Pigskin Picks by Andy Iskoe |
The defending Super Bowl champ New York Giants at 9-1 are playing the best football on both sides of the ball and established themselves as the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Tennessee Titans don’t win pretty, but remain the only unbeaten team in the NFL and are 9-0-1 against the spread.
Detroit remains winless at 0-10 and none of their remaining six foes has a losing record.
Thus far in interconference play, NFC teams hold a slight 21-18-1 straight up edge on the AFC and also ahead 22-17-1 ATS. Double digit dogs are 17-1 ATS after both Oakland and Detroit covered this past Sunday.
Here’s the 16 games this week:
Bengals +10 at Steelers (36): Pittsburgh won the earlier meeting 38-10, but the game was close well into the second half. Bengals QB Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to make some progress, but this game features Cincinnati’s No. 32 offense facing the league’s No. 1 defense. STEELERS.
Texans +3 at Browns (NT): Prior to last Monday night, Cleveland’s defense had been torched in the fourth quarter losses to Baltimore and Denver. Weather is always a concern at this time of season, but the fundamentals suggest a high-scoring game. OVER.
Bills -4 at Chiefs (NT): Tyler Thigpen is developing at QB and the Chiefs have been competitive in recent losses to teams as good as or better than the Bills. In fact, Chiefs’ foes are a combined 61-39, while Buffalo, foes are just 40-50. KC has historically been one of the league’s best home teams and Buffalo is off a short work week. CHIEFS.
Jets +6 at Titans (40): Both are "play on" teams deep into the season. The Jets are off an emotionally draining and satisfying win over New England that gave them sole possession of first in the AFC East. Yet against an outstanding defense, Jets’ QB Brett Favre is more likely to make the big mistake rather than the big play. TITANS.
Patriots +2 at Dolphins (42): A huge revenge game for the Patriots, who were blasted at home 38-13 by Miami. The Dolphins are clearly improved and tied with New England at 6-4 so a win gives them tiebreaker edges over the Pats. QB Matt Cassel continues to improve and New England’s season may be on the line here. PATS.
49ers +11 at Cowboys (48½): Dallas was sparked by the return of QB Tony Romo in Sunday night’s 14-10 win at Washington. San Francisco has played inspired football for new coach Mike Singletary, but the 49ers’ last three games have been against the NFC West. A huge step up in class here and Dallas is poised to explode. COWBOYS.
Bucs -8½ at Lions (41): There’s no doubt that Tampa is clearly the better team, but the Bucs have struggled on the road. All five games were decided by four points or less, including an OT win at lowly Kansas City. With three straight divisional games on deck, this could be a flat spot for the visitors. LIONS.
Eagles +1 at Ravens (39): Defenses are the strengths of both teams with each allowing less than five yards per play. This should be a physical game involving field position with few sustained drives by either offense. UNDER.
Bears -7½ at Rams (NT): The Rams have had six losses of 17 points or more. The Bears are in the middle game of a three-game road trip sandwiched between games against Green Bay and Minnesota. If the Rams have any pride, it will be on display against a Bears team that has struggled of late. RAMS.
Vikings +1 at Jaguars (39): Both teams have struggled on offense, while above average defensively. Combined, these teams are allowing just 33 points per game. With both defenses clearly the best units on the field, it’s hard to see either offense having much success. UNDER.
Panthers +1 at Falcons (42½): Carolina won the earlier meeting at home, 24-9. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan continues to impress as a rookie while Panthers QB Jake Delhomme has not played well the past two weeks. We should see a similarly low-scoring contest in a game that is key to both teams’ playoff hopes. UNDER.
Raiders +10 at Broncos (42½): Denver’s most impressive win was a 41-14 victory at Oakland. The Raiders have gone seven straight games scoring below 20 points. Still, Denver’s defense does not permit the laying of such a huge number. RAIDERS.
Redskins -3½ at Seahawks (41½): QB Matt Hasselbeck’s timing should be better this week against a Redskins team sandwiched between Dallas and the Giants. It’s Washington’s first road game in nearly a month plus Seattle knocked Washington out of the playoffs twice in the last three years on this field. SEAHAWKS.
Giants -3½ at Cardinals (48½): Arizona QB Kurt Warner is putting up MVP numbers, but will face a stiff challenge from an outstanding defense. The Giants should give their usual steady, balanced effort against a team not quite as good as its lofty record. GIANTS.
Colts +3 at Chargers (50½): This is a must game for each. Both offenses are healthy now and the defenses have major weaknesses. This should be one of this week’s most entertaining games. OVER.
Packers +3 at Saints (52½): New Orleans has its first home game since Oct. 12. Monday night games have been high scoring all season, going 9-1 to the over with one push. This game might be the highest scoring one yet. OVER.