Joseph Portnoe

Week 14: Life is Good for the Leaders of the Pack

As the rest of the league battles through inconsistencies and injuries, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers sail right along without any problems. There is nothing like a being a big fish in a small pond heading into Week 14.

PITTSBURGH -14 over Cleveland

The Browns have no skill players and cannot stop the run on defense. This should be a cakewalk for the Steelers who always take care of business against bad teams.

BALTIMORE -16.5 over Indianapolis

Regardless of how well the Colts play in garbage time (as evident by last week’s performance) it is impossible to pick them under any circumstance, they are just that awful.

Houston +3 over CINCINNATI

The Bengals have struggled stopping the run against good teams like the Steelers and Ravens this year, and now have to welcome the best RB in the game in Arian Foster. Despite all the other weapons going down, expect Foster to carry the load, and the team, to a big win.

GREEN BAY -11.5 over Oakland

The Packers overcame their toughest remaining obstacle on the road to perfection last week in dramatic fashion. And the Raiders looked flat last week against the Dolphins. This should be another easy win for the Packers.

Kansas City +9 over NY JETS

For some unexplainable reason the Chiefs have been very frisky the past two weeks. There is nothing about the Jets’ offense (or team in general) that makes me think they are as good as they looked in the second half against the Skins last week. The Chiefs will keep it close enough to cover.

DETROIT -7.5 over Minnesota

The Lions need this game, and after the way Tebow threw all over the Vikings, Stafford should have an absolute field day. Lions, big.

New Orleans -3.5 over Tennessee

The Saints offense is rolling after convincing wins over the Lions and Giants in back to back weeks. They should be able to score at will, which will neutralize a suddenly good Chris Johnson. Barring a major let down expect the Saints to run up the score on the road.

MIAMI -3 over Philadelphia

This is a stunningly low spread. I mean the Eagles have not played well in months and with or without Vick the Eagles simply have packed in the season. The Dolphins on the other hand are playing great of late and should run through the horrendous Eagles’ run defense.

New England -8 over WASHINGTON

The Redskins are terrible, and even though the Pats pulled the foot off the gas last week, I do not expect the same this week. Against the Colts last week the Pats could have lost had it not been for a failed onside kick, they should push the throttle all game against the hapless Skins.

CAROLINA +2.5 over Atlanta

The Panthers offense is rolling while the Falcons offense struggled against the Texans. Expect the Panthers to come out strong and hold on late at home.

JACKSONVILLE +1 over Tampa Bay

Just an awful game. MJD is the best player on the field and should run wild. That is more than enough about this disaster.

San Francisco -3.5 over ARIZONA

The 49ers defense is relentless and even though the Cardinals have been playing well, they will be just overmatched in this one. The 49ers will win handily.

DENVER -3.5 over Chicago

Tebow. Tebow. TEBOW. He is enough to make me pick the Broncos regardless, but the fact the Bears offense is crumbling left and right seals the deal.

SAN DIEGO -6.5 over Buffalo

Last Monday Night Football was a flashback to 2010 for Rivers and the Chargers’ offense and was a site for the very, very sore eyes of all Rivers fantasy owners. Though I do not think they will play that well on offense, they should still play well enough to cover against a crumbling Bills team.

NY Giants +3.5 over DALLAS 

Both of these teams are struggling and desperate for this win. They always play each other tight, this one will come down to a field goal either way, so I’ll take the 3.5 points.

SEATTLE -6.5 over St. Louis

A Monday nighter for the ages… Actually this is one of the worst nationally televised games in ages, but the fact that the Rams failed to get the ball past the 49ers’ 35 yard line last week should say enough about where this team is offensively. Lynch is playing like an absolute monster and the Seahawks should roll at home.

Good luck with your picks, and as always, gamble responsibly.

