After correctly predicting SMU’s pratfall at Rice, I'm faced with two options:
1. Quit while I’m ahead.
2. Continue amassing my fortune.
Since I have, you could say, a small “problem” with integrating No. 1 into my life, let’s give No. 2 a spin shall we?
The Cowboys on Sunday begin what we all believe – what we all demand – to be a Super Bowl season. The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated picked them to get to XLIII and this week’s ESPN power rankings have them No. 3.
Still, I'm iffy about giving up 6 points on the road in an NFL opener. I do like – actually, it’s fair to call it love – the Cowboys and Browns combining for at least 50 points.
Every decided edge in this matchup seems to go to the offenses.
Even without their third (Miles Austin) and fourth (Sam Hurd) receivers, the Cowboys shouldn’t have trouble moving against a very mediocre Browns’ secondary. And the Cowboys now have a third-down weapon – Felix Jones – that could produce big plays in negative down-and-distance situations.
Cleveland’s offense, likewise, should be productive. Cornerback Terence Newman, if he plays at all, won’t be 100 percent. Pacman Jones will be playing his first game since 2006. While the corners try to contain Braylon Edwards (16 TDs last year), safety Roy Williams gets matched-up against tight end Kellen Winslow. Anybody who remembers Chris Cooley won’t be surprised that Dallas was 30th in the NFL covering tight ends last season.
There will also be big plays in the kicking game. Cleveland boasts Pro Bowl returner Joshua Cribbs and the Cowboys will put the ball in the hands of Pacman and Felix Jones. Dallas, remember, was horrible covering kicks in the preseason. The return of special teams captain Keith Davis, however, should plug a hole or two.
In the final analysis, give me two Pro Bowl quarterbacks (Tony Romo and Derek Anderson), two Pro Bowl tight ends (Jason Witten and Winslow), two elite receivers (Terrell Owens and Edwards) and two smash-mouth running backs (Marion Barber and Jamal Lewis) against unspectacular defenses and I see Cowboys 34, Browns 24.
I’m starting with a mythical bankroll of $10,000, courtesy of Bodog sports online gaming. First of all, because their site is easy to navigate. Second, because they’re based in Costa Rica and have had minimal success tracking me down in the past. I’ll analyze games of local interest each weekend and make a wager or two every Friday. With any luck, by Christmas it’ll be toys for everyone.
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000 CURRENT BANKROLL: $10,250 SEASON RECORD: 1-0 LAST WEEK: 1-0 (+$250) THIS WEEK: Cowboys-Browns over 49 for $1,000. -- Richie Whitt
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