Continued from page 1

It’s a big change from just a few years back when the New England Patriots were dominating the NFL and the only real questions were whether they would go undefeated and whom they would play in the Super Bowl.

The NFL claims to hate the idea of point spreads on its games but, because they are researched carefully and there is real money on them, they provide the best indicator of what is going on in the league. In the opening weekend, there’s not one game with a spread as large as seven points, and half the games figure to be decided by a field goal or less.

“There’s maybe two to four plays in a game that decide who wins or covers a game,” Kornegay said. “That doesn’t leave much room for error.”

It’s also good in the sports books, where a close spread means even more millions changing hands.

But it may not be so great for Ryan and the Jets. They may have promised more than they can deliver, if the slender 2 1/2-point spread in their opener against the Ravens is any indication.

“Hard Knocks” was a lot of fun and good enough to win an Emmy.

It’s a lot harder to write a script for winning a Super Bowl.

____

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org