AFC North dominates the picks this week as Steelers, Ravens and Browns all looking to cover as favorites
Came close on a lot of games last week and only finished 7-6, bringing my total this year since taking over in Week 5 to 15-13. Still above board, so it could be worse. This week features what should be an entertaining Atlanta-Detroit contest, an important San Diego-Jets matchup and the Browns returning home to take on the Seahawks. Odds are from Bodog (via OddsShark) and as always, picks are in bold.
Carolina Panthers (-3) vs. Washington Redskins: I'm picking Cam this week. John Beck is in for the Skins, and I think the Panthers will break through. The Panthers should be able to build off their running game, which has improved significantly the last few weeks, and as long as Newton can take care of the football, this one is theirs for the taking. Carolina is still going to lose a lot of close games this year, but this is one they'll find a way to win.
Cleveland Browns (-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks: Homer pick, but I deserve one once in awhile. The Browns don't exactly look like world-beaters out there, but a whole game of Charlie Whitehurst, and the prospects of getting Joe Haden back are too much to pass up.
Detroit Lions (-3.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons: The Lions just dropped a tough one to the 49ers, and lost Jahvid Best in the process. The Falcons just came off a game where they ran Michael Turner all day to handle the Panthers. Unfortunately for them, I don't see that happening against the Lions' big and talented defensive line. Matthew Stafford bounces back in this one.
Denver Broncos (+2) @ Miami Dolphins: It's hard to believe the Dolphins would be favored in any game this year, especially after the embarrassing shellacking they just took on Monday night. I'm not high on Tim Tebow, and the Brandon Lloyd trade hurts Denver, but they get Demaryius Thomas back this week, and the Fins are in shambles.
San Diego Chargers (-2) @ New York Jets: Philip Rivers hasn't looked nearly as good as he did a year ago, but the Chargers are a pretty complete football team regardless. The Jets have a short week after their win on MNF, while SD is coming off the bye. I think the Chargers find a way to move the football, especially on the ground, and Rivers will go to his secondary targets if Vincent Jackson is locked up by Revis.
Chicago Bears (-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TB can be thrown on, and LeGarette Blount will be out again in this one. Tampa Bay really impressed me last week, but so did the Bears. Chicago's safeties will need to keep Benn and Williams in check and prevent the big play, but unless Josh Freeman can work some of his late-game magic, I think Cutler and Matt Forte have it for Chitown.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) @ Arizona Cardinals: Easy money on this one, unless I'm missing something here. The Steelers controlled the Jags pretty easily, but the score didn't quite show that. I'm just a little stunned a pretty decent Pittsburgh team isn't favored by more against a poor one win club.
Oakland Raiders (-4) vs. Kansas City: The Carson Palmer Show has officially begun in Oakland. The price was steep and this week will be the first week to see if it was worth it for the Raiders. Kansas City is coming off their bye and had a nice showing by Jackie Battle two weeks ago against Indy, but I have a feeling Darren McFadden will be out in full force in this one.
Dallas Cowboys (-13) vs. St. Louis Rams: Bodog doesn't have a line on this one yet, so I'm taking the average line here. I learned my lesson last week. The Cowboys are a much better team than the Rams, and Bradford is hurting. Even with the addition of Brandon Lloyd, the Cowboys should still be good for a two score win in this one. Fun fact: St. Louis hasn't covered a game yet this year. It's not going to start this week.
Indianapolis Colts (+14) @ New Orleans Saints: I've said it before. I get burned on big lines. This will probably be the one this week. The Colts are a bad football team, but the Saints have played down to their opponents this year.
Monday Night Football
Baltimore Ravens (-8) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: I know the Jags just put up a really good looking effort at first glance against the Steelers, but it was a super ugly game. The Ravens had a tremendous game against Houston last week, and I'm inclined to believe they're the rule, not the exception.