Vikings (+14) over EAGLES: Really only two questions here: By how much? And how will the Birds bounce back from their, as John Smallwood said, "euphoric and historic comeback victory" of last Sunday? There is no doubt that the Eagles will win this game; the only issue is motivation. Of course, the players and Andy Reid are going through the whole, "you gotta respect them" baloney. But really, how much do you respect Joe Webb, who should make his first start for Minnesota? How much do you respect a team that just lost to the Bears (40-14) and the Giants (21-3)? After the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands," and a struggle with Dallas 2 weeks ago, we sense that Birds might be due for a teeny, tiny letdown. Nothing of epic proportions in which the Vikings walk out of the Linc with a W, but just enough for Minny to sneak through the back door and cover the huge, double-digit spread.
BUCCANEERS (-6) over Seahawks: It's a learning process for a young team. Tampa was on a pretty sweet roll, winning four of five, then just laid an egg at home against Detroit Sunday, losing 23-20. The mindset was, "Oh it's only the Lions, a 3-10 team, and all we have to do is walk out on to the field and a victory will follow." This is the NFL, and even those 3-10 Lions (now 4-10) can make you look silly. There will be no silly this week. The Bucs have no choice. They must win to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, and Seattle is the perfect patsy. The Seahawks have won only five of their last 23 on the road and have been outscored, 74-39, the last 2 weeks. Last season, the Bucs pounded Seattle in Tampa, 24-7, with Matt Hasselbeck throwing four interceptions. As all students of Handicapping 101 know, history repeats itself, and that's why this is the Best Bet of the weekend.
BEARS (-1) over Jets: Seriously, Rex Ryan? Making a video of your wife's feet sticking out of a car? OK, granted, they are nice feet, but ya gotta keep that stuff under wraps. Just the way Chicago's defense is gonna keep the New York offense under wraps. Jets QB Mark Sanchez has a sore shoulder (or a slight cartilage tear, depending on your source) and is in for another rough outing against the third-stingiest defense (242 points allowed) in the NFL.
CHIEFS (-5) over Titans: Two reasons to put a Kansas City logo under your tree. Matt Cassel and home cooking. Cassel returned to the field only 11 days after, as Thomas Jones said, "having an organ removed from his body." He led the Chiefs to a 27-13 win at St. Louis, and should be even better this week. After all, the game is in KC, where the Chiefs have posted a perfect 6-0 record and lead the NFL in fewest points allowed at home (12.2 ppg).
BILLS (+8) over Patriots: Without much fanfare, or much ink, Buffalo has rattled off four wins in its last six outings, while covering a very healthy seven of the last nine. No giant upset, but a spread W for the Buffs is the call in Orchard Park.
FALCONS (-2) over Saints: Matty Ice! You better believe that Matt Ryan's name deserves an exclamation point. After all, he is working on a 15-0 streak in the Georgia Dome, and has won 19 of 20 all-time in Atlanta. And if you're saying, "Double V, didn't New Orleans beat the Falcons in Atlanta last year?" the answer is yes. But Matt Ryan did not play (Chris Redman started), and neither did the big horse, RB Michael Turner.
Giants (+3) over PACKERS: Sure Aaron Rodgers is back, but he's just one big hit away from the cuckoo's nest. And no defense in the league has knocked out more QBs than New York. Plus the Big Blue has won four of the last five on the road.
CARDINALS (+7) over Cowboys: Dallas D is giving up 27-plus points per game under interim coach Jason Garrett. Even 'Zona should put a few on the board.
DOLPHINS (-3) over Lions: Detroit is now 1-26 on the road after beating Tampa. Two wins in a row in Florida? No way.
JAGUARS (-7) over Redskins: Speaking of the road, Washington has only four wins in its last 18 outside of D.C.
RAMS (-2) over 49ers: Lean light to St. Louis, but really like the under here, which is set at 40.
BROWNS (+3) over Ravens: Cleveland is still competing, hard, so we'll tickle the Brownies.
RAIDERS (+3) over Colts: Oakland has covered seven of its last 10, but Peyton Manning is one scary dude, so handle with care.
Texans (-2) over BRONCOS: Denver has no defensive capabilities and Tim Tebow at QB. Double whammy to the dark side.
BENGALS (+7) over Chargers: San Diego continues its winning roll, straight up, but fails to cover this 7-point spot.