Another brutal week, and the second one always hurts worse than the first because it's not as easy to write off. Plus, while there were some annoying losses like San Diego - in whom I never wanted to invest in the first place - and Washington - which lost its starting QB while the game was tied - there were also some ugly blowouts like Jacksonville and Tennessee where the error of our ways was evident from the outset.
This week, I hated the slate at first, but have warmed up to it since after going over it a few times. I particularly like the Bills, Dolphins and Broncos.
Steelers -5.5 at Titans
This is a tough one, especially because we're probably rolling with the Steelers in survivor, but I think we have to go ugly and back Tennessee. Don't ask how, just take it on faith like you did with the Jets-Texans on Monday night. Back the Titans.
Steelers 19 - 16
Raiders +9.5 at Falcons
The Falcons are usually better at home, and I could see this one being a blowout. But the Raiders have had the week off and will be up for this one against an undefeated team. We're taking Oakland, and as I type this, I have an odd hunch they win outright (This from someone who's gone 8-21 ATS the last two weeks, so please draw your own conclusions). Huge games from Darren McFadden and Carson Palmer. Back the Raiders.
Raiders 31 - 28
Chiefs +3 at Buccaneers
I hate this game. Damon liked the Bucs when it was minus-2, but at three, I'm genuinely torn. I suppose we'll stick with it since I don't have an overwhelming Chiefs feeling, but more of a sense that their defense is turning a corner. Back Tampa.
Buccaneers 16 - 10
Colts +3 at Jets
This is an interesting line because off their upset of Green Bay, you'd think the Colts would be at worst a pick 'em against a Jets squad that's missing Darrelle Revis and almost all of its experienced pass catchers. But that the Jets are still laying three even though the public is on Indy makes us think there's value in backing the Jets. But maybe there's an exception to the buy-low, sell-high mantra when the team on the rise is helmed by an up-and-coming superstar quarterback. Having a great quarterback is such a game-changer, the books might be slow to catch on. But to date, Luck in real life has been good, but not great, and I still think the smart money is on the Jets. Back New York.
Jets 24 - 17
Bengals -1 at Browns
We liked this game a lot better when the Browns were getting three, but with Joe Haden back, and Brandon Weeden looking like a real quarterback, we're still backing Cleveland.
Browns 24 - 23
Lions +4.5 at Eagles
I want to back Philly as I've thought Matt Stafford and the Lions were overrated since last season. But the Eagles simply haven't won their games by large margins, are sloppy with the ball and the Lions are desperate and coming off a bye. Back Detroit.
Eagles 31 - 30
Rams +3.5 at Dolphins
We could go either way here, but the Dolphins seem a little bit better on both sides of the ball, and they're at home. Back Miami.
Dolphins 23 - 13
Cowboys +3.5 at Ravens
The Ravens defense doesn't seem like the same dominant unit it's been in years past - possibly because Terrell Suggs is out - but we have to take them at home against a Dallas team that always comes with implosion risk. Back Baltimore.
Ravens 27 - 17
Bills +4.5 at Cardinals
I know the Bills just got worked 45-3, and it's their second trip to the west coast in as many weeks. And I don't doubt the Cardinals have a solid defense. But I'm buying low here on a team with arguably the best running game in the league and a defense that should get a respite against a weak offensive line. Back Buffalo who at the very least keeps it close and possibly wins outright.
Bills 21 - 17
Patriots -3.5 at Seahawks
The Patriots are the anomalous team that almost makes me re-think the "always back the Seahawks at home" mantra, but not quite. I'll take the field goal and the hook. Back Seattle.
Seahawks 20 - 19
Giants +5 at 49ers
I know the Niners have been blowing teams out of the building, but the Giants play well as dogs under Tom Coughlin and always seem to play the league's top teams tough from Green Bay and New England twice last year to the same Niners in the playoffs. Back New York.
49ers 23 - 20
Vikings +1.5 at Redskins
What a strange line, especially with RGIII's status up in the air. The 4-1 Vikings should be a pick 'em at worst and possibly even laying points here. This one feels a little odd, so we're going to buy the Redskins low - especially with Griffin cleared to practice. Back Washington.
Redskins 24 - 20
Packers +3.5 at Texans
I keep believing the old Packers will somehow show their faces - I lost ATS both two weeks ago against the Saints and last week in Indy. Now I'm fading them as 3.5-point dogs in Houston, so I'm sure this is when they'll show up. Still, based on this year's body of work, the Texans are more than half a point better on a neutral field. Back Houston.
Texans 26 - 19
Broncos +1 at Chargers
You might want to fade this pick because every time I bury the Chargers, they play well, but I can't back this heartless team in what should be a close game. The Broncos have surrendered big early leads three times this year (HOU, NE, ATL) only to mount comebacks that fell short. This week, they come back all the way. Back the Broncos.
Broncos 27 - 24
We went 4-10 last week to go 35-40-2 on the year. From 1999-2011 we've gone 1,689-1,512 (52.8%), not including ties.