Each week I pick the NFL winners against the spread, using the opening lines from BoDog.com
San Francisco at Atlanta (Falcons -6.5)- The 49ers are not a very good football team, but they are capable of keeping it close when properly motivated. With the energy a new offensive coordinator brings, and the fact that the Falcons might be suffering a little bit of a hangover after last week’s huge win, the 49ers can keep this within a touchdown. Four weeks ago this probably could have been a first round playoff preview, now it’s likely the swan song for the 49ers season.
NY Jets at Buffalo (Bills +4.5)- This line is surprisingly low given the Jets recent play, but the Bills showed last week they are capable of at least making a game or two interesting this season. Mark Sanchez is starting to look like a NFL quarterback, and LT might just be good still. The way they moved the ball against the Dolphins, who had just put together a great defensive game against the Vikings, I see no reason the Jets can’t score with ease in Buffalo.
Cincinnati at Cleveland (Browns -3)- This line quickly shifted towards the Bengals, who are now a 3 point favorite, but I would have taken the Browns either way. Coming off a great game against the Ravens, perhaps Peyton Hillis has another strong effort in him. Carson Palmer is such a shell of himself I almost feel bad, so as long as Jake Delhomme doesn’t start for the Browns, I think they pull the upset.
Detroit at Green Bay (Packers -14.5)- A motivated (hopefully) Packers team at home should roll over the Lions. Calvin Johnson tends to struggle against Charles Woodson, and the Lions secondary is ripe for exploitation by Aaron Rodgers. Expect the Lions D-Line to pressure Rodgers, and probably limit the Packers’ running game, but that won’t matter this week.
Denver at Tennessee (Titans -8.5)- I think you can tell how a Titans game is going to go after just one quarter. If they can get a lead, any lead, odds are they will win. Vince Young can be kept within the safe part of the playbook, Chris Johnson can get the ball 30 times, and their defense is good enough to protect the lead. If they get down a touchdown early, things will probably unravel quickly.
Seattle at St. Louis (Rams +1.5)- If the Seahawks can win this game, they probably have the inside track to winning their division. They will likely go 6-2 or 7-1 at home this season, which means one or two road wins will be enough. The Rams are coming off a confidence building win though, and I think they keep the momentum going for one more week.
Carolina at New Orleans (Saints -13)- Just like the Packers, the Saints will be motivated to kick some tail this week.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (Steelers -3)- If there is one team that can match the Steelers defense, it is the Ravens. Charlie Batch will face a test this week, and I see him struggling. Flacco to Boldin has been working well for the Ravens, and in a low scoring game (which this should be), it only takes one big play to win. If Ray Lewis can shut down the Steelers running game, the Ravens will steal this game.
Houston at Oakland (Raiders +2)- The Raiders have taken a couple of gut punches in recent games, but they appear to be a competent team right now. They will give the Texans one heck of a game, but Houston is the better team still, and they have to be able to pad their record in this kind of game. I think it comes down to a field goal at the end.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville (Jags +7)- The Jags look brutal, and Peyton is in a groove right now. This is no contest.
Washington at Philadelphia (Eagles -6.5)- McNabb will be motivated, and I think he will play his best game of the season, but it won’t be enough. Michael Vick is playing like a top 5 quarterback right now, and his connection with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin makes that offense hard to stop.
Arizona at San Diego (Chargers -8)- Towards the end of the game in Seattle last week Phillip Rivers turned on the jets, and the Chargers offense was unstoppable (until the clock got them). This week he gets to continue that roll against a bad team, no reason to expect him not to lead the Chargers to an easy win.
Chicago at NY Giants (Giants -3)- The Giants are a mess right now, and I don’t think they like their head coach much. The Bears defense will give Eli Manning fits, mostly because he won’t be able to get a good running game going. Unless Jay Cutler has a meltdown, the Bears should go to 4-0.
New England at Miami (EVEN)- Another week, another crucial AFC East game for the Dolphins. After losing last week to the Jets, they Dolphins could really use a win here. The Patriots defense has been really bad this season, and I think Brandon Marshall is going to have a field day. The Patriots typically struggle with the wildcat as well, so expect to see plenty of that.