To be honest, I really don’t see why I should bother making predictions this season, since after the second week every player in the NFL will have been suspended for 30 days for failing a drug test.

But what the heck . . .

We’re back. Bolder. Brasher. Brighter. Well, maybe bolder and brasher. The weekly football picks! A great American tradition! A fine art! A delicate craft! Let us review a few of our terms:
* Point spread: The thing that allows you to pick the wrong team and still win your bet.
* Injury factor: The thing you blame when you pick the wrong team and blow the point spread as well.
* Home Field Factor: The thing you blame when there are no injuries and you still picked the wrong team and blow the point spread.
* Stunning Upset: The thing you blame when your team is at home and there are no injuries and you still lost and blew the point spread.
* Nicky & Sal: The men to whom you do all the explaining.

Everybody refreshed? Good. Let’s get started. Quick, before any more results come back from the lab.

And now, the picks . . .

DETROIT 14, ATLANTA 6: The Lions begin with a bang. The whimpering will come later.

MINNESOTA 28, BUFFALO 24: The hardest part of this NFL season is going to be accepting the fact that Buffalo will probably win its division. What have we come to?

DENVER 30, SEATTLE 27: It’s put up or shut up time for Brian Bosworth, although in his case, you wish it would be both.

PHILADELPHIA 28, TAMPA BAY 10: Randall Cunningham could outrun the Bucs by himself.

INDIANAPOLIS 24, HOUSTON 21: Oilers have the best collection of college running backs in the league. The Colts have Eric Dickerson.

CINCINNATI 28, PHOENIX 7: The Phoenix Cardinals? I’m sorry. I don’t see it. The Phoenix Buzzards, maybe. Not the Cardinals.

SAN FRANCISCO 20, NEW ORLEANS 19: The 49ers win when the Saints run off the field and beat up the band, which has played “The Saints Go Marching In” one too many times.

CLEVELAND 31, KANSAS CITY 10: By the end of 1988, everyone will know the name Bernie Kosar.

NEW ENGLAND 28, NY JETS 20: The big news in Foxboro is that Doug Flutie will now be on the kickoff team. They’re using him as the tee.

LA RAMS 33, GREEN BAY 17: Name me one player on the Packers. Go on, I dare you.

PITTSBURGH 20, DALLAS 19: I’ll name you one player on the Cowboys: Herschel Walker. Unfortunately, he’s the whole team this year.

MIAMI 21, CHICAGO 17: No Payton. No Marshall. No Wilson. No luck.

LA RAIDERS 13, SAN DIEGO 6: The Chargers’ new quarterback is Babe Laufenberg. Wait a minute. Babe Laufenberg? What is that? A blimp.

(MONDAY NIGHT) WASHINGTON 20, NY GIANTS 17: Lawrence Taylor failed his drug test. He should have studied harder.

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