I detailed the unpleasantness of last week in East Coast Offense, so there's no need to rehash it here. Let's just say all the good bounces I got in Week 14 were actually just on loan and not mine to keep.
I hate my picks this week. Felt like I was making them out of obligation more than love. The Panthers, Cardinals and Vikings - yuck. But how can I do the obvious and take the big favorite? Then again, I hated the Redskins pick last week, and it came through. But I have a terrible feeling about those three.
I like the Giants (though I am biased). They were so much better than the Eagles it was a joke, and I think they're better than the Packers, too. But you should probably ignore that one. I like the Bills here - could even see them winning outright. Also like the Raiders and Saints.
Have a good holiday. I'd be shocked if I do given how much I hate this slate.
Panthers +15 at Steelers
These huge lines are usually a crapshoot. The short week, the lack of Troy Polamalu without whom the Steelers aren't the same team incline me to take the points. Back the Panthers.
Steelers 20 - 6
Cowboys -7 at Cardinals
The Cardinals just lost by seven points to the Panthers. These are the same Panthers that got blown out by the Seahawks two weeks before. Still, someone's got to take them as seven-point home dogs, and it might as well be me. Expecting a wretched Christmas when they get blown out, but it's the right thing to do. Back the Cardinals.
Cowboys 26 - 20
Lions +3.5 at Dolphins
The Dolphins are a bizarre team, able to beat almost anyone and turn around and lose to almost anyone the following week. The Lions are no doormat, but all three of their quarterbacks are banged up, and I'll take Miami to bounce back at home. Back the Dolphins.
Dolphins 24 - 20
49ers +2.5 at Rams
The Rams are the savvy play here, laying less than the full three at home against a team that if anything has played worse than them this year. But I just have a feeling, the 49ers will win, and help create a three-way tie for first at 6-9. Back San Francisco.
49ers 21 - 20
Jets +1 at Bears
Rex Ryan's wife really does have nice feet, but I think I have to take the Bears laying only a point at home as these teams strike me as rough equals, and Chicago has a better field goal kicker. Back the Bears.
Bears 19 - 16
Patriots -8 at Bills
The Pats have blown out some good teams, but against Green Bay last week, they seemed more ordinary. Going into Buffalo this time of year against a rejuvenated Bills team is not an easy game, and they're laying eight points, to boot. Back Buffalo.
Patriots 24 - 23
Redskins +7 at Jaguars
My first inclination was to take the Redskins who played hard at Dallas last week, but I'm going to resist that. Rex Grossman isn't likely to play nearly as well, the Jaguars are at home, they need the game and they're coming off a big loss. Back Jacksonville.
Jaguars 28 - 20
Titans +5 at Chiefs
I've been back and forth on this one. I think I know who the Chiefs are, but I'm not as sure about the Titans. Typically in cases like this - where I'm not sure - I take the points. Back the Titans.
Chiefs 23 - 20
Ravens -3.5 at Browns
The Ravens have more or less locked up a Wild Card and are still playing for the division and a first-round bye, but that would entail the Steelers (who have the better division record) losing either to the Panthers, or in Cleveland next week. While the latter is certainly possible, it's most likely the Ravens are the AFC's No. 5 seed no matter what happens in Cleveland. I'll back the Browns to keep it close.
Ravens 20 - 17
Colts -3 at Raiders
This game sets up poorly for the Colts off their big win against Jacksonville. Oakland is a tough, physical team that runs the ball, and Indy's got to travel to the West Coast and play on what could be a muddy track. Back the Raiders.
Raiders 20 - 19
Texans -3 at Broncos
This is one of the games that gave me the most trouble. I want to take the Texans because they're better and coming off a bad loss. Also, because maybe Tim Tebow's perceived superpowers are holding down the line. But do I really want to lay a field goal on the road with a team that's out of the playoffs and missing its best defensive player? Back the Broncos.
Texans 24 - 23
Chargers -7.5 at Bengals
It's hard to like a warm weather finesse team traveling cross country to play a physical one in cold weather. The loss of Terrell Owens hurts, but the Bengals have enough weapons to hang around, so long as Carson Palmer doesn't give the game away. Back Cincy.
Chargers 23 - 17
Seahawks +6 at Buccaneers
I hate both of these teams, especially the Seahawks. What a dreadfully boring team with nothing exciting about it. And they're horrible on the road. Back the Bucs.
Buccaneers 24 - 17
Giants +3 at Packers
I can't even talk about what happened last week, but it was clear the Giants were the far better team than Philly. I think they're better than the Packers, too - even with Aaron Rodgers, but the key will be which team's pass rush gets to the opposing quarterback. The Giants at least can keep teams honest with the run. Back New York.
Giants 27 - 23
Vikings +15 at Eagles
I have no idea about this game. It seems like the line should be 20, but the Vikings defense (until the last couple games) hadn't been terrible, Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson might play and Philly could have a letdown after their dramatic (and lucky as hell) win over the Giants. Back the Vikings.
Eagles 27 - 13
Saints +2.5 at Falcons
I keep shorting the Falcons, and they keep covering. I'm still not a believer, and I just hope they don't win the Super Bowl because it'll continue to cost me if they do. Back the Saints who need this game more.
Saints 27 - 24
We were 8-8 last week to go 108-111-5 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)