We're tardy but not late.Here are this week's NFL picks. As always, picks are against the spread.
Chiefs (-3) at Washington (+3) -- In a strange turn of events, Alex Smith is a better quarterback than Robert Griffin III. But given the lack of pass rush without Justin Houston, who missed practice again on Thursday, the Chiefs' once fearsome defense is practically defanged. That's not saying RGIII (83.3 quarterback rating) can do anything about it.
My pick: Chiefs
Colts (+6) at Bengals (-6) -- After the Bengals held the San Diego Chargers to only 10 points and ran up 164 yards on the ground, I see the Colts (28th overall in rushing yards allowed per game) having a tough time keeping up.
My pick: Bengals
Raiders (+3) at Jets (-3) -- Geno Smith is having such a porous month, failing to complete at least 10 passes in the past four games and throwing six interceptions in the past three games and no touchdowns in the past five. He's killing this team.
My pick: Raiders
Lions (+3) at Eagles (-3) -- The thing that I keep coming back to about Nick Foles, the Eagles' surprise quarterback, is his poise. He has yet to throw an interception -- something the turnover prone Michael Vick must envy while on the bench. He has 13 of his 19 touchdowns in the past four games.
My pick: Eagles
Vikings (+7) at Ravens (-7) -- We've seen Baltimore (6-6) show more consistency than the Vikings (3-8-1). And with Christian Ponder out and Adrian Peterson (groin) questionable, you have to almost give it to the Ravens.
My pick: Ravens
Browns (+10.5) at Patriots (-10.5) -- Classic trap game? Nah. Patriots coach Bill Belichick respects the Browns organization enough to prepare his team right for a respectable defense that has the ability to limit the Patriots' passing attack. So much so that cracking this double-digit spread will be tough.
My pick: Browns
Dolphins (+3.5) at Steelers (-3.5) -- Gotta like the way the Steelers are trending, despite their 22-20 loss to the Ravens last week. They've won three of their last four and have shown that normal Pittsburgh grit.
My pick: Steelers
Bills (+3) at Buccaneers (-3) -- Bucs have won three of their last four, losing only to Carolina -- whom I think is a top five team in the NFL. The Bills are not.
My pick: Buccaneers
Falcons (+3) at Packers (-3) -- With Aaron Rodgers still out, the Falcons (3-9) seemingly have a chance. Why not?
My pick: Falcons
Titans (+13) at Broncos (-13) -- Champ Bailey is questionable to play for the Broncos, but it's not as if that really matters.
My pick: Broncos
Rams (+6) at Cardinals (-6) -- Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (right elbow) is questionable, but expected to play. This could be a big factor for a surprisingly good Cardinals (7-5) team. It doesn't help that Arizona is 0-for-3 in the division this year.
My pick: Rams
Giants (+3.5) vs. Chargers (-3.5) -- They say ride the hot hand. Philip Rivers has been hot all year long with 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, completing 70.2 percent of his passes. It's not going to be easy against a New York Giants pass defense that gives up only 6.5 yards per attempt (sixth best in the league), but it might be enough.
My pick: Chargers
Seahawks (+3) at 49ers (-3) -- So this time around, the 49ers offense and their young quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, won't have to deal with the deafening noise emanating from Seattle's fan base. But they still have to figure out how to score on the NFL's No. 2 defense. Seattle's running game, led by Marshawn Lynch (970 yards, 9 touchdowns), will likely be the difference.
My pick: Seahawks
Panthers (+3.5) at Saints (-3.5) -- Despite being at the Superdome, the Panthers have been able to shut down some of the best teams in the NFL, including the Patriots (24-20) and 49ers (10-9), and held the Seahawks to seven points in the season opener. This defense, ranked first overall in the NFL (13.5 points allowed per game), still has a monster task with the Saints, which put up 26.0 points per game. But I like defense over offense any day of the week.
My pick: Panthers
Cowboys (-1) at Bears (+1) -- Jay Cutler is still out for the Bears, who have gone 1-2 in his absence. The Cowboys (7-5), despite their distinct ability to disappoint, are silently happy Cutler is out, because their passing defense is atrocious (294.9 yards allowed per game).
My pick: Cowboys