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NFL Weekly Predictions
Week 2, 2007



Note: Did well last week, going 11-3-2 against the spread and 4-2 on second-half bets. I just hope I can continue this hot streak and finish the year at 60 percent. That said, in my nine years of handicapping football, I have yet to figure out how to play totals. Maybe it's because I don't pay attention to them as much. If you have any tips for me regarding the over-under, please post them on my forum. If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.



Atlanta Falcons (0-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Line: Jaguars by 10. Total: 34.5.

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Jaguars -7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Jaguars -10.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Jaguars.
Injuries: FALCONS: OUT: QB Michael Vick. JAGUARS: OUT: K Josh Scobee.

Now that it has become completely obvious that Joey Harrington can't lead to the Falcons to more than three wins this season, why doesn't Atlanta just sign every single top-10 quarterback bust it can get its hands on? It'd be fun to watch, wouldn't it? You could even seed them. Top-ranked Ryan Leaf could square off against No. 8 Cade McNown, with each signal caller getting a half. The guy who puts up the better numbers would move on to the next round. The rest of the field would include Akili Smith, Tim Couch, Heath Shuler, Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller (trade with Baltimore) and Harrington himself. You can't tell me you wouldn't be intrigued by that tournament.

Harrington is completely horrendous, but the same thing can be said regarding Jacksonville's defense. I criticized the Jaguars when they let go of Donovin Darius, and my concerns for the middle of their defense were completely warranted, as Chris Brown rushed for 175 yards on just 19 carries last week. It's not like Brown is a top-notch back; he was unemployed when the Titans asked him to come back as an insurance policy because LenWhale White showed up to camp 5,000 pounds overweight. That said, I don't think Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood will be able to repeat Brown and White's output and gain 6.5 yards per carry. Jacksonville permitted that ridiculous average because it was worried about Vince Young's ability to scramble out of the pocket. Harrington obviously isn't nearly as mobile. The Jaguars will place eight men in the box, forcing Harrington to beat them. Instead of moving the chains, the Oregon alumnus will once again heave multiple pick-sixes.

While the Jaguars are at the bottom of the run-defense chart, Atlanta is just five slots above them. That doesn't bode well for the Falcons because they'll have to worry about containing Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew and David Garrard on the ground. Though Jacksonville scored only 10 points, Garrard played well, going 17-of-30 for 204 yards and a touchdown. If the Jaguars move the chains on the ground, Garrard should be able to utilize play-action and burn a couple of mediocre Falcon safeties.

Once again, Jacksonville is favored by a ridiculous spread. I've always believed that you shouldn't lay double digits with a team that may not even score 10 points. That said, the Jaguars should be considered for two reasons: Harrington will turn the ball over frequently, and a few members of the Falcons could be thinking about 2008 after watching Harrington destroy any possibility they had of winning last week.


The Psychology. Edge: Jaguars.
Neither team can afford to start 0-2, but the Jaguars are the squad with playoff aspirations. After watching Joey Harrington struggle, I wouldn't be surprised if several members of the Falcons decide to pack it in. I can't say that will happen for certain, but the fact remains Atlanta has no shot at the playoffs with Harrington under center.


The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
No one in their right mind would bet on Joey Harrington at this point, no matter what the spread is. (I guess people are insane.)

  • Percentage of money on Jacksonville: 61% (70,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 87-59 ATS on the road following a road loss.
  • Jaguars are 13-4 ATS in September home games.
  • Jaguars are 3-8 ATS as a favorite since 2006.
  • Opening Line: Jaguars -10.5.
  • Opening Total: 35.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 87 degrees. Mild wind, 11 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: David Garrard, Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars Defense, Alge Crumpler.
  • Sit Em: Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood.


    Prediction: Jaguars 24, Falcons 6
    Jaguars -10 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 34.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Jaguars 13, Falcons 7.



    Buffalo Bills (0-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
    Line: Steelers by 10. Total: 38.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Steelers -9.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Steelers -11.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Steelers.
    Injuries: BILLS: OUT: TE Kevin Everett, DE Anthony Hargrove, DE Ryan Denney, LB Keith Ellison, CB Jason Webster.

    Instead of using this paragraph to write something that isn't even remotely close to being entertaining, let's hope that Bills tight end Kevin Everett can walk again after his devastating collision in the Broncos game. It was so disturbing just watching his lifeless body fall on to the turf - I can only imagine how his parents and relatives felt.

    It may sound callous to say this, but one of the easiest ways to make money in sports gambling is betting on a team that has just experienced a death to a teammate, coach or beloved owner. Everett thankfully isn't dead, but while he is currently stabilized, doctors are saying that his condition could still be life-threatening. This is one of the most difficult games to handicap this week, because I have no idea how Buffalo will react to Everett. Will they dedicate this contest to him and come out of the locker room completely fired up, or will they be too busy worrying about Everett to focus on the task at hand?

    If nothing happened to Everett and this were simply a normal contest, I'd say that the Steelers would continuously run Willie Parker against Buffalo's 30th-ranked ground defense. Ben Roethlisberger would easily hook up with any wide out not defended by Terrence McGee. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, would completely put the clamps on Marshawn Lynch with its dynamic front seven, forcing J.P. Losman into obvious passing downs. I'd count on Lee Evans for a touchdown and a couple more long gains, but that's about it; Buffalo's receiving corps, save for Evans, is the league's worst.

    But this is not a game where you can just look at the matchups and declare a winner. Besides the fact that my previous paragraph is already factored into this high spread, football is a game of emotions. The question is, what mindset will Buffalo be in come Sunday?


    The Psychology. Edge: Unknown.
    Will Buffalo dedicate this game to Kevin Everett and come out of the locker room fired up, or will they be too preoccupied with his condition? It's a tough call that frankly, I don't want to make.


    The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
    The Steelers are a public team, and no one likes to bet on a shaky quarterback like J.P. Losman. Look for the Steelers to get around 75 percent of the money by Sunday morning.

  • Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 75% (100,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Bills.
  • J.P. Losman is 7-3 ATS as a road dog.
  • Steelers are 4-7 ATS in September home games since 2000.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 35-11 as a starter (29-17 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Steelers -9.5.
  • Opening Total: 37.5.
  • Weather: Sunny, 66 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller, Lee Evans.
  • Sit Em: Marshawn Lynch, Bills Defense.


    Prediction: Steelers 17, Bills 16
    Bills +10 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 38 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Steelers 26, Bills 3.



    Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-1)
    Line: Bengals by 7. Total: 41.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Bengals -4.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Bengals -5.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Bengals.
    Injuries: BENGALS: OUT: RB Chris Perry, WR Chris Henry, DE Frostee Ruckr, LB Odell Thurman, LB David Pollack, LB Rashad Jeanty. BROWNS: OUT: OT Ryan Tucker, C LeCharles Bentley, LB Willie McGinest.

