I'm feeling a bit lost these first couple weeks with the historically high scoring and so many blowouts. I don't have a good read on a number of teams, and quite a few seemed to be matched up against each other. Thankfully, there are enough home dogs to latch onto, and a few other games I like a little. And last week the three teams I liked "a little bit," the Bengals, Raiders and Browns, all covered.
This week I like the Saints, Jaguars, Broncos and Vikings a little bit. I also had to make up lines for the NFC East games because no one has them on the board due to injuries.
Jaguars +3.5 at Panthers
I like the Cam Newton story as much as the next guy, and the Panthers defense probably isn't that bad. But I have to think the value here is with the Jaguars who no one wants any part of. Always fade the story. Back Jacksonville.
Jaguars 20 - 19
Broncos +7 at Titans
I'm not buying into the Titans just yet, but the Broncos are so banged up from Elvis Dumervil to Brandon Lloyd to Knowshon Moreno to Champ Bailey. I'd rather wait until Saturday or Sunday to pick this game, but if Lloyd and Dumervil (who both practiced Wednesday) play, I think seven is enough. Back Denver who hangs around.
Titans 24 - 20
Texans +4 at Saints
I'm agnostic about the Texans. They might be really good finally, but we've seen stretches like this from them before, and they've always come up short when it mattered. The Saints are at home, and they need this game more. Lay the points.
Saints 30 - 23
Lions -3.5 at Vikings
The Lions have looked strong to open the season, but now's probably a good time to sell their stock high, especially after a blowout win over the injury-decimated Chiefs. The Vikings held their own in San Diego, and they don't strike me as a doormat, even if Donovan McNabb is a below-average caretaker at this point in his career. Back the Vikings.
Lions 21 - 20
Giants +5* at Eagles
The Giants took care of the Rams at home, but it was far from convincing, and Sam Bradford shredded their banged-up secondary. The Eagles offense went up and down the field at will against the Falcons and probably would have won but for the injury to Michael Vick, whose status for this week is in question. If Mike Kafka plays, this line will probably go down to around three or four, and I saw one site put it at seven, but I assume that's with Vick as QB. I split the difference, made it five and am probably taking the G-Men in a rivalry game in that case. Back New York.
Eagles 27 - 23
* made up line - none available.
Patriots -9 at Bills
The Patriots are good, but laying nine on the road against an undefeated rival is asking a lot. The Bills have the firepower to stick around - or at least make it interesting with a backdoor cover. Back Buffalo.
Patriots 31 - 27
Dolphins +2 at Browns
I have no idea which of these two teams is better, and as such, I'd prefer the one playing at home and laying less than the full three. Back Cleveland.
Browns 20 - 16
49ers +2.5 at Bengals
I have no idea which of these two teams is better, and as such, I'd prefer the one playing at home and laying less than the full three. Back Cincy.
Bengals 17 - 14
Jets -3.5 at Raiders
I think the Raiders will be able to hang with the Jets, especially if this turns into a contest of power football on the ground. The one concern is Oakland losing such a heartbreaking game in Buffalo last week, but I'll take the points at home. Back the Raiders.
Raiders 19 - 17
Ravens -4 at Rams
The conventional wisdom is the Ravens should bounce back with a vengeance after laying an egg in Tennessee, and they might. But the Rams are a wounded animal at 0-2, and Sam Bradford actually played pretty well in New York Monday night. I think St. Louis will stay in this one at home. Back the Rams.
Ravens 24 - 23
Chiefs +15 at Chargers
The Chargers just can't seem to perform up to their statistical indicators no matter who they're playing against, while the Chiefs look like an out and out disaster. I hate these big lines because it's impossible to get a good feel. You always think the favorite will roll but know that the value has to be on the dog. It's a bad choice either way. I guess I'll take the Chiefs who should be pretty desperate Sunday.
Chargers 31 - 17
Falcons +1 at Buccaneers
I'm not a big believer in "Matty Ice" or the Falcons defense, especially on the road. Tampa's a hard team to read, but there's still some upside for them with a developing quarterback and two second-year receivers. Back the Bucs at home.
Buccaneers 24 - 19
Packers -3.5 at Bears
The Bears offensive line is a disaster, and their entire offense for some reason runs through a slightly-above average running back. The Packers move the ball up and down the field at will and are arguably the best team in the NFL. But I have to take the home dog, as Chicago always plays Green Bay tough, and I imagine this line would have to hit six or seven before the action would be split evenly among the squares. Back Chicago.
Packers 23 - 20
Cardinals -3.5 at Seahawks
Once again, I have to go ugly. Seattle has a sizeable home field advantage, and Arizona is a mediocre team laying points on the road. Back the Seahawks who win outright.
Seahawks 19 - 17
Steelers -11 at Colts
The Colts are a disaster, but I don't see how I can lay 11 points on the road with a Steeler team that's done nothing but beat up on the Seahawks at home. Back Indy.
Steelers 21 - 13
Redskins +4.5* at Cowboys
This is another game I'd rather wait a few days to pick. Tony Romo might or might not play, and it's the same with Dez Bryant. We already know Miles Austin is out, and the secondary is thin, too. I'm not overly impressed by the Redskins so far, but I think I have to take the points. Back Washington.
Redskins 27 - 20
* made up line - none available
We were 6-9-1 last week and 14-16-2 on the season. From 1999-2010 we've gone 1565-1387 (53%, not including ties).