Normally, the last place you would find the New York Giants is first place. Any given Sunday, Giants games are the football equivalent to an industrial landfill - nothing much seems to happen, but, eventually, all the ground is contaminated. Watching the Giants play is like watching the crack in a windshield spread.
Yet now, inspired in part by the most inspiring sight in all of sport - Dave Brown on the bench - the Giants are on the New Jersey Turnpike to success. They have beaten four straight teams - well, three teams, plus New Orleans - to make it to midseason at 5-3.
And, thus, these incomprehensible Giants improbably sit atop the NFC East, ahead of the incorrigible Cowboys, the inconsistent Redskins, the incompatible Eagles and last - and certainly least - the somewhat incompetent Cardinals, who, actually, are just a few mistakes and Kevin Butler mis-kicks from being, oh, like, 13-0 right now.
Which brings us to the inevitable ESPN SportsZone poll: Are the Giants for real?
What are you, nuts?
The quarterback is Danny Kanell, the running back is Charles Way, the wide receiver is Chris Calloway and the coach is Jim Fassel. As a dazzling quartet, these fellas aren’t exactly the Beatles; my goodness, they’re not even the Meat Puppets. And let’s not for get the kicker, Brad Daluiso, who will warm your heart from 57 yards and break it from 27.
Frankly, if you saw this team playing in your backyard, you’d immediately put the house up for sale.
So suddenly the Giants are 5-point favorites against Cincinnati at the Meadowlands? Yeah, right. Nobody ever should be favored by more than a field goal on that swamp site. For, my friends, let me tell you an odd fact about the Giants Stadium field: Whichever direction a team is driving, it’s always going uphill. Take the Bengals and the points.
(Fun Facts: Odds against any Mir cosmonaut appearing on a box of Wheaties 800,000 to 1. Odds against Glenn Foley completing 14 consecutive passes 825,000 to 1.)
As always, all point-spread picks should not be used as the basis for any actual cash wager:
Colts at Chargers (-5-1/2): “Amor vincit omnia” is Latin for “Love conquers all.” The Man lives by these words and implores others to do the same, although, to be honest, at this point it might not make a dime’s worth of difference for the Colts. Pick: Colts.
Packers at Patriots (-2): On one hand, Green Bay is 0-7 against the point spread this season. On the other hand, this is the first time all year the Packers are underdogs and they’re playing the Pete Carroll-induced Patriots, who, as we all know, are 5-2 en route to 8-8. Pick: Packers.
Vikings at Buccaneers (-3): Vikings’ Brad Johnson may be a double-threat, but no Tony Dungy-coached team has ever allowed a quarterback to complete a touchdown pass to himself. Plus, my Bucs with a well-rested Trent “T.D.” Dilfer are playoff-ready and playoff-hungry! Pick: Buccaneers.
Raiders at Seahawks (-3): Among topics at Tuesday’s weekly Raiders sermon were “Reincarnation Explained,” “Theosophy for the Western Mind,” “Dreams and the Inner Life,” “Is Evolution Guided?” and “Crackback Blocks and You.” Pick: Seahawks.
Bears at Dolphins (-10): I don’t care if Chicago goes 0-16, Dave Wannstedt is aces with me. He went for two against the Pack, which makes him not only a man’s man, but also The Man’s man. Dave, mi casa es su casa (but call first). Pick: Bears.
Ravens at Redskins (-5): Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry snaps to attention when the Redskins “come with the dime package.” … Ravens defense first in NFL to add rip cord to huddle. Pick: Redskins.
Cowboys (-1) at Eagles: Because of growing demand for phone numbers fueled largely by players’ beepers Texas Bell plans to add new area code to Cowboys’ practice facility. Pick: Eagles.
Jaguars at Steelers (-3-1/2): Angered by loss to Cowboys, Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin brought in tough-as-nails radio therapist Dr. Laura to talk to defense Monday. Pick: Steelers.
Chiefs (-5) at Rams: Ted Turner offered charitable donation to Rams offense, but St. Louis municipal officials told him $1 billion would not be enough. Pick: Chiefs.
Broncos (-6-1/2) at Bills: Bills coach Marv Levy now lists age as 75 in order to get priority ticketing on Carnival Cruises. Pick: Bills.
49ers (-14) at Saints: New Louisiana law allows motorists to use gun if any Saints quarterback approaches their car. Pick: 49ers.
Falcons at Panthers (-6): New feature with Falcons’ weekly scouting report: Entertainment ‘97 coupons! Pick: Panthers.
Oilers at Cardinals (-1-1/2): Stoney, Kent and Jake Cardinals’ version of Larry, Darryl and Darryl. Pick: Oilers.
Last week: 6-5-1.
Season record: 50-52-4.
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Norman Chad Syndicated Columnist