VOICE DOESN’T LIE, EXCEPT WHEN LYING

I study the line sheet. I move my pencil toward my pick. I am picking against the Raiders.

“Not so fast,” says a voice.

Who said that?

“Never pick against a team that’s lost three in a row. They’re bound to come back.”

Well . . . all right, I say.

I move the pencil to the Seattle- Washington game. I start to circle Seattle.

“Not so fast,” says the voice.

Who is that?

“Never pick a team that’s won three in a row. They’re bound to lose.”

But you said–

“Trust me.”

The pencil moves to Atlanta. The Falcons are a lock, I figure. They had a big victory over Dallas last week. They are playing Tampa Bay this week. They are a lock.

“Hold it,” says the voice.

Hold it?

“Never pick a team that’s coming off a big win. They always let down emotionally.”

Well. There’s always the Pittsburgh Steelers, who got killed by the Vikings last week. I will pick against them. Yes.

“No,” says the voice.

No?

“Teams always rebound from losses. Never pick against a team that just had a big loss.”

But you said–

“And never pick a team that lost its quarterback. The offense will be too confused.”

Confused–

“But never pick against a team with a new quarterback. Too unpredictable.”

Wait a–

“Defense over offense.”

Wha-

“Unless the offense is strong. And running game over passing game. Unless the receivers are really fast. And veterans over rookies. Unless the rookies are really psyched. And–“

Where is that voice coming from? I follow it to the closet. I open the door. Aha. It is my next door neighbor, trying to be funny. Yeah. Very funny, I say.

He’s dead now.

And so, this week’s picks . . .

LIONS 20, BROWNS 19: I hear you laughing. I hear you snickering. I hear you saying, “This guy’s crazy.” But if I’m right . . .

OILERS 20, STEELERS 10: . . . I expect you to apologize.

BEARS 28, BENGALS 25: Will this be the week Chicago goes down? Could it be? Might it be? Could it possibly, maybe, somehow be? Nah.

FALCONS 31, BUCCANEERS 10: OK, Tampa Bay. You had your fun.

RAIDERS 20, CHARGERS 14: I am going to keep picking the Raiders until they win one, damn it.

JETS 26, COLTS 12: The Jets are so tired after scoring 51 points last week, they are only going to play the first half this week. The Mets will play the second half, since they’re not doing anything important right now.

JIM KELLY 24, CHIEFS 21: The new way to keep score in Buffalo.

REDSKINS 23, SEAHAWKS 17: Mr. Largent goes to Washington, finds it closed.

VIKINGS 26, PACKERS 7: Wait a minute. Is it snowing? These teams can’t play unless it snowing. Green Bay? Minnesota? Uh-uh, fellahs. No snow, no go. Sorry.

GIANTS 37, SAINTS 6: New York is no place for saints. Neither is New Jersey.

49ERS 27, DOLPHINS 24: Yes, this is an upset pick. But the facts is the facts. And the facts is, Miami’s defense is non- existent.

RAMS 17, EAGLES 10: I want to pick Philly. I’d like to pick Philly. I have a feeling about Philly. I am picking LA.

BRONCOS 30, PATRIOTS 29.95: Very, very close.

COWBOYS 31, CARDINALS 20 (MONDAY NIGHT): Yes, I know. You should never pick against a winless home team playing on Monday night. Unless that team happens to stink. Like the Cardinals.

BEST PICK LAST WEEK: Redskins 27, Chargers 24. The Redskins won, 30-27.

WORST PICK LAST WEEK: Lions 30, Bucs 17. The Bucs won, 24-20.

LAST WEEK’S RECORD: 8-6. Never trust a picker who hears voices. Unless the voices are right.

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