I have returned from the Far East. I am seeing some strange things in the NFL. Especially at quarterback.

I am seeing someone named Rypien on the Super Bowl champions.

I am seeing someone named Pagel (rhymes with bagel) on my Super Bowl pick, the Cleveland Browns.

In Houston, the Moon is out, and the Carlson is in. The Carlson?

And in New England, it is the return of . . . Doug Flutie.

This is always a bad sign. The last time we saw Flutie on an NFL field was during the strike. And that wasn’t very much fun. Now he is back. He is starting. This raises some interesting questions.

For example, it was common knowledge that Flutie was disliked immensely by his Patriots teammates earlier in the season. Now that he is their starter, will they let him have a seat on the airplane, or will they stuff him in the overhead compartment as usual? Chicago’s Jim McMahon, a former teammate of Flutie’s, said the tiny quarterback, thanks to his performance last week, “is America’s midget again.” Is this true? And if so, what about Emmanuel Lewis?

While we contemplate this, here are this week’s picks.

CHICAGO 23, LIONS 20: I see effort on our side. I see desire on our side. I see talent on their side.

BUFFALO 21, INDIANAPOLIS 12: Here’s the Indy offense: Dickerson, Dickerson, Dickerson, punt. Even Buffalo can beat that.

LA RAMS 24, ATLANTA 7: The Rams lost to Phoenix? I’m sorry. I don’t believe that. You made that up while I was in Korea, right?

SAN FRANCISCO 28, DENVER 17: In case of a battle between two famous quarterbacks, I always go with the one who has a state named after him. Have you ever heard of the state of Elway?

NEW ENGLAND 17, GREEN BAY 16: Doug Flutie starts at quarterback? Does that mean he gets his own seat on the airplane, or are they still tucking him under the seat?

CLEVELAND 27, SEATTLE 26: The Browns don’t have a quarterback. The Seahawks don’t have a quarterback. Why are we watching?

CINCINNATI 30, NY JETS 28: The Bengals are the only undefeated team in the NFL. Pretty soon, we will have to learn who plays for them.

MINNESOTA 35, TAMPA BAY 7: The Vikings already have lost to a team from Florida. Sorry. One per customer.

WASHINGTON 19, DALLAS 16: Steve Pelluer looked like Roger Staubach Monday night. Unfortunately, today he looks like Steve Pelluer.

MIAMI 31, LA RAIDERS 20: Don’t you get the feeling that if Dan Marino wore the black and silver, the Raiders would never stop scoring touchdowns?

HOUSTON 17, KANSAS CITY 14: Listen. As long as Lorenzo White isn’t doing anything with the Oilers, you think he could come back and play for Michigan State?

PHOENIX 24, PITTSBURGH 10: The Cardinals are rising like a . . . like a . .
. phoenix?

NEW ORLEANS 20, SAN DIEGO 13: The Chargers are nearly the worst passing team in the NFL. Does anybody remember the name Dan Fouts?

(MONDAY NIGHT) NY GIANTS 21, PHILADELPHIA 17: The Eagles, who were very quick with Quick, are suddenly not very quick anymore.

RECORD LAST WEEK: 9-4-1.

RECORD LAST WEEK AGAINST THE SPREAD: 7-7.

RECORD THIS SEASON: 42-27-1.

RECORD THIS SEASON AGAINST THE SPREAD: 27-40-3.

BEST PICK LAST WEEK: New York Giants 22, Washington 17 (Giants won, 24-23).

WORST PICK LAST WEEK: Los Angeles Rams 20, Phoenix 10 (Phoenix won, 41-27).

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