What's this...I can breathe! Last week pushed me over .500 for the first time all year. The broken clock is now 8-2 in the past two weeks. Home teams in CAPS.
Tennessee (-1) over MIAMI
The Dolphins are holding the donut at home thus far this year (0-3) and are now turning to Chad Pennington to take the reins from Chad Henne. The Titans had trouble after losing Kenny Britt to injury so they went out and replaced him with...Randy Moss. Not a bad move for a team now in a dogfight with the Colts for its division. In what amounts to a pick-em game, give me the team that appears to be the better one.
NY Jets (-3) over CLEVELAND
Everyone is on the Browns right now and with good reason after they shellacked New England last week. However, this Jets defense was designed to stop runners like Peyton Hillis as well as put a ton of pressure on the still-honeymooning Colt McCoy. As a rule I'm very leery of laying an even 3 with a road team, but if anyone saw the Jets play Detroit last week it was clear they were giving the Lions every break in the first 3 quarters to try to put them away but the Jet defense kept holding its ground. On the other side of the ball, Santonio Holmes is close to being fully ingrained in the offense and is playing like a Super Bowl MVP again. After Rex Ryan put on a wig and dressed up like his twin brother Rob (the Browns' defensive coordinator) this week, I can't not take the Jets.
INDIANAPOLIS (-7) over Cincinnati
When the NFL is running short on bet-worthy teams, go with as close to a sure thing as possible. The Colts' injury report is about as long as a college thesis, but Peyton Manning continues to elevate the game of his motley crew around him. The Colts are giving up just 13 points a game at home this year, and if they can cover T.O. (which the Steelers forgot to do last week) they'll keep the Bengals point total in the teens.
St. Louis (+6) over SAN FRANCISCO
So let me get this straight - a 4-4 team is a six-point dog to a 2-6 team that hasn't gotten out of its own way all season? Thank you sir, may I have another? In what figures to be a close, ugly, 17-14 type of affair, I will gladly take 6 points. I wonder how many people will even notice that this game features a Heisman-winning quarterback matchup with Sam Bradford and Troy Smith. The 49ers (along with the Vikings) should send Christmas cards to Arlington, TX and thank Dallas for keeping them out of the "biggest disappointment of 2010" conversation.
New England (-4.5) over PITTSBURGH
I was originally going to stay away from this and follow my new "just pick against Carolina" rule, but I have a good feeling about the Patriots' chances at Heinz Field this Sunday night. The Steelers had a chance to blow the Bengals out last Monday night but let them hang around and needed a 4-down stop inside their own 10 in the final minute to hold on. The extra 1.5 in this line is a big-time overreaction to the egg that the Patriots laid last week in Cleveland, especially considering the Steelers just put left tackle Max Starks on IR and have two other offensive linemen plus James Harrison questionable.
Last Week: 4-1-0