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November 28, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 13 Predictions

We're in the home stretch now, with just five weeks to go. Last week, I rode a successful Thanksgiving into a 10-6 week, which will hopefully keep me above .500 for the remainder of the season. The Rams inability to score from 1st and Goal on the 4 and the weather in Pittsburgh didn't help, but I managed nonetheless.

The spreads go back to relatively normal levels this week, with only the Patriots giving double-digit points. I'm not sure that helps me, but let's find out, shall we?

Spreads again are taken from here.

Green Bay (+7) at Dallas - It's Favre vs. Romo! It's the NFL vs. Cable TV! However you want to spin it, in the end, it's a battle for home-field advantage in the NFC. Both offenses can put up points. I think Dallas will win the game, but giving 7 to a 10-1 team averaging nearly 34 points in its last 4 games? That seems a little excessive.

St. Louis (NL) vs Atlanta - I'm taking the no-line and treating it like a pick 'em. I'll check out the spreads later in the week to see if they've changed, but until then, this is my selection. While I'm still mad at St. Louis costing me the weekly high in my confidence pool last week, I'm still seeing them as a late-season spoiler. Not that Atlanta needs to be spoiled, but you get the point.

Buffalo (+6) at Washington - I have no idea how to judge this game. Everything with Sean Taylor is really just too much to try to wrap football logic around. So let's just go with this.

Minnesota (-3) vs Detroit - And now begins the slide to mediocrity for the Lions. It was a nice run, but this week, say hello to .500. Next week, say hello to the bottom of the NFC North. With Purple Jesus possibly returning, and Chester Taylor filling in anyways, the Vikings control the clock and hold Detroit's offense in check.

Houston (+4) at Tennessee - Well then... the Vince Young magic seems to have faded quickly, hasn't it? The Titans played every facet of the game poorly last week. Not sure what exactly has changed in a week. The Texans are slowly coming back around to the success they found at the beginning of the season. I'm sure Andre Johnson has played a part in that.

Indianapolis (-7) vs Jacksonville - Every year, the Jaguars seem to find themselves with an opportunity to lay claim to the division, and every year, Peyton and Co. just knock them back down. I don't see this season being any different. Playing at home after a long break, they'll have the Jaguars' number once again.

New York Jets (+1) at Miami - Dear God... I thought the Rams-Falcons matchup was depressing. This may be the best chance for Miami to win a game this year, but even here, I don't see it. Do the Dolphins have any healthy running backs? Two first year quarterbacks going at it? Ugh... go with the under...

San Diego (-5) at Kansas City - The Chargers put a smackdown on the Ravens last week, which probably isn't all that hard to do, but was impressive nonetheless. The Chiefs couldn't hold their own against the Raiders, which can't be a good sign. With Norv Turner and Herm Edwards manning the sidelines, you can't base this one on coaching, so let's just go with talent...

Philadelphia (-3) vs Seattle - I was thinking of going with the letdown game for the Eagles, but I still don't trust the Seahawks, even with their record. And now Alexander may be back? Is that supposed to make me feel better about their team? I liked them better when he was out.

San Francisco (+2.5) at Carolina - Sweet Jesus... Rams-Falcons, Dolphins-Jets... Now 49ers-Panthers? This is not going to be a pretty week of football. This matchup has one player that brings anything to the table... Frank Gore. For that, and that reason alone, I'm going with the 49ers.

New Orleans (-3) vs Tampa Bay - I still don't get the Saints. But you still have to fear their potential. Tampa Bay looked awful in their win against the Redskins last week, which isn't exactly a compliment. If Jeff Garcia is still dinged up, this isn't even close. Even if he plays, the Saints cover at home.

Cleveland (PK) at Arizona - Did you see how many points the 49ers just put up against the Cardinals? And now the Browns are coming to town? Which offense do you think is more impressive? Yeah, that's what I thought. Granted, the Cardinals offense is going up against the Browns defense, but you can always count on Warner for a few mistakes, and that'll end up costing them yet again.

Denver (-3.5) at Oakland - Outside of the Devin Hester disaster for the Broncos, Denver controlled the game against the Bears for a good 54 minutes. I don't see a Devin Hester on Oakland, although I am rooting for Justin Fargas for fantasy reasons. Nevertheless, Denver has too many weapons for the Raiders and they're starting to come around, even if it is too late.

