This week should provide a bit of a rest after an action packed couple of weeks. There are only five differences out of the 14 games so there shouldn’t be too much movement in the standings. However, this week takes on particular importance for me as it gives me a chance to climb above .500 for the first time all season. It’s amazing how big of a whole you can put yourself in just from two bad weeks (week 1 and 2). It’s taken me seven weeks just to get back to .500. Hopefully, I can break on through to the other side. I’m a little nervous about taking all fourteen road teams. That was not planned. I generally subscribe to the investment theory that it’s best to diversify. My picks are certainly not diversified this week. May the force be with me (and you too).
BUF -2.5 kc
The Kansas City Chiefs saved their season last week against Oakland with a gutsy last second call from the one yard line. They were without Priest Holmes but Larry Johnson filled in admirably as the Chiefs barely hung on. There is no question in my mind that KC is a better team than Buffalo. The only question is whether or not KC comes to play on the road. The bottom line is that if the Chiefs are going to make the playoffs, they can’t afford to fall any further behind the Broncos. I think Kansas City takes care of business this week.
was -1 TB
On one hand, you have a team that got destroyed 36-0 in their last road game. On the other hand, you have a team that’s on a two game losing streak having lost to San Francisco and Carolina since Chris Simms took over at QB. Tampa Bay was dominated at home by the Panthers last week. The question becomes, what’s more of a liability, the fact that Washington is on the road, or that Chris Simms is TB’s quarterback? I took the ‘Skins in their road game against the Giants and it was over in two minutes. I don’t want to give them another chance to burn me. But, until Simms proves he can win a game in the NFL, I’ll have to take Washington.
ne -3 MIA
There is no question that New England is hurting without Rodney Harrison. However, it’s important to remember that the team that beat New England last week was the best team in the NFL. Miami can’t hold a candle to Indianapolis. If New England has any chance to make the playoffs, they have to beat Miami and the rest of the teams in their division. I’ll take New England, and more importantly Tom Brady, to bounce back and cover the spread.
CHI -13.5 sf
There are six games this week with a spread of -8 or more. The bad news for me is that most of the teams with the large spreads are offensively challenged starting with the Bears. The Bears should never be a 13 point favorite over anyone. The Bears aren’t even a guarantee to score 13 points the whole game. As much as I hate to do it, I’ll take San Francisco to keep this within ten points.
NYG -10 min
If Daunte Culpepper were still Minnesota’s quarterback, I would take the Giants in a second. However, I think Brad Johnson gives the Vikes a better chance of winning. He’s a veteran with a good understanding of the offense. He has decent wide receivers to throw to and an average running game. With the NFC North being so bad, Minnesota has a reason to show up on Sunday. They’re still alive to make the playoffs. My guess is that this game will be closer than ten points. The last time I thought that about the Giants, they won 36-0. Hopefully, a repeat of that is not in store. I'm skeptically taking Minnesota.
DET -4 ari
Do the Lions really deserve to be four point favorites over anyone in the league? Granted, Arizona stinks but the Lions are spiraling out of control. They have no offense to speak of and the defense is missing some key starters. Four points is too much to give to a team that can score. I’ll take Arizona.
JAX -7 balt
Jacksonville got a big spread last week against Houston and anybody who follows the NFL knows that was way too much. Now, the Jags play a stout defense in Baltimore. Jacksonville might break out in one of these games but I can’t rationalize taking them in a spread as big as 7 over the Ravens until they prove they can score. Baltimore isn’t going to make the playoffs but they at least have the roster to keep things close against an offensively challenged team. I’m going with Baltimore.
IND -18 hou
Part of me thinks it’s crazy to take any team in an -18 point spread. There are so many things that can go wrong in a game. If Peyton Mannings gets hurt, there’s virtually no chance of the Colts covering. If Houston scores a few meaningless points against Indy’s second stringers in the 4th quarter, there’s a good chance that they game will be closer than 18 points. Then there’s the possibility that Houston could actually win. However, the Colts will be playing at home against a very bad team. Houston can’t score and they can’t stop anyone. The Colts can score a lot and they have a very aggressive defense. I’m torn on this game. I’ll take Houston to score a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown to cover.
CAR -9 nyj
The Jets had no business of covering against San Diego last week. Marty-ball cost me the game against a bad Jets team. I like Carolina a lot but the Jets have some good players that won’t give up on the season. I’ll take the Jets to come out with a strong effort and keep the game close.
den -3 OAK
I don’t trust Jake Plummer on the road. Having said that, Denver has just the remedy for Randy Moss and it’s Champ Bailey. Denver’s running game should give them enough to win the game and cover the spread. Oakland has played very well this season despite a less than appealing record. I may regret this pick but I’ll take Denver to keep rolling.
SEA -7 stl
Mike Martz, or the lack thereof, turned out to be the key to the Rams season. Not surprisingly, the Rams have turned their season around since losing their pass happy head coach. The new guy apparently understands that it’s unwise to NOT run the ball when you have one of the best 1-2 combo’s at running back in the league. Steven Jackson is a beast. Marshall Faulk apparently never got the memo that he was outdated and on the decline. With a weak schedule, the Rams could make a push for the playoffs. I’ll take St. Louis to cover this week.
ATL -9.5 gb
These Green Bay spreads are just ridiculous. Week after week, Green Bay is a big underdog. I inevitably have to decide how many points Brett Favre is worth. Green Bay has been hanging tough with very good teams lately. Atlanta wins games by controlling the game clock which will put a cap on how many points they’ll score. Green Bay should keep this game close. I’ll take Green Bay to stay within ten points.
PIT -8 cle
Pittsburgh has been terrible at home this year. They barely, and I mean barely, beat an undermanned Baltimore team at home two weeks ago. The Steelers should’ve crushed the Ravens. Throw in the fact that the Steelers will have Charlie Batch at quarterback and I think an 8 point spread is a little much. I’ll take the Browns to lose by 7.
PHI -3 dal
The Eagles might be happier without T.O. but they certainly aren’t better. There is no question in my mind that Philly would’ve beaten Washington last week with T.O. Dallas crushed Philly earlier this year with T.O. They should be able to handle a struggling Philly team without T.O. I’ll take Dallas to blow out Philly’s torch. The tribe has spoken.
Coin Flip’s picks: