|Fall Into The Clock|
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ATLANTA (-3.5) at New Orleans
The Falcons nearly spit the bit last week at home against DC, but the Saints may be a lot worse than the Slurs now, and the home field hasn't scared many for a while now. Terrible Night Football could be a runaway, especially if the Falcons are just a wee bit sharper on offense. Just not seeing QB Matt Ryan struggling for two straight weeks indoors.
Atlanta 31, Saints 20
Washington at NY JETS (-6)
A big spread for a team with an intermittent offense, but the Jets have been fine so long as RB Chris Ivory is healthy -- and when we last saw him in London, he was making Joe Philbin unemployed. At home off the bye against the heartbroken Slurs, I think they get it done, with WR Brandon Marshall doing a lot to add to their misery. There's also a reasonable chance that the Jet defense wins this game on their own.
Jets 27, Slurs 13
ARIZONA (-3) at Pittsburgh
I'm tempted to try the Steelers here, as there's an outside chance that QB Ben Roethlisberger might return, their defense is showing true signs of life, and Arizona at 10am PST is never intimidating. But the short week, possibility of Michael Vick still being at the helm with the Steelers having the bye next week, and overall Red skill level is making me go with the road favorites. That, and the Red defense.
Cardinals 24, Steelers 16
Kansas City at MINNESOTA (-4)
Can the home Vikings take prosperity and get it done against the very wounded Chiefs? It seems more likely than not, as the Chiefs lost RB Jamal Charles and are likely to go to less effective committee work. Other than the mystifying MNF loss to San Francisco -- maybe the presence of the ESPN2 crew was to blame? -- the Purple has been reasonable this year, and should get it done on the declining Chiefs.
Vikings 23, Chiefs 17
CINCINNATI (-3.5) at Buffalo
Tough to gauge this line with Bills QB Tyrod Taylor's status up in the air, but the Buffalo RB situation is also a mess of ill health, and it's not as if the Bengals are a weak outfit. Cincy is due to take a gravity defying loss fairly son, but it won't be here, and against a team that gives them a short field with offensive turnovers.
Bengals 31, Bills 17
Chicago at DETROIT (-3)
Someone's gotta win this game between DOA teams, right? I'll take Detroit under a bounce-back game from shamed QB Matthew Stafford, who will take advantage of the terrible Bear defense to make the home crowd think that the year isn't over just yet. (This just in: the year's over. But blind pigs do stumble over acorns.)
Lions 34, Bears 20
Denver at CLEVELAND (+4)
Big win last week for the Factory of Sadness, who are suddenly awash in passing yards behind retread QB Josh McNown. That will end with a vengeance this week against the quality Bronco secondary, and Denver's RBs should finally get off the schneid and do something against the Browns' surprisingly poor run defense... but something just doesn't sit right with the undefeated but highly flawed Broncos. I think they'll kick too many field goals to cover the spread, and might even lose.
Broncos 19, Browns 17
HOUSTON (pick em) at Jacksonville
Houston played QB Roulette in Terrible Night Football last week and nearly came up a winner, but weren't able to stop the Colts' grumpy old backups. This week on the road against what might be a one-dimensional Jags team - the RBs are banged up -- I think they get the job done. But this isn't exactly a high confidence pick.
Texans 20, Jaguars 17
MIAMI (+2.5) at Tennessee
The Dolphins come off the UK bye with a new coach and the chance to tee off against rookie QB Marcus Mariota, who isn't getting enough help to avoid duffing on a winnable game. The Fish have too much talent to just stay down all year. Just, well, most.
Dolphins 26, Titans 20
Carolina at SEATTLE (-6.5)
Big line for a team that can't block and might still be missing RB1 Marshawn Lynch, but the Seahawks can't choke up any more games, and their defense is going to dominate this game. It also helps that they might be able to cover the Carolina WRs while actually napping.
Seahawks 27, Panthers 17
San Diego at GREEN BAY (-10)
Late game gives the Chargers some hope, but man alive, how do you choke up that home MNF game against the Steelers without long-term trouble? The Packer defense could be dominant against the ramshackle Chargers offensive line, and it's not as if QB Aaron Rodgers isn't going to target CB Brandon Flowers with a vengeance. I think this one gets out of hand.
Packers 34, Chargers 20
Baltimore at SAN FRANCISCO (+2.5)
Rough years for both teams, who played for a Super Bowl not so long ago, and now staring down the barrel of a double-digit loss campaign. San Fran looked somewhat competent on offense last week in New York, and Baltimore isn't much better without Terrell Suggs. Baltimore Fan isn't going to travel for this club, either.
Niners 23, Ravens 16
NEW ENGLAND (-7.5) at Indianapolis
SNF has the road Patriots with a big number in Indy, but the Colts just haven't looked right all year, and NE should be interested in running up the score because Deflategate. Not every SNF game is a close one.
Patriots 34, Colts 24
NY GIANTS (+4.5) at Philadelphia
Big number for the home favorites, especially with a shaky kicker and a history of treating the first half like it does not count. I think they cover, and maybe even win, in a game that becomes pinball, and hence makes ESPN think both teams are actually good.
Eagles 34, Giants 31
Last week: 7-6-1
Year to date: 42-33-1