New York Giants (-2) at Chicago - Well, thanks to the aforementioned Broncos, Devin Hester may never see a kick again. Now while a kick out of bounds may help most teams, it does little for the Bears. Eli can't possibly play as bad as he did last week, can he? I'm expecting a healthy dose of whatever running back is healthy for the Giants, which should be enough against the Bears banged up defense.

Cincinnati (+7.5) at Pittsburgh - The Bengals finally came through for me last week. I think they're finally coming together and will play the role of spoiler admirably for the rest of the season. They may not win this game, but this many points within the division? I'm sticking to my formula on that one.

New England (-20) at Baltimore - What's the difference between the Ravens and the Eagles? The Eagles can actually score. So yeah... you might know how to slow down the Patriots, but you can't stop them, and you'll need to score some points of your own. Baltimore can't do both of those things.

Last Week: 10-6
Overall: 91-74-11

November 21, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 12 Predictions

I was debating whether to do all the games at once or just the Thanksgiving games tonight and then wait to see if the spreads changed in the next couple days. I'm just going with all the games because 1) I have time right now, and 2) I can change them later if I want.

An amazing 8 teams are favored by at least a touchdown, which seems a little out of the ordinary for me, but perhaps there just is that much disparity between the top and bottom of the leagues right now. Hopefully I can sift through and improve on my .500 record last week, thanks in large part to the Browns' FG that wasn't then was.

So as I wait to see where my Illini, and potentially I, will be going for New Years, here are the picks for the week. As always, spreads can be found here.

Green Bay (-3.5) at Detroit - The Lions lost to the Cardinals then lost again at home to the Giants, and that was supposed to be the relatively easy portion of the second half schedule. With two games against the Packers, plus the Cowboys, Vikings, Chargers, and Chiefs, the Lions may not win again this season. And going against Favre on national TV... This stretch isn't going to start well for the Lions.

Dallas (-14) vs New York Jets - I actually started writing this paragraph with the Jets covering, but going with my national television logic, T.O. is apt to explode once again in this game. He's been a force these last several weeks, and after a close game against the Redskins, I'm thinking the entire Cowboys offense will want to flex their muscles.

Indianapolis (-11.5) at Atlanta - Okay, this will be the week that the Colts get back on track, right? I mean, we went through this little stretch last year too, but the Colts always snap out of it. Byron Leftwich can't possibly keep up with the Colts, can he? I say no.

Chicago (-2.5) vs Denver - I'm afraid that I might be picking this one more with my heart than head. But I'm trying to convince myself of the road game after a Monday night game syndrome. The Bears don't make me feel confident in any area of the game, but I'll stick with them this week just out of sheer hope. One more loss and we may see the Kyle Orton era emerge, and then I can start picking against this team without fear...

Cincinnati (+1.5) vs Tennessee - Yes, I'm going with the Bengals again. I don't entirely know why, but it's not like the Titans lit it up last week. Vince Young looked solid for the first time in ages, but it's still Justin Gage at the other end of those passes and I think we know how that story goes. Carson Palmer can't have another 4-pick day, right?

Buffalo (+7.5) at Jacksonville - Perhaps not last week, but typically, the Bills play games pretty close, so I'm not ready to give them a touchdown head start in this matchup. The Jaguars could put up 40 points. They could score 14. I wouldn't be surprised either way, but I'm thinking that they'll end up doing just enough to win or perhaps looking ahead to the Colts next week.

Oakland (+6) at Kansas City - And welcome to the Kolby Smith era! Can you feel the excitement? Yeah, me neither. But that's what it's come down to as Priest Holmes is retiring and Larry Johnson is still on the shelf. After playing the Colts tough last week, I see the Chiefs coming back to earth a bit. They'll still probably win, but Justin Fargas and company keep it close in this divisional matchup.

Cleveland (-3.5) vs Houston - I've watched the Browns in the 4th quarter the last couple weeks and Derek Anderson has me worried. Meanwhile, the Texans seem to be getting their early season groove back. Having Andre Johnson back probably doesn't hurt. But things just seem to be going the Browns' way this season. I'd need one more stinker to jump off the bandwagon while Houston needs one more solid win before I jump on theirs.

St. Louis (+3) vs Seattle - The Seahawks play much better at home, but they won't have that luxury this week as the visit the Rams, who seem to finally be coming around these last couple weeks. Bulger is more comfortable and Steven Jackson appears healthy. If Cedric Benson can pop off for 60+ yards on two carries (nevermind the fact the Bears got away from him the rest of the game...), I can only imagine what Jackson could do in this game.