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 44-31-1

Week 13: Not All it Was Cracked Up to Be

Quarterbacks are dropping left and right and many of the league’s contenders are falling by the wayside as a result. The most recent victims being the Texans…again. If the crop of good QBs gets any thinner there wont be anyone left to challenge the seemingly invincible Packers. But they play the games for a reason, so we’ll see what happens as the calendar turns to December…

(Home team in CAPS)

SEATTLE +3 over Philadelphia

It has been a very long and sad season for the highly talented Eagles. They are in disarray, no longer trying for the coach, their weapons are going down one by one (whether by injury or benching), and they are traveling across the country on a short week… I could go all day with reasons they will lose; sufficient to say Lynch will run wild and the Eagles will quit late…as usual.

Tennessee +1.5 over BUFFALO

The Bills are in free fall and could not even slow down the Sanchize. CJ2K looks like he might be getting back on track after dogging the first 10 weeks. All signs point to the Titans pulling this one out.

Kansas City +7.5 over CHICAGO

Could this be a worse game? Two teams without their starting QBs and who both looked pretty awful on offense last week. The Chiefs looked tough somehow last week against a much better team in the Steelers, so why can’t they do it again?

Oakland +3 over MIAMI

The Raiders, behind a suddenly competent Carson Palmer, have been very strong lately. Even though the Dolphins have been playing well, the Raiders need this one to stay ahead of the Tebows.

PITTSBURGH -6.5 over Cincinnati

The Steelers looked like the better team last time these two met, and I do not see any reason the same wont be the case this Sunday. The rookies (Green and Dalton) have looked good for the Bengals, but they will falter once again to a better team this week.

Baltimore -6.5 over CLEVELAND

This has all the makings of a classic Ravens let down, huge win last week and a terrible team on the road this week. Despite all the history this year of playing down to the opponent, the long week should do them well, and the Ravens should roll.

NY Jets -3 over WASHINGTON

I have no idea how the Skins pulled it out last week, but there is no shot they win two in a row. They have nothing to play for, and even though Sexy Rexy has looked pretty good lately, I expect him to go back to the old Rexy this week against a good defense.

Atlanta -2.5 over HOUSTON

The Texans can sure run the ball. And the Texans can sure play defense. But another QB goes down, and even though they are in great position to make the playoffs, they wont be able to handle a very powerful Atlanta offense this week.

Carolina +3.5 over TAMPA BAY

Nothing like playing the Bucs to get your confidence back. Cam and the rest of the Panthers offense looked pretty good last week, which should be enough to carry them by the very disappointing Bucs.

Denver PK over MINNESOTA

Is this a joke? What makes anyone think the Vikings can beat Tebow and the Broncos?

St. Louis +13 over SAN FRANCISCO

The 49ers are a much better team, and they will win easily. But they play games close, and as hard as they try, they won’t be able to pull away too far here.

Dallas -4.5 over ARIZONA

The Cowboys are much better. They have a powerful offense and should be able to blowout the Cards, even though it is in Arizona.

Green Bay -7 over NY GIANTS

The Giants got blown out by Brees and the powerful Saints offense last week, and very little will change this week. The Pack are a historically good offensive team, we should all be enjoying the show. The Giants classic late season collapse will continue.

NEW ENGLAND -20.5 over Indianapolis

No team likes to run up the score like the Pats. And no team likes to give up seasons like the Colts. This has been a long bitter rival for the last few years and I do not expect the Pats to take it easy on the lowly Colts. Do not be surprised if on Monday we are all talking about whether it is OK to run up the score like we did after this 52-7 beat down  back in 2007.

NEW ORLEANS -8.5 over Detroit

No Suh, and the prolific Saints offense at home. This will be a rout. The Lions are in free fall and it is sad to see.

San Diego -2.5 over JACKSONVILLE

It is tough to see how Norv Turner survives the season. That being said the Jags are just as dysfunctional, and even less skilled. This will be one of the worst MNF games you will see, but the Bolts should hold on.

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 34-25-1

Brothers Battle in Week 12

This Thanksgiving there are a few things we should all be thankful for: Food, Family, and of course, Football! With that, lets get to the Week 12 Picks.

(Home team in CAPS)

Green Bay -6 over DETROIT 

This will be a very high scoring game and an amazing way to start our football Thanksgiving. Stafford looked like he will be able to go toe to toe with Rodgers, but I expect a few costly picks to give the edge to the Pack by a TD.

