A bettor's guide to Week 7
Unless you count winter, the Buffalo Bills never have really built up a significant rivalry. But in the lore of the city, the Chargers hold a special place. AFL Championship, 1964, Sid Gillman's beautiful Chargers machine scored easily against the league's No. 1 defense and was moving toward a second one. Tobin Rote swung a pass to Keith Lincoln. In the "shot heard round the world," Buffalo linebacker Mike Stratton met him with a perfectly timed shoulder and the all-star fullback crumpled. He was through for the day with a broken rib and so was San Diego's scoring. The Bills won their first championship, 20-7.
It was a lifetime ago, but they still talk about it in Buffalo. Now they've got something else to talk about, a live, 4-1 team, after many mediocre years. Could it be? Well, we'll find out a lot when the Chargers come to town this weekend. They ended up 14-2, best in the NFL, last time they visited Buffalo, in 2006, yet a 7-9 Bills team came only three points away.
The Chargers are coming off their best game of the season, a 30-10 victory over the Patriots. The Bills are coming off a much needed bye, after QB Trent Edwards suffered a concussion in Arizona. The cold won't be a factor, but the Hawk, that brutal wind that starts at the North Pole and sweeps down, by way of Canada, can always raise hell with visiting teams.
Do you really believe that the San Diego attack that creased the Patriots for 404 yards Sunday night was the real thing, or was it just feasting on a team that took the night off? The latter is what I believe, and I think that the Bills defense, at home, will be a different proposition.
Emotion will be running high, as the Bills face their most severe test so far. If Edwards is right, I like them in a tough, low-scoring contest, a pick'em game. If he's out, all bets are off.
The rest of this will be short and sweat...uh, sweet.
I like the Broncos, getting 3, against what used to be New England Monday night. Mike Shanahan has won the last three against Bill Belichick. including one in the Divisionals two years ago. He seems to have a hammer on him. The Bronco defense is suspect, but so are the Patriots on offense.
Brett Favre had one of his vintage weirdies and still got away with it against the Bengals. He dinked and dunked, the Jets ran the ball. They played defense against a Bengals team they should have crushed, with Carson Palmer out. Now they head out to Oakland, the Land of Dysfunction.
Favre won't be dinking and dunking this trip. He has played out there only once, but it was a memorable Monday night, Dec. 22, 2003, a day after his father died. It was one of his greatest performances -- 399 yards passing, four TDs, no interceptions. Different team this time, almost five more years of wear and tear on the QB, but I see him bombing the Raiders crazy. The Jets have to let him cut loose sometime, and against Oakland's man-to-man, this might be the time. Take the Jets and give the 3.
I was very impressed by the way the Texans went at Miami last weekend. Yeah, they fell behind on a trick'em play, but straight up, they were the tougher, more dominant team. Love them, giving away 7 to Detroit.
Coming in, I thought it would be another underdog's weekend, so why am I leaning toward favorites so far? Maybe that's why I am getting hammered so badly this season, lack of dedication. OK, the following dogs will be barking:
Vikings, getting 3, in Chicago
Last week: 5-6