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Sal’s Celebrity Selectors — Week 5

Remember after the first game of the season, when Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined half a million bucks and the team had to cough up another quarter-mil because they were taping other teams' defensive coaching signals?

I wish the Jets (who alerted the NFL to the problem during New England's 38-14 season-opening win) had waited a few weeks before playing tattletale.

This is not because I condone such actions. I just think the tapes of coaches trying to figure out how to stop New England right now would be really entertaining to watch.

Instead of using hand and arm signals, right now most coaches can do little more than shrug their shoulders. Those defensive coordinators aren't holding clipboards in front of their faces to keep the opposition from reading their lips -- they just don't want anyone to see them cry. Perhaps the coaches should speak in code to help disguise their coverage schemes against the New England offense. Maybe something difficult to translate, like ...

"ook-Lay out for andy-Ray oss-May!"

The offseason move the Patriots made to acquire Randy Moss from the Raiders for a fourth-round pick is turning out to be one of the great deals in recent times. Moss has had more than 100 receiving yards in each of his first four games with the Pats (the first player ever to gain 100 yards in receptions in his first four games with a new team in league history) and has seven touchdowns, most in the NFL. With the Raiders last season, he had three scores in 13 games.

Fueled by Moss' revival, the Patriots are averaging 37 points a game. (The Rams, by comparison, have a total of 39 points in four games). Quarterback Tom Brady has completed a gaudy 79.2 percent of his passes, and is the third player in league history to have at least three touchdowns in each of his first four games (he can tie Steve Young's record of five this week). His 13 touchdowns are tops in the league.

But perhaps the most impressive stat is this one -- the Patriots have scored points in each of the 16 quarters they have played this season, and have touchdowns in 15 of those quarters.

You can never look past an opponent in the NFL, but if the Patriots beat Cleveland this weekend and the Cowboys defeat the Bills on Monday night, next weekend's showdown in Dallas should be the marquee matchup of the entire regular season. The Cowboys actually have more points than the Patriots and are also undefeated.

Now that should be something worth having on tape.

****

The celebrity picks:

Lance Burton, Monte Carlo headliner

(7-4-1)

Packers -3 vs. Bears

Panthers +3 at Saints

Falcons +8 at Titans

****

Anthony Crivello, star of "Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular"

(6-4-2)

Ravens -3 at 49ers

Packers -3 vs. Bears

Cowboys -10 at Bills

****

Danny Gans, Mirage headliner

(6-4-2)

Colts -10 vs. Buccaneers

Packers -3 vs. Bears

Cowboys -10 at Bills

****

Oscar Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas

(9-2-1)

Packers -3 vs. Bears

Patriots -15 1/2 vs. Browns

Cowboys -10 at Bills

****

Hans Klok, Planet Hollywood headliner

(7-4-1)

Texans -5 1/2 vs. Dolphins

Colts -10 vs. Buccaneers

Cowboys -10 at Bills

****

Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas"

(2-7-3)

Cardinals -3 1/2 at Rams

Patriots -15 1/2 vs. Browns

Ravens -3 at 49ers

***

Penn & Teller, Rio headliners

(7-5)

Patriots -15 1/2 vs. Browns

Giants -3 1/2 vs. Jets

49ers +3 vs. Ravens

****

Rita Rudner, Harrah's headliner

(8-3-1)

Patriots -15 1/2 vs. Browns

Cardinals -3 1/2 at Rams

Patriots-Browns over 47 1/2

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