Hack's picks


The bookies will tell you, "Beware of the home 'dog," and never has the NFL served up a week that might better illustrate that. Ten of the 14 home teams are underdogs, making for some perilous wagering, but doing little to discourage Blade pro football writer Dave Hackenberg who, as always, offers his weekly picks against a point spread:

Washington at Cleveland (+3): The Browns aren't very good, but they're 1-0 at home and Redskins didn't look like much on Monday night. Pick: BROWNS.

Cincinnati (+4) at Pittsburgh: Steelers added Duce Staley and Bengals still can't stop the run. Pick: STEELERS.

New York Giants (+7) at Green Bay: Packers' defense was terrible at Indy, but Peyton Manning doesn't play for the Giants. Pick: PACKERS.

Philadelphia at Chicago (+9): Eagles due a letdown, but McNabb and T.O. are on the same wave length. Pick: EAGLES.

New England at Buffalo (+5 1/2): Both coming off bye weeks. It's a gut feeling that Bledsoe will have a big day. Pick: BILLS.

Oakland at Houston (+2): Tough call, but Raiders might be better off with Kerry Collins' ability to throw deep. Pick: RAIDERS.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville (+4): The experts say good defense beats good offense. Usually. Not today. Pick: COLTS.

Atlanta (+3 1/2) at Carolina: Not many defenses are good enough to stop Michael Vick. Carolina has one of them. Pick: PANTHERS.

New Orleans at Arizona

(+3 1/2): Cardinals' offense is putrid, but they've played teams close. Hmm. Pick: SAINTS.

New York Jets at Miami (+5 1/2): A dangerous home 'dog. Fish have no O, but defense should be among best. Pick: DOLPHINS.

Denver at Tampa Bay (+3): Jon Gruden has to be embarrassed with this offensive product. Pick: BRONCOS.

Tennessee at San Diego (+3): With a healthy McNair, Titans are a far better team. However ... Pick: CHARGERS.

St. Louis at San Francisco (+3 1/2): Even Mike Martz can't screw the Rams up against woeful Niners. Pick: RAMS.

Kansas City (+5) at Baltimore: Some envisioned the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. We see them at 0-4. Pick: RAVENS.

Last week: 7-7. Season: 24-21.