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November 16, 2009 8:50 AM

Bring your lunch pail, bag the hype

romo baby.jpgJust when we thought the National Football League had gone retro and was back to clearly marking its teams as either haves or nots, yesterday came along and reminded us that the distance from the penthouse to the outhouse in the current-day NFL is often a hard-earned yard here or there.

In this league, no matter how pretty you think you are, Tony, you'd best roll up those sleeves, take that stupid ski cap off your head, grab a lunch pail, and be ready to put in three hours of hard work and good play.

After drinking their own Kool-Aid all week, do you think the Dallas Romos thought they'd go deep in the fourth quarter in Green Bay without scoring a single point?
Do you think those suckers on TV that can never seem to get enough of Jerry Jones' swill were smart enough to spit it out after watching his Cowboys do what they do best: lose meaningful games?
Me either.

But, hey, Jerry's 'boys weren't the only ones believing their own hype Sunday. As always, they were the silliest, though.

You think the undefeated Saints thought they'd have to play a full 60 minutes to finally shake free and escape against the one-win Rams?

What about the Dolphins needing every tick on the clock to put away a Buccaneers team that was banned in London only a few weeks ago?

And remember that Denver team that started 6-0? Well that team became the 6-3 team, that was decked by the kinder, gentler Washington team, that was gracious enough to make that awful Lions team look good earlier this year. Take, er, that, Denver!

Yesterday we were reminded yet again that in today's NFL, dining on what you did the week before, will only leave you feeling empty if you don't pay attention to what's on your plate on any given Sunday.

Still, amid all this chaos and upset, there was one team that didn't believe its press clippings yesterday. Instead, it continued to do its part to create them.
Marvin Lewis' Cincinnati team was all business when it went into Pittsburgh, gave as good as it got, and in the end, was just plain better, winning, 18-12.

With Oakland, Cleveland and Detroit on the Bengals' schedule the next three weeks, it would be mighty tempting to put three wins in the bank, and Cincinnati in the playoffs, wouldn't it?

I guess it all depends on whether these Bengals will accept fool's gold.

Now onto a sampling of what the nation's sportswriters and columnists are saying about their football teams across every NFL city, because in the Grill Room we love the newspaper business, even if it hates itself.    
(18) Carolina 28
(8) Atlanta 19

(16) Miami 25
(26) Tampa Bay 23

(3) Minnesota 27
(32) Detroit 10

(21) Jacksonville 24
(17) N.Y. Jets 22

(6) Cincinnati 18
(4) Pittsburgh 12

(1) New Orleans 28
(31) St. Louis 23

(24) Tennessee 41
(25) Buffalo 17

(30) Washington 27
(13) Denver 17

(27) Kansas City 16
(28) Oakland 10

(10) Arizona 31
(23) Seattle 20

(19) Green Bay 17
(7) Dallas 7

(12) San Diego 31
(11) Philadelphia 23

(2) Indianapolis 35
(5) New England 34

(*) denotes NFL 100-Proof Rankin

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