The NFC East may be having a down year this season – only one division, the AFC South collectively has a worse record – but they will have the spotlight today with two of the week’s most intriguing games that will have extensive impact on the 2011 NFL playoff races.
7-7 Giants at 8-6 Jets, 1:00
Giants +3; over 46
The groundswell of ‘Eli Manning is elite’ that had been forming quieted down after last week’s loss to Washington. The Giants have been schizo this year; as soon as you think they’re bad they play well, and as soon as you think they’re good they play poorly. Time for a good game today to lay claim to their rights for the throne of New Jersey.
NJ Blues 27, NJ Greens 23
6-8 Eagles at 8-6 Cowboys, 4:15
Dallas -1; under 51
Remember when the Pats crushed the Eagles and their season was done? Inconceivably, all they need is for three games (a win over Dallas, a win next week against the Giants, and the Jets beat the Giants today) to go their way – all three of which could easily happen – and they’re in the playoffs as NFC East champs. However, if the Giants win earlier in the day, will they pack it in?
Dallas 27, Philadelphia 21
7-7 Chargers at 9-5 Lions, 4:05
San Diego +2½; over 52
The Lions are one of the most penalized teams in the league, and their lack of composure and dumb penalties keep costing them after their hot start. San Diego may not be the most clutch team in the league, but they play a lot smarter than the Lions do.
San Diego 31, Detroit 27
7-7 Cardinals at 8-6 Bengals, 1:00
Arizona +4½; under 41
The Bengals need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but they’ve been faltering badly; a very soft early season schedule made them look better than they really are. Arizona used to be notorious for poor performances in early starts on the road, but that’s not the case with them this year. John Skelton is quietly 5-1 and leads the NFL in comeback wins this year.
Arizona 20, Cincinnati 17
7-7 Raiders at 6-8 Chiefs, 1:00
Kansas City -2; under 42
If Kansas City’s pass rush and secondary could slow down Green Bay then they certainly should have not trouble with Oakland. There shouldn’t be that much of a letdown for them against this longtime rival.
Kansas City 24, Oakland 17
8-6 Broncos at 5-9 Bills, 1:00
Denver -2; over 42
The Broncos are on the road after a tough loss; they could be in for a letdown. On the other hand the Bills made Reggie Bush look like Jim Brown last week; what will the Denver running game do to them?
Denver 23, Buffalo 20
5-9 Dolphins at 11-3 Patriots, 1:00
Miami +9½; over 49
The way I see it the Dolphins have the edge when they run the ball, when they pass the ball, and when the Patriots run the ball – but the Pats have such a huge edge when they pass the ball they’ll still win the game. New England could be in for a bit of a letdown after beating the Broncos. A lot of Pats fans are taking this game for granted; I’m not one of them.
New England 31, Miami 23
9-5 Falcons at 11-3 Saints, MNF
Atlanta +7; under 53½
Games between these two clubs are usually very close. In their last six matchups four games were decided by three points, another by four points, and the other by eight. Atlanta has an advantage with Michael Turner versus the Saints run defense, but New Orleans has a bigger advantage with their passing game against the Atlanta secondary.
New Orleans 28, Atlanta 24
7-7 Bears at 13-1 Packers, 8:30
Chicago +12; under 43½
Green Bay has to be feeling deflated after their much publicized undefeated season came to an end. On top of that Mike McCarthy may want to rest some of his starters and attempt to avoid any more injuries. On the other hand the Bears are collapsing, and now turn to the legendary Josh McCown to right the ship and keep their very slim playoff hopes alive.
Green Bay 24, Chicago 14
4-10 Jaguars at 7-7 Titans, 1:00
Jacksonville +7½; under 40
Who do you like at quarterback? Blaine Gabbert? Matt Hasselbeck? Jake Locker? How about none of the above? I don’t like the Jaguars, but I don’t like some of Titans’ Mike Munchak’s recent coaching decisions (not going for FGs with plenty of time left; starting an injured Hasselbeck) either. I’ll take the team with MJD plus the points.
Tennessee 20, Jacksonville 17
4-10 Browns at 10-4 Ravens, 1:00
Baltimore -12; under 38
Joe Flacco looked bad at San Diego, and the Browns pass defense with Joe Haden isn’t bad – but unfortunately for Cleveland their run defense is; they’re giving up 145 rushing yards per game. Look for Ray Rice to have yet another big game.
Baltimore 27, Cleveland 10
2-12 Rams at 10-4 Steelers, 1:00
St. Louis +13; under 34½
Charlie Batch versus Kellen Clemens. My condolences to any non-Steeler fans that have nothing to watch other than this game. The Rams are horrible but I’m guessing Clemens will throw a garbage time touchdown to cover the spread.
Pittsburgh 20, St. Louis 13
11-3 49ers at 7-7 Seahawks, 4:15
Seattle +3½; over 37½
I think San Francisco is set up for a bit of a letdown on a short week, on the road in what is a meaningless game for them.
Seattle 24, San Francisco 20
4-10 Buccaneers at 5-9 Panthers, 1:00
Carolina -7½; under 48
In my opinion Tampa Bay is clearly the worst team in the National Football League right now, which is really saying a lot considering how bad the Rams and Vikings are. They are decimated by injuries, a lack of veteran leadership, an inexperienced coach in over his head, and an absentee ownership that refuses to spend money on talent. If Felix Jones and Sammy Morris could run for 170 yards on the road against the Bucs, what are DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton going to do to them?
Carolina 35, Tampa Bay 10
2-12 Vikings at 5-9 Redskins, 1:00
Washington -6½; over 44
The Redskins defense has been decent this season, but even against Christian Ponder and the Vikings it’s tough to have confidence in them winning by a touchdown or more. On the other hand, Minnesota is giving up a league-worst 29 points per game.
Washington 27, Minnesota 20
Disclaimer: neither I nor this website endorses gambling; predictions and the amount of confidence in specific predictions is solely for entertainment purposes.
Panthers -7½ vs Buccaneers
Cardinals +4½ at Bengals
Seahawks +3½ vs 49ers
Dolphins at Patriots over 49
Chargers at Lions over 52
Jaguars +7½ at Tennessee
Dolphins +9½ at Patriots
Giants +3 at Jets
Rams +13½ at Steelers
Chargers +2½ at Lions
Falcons +7 at Saints
Against The Spread: 8-8
Top Play of the Week: +4 units on Dallas minus six at Tampa Bay; the Cowboys won easily, 31-15.
Best Plays of the Week: in addition to the above, also had +4 units on Atlanta minus 12 versus Jacksonville (Falcons won 41-14) and the Bengals -6½ at Rams (squeaked by with the Bengals winning 20-13.)
All Plays: 10-1: +20 on the right picks and -3 on the wrong pick for a net of +17 units, or plus $1670. Exhibit A that it is a whole lot better to be right on the high confidence picks than focusing on what your winning percentage is on all sixteen games.
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