I had a modest rebound week but I will be up front and tell you this week’s crop of games is exceedingly difficult to handicap.  It seems like every favorite is giving too many and no underdog is good enough to take with the points.  I’m at a loss to tell you what kind of strategy to employ.

One thing that will hopefully hold true is that teams who flat out look good on the field have tended to continue doing so.  If hot teams stay hot and shaky teams don’t stabilize, you can find your way through this week and hopefully come out unscathed.

Last Week’s Picks:  10-7    Best:  2-2
Season Total:  70-53-1       Best:  12-16

Minnesota (+3) @Tampa Bay (MGM Mirage)

I feel like the Buccaneers are awful enough that they don’t deserve a straight up 3 points just for playing at home, don’t you?  More than that, Tampa has brought us the two worst blow outs of the year on the losing end, while Minnesota is just a bounce or two away from being 3-4.

Minnesota Vikings 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19


Chicago (+6) @New England (Wynn Las Vegas)

This is a tough one to call.  The Bears have responded when their backs have been against the wall this season, and this week certainly qualifies.  But the Patriots are at home, and are hands down the better team, and have had 10 days of rest and to prepare for this game.  I’m leaning Chicago here, but it’s a tough one to call.

New England Patriots 28 Chicago Bears 24


St. Louis (+7) @Kansas City (Westgate Superbook)

This is just too many points.  I like the Chiefs, I think they are a better team than people think, but the Rams haven’t been getting blown out every week.  Both of these teams are in letdown situations – the Chiefs are coming off a road win against a tough division opponent while the Rams just beat the Seahawks – so that probably cancels out and leaves you with two teams a little underwhelmed by this game.  That tends to mean a little closer to the vest than normal.  Again, too many points to give.

Kansas City Chiefs 23 St. Louis Rams 17


Seattle (-4) @Carolina (MGM Mirage)

The Seahawks seem to be going out of their way to make you feel nervous about taking them, but relax.  Seattle is still an excellent football team, and Carolina, meanwhile, has looked very shaky, especially on defense.  The Seahawks, moreover, need wins in the worst way while the Panthers look like they can win the South no matter what happens.

Seattle Seahawks 27 Carolina Panthers 20


Buffalo (+2.5) @NY Jets (Wynn Las Vegas)

The Bills have lost 4 straight to the Jets in New York and 5 of the last 6.  Their only win was in overtime.  In short, this divisional rivalry likes the home team.  So do I.  The Bills barely won last week while the Jets find creative ways to lose every week, but New York simply isn’t bad enough to continue as a 1-win team.  The law of averages says this pair begins to even out.

New York Jets 23 Buffalo Bills 20

Miami (-7) @Jacksonville (5Dimes)

The Dolphins rarely find themselves on either end of a double digit score, and everything points to the Jaguars, buoyed off last week’s win, coming out and playing well.  I think Miami wins this game, but not by a touchdown.

Miami Dolphins 24 Jacksonville Jaguars 20


Houston (-3) @Tennessee (Westgate Superbook)

If Jake Locker plays for the Titans (and he’s probable), it seems much more likely they will cover this number and maybe win the game.  Without him, they’re a hopeless mess.  Houston, meanwhile, has been looking more and more like last year’s model.  I wouldn’t touch this game.

Houston Texans 21 Tennessee Titans 20


Baltimore (+1) @Cincinnati (CG Technology)

There’s lots of trends which favor the Bengals in this contest, and they already beat Baltimore in Baltimore this season, but the Ravens are playing good football right now and the Bengals aren’t.  Until that changes, I like Baltimore to keep rolling.

Baltimore Ravens 31 Cincinnati Bengals 24


Philadelphia (+2.5) @Arizona (Westgate Superbook)

Sooner or later the Eagles’ luck is going to run out, and I think it happens here.  Arizona has been playing good football, while the Eagles have been finding ways to win without necessarily outplaying their opponents.  I like the Cardinals in a close one, and I kind of like the under 48 in this game too, although I’m staying away from it.

Arizona Cardinals 24 Philadelphia Eagles 21


Indianapolis (-3) @Pittsburgh (CG Technology)

The Colts look way too good to pick against them right now, so even though I have my reservations about this game, I’m taking Indianapolis to keep rolling.

Indianapolis Colts 31 Pittsburgh Steelers 24


Oakland (+7.5) @Cleveland (5Dimes)

This is probably a game to leave alone, but the Raiders look marginally better to me while the Browns are obviously still the same old Browns.  They’ll win, but they won’t inspire confidence doing it.

Cleveland Browns 24 Oakland Raiders 19


Green Bay @New Orleans over/under 56 (Stations)

I get that this is two teams that like to run up the score, but 56 is ridiculous, especially in a year where the Saints’ offense isn’t scoring as many points as it maybe should be.

New Orleans Saints 28 Green Bay Packers 24


Washington (+10) @Dallas (CG Technology)

I’m looking at two teams that want to run the ball, control the clock, and have a manageable game.  I’m also looking at two defenses that won’t necessarily be able to stop that.  So the spread is 10?  I think in a rivalry game like this, you have to somewhat throw the records out and look for a hard fought game, not a cake walk.

Dallas Cowboys 27 Washington Redskins 20


Washington @Dallas over/under 50 (Stations)

The same principle applies to the over under in this game.  Longer possessions means less possessions means less scoring drives.  50 seems high.

Dallas Cowboys 27 Washington Redskins 20


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Detroit (-3.5) @Atlanta (Westgate Superbook)

This game is in London so it’s a road game for both teams, which is worse for Atlanta, who has been OK at home and dreadful on the road.  I still don’t trust the Lions – I have been off of them for a couple of weeks to my detriment – so watch them blow it now that I’m provisionally a believer once more.

Detroit Lions 27 Atlanta Falcons 20


Chicago @New England over/under 50 (Wynn Las Vegas)

New England has been a middle of the pack offense this season, but the last few weeks they’ve scored some points against some OK defenses.  Chicago’s offense has the ability to put up points as well, and with Jerrod Mayo out, the Patriots may have trouble stopping them.  Chicago’s defense is trash, so no worries there.  I like the over.

New England Patriots 28 Chicago Bears 24


Indianapolis @Pittsburgh over/under 48.5 (CG Technology)

I missed a Colts over last week, but I bet that doesn’t happen again, especially with the Steelers’ porous defense on the scene.  This week will be more of a shootout.

Indianapolis Colts 31 Pittsburgh Steelers 24


Green Bay (+1.5) @New Orleans (Stations)

Lots of luck on this game.  The Packers are playing well right now, and while the Saints have drastically underperformed in terms of record, they’ve been in all these games.  And they’re at home where they’re a much better team.  Fool me once, fool me 9 times?  I’m taking the Saints here.  If they lose this game, their season is truly over, but if they win, they’re still in the race in the weak NFC South.

New Orleans Saints 28 Green Bay Packers 24


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