    Let's analyze Cleveland's offseason. First, the team trades its No. 1 pick in 2008 to draft Brady Quinn. Not a bad move if Quinn becomes a star. Next, Romeo Crennel declares that he will flip a coin to determine his starting quarterback. After going with Charlie Frye for a quarter and a half, in which Frye was sacked five times, Crennel replaces him with Derek Anderson, and then trades Frye two days later. So, you're thinking Quinn will get some time with Frye gone, right? Nope. Phil Savage declared Tuesday that Anderson will start against Cincinnati. No wonder this franchise has never won a playoff game. Savage has his thumb up his rear end, while Crennel is delivering press conferences with the expression that makes him look like he's thinking, "Derr... we have a rookie quarterback? Where?"

    At least the Browns make things entertaining. The NFL wouldn't be as fun if it didn't have inept franchises like Cleveland. Anderson will be this week's sacrificial lamb to a Cincinnati defense that looked completely revitalized against Baltimore. The Bengals recorded two sacks, picked off a pair of passes and forced four fumbles. They did have some trouble containing Willis McGahee and Musa Smith - the two runners combined for 107 yards on 24 carries - but the Browns won't offer much resistance in that category. Jamal Lewis, who is slow and sluggish, is yet another bust signing made by the incompetent Savage. And even if Lewis had something left in the tank, there's no one to open up running lanes for him. Cincinnati will shut down the run, forcing Anderson into obvious passing downs. If that's not a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is.

    The Bengals struggled offensively on Monday night, but I attribute that to Baltimore's amazing defense. Cleveland, on the other hand, can't stop anyone. In two games against the Browns last year, Rudi Johnson ran for 209 yards, while Carson Palmer went 49-of-72, 627 yards, five touchdowns and three picks. Cincinnati outscored Cleveland 64-17 in the pair of contests. I've seen nothing from the Browns' stop unit that indicates they can contain Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadehs and the Johnsons.

    I was hoping this line would be anywhere between -3 and -5, so I could declare this a Domination Small Line. It's a bit high at 6.5, which will keep me from making this a multi-unit wager. I'm still going with the Bengals though; I don't see myself picking the Browns as single-digit underdogs anytime soon.


    The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
    The Bengals, coming off a tough game against the Ravens, have Seattle and New England in Weeks 3 and 4. This could be a Sandwich Game. The Browns, meanwhile, would love to beat a divisional opponent and prove all of their detractors wrong.


    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    No one in their right mind would bet on the inept Browns right now. All Bengals here.

  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 99% (122,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 17-36 ATS in 2006.
  • History: Bengals have won the last 5 meetings.
  • Carson Palmer is 6-1 ATS as a road favorite.
  • Opening Line: Bengals -6.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.
  • Weather: Sunny, 68 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals Defense.
  • Sit Em: Browns Offense and Defense.


    Prediction: Bengals 34, Browns 7
    Bengals -7 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 41.5 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
    Browns 51, Bengals 45.



    Green Bay Packers (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
    Line: Giants by 2.5. Total: 38.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Giants -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Giants -3.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Giants.
    Injuries: GIANTS: OUT: RB Brandon Jacobs* QUESTIONABLE: QB Eli Manning*.

    The Jared Lorenzen Fact of the Week: One time, a car rear-ended Jared Lorenzen's automobile. This angered Jared Lorenzen, so for retaliation, he ate the other car. That'll teach him.

    Joe Public's perception of this game is extremely easy to read. In fact, one poster on the Rx Forum said it best, "If Eli plays take the G-Men. If he doesn't, insta Packers." It really doesn't get more square than that. Because ESPN is reporting that Manning could be out at least a month, everyone and their ugly step-sister twice removed is taking Green Bay. Yet, the line is sitting at Giants +1. Any conspiracy theorist reading this right now is crying out, "Tim Donaghy!"

    I'm not sure this game will be fixed or not, but I can confidently declare that if Manning is out, the Packers won't show up. They're coming off a last-second emotional victory as an underdog, and they won't take the Giants and their 300-pound quarterback seriously. The thing is, New York still has Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Jeremy Shockey, an extremely stout offensive line and two running backs who proved that they can get the job done. If this contest were on the road, I'd be concerned. But I think Lorenzen will be fine at home. The Giants must think he isn't terrible because he won the No. 2 job over Anthony Wright and Tim Hasselbeck.

    If I'm right about Green Bay's offense being unfocused, expect numerous turnovers and careless penalties. And even if I'm wrong, the Packers' scoring unit isn't anything special anyway. It couldn't even muster an offensive touchdown against the Eagles! The Giants will put the clamps on Brandon Jackson, who compiled less than three yards per carry last week. Brett Favre will once again be asked to move the chains, which will be difficult considering he has nothing to work with, save for Donald Driver.

    This all changes if ESPN is wrong about Manning. If Manning plays, go with the Packers. Here's my reasoning: With Manning under center, the rest of the Giants will be completely relaxed and relieved that their starting quarterback is in the lineup, while the Packers will make more of an effort to be prepared. If Lorenzen starts, New York will band together and play beyond their individual abilities against a lackadaisical Green Bay squad. Watch the injury report carefully.

    Wednesday Night Update: Here's the deal. If it's announced that Manning is out, I'm going with the bet I have listed below. If he plays, I'm going three units on the Packers.

    Sunday Night Update: So, the Giants have yet to announce a starting quarterback and don't plan on doing so until a few minutes before the game. I'm really worried that Eli Manning is going to start. I'm lowering this to 4 Units.


    The Psychology. Edge: Giants.
    The Giants are without Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs, so the rest of the team needs to bring 200 percent to the table. The Packers, meanwhile, are on an Emotional Letdown after winning a game they know they weren't supposed to on a Mason Crosby field goal with two seconds remaining in regulation. Green Bay could have its guard down with Manning and Jacobs out.


    The Vegas. Edge: Giants.
    The only way anyone would bet on the Giants is if the Hefty Lefty threatened to eat them if they didn't pick his team.

  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 69% (64,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 17-36 ATS in 2006 (Packers 8/9).
  • Opening Line: Giants -3.
  • Opening Total: 39.
  • Weather: Sunny, 68 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey, Giants Defense.
  • Sit Em: Brandon Jackson, Packers Defense.


    Prediction: Giants 23, Packers 10
    Giants -2.5 (4 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$440
    Under 38.5 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
    Packers 35, Giants 13.



    Houston Texans (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-0)
    Line: Panthers by 6.5. Total: 38.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Panthers -6.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Panthers -6.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.
    Injuries: TEXANS: OUT: FB Jameel Cook, OT Charles Spencer, S Jason Simmons, S Glenn Earl.

    Bodog should have a proposition bet for this game that goes like, "Odds that David Carr will freak out on the sideline and will have to be taken away to a mental institution in a straitjacket." Why? I'm completely convinced he's going to have a spaz attack when he sees Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker chasing down Matt Schaub on every play. If he has truly blocked out all the times he was drilled into the ground as a Texan - I believe that because he has yet to suffer a mental breakdown, he must have selective memory - he will remember the beating he took with his first franchise. You can't tell me you don't like this prop. C'mon, Bodog! Put it on the board!

