Last week was ROUGH. Remind me to stay away from so many underdogs. Picks:
DOLPHINS -2.5 at BILLS
The Dolphins face the Bills without EJ Manuel. He hurt his knee. Again. Thad Lewis will get the start.
Speaking of Thad, why won't anyone give him the time of day? Maybe NFL circles know something I don't, but the question deserves to be asked. In four career starts he's 1-3 with six turnovers and a QBR of 27.6. Scary, huh? But let's dig deeper.
A four-year starter at Duke, Lewis improved each year. I watched his pro tape and was surprised at his level of play considering he didn't get a trainging camp or many first-team practice reps. Thad can run the read-option and chuck it. Watch the tape, his numbers are hampered by a multitude of drops.
Lewis needs to control the ball better on scrambles. He needs to better his deep ball accuracy. But all in all he's capable of being s starting QB.
Imagine what he could accomplish with an actual contract and a full training camp. He derserves, at the least, to remain in Buffalo as a back-up to EJ.
I'm going with the Thad Lewis-led upset at home.
VIKINGS +8 at BENGALS
Who Dey has no time for games. After a debacle in Pittsburgh, the Bengals will return home poised for a blowout. AP may come back. Who cares? Vikings took advantage of a shaky Eagles D last week. They're still the Vikings.
COLTS +7 at CHIEFS
Nobody is playing better than the Chiefs right now. Of the playoff contenders, nobody is playing worse than the Colts right now.
BUCCANEERS +4.5 at RAMS
This one's tough; if I drop anything on this one, it will be moneyline. Both teams have a large margin between their best and worst. Tampa's peak has yet to be seen, but there's something big brewing within the Bucs. Too bad we probably won't see it until next season.
I picture the DE tandem of Quinn and Long making it a long day for Mike Glennon.
BROWNS +2 at JETS
Geno and the Jets (I love typing that) are 5-2 at home. A rookie playing better at home? BILL YOU'RE A GENIUS. Tell me more!
New York's pass rush is also pretty good, regardless of where in the U.S they play. Cleveland's four-headed Chihuahua at RB puts a bunch of pressure on Jason Campbell. New York's pass rush plays it's best when offense's are forced to throw.
Remember when Drew Brees traveled to that concrete slab in some New Jersey swamp? Prime example.
COWBOYS -2.5 at REDSKINS
PLEASE LET THIS HAPPEN.
If the 'Skins win, the talking heads constant blabbering will actually be enjoyable. The Cowboys organization will be on the brink of the Jonestown suicides while 'Cousins vs. RG3' will surely bring out the worst in Redskins fans.
SAINTS +3 at PANTHERS
Inside the Superdome, Brees has all day to pass and the defense of castoffs and aging free agents looks (dare I say) elite. Outside of the five-o-fo', Brees takes a beating and the defense looks like...a group of castoffs and aging free agents.
I'd take this like at seven.
TITANS -5 at JAGUARS
(Picture of me shrugging my shoulders.)
BRONCOS -10.5 at TEXANS
Keenum has a boo-boo on his thumb. Schaub gets the start.
Ben Tate won't start either, he's taking the remainder of the year off to rest his rack of ribs.
In other news, Lovie Smith interviewed for the vacant head coaching gig. He's not a good fit. Hey, Houston, spend the next few weeks pretending you're going after Cowher or Gruden then hire Ken Whisenhunt. Or, if you want to make the entire Lonestar State giddy, get Art Briles.
Go for an offensive-minded coach. J.J. Watt could probably coach the defense himself.
GIANTS +9.5 at LIONS
When will Detroit be a lock? The Lions are at home against a Giants squad who's just threw up on themselves for the umteenth time this year. Eli looks ready for the offseason. Coughlin looks ready for the offseason. ETC.
Does the above make me more confident in the Lions? Nope. It actually makes me less confident because Stafford throwing his team out of the playoffs against the dead Giants at home seems likely. Detroit's Monday night game against the Ravens was like a livestream of someone sleeping.
But I learned my lesson rolling with the Giants last week. Megatron will have a monster game.
CARDINALS +10.5 at SEAHAWKS
Double-digit spreads are tough to cover in December. 10.5 for the Bills or Titans make sense, but the Cardinals are a legit playoff contender. This game has the makings of a tied score at halftime and a down to the wire finish.
STEELERS +7 at PACKERS
As of 1 PM on Friday, Aaron Rodgers watchedpractice and is expected to be scratched. Again. Remember when speculations had Rodgers return around Week 13? It's just a clavicle, right?
What's better: Matt Flynn or Rodgers WITH A BROKEN CLAVICLE? Shut Rodgers down until the playoffs at the least. Rodgers isn't the Packers franchise player, he's the Packers entire franchise. Don't be stupid and rush him back. It's hard to throw a football when your collarbone is a hunk of floating sawdust and bone marrow.
Roethilsberger won't throw two picks in the final two minutes of cruchtime.
(This line will drop when Rodgers is offically ruled out. Take the Steelers as an underdog regardless of spread.)
RAIDERS +10 at CHARGERS
Oakland isn't as bad as the public thinks, San Diego isn't as good as the public thinks. And I get ten points?!?! Yippeee!
Somewhere there's a joke about The Black Hole and Qualcomm's constant blackouts.
PATRIOTS +2 at RAVENS
This is one of those games where you give the bets a rest and just watch. I'm split. By default I gotta take the streaking Super Bowl Champs at home.
BEARS +3 at EAGLES
Why isn't McCoy getting 40 carries a game? I thought all this would come to an end after Andy Reid left.
SHADY IS A TOP 3 RUNNING BACK IN THE NFL, FEED HIM.
Chicago wins this game and the division behind Cutler and the two skyscrapers flanking him.
FALCONS +13 at 49ERS (Mon.)
Remember what I said about double-digit spreads? Here's an exception. Monday night brings the last game at the Stick. Fans will cry because THE MEMORIES and the players will have crazy motivation that feeds off the emotion. It will be like the men's version of the Lifetime Movie Channel.
Everyone chill out, the Stick sucked. So did the Vet. So did every other multi-use stadium that deserved to be razed decades ago.
5-9-2 last week, 83-70-9 (83-115-9)