Miami +7 over DALLAS

The Cowboys have several injuries to deal with and coming off a tough game will keep this game close for a while. I would not be surprised if the Dolphins continue their recent success. 

BALTIMORE  -3 over San Francisco

Baltimore is the toughest team to predict in the league. They play good against good teams and look awful against bad teams. The 49ers are a good team and therefore the Ravens should come to play this week. Don’t forget that the Ravens have the older brother as their coach, nothing is worse than loosing to the little bro, especially on national TV.

ATLANTA -9.5 over Minnesota

Chances are good AP will not play; the Falcons are great at home. This will be a blowout.

Carolina -3.5 over INDIANAPOLIS 

This should be a much higher spread! The Colts are awful, and the Panthers can score. Cam will show once again why he is the favorite for offensive rookie of the year. This will be yet another blowout city. I am obligated to remind those of you who might have forgotten while the Colts were on a bye; they are awful and under no circumstance will they try in this game. 

CINNCINATI  -7.5 over Cleveland

Dalton can throw the ball, AJ Green should be back and the Bengals should be back to playing well against terrible teams. As long as the Bengals don’t play the Steelers or Ravens they should be good.

NY JETS -8 over Buffalo 

The Jets do not instill any confidence in anyone, but the Bills are in a free fall. Fred Jackson is hurt, and Fitzpatrick has looked awful since getting paid. This game will be ugly, but the Jets should win handily.

Tampa Bay +3 over TENNESSEE

This is just an awful game. Chris Johnson cannot run the ball anymore and has been killing not only fantasy owners, but the Titans all year. Another awful game to watch this Sunday.

ST. LOUIS -3 over Arizona

These teams played a very competitive overtime game back in Week 9, and I expect this to be the same. The Rams will be at home this time around and with continued QB questions in Arizona I expect the Rams to pull this one out. 

Houston -3 over JACKSONVILLE

It should not matter who is playing QB for the Texans this week. The Jags are terrible, and Arian Foster is playing better than ever. Look for the Texans to run for over 200 yards and dominate the game.

SEATTLE -4 over Washington   

Avert your eyes. This will be unwatchable. Seattle is good at home and I think that’s all this game deserves.  

OAKLAND -4.5 over Chicago

Cutler going down kills this team. The Bears are still a strong defensive team, but this injury sucked the life out of them. It is sad for the Bears who were having a great under the radar season. Palmer has looked very competent and should be able to lead this team to another win. 

New England -4 over PHILADELPHIA

The Pats are very good, and the Eagles are very unpredictable. Call this an attempt at a reverse jinx, but I have no confidence in the Eagles.

Denver +6.5 over SAN DIEGO 

There is no explanation for Tebow’s success, but I am a believer. I am going to ride Tebow until John Elway finally gets his way and finds a replacement for him.

Pittsburgh -10.5 KANSAS CITY

This game is by no means going to be close. The Chiefs have lost players all over the field and looked god awful last week against the Pats. The Steelers should roll them. The only concern in the garbage time points for the Chiefs. 

NEW ORLEANS -7 over NY Giants 

The schedule is catching up to the Giants. The Saints are rested and should be ready to roll a struggling Giants offense that cannot run the ball.

We will have a great start and finish to Week 12. What we have in the middle leaves much to be desired. Enjoy the games, good luck with your picks and as always, gamble responsibly.

Last Week: 6-7-1

Season: 24-19-1

Week 11: The Rise of the Non Throwing QB

Coming off a very impressive week of picks last week I will look to stay as hot as Tim Tebow’s arm was on one of his two awe inspiring completions last week.

(Home team in caps)

DENVER + 4.5 over NY Jets

Why not ride Tebow? He is so averse to throwing the ball that it will seem to neutralize the great Darrelle RevisThe rest of the Jets defense is undersized, and against the power football of the Broncos I can see them struggling to stop the run.

