Well, if there's one effective way to learn from one's mistakes, it's the hard way. It had been twenty-three weeks. TWENTY-THREE weeks since the last time we picked against the Pats. And you can probably guess what that outcome was… yup, Pats blowout. I think it's safe to say that both Pats fans and NFL fans are completely and utterly confused to the point that no one has any idea what to expect of this season. They squeak out games they're supposed to be winning handily, they get blown out when the game is supposed to be close, and they cruise to victory in games they're supposed to lose. One thing is for certain, though. You won't see this blog picking against them anytime soon
(home team in bold)
Panthers (-4.5) over Cardinals
Carolina had been riding their defense to a solid 5-2 record, and after this matchup, they have their bye, followed by cakewalks against the Raiders, Lions and Falcons. This means that going into Week 13, they could be 9-2 and well-positioned to earn a top-2 playoff seed. They'll have to beat the Bucs when they come to visit in early December, but this is not a team to be overlooked.
Bills (-1.5) over Dolphins
This is the first of three consecutive divisional matchups for the Bills, which means that their much-talked about 5-1 record is going to be put to the test. The Dolphins are a dangerous team as far as Vegas is concerned, and it looked like they really didn't recover from that last-second loss to the Texans when they were virtual no-shows against Ravens last week. Their offense needs to go through Ronnie Brown in order to succeed, and they just couldn't get him going last week. If the Bills can shut him down, they'll cruise.
Eagles (-8.5) over Falcons
This is arguably the most interesting Sunday matchup this week. Both teams coming off of bye weeks, it's going to come down to how Matt Ryan handles the Philly blitzing. Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Johnson has been known to rattle young QBs with the multitude of looks he shows them, so look for Matty Ice to struggle a bit, despite the impressive start to his career.
Jets (-12.5) over Chiefs
The Chiefs don't deserve a single vote of confidence from anyone, especially when they're on the road. Two words to support that statement: Tyler Thigpen.
Ravens (-6.5) over Raiders
The Ravens are only 3-3, but their losses came against Indy, Tennessee and Pittsburgh. Similar with previous seasons, they feature a strong rushing attack and a stingy defense. If rookie Joe Flacco can simply hold his own and not turn the ball over, this won't be an easy team for anyone to beat.
Pats (-6.5) over Rams
Saints (+3.5) over Chargers
Watch this one if you can, it's going to be a shootout. The over/under is 45, but I wouldn't be surprised to see these teams put up a combined 65 points. The Saints as home dogs is a scary thought. Too scary for this staff, at least…
Bucs (+3.5) over Cowboys
The Bucs are a solid team that doesn't have many standout players, but they're an under-the-radar 5-2, with one of those wins coming in the form of a blowout against a true contender in the NFC South, the Panthers. The Cowboys are banged up, and they'll have their hands full with this (somehow) underdog Bucs team. Don't expect Brad Johnson to solve any of the Cowboys' problems.
Redskins (-7.5) over Lions
Sorry, Detroit, not this week.
Jags (-7.5) over Browns
The Jags are a solid squad, with their three losses coming against teams with a combined 16-2 record. Don't overlook them this year.
Texans (-9.5) over Bengals
The Texans have started to bring it together since their Week 3 loss to Tennessee. Since then, they're 2-2, and the two losses were by a total of 4 points, both in shoot-outs. They should be able to hand the Bengals yet another notch in the "L" column.
Giants (+2.5) over Steelers
Two solid 5-1 teams with very similar styles of play: smashmouth running game, great pass rush and solid QB who makes his passes when he needs to. While Big Ben may have the edge over Eli, the Giants are a better overall team and should pull it out.
49ers (-4.5) over Seahawks
It makes me sick to my stomach to see myself write "49ers (-4.5) over", but this Seattle team is in a tailspin, complete with rumors of their coach flirting with the idea of going to coach, who else, but the Niners next season.
Colts (+3.5) over Titans
It's not easy to pick against an undefeated team, but I can't picture Peyton Manning putting up anything less than 330 yards and 3 TDs after last week's debacle in Green Bay. This seems like the perfect week for the Titans to be run off the field so that they immediately fall below everyone's radar once again, setting themselves up to rattle off a series of wins again until they sneak their way into the #1 seed in the AFC.
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