Get your darts out and welcome to the NFL selection show.

While only three underdogs won this past weekend, there were eight games in which the spread was three points or less. In other words, a pick 'em.

While we tend to be "homers" here in the Northeast, particularly in the Boston area, it's worked to our advantage. The Patriots are one of the few teams you can count on these days having not only won the last four weeks, but also covering the point spread pretty comfortably. 

The Patriots, now 7-1, have covered the spread six times. In other words, picking the Patriots is a safe bet in Las Vegas — and it's an even safer bet in the "I Beat Burt" Contest.

With the Patriots off in Week 9, we will use the Denver Broncos point total as the first (and most important) tiebreaker. Remember, when I struggle during a certain week, the point total estimate is pivotal. 

A week ago, it didn't matter as only four entries "beat" Burt. This week was a tad easier ... OK, a lot easier. I had only six correct selections (and one tie) out of the 12 games. As tough as it was, there were only 32 entries (out of 185) with more than six wins.

The first tiebreaker, the Patriots point total (41), was used. All of this week's winners were within three points of the Patriots big offensive day in Buffalo last Sunday. The second tiebreaker — number of correct selections — also came into play as all the of the winners who chose 38 or 44 points had eight wins.

The Week 9 contest is already online. Remember, the games must be submitted on-line by midnight on Saturday night. All mailed entries must be postmarked by Saturday. If anybody has a problem with the online entry blank, send me a note at

T-shirts are here at the newspaper office in North Andover. If you can't pick your winning shirt up, it can be mailed to you. Also, if you have a T-shirt and are out at a local or national hotspot, take a photo and send it to us at

Week 8 winners

Brian Wallis of Danvers

Jennifer Lajoie of Salem

George Prodanas of Peabody

Barry Nangle of Georgetown

Jack Cameron of Amesbury

Larry Cavalieri of Newburyport

Larry Corcoran of West Newbury

JW Rymsha of West Newbury

Amanda Knowles of Gloucester

Stephanie Griffith of Newburyport