Full disclosure, I quickly made my picks early in the week before putting a lot of thought into them until now. It's been a hectic week, so I took the Raiders +6.5 before the Thursday night game more on a whim. Not-so-funny story, I missed almost the entirety of the game because I was the idiot who booked a 5:42 flight out of Santa Barbara even though my last last didn't get out until 4:45. Of course, I was late and had to be on standby for most of the game before getting the 28th seat in a 28 passenger flight to San Francisco. Here's hoping I'll actually get to watch games after my flight on Sunday.
Last week: 6-8
Overall Season: 71-59
Oakland +6.5 @ San Diego: Hindsight being 20/20, this line was way too high since these teams are basically even. Whichever team could protect their QB better would win and that's what happened.
Atlanta +0.5 vs. New Orleans: The Saints are the better team, but the Falcons are at home so that's why this is basically a pick'em. Both teams looked good last week, with Matt Ryan looking like he's starting to get this passing game on track. I don't think the Saints can stop Michael Turner consistently to win, but their speed on offense will make it interesting.
Dallas -5.5 vs. Buffalo: This line is probably too high, but the Cowboys should win this solidly. They can run the ball on them with DeMarco Murray and put the pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick with DeMarcus Ware. Dallas' secondary isn't nearly as good as the Jets' from last week, but I'm not expecting big things from the Bills passing game.
Pittsburgh -3.5 @ Cincinatti: A real test for the Bengals this week at home. The Steelers are coming off that heartbreaking loss at home to the Ravens and will have some defensive disguises for rookie Andy Dalton. Big Ben is in a real rhythm through the air with young Antonio Brown really emerging as a receiver opposite Mike Wallace.
St. Louis +2.5 @ Cleveland: The Rams have been playing well of late with their pass rush is finally producing, and the Browns' lack of weapons on offense is really limiting them. On the other side, Steven Jackson and the power running game will be giving Cleveland's defense problems all day.
Kansas City -3.5 vs. Denver: That was a huge letdown by the Chiefs last week after their big Monday night win, but they're at home again against a limited offense. The Broncos ran for almost 300 yards last week, but the Chiefs; defense won't have quite as many holes as the Raiders'. Denver's defense still didn't look good last week, but Champ Bailey has had success against Dwayne Bowe in the past.
Carolina -2.5 vs. Tennessee: Chris Johnson has signs of life! He could finally bust loose against this poor run defense, but the Panthers are coming off a bye week to prepare for him. Cam Newton should produce enough points for Carolina to win at home, and I like Steve Smith to win the matchup with pesky (read: annoying) corner Courtland Finnegan.
Jacksonville -2.5 @ Indianapolis: How bad will the Colts offense look against this rested Jags defense? I think Blaine Gabbert will win the battle of fair haired QBs against Curtis Painter, and Maurice Jones-Drew will have his typical production against Indy.
Miami -3.5 vs. Washington: After weeks of being on the cusp of victory, the Dolphins finally broke through in dominating fashion at Kansas City last week. With the hapless Redskins coming in, could they go from pole position in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes to two wins in a row? There could be some ugly stretches of offense in this game.
Philadelphia -13.5 vs. Arizona: John Skelton on the road should be a nice rebound for an Eagles team coming off a disappointing prime time loss. Michael Vick should tear this defense to shreds both on the ground and through the air, and their pass rush should eat up Arizona's offensive line.
Houston -3.5 @ Tampa Bay: It's tough to see young Gerald McCoy go down with a season ending injury again, and Albert Haynesworth isn't exactly a welcome sight to replace him. Arian Foster and Ben Tate should run wild against this poor run defense and not give Josh Freeman a chance for a late comeback since Tampa always starts slowly on offense.
Baltimore -7.5 @ Seattle: What a moment for Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith in their young careers stepping up in the face of adversity last week at Pittsburgh. The thought crossed my mind at the beginning of the drive that this would be the moment Flacco silences the critics, but I didn't expect him to actually do it. Now, this could be a trap game in a tough environment after that emotional win and with an anticipated Bengals game coming up next week. However, I think the Ravens are past those inconsistencies at this point in the season, and the Seahawks offense has no chance of pulling an upset against Baltimore's defense.
Detroit +2.5 @ Chicago: Here's your letdown game. The Bears are coming off that great upset in Philadelphia on a short week, and the Lions are coming off a bye week to prepare. Detroit controlled the game in their first meeting at home, and although missing Jahvid Best certainly hurts, I think they do it again with their pass rush. Earl Bennet's presence in the lineup certainly helped Jay Cutler and the passing game, however.
San Francisco -3.5 vs. New York Giants: The string of tough games continues for New York, and they're traveling across the country after an emotional win in New England. The matchups aren't in their favor either, with their struggling running game going against Patrick Willis and the best run defense in the league. Eli Manning could definitely win the contest with the passing game alone, but the Niners should be able to control the game with Frank Gore going against a poor Giants run defense. Despite having given up some chunks of yardage through the air in the past, I have a feeling San Francisco's aggressive secondary will come up with a couple big plays when it counts.
New England +1.5 @ New York Jets: The momentum for these teams are going in opposite directions, but I think the buck stops here. Bill Belichick will eventually get this defense straightened out despite his peculiar roster moves of late, and I don't see the Jets' offense giving them that many problems. Tom Brady didn't have his best game last week, but he got it done when it counted in the fourth quarter and handled this defense well enough in their first meeting. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots having success running the ball against the Jets' 7 defensive back look either.
Green Bay -13.5 vs. Minnesota: This line is pretty high considering how the Vikings played the defending champs tough a few weeks back. However, that game was in Minnesota, and Lambeau could be a tough place to play for rookie Christian Ponder. The Packers defense caused a lot problems for him, but Adrian Peterson had a great game to keep them in it. Aaron Rodgers is reeling off big plays like they're nothing, though, and he is clearly playing the best football out of anyone in the league. He and Greg Jennings should shine in prime time against this secondary and win this one going away.