Of course, after I write an article stating that 80% of all Las Vegas lines this year have favored the home team, this week there are eight (!!!!) road teams that are favored. What are the odds of that? Even still, I’m much happier with this week’s lines than I was with last week’s nightmare. I was nervous about last week’s games and my nervousness proved to have merit as I sputtered to a 6-8 record. I don’t ever expect to win a game with the crazy things that happen in the NFL but I think there are some good picks this week. Hopefully I can put together a better than .500 week. If I’m going to do it, this is the week to get it done. After a few important weeks with big differences, this week doesn’t stand as big with nine similar picks. I guess if there’s good news, it’s that even if I get every pick wrong this week, I’m still guaranteed to be in the lead. Let’s hope (unless you hate me) that doesn’t happen.
det PK MIN
Now this line just isn’t fair. Detroit and Minnesota are two of the most pathetic football teams in the NFL. Neither team can do anything right except underachieve. They’re both very good at that. This might be the only coaching match-up of the year that Steve Mariucci has the advantage in. Charles Rogers and Roy Williams will likely return but it won’t matter since Mariucci and Ted Tollner are as conservative as the love child of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. The first team to three points wins. I think I’ll take Minnesota at home.
sd -6.5 NYJ
San Diego pummeled the New York Giants earlier this year and the Giants are twice as good as the Jets. A better way to look at it is a three-man tag team match featuring Drew Brees-Ladainian Tomlinson-Antonio Gates vs. Vinny Testaverde-Curtis Martin-Chris Baker. The Chargers should dominate this match-up and win by at least a touchdown. Picking Marty-ball on the road might come back to haunt me but the Chargers are the choice.
CLE -3 ten
I am surprised by this line. On one hand, you have a bad team that can’t score (the Browns). On the other hand, you have a bad team that can score (the Titans). The Browns just gave the Houston Texans their first win of the season last week. I’ll take the team that can score. The Titans should cover.
KC -4.5 oak
I’m beginning to despise Kansas City lines. KC could pretty much lose or win any game by ten points which makes it incredibly difficult to forecast the outcome. The Raiders are good enough to keep this game close but the Chiefs haven’t had a strong performance in a few weeks. I have a feeling that they’ll be on their game at home in a must-win game. I’ll take the Chiefs to win by six.
chi -3 NO
This game is just as brutal as the Cleveland/Tennessee game. New Orleans is terrible but whenever I think they have no chance, they end up winning. The only thing Aaron Brooks is good for is to anger millions of gamblers in America. He never has a good game until the 4th qtr, if that. I thought the Saints would come out strong against an offensively challenged Miami team last week since they were playing their first game in the state of Louisiana this year. Instead, they embarrassed themselves. My other choice is to take Kyle Orton on the road. He won in Detroit on the road last week which is akin to the Red Wings winning on the road against Alaska-Fairbanks. I’ll take the Bears. I just know whatever team I pick will implode.
cin -3 BAL
The Steelers made the Ravens look so much better than they actually are last week. The Ravens were without a). Ray Lewis, b). Ed Reed, and c). an offense. Yet, they still almost beat the Steelers on the road. However, the Steelers have struggled at home this year which makes the Ravens look a little less intimidating. I’ll take the Bengals to do what the Steelers should’ve done last week.
car -1.5 TB
Ok, I have to question Vegas on this one. Tampa Bay goes on the road against San Francisco (which has been 10+ point underdog four different times this year) and promptly loses and that earns them a miniscule + 1.5 line against an impressive Carolina team? Anything can happen in the NFL but this is the most favorable line I’ve seen all year. If I was a gambling man (and I’m not), I would ante up on this one. Carolina should easily cover. Unless, of course, you believe in Chris Simms.
JAX -13.5 hou
This is another line that seems a little awkward based on last week’s performances. The Jaguars went to St. Louis (who was without Bulger, Holt, and Bruce) and laid an egg. As a reward, Vegas gives the Jags a -13.5 spread over Houston? I don’t get it. The Jags have enough offensive troubles of their own. I’ll take the Texans to cover.
atl -2.5 MIA
I understand that road games are a whole different monster for NFL teams but if Atlanta isn’t 2.5 points better than Miami, then I don’t know anything anymore. I mentioned in my article NFL Road Rage that too many NFL teams roll over in road games simply because they don’t want to match the home team's energy. Well, I also added that road teams that know they’re better than the home team generally show up. In this case, I think Atlanta knows they’re better than Miami. So, I’ll take Atlanta.
nyg -11 SF
This is a tough game to call simply because the 49ers covered in a similar spread against Tampa Bay last week. However, I think that had more to do with Tampa Bay choosing to play the game without a quarterback. The 49ers are still terrible. The Giants aren’t the same team on the road but they’ve won four games this year by 17+ points. That tells me that the Giants drop the hammer on inferior teams. I’ll take the Giants.
sea -4 ARI
These two teams played already this year and Seattle won 37-12. So, yeah, -4 sounds reasonable. Vegas is dropping the ball on this game. Unless the Cardinals just signed the Fearsome Foursome circa 1970, they won’t be able to stop Shaun Alexander. Throw in the fact that you have Kurt Warner starting for the Cardinals without the services of Anquan Boldin and you have to wonder why this line isn’t -20. I’ll take the Seahawks.
pit -4.5 GB
The Steelers have been winning close games all year. They barely escaped by the hair on their chinny-chin-chins last week against a pathetic collection of serial killer (Ravens). The only way I would take the Steelers in a line of -4.5 is if the opponent was missing it’s pro-bowl wide receiver, pro-bowl running back, and back up running back while not having a defense. Oddly enough, the Packers are just that. But, it has come to my attention that the Steelers will be starting Charlie Batch at quarterback. While I think that the Steelers are a considerably better team than the Packers, I don’t think I have enough faith in Eastern Michigan University to take Batch on the road at Lambeau Field. I’ll take Green Bay.
WAS -3 PHI
Great. I wrote an article about how embarrassing Washington and Philly’s performances were for themselves and for the league and now these bozos square off against each other. Washington gave the worst performance I’ve ever seen in the NFL last week. They quit when Wellington Mara’s granddaughter was still singing the National Anthem. Maybe this week they’ll make it to halftime before quitting. On the other hand, the Eagles didn’t even starting playing until the 3rd qtr last week when they were getting destroyed in Denver. Throw in the fact that Philly might be without McNabb and TO is hobbled and you have to wonder if this game will end in a 0-0 tie. All I know is that this is a MUST win for Philly. I would like to think there is at least an ounce of professionalism on that team so I’ll take Philly to win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
ind -3 NE
The Colts really have no reason to win this game other than to prove to themselves that they can beat New England in Foxboro. The fact of the matter is that winning in Foxboro (and winning this game) really means nothing to the Colts. They’ll finish the season with the best record in the AFC and thus play all their playoff games in the friendly confines of the VCR Dome. It would not surprise me to see the Colts sluggish in this game. The only motivation they have is if they really believe they have a shot at finishing undefeated this year. With the teams left on the schedule, I think they do have a shot. I’m taking a leap of faith here but I think the Colts might play hard to maintain the perfect record and come away with the win.
Coin Flip’s Picks: