By Rex O’Rourke

Canton, Ohio – What happened to The NFL? Seemingly overnight, at least half a dozen teams have become unable to compete on the pro level. Formerly proud franchises have been reduced to ruin. Point spreads (4 are over 10 points this week) are in the stratosphere every week. Where is the parity we were promised, where is the wine, the new wine, dying on the vine? … Sorry, I morphed into Jim Morrison there for a second.

OK… I’m back.

Not only are the bad teams bad, but they are facelessly, namelessly bad. Quick, name The Raiders best player! His name is Abner Louima er, Amadou Diallo, I mean, Nnamdi Asomugha. Say that three times fast! Heck, say it once slowly! Al “Nero” Davis is drooling on his sweat suit while a proud franchise burns! Oakland won three Super Bowls, lost one in this decade, and has been one of the faces of the NFL since before Marcia Brady took one in the schnoz! To quote the great Fred Willard, in A Mighty Wind, “Whahappen?”

The Buccaneers got their first win in the throw back uniforms (please get rid of the pewter ones) and seem to at least have a plan. They’ve jettisoned many veterans and are taking their lumps within the youth movement.

The perennially terrible Lions (have they been good in my lifetime?) have thrown that kid Stafford to the wolves. He’ll been as punch drunk as David Carr or Ken O’Brien if they don’t start protecting him soon.

The Chiefs and The Rams have combined for two wins. The Show Me State has been renamed the Throw Me State as in throw me a beatin’. New coaching staffs and front offices haven’t been able to stop the bleeding as of yet, and I wonder if either squad could beat Florida, Alabama or Texas.

These teams, along with The Redskins and The Browns, are barely competitive. Even The Titans are 2-6 but I can’t help but believe they can turn it around and finish 7-9 or 8-8. Every week has games that shouldn’t be played. St. Louis/Washington, KansasCity/Oakland… YAAAAAWWWNNNN!

I know bad teams are a part of sports, but every NFL team should be capable of winning at least 4 games a year. Come on guys, get it together!

As for this week’s selections, I stand at a robust 19-7-1 after a 2-1 week, and have a few lead pipe locks for you. I love The Bengals (+7) to keep it close against The STEELERS. I also love the resurgent CHARGERS (-1.5) over The Eagles. I reluctantly like The JETS (-7) coming off the bye, to right the ship over the enigmatic Jaguars.

Finally, speaking of gambling, ESPN’s 30 for 30 series aired a great piece about Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Real pop culture stuff from the days before 24 hour everything. Two thumbs up!

Until next week,

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