Share this article

print logo

PATRIOTS' EMOTIONAL FUEL TANK MAY BE LOW

The National Football League served up a Thanksgiving feast. Now we get the leftovers.

The Buffalo-New England game is the only matchup between teams with winning records. Think of it as a hot turkey sandwich. Most of the other games are cold mashed potatoes.

Monday night's stunning comeback victory by the Patriots over the Dolphins put them back in the playoff picture. A win over the Bills would give New England a legitimate shot at the AFC East title.

On the other hand, Drew Bledsoe engineered that winning drive with a double fracture of the index finger of his throwing hand. His status is uncertain. The Patriots can't win without him. If he plays, his passing will be affected.

It will be hard enough for the Patriots to get back up for the Bills after that emotionally draining victory Monday. Remember, this is still an injury-riddled team.

With Doug Flutie, the hometown hero, making a triumphant return, the Foxboro fans might make the Bills feel right at home. I expect Flutie to play better than he did two weeks ago against the Patriots.

The Patriots are 10-1 against the spread in second games with the Bills the past 11 years, but that doesn't stop me from backing the Bills.

Best bet

The Tennessee Oilers are playing in their third city in three years. Is it any wonder they have a better record on the road than at home this year? For the record, the Oilers are 4-1 on the road and only 2-4 at home.

This week, the team from Nashville heads to the Northwest to play Seattle, which has gone 2-6 after winning its first three games. The Seahawks are 3-2 at home and have benched quarterback Warren Moon, who was supposed to be their savior.

The Oilers had won three in a row before losing at home Sunday, 24-3, to a fired-up Jets team. The Oilers have followed two other home losses this year with road victories. They are 10-1 against the spread as underdogs against AFC West teams since 1989.

I'll take the high road and back the Oilers. The fact that they are three-point underdogs is a bonus.

Best of the rest

If Denver is going to lose this season, it will happen on the road. San Diego has its chance this week. The Chargers, playing their third straight home game, are on a two-game winning streak after benching rookie quarterback Ryan Leaf, but they won each game by a point. The best they can hope for is beating the point spread. They are 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine home games with the Broncos. The Broncos haven't faltered on the road this year, but I like the Chargers with the 13 points. . . . Now that Tampa Bay's hopes of repeating last year's success have washed away, the Buccaneers face the prospect of dropping into a last-place tie in Chicago. The Bears have won eight straight home games against the Bucs and are 15-2 against the spread at home vs. the Bucs, who are 0-5 on the road. I'll take the Bears as two-point favorites. . . . A dismal game between Indianapolis and Baltimore has an interesting footnote: This is the Colts' first visit to their former home since sneaking out of town in the spring of '84. Take the Colts as six-point underdogs. . . . New Orleans is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games with Miami, but the Dolphins are 5-0 at home this year and need to bounce back to stay in first place. I don't like the Dolphins, but I like them this week, even as eight-point favorites. . . . The Jets have won four straight home games by wide margins. Carolina doesn't pose a threat to that string. The Jets are a safe bet. . . . Green Bay is a 17 1/2 -point favorite over Philadelphia. Why not? The Eagles have scored a total of 13 points in their last four games. The Pack will win by 29.

There are no comments - be the first to comment