Sunday games and Monday Night Football game are subject to change. I’ll revise my picks based on available information during the week (injury report).
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). Pittsburgh Steelers play better and better each week. On Thursday Night they’ll face another division rival. Cleveland Browns are terrible against the run, but they will be a good match for Steelers’ pass offense. Steelers will try to balance their offense with RB Rashard Mendenhall and exploit Browns’ weakness.
Pick: Steelers, 27-16
Against The Spread: Browns (+13.5)
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). If Falcons don’t fall behind early in this game RB Michael Turner will get his chance to run wild against Carolina rush defense. Despite their loss against Houston, Falcons are still in playoff race. They will come up with enough big plays on both sides of the ball to win on the road.
Pick: Falcons: 28-23
Against The Spread: Falcons (-2.5)
Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Time for Bengals to bounce back after a couple of losses against division rivals. If they want to play come January, they have to win this game and prove they can win against quality teams. Houston will try to rely on their ground attack but eventually T.J. Yates will have to take his chances, I think Andy Dalton will outplay him and help his team get an important win.
Pick: Bengals, 20-17
Against The Spread: Texans (+3.5)
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Vikings might be without star RB Adrian Peterson for another game. This means all the pressure on offense will be on rookie QB Ponder. Ponder has improved over the last couple of weeks but he hasn’t played good on the road so far. Lions need this game to stay in playoff hunt, QB Stafford will exploit poor Vikings pass defense and the Lions will break their losing streak.
Pick: Lions, 30-25
Against The Spread: Vikings (+7.5)
New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). With RB Chris Johnson finally playing up to his potential, Titans will probably have a plan to run the ball and run the ball some more. He will have success against Saints’ rush defense but eventually Titans offense won’t keep pace with Drew Brees and Company.
Pick: Saints, 27-20
Against The Spread: Saints (-3.5)
Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). For the second time in a row, Colts are the biggest underdogs with a +16.5 pointspread. Ravens will get their points early in the game and they have, unlike the Patriots, defense that can prevent any Colts’ ideas of a possible comeback. Ravens will earn another win and they’ll stay on top of AFC North division.
Pick: Ravens, 31-13
Against The Spread: Ravens (-16.5)
Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Another important game for the Jets, who are fighting for playoff spot. Chiefs don’t have much on offense and Jets’ defense won’t allow another hail-mary touchdown pass from Tyler Palko.
Pick: Jets, 23-10
Against The Spread: Jets (-8.5)
Philadelphia Eagles @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Finally Eagles get their starting quarterback back from injury. But the damage is done and Michael Vick could be a bit rusty which doesn’t bode well for Eagles with a game against Dolphins coming up. Dolphins will have another great game on defensive side of the ball which should be enough to take the win at home.
Pick: Dolphins, 24-21
Against The Spread: Eagles (+3.5)
New England Patriots @ Washington Redskins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Soft schedule for Patriots continues. Even dough they can’t stop anybody on defense, Patriots have enough weapons on offense, this shows again in this game against Redskins who will try to upset a playoff team but will fail to do so.
Pick: Patriots, 28-17
Against The Spread: Patriots (-7.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). Both teams haven’t played good football lately to say the least. Despite the fact that Jaguars are the home team I still think that Tampa have better chances to win this battle of two below-average teams from Florida.
Pick: Buccaneers, 27-23
Against The Spread: Buccaneers (-1.5)
Chicago Bears @ Denver Broncos, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). Tebow Time. I really think Chicago has the defense to stop the Tebow Mania but with key injuries on offense they will have hard time scoring on offense. It would be logical to expect low scoring game in which Denver Tebows find a way to win again.
Pick: Broncos, 16-13
Against The Spread: Bears (-3.5)
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). Last week 49ers clinched NFC West division title for the first time since 2002. Now they will try to get the 2nd seed and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. To do so, they can’t afford to lose against Arizona Cardinals who will show up and give the 49ers hard time. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter should make the difference in a close game.
Pick: 49ers, 23-20
Against The Spread: Cardinals (+3.5)
Buffalo Bills @ San Diego Chargers, Sunday 4:15 PM (ET). Chargers finally played like I expected them to play. But they played the Jaguars on Monday Night, this time they get to play Buffalo Bills. Bills are much better team than Jaguars but they too have problems on defense. Chargers get to score 30+ points again for a second straight win.
Pick: Chargers, 31-23
Against The Spread: Chargers (-6.5)
Oakland Raiders @ Green Bay Packers, Sunday 4:15 PM (ET). Green Bay Packers are well on their way to a perfect 16-0 season. I just can’t see any chances for Raiders to spoil Packers’ party, not on the road and certainly not the way they’ve played on the road last week against Miami.
Pick: Packers, 33-24
Against The Spread: Raiders (+11.5)
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). Seems like week in week out Giants get to play huge game. Another huge game for them on the road against division rival. In recent years Cowboys always found a way to make big mistakes in important games. I got a feeling that the Cowboys will again find a way to lose at home.
Pick: Giants, 26-23
Against The Spread: Giants (+3.5)
St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). After being humiliated by the 49ers last week, Rams have to travel West again to play another division rival. The outcome of the game will be the same, well rested home team gets the win. Seahawks will keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Pick: Seahawks, 23-13
Against The Spread: Seahawks (-6.5)