Houston (+7) over JACKSONVILLE
After two games, Houston has scored 29 and allowed 69. But on Sunday against Tennessee, things could have gone differently. QB Matt Schaub was picked off three times, and we don't think he's that bad -- yet. Jacksonville is typically tough and coming off a big win over the Colts, but isn't exactly a scoring machine. I'll take my chances with the points.
DALLAS (-11) over Washington
Dallas is as good as it gets in the NFL. While its defense isn't elite (zero interceptions), it's closer to being the group that allowed Green Bay to score just 16 points than it is to the group that allowed 37 to Philly. While the 'Skins have been resilient and balanced, Dallas' offense will force them to play from behind.
Minnesota (+3) over TENNESSEE
In Gus We Trust? After a pair of tough losses to quality opponents (Green Bay, Indianapolis), Minnesota jumped into the win column last Sunday by wearing down and turning over rugged Carolina. The Vikings go into Tennessee as three-point underdogs, but the Titans are winning ugly. Gus Frerotte is slipping nicely into a game manager role, and the Vikings also have some guy named Adrian Peterson.
CAROLINA (-7) over Atlanta
Atlanta is getting a touchdown after an impressive beating of Kansas City, but KC, after giving New England all it could handle in Week 1, is a mess. In Week 2, Tampa Bay ran defenses that left Falcons QB Matt Ryan's head spinning. Expect John Fox and the Panthers to execute a similar game plan.
ST. LOUIS (+9) over Buffalo
The Rams -- last year's Dolphins? -- have allowed a whopping 116 points, while scoring just 29. The Bills struggled against a poor Oakland team, and though they are sturdy in key areas -- defense and special teams -- laying this many points on the road is hazardous, especially since Buffalo's offense remains pedestrian.
KANSAS CITY (+9) over Denver
If KC can control the ball (Larry Johnson had 121 rushing yards last week, and Denver's run defense close to the league average), the Chiefs could keep this close. Completing a few passes -- and not just to the other team -- would help.
The Rest: Green Bay (pick) gets a big road win over TAMPA BAY … Cleveland (+3) finally faces an inferior opponent in CINCINNATI and should win if it can cut down on its mistakes, both coaching and turnovers … NEW ORLEANS (-6) is unlikely to win on the road against an improved San Francisco squad … Arizona (+1) will keep it close with the NY JETS … San Diego (-7) is giving a full touchdown on the road, but OAKLAND's offense isn't likely to keep up … Philly (-3) is shaping up to be one of the league's top teams and should handle CHICAGO … PITTSBURGH is banged up offensively, and Baltimore (+7) should hang within a touchdown.
This week's OT cover
OT beat writersMaureen Mullen brings you Red Sox information and insights.
Tom Wilcox covers the Patriots.
Scott Souza is all over the Celtics.
Danny Picard is on the ice with the Bruins.
Mike McDonald takes a look at the humorous side of Boston sports