EAGLES (-3.5) over Cowboys
Gotta throw down a caveat before we talk Birds - and no, it doesn't mean you're going to the dentist. Actually, my Webster tells me caveat is a warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions or limitations. So, here's the warning: Week 17 is, without a doubt, the toughest of the season to handicap. Who is gonna play their starters? How long will they play? How invested will they be? Impossible questions to answer . . .
So what about the Green? Well, if the offensive linemen get to bring their Christmas presents - Beretta shotguns - on the field, we would wager our entire house, with furnishings and the pool, on the Eagles. No guns, then we still like the Birds, but not gonna get crazy. However, if you see Mark Sanchez or Tony Romo putting on his helmet and about to enter the game, try to find a place to wager on the Birds, maybe for the second half. Calling it for the Green, 26-20, but that's a light, light lean.
Ravens (+1) over BENGALS
After reading the top of the Eagles' pick, you can tell that it's gonna be a tough go. So, in this spot, we will give out the best game we have, but don't know if I'm ready to put it up there with my 12-3-1 Best Bet record this season. And if you have a problem with that, come talk to me. I'll be sitting in a leather recliner at the Wynn Race & Sportsbook, and I might even buy you lunch. Great deli right next to the book. Looked at this game and noticed that Cincy coach Marvin Lewis is gonna shut down TE Tyler Eifert and WR A.J. Green, while LB Vontaze Burfict is still in concussion protocol. Then John Harbaugh told the press he was planning on playing his starters, and wanted to rock a 9-7 record. If both coaches remain true to their word, it should turn into an easy victory for Baltimore. That's a big "if." All that makes this an Almost Best Bet.
Packers (-3) over LIONS
We used Aaron Rodgers - Mr. Discount Double Check himself - as the Best Bet last week, and just as he predicted, it was another "W." Rodgers said the Packers would run the table after they fell to 4-6, and there's only a shaky pride of Lions in the way. Hopefully, the Cheeseheads will not need another last-second miracle like last season, and if it's a choice between Mr. Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, it's pretty easy. Pack rolls into the playoffs as the Kings of the North.
STEELERS (-6) over Browns
Joe Thomas wept. Every player got a game ball. The Cleveland Browns won a game. OK, that was their Super Bowl. Now it's all about Mike Tomlin. Last week, he was criticized by Terry Bradshaw, who said he was more cheerleader than coach. Tomlin had the perfect response: "Terms like cheerleader guy are unprofessional. But what do I know? I grew up a Dallas fan. Particularly a 'Hollywood' Henderson fan." Google what he said about Bradshaw; you'll love it.
DOLPHINS (+10) over Patriots
Just looking at history . . . New England flew down to Miami at the end of last season, as, guess what? Yup, a 10-point favorite. And guess what? Yup, the Pats lost to the Fish, 20-10. Not saying we're prepared to grab the money line and call for the outright upset, but, man, this looks awful tasty. Tom Brady is dealing with a thigh issue, and probably could coast a little in the finale, allowing Miami to sneak in through the back door. Buying Fish.
FALCONS (-7) over Saints
Atlanta has been a virtual ATM this season, covering 10 of 15, and since this is the final regular-season game ever at the Georgia Dome, look for the Falcs to fly high, and close the door with a double-digit win.
Seahawks (-9.5) over 49ERS
Pete Carroll is a San Francisco native. So what? I'll tell you what. The last two times he has taken the 'Hawks to San Fran, the final scores - both easy wins - were 19-3 and 20-3. Tells you he loves him some home cooking.
Texans (+3) over TITANS
Simply can not grasp Tennessee as chalk without Marcus Mariota. Weird, so I'll try Houston, but stay real light.
JETS (+3.5) over Bills
Anthony Lynn is auditioning for Buffalo's head-coaching job, but Ryan Fitzpatrick knows how to beat his ex-team.
REDSKINS (-7.5) over Giants
Not thrilled about laying seven and a hook, but don't see how the New Yorkers can be interested in this game.
COLTS (-4.5) over Jaguars
Neither team playing for anything, so it has to be Andrew Luck over Blake Bortles.
Bears (+6.5) over VIKINGS
Chicago has perked up a little, covering five of the last six, while Minny has cashed only three of the last 10.
BUCCANEERS (-5) over Panthers
With a "W," Tampa Bay could actually have a winning season. Don't believe me? Check the standings.
Cardinals (-6) over RAMS
Arizona is still fighting, still winning, and still covering (four of the last five). Los Angeles, not so much.
CHARGERS (+6) over Chiefs
Possibly the last game ever in San Diego, so we expect Lightning to strike at some point, which means the Bolts cover.
BRONCOS (-1) over Raiders
We're counting on Denver's defense to shut down Oakland's backup QB Matt McGloin and avenge an earlier loss to the Silver & Black.