'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the league, not a team was playing well, except two or three. OK, that's enough for the attempted rhymes. Home teams in CAPS.
Jacksonville (+4.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
All week, I've been going back and forth on this game like Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Initially I loved the points, then I thought maybe people were too heavy on the Jags bandwagon and considered taking Indy coming off of 10 days' rest. I'm going to go with my gut here and take Jacksonville. The last 6 meetings between these familiar foes have been decided by 7 points or less. MJD should be able to gut the Colts' horrid run defense enough so that it won't turn into a matter of trading touchdowns with Peyton Manning. A likely field-goal game either way.
DALLAS (-6) over Washington
The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS under Jason Garrett and are playing with much more discipline than I've seen since the Parcells days. This December is the third annual "Tashard Choice Makes Everyone Wonder Why He Doesn't Get the Ball More" month, and the new life he has given the Cowboys' running game is enough to make me forgive him for getting Mike Vick's autograph last week. Two words about the Redskins: Rex Grossman.
PITTSBURGH (-5.5) over NY Jets
Injuries to Troy Polamalu and Big Ben make this a bit of an iffy spot for the Steelers, who failed to score an offensive touchdown against the Bengals last week but won thanks to two defensive scores. However, the Jets put together an offensive performance last week that made them look far from a 9-win team that is only missing one starter on that side of the ball. The Jets' meal-ticket running game has gone south and Mark Sanchez has refueled the "can this guy play in adverse weather?" debate. Ride the under in this one if you're so inclined - I think the Jets make it 3 straight games without a touchdown. Pittsburgh by something ugly, like 17-9.
NEW ENGLAND (-14) over Green Bay
Congratulations to those who were able to get a bet in on this game when it was 4.5 early this week before going off the board until the status of Aaron Rodgers became official. Honestly, I'd have laid 10 even if Rodgers were playing. The Packers don't run the ball, don't protect the passer, and are heavily reliant on the sacks and turnovers created by their defense. The Patriots are....well, they're the Patriots again.
Chicago (-7.5) over MINNESOTA (Monday Night)
By now, you know that this game has been moved to the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium as a result of the Metrodome being involuntarily converted into an open-air facility. By now, you know that the stadium holds 10,000 fewer people than the dome and seats will be first-come, first-serve as a result. By now, you also know that alcoholic beverages will not be sold or permitted on the premises. By now, you also know that Brett Favre is out, Tarvaris Jackson is on IR, and the Vikings are sidling rookie Joe Webb with the task of handing off to Adrian Peterson three times and then jogging off the field while the punt team jogs on. By now, you should know that the Bears are winning this game.
Last Week: 4-1-0