Damon was too busy this week, so I made these picks solo. Last week was a disaster, but we weren't in love with any of the games on that slate, so we're not going to read too much into it. This week, I like the Redskins, Steelers and Dolphins. I had no idea what to do with the Chargers-Saints or Vikings-Titans. And I'm not sure how seriously you should take my hunch on the Packers-Colts. Probably stupid to be living in 2011 at this point, but I did it anyway.
Cardinals -1 at Rams
Normally I'll take the home dog almost reflexively in a national game, but the 4-0 Cardinals - despite struggling with a scrappy Dolphins squad - are getting disrespected here. Back Arizona.
Cardinals 21 - 17
Falcons -3 at Redskins
The Redskins are nothing special, but they're probably not a league doormat, and I'll take them at home against a Falcons squad that was life and death against the Panthers last week in the Georgia Dome. Back Washington.
Redskins 27 - 24
Eagles +3 at Steelers
The Eagles are 3-1, but their wins are by the slimmest of margins, and their defeat was decisive. The Steelers at 1-2, at home, likely to get James Harrison and Troy Polamalu back and coming off a bye will be ready, and I don't expect Philly to keep up. Back Pittsburgh.
Steelers 27 - 20
Packers -7 at Colts
I have a Packers feeling here even though they've done nothing this year to merit this kind of road favorite status. Back Green Bay who pulls away late.
Packers 38 - 20
Browns +9 at Giants
The Giants play much better as dogs than they do as favorites, and the Browns showed they can be scrappy in Baltimore last Thursday. Plus, Phil Dawson is always in range. Back Cleveland.
Giants 24 - 17
Dolphins +4 at Bengals
The Dolphins took the Cardinals to overtime in Arizona, and Ryan Tannehill looks like an NFL quarterback. Moreover, Miami's defense is probably better than Cincy's, and four points seems generous. Back the Dolphins.
Dolphins 24 - 23
Ravens -5 at Chiefs
The Chiefs have been terrible early on, but Baltimore's defense isn't as nasty as it once was, and I like taking the ugly home dog. Back KC.
Ravens 21 - 20
Seahawks +3 at Panthers
It's been easy money to back the Seahawks at home and fade them on the road so far this year, and while it won't continue forever, I'll ride it until I lose or the line adjusts drastically. Back the Panthers.
Panthers 23 - 19
Bears -5.5 at Jaguars
This game is pretty similar to the Ravens-Chiefs, only with the Bears having more defense and less offense than the Ravens, and the Jaguars having less weapons than the Chiefs. Either way, I think Jacksonville makes a good buy-low at home with the Bears coming off a short week and traveling for the second game in a row. Back the Jags.
Bears 17 - 13
Titans +5.5 at Vikings
My first instinct in games like this is to take the Titans. It's not always or even usually right, but I'll stick with it. For some reason, I don't buy into Minnesota yet. Back Tennessee.
Vikings 23 - 20
Broncos +7 at Patriots
Peyton Manning seems all the way back, in which case this line should be closer to three than seven, especially since the Broncos defense is probably at least as good as the Pats'. Back Denver.
Patriots 30 - 27
Bills +10 at 49ers
The Bills are a good buy-low and the Niners a sell-high, but Buffalo's defense is soft, and the Niners should have success pounding the ball. And if the Bills get behind, it's likely Ryan Fitzpatrick makes some mistakes against this defense. Niners roll.
49ers 31 - 13
Chargers +3.5 at Saints
I hate both of these teams, especially the Chargers who can fail to show without notice. But more than a field goal against a winless team? That seems like a lot of value. Back San Diego.
Saints 24 - 23
Texans -9 at Jets
Don't ask me to explain this or describe how it will happen, but out of principle I have to take the Jets as a nine-point Monday night home dog. Back New York.
Texans 17 - 13
We went 4-11 last week to go 31-30-2 on the year. From 1999-2011 we've gone 1,689-1,512 (52.8%), not including ties.