There’s a first time for everything to happen, but with the Oakland Raiders, there can never be enough firsts.

Let me explain. Through the first four weeks of this NFL Season, the outcome of each and every Raider game ATS (against the spread) and SU (straight up) was exactly the same. Then, the bye week happened—everything changed.

In Atlanta they won ATS but not SU; at home last week the lost ATS yet won SU. (Editor’s note: The writer got each of the last two games wrong, hence the hysteria.)

Last week this columnist went 7-6 overall, 3-2 in what was given here, which brought yearly totals to 44-58-2 and 14-21.

Oakland (E) @ Kansas City. Welcome to our second pick’em of the season. The fact that the Chiefs have a quarterback competition scares me, for when you have two QBs, you basically have none. Oakland’s last two weeks have been impressive (even if they are a little frustrating from the gambling perspective), and they appear to be showing signs that their team is—finally—coming together. A lot of these AFC West contests aren’t about talent; they’re primarily about which team is either a.) playing better as of late, or b.) has their act together. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Oakland’s problems are all gone, nor do I think they ever will be, but they’re doing a whole lot better than KC right now in both of those categories.

Miami (+1) @ New York Jets. This line has moved with good reason: The Fish are flying up to New York to embarrass the J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets. Miami’s coming off a much-needed week off after playing back-to-back too-close-to-call-until-the-sixty-minute-mark games facing the Bengals and Rams; the little-brother-team from New York just got done losing a game in OT that ended with a sack and fumble, causing a painful loss with more questions than answers remaining. The Dolphins keep getting better, while the Jets continue to look like a different team each week. Take the team that’s consistent.

New York Giants (-1) @ Dallas. The G-Men have Dallas’ number; they beat them SU both times last season; furthermore, they covered both times, too. New York could lay claim to the NFC East with a victory in Big D, so that’s what I’d expect on Sunday. I know the last time these two played in the NFL’s season opener Dallas won, but that was in New York, and these teams have changed enormously: With the ‘Boys for worse and the Giants for better. Plus—if you require numbers to convince you I’m not crazy—the New York Football Giants are 1-3 ATS at their place and 2-1 in everyone else’s. Enough said.

New Orleans @ Denver (-6). No one wants to play the Denver Broncos right now—especially a team without a defense like the New Orleans Saints. Two weeks ago on Monday Night Football, the Broncos went ahead and spotted the Chargers 24 first-half points, yet they still beat the Lightning Bolts by double digits. Then, Denver got last week off to prepare for a Sunday night game versus the Ain’ts. NO had their bye week before last week’s contest in Tampa, but even the extra week to prepare couldn’t keep their D from giving up more than 400 yards passing. Imagine what a certain Broncos QB will do to that group of guys?

San Francisco (-6 ½) @ Arizona. Another Monday Night Football Game; another six-and-a-half-point spread. Something’s up here. I can’t, however, let any sort of superstition dissuade me from taking the Niners in this spot. San Fran getting a few more days off after winning that defense-fueled Thursday night contest with Seattle makes them confident but not cocky, because playing two divisional teams in as many weeks should give them a heightened awareness of the importance of these NFC West games. They need to take care of business in each and every one of them. I think they will…23-10.

How about more Jack White, with the help of Hype Williams this time?


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