Cleveland at Buffalo (-2.5)
What a story line! The Browns come in at 7-4 with their last playoff visit in 2002 and the Bills come in to this game 6-5 with their last playoff visit coming in 1999. Two teams dying to revitalize hardcore fan bases with a postseason birth. Donte Whitner provided the chalkboard material for this one, badmouthing Buffalo this past offseason. The Bills are aware of his words and are riding high off an impressive 38-3 win over the Jets in Detroit during a tumultuous week that moved the game from Buffalo to Detroit. The fans will be rowdy!
THE PICK: Bills (-2.5)
San Diego at Baltimore (-5.5)
San Diego, across the country at 1 p.m. Yeah, we’ve seen this movie before and we’ve learned our lesson after backing the Chargers in Miami where they were humiliated 37-0. Ravens are on fire, running the football like a top-10 team. They’ll take care of business against the jet-lagged Chargers.
THE PICK: Ravens (-5.5)
N.Y. Giants (-2.5) at Jacksonville
Who cares about this football game? Las Vegas and us, that’s who. The Giants have Odell Beckham and the Jaguars do not. The boys in blue are still playing for their coach, as it was apparent last week in the close loss to Dallas. Jacksonville’s home field advantage is comparable to the San Diego Padres during a Saturday afternoon game in 85 degree weather, also known as “nothing.”
THE PICK: Giants (-2.5)
Cincinnati (-4) at Tampa Bay
The third of three straight road games for the Bengals, as they were victorious in their first two over New Orleans and Houston. Tampa is a bad football, but thanks to the NFC South they are still alive believe it or not. Lovie Smith told the media he wont play the young guys because “they are still alive.” Crazy or not, the Bucs are alive and they catch the Bengals desperate to get back to Cincinnati for a home game. It’s hard to win a road game in the NFL, let alone three straight on the road, just ask the mighty Denver Broncos who just went 1-2 on a three game road trip.
THE PICK: Bucs (+4)
Oakland at St. Louis (-7)
Oakland got their win out of the way, winning their “Super Bowl” over Kansas City last Thursday. That still doesn’t change how bad they are and how good the St. Louis Rams are playing. The Rams should have beaten the Chargers last week, but Shaun Hill threw an ill advised interception at the goal line in the waning seconds to throw away a potential game tying field goal or game winning touchdown. Their defense has come alive in recent weeks and will make life increasingly difficult for Derrick Carr.