PACKERS (-6.5) over Vikings
My man Mr. Discount Double Check - Aaron Rodgers - said after Green Bay was smoked at Washington, 42-24, and fell to 4-6, that the Cheeseheads would run the table. Well, after winning four in a row, and covering three, it looks as if there's only one salt and one pepper shaker remaining on the table. The salt, Minny this week, is gonna fall for sure. The pepper, Detroit next week, could be a little spicier, since it's on the road. Back to Christmas Eve, and why the Vikes are gonna get rolled. After opening up at 5-0, they had a bye, and fell into a huge black hole, losing seven of nine, and covering only three times. Granted, the Pack had a mini-letdown (win, no cover) against the Bears last week after the stunning 38-10 win over Seattle. But the Bears game was away, the Seahawks blowout was at Lambeau, and you know how tough it is to beat the Cheese in the 'Frozen Tundra.' So let's make this the Best Bet.
Lions (+7.5) over COWBOYS
Kind of a tricky situation, but like Detroit no matter what. Didn't have the final on the Birds and Giants while we were at the keyboard, but it is a really big deal. If the Green won, then Dallas has clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and would probably play the starters maybe a half on Monday night. Of course, the line is bound to drop, but would still have to make Motown a co-Best Bet. If the New Yorkers won and are still in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, we still like Lions, but not as much. The 'Boys are limping into this game with an 0-4 spread run, kinda similar to last season when they closed on an 0-4 spread run. That should bode well for the visitors, especially QB Matthew Stafford who grew up in the Dallas area. And you know he wants to erase the nasty taste of the controversial 24-20 playoff loss down in the Big D at the end of the 2014 season.
BROWNS (+6) over Chargers
C'mon, 'tis the season. Gotta show some Cleveland love. Last chance for a "W," 'cause next week, it's the Steelers at Pittsburgh. The wise guys, the sharps, whatever you wanna call them, have been throwing money at the Browns every week, only to come up short, every week. However, this is the week. Vic ain't a wise guy, or a sharp, but what has San Diego done to deserve the status as a six-point road fave? Win only three of the last 16 away from home, he said sarcastically.
Bengals (+1.5) over TEXANS
This pick is based strictly on the QB matchup: Andy Dalton vs. Tom Savage. No, Savage is not a wrestler in the WWE (that was Randy), but Tom will be making his first ever start. Not saying Dalton has been great this season, because that would get me, like, four Pinocchios from the Washington Post. The "Red Rifle" brings a 5-8-1 team into Houston, and we're counting on home cooking - Dalton is from Katy (part of Houston metro area) - to provide a sweet "W."
STEELERS (-5) over Ravens
Simple: Win and you're in. Pittsburgh wins and the AFC North is locked up. As if that's not enough motivation, the Steel will be looking avenge a 21-14 loss at Baltimore in November. And the Steelers are playing as well as any team in the league, winning five in a row, straight up and, more importantly, against the spread. Must be laying only five in this spot. If the game jumps to six or seven, then downgrade to a light play.
Colts (+4) over RAIDERS
Congrats to the Silver & Black for clinching a playoff spot, but they ain't getting my money. Ever since Oakland QB Derek Carr hurt his pinkie, the Raiders have not covered a spread. Horseshoes for the money; buy your ticket now.
BEARS (+3.5) over Washington
Don't look now. OK, you can look, Chicago is working on a 5-0 spread perfecto.
SAINTS (-3) over Buccaneers
Drew Brees is definitely worth a tumble in the last home game at the Superdome.
Dolphins (+4.5) over BILLS
Fish might get a little cold in Buffalo, but they swam just fine last week in New York, whipping the Jets, 34-13.
Cardinals (+8.5) over SEAHAWKS
These two NFC West rivals played to a 6-6 tie in October at Arizona, and now the Cardinals are getting 8.5. Bonus. Beating the Rams last week, 24-3, does not suggest that Seattle will handle 'Zona that easy. We got a live 'dog in this spot.
Falcons (-3) over PANTHERS
Julio Jones should be back, as if Matt Ryan and his No. 1 scoring offense need another high-profile weapon.
PATRIOTS (-16.5) over Jets
Not thrilled laying such heavy wood, but New England is still looking for the top seed and will not ease up.
Titans (-5) over JAGUARS
If Tennessee can beat Denver and Kansas City back-to-back, Jacksonville should be a proverbial piece of cake.
RAMS (-3.5) over 49ers
Would rather watch a replay of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl than Los Angeles vs. San Francisco.
Broncos (+3.5) over CHIEFS
KC's boring "O" vs. Denver's stout "D" should end up with a final margin of three points. Make sure you grab the hook.