BALTIMORE -7 vs. Houston: Normally, 7 points would be a lot to give a team like Houston against a team that isn't exactly an offensive juggernaut like Baltimore. I also hesitate to pick against Houston since any team that has fans that can win the national tailgating championship assisted by an 8-hosed beer bong deserves extra respect. However, Baltimore's coming off a bye and Houston's coming off a heartbreaking loss against the Raiders and those losses cause hangovers. Not a good recipe for the Texans heading to the Big Crab Cake.
DETROIT -4.5 vs. San Francisco: Ok, as much as I didn't see the Hawks winning in New York last week, I certainly didn't see the Niners hanging 48 on Tampa Bay on Sunday. However, Detroit has that look of America's Team right now. For a city that you can now buy a house for the price of a plasma TV, the Lions have finally given those folks something to take their mind off the fact they live in Detroit. Alex Smith finally remembers he's Alex Smith and the Lions help make the NFC West an actual race.
Cleveland +7 at OAKLAND: This is one of those games that looks a little too obvious. Oakland had a huge win last week and Cleveland's not all that great. But, you've got the Browns coming off a bye and it's been an incredibly emotional week for the Raiders with Al Davis dying. That's a recipe for a close game if not the Raiders outright overlooking the Browns as divisional game against the Chiefs lurks next week.
PITTSBURGH -13 vs. Jacksonville: If the Steelers can take a hot team like the Titans back behind the woodshed last week, what do you think they'll do to the hapless Soon To Be Los Angeles Jaguars? You rarely see spreads this large in the NFL, but when you do, home favorites tend to do pretty well.
NEW ENGLAND -7.5 vs. Dallas: This reeks of Dallas fans with more money than sense betting large sums and bringing this line down. It's Tom Brady at home in the regular season, where he doesn't lose, against a Dallas team quickly learning that given the opportunity, Romo will shoot you in the foot at inopportune times. Granted, had the national media actually paid attention to how Romo played instead of who he was dating or where he was vacationing, they would have realized this 5 years earlier. But, it's an opportunity for gamblers to take advantage.
New Orleans -4 at TAMPA BAY: Tampa was a hot mess in America's Crappiest Stadium last week. How do you only score 3 against the Niners? If the Big Pirate Ship offered some semblance of home field advantage, I might go with the Bucs. But it doesn't, so I won't. New Orleans solidifies their grip on the NFC South.
ATLANTA -4 vs. Carolina: Our first of two Elmer Fudd Memorial be vewy, vewy quiet games. You don't want to scare the line for fear people will realize it's way too low. This is an absolute must win game for Atlanta if they hope to keep the Saints within striking distance. While Cam Newton has been able to keep games close lately, he hasn't figured out how to win.
Minnesota +3 at CHICAGO: The Vikings finally figured out that running Adrian Peterson's a good idea. It helps you keep leads and win games. Chicago's coming off a short week where they showed the whole nation they can't stop the run, so All Day better pack his lunch pail.
CINCINNATI -7 vs. Indianapolis: I struggle with this one. On the one hand, should the Bengals really ever be favored by 7 against anyone? You have a ginger rookie QB surrounded by almost nothing. However, one of the first rules of picking underdogs is you have to believe they can actually win, not just cover. Curtis Painter might be able to keep them in games against folks like Kansas City at home, but not on the road.
Philadelphia -1 at WASHINGTON: If Tampa Bay is a hot mess, Philadelphia's a warm cow turd in the words of Hank Williams Jr. However, cow turds can be useful in the making of fuels and paper. The Eagles finally figure out a way to transform their turd and the Redskins begin their inevitable decline.
Buffalo +3.5 at NY GIANTS: How do the Bills still get no gambling respect? I guess part of it would be this is a road game and this seems like a team who might be vastly different on the road. However, count me as one that thinks the Football Gods are a little upset with the NFL right now and the whole lockout business. Their punishment? Making the Lions and Bills two of the top teams in the league, destined for a Rust Belt Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
GREEN BAY -15 vs. St. Louis: Atlanta, a decent enough team, gave the Packers a scare last week and they were still able to win fairly handily. Now, the Pack gets to go back home and face a winless, feckless, hopeless St. Louis team? Lay that 15 and thank me later.
NY JETS -7.5 vs. Miami: Our 2nd Elmer Fudd game. The Jets are not going to take this losing lying down and Miami has the unfortunate luck of facing their wrath. Now, I would feel even better if this was in Miami since for whatever reason the Dolphins hate to have their fans witness a win, but it's Monday Night and you know the Jets will be itching to get a big win, especially within the division.