A 7-7 week felt like 11-3 after the bad run leading up to it, especially because I had to win Sunday and Monday night to get there. But the week was probably better than it looked because six of the seven of the games I lost had special teams TDs and/or pick sixes go against me (DEN-CAR (2), TB-SD (2), JAX-IND (1), DAL-PHI (3), TEN-MIA (1) and OAK-BAL (1)). Of the games I won, I had zero defensive or special teams touchdowns for me, and actually one against me with NYJ-SEA. Of course, it made no difference in TEN-MIA and OAK-BAL, and might not have made a difference in a couple others, but either way, I'll take 7-7 under those circumstances.
This week, I particularly like Carolina, Kansas City and Oakland.
Dolphins +1 at Bills
I'm really loath to take the Dolphins getting just one point on the road after they got so destroyed at home against the Titans, but if there were ever a buy-low, this is it. Back the Dolphins.
Dolphins 24 - 20
Eagles +3.5 at Redskins
The Eagles certainly are the ugly play with no offensive line and Nick Foles at quarterback. But the Redskins defense is awful, and RG has no one to whom to throw. Back Philly.
Redskins 20 - 17
Packers -3.5 at Lions
I don't think much of the Lions, but Calvin Johnson is back, Clay Matthews is likely out and they're getting more than a field goal at home. Back Detroit in a 50/50 game.
Lions 31 - 30
Cardinals +10 at Falcons
Maybe the Falcons will roll now that they've gotten their obligatory first loss out of the way, but I wouldn't count on it. They struggled at home against the Panthers and Raiders, and the Cardinals are at least as good as those teams. Take the points.
Falcons 24 - 17
Buccaneers -1 at Panthers
At first glance, the Bucs are coming off a 10-point win while the Panthers a 22-point loss. But the Bucs had the benefit of a return TD and a pick six, while the Panthers were on the wrong side of both against the Broncos. Take away those junk plays, and Carolina lost by eight, while Tampa lost by four. And considering the opponents, Denver and San Diego, respectively, are playing each other this week, and the line is 7.5 in Denver (4.5 on a neutral field), the Bucs and Panthers – at least by least week's results – are roughly equal teams. Which is why I like Carolina getting a point at home. Back the Panthers.
Panthers 27 - 17
Browns +8.5 at Cowboys
Maybe I'm taking too many dogs, but the Browns seem to show up more often than not, and the Cowboys don't seem to blow anyone out. Back Cleveland.
Cowboys 21 - 16
Jets +3 at Rams
These are roughly equal teams, so this is the right line. I'll buy low on the Jets though and take the points.
Jets 17 - 13
Jaguars +15.5 at Texans
Anytime a line is this big, I like to take the dog - I can't see any value in the favorite, and the Texans are due for a letdown after an impressive road win over the Bears. Back Jacksonville.
Texans 20 - 10
Bengals -3.5 at Chiefs
The Bengals looked good at home against the Giants, but the Giants haven't been right in weeks. The Chiefs were playing well in Pittsburgh even before Ben Roethlisberger got hurt, and their defense has improved the last two weeks. Take Kansas City at home with the points.
Chiefs 20 - 19
Saints -4.5 at Raiders
The Raiders were annihilated last week in Baltimore, and so you'd expect the Saints to score at least 60 or 70 points this week. But New Orleans isn't as good on the road, and Oakland matches up well against a weak pass defense. Take the Raiders.
Saints 27 - 24
Chargers +8 at Broncos
Whichever side I pick here is going to lose, so please fade it. Give me the Chargers because no one else will take them. I reserve the right to complain about Rivers' untimely pick six, Mathews' fumble or some rare disaster of which only the Chargers (and perhaps the Cowboys) are capable. Back San Diego.
Broncos 24 - 23
Colts +9.5 at Patriots
The sabermetric crowd that hates the Colts per-play or success-rate numbers are going to have the Pats as their five star pick. But are the Colts not better than their season-long body of work which includes an early home loss to the Jaguars due to having Andrew Luck developing each game at quarterback? The public is going to be all over Indy in this one, too. I wish I could fade both sides, but I'm going to lay the points with the Pats. Back New England.
Patriots 34 - 20
Ravens -2.5 at Steelers
It's kind of ridiculous to have to pick this game on a Tuesday night with Ben Roethlisberger's status uncertain. I'd imagine the Ravens would be favored by more if he were ruled out, and Pittsburgh would be favored if he were cleared to play. I'll take Baltimore on a hunch that he's out.
Ravens 24 - 17
Bears +5 at 49ers
I'm not sure which team's worse off with its backup quarterback - probably San Francisco who has a run-first guy in Kaepernick. Then again, Jason Campbell holds the ball far too long, and the Niners are likely to get pressure against an average-at-best offensive line. Barring disastrous turnovers (which could go either way), this should be a close, low-scoring game. Take the points.
49ers 19 - 17
We went 7-7 last week to go 66-77-3 on the year. From 1999-2011 we've gone 1,689-1,512 (52.8%), not including ties.