I really don't like this slate much. Except for Arizona (which the numbers guys hate) and Detroit (who I think is overrated), none of these plays jumped out at me. I'm almost positive my Chargers, Dolphins and Rams picks are wrong, too, but I felt I had to do them because that's where the sharp money seemed to go. Not that the sharps can't be wrong, but unless you have a strong read on a game, it's probably better just to follow the money.
Chargers -1.5 at Jets
The Jets won Monday night, but were badly outplayed by the Dolphins in the first half. I think the Chargers are the better team and should control this game, but it's hard not to expect at least one special teams disaster. Barring that San Diego wins and covers. Back the Chargers.
Chargers 23 - 17
Seahawks +2.5 at Browns
It's time to sell the Seahawks high off their road win against the Giants and buy the Browns low at home. Back Cleveland.
Browns 24 - 20
Falcons +3.5 at Lions
I still think the Lions are overrated, but the Falcons don't travel well, and they're probably the most overrated team in the league. Back the Lions who pull away late.
Lions 31 - 20
Redskins +2 at Panthers
I like the Redskins getting points here, given their vastly superior defense. The Panthers are one of the season's better stories, but they've beaten only Jacksonville, and Washington's won three and been in both of the games they lost. Back the Redskins.
Redskins 27 - 23
Bears pick 'em vs. Buccaneers (in London)
I have no idea who's going to win this game. Both teams are coming off bounceback wins last week, and both have been up and down so far this year. I'll take the Bears on the hunch that they've solved their protection problems somewhat. Back Chicago.
Bears 20 - 19
Broncos +1 at Dolphins
I'm kind of buying into the Tim Tebow hype, but the Dolphins have to be the sharp play here. It's just so hard to back them given how they handed the game away to the Jets last week with dropped passes and ill-advised playcalling, including punting on 4th and inches in Jets territory and attacking Darrelle Revis with fourth-round rookie Clyde Gates. Still, I'm going to hold my nose and do it. Back the Dolphins.
Dolphins 23 - 21
Texans +3 at Titans
I'm not a big believer in Tennessee, but the Texans without Andre Johnson and Mario Williams are not a very good team. I think the Titans will cover this number at home.
Titans 27 - 20
Steelers -3.5 at Cardinals
I thought maybe the Steelers had turned the corner a couple weeks ago, but after seeing them life and death against the Jaguars at home, I don't think that's the case. The loss of James Harrison and a decimated offensive line are serious concerns, and even Mike Wallace is questionable with a hamstring injury. The Cardinals are probably below average, but coming off a bye and getting more than a field-goal at home, they seem like an easy call. Back Arizona who wins outright.
Cardinals 20 - 19
Chiefs +4.5 at Raiders
Carson Palmer's presence is a real wild card - I have no idea how ready he'll be and even what kind of player he is anymore. Given the uncertainty, I'm inclined to go with the dog and take the points. Back the Chiefs.
Raiders 24 - 23
Packers -9 at Vikings
Christian Ponder's name is two English words as well as a complete sentence (subject and verb). It would be more apt if he were matched up against Tim Tebow rather than overmatched by the Packers, but in any event, I think one has to fade Green Bay every week until the lines come down. Back Minnesota.
Packers 24 - 17
Rams +12.5 at Cowboys
I have no idea whether Sam Bradford will play, but A.J. Feeley is a competent backup, and St. Louis is a desperate animal. Moreover, Dallas is so Jeckyll and Hyde, it's almost impossible to say how they'll play in a given week. Back St. Louis.
Cowboys 27 - 17
Colts +14 at Saints
Normally I take the dog when the spread hits double digits, but I think the Saints will be up for this game after a tough road loss, and the Colts will be overwhelmed on the road. Back New Orleans.
Saints 37 - 17
Ravens -8.5 at Jaguars
The Ravens usually beat up on bad teams, but I could see both teams slugging it out on the ground and slowing down the pace. When that happens, there's usually a low score, and the 8.5 matters more. Back the home dog.
Ravens 20 - 12
We were 8-3-2 last week to put us at 45-41-4 on the season. From 1999-2010 we've gone 1565-1387 (53%, not including ties).
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