Seahawks (+1) over EAGLES
Here's some more bulletin-board material for the Birds: No chance against Seattle. Ouch! I already feel the poison arrows coming my way. Why so anti-Green? My boy Mark Sanchez will be going up against his college coach at USC again, and the last time, it was not pretty. Granted, Sanchez was with the Jets and didn't have the talent at his disposal the Eagles do, but still, Pete Carroll was in his head. Sanchez was only 9-for-22 for 124 yards. Of course, a game played in 2012 does not have much of a bearing on this contest, but once someone is in your head, they are in your head. The Seahawks' "D" is getting a little scary with LB Bobby Wagner and S Kim Chancellor returning to action, allowing only six points in the last two outings. And then there is Seattle as an underdog, covering nine of the last 10. Nobody in town is gonna be happy about this, but it looks as if the visitors fly back home with W.
SAINTS (-9.5) over Panthers
After doing the required homework, the first stop was the game these two NFC South rivals played in Carolina in October. New Orleans cruised to an easy 28-10 win and held Cam Newton to a career-worst 10 of 28 passing for 151 yards while sacking him four times. And it has not gotten any better for Newton after that, with six interceptions in his last three games since that loss. It looks as the Panthers have quit on head coach Ron Rivera, especially on the road, where they have lost four of their last five (one tie), and came up short by almost 23 points per game in the four losses. More bad news for Carolina: Drew Brees is starting to heat up, completing a whopping 77 percent of his passes with nine TDs and only one pick in his last three. After losing two in a row at home, the Saints should get back to printing money in the Dome, where they were 17-0 the last two seasons under Sean Payton. All that rolls this into my Best Bet column.
Buccaneers (+10) over LIONS
It would seem that Detroit is the side here, coming off a strong 34-17 win over Chicago on Thanksgiving, and getting a few extra days' rest. Well, maybe not. With Minny coming to town next week, the Lions might just be looking past this Tampa squad that comes in with an ugly 2-10 record. But the Bucs' D is really playing well, allowing an average of only 14 points per the last three games. No upset here, but a back door cover for the double-digit 'dog.
Rams (-2.5) over REDSKINS
How do you know when a team quits on a coach? When you lose at home . . . to Tampa Bay . . . by 20 points! Also, when you have dropped four in a row and eight of the last 10. And when the head coach, Jay Gruden, basically kicks his "franchise" QB to the curb. So many problems in D.C., so little talent. And now St. Louis comes to town after destroying the Raiders last week (52-0), and covering four of its last five. Chalk up another W for the chalk in this spot.
Patriots (-3.5) over CHARGERS
New England flew into Green Bay last week with guns blazing (a seven-game winning streak) and was shot down by the Packers, 26-21. No shame in losing to Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau, everyone does. Now Tom Brady gets to travel out to the West Coast, and he'll be ready. Tom Terrific was born in California, lives in California, and loves to travel to the West. And the Pats have been exceptional on the Left Coast, winning and covering five of the last six in the Golden State.
DOLPHINS (-3) over Ravens
Never easy for a team from up north to play in the Miami heat. And it's gonna be even tougher for Baltimore, now that five-time Pro Bowl DT Haloti Ngata has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season.
Colts (-3.5) over BROWNS
Confusion is not the path to success in the NFL. Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel? Johnny Football or Hoyer? Does not really matter, because the incredible Andrew Luck is slinging for the other side. Horseshoes by at least two TDs.
BENGALS (-3) over Steelers
Cincy has won five of its last six and owns a sweet 12-2-1 record at home the last 2 years.
JAGUARS (+6) over Texans
Houston should knock down the W, but the minus-6 on the road might be a bit too much for the Texans to handle.
Giants (Pick) over TITANS
Rumors circulating that they might cancel this game because no one gives a you-know-what . . .
VIKINGS (-6) over Jets
Minny has become a moneymaking machine, covering five of its last six, so we'll try Purple.
BRONCOS (-10) over Bills
Peyton Manning has fallen in love with the Rocky Mountains, as his 15-1 record the last two seasons indicate.
Chiefs (+1) over CARDINALS
Just don't think that Arizona can get to the promised land with Drew (three TDs, five interceptions the last three games) Stanton.
49ers (-8) over RAIDERS
Not expecting Oakland to eat another 52-0 bagel, but the Silver & Black will not come within two dozen.
Falcons (+12.5) over PACKERS
Atlanta has won three of four after the bye, and might stay inside double digits with a little Matt Ryan magic.