While it wasn't anything special, Week 7 is what a decent handicapping job should look like - 2-1 on best bets, 2-2 on coin flips. That's pretty much the goal: 55-plus percent on games you like, average luck on the ones you don't, and above average (5-3) on all the rest. Still, it's only a small step out of the season's deeply-dug ditch, so let's see if we can keep it going.
This week, I particularly like the Panthers, Redskins and Cardinals. Packers-Vikings, Seahawks-Rams, Cowboys-Lions and 49ers-Jaguars were coin flips.
Panthers -6 at Buccaneers
This line looks big to me, but now that the Bucs defense seems to have packed it in, too, I'll part with the points. Back Carolina.
Panthers 28 - 10
49ers -16.5 vs. Jaguars (in London)
The Niners typically squash doormats, but 16.5 on a neutral field is like 19.5 at home. Put differently if the Niners were up 30-7, a TD gives Jacksonville a backdoor cover. Take the Jaguars.
49ers 30 - 14
Cowboys +3 at Lions
I despise both of these teams, but given both are able to shoot it out and also make disastrous game-losing gaffes, I'll take the team getting the points. Back Dallas.
Lions 24 - 23
Giants +6 at Eagles
The Giants are bad, and don't let their joke of a win persuade you otherwise. But getting six against a gimpy Michael Vick and a horrible defense is probably enough. Back New York.
Eagles 27 - 23
Browns +7.5 at Chiefs
Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, who cares? This should be a defensive battle that goes under 40, perhaps well under. In that case, more than a TD is a lot. Back the Browns.
Chiefs 19 - 13
Dolphins +6.5 at Patriots
The Patriots aren't especially good, and the Dolphins should be able to hang around with them. Take the points in what should be a close game.
Patriots 27 - 21
Bills +11.5 at Saints
This is the sucker side, but I have to lay the points with New Orleans at home even if Jimmy Graham doesn't play. Maybe Thaddeus Lewis keeps pace, but that Saints defense is improved, and this one could get out of hand early. Back the Saints.
Saints 34 - 19
Jets +6.5 at Bengals
The Jets are tough against the run, and maybe Marvin Lewis forces it too much, but Cincy's defense is tough, and Andy Dalton's been playing better of late. I think the Bengals pull away. Back Cincy.
Bengals 27 - 17
Steelers -2.5 at Raiders
I wouldn't lay the full three on the road with Pittsburgh yet, but the Steelers defense is sound, and Ben Roethlisberger should have his way with Oakland's secondary. Back the Steelers.
Steelers 20 - 17
Redskins +12.5 at Broncos
The shine is off the Broncos star and for good reason. Their defense is below average (maybe Von Miller's second game back changes that), and I expect a healthier RGIII to keep up in a shootout. Take the points.
Broncos 41 - 35
Falcons +2.5 at Cardinals
I like the Cardinals at home against an Atlanta team missing its best offensive weapon and unable to play much defense. Lay the points.
Cardinals 24 - 20
Packers -9 at Vikings
News that Josh Freeman is concussed better explains the abomination we saw Monday night. Mercifully, Christian Ponder who is just ordinary bad takes over, and I expect Adrian Peterson to get more work too. Hold your nose and take the points here.
Packers 27 - 19
Seahawks -10.5 at Rams
Sam Bradford's injury is probably overblown given that he was an average-at-best NFL quarterback, but Kellen Clemens is below-par even for a backup. That said, this is a lot of points on the road, and I'll take the Rams without knowing how they'll keep it close.
Seahawks 23 - 13
Last week we went 9-6 to go 45-58-4 on the year. Last year we went 121-129-6 on the regular season. From 1999-2012 we've gone 1,810-1,641 (52.4%), not including ties.