ATLANTA -6 over Tennessee

The Falcons are coming off a very competitive outing against the Saints who are possibly the second best team in the league, and though the Titans throttled the Panthers last week, I think the Falcons will be a much tougher test. CJ2K came back last week in a big way, but expect him to fall back to his early season ways in this one.

Buffalo +2 over MIAMI

The wheels have absolutely fallen off the wagon for the Bills of late, losing 2 in a row and not looking good in the process. The Dolphins are playing better, but their wins did come against the Chiefs and Redskins, so we should not get too excited. The Bills season is on the line and as Boomer says no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.

BALTIMORE -7 over Cincinnati

It is impossible to figure out the Ravens, they can look like world-beaters one week and in others just not show up. It is hard to imagine them falling flat 2 weeks in a row, and with AJ Green hobbled and Leon Hall done for the year, I see Baltimore winning this one, though the Bengals will continue to play hard as they do every week.

Jacksonville -1 over CLEVELAND

MJD will play well and the beat up Browns will lose another one. Feel free to not pay any attention to this game. ANY!

Oakland +1.5 over MINNESOTA

Carson Palmer looked like the Carson of old last week, and the Vikings could not have looked worse. There is nothing left to play for in Minnesota, but the Raiders can still sneak into the playoffs out of the very weak AFC West. Expect the Raiders to take it to the lowly Vikes.

DETROIT -7 over Carolina

The Lions looked awful last week, and are in the midst of losing 3 of 4. But let us not underestimate how awful the Panthers are. Cam Newton’s heroics have overshadowed a truly horrendous defense all year. Expect some points, but most of them will come from the Lions.

GREEN BAY -13.5 over Tampa Bay

There are not many words that can express how dominant the Packers were this past week against the Vikings (though this diary gives a pretty good idea of how great they were). It is hard to imagine a spread high enough to not bet the Packers, and 13.5 is not high enough for me.

Dallas -7.5 over WASHINGTON

The Redskins look like they are well on their way to another double-digit loss season. With no capable option at QB, no consistency from their running game, and too many injuries to count, this game could be another blowout loss at the hands of the suddenly strong Cowboys led by their exciting young running back DeMarco Murray.

Arizona +9.5 over SAN FRANSISCO

The 49ers do not blow teams out. They run the ball down the opponents’ throat until the game ends. They are also very good at stopping the run, but rank 26th against the past. Expect Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals to keep it close throughout.

ST. LOUIS -2 over Seattle

Sam Bradford back, Steven Jackson looking strong… I think that is more than anyone cares to hear about this game.

CHICAGO -3.5 over San Diego

The Bears have proved everyone wrong over the past few weeks by continuing to win. The Chargers on the other hand have been playing below their potential for a week and a half now. The season is by no means lost for the Bolts in the awful AFC west, but a loss here is really going to put them behind the 8 ball.

NY GIANTS -4 over Philadelphia

A season on the brink, a team in disarray, this would be the perfect time to salvage the season… but I guess last week would have worked too, or the week before that. There is no reason to think the Eagles will get off the mat this week, there just does not seem to be any fight left in Philly.

NEW ENGLAND -15 over Kansas City

15 points is a huge spread. But the Chiefs will be without their starting QB and have gotten very little production from the running game. The Pats have been known to run up the score in the past, so do not be surprised to see another rout on Monday Night.

Good luck with your picks, and as always, gamble responsibly!

Last Week: 12-4

Season: 18-12

What We “Know” in Week 10

Sometimes the NFL goes out there and shows you just how much you do not know. Whether it is the old adage “Never return a punt from within your own 10 yard line”  or Brady never loses two in a row or even the Eagles have finally turned the corner, we never really know as much about the NFL as we think we do; and Week 9 sure showed us that.

So going into Week 10 the only way to make picks is to go with what we know for sure…

(Home team in caps)

SAN DEIGO -7 over Oakland

I know the Chargers played their best game of the season last week against the undefeated Packers and maybe they finally turned the corner. I also know Carson Palmer has struggled since coming back and the short week will not help him. The Chargers should win this handily.

