The Commish Online                                                                                
Week 9
October 31, 2003
by Dana Harris

Greetings.  Welcome to the Capper’s Corner.  I’ve signed on here at The Commish Online to provide some insight into the week’s NFL contests.  I’ve been sharing my prognostication abilities on private handicapping message boards and for my own entertainment for over a decade.  Of course, this is all just for entertainment purposes (wink wink) Gambling on football outside Nevada is illegal, right?

First, just a word on the NFL.  Before anybody decides to risk those hard-earned bucks on an NFL game, one must remember that this is a business.  Vince Lombardi said it best.  Winning isn’t everything.  It’s the ONLY thing.  The object of NFL games is to win.  Period.  These multimillion-dollar prima donnas don’t give a flip whether they win by one point or a hundred.  Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper will not lose a wink of sleep if Joe Public loses his rent money because they take a knee in the last two minutes this week from the Green Bay 10 leading by a field goal.  They also don’t care about MY reputation as a pickster.  What I try to do is give you my best estimate, based on intensive research and a certain feel for the game brought about by 40 years of fandom.

That being said, let’s see how week 9 shapes up.

Best Bets:

Indianapolis (+3) at Miami   o/u 39
Brian Griese makes his second start.  Why is that such a big deal?  Jay Fiedler was no great shakes.  The fins win with defense and large doses of Ricky Williams.  Indianapolis has a defense too.  They also have Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and a finally healthy Edgerrin James.  Take the Colts and the points and lean towards the under.

Carolina (-6½) at Houston   o/u 36.5
Tony Banks takes over for the injured David Carr for Houston.  PLEASE!!!  Do I even have to say it?  Panthers roll and the under is the play.

New York Giants (-2) at New York Jets   o/u  38.5
I never have gotten why anybody would be on the Giants.  Kerry Collins?  Tiki Barber?  Not exactly Bart Starr and Jim Brown.  Pennington back under center for his first start for the Jets.  Can he shake off the rust and pick up where he left off last year?  I say yes in the Capper’s UPSET SPECIAL.  JETS! JETS! JETS!  straight up and under.

Washington (+4) at Dallas  o/u  38
Was the Cowboys 5-1 start just smoke and mirrors?  The Tuna must get “DA ‘boys” refocused after the crash and burn at Tampa last week.  This game is a huge rivalry and has major NFC east implications.  Spurrier says he is going back to his pass first offense that worked so well in college.  This is the NFL, Steve.  Cowboys and under.

St. Louis (-2½) at San Francisco  o/u 45.5
Here is another team that has massively underachieved in the Niners.  Marshall Faulk may be back or he may not.  Won’t matter.  Rams take the game and the cover.  This one has shootout written all over it, so the over is my suggestion.

Green Bay (+4½) at Minnesota  o/u  49
Moss always gets up for Green Bay.  Favre has a broken thumb and sucks on turf.   As they say, smoke ‘em if ya got 'em.  Look for Randy to light up the pack.  Go with the Vikes and even though 49 is a lot of points, my money is on the over.

The rest of the story…

New England (+2) at Denver  o/u 36
Danny Kannel starts again for the Broncos.  Clinton Portis gets the ball 40 times.  Take the Broncos in a squeaker and play the under.

San Diego (+2½) at Chicago  o/u  40.5
I usually play a home favorite of less than 3, but LaDanian Tomlinson is on a roll.  Take the Chargers if you just MUST play this game.  The defenses are so inept that this one may go over.

Jacksonville (+7) at Baltimore   o/u  37
First team to score may win this one.  Byron Leftwich has all the tools, but he’s still a rookie and Ray Lewis eats rookie QB’s for breakfast.  Go with the Ravens with a big eye toward the UNDER in this one.

Oakland (-3) at Detroit   o/u  39
What to say about the NFL mystery team of the year?  Talk about penthouse to outhouse.  The Raiders are OLD, but they start Tuiasosopo at QB.  The Silver and Black have to beat somebody, and the Lions are WRETCHED.  My money is on the geezers.  Take the Raiders with a slight lean to the over.

Cincinnati (-3) at Arizona  o/u  39
Arizona has had a habit of ambushing teams from colder climates in the desert heat.  Not this time.  Take Cincy with a slight lean to the over.

Pittsburgh (+4) at Seattle   o/u 44.5
The Steelers have been almost as puzzling as the Raiders this year.  Seattle is at home and they have Shaun Alexander rolling at a 4.4 ypc clip.  The Steelers have an old bus and a QB that had his Cinderella season last year.  Seahawks cover the 4 and the over gets the nod.

Philadelphia (-4) at Atlanta  o/u  39.5
McNabb still trying to find his form.  Rush was right.  Take the Falcons and lean towards the under.

New Orleans (+8) at Tampa Bay  o/u  39
Tampa has played poorly at home this year, but seemed to be putting it back together against an improved Dallas team last week.  This is where that tricky “over 7 point” spread rears its ugly head.  The Saints aren’t a great team, but I think they have enough offense to keep it within 8.  Tampa gets the win, but the dog gets the cover, along with the under.

There you have it.  Edition number one.  Questions/comments may be directed to