Our staff, led by handicapper Vegas Vic, picks this week's NFL games.
Home teams are in CAPS.
Eagles vs. spread: 9-3-1
Rams vs. spread: 6-5
Vegas Vic's take: Double V ain't always right, but last week we thought that the look-ahead factor became an issue for the Birds in the 24-10 loss to the Seahawks. Everyone heard the noise that it was going to be a preview of the NFC Championship. It was all too much, and the Green Machine stumbled. There will be no such stumble this week. Found an interesting quote from Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz when asked about Jared Goff. "They're using him the same way that Washington uses Kirk Cousins, a lot of deep balls down the field." So, just take a look at what the Eagles did to the "deep balls." Just saying. They rocked Washington in the opener, 30-17, down in D.C. in a pick 'em game, then posted a 10-point win at the Linc, 34-24, as a 5.5-point chalk. The Birds have covered eight of the last nine, so call it 28-24 for the good guys.
Lions vs. spread: 5-6-1
Buccaneers vs. spread: 3-8-1
Vegas Vic's take: Obviously can't make a pick here until we know the status of Matthew Stafford's thumb. If no Stafford, jump on Tampa.
Bears vs. spread: 5-6-1
Bengals vs. spread: 7-5
Vegas Vic's take: Cincinnati relies on Andy Dalton's right arm, and the Red Rifle has been stellar the last few weeks. He has thrown at least two TD passes in four straight games and six of seven, and has not thrown an interception in six consecutive games.
Colts vs. spread: 6-6
Bills vs. spread: 5-5-2
Vegas Vic's take: Once again, can not make a play until we know the status of Buff QB Tyrod Taylor. If Double T is a go, Buffs are the side.
Seahawks vs. spread: 5-6-1
Jaguars vs. spread: 7-5
Vegas Vic's take: Yeah, sure, the Jags have the top-ranked defense in the NFL, but they've built it on the backs of losers. Since losing to the Rams, Jax has won five of six against teams with a combined record of 22-50. Did I say weak?
Raiders vs. spread: 4-7-1
Chiefs vs. spread: 6-6
Vegas Vic's take: OK, I hear the poison darts coming my way already. "What the hey, Vic? How you gonna pick a sad-sack Kansas City team coming in on a four-game losing streak? You lost what is left of your mind." As always, there are reasons, and it starts with Andy Reid. The last time that KC had an extended losing streak (2015), it was a five-gamer. the bounce back the next week was a 23-13 win and cover against Pittsburgh. But even more juicy is Andy's home perfecto against Oakland since taking over the Chiefs. In 2013, it was KC (minus 8) with a 24-7 win against the Silver & Black. In 2014, it was a breezy 31-13 W as a eight-point point favorite. In 2015, the Chiefs won, 23-17, as a seven-point fav, missing the cover by a point. Last year, Kansas City beat the Raiders, 21-13, as a 3-point chalk. History does tend to repeat itself, and since the Chiefs have covered a very profitable seven of the last nine against the AFC West, we're gonna make this our Best Bet.
Vikings vs. spread: 9-3
Panthers vs. spread: 7-4-1
Vegas Vic's take: Carolina has covered eight of the last 11 as an underdog, and should squeeze out another spread W.
Packers vs. spread: 6-6
Browns vs. spread: 3-9
Vegas Vic's take: Riddle me this. Cleveland is 1-27 since Hue Jackson took over as head coach and — according to owner Jimmy Haslem — will keep his job into 2018. What? But Jimmy H. is gonna fire Sashi Brown, the executive VP of football operations. OK Jimmy, I know you've done well with the Pilot Flying J truck stops, made a few billion, but since you bought the Browns, all we can see from this keyboard is a big fat basket of pathetic. Gimme the Cheeseheads.
49ers vs. spread: 6-6
Texans vs. spread: 7-5
Vegas Vic's take: In the era of Jimmy Garoppolo (26 of 37 for 293 yards last week), you gotta buy the Niners, at least this week.
Redskins vs. spread: 5-7
Chargers vs. spread: 6-5-1
Vegas Vic's take: Lightning Bolts still in contention for a wild card in the AFC, so we'll drop a few pennies and ride the Rivers.
Jets vs. spread: 7-4-1
Broncos vs. spread: 2-9-1
Vegas Vic's take: Denver limps in on an 0-8 run, straight up and against the spread. No one can buy that kind of ugly.
Titans vs. spread: 5-6-1
Cardinals vs. spread: 3-8-1
Vegas Vic's take: Tennessee is living in the AFC South penthouse with Jacksonville, and the Titans wanna keep that view.
Cowboys vs. spread: 6-6
Giants vs. spread: 5-7
Vegas Vic's take: Love Eli, and as a lifelong fan of the NYG, will always have a special place in my heart for his two Super Bowl wins over the hated Patriots. However, Eli was terrible before he got benched last week in favor of Geno Smith, and do not expect a renaissance against Dallas. Actually, it's the 'Boys who are on the upswing. They found something last week, and that something was 127 yards from RB Alfred Morris. Made Dak's job way easier, and should be good for a W.
Ravens vs. spread: 6-5-1
Steelers vs. spread: 6-6
Vegas Vic's take: Like everyone else, we are praying for a full recovery of Pittsburgh Pro Bowl LB Ryan Shazier. Now we have to pick a side, and we're thinking Baltimore is a live dog. The Ravens played the Steelmen back on Oct. 1 without T Brandon Williams, a load upfront on the D. The load is back and the defense has become stingy, allowing an average of 13.8 ppg since his return. Edgar Allan Poe's team also has a phenomenal 10-2 record against the spread vs. the AFC North.
Patriots vs. spread: 8-4
Dolphins vs. spread: 4-6-2
Vegas Vic's take: New England roars in with a 15-0 road perfecto straight up and a 13-2 mark against the spread. Gimme the Brady Bunch.
Result here: The Falcons beat the Saints, 20-17, despite Matt Ryan's three interceptions. The big news, though, was New Orleans star rookie running back Alvin Kamara left the game in the first quarter with a concussion.
Entering Week 14