New Orleans PK over ATLANTA

I know the Falcons have been playing better of late, and I know the Saints have been wildly inconsistent the past month, but this is no time for a let down game for the Saints. Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards in both games against Atlanta last season and should experience much of the same success this week. Expect a lot of points, and in a shootout I’ll take the Saints.

Pittsburgh -3 over CINCINNATI

I know the Bengals get no respect, and I know the Steelers will come out angry. If the Bengals win here they will be in first place in the AFC. I want to give them respect, but I need to see it against the game’s elite before I can take the Bengals in a big game.

St. Louis +3 over CLEVELAND

I know no one will be watching this game. I also know that the Browns give up the third most rushing yards per game to the tune of 144 yards. Expect Steven Jackson to get the ball early and often to help the Rams win here.

Buffalo +5.5 over DALLAS

I know the Dallas Cowboys have struggled against the run the past two weeks giving up 239 and 162 yards respectively. I also know the Bills are 3-0 against the spread as underdogs and the Cowboys are 1-3 against the spread as home favorites. The Bills may not win, but they will keep it close. 

Jacksonville -3 over INDIANAPOLIS

I know the Colts have shown no heart the last month losing every game by more than double digits. The Jaguars may not be good, but it barley takes consciousness to beat the Colts. 

Denver +3 over KANSAS CITY

I know both teams have been like night and day the past two weeks, but as hard as it is to watch Tebow play, it is even harder to pick against him. It is hard to pick a team who got routed by a winless Dolphins team at home, so I guess I am going with Tebow.

MIAMI -3.5 over Washington

I know the Dolphins are not as good as they looked in a 31-3 beat down of Kansas City, but I also know the Redskins are as bad as they have looked the last month. With no quarterback to attack the very weak Dolphins secondary it looks like the Skins will have a tough time moving the ball again. Look for the Dolphins to win, but it will not be pretty.

Arizona +14 over PHILADELPHIA

I know the Eagles have all the talent in the world, but I also know they cannot hold a lead to save their season (as evident by losing a late lead in 4 of 5 loses). The Eagles should win, but the final score will be a lot closer than you might think.

Houston -3 over TAMPA BAY

I know the Texans can run, and I know the Bucs cannot stop anyone. Though the Texans 6-3 record may be a product of an easy schedule, they have looked very good the past 3 weeks with a completely healthy Arian Foster and the potential return of Andre Johnson could mean big things for an already rolling offense.

CAROLINA -3 over Tennessee

I know Chris Johnson has been awful, and there is no way he will expose the very poor Carolina run defense. Cam has been the King of the Cover this year, as the Panthers have been 5-2 against the spread and 4-1 at home. Expect Cam to shine again. Even though this game has little playoff implications, it is always fun to watch Cam, because you never know what he will do.

SEATTLE +7 over Baltimore  

I know the Ravens are coming off of a huge emotional win, and I know that the Seahawks are not very good. But the Seahawks have a real home field advantage, and call me crazy, but this is a classic let down game for the Ravens. Don’t be surprised if they come out flat and do not wake up until it is too late to cover.

Detroit +3 over CHICAGO

I know the Bears looked very resilient in their come from behind win over the Eagles (I also know I am still a little bitter about the Eagles loss), but I just do not think the Bears are good. The Lions beat them up the last time the played and they are 2-0 against the spread as road underdogs this season, call me bitter, but I’m taking the Lions. 

SAN FRANSISCO -3.5 over New York Giants  

I know no one had this as the biggest NFC game of the season to date. The 49ers have a great run defense and a bad pass defense, so this game will come down to Eli Manning. I know he has looked good, and I know all the talk about not being able to spell Elite without Eli, but eventually this magic dust has to stop right? Some day soon Eli will remember he is not Peyton, and I think that day will come Sunday.

New England +2 over NEW YORK JETS

I know the Patriots cannot keep losing, I mean they are the Patriots. The Patriots beat them handily the first time these two got together and Green-Ellis ran wild. Thought I do not expect the Patriots to have the same success on the ground, I do see them pulling this one out and getting back on track. 