New York Giants (-7) vs Minnesota - The Giants barely got by the Lions while Chester Taylor has a huge day, helping the Vikings beat the Raiders. But the Vikings still only barely managed to beat the Raiders at home, while the Giants, despite not putting up the points, held the Lions to barely any rushing yards. Now back home, I see the Giants taking advantage of whatever quarterback suits up for the Vikings this week.

New Orleans (-2) at Carolina - The Panthers showed some life last week when the outcome was already decided. And the Saints... well, they just have blown the last two games after fighting their way back to .500 on the season. If Steve Smith doesn't go again, then this pick is even easier, but either way, the Saints firepower should be too much for the Panthers.

Tampa Bay (-3.5) vs Washington - Jason Campbell is finally finding his WRs, hooking up for numerous touchdown passes these last couple weeks, and hey look... a Santana Moss sighting! But before I'm convinced, let's see them do it against the Bucs, who have continued their solid play much longer than I anticipated. Earnest Graham has shouldered the load while Jeff Garcia is doing what Jeff Garcia does (non-Detroit version...).

Arizona (-10.5) vs San Francisco - I don't know what's scarier... that the Cardinals are favored by this much or that I'm thinking this could be a lock of a game. Both definitely send shivers
down my spine, but that's the world we live in, as the Cardinals have put up points and played great defense while the 49ers have struggled in all facets of the game, even in their 2 victories on the season.

San Diego (-9.5) vs Baltimore - Norv Turner is worse than I expected, which is saying something since I didn't expect much from him anyways. But the Chargers do play better at home and the Ravens are a prime candidate for emotional letdown after what happened at the end of the Browns game. I will most likely spend most of this game looking at my preseason predictions for these two teams and slowly shaking my head for three hours.

New England (-21) vs Philadelphia - It's like Vegas is thinking "two touchdowns aren't enough for you to go the other way... how about three?!" Seriously, this looks like a college spread. But as I've been doing since Week 2, it's Patriots coming out on top, especially if McNabb is out of this game.

Pittsburgh (-16) vs Miami - I apparently think it's going to be a boring week of football as I just realized that I went with 7 of the 8 touchdown favorites. But after their loss to the Jets, I don't think the Steelers will show any mercy as they try to get back on track and keep up with the division leaders of the AFC. And the Steelers always do well on MNF.

Last Week 7-7-2
Overall: 81-68-11

November 17, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 11 Predictions

I had to take advantage of enjoying my Illini defeat then-#1 Ohio State last weekend, because I had a feeling I wouldn't get the opportunity to enjoy my picks the next day. And I was correct, which is something I couldn't say much last Sunday. I suffered a bit of a setback last week.

But now that we're back to a full slate of games, with bye weeks finally done, now is my chance to either create some distance between me and .500 or begin my inevitable decent back to statistical normalcy. So there's that to look forward too...

So while I watch my aforementioned Illini try to clinch a tie for 2nd in the Big Ten, here are my picks for the week. As always, spreads can be found here.

San Diego (+3.5) at Jacksonville - I don't get either of these teams. I should go with Jacksonville, but I've been screwed by them enough times. But the Chargers have not looked pretty lately, even in victory. I went with San Diego in confidence, so I guess I'll stick with them here.

Indianapolis (-14.5) vs Kansas City - After two straight losses, is there any doubt that the Colts are going to pull out all the stops to get back on track? I'm not a believer in Priest Holmes to control the clock and giving Peyton opportunities, he's not going to duplicate his performance from last week.

Minnesota (-5.5) vs Oakland - The Raiders lost at home. To the Bears. To Rex Grossman. I don't have much confidence with them heading to Minnesota, even without Purple Jesus. Chester Taylor is a solid back and I don't think Daunte Culpepper will handle his return to the Metrodome well.

Cleveland (-3) at Baltimore - This could be a letdown game for the Browns, after their emotional loss to the Steelers last week. But I have to think they'll still take care of the Ravens, who barely managed to score against the Cincy defense last week. And the Browns are good enough to turn what were FGs for Cincy into TDs for the Cleveland.

Pittsburgh (-9) at New York Jets - I don't like all of these large spreads but I haven't come across one yet that I can pick against. The Jets have been awful this season while the Steelers have been one of the best teams in all the NFL. Even coming off a bye, the Jets are still operating with a raw QB against a solid defense.

Tampa Bay (-3) at Atlanta - I was tempted to pick the Falcons here until I heard that Byron Leftwich was going to be involved in this game. That changes things. I don't necessarily like either of these teams, but I can't believe Warrick Dunn will continue his hot streak, leaving the offense in Leftwich's hands. That's not a good thing.

