Things getting little bit pushy

TREVOR BUNKE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

If you've given yourself more than 30 check marks through the first four weeks of the NFL season, congratulations, you are an NFL soothsayer.

If you've given yourself more than 30 "Xs," it's probably time to take up polo.

I, surprise, surprise, have 31 "Xs" after the season's first 60 games.

Of course, that's what back-to-back -- not to mention underwhelming -- 6-8 weeks will do to a guy's record.

"But," you might say, "you are only three games under .500, plenty of time to recover."

Sure there's time. Then along comes Week 5, in which 10 of the 14 spreads are three points. An 11th is 2.5 points.

So get ready for a weekend of last-second cussing, and pushes, as you put your faith in kickers named Rackers, Bryant and Bironas.

Chicago (+3) at Cleveland: The only point of reference these teams share (beside the fact they're both coming off a bye week) is that they've both played and lost to Cincinnati. The Bears lost by 17 at home. The Browns lost by 14 on the road. I'll take the point differential in their losses and Cleveland's home field. BROWNS

New Orleans (+3) at Green Bay: The Saints looked like a team on the rise last week. The Packers, even though QB Brett Favre made things close Monday night vs. Carolina, are still winless. They shouldn't be favoured by a field goal. SAINTS

Tampa Bay (-3) at NY Jets: The Buccaneers have played with fire the past two weeks: A one-point win over Green Bay and a three-point win over Detroit. And they might be down RB Cadillac Williams this week. The Jets, even with the aging Vinny Testaverde at QB, can hang tough. JETS

Seattle (+3) at St. Louis: The Rams played the Seahawks three times last year and won all three games. Enough said. RAMS

New England (+3) at Atlanta: The Patriots haven't lost two straight games in nearly three years. New England got into trouble last week because of the Chargers' passing game. The one thing Falcons QB Michael Vick lacks in his arsenal is top-flight receivers. And, for what it's worth, the Pats have won eight straight games in domes. PATRIOTS

Miami (+3) at Buffalo: Whether it's Kelly Holcomb or J.P. Losman at QB for the Bills, the offence is in for a rough ride against the surprising Dolphins. DOLPHINS

Baltimore (+1) at Detroit: Why would the Ravens be underdogs in Detroit? Their offence stinks. LIONS

Tennessee (+3) at Houston: Titans or Texans? They're both bad, so take the points. TITANS

Indianapolis (-15) at San Francisco: Now that the Colts have found their offence, this could be real, real ugly. The 49ers have no offence whatsovever. COLTS

Carolina (-2.5) at Arizona: It's awfully tough playing on the road, as the Panthers will, after Monday night game, especially in the desert. The Cardinals might just have found their game last weekend in Mexico City. CARDINALS

Philadelphia (-3) at Dallas: The Cowboys have been in four close games. That's about to end. I can't bet against Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb after the comeback he led last week vs. the Chiefs. EAGLES

Washington (+7) at Denver: The Redskins, the worst unbeaten team in the NFL, will finally lose this week -- big. The return of RB Clinton Portis to Denver is intriguing, however. BRONCOS

Cincinnati (+3) at Jacksonville: The Bengals, even though they have yet to take out a heavyweight this season, are undefeated. The Jaguars are reeling after last week's home loss to the Broncos -- a team I don't think is as good as Cincinnati. BENGALS

Pittsburgh (+3) at San Diego: Everybody seems to be on the Chargers' bandwagon. The Steelers, however, are no slouches themselves. QB Ben Roethlisberger has only two losses -- both against the Patriots. Pittsburgh might not win, but getting three points is too good to pass on. STEELERS

Byes: Kansas City, Minnesota, NY Giants, Oakland.

Last Week: 6-8.

Season: 28-31-1.

Best Bet: Miami.

Best Bets: 2-2 after 4-point favourite Jacksonville lost 20-7 to Denver.

Suicide Pick: Indianapolis.

Suicide Picks: 4-0 after Cincinnati beat Houston 16-10.


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