- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fox must have been giddy when this Week 6 matchup was scheduled. The Vikings were a misguided Brett Favre pass away from the NFC title last season, and the Cowboys were proclaimed the one franchise that could play in a Super Bowl it was hosting.

Now, the network might want to consider switching something spicier to the late afternoon doubleheader slot: Minnesota and Dallas are 1-3 apiece.

Not just losers, but clumsy losers. Minnesota is a minus-6 in turnover differential and Dallas is minus-4. The Vikes are a 1-point favorite in what some have dubbed the Bumblers Bowl.

“We still know what we’re capable of,” Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears said. “We have to execute, we got to play better, we got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot, and this thing will turn around fast.”

It better: After Sunday, except for Detroit, every team on Dallas’ remaining schedule has a winning record. Minnesota has a similar predicament, although it has Buffalo and Detroit left.

Based strictly on late-game work last weekend …

VIKINGS, 23-20

Cleveland (plus 13) at Pittsburgh

Ben Roethlisberger’s return to the Steelers, plus all kinds of uncertainty at QB for Cleveland. And the Steelers remember last year’s late loss to the Browns that eventually cost Pittsburgh a playoff berth.


Oakland (plus 6) at San Francisco

Just can’t pick the 49ers to beat anyone, anywhere, at this time. The Raiders have issues on defense, especially against the run. The Niners have problems everywhere.


N.Y. Jets (minus 3) at Denver

Another beaten-up bunch, the Broncos tend to play better in the mile-high environment. Problem is, they hardly have any starters left on defense, and the Jets are balanced with the ball.

JETS, 29-21

Indianapolis (minus 4) at Washington

Indy lost twice last season. Indy has lost twice this season already. No. 3 won’t come here.

COLTS, 27-20

Tennessee (minus 3) at Jacksonville (Monday night)

Every team in the AFC South is 3-2. Tennessee is a more solid 3-2 with more talent and no fear of road games. But it will be tight.

TITANS, 17-16

San Diego (minus 7 1/2) at St. Louis

So far, the Chargers have been abysmal on the road, especially at the end of games. Last we looked, this is a road game, so it will be closer than the talent levels indicate.


Kansas City (plus 3 1/2) at Houston

Romeo Crennel has done a terrific job with the Chiefs’ D, and Houston laid a Texas-sized egg against the Giants. If the Texans truly are a playoff-bound team, they must win this. KC will test them.

TEXANS, 20-18

Baltimore (plus 3) at New England

Randy Moss, who never won a Super Bowl, is out, Deion Branch, who never lost one, is in. Tom Brady faces a staunch, big-play defense; does he have the weapons to handle it against the team that knocked New England from the playoffs in January?

RAVENS, 17-16

Detroit (plus 10 1/2) at N.Y. Giants

Both teams showed off splashy offenses a week ago. The Giants also have a D.

GIANTS, 30-17

New Orleans (minus 6 1/2) at Tampa Bay

Everything about the Bucs this year has been pointing upward. Just about everything with the banged-up Saints has pointed the other way. Time for Drew Brees to change that.

SAINTS, 28-17

Atlanta (OFF) at Philadelphia

Uncertainty about Kolb/Vick takes this one off the board. The Falcons probably have been the NFC’s best thus far. A win here furthers that notion.

FALCONS, 23-14

Seattle (OFF) at Chicago

The schizophrenic Seahawks would be something of a lock at home against battered Chicago. Until Seattle shows it can be trusted on the road …

BEARS, 14-13

Miami (OFF) at Green Bay

The Dolphins are slumping and if Aaron Rodgers can go, the Packers have enough to win. But Rodgers is coming off a concussion, both of Miami’s wins were on the road, and the Pack has injury woes all over the place.




Versus spread, 8-6 (overall 42-33); Straight up, 9-5 (overall 48-28)

Best Bet: 2-3 against spread, 3-2 straight up.

Upset Special: 5-0 against spread, 5-0 straight up.



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