* Detroit 24, Atlanta 17: I’m sorry. I know the Falcons have a better record. But they use the run ‘n’ shoot. I cannot pick a team that runs an offense the Lions threw out. Pick vs. spread: Detroit.

* New England 20, New York Jets 10: Is it safe to assume that the Patriots-Super Bowl thing is out of the question now? Pick vs. spread: New England.

* Chicago 28, Pittsburgh 21: Don’t look now, but the Bears may be the second-best team in the NFC. Pick vs. spread: Chicago.
* St. Louis 16, New Orleans 14: One team used to play somewhere else, the other wishes it did. Pick vs. spread: St. Louis.
* San Francisco 35, Carolina 10: As a poet might put it: Jerry Rice, is cold as ice, and he will not, be embarrassed twice. Pick vs. spread: San Francisco.
* Cleveland 23, Houston 20: Vinny Testaverde was last seen wiggling his tie and reciting old Rodney Dangerfield routines. Pick vs. spread: Houston.
* Denver 31, Arizona 8: Remember, at his opening press conference, when Buddy Ryan proclaimed: “We got a winner in town!”? Who exactly was he talking about? Pick vs. spread: Denver.
* Indianapolis 20, Buffalo 19: Buffalo becoming extinct. Pick vs. spread: Buffalo.
* Minnesota 21, Green Bay 17: Only because everyone in the Central Division must eventually be 8-8. Pick vs. spread: Minnesota.
* Kansas City 30, Washington 9: With Michael Westbrook and Henry Ellard injured, Gus Frerotte will have to catch his own passes for the Skins to have a chance. Pick vs. spread: Kansas City.
* Oakland 28, Cincinnati 17: Do you think Jerry Ball and Pat Swilling get together and read the Lions’ stat boxes? Pick vs. spread: Oakland.
* Seattle 1, New York Giants 0: This game is so unwatchable, the pay-per-view operators laugh if you try to order it. Pick vs. spread: Seattle.
* Miami 14, San Diego 10: The Chargers knocked Miami out of the playoffs last year. A Dolphin never forgets. No. Wait. That’s an elephant. Pick vs. spread: Miami.
* Dallas 20, Philadelphia 13 (Monday night): If you give me a nickel for every closeup of Deion Sanders during this broadcast, I will skip next week’s column and fly to the Bahamas. Pick vs. spread: Philadelphia.
* Last week: 6-7.
* Season: 39-38 (I got a late start).
* Last week vs. spread: 6-7.
* Season vs. spread: 36-38-3.
* Mitch vs. Curt (vs. spread): Albom leads Curt Sylvester by one game, 36-38-3 to 35-39-3. The sports writer with the best record gets his choice of teams in the Freep’s annual Great Super Bowl Debate. The debate will appear the day before Super Bowl XXX in Tempe, Ariz.
* Best pick last week: Miami 23, Buffalo 10 (Dolphins won, 23-6).
* Worst pick last week: San Francisco 30, New Orleans 3 (Saints won, 11-7).

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