EAGLES (-3) over Redskins
It's been an up-and-down season for Double V in the NFL, but last week was amazing. Rarely toot my own horn, but after a 13-2-1 effort, gotta play a few notes. Still baffled by Kelly's Heroes. Guess they can't stand prosperity. After a sweet, two-game winning streak against the AFC East, the Green Machine was embarrassed by Arizona Sunday night, 40-17. But remember what happened the last time they gave up 40 (a 45-14 loss at Detroit), it was that huge "W" against the Patriots. So we're looking for a bounce-back. And with the NFC Least title still up for grabs, you gotta believe. If you have not followed the convoluted path to the title, here it is. The Birds win the last two, they are the NFC East champs. And since Washington is only 3-19 on the road the last three years, we're rocking the Green at least halfway to division title.
CHIEFS (-12) over Browns
Praise the Lord! Normally not a very religious guy, but do give thanks not only for the birth of Baby Jesus, but also the fact that my Best Bet won last week. And I didn't have to stand out in front of the Siegfried & Roy statue on the Strip, in a Speedo. (That woulda been uglified!) Now on to Andy Reid's club. We gotta keep talking about Reid and KC, because they ain't getting much love, or ink, anywhere. Not sure why. The Chiefs have ripped off eight straight wins, covering seven times. During the run, they have averaged 29.8 points per game while giving up only 12.3. Don't even need to use the calculator to figure out that KC is winning by an average of 17-plus per game. More than enough to cover the dozen and a hook. And since Cleveland has won only seven of the last 39 on the road, this looks like the perfect spot for the Chiefs to clinch a berth in the playoffs and cash me another Best Bet.
RAIDERS (-5.5) over Chargers
Gotta revert back to the "last home game ever" scenario. If you recall, we had a nice-sized play to the Chargers last week, figuring that they would smoke the Dolphins in what was possibly the last game in San Diego. And they did, winning by 30-14. Well, the rumor mill has the Raiders moving from Oakland back down to Los Angeles, which would make this, yes, the last game ever at the decrepit Coliseum. Paint me Silver & Black, baby!
LIONS (-9) over 49ers
Not thrilled about laying nine points here, but at least it appears as if Jim Caldwell will not let Detroit mail it in for the last couple of games. The Lions rocked the Saints early last week, bolting out to a 28-3 bulge, before letting New Orleans close the gap. Still won by 35-27, and Matthew Stafford was out of his mind, completing 22 of 25 for 254 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. And with San Fran covering only six of the last 20, lemme hear you roar with me!
Packers (+4.5) over CARDINALS
Well, Honey Badger is out. Tyrann Mathieu will not be playing this week because of a torn ACL. Huge, huge loss for the Arizona secondary. And the timing could not be worse, with Aaron Rodgers coming to town. Green Bay has won three of the last four, while the Cards appear to have the No. 2 seed in the NFC, so the Pack looks like a tasty underdog.
Panthers (-7) over FALCONS
Has anything changed from Dec. 13 when Carolina bageled Atlanta, 38-0? Nope. And did you know that Cam Newton is from Atlanta? And did you know that when the Panthers paid a visit last season, the final was 34-3? Perfecto lives on.
Bengals (+3.5) over BRONCOS
Cincinnati has covered eight of the last 11 as an underdog, and even with A.J. McCarron, it should be all good. Why? Because Cincy has won six of the last seven on the road, and how about 7-0 against the spread!
VIKINGS (-5) over Giants
ODB or not ODB, that was the question. (The answer is not.) Either way, wouldn't have mattered. Minny will cash my ticket, because the Purple People have covered 11 of 14 this season.
BUCCANEERS (-3) over Bears
Never like to lay points with Tampa, but the Bucs should be able to beat this lousy Chicago team.
BILLS (-6) over Cowboys
Even with all the "Rex Ryan on the hot seat" chatter, Buffalo can still finish at .500 with two more wins.
Jaguars (+3.5) over SAINTS
Nothing like playing quarterback roulette with an early line in a Week 16 game between two teams going nowhere. Drew Brees might or might not play, so we will light to Jacksonville.
DOLPHINS (-1.5) over Colts
If the Fish can't post a "W" against Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst, they'll be banned from the NFL.
JETS (+3.5) over Patriots
This might be the week that all the injuries finally catch up to New England, which is why this home underdog should bark.
Texans (+4.5) over TITANS
The status of both QBs - Houston's Brian Hoyer and Tennessee's Marcus Mariota - is quite shaky, as is this very early line. Another game we should probably pass up, but it you have to go, four and a hook is a nice chunk of change to have in the pocket.
Rams (+14) over SEAHAWKS
St. Loo has no business beating Seattle, but covering this generous double digit-spread is certainly on the table.
Steelers (-10) over RAVENS
Baltimore's choices at QB are Matt Schaub, Ryan Mallett or Jimmy Clausen. Enough said.