Last week was a clunker at 4-8-1, though a few games turned on a play or two. The Titans scored on fourth down to cover against the Bills, Jim Harbaugh declined a safety and the Bucs fell short because Mike Williams was shoved out of bounds. Nonetheless, those bounces go both ways over the course of the year, and I'm not going to recount the ones in our favor because frankly I don't remember them - they're all just wins to me.
This week, we really like the Eagles, Cardinals and Broncos. We had a lot of trouble with the Lions-Seahawks, Chargers-Browns, Giants-Cowboys and Jaguars-Packers.
Buccaneers +6.5 at Vikings
The Vikings were lucky to come away with a win last week against the Cardinals, given how poorly Christian Ponder played, and while the Bucs are unwatchably uninspiring and with a caveman for a coach, we'll take the points here. Back Tampa.
Buccaneers 20 - 19
Jaguars +13 at Packers
Damon and I almost always take the dogs with double-digit spreads, but I'm surprised the line's not even bigger (and it might get bigger once more than one book posts) given how well Green Bay's been playing of late and that Jacksonville's down to its second-string QB and missing arguably its best player. Back the Packers who roll.
Packers 35 - 17
Dolphins +1.5 at Jets
Two similar teams that lack offensive weapons of note but play sound defense. This line should probably be three, so we'll take the Jets.
Jets 20 - 17
Chargers -1.5 at Browns
This is probably where the Chargers bounce back now that everyone's left them for dead and destroy Cleveland. The problem is I had to pick some games for our videos Monday night, and took Cleveland with an early line of three. Hopefully, our video editor gets my email in time because I'd hate to have two opposite picks. Moreover, Damon likes the Browns, and I'd feel like a total jackass if I laid points with San Diego on the road, and they lost. But I have to go with my gut here. Back the Chargers.
Chargers 27 - 17
Colts +3.5 at Titans
The Titans are on a two-game winning streak, but I can't buy into them yet as a field-goal-plus favorite. Back Indy who wins outright.
Colts 24 - 23
Patriots -7 at Rams (in London)
We picked the Pats to cover a big spread at home against the Jets, and they nearly lost the game. Maybe they'll flex their muscles like Green Bay did last week in St. Louis, but we see the Rams are roughly equal to the Jets, and this is too many points. Back the Rams.
Patriots 27 - 21
Falcons +1.5 at Eagles
The Eagles are a frustrating team with all the turnovers and bad clock management, but Andy Reid is 13-0 in his career off a bye week, and the Falcons are not nearly as good as their 6-0 record, having barely beaten the Raiders and Panthers at home in recent weeks. Back the Eagles who roll.
Eagles 34 - 16
Panthers +9 at Bears
The Panthers aren't quite a doormat, but they're close, while the Bears look like one of the elite teams in the league, particularly on defense. Moreover, you'd think the Bears would shred the Panthers on the ground. Still, I like Carolina as a desperate animal with some offensive playmakers getting the points. Back the Panthers.
Bears 24 - 17
Seahawks +1.5 at Lions
I'm torn on this one because the Seahawks are the better team, and they played well enough on the road against the Niners. The Lions defense isn't bad, though, and if anything they might force the ball to Calvin Johnson this week which would be a good thing. I'm holding my nose and taking Detroit.
Lions 19 - 13
Redskins +4.5 at Steelers
The Steelers looked a little like the team we're used to seeing in the second half against Cincinnati, but that's a small sample, and Andy Dalton is no Robert Griffin III. Take the Redskins who keep it close and possibly win outright.
Redskins 27 - 24
Raiders +1 at Chiefs
These doormats are rough equals in our opinion, so give us the home team laying less than three. Back the Chiefs.
Chiefs 24 - 20
Giants -1 at Cowboys
Damon was sure the Cowboys were the value play as home dogs, and I can't say I disagree with him. I don't usually mind fading the Giants as a favorite as they can still win and cover (like last week), but as a one-point favorite? That's a conflict of interest. I suppose I have to be a professional about it and take the Cowboys, but I'll be rooting to be wrong. Back Dallas.
Cowboys 27 - 23
Saints +6 at Broncos
The Saints play no defense whatsoever, and while you can get away with that against the Buccaneers, it's going to be a problem on the road in Denver. Back the Broncos who win fairly comfortably.
Broncos 37 - 24
49ers -7 at Cardinals
Maybe I'm missing something, but the Niners offense doesn't seem nearly good enough to lay seven on the road against a tough defense. Unless John Skelton hands San Francisco 14 points (a possibility, to be sure), the Cardinals should cover here. Back Arizona at home.
49ers 16 - 13
We went 4-8-1 last week to go 50-51-3 on the year. From 1999-2011 we've gone 1,689-1,512 (52.8%), not including ties.