EAGLES (+1) over Bills
"Uncle!!!" . . . Remember when you were arm wrestling back in the day and cried that to admit defeat? Kinda like tapping out in a UFC mixed martial arts match. Not ashamed to admit that Kelly's Heroes have given me agita all season long, and predicting the outcome of their games is about as easy as finding a ticket for Bruce Springsteen's upcoming tour. They come off two of the ugliest games in NFL history (losing by a combined total of 90-31), then go to New England and drop 35 points on a Patriots team that had been undefeated eight days earlier. Anyone who saw that coming deserves a spot on "America's Got Talent" next season. And maybe even get your own show out here on the Vegas Strip. The last two efforts at home were awful (losing to Miami, 20-19, and Tampa Bay, 45-17) and lastly, the Chipster just wants to shut the big mouth of LeSean McCoy for 60 minutes. Not super confident, but we lean to the Green.
TEXANS (+3.5) over Patriots
Maybe all the injuries are finally starting to catch up to the Brady Bunch. New England had dealt with most of its injuries just fine, up until they lost Rob Gronkowski. Losing Gronk, who makes defensive coordinators lose sleep, was a huge blow to an already fragile team. Now, they have to face Bill O'Brien, who knows Tommy Terrific better than anyone. O'B was with the Patriots from 2007-11 as wide receivers coach, then quarterbacks coach, then offensive coordinator. Would he love to put a beatin' on his former boss, Bill Belichick? You bet. And would giant nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who spent 11 seasons with the Pats, love to beat Double B? You bet. Would Romeo Crennel, the former "D" coordinator, love to beat his former team? You bet. Houston is on a 3-0 run at home, straight up and against the spread, and has allowed only 29 points over that stretch, while Patriots are on an 0-4 spread run. All that adds up to a Best Bet.
BEARS (-3) over Redskins
Totally understand how Chicago lost its way last week. The Bears were coming off a monster win over the Packers - at Green Bay - and just lost their focus against a lousy 49ers team. Now they get the team from D.C., one of three atop the NFL Least at 5-7. But one stat sticks out like a sore thumb - or Bill Murray golfing at Pebble Beach. Washington comes to town dragging an 0-9 run on the road, and has won only two of the last 21 away from the nation's capital.
CHIEFS (-10) over Chargers
Can you tell what me has changed since Nov. 22? Aside from a few extra pounds around my middle after a fabulous Thanksgiving feast. That was the date of Kansas City's 33-3 crush at San Diego. Now, KC gets the Lightning Bolts, at home, and the score should be just as lopsided. Andy Reid has the Chiefs hitting all the right notes, winning and covering six in a row. And please remember that the Chargers have stunk against the spread for a while, covering only six of the previous 23.
Saints (+4) over BUCCANEERS
Gotta give Tampa props for drafting and developing Jameis Winston into a possible Rookie of the Year candidate, but the Bucs as a favorite? Don't think so. Could totally see them squeezing out a "W," but they have not covered as a fave since 2013 (0-4). And with rookie middle linebacker Kwon Alexander getting suspended four games for PEDs, Drew Brees should be able to find enough holes to keep New Orleans inside a FG, or, maybe even spring the upset.
BENGALS (-3) over Steelers
Statement game for Cincinnati, and, it's at home. Which is a good thing . . . a really good thing. Cincy has been superb there (18-4-1 since 2013), and is the best spread team in the NFL this season, a money machine, with a 10-1-1 record.
PANTHERS (-8) over Falcons
Carolina is gonna run the table - 16-0! - for sure. Now it's just a matter of covering the spreads along the way, which is an eight-point spot here. And against an Atlanta team that limps in on an 0-8 spread run, you can chalk up a "W" and a cover for the Purrfect Panthers.
BROWNS (-1.5) over 49ers
Don't care for Johnny Football's exploits off the field, but we are backing him for the win against San Fran.
Lions (-2) over RAMS
Three-point swing from the opening line of St. Loo minus-1, so we'll respect the wise guys with the steam.
Colts (Pick) over JAGUARS
Indy quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (neck, ribs) has been upgraded to probable, but this line is as tenative as it gets. After all, even if he plays, it is Matt Hasselbeck.
Titans (+7) over JETS
Tennessee seems to have a little more fight with Mike Mularkey calling the X's & O's, so we'll roll with the Titans.
Raiders (+7.5) over BRONCOS
Last time out, the final margin was six points (Denver, 16-10), and we're looking for more of the same.
PACKERS (-7) over Cowboys
Know all about the revenge, but it's Aaron Rodgers vs. Matt Cassel, which sounds like Green Bay by a dozen.
Seahawks (-10) over RAVENS
Was not expecting the line to climb to double digits, but that tells me it must be Seattle by a bundle.
Giants (-1) over DOLPHINS
Miami has covered only four of the last 17 so we'll take a very light shot with the visiting New Yorkers.