I feel pretty good about 8-5 last week given how clueless I was about most of the slate. I did like the Saints and Chargers, and I came around on the Niners, but that was about it. This week, it's back to normal with plenty of home dogs (6), and I took five of them. I also took two of the three big favorites. The games I feel best about are the Browns and Vikings.
Jets -4 at Lions
The Jets are the bounce-back play having been shut-out last week, but the Lions have played well of late, especially at home, beating the Redskins and blowing out the Rams. Moreover, they gave the Giants a hard time in New York and the Packers a tough game in Green Bay. I think four is enough. Back Detroit.
Jets 17 - 16
Buccaneers +8.5 at Falcons
The Bucs are 5-2, but given their component stats, they're due for a major correction, and in Atlanta is as good a place for it as any. Back the Falcons.
Falcons 27 - 13
Dolphins +5 at Ravens
I had a good deal of trouble with the game, but in the end, these teams are close to even, with the Dolphins playing well on the road and having barely lost to Pittsburgh at home. I'll take the points.
Ravens 20 - 19
Patriots -4.5 at Browns
This is my favorite type of game to bet – a scrappy home dog against a team that's probably not quite as good as its record or reputation. The Pats might prove me wrong, or the Browns could implode, but I like the setup and the value here. Take Cleveland who wins outright.
Browns 19 - 17
Cardinals +8.5 at Vikings
It's the dysfunctional franchise against the dire quarterback situation. Still, even with Randy Moss gone, and Percy Harvin iffy for the game, I expect Minnesota to force Derek Anderson into mistakes, control the game on the ground and roll. Back the Vikings.
Vikings 31 - 13
Bears -3 at Bills
I loved rooting for the Bills the last couple weeks as big road underdogs, and this week they're kind of an obvious play getting three at home. But I think the Bears will reset coming out of the bye and play a strong game. Back Chicago.
Bears 27 - 20
Chargers -2.5 at Texans
The Chargers got yet another punt blocked, but held on to win and cover (though not easily) last week. I expect Philip Rivers to have his way with the Texans secondary, and San Diego's defense is good enough to slow Houston down. Back the Chargers.
Chargers 33 - 27
Saints -6.5 at Panthers
The Jimmy Clausen-led Panthers nearly won in New Orleans, and now the Panthers are getting nearly a touchdown at home. I know New Orleans' win over the Steelers was impressive, but I don't think they show up as focused this week. Back Carolina.
Saints 20 - 19
Giants -7 at Seahawks
As a Giants fan, I couldn't be happier with the last four games, but the bye came at a bad time, interrupting their streak, and Qwest Field is one of the toughest venues at which to play in the NFL. Back the Seahawks.
Giants 24 - 20
Colts +3 at Eagles
It's rare to see the Colts as an underdog, especially against a non-elite team. But the Eagles coming off the bye with DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick back are pretty tough, especially at home, and Indy's coming off the short week. Back Philly.
Eagles 27 - 23
Chiefs +2.5 at Raiders
Who would have thought this would be such a consequential game? The Chiefs are 5-2, and the Raiders just won their last two games by a combined score of 92-17. I think these are roughly equal teams, though the Raiders might be without Nnamdi Asomugha. I really have no idea who to pick. Brain/heart say Oakland, gut says KC. (Brain is what you think you should do, heart is what you want to happen, gut is that nagging hunch irrespective of the other two). I'll go with the Chiefs who played tight games even in their two losses.
Chiefs 24 - 23
Cowboys +8.5 at Packers
The Cowboys will either get up off the mat, or they won't, and that alone will determine whether they're competitive enough to cover in this game. I really don't know what they'll do, but I think this line is big enough. Back Dallas.
Packers 23 - 20
Steelers -5 at Bengals
Ordinarily, I'd like the Steelers coming off a loss, but I don't think their stock has slipped much simply by losing on the road to the World Champs. The Bengals are having a tough year, but I can't turn down a five-point Monday night home dog in a division rivarly. Back the Bengals.
Steelers 19 - 16
We were 8-5 last week to go 57-56-4 on the season. We were 131-122 last year against the spread. From 1999-2009 we've gone 1439-1262 (53.3%, not including ties)