The Pigskin Profit – Invest in Chargers, Raiders, Dolphins, Packers


After a joyless, brooding start, the Profit’s push toward .500 is on. We’ll get there… and beyond, I swear. Like they say back in Iceland, mediocrity is climbing molehills without sweating.

(Home teams in caps.)

MICHIGAN (-31) over Miami (OH): Wolves’ coming off mega-embarrassment in South Bend. Could prove to be Brady Hoke’s Appalachian State if no turnaround from here. Michigan never good in these heavy-number games, the let-down games. They like to nap through them. But Redhawks are hideous, and Hoke will pour it on to show he still has a live team.

RUTGERS (+3.5) over Penn State: Much rejoicing in Nittany Valley after bowl ban reprieve. Still, Lions not impressive in opening wins (UCF, Akron), despite QB Hackenberg bombing away. Run game in shambles. Rutgers cranked for its Big10 opener, but has beaten Nittanies only twice in 100 years. The first time was 1918, when the headline read “Rutgers Finds Penn State is Easy.” Won’t be easy this time, but take the points and hope the Knights’ enthusiasm can keep it close.

FRESNO ST (+10.5) over Nebraska: Nauseous Fresno defense allowing 55 ppg in opening two losses. The Italians looked better surrendering Tobruk.  Bo Pelini hasn’t been the Osborne successor Big Red was hoping for. Sneaking by McNeese State in final 20 seconds doesn’t help his case. Bathe the cat instead of watching this one, but check the papers and see how Fresno got it together and played a close one.

Southern Cal (-17) over BOSTON COLLEGE: Understand if you like Eagles here, getting SoCal after its squeaker over Stanford then the long plane trip East. But BC quarterback Murphy is an erratic; run defense also in shreds, surrendering 303 to Pitt a week ago. Trojans will try same formula, a ground charge on the Eagle line. SoCal may be upset ripe, but Eagles don’t have the people to take advantage.

Dolphins (Pick ‘em) over BILLS: Miami 2-7 in last nine trips to Orchard Park. Last week Bills’ defense stressed but didn’t fold in Chicago, forcing three turnovers and dropping Cutler twice. Dolphins hammered Brady and ran ball viciously in comeback over Pats. Injuries now gnawing at Miami defense. Points will be limited in this one, but Miami distinctly better at quarterback – Tannehill over Manuel. Call is 16-14, ‘Fins.

GIANTS (+1) over Cardinals: Lack of NY talent evident in Monday’s clunker at Lions. Gauzy offensive line, fair receivers, controllable pass rush, etc. Eli showing frustration with new scheme forced upon his offense. Cards looked solid all around in their opener. QB Palmer still firing the deep ball. Still, Cards never killers on the road. If Giants can’t rise up here, for the home opener, then it’s off to 5-11 land.

RAIDERS (+3) over Texans:  Oakland run game overrun last week in loss to Jets…McFadden 15 yds, Jones-Drew 11. QB Carr, a rookie, conjured decent numbers but on a ton of short balls, as Raiders managed only 158 total yards. Texans’ defense strong in close vs. Redskins, despite early loss of top pick Clowney. Houston should be the chalk pick, but remember this was a 1-7 road team last year. I have a hunch Oakland decides to give ‘em a go.

 PACKERS (-8) over Jets: GB embarrassed in Seattle, where most clubs are lately. Major trouble on Pack defense, where coordinator Dom Capers may be on his final threads. Regardless, garrison should be sharper after 10-day hiatus. Jets make first trip to Lambeau since 2006, when it was Favre vs. Pennington. Now it’s Rodgers vs. Geno Smith, who ain’t so good at playing catch-up.

Chargers (+5.5) over SEAHAWKS: Snafus hurt Bolts in raw loss at Arizona. Defense did fine job blanketing Larry Fitzgerald (1 catch) but couldn’t hold Cards on game-winning march. Loss of center Hardwick heavy blow; backup Ohrnberger only five starts since ’09. Seahawks still super high after big title Bowl run. No real weaknesses there. But QB Rivers can handle tough grinds like this. ‘Hawks will pound on him, but for second week in a row, Chargers will be in it late.

Last Week: 5-4

Season: 6-8  (College 4-5; Pros 2-3)

Tom Danyluk joins NFL Spin Zone after nine years as a columnist with Pro Football Weekly. He is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Super ‘70s,” which you can purchase on Questions or gripes? Please contact Tom at