    Other than the fact that proposition isn't available, there's one thing stopping me from winning that bet. Peppers and Rucker may not make it to Matt Schaub that often. Schaub was only sacked twice by the Chiefs, which may have been a career low for Carr. Granted, Carolina's defense is much better than Kansas City's, but the fact remains the Panthers couldn't contain the Rams until Orlando Pace left the game with an injury. It also helped that Steven Jackson fumbled twice. Houston won't score that many points in this contest, but I have to believe that Schaub, who went 16-of-22 for 225 yards, one touchdown and one pick last week, will have some luck finding Andre Johnson downfield. Meanwhile, Ahman Green should be able to gain about four yards per carry behind an improved front.

    I was really surprised to see that the Texans held Larry Johnson to only 43 yards on 10 carries. That bodes well for them in this battle, given that Carolina usually has severe problems running the ball. The Panthers obviously won't be completely shut down, as no one in Houston's secondary - or anyone's defensive backfield for that matter - can cover Steve Smith. The question is whether or not Jake Delhomme will have enough time to locate one of the league's top wide outs on multiple occasions. Last year, I would have said yes. However, the way Mario Williams dominated the Chiefs in Week 1 would worry me if I were a Panthers fan.

    I think I'll pass on Delhomme as a favorite. He's too erratic and his career numbers in that role pretty much suck (see the trends below.) The Texans historically have suffered after a victory, but this is a new regime with a superior coaching staff and a quarterback who doesn't look shell shocked on every down.


    The Psychology. Edge: Texans.
    If the Texans are content with starting 1-0, they'll lose big to Carolina. If they're finally determined to take the next step forward and pursue a playoff spot, they will hang the number or even win outright. Given that they were actually favored against Kansas City - unlike when they pulled a huge upset at Miami a few years ago - I think we can expect an all-out effort from them.


    The Vegas. Edge: Texans.
    I think Carolina has confused the public enough. This could be the game that garners the least action on the board. If not, people will probably bet the favorite at a 65-percent clip.

  • Percentage of money on Carolina: 69% (78,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Texans.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 17-36 ATS in 2006.
  • Texans are 6-16 ATS after a win.
  • Panthers are 10-18 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 or more since 2001.
  • Panthers are 3-6 ATS as a favorite since 2006.
  • Jake Delhomme is 9-17 ATS as a home favorite.
  • Opening Line: Panthers -6.
  • Opening Total: 38.
  • Weather: Sunny, 79 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Andre Johnson, Steve Smith.
  • Sit Em: Ahman Green, DeShaun Foster, DeAngelo Williams.


    Prediction: Panthers 24, Texans 20
    Texans +6.5 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$300
    Over 38.5 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Texans 34, Panthers 21.



    Indianapolis Colts (1-0) at Tennessee Titans (1-0)
    Line: Colts by 7. Total: 45.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Colts -10.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Colts -9.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Colts.
    Injuries: TITANS: OUT: WR David Givens, CB Pacman Jones.

    You know that Peyton Manning DirecTV commercial, the one where he's playing the Titans, up 28-3, and talks about how you could be watching his brother play the Giants instead of this blowout? That came out last year, and everyone on Tennessee's roster was so angry that the team covered both times it played the Colts in 2006. Meanwhile, LaDainian Tomlinson was recently featured in an ad where he ran past the Bears and scored a touchdown. Is it a coincidence that he couldn't find any running lanes last week? If I were an NFL player, I'd create my own commercial where I just boast about how great an opposing athlete is. Actually, if I were an NFL player, I'd take the millions, retire and join Ricky Williams on a hazed tour around the world.

    When Indianapolis played the Titans the first time last season, I said the Manning should just bring his beach towel and sun-tan lotion to the game, and relax outside while his defense is on the field. I couldn't have been more off; Manning was 20-of-31 for 166 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. In the second meeting, Manning threw for 351 yards, but also had two interceptions. I don't know how, but Tennessee just seems to have an answer for Manning. Given that the Titans contained Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew to just 3.7 yards per carry, I think they'll be able to do a solid job against Joseph Addai, forcing Manning into long-yardage situations. Manning typically converts those, so I'm not saying Indianapolis will be held to less than 20 points. I just can't see that offense putting up 41 again.

    In Tennessee's two covers over Indianapolis last year, the former literally ran over the latter; Travis Henry and Vince Young combined for 337 rushing yards. The Colts have completely revamped their defense, but as we witnessed Chris Brown compile 175 yards last week, the Titans can run on anyone because Young's scrambling ability is too much for opponents to handle. If you question that reasoning, just look at how well the Falcons ran the ball with Michael Vick under center. Plus, after hearing about how well they did against the Saints in the opener, the Colts could be flat.

    The spread is right on point; Indianapolis is about a touchdown better than Tennessee on the road. However, what that line doesn't take into account is the fact that all Young does is win, and more importantly, cover football games. That's why he's 11-3 against the spread in his career. There's no way I'm going against him, especially in an underdog role.


    The Psychology. Edge: Titans.
    I think the Colts' defensive players are full of themselves after hearing how great they played against New Orleans. Don't be surprised if they're flat. The Titans, meanwhile, have hated Indianapolis since Peyton Manning embarrassed them in the DirecTV commercial when he scored easily against their defense. Tennessee has covered every matchup in this rivalry since that ad went on the air.


    The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
    After watching the Colts completely demolish the Saints, whom do you think the public is going to bet on?

  • Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 86% (112,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • History: Colts have won 7 of the last 8 meetings (Titans 2-0 ATS in 2006).
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 41-29 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002 (Jeff Fisher 3-4).
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 17-36 ATS in 2006.
  • Colts are 23-15 ATS on the road under Tony Dungy.
  • Peyton Manning is 17-11 ATS as a road favorite since 2001.
  • Vince Young is 9-5 as a starter (11-3 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Colts -9.
  • Opening Total: 46.5.
  • Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Vince Young, Chris Brown.
  • Sit Em: No one of note.


    Prediction: Colts 24, Titans 21
    Titans +7 (2 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$200
    Under 45.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Colts 22, Titans 20.



    New Orleans Saints (0-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
    Line: Saints by 3.5. Total: 41.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Saints -3.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Saints -3.5.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Saints.
    Injuries: BUCCANEERS: OUT: DE Patrick Chukwurah, CB Torrie Cox.

    The media's perception of certain football teams usually annoys me by Week 7. Not this year; the talking heads of TV already botched the Cowboys (their top cornerback was out; that's why they allowed 35), the Chargers (LaDainian Tomlinson was playing Chicago's stout defense, which was the reason he couldn't find any running lanes) and especially the Saints (the Colts would have demolished any of the crap teams in the NFC, including the Cowboys, Eagles, Seahawks and Bears.) I'd angrily throw my plasma TV out the window in disgust if, you know, it wasn't worth way more than my entire bank account.

    Drew Brees nearly set a record for futility against Indianapolis' suddenly stout cover-2 defense. Tampa Bay utilizes a similar scheme, but, as odd as this may sound, they just don't have the personnel the Colts have. The Buccaneers recorded only two sacks against Seattle, including none from Gaines Adams, who had just one tackle, meaning Brees will have tons of time to throw for a change. Tampa Bay's veterans just don't have the speed to keep up with Reggie Bush and Marques Colston, or the power up front to stop Deuce McAllister.

