There should have been quite a bit of carnage last week, but Houston. Dallas and Atlanta all squeaked by, so virtually everyone survived. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com
** average of the two moneylines
This is an odd list because it has two hugely popular teams and not a whole lot else. If you had New England available - which almost no one does - you could justify taking them over Cincinnati given the modest disparity in loss percentage (27 to 21) and the wide disparity in popularity (35 to 4). It's pretty close when you run the numbers. But Denver is probably the best pick despite being the most popular, assuming you agree with Vegas giving the Broncos just a 16 percent chance to lose. If you've used those three (DEN, NE and CIN), it's pretty ugly. We're talking about teams with 60 percent chance to win, none of which I'd feel comfortable with.
1. Denver Broncos - It's rare that the easy top pick on the board is a road team, but Denver's arguably the best team in the league right now, and Kansas City is arguably its worst. And Arrowhead isn't the big home field advantage it used to be. I give the Broncos an 84 percent chance to win this game.
2. Cincinnati Bengals - It's a coin flip between them and the Patriots. I give Cincy the better chance to win, but the payout is better with New England. The Bengals have played well the last two games, and the Raiders horribly, but Oakland was at Baltimore and against the Saints, while Cincy got a falling apart Giants squad at home and Kansas City. I actually think this will be close but give the Bengals a 76 percent chance to win the game.
3. New England Patriots - With Rob Gronkowski out and facing a Jets team that almost beat them in New England, this is likely to be a tough game for the Pats. But the difference in quarterback play between Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez is stark. I give the Pats a 68 percent chance to win this game.
4. Dallas Cowboys - If I had used the other three teams and had to pick from among the three-point favorites, I'd take the Cowboys at home against the Redskins. RGIII scares me a lot, but Dallas' defense is so much better than the Redskins', and Washington is traveling on a short week. I give the Cowboys a 64 percent chance to win this game.