goal, Joe Nedney), and when Houston couldn’t punch in a late TD from inside the 5-yard-line in the final minute (a long interception return on a fourth-down play cemented the Tennessee win, but the Texans were very close to covering the number). The season ledger stands at 5-4, and this week, I’ll roll the dice with Cleveland +3 ½ at Cincinnati, Tennessee-Minnesota under 36 and Philadelphia –3 vs. Chicago.