Last week I went 6-6-3 on what felt like a pretty tough slate. I missed on my best bet, the Texans, and went 2-1-1 on the other games I liked. I was 0-2-2 on coin flips, which is pretty good - it's vindicating to get pushes on games you had trouble picking.
I like this week's slate a lot better, but I'm paranoid I'll be wrong on all my coin flips: Chiefs-Chargers, 49ers-Redskins and Jets-Ravens. I took the Chargers, Redskins and Ravens, but hate all three. My best bets are the Falcons, Bucs, Cardinals and Giants.
Saints -9.5 at Falcons
I despise the Falcons as much as anyone, but nearly 10 points on the road in a rivalry game off a short week is too much even for the Saints who are significantly better at home. Back Atlanta.
Saints 27 - 20
Buccaneers +9 at Lions
The Bucs strike me as a real team now with a decent defense and merely below average offense. I'll take the points here. Back Tampa.
Lions 27 - 23
Jaguars +10 at Texans
I made the Texans my best bet against the horrible Raiders last week, and they lost outright at home, their eighth straight defeat. Now they're laying 10 points! I have to imagine Houston is the value here, though, as Jacksonville is such an obvious play. Back the Texans.
Texans 31 - 13
Vikings +5 at Packers
Vegas might think Aaron Rodgers is worth only seven points or so, but over the last couple games it seems more like 10 or 12. I'm happy to take the Vikings at anything more than three. Back Minnesota.
Packers 24 - 23
Chargers +5 at Chiefs
I hate the Chargers, and Philip Rivers is so slow, I shudder to think how he'll evade the Chiefs pass rush. But every time I consider backing the Chiefs as favorites, I remember how they were dominated by the Jeff-Tuel Bills. Back the Chargers who win outright.
Chargers 24 - 19
Panthers -4.5 at Dolphins
The Panthers are finally getting their due here, so it's probably time to fade them. The Dolphins offensive line going against that front seven could be ugly, but that's public information likely priced into the line. Take the Dolphins at home.
Panthers 23 - 21
Steelers +2 at Browns
I believe in the Steelers pass offense, but the Browns are stout defensively, and the game is in Cleveland. Take the Browns.
Browns 19 - 16
Bears +1 at Rams
The Bears can't stop the run, and the Rams defense should get after Josh McCown at home. Take the Rams here.
Rams 24 - 20
Jets +3.5 at Ravens
If someone told me there would be no turnovers in this game, I'd probably predict a 0-0 tie. As it stands, I expect both defenses to make some plays, but Baltimore is the slightly better passing team and they're at home. Lay the points.
Ravens 13 - 9
Titans +1 at Raiders
Matt McGloin played a solid game last week, but that's the only thing that gives me pause here. Back the Titans who get the win.
Titans 20 - 17
Colts +2 at Cardinals
The Cardinals are tough at home, play solid defense and their offensive skill players are underrated. Only Carson Palmer's propensity to make mistakes causes me to hesitate, but I'm backing Arizona.
Cardinals 26 - 23
Cowboys +2.5 at Giants
I'm a Giants fan, so I'm admittedly biased here, but I don't respect the Cowboys and think the Giants are developing a top-shelf defense with Jason Pierre-Paul getting healthy, Justin Tuck playing better than he has in years and Terrell Thomas and Jon Beason providing an unexpected but significant lift. Given Dallas' defensive struggles, only a disastrous game by Eli Manning - something that's certainly possible - is going to keep this close. Back the Giants.
Giants 37 - 17
Broncos -2.5 at Patriots
The Broncos are the best team in the league right now, but I'm not comfortable laying points on the road in New England now that Tom Brady has his weapons back. Take the Pats.
Patriots 31 - 30
49ers -5.5 at Redskins
I'm still shocked at RGIII's incredibly careless interception to close out last week's game in Philadelphia, one that likely ended any remote playoff hopes the Redskins might have had. I like the Redskins for value here getting this much at home, but the 49ers have crushed bad teams this year while struggling against good ones. In the end, I'm going to hold my nose and take Washington, but I don't like it. Back the Skins.
49ers 26 - 21
Last week we went 6-6-3 to go 76-78-8 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.