Cincinnati (-3) vs Arizona - I've been sticking with the Bengals this season and they showed some sort of life last week, although they couldn't find the endzone. The Cardinals are coming off a solid win against the Lions, and are capable of putting up points against this Bengals defense. But I'll take the Bengals at home. I'd also take the over...

Philadelphia (-10) vs Miami - I wouldn't pick the Eagles to beat anybody by double digits... except the winless Dolphins with a new quarterback and Ricky Williams drama. That's not a good combination for the 'Fins. The Eagles can just right Brian Westbrook all game... wait, Westbrook might not play? Well, I'll stick with my pick and hope Westbrook takes the field.

New England (-15.5) at Buffalo - The Patriots most likely used their bye week to determine what happened against the Colts, only managing to win by 4. Coming off their only loss against the spread, I feel the Patriots will go back to their high scoring ways. Without Marshawn Lynch, the Bills won't be able to keep up.

Washington (+11) at Dallas - Of all the double digit spreads, I'm going with this one to go against. The Redskins actually showed some semblance of a passing game last week against the Eagles and Clinton Portis has been solid of late. The Cowboys still win this game, but I'm seeing it by about a touchdown.

New Orleans (PK) at Houston - I'm looking at the Saints loss last week as a bump in the road, not a sign of things to come, even though it did eliminate me from every survivor pool I was in... The Texans get Andre Johnson back, but they still don't have a healthy running back and Schaub and Johnson have some rust to work off.

Green Bay (-10) vs Carolina - Brett Favre is feeling it, and my fantasy team is thankful. That's about the only thing my fantasy team is thankful for, but that's a different story altogether... Carolina is all sorts of messed up, and although they play better on the road, the Packers are rolling and will continue to do so.

New York Giants (-2.5) at Detroit - Neither of these teams, despite their records, really has a signature victory on the season. Mike Martz went pass-happy last week, and if they plan on doing that again, the Giants' defensive line is going to make it a long day for Jon Kitna.

St. Louis (-3) at San Francisco - I knew the Rams would break out at some point. Again, I'm disappointed it was against the Saints last week, but regardless, they have too much offensive firepower to suffer through the season they've had. The 49ers, however, have no offensive firepower. None. You usually don't win like that.

Chicago (+5) at Seattle - I've noticed that I'm picking a lot of road teams this week, which has me a bit worried. But I can't pick this Seahawks team to cover when they've been, shall we say, a mess so far this season. The Bears have Sexy Rexy back, which may or may not be a good thing. I'm hopeful that he'll be alright this week. As for the rest of the season...

Tennessee (+2.5) at Denver - Another road team here... I'm thinking that between Vince Young and Jay Cutler, Vince is the more likely to shine on national television. We saw Cutler stumble through that final drive against the Packers a few weeks ago. Anybody think he's magically gotten better these last few games?

Last Week: 5-8-1
Overall: 74-61-9

November 10, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 10 Predictions

At the pseudo-halfway point of the season, I've maintained a decent record, hitting just over 56% of games to this point. Not great, but not awful. If I were actually betting, I'd take the profit.

In actual football news, the Patriots finally lost, but only versus the spread, which may be the only thing that can stop New England at this point. Purple Jesus also has me officially scared for my Bears for the next decade, so that's fantastic. If the Vikings ever figure out their quarterback situation, watch out. And to repeat a phrase I've spoken quite a bit these last few years, I hate fantasy football... But that's its own separate post.

So on to the picks... As always, spreads can be found here.

Tennessee (-4.5) vs Jacksonville - The Titans have been playing solid football all season, and that's had very little to do with Vince Young. If he can get it going, the Titans will take a big step towards making the playoffs this season. If not, LenDale White will still find room in the Marcus Stroud-less Jaguars defense. And of course, there's still the Quinn Gray on the road factor.

Kansas City (-3) vs Denver - There's no Larry Johnson, but against the Broncos, I'm not sure it matters at this point. They were embarrassed in Detroit last week, and while the Chiefs might not have the firepower of the Lions (there's a sentence I never thought I'd say...), they'll find enough to get by the free-falling Broncos.

Buffalo (-3) at Miami - Okay, okay... the Bills are a solid team. I get it. I still think they'll hit a tailspin at the end of the season, but against the Dolphins, they'll be fine. Miami, playing without Zach Thomas, will become all too familiar with Marshawn Lynch this week. And J.P. Losman could earn his job back with another solid performance.

