Here are this week’s picks. Again, all picks are against the spread.
Jets (+4) at Ravens (-4) — The Jets have this annoying streak of losing to mediocre teams by 13 or more points. The Titans (38-13), Steelers (19-6), Bengals (49-9), and Bills (37-14). This is a perfect opportunity for the Ravens (4-6) to steal a win after a number of close losses this season. But each of the Ravens’ last seven games have been separated by an average of 3.28 points, in which Baltimore has gone 2-5.
My pick: Jets
Steelers (+1) at Browns (-1) — Two 4-6 teams at the logjam bottom of the AFC North. Despite the feistiness of the Browns, expect the Steelers to be victorious here. They started the season an abysmal 0-4 but have gone 4-2 since.
My pick: Steelers
Buccaneers (+9) at Lions (-9) — The question of the day is can the Lions cover? Because we all know they can and should win. The Bucs are averaging 18.7 points per game on offense and holding opponents to 23.7. The Lions are averaging 26.5 and allowing 25.3 per game. That kind of paints the picture for a 9-point spread.
My pick: Buccaneers
Vikings (+5) at Packers (-5) — Aaron Rodgers is still out for the Packers, which swings the odds in Minnesota’s favor. The Packers have lost three straight games since Rodgers’ injury.
My pick: Vikings
Jaguars (+10) at Texans (-10) — If the Texans (2-8) can’t win this game — the very definition of low-hanging fruit — they’ll never be the same.
My pick: Texans
Chargers (+5) at Chiefs (-5) — Lucky for the Chiefs (9-1), there is no Peyton Manning led Broncos offense to face this week. The league’s second-ranked defense (13.8 points allowed per game) should fare much better against the Chargers (4-6).
My pick: Chiefs
Panthers (-4) at Dolphins (+4) — After what we saw of the Panthers against the Patriots, even with the controversy, you have to expect they manhandle an inconsistent team like the MIami Dolphins that has trouble protecting their quarterback.
My pick: Panthers
Bears (+1) at Rams (-1) — Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs are out for the Bears. The Rams are coming off the bye and a surprising 38-8 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10. With the home crowd on their side, I like them in a tossup.
My pick: Rams
Colts (+1) at Cardinals (-1) — As one of the most talented teams in the AFC, the Colts are expected to knock off opponents like the Arizona Cardinals easily. But these Cardinals (6-4) are no slouch. They’ve hung losses on expected winners in Detroit, Carolina, Atlanta, and Houston. Indy is putting up 25.2 points per game while Arizona is giving up an eighth best 21.2 per game. The Cardinals are also averaging 21.4 points per game. Also consider that Trent Richardson (calf) is questionable for the Colts today. But it’s tough to go against Andrew Luck
My pick: Colts
Titans (-1.5) at Raiders (+1.5) — Another game with two 4-6 teams. Expect the Raiders to disappoint, as they are accustomed to doing, especially with Darren McFadden (hamstring) out and quarterback Terrelle Pryor (knee) questionable.
My pick: Titans
Cowboys (+3) at Giants (-3) — It’s kind of crazy that the Giants (4-6) could start the season 0-6 and be on a four-game winning streak. It’s not thanks to Eli Manning, that’s for sure. The defense has been exceptional against mediocre opponents, holding teams to 11.7 points per game in that stretch. Of course, they’ll have a much more difficult time against the Cowboys (5-5), which sport the fifth ranked offense in the NFL. But there’s something about momentum that’s worth giving credit for.
My pick: Giants
Broncos (-2) at Patriots (+2) — The Patriots are going up against the top offense in the NFL (39.8 points per game) with Peyton Manning at the helm while dealing with a number of banged up players. All three of their top cornerbacks are listed as questionable for Sunday night’s game, including Aqib Talib (hip), Alfonzo Dennard (knee), and Kyle Arrington (groin). Only two, Talib and Arrington, are expected to play. Neither are expected to be near 100 percent. That could be the difference Sunday.
My pick: Broncos
49ers (-6) at Washington (+6) — Washington (3-7) is in a tailspin. The 49ers (6-4) are having trouble finding their offensive identity. The difference between the two is that one has the potential to be great.
My pick: 49ers
Last week: 8-7