A couple more performances like last weeks against the spread will help me avoid the 100-loss plateau for hopefully another two weeks.
The NFL completes its third quarter of the season on SundayMonday. To the picks:
Jets (minus 3) at Redskins: For all the hubbub the Jets have received this year, they enter December 6-5 and are a dismal 1-4 on the road. Add the lack of a running game and the Redskins mini-turnaround offensively and expect a tight game. The difference will ultimately be Plaxico Burress all 6-foot-5 of him out-jumping DeAngelo Hall or Josh Wilson in the end zone for the winning touchdown. Jets 16-14.Titans (plus 2) at Bills: Buffalo has lost four straight since beating the Redskins and three of the defeats have been by more than 15 points. In the mediocre (at best) AFC South, the 6-5 Titans know theyre still in it, two games behind Houston and new quarterback T.J. Yates. Chris Johnson has games of 130 and 190 rushes in the last three weeks. Titans 27-21.Raiders (plus 3) at Dolphins: In three games as the starter, Carson Palmer has six touchdowns and five interceptions but is 3-0. Oakland enters December for the first time in years with playoff aspirations. But well go with the Dolphins offense spreading the football around plus the Raiders 1-8 record in East Coast games since 2008 as the difference. Dolphins 31-23.Bengals (plus 6.5) at Steelers: If Baltimore holds on, it makes this game a battle for a precious AFC wild card spot. Why Pittsburgh has a near-touchdown favorite is surprising considering the Steelers struggled offensively last week at Kansas City. Steelers 23-20.Ravens (minus 6.5) at Browns: Baltimore needs to figure out its favorite-on-road-but-lose woes quickly or it will lose race to AFC home-field advantage. Impressive against the 49ers at home the last time out, the Ravens need a good performance to make folks forget about road losses to Tennessee, Jacksonville and Seattle. Cleveland is bad enough to oblige. Ravens 24-21.Chiefs (plus 7) at Bears: Wow, what a tough stretch for Tyler Palko his first three starts for Kansas City are at New England (loss), vs. Pittsburgh (loss) and now at the Bears. KC has gone 27 possessions without a touchdown. Chicago hopes QB Caleb Hanies second start is more consistent than his up-and-down debut last week in Oakland. The Bears cant afford to lose home games because the wild card is their only chance. Bears 20-17.Falcons (minus 2.5) at Texans: Rookie T.J. Yates, the third string quarterback two weeks ago, the fifth-round pick which is what the Redskins could have spent on him was a Game Manager last week in Jacksonville. The key for Houston is RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Theyll be on their game to allow Yates to use play action. Texans 34-24.Panthers (plus 3) at Buccaneers: Tampa Bay is 0-3 since adding Albert Haynesworth but even Big Al shouldnt absorb much blame for the Buccaneers collapse. They cant stop the run (30th) and cant stop the pass (28th). Cam Newton bounced back from a four-interception debacle at Detroit to post a 95.9 passer rating, albeit against a Colts defense that subsequently fired their coordinator. Panthers 30-23.Lions (plus 9) at Saints: A big spread for teams just a game apart in the standings, which again shows how much Vegas respects New Orleans as a home team. No Ndamukong Suh (two-game suspension) means no chance for Detroit to slow down Drew Brees, who has thrown for a touchdown in 38 consecutive games. Saints 47-20.Broncos (plus 1.5) at Vikings: Vegas has yet to completely buy into Tebow Fever, thus the spread for a 6-5 Denver team vs. a 2-9 Minnesota team. Check out the run-pass disparity since Timmy took over (249-125), which is unheard of in the NFL. Although the Vikings are ninth against the run, Minnesota wont be able to do anything offensively without Adrian Peterson. Broncos 17-14.Rams (plus 13.5) at 49ers: St. Louis QB Sam Bradford could miss the game and San Francisco comes off a mini bye week knowing it probably cant catch Green Bay but wants a first-round bye and second-round home game. If ever there was a game for Alex Smith to break out and try some things, this would be the chance. 49ers 31-7.Cowboys (minus 4.5) at Cardinals: Arizonas best offense is rookie Patrick Peterson, who has already set an NFL record with four punt return touchdowns of at least 80 yards. Thats just incredible. Like the other Thanksgiving Day game teams, Dallas comes off a long rest and even though it doesnt have WR Miles Austin, but more Cowboys fans could be in University of Phoenix Stadium. Cowboys 34-24.Packers (minus 6.5) at Giants: Shockingly, New Yorks running game is broken beyond repair, which change its whole dynamic. They cant stay on the field and the defense cant off it. Big Blue allowed five drives of 73-plus yards to New Orleans. Green Bay has re-charged since beating Detroit and will move to 12-0. Packers 38-22.Colts (plus 20) at Patriots: Email me at email@example.com a reason why New England wont cover this number. Patriots 45-7.Chargers (minus 3) at Jaguars: Oy, this probably isnt what the WorldWide Leader had in mind when forking over billions for the Monday Night Football package. At least there is some storylines the Bolts stink, Norv Turner is likely gone, Philip Rivers is probably hurt and Jacksonville had a week that involved firing the head coach and the team being solid. Jaguars 17-10.RecordsStraight: 12-4 last week, 110-65 season.
Spread: 10-6 last week, 76-89-8
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