You don't think Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder knows what he's talking about? Well, here's a chance to win a bundel betting against his pro football picks.
Not a day too soon has he come up with an early line. The first training camp opens Thursday, that of the New York Jets. The Redskins go to the Dickinson College campus at Carlisle, Pa., nine days later.
George Allan, the Lawerence Welk of the Sunday crunch set, is packing rations of Geritol. Sominex and Polident to sustain his agless wonders in their run against The Greek's odds.
Snyder is braving the wrath of Washington fans by saying the Redskins are no better bets to reach Super Bowl than Jack Pardee's Chicago Bears. It's 10 to 1 against.
In the National Football Conference, it is only 3 to 1 against the Los Angeles making the Super Bowl, because of the acquisition of 34-year-old, clanky-kneed Joe Namath.
Even Dallas is rated ahead of Minnesota repeating, 5 to 1 versus 6 to 1. It is 8 to 1 against St. Louis. And then come the Bears and Redskins at 10 to 1. No longer will the wild card necessarily be monopolized by the AFC East. The Bears are the new treat.
Those odds may be some solace for running back John Riggins of the Redskins, who may be down for a lecture from Allen about a confidence gap after being quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying, "I don't see any way the Rams won't be in the Super Bowl," excluding the Redskins by the implication.
Coach Allen may have to keep that notion from spreading here on Saturday, Dec. 17. The Rams come here for their regular season finale.
In the AFC, the defending Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders are rated the favorite. It's 4 to 1 against them, 6 to 1 against New England, 8 to 1 against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and 10 to 1 against Cincinnati.
In the NFC East, Dallas is an even bet to win the division. It's 2 to 1 against St. Louis, 4 to 1 against the Redskins, 10 to 1 against the New York Giants, and 50 to 1 against Philadelphia.
Snyder says of the Redskins. "Bill Kilmer, 36, has been advertised as the No. 1 quarterback, but who knows?" Joe Theismann is entering the option year on his contract. There will be a big change in the passing game with the return of Charley Taylor, out last season.
"Roy Jefferson has been out and wide receiver Don Clune has been obtained from Seattle. The Redskins are looking for improvement in the defensive line. Duncan McCoil, son of one-time Bears and Bill McColl, was drafted to be groomed behind Ron McDole.
John Riggins finished strong in 1976. The Redskins made an admirable comeback to win their last four games (against St. Louis, Philadelphia, the New York Jets and Dallas). The Colts and Rams are the only stiff outside competition for the Redskins."
DALLAS: "The Cowboys definitely needed a running back with outside speed. Tony Dorsett should fulfill that. Coach Tom Landry is concerned about age and past injuries in the offensive line. Blaine Nye may retire. The key replacement to be made is that of retired middle linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. Left linebacker Bob Breunig has been given the job and Randy White takes over at Breunig's outside spot.
"The Cowboys have a serious cornerback problem with Mel Renfro 35 and Mark Washington coming off knee surgery."
ST. LOUIS: "The problem is no longer the defensive line, but linebacking. Larry Stallings retired and Greg Hartle was signed as a free agent by the Redskins. Right cornerback Norm Thompson was taken by the Colts. Jim Hart was shaken up when the Cardinals drafted quarterback Steve Pisarkiewiez of Missouri (in the first round)."
NEW YORK GIANTS: "At quarterback, Jerry Golsteyn, the rookie who was wiped out by knee surgery in the exhibition season, is favored over Steve Ramsey.
"Beside Ramsey, who came from Denver in the trade of Craig Morton, the Giants have Dennis Shaw. Norm Snead has retired. Defensive tackle Gary Jeter of Souther California, the Giants' No. 1 draft pick, could make veteran John Mendenhall trade bait. Coach John McVay is concentrating on an offensive revival. Wide receiver is the Giants' greatest need."
PHILADELPHIA - "The Eagles did not have a draft pick until the sixth round. They are committed to Ron Jaworsky, late of the Rams, at quarterback. Coach Dick Vermeil probably will go to a three-man defensive line. The Eagles obtained defensive end Cliff Frazier from the Rams and defensive end Art Riley from San Diego. They may have a sleeper running back in Art Green, a big star in the Canadian Football League."