    Joseph Addai exposed New Orleans' flawed front seven, but that doesn't mean Cadillac Williams will enjoy similar luck. First of all, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard and Michael Clayton won't garner nearly as much attention as Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Secondly, Jeff Garcia is obviously nowhere near as talented as Peyton Manning. And finally, Tampa Bay's offensive line can't block as well as Indianapolis'. I think the Saints will keep Cadillac to less than four yards per carry, forcing Garcia into a plethora of third-and-seven situations. The Buccaneers' aerial attack is too anemic to convert that down and distance on a consistent basis.

    This is a Domination Small Line. The Saints have owned this rivalry lately, yet they're just 3-point favorites because they were blown out in their only 2007 appearance.


    The Psychology. Edge: Saints.
    The Saints have heard how poorly they played the past 10 days. They'll be ready for Tampa Bay.


    The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
    The Saints looked like garbage on National TV. Then again, the Buccaneers aren't going to garner much attention. New Orleans should see most of the cash.

  • Percentage of money on New Orleans: 99% (104,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Saints.
  • History: Road Team has won 7 of the last 10 meetings.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 87-59 ATS on the road following a road loss.
  • Buccaneers are 12-4 ATS as a home underdog since 1996.
  • Saints are 35-23 ATS on the road since 2000.
  • Drew Brees is 6-1 ATS as a road favorite.
  • Opening Line: Saints -3.
  • Opening Total: 42.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 90 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush, Marques Colston.
  • Sit Em: Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers Defense.


    Prediction: Saints 27, Buccaneers 13
    Saints -3.5 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$550
    Under 41.5 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
    Buccaneers 31, Saints 14.



    San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-1)
    Line: Rams by 3. Total: 44.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Rams -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Rams -2.5.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: 49ers.
    Injuries: RAMS: OUT: OT Orlando Pace, CB Tye Hill.

    If the Mike Tirico-Tony Kornheiser-Ron Jaworski experiment doesn't work out - though I think they're entertaining, so I don't see why it wouldn't - I'd hope ESPN permanently places the three Mikes who called the 49ers-Cardinals game in the booth. I especially enjoyed the analysis of Mike Ditka, who, unlike a lot of other color commentators, called out players and truly spoke his mind. For example, when Cardinals cornerback Eric Green failed to recover the decisive fumble in the end zone because he attempted to pick up the ball instead of simply falling on it, Ditka called him and other players of his ilk selfish. We need more of that.

    I think the general public that watched the game was generally unimpressed by the 49ers. After all, they needed a late touchdown to beat the "lowly" Cardinals. However, I liked what I saw from San Francisco's defense. Members of the stop unit, particularly Patrick Willis, were in Arizona's backfield on almost every down, while the secondary looks like it could be one of the league's best. That's definitely not a good sign for the Rams, as All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace is out for the year. The 49ers will consequently get to Marc Bulger every time he drops back to throw. Steven Jackson may have some success running the ball, though his production could be limited because of Pace's absence and the fact that he didn't get any reps in the preseason.

    I was surprised by how well Arizona stopped the run on Monday night; Frank Gore managed only 55 yards on 18 carries. The Cardinals, who have been perennially ranked toward the bottom of the ground-defense list, unceremoniously turned things around versus one of the premier rushers in the NFL. St. Louis won't have much luck, on the other hand. In fact, the Rams surrendered 5.1 yards per carry to the Panthers, who are renown for their inability to run the ball. The 49ers will establish Gore early and often, allowing Alex Smith to connect with Darrell Jackson, Vernon Davis and Arnaz Battle on short-yardage situations.

    Pace's season-ending injury spells the end for the Rams. As I mention below, this is a statement game for the 49ers, who need to prove that they're ready to contend for a divisional title. Oh, and I like that I'm going against the public. I guess the average bettor hasn't gotten the memo that Pace is out and the 49ers are for real.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    This is a statement game for the 49ers, who need to prove they're better for the Rams. St. Louis, meanwhile, won't take too kindly to starting 0-2.


    The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
    Even without Orlando Pace, the Rams are a public team. Plus, the public likes to bet against teams coming off Monday night games.

  • Percentage of money on St. Louis: 72% (68,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: 49ers.
  • History: 49ers have won 3 of the last 4 meetings.
  • Opening Line: Rams -3.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Frank Gore, vernon Davis, Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson, Torry Holt.
  • Sit Em: Both Defenses.


    Prediction: 49ers 27, Rams 24
    49ers +3 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 44 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
    49ers 17, Rams 16.



    Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)
    Line: Cowboys by 3.5. Total: 40.5

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Cowboys -3.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Cowboys -4.5.
    Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
    Injuries: COWBOYS: OUT: WR Terry Glenn, DT Jason Ferguson. DOLPHINS: OUT: S Yeremiah Bell.

    I can't really complain about NFL Primetime this week. The program actually showed highlights of every game on Kickoff Sunday, including the tilt between Dallas and the New York Giants on NBC. Last year, it seldom mentioned what happened with the 49ers and other teams below .500. I still think, however, ESPN is screwing its audience by not having Chris Berman and Tom Jackson tape the show on Sunday night, and airing it the following day. Plus, I'm really pissed off that Berman and Jackson covered only five games during The Blitz. I just don't understand why they can't analyze every single contest instead of the SportsCenter anchors.

    As I wrote in my lead for the Saints-Buccaneers matchup, the media is completely overblowing the 35 points Dallas surrendered to the Giants on Monday night. Everyone seems to have forgotten that the Cowboys were missing top cornerback Terence Newman, which would explain why Plaxico Burress was open on virtually every play in that contest. Newman is back, but I'm not even sure Dallas will need him Sunday afternoon. I've written time and again that I think the Dolphins are complete garbage. Trent Green is nothing more than a journeyman; Ronnie Brown and Chris Chambers are overrated; Ted Ginn is a rookie; Marty Booker has nothing left in the tank; Randy McMichael is no longer with the team; and the offensive line completely sucks. DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer should be able to sack Green multiple times. It wouldn't even surprise me if the former Chief signal caller has to leave the game with an injury.

    It has also been my opinion that Miami's defense is too old to carry the team. The Dolphins played the offensively inept Redskins last week, so we still don't know if that's true. I think we'll find out quickly Sunday afternoon. I have a feeling Tony Romo will torch Miami's secondary, which is missing safety Yeremiah Bell, who is out for the year. Call me crazy, but I don't see Will Allen or Travis Daniels covering Terrell Owens effectively.

    Dallas is obviously a better team than Miami, but as I always say, that is already factored into the spread. So, what sort of other edge do I have? If you check my Bet/Fade page, you'll see that I think the Cowboys are one of the most underrated squads in the NFL, while the Dolphins are one of the most overrated. That's my edge. In my opinion, this spread should realistically mirror the Cincinnati-Cleveland line. I understand why it's only 3.5 - the public doesn't understand how horrendous Miami is, so the odds-maker needs to set a low number.


    The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
    There's a chance this is a Sandwich Game, as the Cowboys are coming off a victory against the Giants and have the Bears coming up. That said, they still might consider Miami a good team, given that the Dolphins have Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas.


    The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
    Bettors love the Cowboys.

