Finally got a nose across the .500 mark last week, hopefully for good (yeah, right). My approach right now is "half the league stinks and a third of the league is inconsistent, so bet on the few good teams there are and take the points everywhere else." Home teams in CAPS.
San Francisco (+9) over PHILADELPHIAUntil the Eagles show they can play a little fundamental football (especially on defense), I'm continuing to go against them. San Francisco is a miserable team and I can't believe I'm taking a West Coast team in a 1pm road game, but Patrick Willis is as good of a spy on Mike Vick that you can have, and the 49ers can bestow a healthy Frank Gore dose upon the most overrated team in the league. A win would be a surprise, but I think Jim Harbaugh will have his team ready to play.
New Orleans (-7) over JACKSONVILLEAnyone who pays attention to this column knows that I tend to back the Saints pretty often. Even on the road in what may not be an optimal playing conditions, this team is still far and away better than Jacksonville, who is in a state of total rebuilding outside of MJD. This should be a nice "welcome to the NFL" afternoon for Blaine Gabbert in his first home start, and maybe he can learn a thing or two watching Drew Brees from the opposite side of the field. You can't even get worried about the Saints' suspect pass defense here.
GREEN BAY (-12.5) over Denver
Remember that part about me saying there are only a few very good teams? This is one of them. Possibly the best, even. Can the Broncos move the ball? Ordinarily against Green Bay's secondary, that would be a definite "no," but the Packers have shown cracks there this year. Even so, this doesn't figure to be the type of game that will bring the Tim Tebow billboards down in Denver. I want to see someone make a big stand against the Green Bay offense before I pick against them. The Packers should leave the Broncos cross-eyed this Sunday.
NY Jets (+3.5) over BALTIMORE
Why? Because almost everything else is telling you to go the other way. The Ravens, when not being caught napping, have been very convincing in their two wins this year. The Jets played a miserable second half against Oakland last week and now have Mark Sanchez playing with a broken nose and Nick Mangold possibly still out with an ankle injury suffered in Week 2. However, I think Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie can neutralize, if not full-out stop, Joe Flacco in the Ravens' passing attempts. So, in a run-heavy game, give me the points.
Indianapolis (+10) over TAMPA BAY
Tampa Bay doesn't score enough to lay 10 points to anyone, and there is still enough of a veteran presence on this Colts team to think they can hang tough on Monday night. And just so we're sure: I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out. I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out. I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out. I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out. I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out.
Last Week: 3-2-0