This three-game lead in the Ness Guess Football Challenge against WQAD-TV sports director Matt Randazzo seems most uncomfortable right now.
First of all, it's the same lead Randazzo held a year ago, one that diminished by the end of December and turned into a pie in Randazzo's face on a Sunday night show on Channel 8.
It also now is a situation where even ties favor Randazzo. Last Week's 9-6s make the overall standings 7-4-2. Last week, the Ness Guess needed just one win in five weeks to assure no worse than a tie. Now that same one win is needed with four weeks left.
Plus, Randazzo vows to walk the ultra-conservative line. You will see nary a risk. "Desperation, my friend," he texts after predicting favorite after favorite. That means having no choice but to find underdogs with the best chance of coming through.
The NFL games aren't getting easier either. Last week's $100 prize went to Bill Marmion of Geneseo, who was one of three to go 12-3 and was off on the tie-breaker by just one point.
The others at 12-3 were Scott Sensabaugh of East Moline (off by 3) and Kay Davis of Milan (off by 7).
This week's games 1. Ravens at Redskins Ness: Ravens: Ray Rice might be the difference-maker. Dazzo: Redskins: RG3 deservedly gets headlines, but defense playing well also.
2. Chiefs at Browns Ness: Browns: Chiefs can't still ride that emotion wave. Dazzo: Browns: Quinn homecoming and no one cares.
3. Chargers at Steelers Ness: Steelers: Turning up the heat as December hits. Dazzo: Steelers: All my buddy Jose wants for Christmas is some Charger firings.
4. Titans at Colts Ness: Colts: Andrew Luck has been an amazing story. Dazzo: Colts: Won't need a "Lucky" finish this week.
5. Jets at Jaguars Ness: Jaguars: One TD for Jets at home last week, against pitiful Cardinals. Dazzo: Jaguars: No picking Sanchez for the rest of the year.
6. Falcons at Panthers Ness: Falcons: Playing for home edge throughout the playoffs. Dazzo: Falcons: Closing in on No. 1 seed.
7. Eagles at Bucs Ness: Bucs: OK, not as good as the Falcons. But close in my opinion. Dazzo: Bucs: Long list of reasons why.
8. Rams at Bills Ness: Bills: Rams spent it all against the Niners. Dazzo: Bills: As long as it doesn't go to OT.
9. Cowboys at Bengals Ness: Bengals: Cowboys continue to tease their fans. Dazzo: Bengals: Just when the Cowboys suck, they back in and lay an egg.
10. Dolphins at 49ers Ness: 49ers: Alex Smith will be back at QB before month's end. Dazzo: 49ers: Miami pays dearly for last week's Dome debacle.
11. Saints at Giants Ness: Giants: Confounding team. Very. Dazzo: Giants: Breese will throw a few TDs this week, though.
12. Cardinals at Seahawks Ness: Seahawks: Cardinals not confounding. They're just plain horrible. Dazzo: Seahawks: Cardinals are who we thought they were.
13. Lions at Packers Ness: Packers: This game will prove Dazzo's desperation. Dazzo: Packers: I will not succumb to Ness peer pressure. (Editor's note: Like I said.)
14. Bears at Vikings Ness: Vikings: AP ran for over 200 last week against the Packers. And Urlacher is out. Dazzo: Vikings: Life without Urlacher never good.
15. Texans at Patriots Ness: Patriots: It's one of those where I wish the Texans would win, but they won't. Not here. Dazzo: Texans: AFC championship game preview. You can enter the Ness Guess Football Contest, and have a chance at winning the $100 prize, until midnight tonight at www.qconline.com, clicking on the contest icon.
Today is Saturday, July 26, the 207th day of 2014. There are 158 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: It is said that the ferry company has cleared about $10,000 since the burning of the railroad bridge. Couldn't the company now afford to pay that little bill it owes the city? 1889 -- 125 years ago: The sum of $4 million in cash in addition to supplies of immense value were forwarded to Jamestown, Pa., from all parts of the country for relief of the sufferers from the great flood. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Board of Education secured a site for the New Central Grammar School by purchasing additional property south of Irving School for $3,400. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The total number of workers employed at the Farmall Works of International Harvester Co. has reached a peak of 5,300, the largest payroll in Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Army engineers testified today that the water levels of Lakes Huron and Michigan are at a 104-year low. The condition is causing a multi-million dollar loss to commercial shipping. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Department of Revenue issued certification for a tax-increment- financing district Friday afternoon, opening one more door for developer Jim Massa to proceed through on his way to establishing an automobile raceway.