Tennessee (+3) at Jacksonville – The Jags nearly upset Baltimore on the road; the Titans nearly beat the Jets at home.
The Pick: Jags getting the points at home.
San Diego (+2.5) at San Francisco – Talk about contrast… The Niners are playing for nothing while the Chargers need a win and a loss by someone in the AFC North to sniff the playoffs.
The Pick: Take the Bolts getting the points.
Philadelphia (-8.5) at Washington – The Eagles have looked awful the last two weeks so maybe the game away from home will do them some good. Either way, Mark Sanchez has to play better. Washington continues to be an absolute mess.
The Pick: Take the Eagles to cover.
Minnesota (+6.5) at Miami – The Vikings deserved a better fate in Detroit on Sunday but they’ve still shown tremendous improvement under Mike Zimmer. For Miami, another late-season slide appears to be dooming the job of Joe Philbin.
The Pick: I like the Vikes getting the points.
Green Bay (-10) at Tampa Bay – I take little consolation in calling Green Bay’s loss at Buffalo other than this; “I told you so!” Now that that’s over I expect a much better and much more focused Packers team on Sunday.
Tampa will not just let them Packers come in and roll over them though. They are keeping games close and I expect them to play hard again here.
The Pick: Take the Bucs getting double-digit points.
Detroit (-4.5) at Chicago – At some point the pathetic Lions’ offense is going to cost them but it won’t be this week. The Bears are a mess from inside the locker room to out on the field. I have no reason to believe the Lions defense won’t stifle Jay Cutler the way they did on Thanksgiving Day after giving up early scores.
The Pick: Still, I like the Bears getting the points.
Atlanta (+6.5) at New Orleans – This is week one of the Battle for the NFC South.
New England (-10) at NY Jets – If this were week 17 I’d probably tell you to take the Jets because the Pats will rest everyone. Still, I think you may see Jimmy Garapalo in the second half. The Jets are just lousy and Bill Belichick hates them.
The Pick: Take the Pats to cover.
Kansas City (+3) at Pittsburgh – Monster game for the Chiefs who need to win to keep their playoff chances alive while Pittsburgh can get into the playoffs with a victory. Big match-up here will be how the Steelers offensive line handles the pass rushers of the Chiefs.
Steelers have dropped home games to Tampa and New Orleans already this season.
The Pick: Take the Chiefs getting the points.
Cleveland (EVEN) at Carolina – Johnny Football take two.
The Pick: Take the Panthers at home.
Baltimore (-4.5) at Houston – The Texans will be starting Case Keenum or Tom Savage against a defense that recorded eight sacks last week.
The Pick: Take the Ravens to cover.
NY Giants (+5) at St. Louis – Can the Rams slow down Odell Beckham? Does it matter? Look for the stingy Rams D to give a little but they’ll get enough offense I think.
The Pick: Rams to cover.
Buffalo (-6) at Oakland – Bills have a great pass rush but can they win on the road?
The Pick: Take the Raiders getting the points.
Indianapolis (+3) at Dallas – This is a huge game for the Cowboys against a Colts’ team that tried its’ hardest to give away a game at home on Sunday to Houston.
The Pick: Take the ‘Boys to cover.
Seattle (-7.5) at Arizona – This doesn’t look good for Arizona. They’ll play hard but Seattle smells blood in the water. Take the Seahawks to cover.
Denver (-3.5) at Cincinnati – The Broncos have wrapped the division out West while the Bengals, who have led the North all season, could see it slip away in their final two games against Denver and Pittsburgh. The Bengals’ defense was impressive against Manziel but this will be a different test.
The Pick: Take Denver to cover.