  • Percentage of money on Dallas: 92% (88,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 17-36 ATS in 2006.
  • Dolphins are 9-5 ATS in September home games since 2000.
  • Dolphins are 29-15 SU in September since 1994.
  • Opening Line: Cowboys -3.
  • Opening Total: 39.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 88 degrees. Mild wind, 15 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Jason Witten, Cowboys Defense.
  • Sit Em: Dolphins Offense and Defense.


    Prediction: Cowboys 31, Dolphins 13
    Cowboys -3.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 40.5 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Cowboys 37, Dolphins 20.



    Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Detroit Lions (1-0)
    Line: Lions by 3. Total: 42.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Lions -4.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Lions -4.5.
    Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Lions.
    Injuries: LIONS: OUT: S Daniel Bullocks.

    I'd like to say the Vikings are 1-0. I guess they are in the "real" standings, but they wouldn't be if the NFL passed this new rule I'd like to propose to Roger Goodell: For any victory to count against Joey Harrington, said team must beat Harrington by 30 or more points, or keep him completely off the scoreboard. Minnesota won 24-3. Not good enough. Sorry, Vikes. That's an 0-1 record for you.

    The Vikings-Falcons battle was close last week until Harrington threw his second pick-six. The Vikings led the game throughout because of Harrington's first pick-six. As you can probably tell, Atlanta had no shot of exposing Minnesota's defensive weakness, which is its mediocre secondary. Harrington finished with 199 passing yards, while his top wide receiver, rookie Laurent Robinson, had only three receptions for 29 yards. Somehow, I think Jon Kitna's numbers will be far superior to Harrington's. The Lions, who put up 36 points on Oakland's stout defense, should be able to throw it up and down the field all afternoon.

    If this turns into a shootout, I don't have much faith in Tarvaris Jackson to hang with Kitna, Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson, especially on the road. Minnesota will undoubtedly attempt to get Adrian Peterson going early and eat up as much clock as possible. But if the Lions are scoring on nearly every possession, which very well could be the case, Jackson, a scrambling quarterback, won't be able to match Detroit point for point.

    I was expecting the public to be all over the Lions, so the fact that the average bettor favors the Vikings makes my job easier. Detroit goes 2-0, as Jackson completely loses it on the road.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    Neither team has the talent to start 1-0, and it's a shame they're both playing each other. I would have faded both squads this week.


    The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
    I'm expecting the public to bet the hell out of the Lions until they realize how flawed this team is. (Wow, I was way off on that prediction.)

  • Percentage of money on Detroit: 53% (104,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Vikings have won 15 of the last 16 meetings.
  • Crappy Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson is 0-0 ATS on the road.
  • Jon Kitna is 2-8 ATS as a home favorite since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Lions -3.
  • Opening Total: 42.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Adrian Peterson, Jon Kitna, Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, Mike Furrey.
  • Sit Em: Vikings Passing Attack and Defense, Tatum Bell.


    Prediction: Lions 34, Vikings 17
    Lions -3 (1 Unit) -- Push; -$10
    Over 42.5 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$50
    Lions 20, Vikings 17.



    Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
    Line: Seahawks by 3. Total: 42.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Seahawks -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Seahawks -3.5.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.
    Injuries: SEAHAWKS: OUT: DT Marcus Tubbs. CARDINALS: OUT: OT Oliver Ross.

    More on Joey Harrington. I found it completely hilarious that after the Vikings-Falcons game, in which Atlanta lost 24-3, Harrington stated that if a few bounces went his way, the Falcons would have won. Nice try, loser. If Harrington weren't completely delirious, he would have said, "If only I didn't completely suck and throw two passes directly into the hands of Viking defenders, who returned my ugly ducks for touchdowns, I'd be able to celebrate this victory by jubilantly eating caviar and playing the piano all night."

    I bring up Harrington again because Matt Leinart was almost as bad last week. Despite having one of the top receiving duos in the NFL, Leinart was 14-of-28 for 102 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. I'll give him a mulligan, however, as he was battling San Francisco's secondary, which is one of the top defensive backfields in the league. The unit has three Pro Bowlers - Nate Clements, Walt Harris and Michael Lewis - and will be putting the clamps on aerial attacks all year. Seattle won't have as much luck. In a Week 14 meeting last season, Leinart went 21-of-34, 232 yards, two scores and a pick, as Arizona won, 27-21. I know the Seahawks added two safeties this offseason, but they're the difference-makers that Clements and Lewis are. Edgerrin James, who rumbled for 115 yards in that victory, should be able to set up short-yardage situations for Leinart yet again.

    As for Seattle's offense in that 27-21 battle, Matt Hasselbeck threw 20-of-28 for 243 yards and three touchdowns, while Shaun Alexander looked sluggish, managing just 76 yards on 22 carries. Considering how stout Arizona was against the run versus San Francisco - it held Frank Gore to 3.1 yards per attempt - Alexander will struggle again. Hasselbeck, meanwhile, lost Darrell Jackson, which would explain why it took him a while to get going last week. Seattle will be able to put up points Sunday afternoon, but I don't know if it'll be enough to keep up with Arizona.

    The Seahawks are a different team on the road. You can check out some of their dubious stats in the trends section. Two more reasons I like the Cardinals can be found under the Psychology and Vegas. When a favorite is potentially overlooking its opponent and being backed by the public, I'll always go with the underdog.


    The Psychology. Edge: Cardinals.
    There's a chance Seattle looks past Arizona. Look what the team has after this contest: Cincinnati, at San Francisco, at Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and St. Louis (archrival). This is, without a doubt, a Breather Alert.


    The Vegas. Edge: Cardinals.
    The Cardinals looked horrendous on Monday night. Joe Public will be all over the visitor.

  • Percentage of money on Seattle: 93% (56,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
  • History: Home Team has won 6 of the last 7 meetings.
  • Seahawks were 3-6 ATS on the road in 2006.
  • Matt Hasselbeck is 6-12 ATS as a road favorite.
  • Matt Leinart is 7-2 ATS as a starter.
  • Opening Line: Seahawks -3.
  • Opening Total: 44.5.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Leinart, Edgerrin James, Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals Defense.
  • Sit Em: Shaun Alexander.


    Prediction: Cardinals 24, Seahawks 17
    Cardinals +3 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Correct; +$500
    Under 42.5 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
    Cardinals 23, Seahawks 20.



    Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) at Chicago Bears (0-1)
    Line: Bears by 12. Total: 34.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Bears -8.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Bears -9.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Bears.
    Injuries: CHIEFS: OUT: DE Jared Allen. BEARS: OUT: DT Dusy Dvoracek, S Mike Brown.

    My local cable company is running a public-service campaign, letting kids speak on TV (mistake No. 1). If you don't see a problem with this, here's an example of the latest ad: In a segment about playing sports, this little 8-year-old Asian girl, whose eyes were so glazed she looked as if she were being controlled telepathically, mumbled, "I like to play soccer because it's gooooood for my boooody." Yeah, I'm sure that's why you play soccer - if you even play soccer. Liar. What does this have to do with this Chiefs-Bears game? I'm secretly wishing that Brian Urlacher catches a glimpse of one of these ads, becomes enraged, hunts down the creators of the commercials and challenges them to a fight to the death.

