Last season, I showed off my NFL handicapping skills with my weekly sure-fire picks. At season’s end I was 56-77-2. Magnificently putrid.sports-betting[1]

I had better luck in my newspaper column, where I pick just four games rather than eight. There I went 41-37-1 (9-2-1 in the postseason).

This year will be different. For those of you living in states with legalized gambling, this is your ticket to a work-free life.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-7), 1 p.m. Sunday

If you read my last post you know how I feel about this one. Maurice Jones-Drew will make the middle of the Colts defense look like silly putty. This game comes down to the wire. Jaguars +7.

Dallas (-6) at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. Sunday

My Bucs’ loving friends back home in Florida are on suicide watch and a once steady franchise is in shambles. I don’t think the Bucs are quite as bad as advertised, but the Cowboys win by at least a touchdown here. Cowboys -6.

Minnesota (-4) at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Sunday

As much as I’d love to see Brett Favre fail miserably, the team around him is just too good. And the Browns are just too awful to rain on his opening-day parade. Vikings -4.

Detroit at New Orleans (-13), 1 p.m. Sunday

Matthew Stafford will be the Lions’ starter for the 2009 season. Apparently they are in no rush to get that elusive victory. The Saints’ offense will run circles around a pathetic Lions’ defense and put up at least five touchdowns. Saints -13.

Miami at Atlanta (-4), 1 p.m. Sunday

Chad noodle-arm Pennington leads the revamped Dolphins into the Georgia Dome. Good luck with that. A raucous crowd will make things hard on the Dolphins’ offense and they will struggle. Falcons -4.

San Francisco at Arizona (-6.5), 4:15 p.m. Sunday

Many are drinking the 49ers Kool-Aid. Not me. As long as Kurt Warner stays upright, the Cardinals will have no problem ruling the NFC West. Cardinals -6.5.

Chicago at Green Bay (-3.5), 8:20 p.m. Sunday

With Favre gone I wish the Packers nothing but success. After Cutler’s antics, he’s joined my list of hated, manipulative quarterbacks which includes John Elway and Eli Manning. Where’s Bubba Franks? Packers -3.5.

San Diego (-9.5) at Oakland, 10:15 p.m. Monday

Everybody is on the Chargers’ bandwagon this season. Well guess what? I’m on the Raiders’ bandwagon and there’s plenty of room here. This is probably a very bad bandwagon to be on. Raiders +9.5.