Do you know how tough it is to type with a mouth full of crow?

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO,

Southampton, PA (Sports Network) -- Filet mignon would have been much better. But when you take Indy in a squeaker over Miami and the Dolphins pull it out instead; St. Louis folds and forgets how important the game is; Denver leaves their game in Colorado and Tampa Bay proves that the Law of Averages are meaningless, a plate of stir fried crow is about the best one can hope for.

Speaking of crow, why do the NFL and college football, multi-million dollar enterprises, use part time labor to be the arbiters of their events?

Aaron Brooks
Brooks will need his "A" game to outscore the Vikings. (Lyons/Allsport)
This is the week that the Saints go marching into Minnesota and the welcoming committee is limited to one drunk with beads around his neck and a Mardi Gras mask to hide his identity. The Vikings have a sieve for defense but, given that, they are better at it than St. Louis, which is not saying much. They did learn one thing, however, watching the Rams and partygoers in N'awleans?score early and often. Can the visitors stop them from lighting up the scoreboard with unerring regularity? I think not. Will the team and their owner with the parasol have something to rejoice right after the game? I think not.

Don't you think that Chris Weinke should do the honorable thing and return the Heisman as soon as possible?

Minnesota is an 8 ? point favorite, which sounds like a lot on the surface. But, can they outscore their guests by just one touchdown plus a wee bit? I don't see why not. They call them teasers with good reason but you have to like the Vikings at home minus 2 ?. The proverbial candy from a baby would be a more difficult task.

When the Eagles keep flaunting their 7-1 record after a loss to the Giants, has anyone noticed that they fail to mention the caliber of competition except for Tennessee?

Miami goes across country to Oakland and the only thing missing from this jaunt is the accompaniment of Don Meredith and the lilting refrain of "The party's over." The Raiders are destined to be one of the combatants in the Super Bowl. Or so they think. Only the winner of the Ravens/Titans clash stands in their way.

When a team like Michigan lets almost every opponent it is capable of annihilating back into the game in the fourth quarter, how poorly coached must they be for the lack of effort to be put on display so prominently?

Miami is doing more than expected but is that enough? As I eschew some more crow in dainty portions, one must question how much credibility to place in a guy that went 0-4 last week. Hell, I am beginning to be referred to as Buffalo Bill around the office and a photo of Jim Kelly has been left on my door. With Oakland a 9-point favorite make them the other half of your Viking tease and order the new Bentley.

Did the media make too much of the Tampa Bay defense and aren't most stats deceiving anyway with teams against whom everyone chooses to pass due to a porous secondary being given credit for a fantastic defense against the rush?

Steve McNair
McNair's elusiveness could be trouble for the Ravens. (Lyons/Allsport)
If you are looking for a really tough game, but a great one to watch, you won't want to miss Baltimore and Tennessee. The Titans have been installed as solid 6 point favorites and here come the Ravens with the defense the some pundits are calling the best since the Steel Curtain. Not, but good. Can the guys from the city of stoops and Camden Yards get into the end zone often enough to be competitive and can their defense shut down Steve McNair on a good day, the same McNair that was The Sports Network's 1994 Walter Payton Award winner just a few years ago? Check out the records of home teams in the playoffs over the years and your decision can be prompted along easily enough. This is a good one to watch.

Can the Eagles finish the season at 0-3 against the Giants and 0-9 in recent years? Well, the Buccaneers managed to raise their record to 0-20 in weather that sends Eskimos into Igloos to keep warm. Nothing is impossible.

Which brings us to the Meadowlands and a rivalry that bristles the laptops of journalists in both cities, purveyors of rumor, innuendo and distortion to raise the temperatures on and off the playing field. Yes, Philadelphia is an improved team, despite beating up on the little kids in the neighborhood. But, the New Yawkers have not been sitting around playing chess and checkers while winning the Division title. Kerry Collins is far from a clone of Joe Montana but he does get better, has a higher confidence level and knows that the fellows coming up the Turnpike to visit with him for a few hours can be beaten. That means one more game against Minnesota, at home (even New Orleans would be at home) and they are in the Super Bowl in an era of incredible parity.

Isn't the Super Bowl, partying for a week, just a big corporate extravaganza where millions are spent without even so much as a Waterford crystal bowl coming down from the sky anywhere to announce the start of the game?

The Giants started out as a 5-? point favorite and the public, always wrong, has now made them only 4. Go against the public and you are on holiday at some of the most expensive resorts in the world every month. If the boys in blue focus and don't let the week off work to their detriment, maintain their rhythm and realize that this their house, their crowd, their noise level and their chance to advance, they will be one of the final four to compete for the trip to Tampa?and the last one to do it Sunday evening. They will already know their opponent and they can beat the Vikings or the Saints. The Eagles, if they win, cannot go to Minnesota and win. Donovan McNabb is good but he cannot walk on water. Or ice, if the Giants want to water down the field before the festivities start. If the boys from Brotherly Love make it that far, Minnesota will end their trip. I have to wonder if the Eagles have looked at next year's schedule yet and realized the price they will pay for winning - i.e., losing.

Bobby Bowden and his Florida State team are as over-rated as Twiggy's chest. And, except for who he was, why is Eric Dickerson on the sidelines doing commentary? And, did KFC close out their hiring leaving Terry Bowden's only alternative a job doing commentary on football games? It has finally happened, a former player that is just about as bad as his exploits on the field...Gary Danielson. As much as the other broadcast teams on ABC push the "great job" Dennis Miller has done on MNF, his presence is irritating, unnecessary, intrusive, not funny, senseless and a must to let go.

There are no "they must win this one or else" signs that go up in your mind these days, no law of averages, no team that has improved so vastly that it eclipses the talents of its opponent. There are just a few that are better than the others, not immensely so but just enough to outdo them on the field of play. Are these the best of the lot? Some are. The rest are just thankful to be here and have been reading too many press clippings while looking into full-length mirrors taken from the fun house at the local carnival. Distortion is everywhere.

Some network producer put women on the sidelines and now it is the thing to do. I was happy with the cheerleaders and, without being a chauvinist, why are these color commentators and questioners there? If it is to add looks to the droll, great; but if they are there to just ask mundane questions then it is a monumental error. They got the vote and corporate presidencies. Sounds good to me. Phyllis George, look what you have started.

So, there you have it. Another selection of four. They all have to win just to balance last week. There are only a few crows left on the roof and another week like the last will invite the vultures.

Why do broadcasters and writers shrink from admitting errors and gaffs? Because they think you, at a given moment, are as stupid as they have just been.

Can we even the ledger this week? You gotta be kidding! If I knew that for certain we would have had four winners last week and been pressing to pay off the mortgage this Saturday and Sunday. Go for the tease and enjoy the rest on the new giant screen TV that you will finally be able to pay for. Order it and use the credit card. Yours.

Are they really going to rename the prevent defense the allow defense when teams get softer than Jell-O in the final moments of the game? It makes about as much sense as all those missed tackles by defenders who would have been better off using the tickets they gave away to family and friends, the same helmeted heroes that try to stop runners by waving at them, tackling above the waist and just putting a hand on a shoulder.

Have a great weekend!

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