    If Urlacher doesn't see the PSAs, he'll turn his anger toward the Chiefs, as he attempts to get his team back to .500. He won't have much trouble doing so against one of the worst teams in the NFL. If Damon Huard struggled playing the Texans - 22-of-33 for 168 yards and two picks - imagine how terrible he'll fare in Chicago. His offensive line, which couldn't contain Mario Williams, will crumble at the hands of the Bears. Larry Johnson, meanwhile, will continue to be a non-factor, as he's clearly out of shape in the wake of missing training camp. And even if he were ready to go, he wouldn't have much success against Chicago's front seven, which completely put the clamps on LaDainian Tomlinson.

    While Huard will play poorly enough to warrant benching, Rex Grossman should have one of those games where people say, "I knew Grossman would come around!" The Chiefs can't tackle, stop the run or defend the pass. Just last week, Andre Johnson torched them, Ahman Green nearly gained five yards per carry, while Matt Schaub threw just six incompletions. Cedric Benson will redeem himself and eclipse the 100-yard plateau, setting up a few Grossman-to-Bernard Berrian bombs.

    Much like the Dolphins situation, I don't think people are aware of how horrible the Chiefs are. This spread should realistically be 15 or 16, though public perception won't allow that. This could be a shutout.


    The Psychology. Edge: Bears.
    Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, the Bears cannot afford to start 0-2.


    The Vegas. Edge: Chiefs.
    Vegas couldn't set this line high enough. The Super Bowl Bears 0-1 facing one of the worst teams in the league? This spread could be 17, and people would still bet on Chicago.

  • Percentage of money on Chicago: 85% (94,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Bears.
  • Crappy Quarterback: Damon Huard is 1-3 ATS on the road since 2003.
  • Chiefs are 9-15 ATS on the road since 2004.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 87-59 ATS on the road following a road loss (Herm Edwards 2-3).
  • Opening Line: Bears -13.
  • Opening Total: 34.5.
  • Weather: Possible showers, 66 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Rex Grossman, Cedric Benson, Bernard Berrian, Bears Defense.
  • Sit Em: Chiefs Offense and Defense.


    Prediction: Bears 38, Chiefs 0
    Bears -12 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$330
    Over 34.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Survivor Pick (1-0)
    Bears 20, Chiefs 10.



    New York Jets (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
    Line: Ravens by 10. Total: 33.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Ravens -4.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Ravens -4.5.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Ravens.
    Injuries: JETS: DOUBTFUL: QB Chad Pennington*. RAVENS: OUT: OT Jonathan Ogden, LB Dan Cody.

    I can't believe Jets fans cheered when Chad Pennington went down with an injury against New England. How classless was that? First of all, you don't clap when one of your players gets hurt, and secondly, Pennington was having a good game. I wonder why they reacted this way. Here are four reasons I came up with:

    4. They were tired of booing the Jets during the draft, so they thought they'd try something different for a change. 3. They were all drunk and thought Pennington was Tom Brady. 2. Pennington's comb-over haircut is like eww so early 90s lolz! 1. Jets fans can no longer function mentally after going through five seasons of watching Herm Edwards blow wins because of poor clock management and horrendous game planning. Chief fans beware. Your brains are slowly melting away into oblivion.

    As of Wednesday morning, there is no line on this game because of Pennington's status. This really annoys me because the Ravens will cover regardless of who's starting for the Jets. If Pennington plays, Baltimore's ferocious defense will be more focused. If Kellen Clemens gets the nod, do you really trust a rookie quarterback making his first start on the road against the Ravens? The spread will be higher, but the Jets will suffer more sacks, picks, fumbles and false starts. New York has a gaping hole at left guard, which will easily be exposed by one of the best stop units in the NFL. And don't expect much from Thomas Jones for the second week in a row.

    It was amazing how much time Tom Brady had to throw last week. The Jets simply couldn't get any pressure on him. Expect that to happen yet again Sunday afternoon. Baltimore won't turn the ball over six times. Instead, after being criticized to no end, Brian Billick will call more running plays for Willis McGahee, who should be able to trample a defense that couldn't really contain Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris.

    I'm 99 percent sure I'm picking the Ravens to cover. The only way I don't is if I get abducted by aliens and replaced by a clone. That, or I learn the sore-loser Jets plan on accusing Baltimore of cheating.

    Wednesday Afternoon Update: Pennington is out, which is why this line is ridiculously high. I'm still going with the Ravens.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    I think both playoff teams want to avoid an 0-2 start. No psychological edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: TBA.
    The Jets were blown out last week, so I think the average bettor is more likely to bet on the Ravens than the Jets.

  • Percentage of money on Baltimore: 61% (52,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 17-36 ATS in 2006.
  • Jets are 11-22-3 ATS as an underdog the previous 35 instances (4-4 in 2006).
  • Ravens are 38-9 SU; 30-17 ATS vs. teams with a losing record since 2000 (25-39 SU vs. non-losing).
  • Opening Line: .
  • Opening Total: .
  • Weather: Sunny, 72 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Willis McGahee, Todd Heap, Ravens Defense.
  • Sit Em: Jets Offense and Defense.


    Prediction: Ravens 24, Jets 6
    Ravens -10 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 33.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Ravens 20, Jets 13.



    Oakland Raiders (0-1) at Denver Broncos (1-0)
    Line: Broncos by 10. Total: 37.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Broncos -10.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Broncos -10.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.
    Injuries: RAIDERS: OUT: RB Dominic Rhodes, RB Michael Bush. BRONCOS: OUT: WR Rod Smith, DE Kenny Peterson.

    Last week, I gave you Eric Mangini and Lynn McGill. This week, I'm offering a look-alike photo featuring Josh McCown and an antagonist from one of the Rocky movies, contributed by Egg, one of the posters on my forum. Check out post No. 8.

    The Broncos are yet another team that the public is reading incorrectly. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like a squad that can't apply pressure on the quarterback; struggles to stop the run; maintains only one quality defensive back (Dre' Bly is vastly overrated, while John Lynch and Nick Ferguson are extremely old); employs an inexperienced and overweight quarterback; and maintains only one reliable receiving option. Denver's defense isn't that good, and the Raiders proved they can score. LaMont Jordan is completely healthy again, so look for him to rush for at least 100 yards, opening the play-action door for Ivan Drago, Daunte Culpepper or whoever starts for Oakland.

    As I alluded to in that previous paragraph, Jay Cutler is green and looks out of shape. Granted, he played extremely well last week - he went 23-of-39, 304 yards, one touchdown and one pick - but I don't think he's ready to be a 10-point favorite over a stout defense just yet. I know the Raiders surrendered 36 points to the Lions last week, but Detroit has one of the premier offenses in the NFL. Denver only managed 15 against Buffalo's horrendous and injury-laden defense. Oakland should be able to hold Travis Henry to three yards per carry, forcing Cutler into unfavorable throwing downs. The Raiders' amazing secondary shouldn't have a problem with a receiving corps that has nothing beyond Javon Walker.

    This is my upset of the week. The Broncos, coming off an emotional, last-second victory on the road, are being backed by the public and are going against a rival that hates them more than any other team in the NFL. If that's not a recipe for a complete shocker, I don't know what is.