GREEN BAY -13 over Minnesota

I know the Packers are the best team in the league, and even though Adrian Peterson and the Vikings will try to keep the ball away from Rodgers, they will be losing by too much to stick with the running game. Expect the Packers to play hard throughout and bury the rival Vikings.

All that being said, what do we really know anymore anyway?

Good luck with your picks in Week 10

Last Week: 6-8

Season: 6-8

A Eulogy for the Dream Team

On July 29th the Eagles traded for Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and signed DE Jason Babin, two very good moves. Then they shocked the world and signed the free agent diamond, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The signings did not end there; with the additions of former Pro Bowlers quarterback Vince Young and defensive end Cullen Jenkins (signed July 30th) the Eagles looked Super Bowl bound and they were not afraid to talk about it. With a little help from Vince Young, the Dream Team was born.

Too bad winning the offseason does not mean winning the championship. Too bad “on paper” does not mean on the field. Too bad talent does not mean points.

Too bad dreams do not always come true.

The offseason splash overshadowed some fundamental problems with the team. There are not any linebackers who can make plays in the running game (as evident by the run defense getting shredded week after week to the tune of 5.0 yards per carry allowed). The other major flaw in the team was making former offensive line coach, Juan Castillo, the new defensive coordinator. As both the defense and offensive line have struggled, this move makes less and less sense each week, which is really saying something cause it made no sense in the beginning.

The Eagles have been in every game this year, holding a 4th quarter lead in 4 of the 5 loses. But the team’s inability to get stops when it mattered has cost the most promising Eagles team since the T.O. era the chance to be great.

The toughest part of this season is that no one will remember the emergence of LeSean McCoy as a top three running back in the league. He is leading the league in rushing yards, second in yards per carry (of players with at least 100 carries) with 5.5, He has scored a TD in every game this season and has over 1000 total yards from scrimmage. Too bad no one will ever remember.

The season is only half way through, but it might as well already be over. Three games back of the Giants (who have already beat the Eagles) for the division lead and behind four more teams for the second wild card spot (two of them are the Falcons and Bears who have also beaten the Eagles). The season is lost, and the Eagles have no one to blame but themselves. Too bad all the hype did not translate on the field.

Sadly for the City of Brotherly Love there have been too many times when this team played with no heart. It is time to bury the 2011 Eagles for good. I bid a not so fond farewell to the Dream Team, thanks for crushing our dreams once again.

Week Nine NFL Picks

Going into the second half of the season it is time to decide which teams are contenders and which are pretenders for the playoffs. What better way to decide who is going to be a factor down the stretch than by predicting the games with the week’s lines and deciding which contending teams will impact the playoff push…

(Home team in caps)

San Francisco -3.5 Over WASHINGTON

There is absolutely nothing going for the Redskins right now. The QB situation has been a disaster under John Beck, but turning to Rex Grossman at this point, though probably a better option, seems highly unlikely. Meanwhile, the 49ers are rolling and Frank Gore has been the picture of consistency the past 4 weeks posting over 125 yards and a TD in each. There is nothing that makes me want to bet on Beck not even if the spread was 10. San Francisco: Contender

Seattle +11.5 Over DALLAS

Do not let the score of last weeks Seahawks’ loss fool you, the game was much closer than the final score. Tarvaris Jackson looked surprisingly competent, and the connection with Sidney Rice is still there. The Cowboys cannot possibly play as bad as they did last week against the Eagles, but this game will be played within a touchdown all the way through. Dallas: Pretender

Atlanta -7 Over INDIANAPOLIS

No disrespect to Aaron Rodgers, but the MVP is clearly Peyton Manning. No team has ever looked as lost without a QB as the Colts do without Manning. At some point players lose interest in the season, and with no hope in sight for the Colts, it is hard to envision them not getting blown out again. Atlanta: Pretender. Indianapolis: Contender (for Andrew Luck)

BUFFALO -1.5 Over New York Jets

It has been like night and day with the Jets when it comes to playing at home and on the road, while the Bills have been unbeatable at home (including their home away from home in Toronto). The Jets will have no answer for Fred Jackson on the ground; look for the Bills to continue building up momentum. Buffalo: Contender. New York: Pretender

