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Don’t Distract The Pack

Sat., Nov. 22, 1997

The Green Bay Packers did not lose to the Indianapolis Colts by accident; they lost by distraction. The defending Super Bowl champions simply were too busy Sunday to worry about a football game. Heck, these Packers have more outside interests than Marlin Perkins.

The Packers’ off-the-field schedule is so cluttered, several players practice by appointment only.

Here’s a partial look at a typical Packers weekday:

9:02 a.m.: Coach Mike Holmgren tries to start practice, but he left bullhorn in his John Deere tractor.

9:29: Entire special teams is in makeup to prepare for guest appearance on “The Frank Winters Show.”

9:45: Linebacking corps runs out for kielbasa sale at Red Owl.

10:14: First-team offense practices for 10 minutes.

10:25: Brett Favre piles offensive line into pickup for end-of-season duck-blind blowout at Farm & Fleet.

Noon: Fish boil in Sturgeon Bay!

5:03: Semifinals begin of team Pictionary tournament.

Green Bay hopes to rebound Sunday at home against Dallas. Take the Cowboys and the seven points.

As always, the following point-spread picks should not be used as the basis for any actual cash wager:

Chargers at 49ers (-14): Because the 49ers had run off the winningest coach in NFL history, because they had brought in some Frankie Avalon knockoff to replace him and because they had rammed a stadium referendum down the taxpayers’ throats, The Man proclaimed in August they would suffer their “worst season in 15 years.” Oops. Pick: 49ers.

Bills at Oilers (-2-1/2): Last week I told my faithful readers and loyal disciples that the “exact final score” of the Oilers-Jaguars game would be Tennessee 26, Jacksonville 22. In actuality, it was Jacksonville 17, Tennessee 9. Oops. Pick: Oilers.

Vikings at Jets (-2): In Minneapolis, debate over public funds for schools or a new stadium has led to the following compromise: Classrooms will have reclining chairs with cup holders, stadium seating will feature individual desks for 60,000 fans. Pick: Vikings.

Buccaneers (-5) at Bears: Frankly - and this is the honest-to-goodness truth - I knew Trent “T.D.” Dilfer was going to have a terrific year when I saw him make a birdie to finish fourth at the Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship in July. Pick: Buccaneers.

Chiefs at Seahawks (-2-1/2): Last week, Chiefs LB Derrick Thomas gave his teammates hats commemorating his 100th career sack. This week, tackle Jeff Criswell will give out hankies in honor of his 100th career holding penalty. Pick: Seahawks.

Cardinals at Ravens (-5): The Mann Act prohibits transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes. The Tobin Act prohibits transporting a Cardinal across state lines for the purposes of winning a game. Pick: Ravens.

Dolphins at Patriots (-5): In Pete Carroll’s one previous season as a head coach, his 1994 Jets were 6-5 but finished 6-10. Ah, Carroll’s 1997 Patriots also are 6-5, but, alas, I think they’re headed to 8-8. Pick: Dolphins.

Raiders at Broncos (-9): Argument broke out in Raiders’ TV room Thursday: Offense wanted to watch “Diagnosis Murder” on CBS, defense wanted to watch “World’s Scariest Police Stings” on Fox. Pick: Raiders.

Giants at Redskins (-6): U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq get a warmer reception than Giants will get in Washington. … I still like the sound of “Dave Brown Buick.” Pick: Redskins.

Steelers (-3-1/2) at Eagles: Key to Steelers’ success: At halftime, QB Kordell Stewart showers, shaves and puts on just a splash of Michael Jordan cologne. Pick: Steelers.

Jaguars (-5-1/2) at Bengals: To stifle recent fumbling woes, benched Bengals QB Jeff Blake next will try an oversized first-baseman’s mitt. Pick: Bengals.

Panthers (-4) at Rams: In effort to speed up game, NFL has suggested Panthers offense start all possessions on third-and-9. Pick: Rams.

Saints at Falcons (-5): Saints’ Mike Ditka has installed locker room ATM - and only his password works. Pick: Falcons.

Colts at Lions (-9): Colts’ victory to be featured on a very special “Millennium.” Pick: Lions.

Last week: 6-9. Season record: 84-76-4.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Norman Chad Syndicated Columnist

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