    The Psychology. Edge: Raiders.
    Big psychological edge to Oakland. The Broncos are coming off a last-second victory on the road, meaning this is an Emotional Letdown. Plus, they have Jacksonville next week. Why would they pay attention to the Raiders? Oakland, meanwhile, hates Denver with a passion and will undoubtedly bring 110 percent.


    The Vegas. Edge: Raiders.
    No one's crazy enough to bet on the Raiders. And, as we witnessed last week, the public loves the Broncos for whatever reason. I can't seem to figure out why.

  • Percentage of money on Denver: 65% (66,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Raiders.
  • History: Broncos have won 15 of the last 19 meetings (Raiders 2-0 ATS in 2006).
  • Statfox Trend: Broncos are a home favorite that is coming off a 1-3 point road win. (Teams 16-33 ATS in that situation since 2000).
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 41-29 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Broncos are 3-11 ATS as a favorite since 2006.
  • Opening Line: Broncos -9.
  • Opening Total: 37.5.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 78 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: LaMont Jordan, Ronald Curry, Raiders Defense.
  • Sit Em: Broncos Defense.


    Prediction: Raiders 23, Broncos 20
    Raiders +10 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Correct; +$500
    Over 37.5 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Broncos 23, Raiders 20.



    San Diego Chargers (1-0) at New England Patriots (1-0)
    Line: Patriots by 3.5. Total: 46.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Patriots -4.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Patriots -4.5.
    Sunday, 8:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Patriots.
    Injuries: PATRIOTS: OUT: WR Troy Brown, DE Richard Seymour, S Rodney Harrison.

    A word on the so-called cheating scandal. This whole thing is shady. Why would the Patriots steal signals from crappy teams and make it look completely obvious? I'm convinced that this is just some eager assistant trying to please Bill Belichick and earn himself a promotion. Even if New England is guilty of cheating, I don't find anything wrong with it. In fact, if the Patriots had the opportunity to gain a certain advantage "unethically" and they didn't do it, I think that's even worse because they'd be cheating themselves and their fans. I've always believed that you have to do whatever it takes to win, as long as you're not causing physical or mental damage to anyone (i.e. poisoning the other team, taking steroids, making racist remarks about other players or their relatives, etc.)

    Also, why am I not surprised that LaDainian Tomlinson had something to say about this? In case you missed it, "I think the Patriots live by the saying, 'If you're not [cheating], you're not trying. They live off that statement. Nothing surprises me really. ... You keep hearing the different stories about stuff that they do." Wow, talk about a sore loser. Tomlinson's a great player, but he really needs to get over the 24-21 loss he suffered to New England in the playoffs. In fact, by uttering those words, Tomlinson completely nullified the only edge the Chargers had in this game - revenge. The enraged Patriots will continue where the Bears left off, ceaselessly stuffing the 2006 MVP in the backfield. That will once again make things difficult for Philip Rivers, who threw for only 190 yards and a pick. It'll be tough for New England to keep San Diego completely off the board, given that the Chargers have a multitude of weapons at their disposal, but don't expect any fireworks either.

    While Rivers will struggle to find open receivers amid the Patriots' dynamic defense, Tom Brady won't have any problems locating Randy Moss downfield. Granted, San Diego's stop unit is far superior to New York's, but the fact remains that no one can cover Randy Moss when he's determined and focused. Moss is currently on pace for 2,880 receiving yards, which would shatter Jerry Rice's mark of 1,848. I doubt Moss will eclipse 2,000, given that he'll be double- and triple-teamed to no end. That, of course, will free up Wes Welker and Ben Watson underneath and allow Laurence Maroney to run with seven men in the box. As great as the Chargers' defense is, I don't see them containing New England on Sunday night.

    I was ready to pick San Diego to cover (Patriots win by three) until I heard Tomlinson's statement. New England will lay the hammer down on the Chargers.

    Saturday Morning Note: After thinking it over, I really believe the Patriots are going to unleash hell on the Chargers in order to prove they can win without cheating. Plus, silencing Tomlinson helps too. I've increased this selection to 3 Units (make that 4 Units - Sunday morning).


    The Psychology. Edge: Patriots.
    The Chargers want revenge, but as I noted above, LaDainian Tomlinson's comments completely nullified that edge.


    The Vegas. Edge: Chargers.
    The Chargers as a dog. The Patriots on the field in any sort of role. Should be close to 50-50 action.

  • Percentage of money on New England: 64% (76,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 17-36 ATS in 2006.
  • Philip Rivers is 15-3 as a starter (10-8 ATS).
  • Patriots are 32-22 ATS at home under Bill Belichick.
  • Tom Brady is 83-25 as a starter (67-39 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Patriots -4.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: Clear, 53 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Ben Watson.
  • Sit Em: Chargers Defense, Laurence Maroney.


    Prediction: Patriots 24, Chargers 17
    Patriots -3.5 (4 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Correct; +$400
    Under 46 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
    Patriots 38, Chargers 14.




    Washington Redskins (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
    Line: Eagles by 6.5 Total: 38.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Eagles -10.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Eagles -7.5.
    Monday, 8:30 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Eagles.
    Injuries: REDSKINS: OUT: OT Jon Jansen.

    I saw one of the dumbest PSA on ESPN the other day. Some girl posted a picture of herself on a bulletin board. Nothing provocative - she was simply lying on her bed, on her stomach, fully clothed, with her legs crossed behind her. Anyway, random people kept taking her picture off the board, yet it kept reappearing, making a mouse-clicking sound. As you can probably guess, it was a PSA to keep girls from posting pictures of themselves on the internet because anyone can get to them. The girl tried to take down the photo, but it wouldn't go away. In the end, some crazy-looking janitor grabbed one of the pictures with a sly grin on his face. My friend, if you need a small photo of a fully clothed girl to satisfy your needs, you need to ask some of your pals to give you a few "quality" Web sites and/or magazines.

    Why do I get the feeling this line would be higher if the Eagles hadn't muffed about a billion punts deep in their territory and consequently beaten Green Bay? If you're planning on backing Philadelphia, you won't have to worry about muffed punts, as Andy Reid finally came to his senses and signed return specialist Reno Mahe. On the other hand, if you were going to bet on Washington, you may want to factor in offensive tackle Jon Jansen's season-ending injury into your decision. With Jansen out of the lineup, I don't trust Jason Campbell to get it done on the road, on national TV and in front of a raucous crowd. Joe Gibbs will turn to his running game, which won't be as effective against the Eagles as it was versus the pathetic Dolphins a week ago. The Eagles limited Brandon Jackson to three yards per carry on Sunday, and they should be able to do something similar to Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts, especially considering that one of their top blockers is out.

    Donovan McNabb and Philadelphia's offense couldn't click on Sunday, but I attribute that to Green Bay's prolific front four, which was in the Eagles' backfield on almost every snap. Washington's stop unit, which has improved this year because of Rocky McIntosh and LaRon Landry, won't have as much luck. I base that on the fact that the Redskins managed two sacks on the immobile and ageless Trent Green last week. The Eagles won't go nuts offensively, but they should be able to score enough to cover the touchdown spread.

