For the rest of the NFL season, I’m going to list my picks against the spread. Why? As I’m probably obligated to say, FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.
With that out of the way, let’s get to them:
JACKSONVILLE (+3) vs. Indianapolis
I think the Colts may be a tad overrated due to a 5-3 record and last week’s huge passing total from rookie QB Andrew Luck. But their point differential is -32, and the defense is very weak. The Colts are also a dome team going outdoors, which usually means bad things.
BUFFALO (+11) at New England
For sure, I think the Patriots are a much better team than the Bills. But the Patriots’ shaky defense and the Bills’ tendency to occasionally explode offensively makes me want to take the 11 points.
CINCINNATI (+4) vs. NY Giants
It looks to me like the Giants are settling in as a good but not great team. Are the Bengals bad enough that a merely good team should be favored by more than a field goal on the road against them? I don’t think so.
TAMPA BAY (-3) vs. San Diego
I have no confidence in this pick at all; I think the point spread is spot on. The Buccaneers and Chargers are both mediocre. I’m taking Tampa Bay, just because they’re at home.
CAROLINA (+4) vs. Denver
The Broncos are a legitimately good team, but I don’t know if the Panthers are legitimately bad. If DVOA is to be believed, the Panthers are closer to average than bad. The rule of thumb is to pick the home underdog, and I think Carolina has upset potential here.
MIAMI (+6) vs. Tennessee
I haven’t been picking Miami much this year, but I am this week. The Dolphins have turned out to be a much better team than I thought, and the Titans are horrible. Miami should be able to win by at least a touchdown at home against this sieve of a defense.
BALTIMORE (-7.5) vs. Oakland
It’s true that the Ravens are a worse team for losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb. But their offense still has a lot of talent, and that should be more than enough to punish the Raiders and their awful defense.
ATLANTA (-2) at New Orleans
The Saints are a team people like to support because they score a lot of points and are usually fun to watch. I also think they’re getting a boost from beating the Eagles in prime time on Monday. But their defense still sucks, and the Falcons are still a much better team.
MINNESOTA (+2) vs. Detroit
Full disclosure: I’m a Vikings fan. But I think this is a great “buy low” moment. A few weeks ago, the Vikings would have been favored at home against the Lions, and possibly by more than a field goal. Now, they’re the underdog at home. This looks like good value to me.
NY JETS (+6.5) at Seattle
I picked the Jets, but I don’t like it. The idea of Mark Sanchez playing a very tough defense in Seattle scares me. But the Seahawks are a generally low-scoring team, so I can see the Jets keeping it close. And there’s always the outside chance that we see Tebow time, in which case I would love the Jets pick.
DALLAS (PK) at Philadelphia
The Eagles are just so hard to trust right now. I picked them last week against the Saints, and watched as Michael Vick threw yet another pick-six from near the goal line. I have to take Dallas in a straight pick as long as Vick is the starting quarterback in Philadelphia.
ST. LOUIS (+11.5) at San Francisco
By no means do I think the Rams will win this game, but that’s a lot of points. The 49ers seem to do one of two things in games like this. Either they completely embarrass the other team and win by a score of something like 34-3, or it’s a field goal battle and they win 19-13. The Rams have a good enough defense that I think they can make it a field goal battle.
HOUSTON (+1) at Chicago
I love this pick. The Bears have been beating up on inferior teams for a while now (or skating by them, like they did against Carolina). Jay Cutler against the Texans defense has a high chance of not ending well.
PITTSBURGH (-12.5) vs. Kansas City
The Chiefs need to get 20 points for me to pick them against almost anybody. What a mess. Even with Matt Cassel starting instead of Brady Quinn (and Cassel is MUCH better), Kansas City will have serious trouble scoring points in Pittsburgh. Free Ricky Stanzi!