GIANTS (-2.5) over Eagles
For you lifelong Green fanatics who wanna blame me for the Birds' implosion over the last three weeks, go ahead. I can handle the heat. Obviously, Mark Sanchez cannot. Don't wanna lay all the blame at the feet of No. 3, but, man, when you look at the numbers when Nick Foles starts under Chip Kelly (14-4) and the numbers when he doesn't (5-8), the QB slot is the oxygen in this offense. On to MetLife Stadium, where the Eagles limp into town having been knocked out of the playoffs, against a New York team that is heading in the opposite direction. Eli Manning has come alive the last 3 weeks, winning and covering each game, and rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. is the reason why. The kid has energized the offense and it has rubbed off on the "D" as well (only 47 points allowed the last three times out). And there's payback. The Birds fed the Giants a 27-0 bagel at the Linc in October, and the Big Blue wants revenge. Look away, 'cause this final is gonna be New Yorkers by double digits.
VIKINGS (-6) over Bears
Jay Cutler has to be a really happy guy. Apologize for the sarcasm, but how can he be all-in for this game after his coach (Marc Trestman) literally threw him out with the old laundry. He was benched last week in favor of Jimmy Clausen. Then Clausen got a concussion against Detroit, and now Cutler is back. He brings some awfully heavy baggage with him, such as 18 interceptions and 24 turnovers, which is the most in the NFL. Then we look across the field and see Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater, and we have to smile. Teddy Bridge has thrown out a 5-0 spread perfecto down the stretch, and has led the Vikings to eight covers in the last nine games. And if you're wondering how Chicago has been playing on the road, the answer is barely! Lost at New England (51-23), at Green Bay (55-14) and at Detroit (34-17). That's 54 points for, 140 points against, numbers that easily make this my Best Bet.
Colts (-7) over TITANS
Not sure you remember the last time we had Indy coming off a blowout? It was after getting crushed by the Patriots (42-20) on Nov. 16. The following week, we made the Horseshoes our Best Bet because we found this: With Andrew Luck under center, Indy has a perfect 9-0 record the week following a loss of 10 points or more. The Colts stomped the Jaguars, 23-3, so now it's 10-0, and that's enough to make this our post-Christmas special Best Bet 1B.
TEXANS (-9.5) over Jaguars
Houston needs a win and losses by San Diego and Baltimore to make the playoffs, so it's a longshot. But after an embarrassing 2-14 record last season, finishing at 9-7 would be stellar. You can credit J.J. Watt and the ferocious defense that has allowed only 15.5 points per game in six outings since the bye week. The Texans are down to the fourth-string QB (Case Keenum), but with that "D," Michael Barkann could take the snaps and get the win and the cover.
SEAHAWKS (-12.5) over Rams
Seattle has been absolutely en fuego the last 5 weeks - winning every game, covering four of five with one push, and outscoring the opposition, 114-33. The 'Hawks have a small appetizer of revenge on the table, as well, after losing in St. Louis, 28-26, in October. Then you have Seattle's unreal 23-2 record at home over the last three season. And, oh, yeah, the No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs is also on the table.
Saints (-4) over BUCCANEERS
Not quite sure why, but this season has been a complete turnaround for Drew Brees and New Orleans. The Saints could not buy a win at home (2-6), but have won and covered the last three away from the land of gumbo and jambalaya.
PACKERS (-7.5) over Lions
Detroit's offense might have some very large problems with the suspension of center Dominic Raiola.
49ERS (-6) over Cardinals
Bye, bye, Jim Harbaugh. Without question, this will be Harbaugh's final game with San Francisco, and after three magnificent seasons - and one stinker - we gotta believe the Niners will send him out with a bang . . . and a cover!
Bengals (+4) over STEELERS
Cincy has revenge on the table after getting smacked at home by Pittsburgh, 42-21. Revenge is sweet!
RAVENS (-10) over Browns
No Johnny Football. Brian Hoyer is questionable. Who cares? Joe Flacco is 12-1 all-time against Cleveland.
PATRIOTS (-4.5) over Bills
Not quite sure what Ninja Master Bill Belichick is gonna do, so we are light here, very light.
DOLPHINS (-5.5) over Jets
The New Yorkers have still not quit on Rex Ryan, but they will in the Miami heat, as the Fish cover with room to spare.
Panthers (+4) over FALCONS
Just do not believe in Matty "Ice" Ryan, 'cause he melts at the most inopportune times.
Chargers (+3) over CHIEFS
San Diego's last two road outings have been win/win over the Ravens (34-33) and 49ers (38-35).
Cowboys (-6) over REDSKINS
Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones said Dallas is gonna play to win. How can you not believe those guys?
Raiders (+14) over BRONCOS