This week's slate of games is more appetizer than the entree which is next week. Next week has Giants-Falcons, Packers-Bears, Steelers-Cowboys, Broncos-Ravens and 49ers-Patriots, among others. That doesn't mean this week doesn't have big games, but none as huge as next week. Even still, there are plenty of intriguing matchups that should clear up a little more of the playoff picture.
Denver (-10) over OAKLAND- Happened Thursday night, but because I was at work and getting teased by the NHL, I didn't write a picks post. Tweeted this about the game. Nice to finally get a Thursday game spot on.
BUFFALO (-3) over St. Louis- After the great win against the 49ers, I see a letdown for the Rams, just as they did against the Jets after the tie with San Francisco. Bills fans only have to look back on the losses to Tennessee and the 2nd Pats game as to why they are barely still alive instead of in the heart of the playoff race.
Atlanta (-3) over CAROLINA- Why would the Falcons stop winning close games now? I also happen to think that Atlanta will win by a couple of scores just to screw with everyone who's been annoyed by their ability to barely be 11-1.
CINCINNATI (-3) over Dallas- Another awful tragedy in the NFL, this time with the stupidity of drinking and driving. No excuse for that to happen.
Kansas City (+7) over CLEVELAND- I know the Browns are playing better football and the Chiefs are the worst team in the league, but Cleveland should never be favored by seven over anyone.
INDIANAPOLIS (-5) over Tennessee- Case and point, the Colts are giving less than the Browns at home, even though they look playoff bound. Huge day for Andrew Luck against the porous Titans defense.
Jets (-3) over JACKSONVILLE- This is the perfect spot to save Mark Sanchez's Jets career. The Jags are still with Maurice Jones-Drew and have Cecil Shorts and Rashad Jennings out. Meanwhile, they are 28th and 31st in pass defense and run defense, respectively. And the Sanchize is on the road! If he can't play well here, he never will. Note: Tim Tebow is active and Greg McElroy isn't. Complete zoo with the Jets.
MINNESOTA (+3) over Chicago- Everyone's looking ahead to Packers-Bears for the NFC North title next week, but a trip to the dome puts the Vikings back in the race. Big day for Adrian Peterson and rough day for Jay Cutler is ahead.
PITTSBURGH (-8) over San Diego- 10am PST start for the Chargers, plus it's the Norv Turner Death March, plus Ben Roethlisberger is back. And the Steelers defense is getting healthier, as while LaMarr Woodley and Ike Taylor are out, Troy Polamalu has returned and James Harrison is starting to play like his normal self.
TAMPA BAY (-7) over Philadelphia- Unless the Eagles return another punt for a TD to get a late cover, I'm pretty sure the Bucs will have their way with them. Doug Martin must be licking his chops to take on this defense.
WASHINGTON (-2) over Baltimore- No Terrell Suggs for the Ravens and it's too difficult to stop the Redskins and Robert Griffin III without your full defensive team at the ready. Doesn't help that Washington is slowly improving on the defensive end themselves.
SAN FRANCISCO (-10.5) over Miami- After the letdown of last week and the potential of the Seahawks stealing the division right out from under them, expect Ryan Tannehill to feel the pain of the 49ers defense. If they score 10 points, I'd be surprised.
New Orleans (+4.5) over GIANTS- Last chance for the Saints, while the Giants will probably delude themselves into thinking that they can still salvage things if they lose today. Unless Drew Brees continues his run of INT's from the last two weeks, they should torch a weak Giants secondary.
SEATTLE (-9.5) over Arizona- This spread can't be high enough. John Skelton is back in as starter for the Cards. The good news; it avoids the laughter of Ryan Lindley starting in Seattle. The bad news; the comedy of Skelton is just as funny.
Detroit (+6.5) over GREEN BAY- No, I don't think the Lions are winning. I just think the Packers will hand them another cruel loss instead of blowing them out. A few plays here and there are the difference between a really good year for the Lions and this awful 4-8 season. As a matter of fact, they're the anti-Falcons.
Houston (+3.5) over NEW ENGLAND- Biggest game of the weekend and of the AFC season. Houston basically clinches home-field with the win (Denver's win prevents an official clinching). Something is different about this Texans team. They come to play in tough situations that previously they'd fold. Going to Foxboro is as tough as it comes in this league and rare I go against Belichick and Brady at home. But they've been a little too good lately and the Texans are capable of going up there and winning, if not for nothing, to avoid going back there in January.
Last week: 9-6-1
This week: 1-0