Cleveland (+9.5) at Pittsburgh - I went with the Steelers giving tons of points against the Ravens last week, but that was a Monday night game and the Ravens have no offense. Coming off a short week, I think Pittsburgh plays it a little slower, and the Browns will put up some points. Plus, it's a divisional game, so I'm going back to my taking the points technique.

New Orleans (-11.5) vs St. Louis - The Saints are developing that swagger they had all of last year. Meanwhile, that's not a swagger on the Rams' side, that's a limp. Injuries still plague this team, even though Bulger appears to be back to throwing it down the field. But the Saints defense has been solid and I don't see the Rams changing that.

Atlanta (+4) at Carolina - When I was filling out my confidence pool for the week, I uncomfortably went with the Panthers. Then I heard that Testeverde might be out for this one, which sadly, actually could affect the outcome of this game. The Falcons may not be lighting it up, but they've holding their own against the spread. And Carolina has had troubles at home.

Washington (-3) vs Philadelphia - Neither team has been impressive against the spread this season. So looking purely at the teams, the Redskins have been playing somewhat better than the Eagles to this point, near loss to the Jets last week not included... Playing at home, Clinton Portis will again carry the load for Washington. The Eagles will continues to try to figure out where it all went wrong this season.

Minnesota (+6.5) at Green Bay - Another game that conflicts with my confidence pool, I think the Packers will win, but these two always play it close, and Adrian Peterson will continue to grind out yards to keep the game close. This is too many points to give when the teams are so familiar with either other.

Cincinnati (+4) at Baltimore - Two teams I had at the top of their division before the season began, both teams have severely disappointed. I'm still keeping a little faith in the Bengals to at least be respectable, thanks mostly to the potential of their offense. The Ravens... no confidence there. Their strength should be their defense, and as they showed Monday night, strength it is not.

Oakland (+3) vs Chicago - The Bears are coming off of a bye week, but things haven't really changed too much. The defense still needs to prove itself. The offense still needs to find a running back that doesn't just fall down the first sign of trouble. The Raiders claim that they'll kick it to Devin Hester, so at least there's that. But you can't depend on special teams to win on the road.

Dallas (-1) at New York Giants - The Giants are the surprise team in the NFC East, especially after their start to the season. However, the Cowboys are still the most potent, especially if Plaxico Burress can't go for the Giants on Sunday. Dallas has a chance to give themselves some space within the division, and I think they take advantage.

Detroit (+1) at Arizona - The Lions, gulp, have a chance to go 7-2 on the year. The Lions. Matt Millen's Lions. Excuse me while I start harding canned good for the impending end of days. But that's the world we're living in right now, as the Cardinals had trouble containing the Bucs offense, and don't look ready to win these potentially high-scoring games.

San Diego (+3.5) vs Indianapolis - The Chargers were embarrassed last week, which should only motivate them more. The Colts were disappointed, which raises the concern of a mental hangover. I can't really imagine the Colts losing two in a row, but even in their Super Bowl season last year, they let down in the middle of the season. And the Chargers play much better at home than on the road.

San Francisco (+9.5) at Seattle - The NFC West is on a combined 18-game losing streak. I don't know how anybody in this division can be favored by 9.5, no matter how bad everybody may be. I think I'll pass on watching this one on Monday night.

Last Week: 7-7
Overall: 69-53-8

November 03, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 9 Predictions

With the Bears on bye this week, I'm not sure what I'm going to watch. If there was only some other game worth watching this week... any other game that would prove at least somewhat interesting...

What's that, you say? The Patriots are playing the Colts this week in a battle of undefeateds? Wow, I'm surprised I haven't heard anything about that game. I mean, not a single thing... Well, at least not in the last 5 minutes. Of course, there are 13 other games going this week, so let's try to address those as well before The Game to End All Games Until The Next Game To Do So takes place.

I'm coming off my personal best week of the season, going 11-2, but just glancing at the spreads while filling out my confidence pool, I'm not really thinking about repeating that feat this week. As always, you can find spreads here.

Washington (-3.5) at New York Jets - The Redskins were the latest team to get embarrassed by the Patriots, but I'm thinking it's easier to shake off a ridiculous blowout loss than to have kept it close and lost it at the end. The Jets, however, have just been embarrassing themselves, and now turn to Kellen Clemens to change their fortunes. Maybe by the end of the season, but not in his first start...

