I like a lot of road teams this week in many of the marquee games. The schedule is boom or bust. You have horrible games like Jacksonville at Houston or great games like Denver at New England. I’m sorry if you’re stuck with one of the bad games this Sunday (I suggest you buy NFL Sunday Ticket).
There are four teams on bye this week. That will finally end soon and we will have sixteen games every week. This week, I suggest keeping an eye on injury reports and weather conditions from this point forward.
We pick every NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 12 of the NFL season.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) - My pick is San Diego Chargers
This is a trap game for the Chiefs. They are coming off a tough loss to Denver AND they play them again next week. San Diego has them at the right time. San Diego needs a win to keep in the race for the final wild card spot. I’m not sure if San Diego will win, but I don’t see Kansas City covering the spread.
Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams (-1) - My pick is Chicago Bears
I don’t understand this point spread. It opened up at +1, but has been bet up to -1, which is crazy. The public is putting too much weight in the Rams blowout win against the Colts. They are coming off bye, but this is crazy. The Bears have proven they can win without Cutler. This line should only be -1 if Cade McNown is starting for the Bears (this is a dated reference). I love the Bears in this game.
New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) - My pick is Baltimore Ravens
The Jets ‘every other week’ trend will end this week. I’ve been wrong on the Jets many times this season. They are the one team that I have a hard time handicapping. Geno Smith cemented my opinion on the Jets last week. They are a bad team that received a few lucky bounces this season. A bad team can be .500, since it can only takes one fluky play to win a close game in the NFL. I’m picking Baltimore to cover at home.
Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (+4.5) - My pick is Carolina Panthers
Carolina really impressed me Monday night. I thought they would curl up and die if the Patriots had a lead in the fourth quarter. They have covered in their last seven games. I hate betting on a team with a cover streak this long, since the point spreads are often inflated. If this line was closer to a touchdown, I wouldn’t touch it. 4 1/2 points is definitely doable, give me the Panthers to cover on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-1) - My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben loves playing in his home state. He has an outstanding record in Ohio. The Steelers need a running game. Le’Veon Bell will have a breakout game. Browns CB Joe Haden may take a receiver away, but I like Bell against them. There is still value in the Steelers, even with two straight covers. I’m picking Steelers to win in Cleveland on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (-9) - My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What has gotten into Tampa Bay the last three weeks? The answer is Mike Glennon. They nearly beat Seattle at Qwest Field, which gave them confidence. They didn’t have any before that game. The season was a complete disaster before that near-win (MRSA & Greg Schiano’s tyranny). They went on to beat Miami and Atlanta and have covered in three straight games. The Lions have only beaten a team by more than nine points twice this season (Cleveland & Minnesota). Detroit may win this game, but a nine point spread is too high. Give me Tampa Bay all day (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme).
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10) - My pick is Houston Texans
Eww, both teams are 2-8 against the spread so far this season. Case Keenum is starting the game for the Texans…and after last week’s clusterf*ck of a decision to replace him with Matt Schaub, that won’t happen again. These teams know each other well. The Texans have blown them out many times in the past. I have faith that Gary Kubiak can do it again.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-4.5) - My pick is Green Bay Packers
This cover will be close. The Packers know they need this victory. If they lose this game, the Bears and Lions will be in the driver’s seat to win the NFC North. They desperately miss Aaron Rodgers, but they still have Eddie Lacy. Green Bay relied too much on backup QB Scott Tolzien last week. They will correct that mistake and feed Lacy the ball all day. I like Green Bay to squeak out a cover at home.
Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders (+1) - My pick is Oakland Raiders
Matt McGloin…really? I was dead wrong on the Raiders last week. I watched McGloin play at Penn State quite a bit and never thought he would have a game like that in the NFL (if he even made it there). The Raiders secondary is better than Houston’s swiss cheese pass coverage. I still like Oakland at home. Titans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well, but he can’t avoid the pass rush like Jake Locker. I like Oakland to win a close game at home.
Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) - My pick is Arizona Cardinals
I have a hard time betting against Indianapolis, but Arizona’s secondary is great. The Colts have trouble running the ball, which is why I am picking Arizona. I don’t love this pick, since Indy has pulled out a few major upsets this year. They had Reggie Wayne in those games and they will miss him this week.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-2.5) - My pick is Dallas Cowboys
The New York Giants hype has went too far. They were a money pit early in the season, but have covered in four of their last five games. Dallas is on the other end of the hype. They have lost their last two games against the spread, but they are coming off a bye. Dallas needs a win here to separate themselves from what is turning into a crowded NFC East race. I may put a few jellybeans on the Dallas moneyline.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (+2.5) - My pick is Denver Broncos
I already know the method Bill Belichick will use against Peyton Manning on Sunday Night Football. He will attempt to drain the clock and keep the ball out of Manning’s hands as long as he can. He has even tried a few random onside kicks in the past against him. New England’s offense was more explosive back then and those tricks won’t work as well. Manning’s record in Foxborough is horrible, but he will break the trend. The Broncos will cover on the road.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (+9) - [Thursday] - My pick is New Orleans Saints
This pick is more about my hate of Atlanta than my love of New Orleans. Don’t get me wrong, the Saints are great, but I really, really hate Atlanta right now. I was a Falcons guy going into the season. I thought they would struggle running the ball, but not like this. The Saints will be able to pass the ball well against Atlanta’s secondary. I love the Saints in this game.
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins (+5.5) - [Monday] - My pick is San Francisco 49ers
I just can’t bet on Washington right now. Robert Griffin III and Santana Moss have participated in a feud in the media, which is always a kiss of death. The Niners know they need this win to keep their NFC West title hopes alive. Washington’s defense is horrible, so I expect a good game from Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore. I expect a cover from the Niners on the road on Monday Night Football.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob is currently 84-54-8 on the season.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.