Outside the NFC Eastern Division, oddsmaker Snyder gave the following sketches on the prestige franchises:
LOS ANGELES: "Namath could make the offense something special. He won't have to throw as much as he did with Jets. When he does throw, his knees will be protected with the kind of blocking he has not known for years. Pat Haden is still advertised as the quarterback but Carroll Rosenbloom isn't paying Namath to be a backup.
"The Rams' main concern is signing tight end Charles Young, the former Eagle, because Bob Klein has retired. Mike Fanning is an able replacement for Merlin Olsen. The secondary is outstanding. Wendell Tyler of UCLA should help with backfield speed and on the kick-return units. The Rams look like a cinch for the NFC Western Division title, despite outside games against Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Oakland and Washington."
CHICAGO: "The Bears have improved enough to have a shot at the division title. They traded for Mike Phipps, who has experience to beat out Bob Avellini, Sid Gillman, the key coaching addition, has re-designed the stodgy offense to exploit Walter Payton as a receiver.
"He will be used in three or four different roles (in the manner that Gale Sayers, Frank Gifford and Paul Horning were), Wally Chambers may move from defensive tackle to defensive end. The Bears have a more favorable schedule than the Vikings. Only the Cardinals and Rams are tough outsiders."
MINNESOTA: "The Super Bowl loser could continue to slide, slip below Chicago - and possibly Detroit. The Chuck Foreman feud would be the key to the downfall. They got no immediate help in the draft. This could be the last year for Fran Tarkenton. The Vikings have a touch schedule: the Rams, Cowboys, Cardinals, Bengals and Raiders outside the division."
NEW ENGLAND: "This young but veteran team seems to have no real weakness. It almost eliminate Oakland from the playoffs. Steve Grogan is maturing as a quarterback; his mobility is a bonus threat. The Patriots have a solid, versatile running game with Sam Cunningham and Andy Johnson."
BALTIMORE: "Former Cardinal Norm Thompson signed as a free agent and should strengthen the pass defense at cornerback. The Colts are trying to trade with Kansas City for middle linebacker Willie Lanier. If they do not get Lanier, Sanders Shivers will get the shot at beating out Jim Cheyunski at the middle spot. Tom McLeod is back on the outside after recovering from leg trouble.
"The Colts are worried about Roger Carr and John Dutton playing out their option years. Outside the AFC East, the Colts play Pittsburgh, the Redskins, Denver and Detroit."
MIAMI: "Don Shula's hope of rebuilding the crippled 1976 defense was dealt a severe blow by the drug arrests of Randy Crowder and Don Reese. The Dolphins' first two draft choices were defensive tackles, A.J. Duhe of Louisiana State and Bob Baumhower of Alabama.
"Shula is counting on a lot of comebacks at linebacker and in the secondary. Nine guys in those groups had knee surgery.
The Dolphins may go to a three-man line exclusively.
"Bob Griese still has winning personnel on offense. Don Strock will be given much more attention at quarterback and wide receiver Nat Moore may be used some at running back, for outside speed."
OAKLAND: "The Raiders are prohibitive favorites to be in the Super Bowl again. They have the best quarterback - Ken Stabler - the best offensive line. They are solid - backed up at every position . . . the best organization in football. And so physical."
PITTSBURGH: "For the first time in several years, the Steelers have an obvious void to fill with the retirement of outside linebacker Andy Russell. Loren Toews is the leading candidate. Terry Bradshaw had an off year because of injuries, but the Steelers won their last nine games to make the playoffs."
CINCINATTI: The Bengals missed the playoffs, despite having a similar 10-4 record. They sought help for a more intimidating defense and made much of a first-round bonanza by drafting with their three picks defensive Eddie Edwards of Miami (Fla), defensive tackle Wilson Whitley of Houston, then tight end Mike Cobb of Michigan State."