Kansas City (-2) vs Green Bay - The Packers squeaked out a narrow victory on the road on MNF, and now must travel on a short week to a Chiefs team that's been better than the Broncos. Selvin Young did a fine job running around the Packers, so I can only imagine what Larry Johnson coming off a bye week will do.

Arizona (+3.5) at Tampa Bay - The Bucs gave up 24 points to Quinn Gray at home. Quinn Gray. And now they're going against Warner, Fitzgerald, Boldin, and James, who are all rested after their bye week? The Cardinals, even with their record, have been keeping games close. I think this will be another close one.

Tennessee (-4.5) vs Carolina - I can never seem to get the Titans figured out, as I've only been right on them once this season. I'm thinking that Vince Young will rebound from a sub par game last week. But I've been wrong on him before. Meanwhile, the Panthers again look to turn to David Carr, and I again will pick against him.

Atlanta (-3) vs San Francisco - Now here's a game that will bring in the viewers! Offensive football may regress 50 years in this game, or perhaps just completely disappear altogether. How are the Falcons and Joey Harrington favored? Oh, playing against the 49ers without Frank Gore might do it. If Jerious Norwood doesn't bust out in this game, I may just have to give up on him.

New Orleans (-3.5) vs Jacksonville - Okay, Quinn Gray... you got me last week. Nice performance... Now let's see you do it on the road again. The Saints have started coming around (see how that works, Bears?) and playing in the dome, they should keep the ball rolling. Their defense has been impressive as well, and if the Jaguars' running game is held in check, well, you know...

Detroit (-3) vs Denver - The Broncos just gave up over 100 yards to a Packers running back, something yet to have happened this season. And now they're going against Kevin Jones and the rest of the Lions. Plus, they're traveling on a short week. Jones should be able to control the clock while a fully-clothed Kitna will match anything Cutler manages to do.

Cincinnati (-1) at Buffalo - The Bills have performed well the last several weeks, and I've benefited, as I knew Dick Jauron would have them playing hard. So why am I going with the underachieving Bengals this week? Because Dick Jauron is still the Bills coach, and his team is getting way too close to respectability.

San Diego (-7) at Minnesota - It appears that the Chargers are figuring out that if you give the ball to Tomlinson, good things happen. On the other side of the ball, if you kep the ball out of Adrian Peterson's hands, bad things tend to happen to the Vikings. When an 87-year old Jeff George thinks he'd be an upgrade at quarterback for your team, you know things are, shall we say, messy.

Cleveland (-2) vs Seattle - The Browns have been one of the surprise teams this year, while the Seahawks have been rather disappointing, even if they do lead their division. Shaun Alexander hasn't gotten going and the Seahawks still have injury concerns at the WR position. Braylon Edwards and Derek Anderson have found a nice rhythm that should continue at home.

New England (-5) at Indianapolis - I said I would stick with them until they proved otherwise so no reason to change now. The Colts are undefeated. They're the defending champions. They're at home. But the Patriots have been winning by an average of 25.5 points. An upgrade of competition will affect the overall difference, but are the Colts over 20 points better than what the Patriots have seen thus far? I say no.

Oakland (-3) vs Houston - Is anybody going to be watching this game? I mean, the Browns and Seahawks are at least winning teams. These two teams are a combined 5-10. Oakland residents are probably hoping for a blackout of the broadcast so they can get the Pats-Colts game instead. In the game itself, the Texans are down a QB and possibly three running backs. That can't be a good sign. I don't trust any of the Raiders quarterbacks either, but at least they're running game has shown some life.

Dallas (-3) at Philadelphia - Do Andy Reid's family troubles cause a distraction or do they galvanize the team into a focus yet to be seen by the Eagles this season? I'm going with the former. Whether or not he wants to admit it, it has to be on his mind. The Eagles have played the Cowboys tough lately, but I think the tide will begin to shift in the other direction. Coming off a bye week, the Cowboys should be ready to go.

Pittsburgh (-9) vs Baltimore - I originally had this going the other way, as 9 points for a division rival is a bit much for me, as I've discovered through the course of picking these games this season. Of course, if there's one thing that could counteract the divisional matchup, it's the bright lights of MNF. The Ravens have been awful against the spread this season, and if you look at their wins, they've come over the Jets (by 7), Cardinals (by 3), 49ers (by 2) and the Rams (by 19). All except the 49ers were at home. I don't care who's quarterbacking. That's not good.

Last Week: 11-2
Overall: 62-46-8