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Commentary From the Edge
By Kevin Ratterree
November 11, 2003
  It was a day of reckoning last Sunday in the NFL. It was a day that typified the state of the NFL. I'll refer to it as Underdog Day Afternoon. Proof positive that the league is in a state of mediocrity. The worst team on any given Sunday can beat one of the best.

In the NFL today a 41 year old quarterback that hasn't touched the field in two years can put 40 points on the board, juke defenders out of their jocks, and high step his way to the end zone after pulling a morphed version of the fumble-rooskie out of his bag of tricks.

In today's NFL a team can total 122 yards in total offense and turn the ball over 4 times and still win the game 30-22.

In today's NFL a team can start the day at 2-6, and with a win move back into contention for the division title.

And we are suppose to be able to make sense of it all? Good luck to us. It's not great football, but it definitely isn't boring.

Chad Johnson certainly isn't bored. He amuses himself paying hefty weekly celebration fines. Now he is playing the tired old Joe Namath card guaranteeing a victory over the Chiefs. I love Johnsons' enthusiasm and his fire. But probably the best thing to do when the 9-0 team is coming to town would be to just shut up and see if you can catch them napping. You don't poke them with a stick. You don't give them a reason to want to kick your ass. Besides, that guaranteed victory thing has been done to death, and it really only mattered once.

BIG KAHUNA'S PICK OF THE WEEK

Last week produced a winner with Carolina covering the spread and winning outright. BKP: 2-1 record. Which brings me to an interesting point. First of all I had to smile with silent confidence Sunday morning when I saw ESPN's Hammerin' Hank predict the opposite taking the Buc's -3. For at that moment I knew my Carolina pick was probably right. Pro gamblers need to hit about 65% of their games to come out a winner. Hammerin' Hank doesn't come close. I think he got his nickname by hammering gin and tonic right before he makes his weekly picks. Maybe the guy is a shill for "the boys" in Vegas, purposely spreading false propaganda to insure the casino money keeps rolling in. Why does ESPN pay a guy good money to make picks when he can't make picks? Then again, how can they pay Michael Irvin to be a commentator when he can't speak?

Anyway, enough of that stalling. I have a pick to make and I must say I am not impressed with the early lines this week. All the games look like tough spreads. I haven't seen spreads this tough since I attended the last Horse Riding Nymphomaniac Convention. But I must pick one and only one game, so I will take the Cowboys +4 at New England on the Monday Night game. Not a big kahuna pick you say? Maybe not. The Dallas defense looks pretty tough. I might go with the under on this game....yeah definitely go with the under. There is my big kahuna pick of the week. I don't really make a habit of parlays but here is a good one Dallas and the under for a sweet 2.5: 1 Christmas money maker.

MISERY INDEX

10) Ravens: Defense with Ray Lewis. Tough as a steak from an anorexic cow. Offense with Chris Redman. Ugly as that anorexic cow. I heard Neil O'Donnell's name mentioned as a possibility, and of course Jeff George's name comes up whenever anybody needs a QB. Pretty slim pickings. You can go ahead and drop Travis Taylor now, and take anything you can get for Todd Heap. This offense is officially chopped beef.

9) Vikings: Have they stepped in a pothole or over the edge of the cliff. Randy Moss quit playing about the 4th quarter of this one. The Vikings D' quit playing the 4th minute.

8) Chargers: I guess we should have seen this one coming. The city of San Diego still reeling from devastating fires. The team's first home game in 2 months. Doug Flutie getting the start. But still, the Chargers have looked absolutely putrid. Gee, maybe Brees was the problem the whole time. Or maybe the football God's just rewarded Flutie for his service holding the clipboard. Or maybe the Vikings just stink. Tough call. In any event it looks like Brees is headed for the scrap heap, and Flutie gets a bonus half season out of his career. And you may end up dusting off David Boston and inserting him into your lineup this year after all. Flutie can still throw and Boston is the one receiver Flutie may be able to see from down there.

7) Bills: Drew Bledsoe is right back to being the player that lost his starting job to Tom Brady. Or maybe Bledsoe is pulling off a practical joke doing his best impersonation of Ryan Leaf. Very convincing Drew. We all had a good laugh. Just knock it off!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6) Buccaneers: Gruden's magic lasted exactly one season. They are now about 2 losses from missing the playoffs as Superbowl Champs. As this star studded defense ages, and the offense never emerges, all those draft picks they gave up for Gruden would have come in handy. But hey, they got their rings. And their TV shows, and commercials. But their cocky bravado which doesn't play so well when they are a sub .500 team.

5) Dolphins: I had to chuckle when the Griese performance against the Chargers had all the football pundits excited. My guess is that Fiedler's injury will be magically fully healed by this Sunday. The clock is ticking until annual Dolphins December swoon, which would be far less dramatic if the team starts the month 5-7. Wannstedt is shoveling handfuls of ice down the back of his pants to alleviate the hotseat.

4) Colts: Ya' know, it is real hard to make the misery index as a 7-2 team. But when you lose to a 1-7 team, whose running back predicted he was going to gash you, and your star wide receiver limps off the field, you gotta be miserable. Especially now that the Titans are tied for the division lead, and the Colts still have to play the Titans at Tennessee. Not good. Here we go again. Road playoff game. Loss. Peyton Manning can't win the big game. Well, not by himself he won't. If Marvin Harrison misses some time this season could go south in a hurry. All the way to Nashville.

3) Rams: Here we go again breaking tradition. How can a winning team be on the misery index. Look, they get on the misery index if for no other reason than they wasted 3 hours of my life Sunday night, doing their impression of the Detroit Lions stoned. That Sunday night game had to be one of the ten worst games I have ever seen, and keep in mind I have seen several games involving the Giants. The only positive about that game is that I wasn't one of the unfortunate souls unlucky enough to pay for a ticket and have to witness it in person.

2) Giants: How can you get jacked up by a team on a 7 game losing streak in your own house? Will they notice that Shockey is gone? How will Jim Fassel feel when he takes his rightful place on the unemployment line this January? Will Jim Fassel finally fulfill his dream of competing in the Frank Burns look-alike contest in Big Bend Indiana next fall?

1) Raiders: The Raiders finally figured out that with a QB at the helm who would probably ride the pine on a division II college team, the best way to avoid losing was to run the ball 9 times in a row followed by a 2 yard pass attempt. And it worked. For almost 59 minutes it worked.