For what it's worth I like this slate more than most - there were some games I felt immediately good about - Bills, Cardinals, Dolphins and Panthers - and others I was so 50/50 on - BAL-SD, SF-NO, PIT-CLE - that I made my guess and didn't agonize. The key for me this week is to get off to a good start on Thanksgiving Day. It's almost impossible to enjoy the company of anyone - let alone family - if you're not at least 2-1.
Texans -3 at Lions
Both teams went down to the wire last week with one winning and one losing, though the Lions had a decidely tougher opponent with Green Bay than the Texans (Jacksonville). I'll take the home team getting the points off the short week. Back Detroit.
Lions 27 - 23
Redskins +3 at Cowboys
The Redskins looked a lot better than the Cowboys last week, but Washington benefitted from facing a broken Philly team with a QB that wasn't ready for NFL competition (assuming the Redskins defense even qualifies). In any event, the savvy play is probably Dallas at home even though I'd really like to put my money on RGIII. Back the Cowboys.
Cowboys 27 - 20
Patriots -7 at Jets
I could go either way on this, but with Rob Gronkowski out, and the Jets nearly beating New England on the road, I'd rather take the points at home. Back the Jets.
Jets 20 - 19
Raiders +9 at Bengals
The Raiders have been horrific the last two weeks while the Bengals have played very well. But I'm not ready to lay nine points with Cincy, and Oakland has played teams like the Falcons and Steelers tough earlier this year. Back the Raiders.
Bengals 23 - 20
Steelers pick 'em at Browns
This is a tough game to handicap with Charlie Batch under center. The Browns defense got to Tony Romo last week, but the Steelers pass defense is elite right now, so both teams should have a tough time moving the ball through the air. In the end, I'll take the home team with the better running back and kicker. Back the Browns.
Browns 13- 10
Bills +3 at Colts
The Bills played well on Thursday against Miami (especially on defense) and will have had 10 days to get ready for this game. The Colts don't play much defense themselves and aren't likely to pull away from Buffalo. Take the points here as this is a 50/50 game.
Bills 23 - 19
Titans -3 at Jaguars
I know the Titans are coming off a bye after having destroyed Miami on the road, but I'm not ready to lay points with them in Jacksonville. Back the Jaguars.
Jaguars 24 - 20
Broncos -10.5 at Chiefs
The Broncos are elite and not just on one side of the ball. But this is too many points on the road in a game for which they're not likely to be up. Back the Chiefs.
Broncos 27 - 17
Vikings +4.5* at Bears
There's no line here because Jay Cutler's status is up in the air. I have to get this column up Tuesday night, so not only do I have to guess, but I have to make up the line*. My feeling is the line would be six with Cutler playing and three without. Because I'm guessing it's 50/50 whether he plays, I'll set it at 4.5. And I'll take the Vikings off the bye.
Vikings 20 - 19
Falcons -1 at Buccaneers
Both these teams are overrated, but I might as well take the one getting points at home. Back the Bucs.
Buccaneers 27 - 24
Seahawks -3 at Dolphins
The Dolphins have looked horrible of late, but Seattle has to make an awfully long trip across the country and lay points on the road. Back Miami.
Dolphins 17 - 13
Ravens pick 'em at Chargers
The Ravens got blown out by the Chargers in San Diego last year, but both teams are a lot different this year, so you can throw that result out. This is probably the right line, and when in doubt, always pick the team that will torture you the most. Back San Diego.
Chargers 24 - 23
49ers -1 at Saints
I want to root for the Saints here, but the Niners actually have better per-play stats on offense, and on defense the gulf couldn't be wider. Back the 49ers who might even be better with Colin Kaepernick under center.
49ers 30 - 27
Rams +1 at Cardinals
The Cardinals offense is laughable, but they're still rough equals to the Rams, and they're laying only one point at home. Back Arizona.
Cardinals 19 - 16
Packers +1.5 at Giants
The Packers are probably the better team right now, but the Giants are coming off a bye, and they always play well against Goliath. Back New York
Giants 23 - 21
Panthers +2.5 at Eagles
Unless Michael Vick suits up, or Nick Foles improves monumentally from Week 11 to 12, I can't take the Eagles as a favorite against anyone. Back Carolina.
Panthers 19 - 13
We went 7-7 last week to go 73-84-3 on the year. From 1999-2011 we've gone 1,689-1,512 (52.8%), not including ties.