Note: Home teams in CAPITAL LETTERS
Pretty, pretty, pretty good, as Larry David, co-creator of "Seinfeld" would say. And if you're not a fan, or have not seen his hilarious HBO, show I'll get you Netflix for Christmas. After the two-game meltdown (13-13 at Cincinnati, 36-7 at Baltimore), Donovan McNabb and the Birds have wins over two NFC teams that clinched their divisions (Giants and Cardinals). So, obviously, they can play with anyone. Now, it's just a matter of stepping up against the NFL garbage. Not trying to be nasty in the holiday season, but, holy moly, this Cleveland team stinks! The Brownies have not scored a TD in a month, and now with season-ending injuries to Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, they have to start Ken Dorsey. (Who?) This lifetime third-stringer was horrible Sunday, hitting on only 22 of 43 for 153 yards with a 49.6 passer rating, and the ground game rumbled for a total of 35 yards. If the Birds can't win this by 30, then they don't deserve a spot in the postseason.
Laying huge double digits in both of our top selections is quite unusual, but there is a strong case to be made for Indianapolis. At 9-4, and with the AFC South title already Tennessee property, the Colts have no room for error: They must run the table. You can chalk up a win here, no doubt, no question. No way Indy loses to Detroit. Just think of the Lions like disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Both go to work with smiles on their faces, but neither is taken seriously. So, the only question is, will these Horseshoes cover the monsterous 17-point spread? The answer is a resounding yes! A few numbers for you. Indy is 41-14 at home since 2003, while Detroit is 7-40 on the road during that same time frame. Yes, the Colts have a few more games, 'cause they're in the playoffs every year. The Lions have not even smelled the postseason this century.
Big, big problem for Tampa Bay. Actually, a number of problems. First up is Atlanta's gorgeous 5-1 record at home with rookie QB Matt Ryan leading the way. Second, the home team has won all 10 division games in the NFC South this season. And third, Michael Turner and the Falcs' rushing attack, which ranks second in the NFL, is going against the Bucs defense that was ripped for 299 yards on the ground Monday night.
Tennessee clinched the AFC South last week, and is on track for home field throughout the playoffs. The only stumbling block is Pittsburgh. If the Steelers beat the Ravens and the Titans whip the Texans, next week's epic encounter in Nashville might jumble the top slot in the AFC. Think Tennessee is looking ahead? Bet on it. We will. Oh, and please don't forget Houston is on a sweet, little 4-0 spread run.
Not quite sure what it is about Oakland and the AFC East, but the Silver & Black are more competitive against the East than any other division. The Raiders lost at Buffalo, 24-23, but covered a 10-point spread. They beat the Jets at home as a three-point 'dog, 16-13, and lost at Miami, 17-15, but covered an 11-point spread. That's 3-0 vs. the spread, and with 10 days' rest after losing at San Diego, we expect Oakland to make it 4-0 against the East.
Apparently, the bye week worked wonders for Denver. The Broncos have won four of the previous six and are working on a 3-0 spread run away from home.
It's looking more and more as if San Diego will miss the playoffs, but if the last outing against Oakland, a 34-7 spanking, was any indication, the Lightning Bolts should post an easy breezy win here.
Since Jacksonville has covered only one of its last seven, we'll take a small bite out of Green Bay.
Cincinnati's previous two games: points for, six; points against, 69.
Not sure how Mike Singletary pulling his pants down helped, but the Niners have won two in a row and covered four of their last five.
What if they had a game and no one came? Or, no one made a wager? That may be the case in St. Louis.
Buffalo's 1-6 spread record since late October is troubling, very troubling.
Still not sold on rookie QB Joe Flacco, but Baltimore has covered six of the previous seven, so he is a moneymaker.
Minny has won five of six after the bye and should be able to run (with Adrian Peterson) past Arizona.