Another .500 week, which makes it four straight. That's 29-29-2. You might argue that a monkey could pick 50 percent, and that's true, but not every single week. To do that takes real genius.
I expect the streak to break this week as I truly despise this slate. SD-PIT, DAL-CIN, BUF-STL, DET-GB, KC-CLE, NE-HOU, TEN-IND - these are all basically coin flips. And the rest of the games aren't much better. If I had to pick a couple I like, I'd say the Raiders, Eagles and Panthers. But Carolina's really the only one about which I'm not lukewarm.
Broncos -10.5 at Raiders
The Broncos are arguably the best team in the league and the Raiders the worst. But for a Thursday night game, I'd take any team in the league plus 10.5 at home. Back Oakland.
Broncos 21 - 17
Ravens +2 at Redskins
The Ravens just lost at home to the Steelers with Charlie Batch at quarterback, and now they have to travel and face RG III in Washington while getting less than a field goal. I think the Ravens and Redskins are roughly equal teams in their current incarnations, and as such I'll take the home team. Back Washington.
Redskins 27 - 20
Chiefs +5.5 at Browns
I'd like to sell the Chiefs off their home win, but the Browns probably shouldn't be favored by this much against anyone. Back Kansas City.
Browns 23 - 20
Chargers +5.5* at Steelers
There's no line for this game due to Ben Roethlisberger's uncertain status. There's talk that he's expected to play but it's unsourced, and the Steelers said Roethlisberger will have to prove his readiness later in the week. I don't have the luxury of waiting, so I made up a line of 5.5*. If Roethlisberger plays, I think it would be close to seven. If he doesn't, it might be more like 3. I chose the line 5.5 (closer to 7) on the assumption that he's more likely to play than not. In any event, back the Steelers. I can't deal with taking San Diego any more. (This means they'll definitely cover).
Steelers 24 - 17
Titans +5.5 at Colts
I keep fading the Colts because I'm listening to the advanced stats guys, but this post - and the fact that I keep losing against them - gives me pause. But I have a Titans feeling here. Division rival, Colts poor defense, maybe a letdown game. Back Tennessee.
Titans 27 - 19
Jets -2.5 at Jaguars
It's probably not wise to lay points with the Jets on the road, but their defense is decent, and that's something. Back New York.
Jets 19 - 13
Bears -3 at Vikings
The Bears and Vikings really aren't that far apart, and given the rivalry, the venue and the points, I have to take Minnesota who hopefully will play to Christian Ponder's strength, the hand off. Back the Vikings.
Vikings 21 - 20
Falcons -3.5 at Panthers
The Falcons were lucky to beat Carolina at home the first time these teams met, and not a whole lot has changed since then. Atlanta has won unimpressively week after week, while Carolina has lost winnable games just as reliably. Maybe Atlanta has some clutch component Carolina lacks, but that's already priced in and then some. Back the Panthers at home.
Panthers 24 – 20
Eagles +7.5 at Buccaneers
Nick Foles seemed to turn a corner last week, and Bryce Brown is fantastic when he's not fumbling. Plus the Eagles look like they're still trying. Take the points.
Eagles 24 - 23
Rams +3 at Bills
I think these are even teams and that this is the right line. I suppose I'll take the outdoor squad at home in December. Back the Bills.
Bills 20 - 16
Cowboys +3 at Bengals
I probably wouldn't touch this game if I had a choice. The Bengals are playing more consistent football than Dallas, so they should have a bigger edge than the obligatory three for home field. Back Cincy.
Bengals 24 - 20
Dolphins +10 at 49ers
The 49ers are one of the league's most formidable bullies, but the Dolphins aren't a soft team that will be easily pushed around. Plus, Colin Kaepernick will be feeling some pressure now that his job is on the line. Back the Dolphins.
49ers 16 - 13
Saints +5 at Giants
I don't know if this is a homer pick, but I had Washington last week and was much more worried about that game. Drew Brees is a conventional pocket passer, and the Giants front should get to him. On the other side of the ball, I expect the Giants to move it consistently. Back New York.
Giants 31 - 17
Cardinals +10.5 at Seahawks
The Ryan Lindley experiment is becoming ridiculous, and a road game in Seattle is always tough. But Arizona's defense isn't bad, and this is a good spot to take the points after the Seahawks won an emotional overtime game in Chicago. Plus there's a decent chance the Cardinals go back to John Skelton (or Kevin Kolb if he's healthy). Back Arizona.
Seahawks 17 - 9
Lions +6.5 at Packers
I don't like either of these teams right now. I'll go with Green Bay because the Ryan Broyles injury leaves the Lions woefully thin at WR, and the Packers should be able to focus the entire defense on Calvin Johnson. Back Green Bay.
Packers 27 - 20
Texans +3 at Patriots
When I first wrote out these spreads, this line was 3.5, and I was going to take Houston. Now it's down to three, and I'm more on the fence. The Patriots are missing their best receiver in Rob Gronkowski, but Houston might be missing its top cover corner Johnathan Joseph. When in doubt, take the points. Back Houston.
Texans 27 - 24
We went 8-8 last week to go 88-99-5 on the year. From 1999-2011 we've gone 1,689-1,512 (52.8%), not including ties.