HOUSTON -11 Over Cleveland

The Browns are 26th in the league at defending the run and have scored more than 17 points just once all season. The Texans have the 4th best running game led by Arian Foster, who has rushed for over 100 yards and at least one TD in each of his last two games. The Texans are also coming off back-to-back double digit wins, while the Browns have mustered just 13 points in the last two weeks. Don’t look for things to change for either team this week in Houston. Houston: Contender

Tampa Bay +8 Over NEW ORLEANS

There was not any week 8 performance more perplexing than the Saints, who were destroyed by the formerly winless Rams. These two teams played a highly contested game just three weeks ago (which the Bucs won) and there is no reason to expect anything other than that here. The Saints will come out hungry, but the Bucs always manage to play them tight, expect a close game that the Saints will pull out late. New Orleans: Contender. Tampa Bay: Pretender

KANSAS CITY -4.5 Over Miami

The Dolphins have been very competitive for a winless team recently and the Chiefs are coming off a snatching-victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat type of game. Do not expect a lot of firepower in this one as neither team has anyone on offense to be scared of. The Arrowhead crowd will decide this game for the Chiefs and should make this at least a seven point game. Kansas City: Contender. 

Denver +8 Over OAKLAND

After being embarrassed by the Lions last week (especially by Stephen Tulloch) it is now or never for Tim Tebow. Tebow’s biggest weakness is dealing with pressure, so the fact that the Raiders are 18th in the league in sacks should give Tebow the time to make plays. The Raiders QB situation is a mess, and even with the extra week of practice it should be tough for Carson Palmer to be completely comfortable. Raiders will win this game, but Tebow will keep it close enough to cover. Oakland: Pretender

Cincinnati + 3 Over TENNESSEE   

Can we get any respect for the surprisingly relevant Bengals? The Bengals have one of the top defenses in the league but get absolutely no attention from the media. The Titans offense is anything but in synch, and Chris Johnson looks worse and worse every week. There is no reason to expect the Titans to start clicking this week against a stout defense. I am completely behind the Red Rocket (Andy Dalton) and his tremendous connection with fellow rookie A.J. Green, the Bengals will not only cover, but win outright. (It should be noted as well that only the 49ers have been better against the spread this season) Cincinnati: Contender. Tennessee: Pretender

St. Louis +3.5 Over ARIZONA

Who is going to watch this game? Honestly, who? The Rams finally showed some life last week for the first time all year, and as long as Kevin Kolb is out there throwing up picks it is impossible to feel comfortable betting the Cards.

NEW ENGLAND -8.5 Over New York Giants

The Giants cannot afford to come out flat like they did against the Dolphins. The Pats will look to confuse Eli with a lot of different looks. The Patriots have not lost back to back games since weeks 12 and 13 of 2009, do not expect a second straight letdown for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. New England: Contender. New York: Contender  

 Green Bay -8.5 Over SAN DIEGO

 The Packers have looked invincible, while the Chargers have looked anything but this season. Rodgers is looking like an MVP, while Rivers has been giving games away. The Packers are coming off a bye where they were able to get healthy, while Ryan Matthews and the Chargers are looking banged up. All these signs point to another Packers rout. Green Bay: Contender. San Diego: Pretender

 PITTSBURGH -3 Over Baltimore

 The game of the week every time they get together. It seems that every year these two teams split the season series, and this year will be no different. Expect a sloppy low scoring game, but the Steelers will find a way to pull this one out. It will be close, but it is easy to imagine a Flacco turnover altering the course of this game late. Pittsburgh: Contender. Baltimore: Contender

 PHILADELPHIA -8 Over Chicago

The Eagles may finally be putting it all together. Two straight games of feeding LeSean McCoy the ball led to two straight wins. The defensive line, all healthy, is putting tons of pressure on the quarterback, which is bad news for Jay Cutler and the Bears. The Eagles are also coming off a season high in rushing against the formally number one ranked rushing defense in Dallas. Expect another monster game from Shady and another big Eagles win. Philadelphia: Contender. Chicago: Pretender


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