    I'm completely shocked that the public is backing the underdog Redskins. That makes my job a bit easier. And as I mentioned in my second paragraph of this preview, Philadelphia would probably be favored by more if it had beaten Green Bay on Sunday. I have to go with the value bet in this situation.


    The Psychology. Edge: Eagles.
    The Eagles lost a game they should have won. Teams generally respond well in this situation. Washington won in overtime last week, so this could be a bit of an Emotional Letdown.


    The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.
    The Eagles have the worse record, but they're still a public team. I can't see too many gamblers betting on Washington. (Oops)

  • Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 62% (150,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
  • History: Eagles have won 8 of the last 10 meetings.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 41-29 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002 (Joe Gibbs 1-2).
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 17-36 ATS in 2006.
  • MNF Home Advantage: Monday Night Football home teams are 12-7 ATS since 2006.
  • Redskins are 4-9 ATS as underdogs since 2006.
  • Eagles are 41-24 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2001.
  • Eagles are 19-10 ATS vs. NFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Donovan McNabb is 14-8 ATS after a loss since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Eagles -6.
  • Opening Total: 40.5.
  • Weather: Clear, 63 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Brian Westbrook, Eagles Defense.
  • Sit Em: Eagles Receivers.


    Prediction: Eagles 23, Redskins 13
    Eagles -6.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 38.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100



    Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks
    A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week
    (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.


  • Anti-Public Parlay: Browns +7.5, Buccaneers +4, Cardinals +3, Titans +7.5, Dolphins +4, Chiefs +12.5 (.05 Units to win 2.1). -- Incorrect; -$5
  • Teaser: Bengals -0.5 & Eagles -1 - Both teams should win. (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
  • Live Dog: Titans +260 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$100
  • Live Dog: Texans +250 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$250
  • Live Dog: 49ers +155 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$155
  • Live Dog: Raiders +375 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$100
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Marshawn Lynch +500 - Lynch will be the opening-day starter for the Bills and will have the luxury of running behind a huge offensive line. Running backs make the quickest transition into the NFL, and Lynch is the only rookie who's guaranteed a starting gig. (1 Unit)
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Field +700 - James Jones? Jacoby Jones? Who knows, Marques Colston came out of nowhere last year. (1 Unit)
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jamaal Anderson +1400 - Unlike Gaines Adams, Jamaal Anderson will be starting on Day 1. With teams concerned about John Abraham, Anderson seems like he could be poised for a double digit-sack campaign. (1 Unit)
  • Odds to Win Super Bowl: Patriots 5/2 - Not great odds, but they'll get the job done. (1 Unit)
  • Odds to Win Super Bowl: Steelers 22/1 - Getting a great deal here. (.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Chiefs Under 7.5 -155 - Larry Johnson will get hurt, the defense will suck and Herm Edwards will lose his mind. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Dolphins Under 7 -125 - I've talked about the Dolphins plenty of times already. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Steelers Over 9 -105 - The Steelers went 8-8 with a damaged Ben Roethlisberger. No way they win less than 10 this season. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Giants Under 8 -165 - No way they get to 8-8 this year. (1.5 Units)
  • Player Prop: Larry Johnson Under 1,700 Total Rushing Yards - Since Eric Dickerson, no running back who has carried the ball 385 or more times has finished in the top 10 in rushing. Johnson had 416 carries, the most in the history of the NFL. (2 Units)
  • Player Prop: Wes Welker Over 675 Total Receiving Yards - Wes Welker has been Tom Brady's new go-to-guy in training camp and preseason. I'm expecting a big year from him. (2 Units)
  • More prop picks will be listed here.



    Second-Half Bets
    Check back at halftime to see if I have any plays posted.

  • Buccaneers +6 -120 (2 units) -- Correct; +$200
  • Browns +7.5 -115 (2 units) -- Correct; +$200
  • Cardinals +3 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220



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    1 Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 15, 2014): 6-9-1 (-$1,380)
    Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 15, 2014): 1-2 (-$360)
    Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 15, 2014): 0-1 (-$440)
    Last Week Over-Under (Week 15, 2014): 10-6 ($0)
    Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 15, 2014): $0

    2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-3, 40% (-$580)

    2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 115-118-7, 49.4% (-$2,655)
    2014 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 40-38, 51.3% (+$70)
    2014 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 9-13-1, 40.9% (-$1,620)
    2014 Season Over-Under: 123-98-2, 55.7% ($0)
    2014 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,140

    1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%)
    2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%)
    2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%)
    2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%)
    2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%)
    2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%)
    2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%)
    2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%)
    2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550)
    2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620)
    2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370)
    2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080)
    2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925)
    2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760)
    2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580)

    2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
    2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%)
    2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%)
    2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%)
    2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%)
    2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110)
    2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510)
    2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260)
    2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180)
    2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715)
    2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130)
    2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)

    2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
    2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%)
    2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%)
    2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%)
    2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%)
    2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420)
    2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055)
    2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330)
    2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790)
    2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260)
    2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650)
    2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)

    2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
    2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%)
    2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%)
    2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%)
    2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%)
    2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%)
    2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900)
    2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860)
    2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195)
    2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5)
    2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135)
    2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30)
    2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)

    2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035
    2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775
    2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865
    2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200
    2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590
    2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685
    2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245

    2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%)
    2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400)
    2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720)
    2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640)
    2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810)
    2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870)
    2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560)
    2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)

    Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,129-1,962-117, 52.0% (+$9,760)
    Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 684-621-31 (52.4%)
    Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 285-247-11 (53.6%)
    Career Over-Under: 1,664-1,635-48 (50.4%)
    Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%)
    Career NFL Picks of the Month: 30-18 (62.5%)



    My Team-by-Team ATS Record
    This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

    Cowboys: 5-9
    Bears: 7-7
    Bucs: 8-6
    49ers: 6-7
    Eagles: 9-5
    Lions: 5-8
    Falcons: 6-8
    Cardinals: 7-7
    Giants: 4-10
    Packers: 9-4
    Panthers: 5-9
    Rams: 6-8
    Redskins: 8-6
    Vikings: 11-3
    Saints: 5-8
    Seahawks: 7-7
    Bills: 6-8
    Bengals: 5-10
    Colts: 6-7
    Broncos: 7-7
    Dolphins: 9-4
    Browns: 7-5
    Jaguars: 8-6
    Chargers: 5-9
    Jets: 7-7
    Ravens: 6-8
    Texans: 6-7
    Chiefs: 8-5
    Patriots: 7-7
    Steelers: 7-7
    Titans: 6-6
    Raiders: 5-9
    Divisional: 31-37 (2011-13: 141-137)
    2x Game Edge: 11-16 (2011-13: 55-62)
    2x Psych Edge: 23-21 (2011-13: 92-80)
    2x Vegas Edge: 39-39 (2011-13: 129-142)
    2x Trend Edge: 29-15 (2011-13: 72-78)
    Double Edge: 13-11 (2011-13: 27-33)
    Triple Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 2-1)
    Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 0-0)

    2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
    2003 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 20 | XXXVIII
    2004 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2004 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XXXIX
    2005 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2005 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XL
    2006 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2006 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLI
    2007 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2007 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLII |
    2008 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2008 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIII |
    2009 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIV |
    2010 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2010 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLV |
    2011 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2011 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLVI |
    2012 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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