It’s not surprising that an awfully boring slate of games in week eight left us with a very bland 7-7 record against the spread. Fortunately it wasn’t all terrible, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants provided good natured wholesome football fans (gamblers) with plenty of suspense. All week I loved the Giants at just about any number, but as a one-point favorite? I thought that was as easy as stealing candy from a pint sized trick-or-treater. The line moved all the way to minus three in favor of the Giants by Sunday which meant that the public was all over the road team. If you follow this column you should know that line movements like that, especially when the line moves towards the visiting team, raise a “red flag” in the sports handicapping world. Imagine witnessing an overly patriotic Chinese fella waving his country’s flag really ferociously at an Olympic gymnastics competition. That’s how suspicious you need to be about large line movements in the NFL.
The Giants were up 23-0 seemingly before the game had even started. Dallas was a mess on offense. Tony Romo, who you can always count on to do something really stupid, had already committed a few turnovers. The crowd, with an assist from alcohol, was booing the home team very aggressively at every opportunity. It was time to write it down in pen, this was going to be an easy cover for New York. By the time Dallas stormed back to take a 24-23 lead in the 4th quarter everyone that had sided with the Giants had already been lamenting the gambling god’s cruelty. How could this possibly happen?
Ultimately the Giants ended up winning the game 29-24 covering the spread in the process. Giants backers still had to sweat out a potential Dallas touchdown in the final seconds that would have counted had Dez Bryant clipped his finger nails that morning but you take the win any way you can get it. Sometimes important lessons can be lost in the thrill of victory. It’s important that the hard working men and women, here at Pigskin Prognosticators Headquarters, don’t make that mistake. What’s the lesson? Never, ever, at any point, for any reason, declare a point spread covered until the game clock is full of zeroes. No exceptions! Want proof? Google the North Carolina State-North Carolina game played last Saturday. Wow.
Every rational person’s favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks, lost an absolute heartbreaker on the road against the Detroit Lions 28-24 on a last minute touchdown pass. Usually I would be really upset, spending a good second or two considering the ramifications of throwing various household items towards the television, before finally settling on a grabbing another beer, cursing all the way to the fridge. This time I decided to be a bigger man. My wonderful girlfriend would be less than impressed by a temper tantrum, and I have to be a role model for my young puppy, who also happens to be a diehard Hawks fan. I can’t have him tearing shoes apart every time Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws an interception so I just pouted quietly for an hour or so. I’m maturing so well.
OK, before we move on to this week’s installment of brilliant selections I want to note a small change I’m making to the format. My ATS selection will be in all caps. For example, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ San Diego Chargers -9, my pick is obviously the Chiefs. This change should clear up any confusion and allow you to bet on the other side with confidence!
The 7-7 mark last week put’s us at 56-58-4 against the spread for the season.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ San Diego Chargers -9
Nine points is way too many give when your coach, Norv Turner, looks permanently constipated and your quarterback, Philip Rivers, throws like a girl. Admittedly, the Chiefs are really bad at American Football, but I can’t bring myself to backing the Chargers on a short week. Chargers win 23-20
DENVER BRONCOS @ Cincinnati Bengals +4
I missed badly on the Denver game last weekend and I promised my dear friend J.D. Cowan I would never make that mistake again. J.D. is a huge Broncos fan and he loves it when I side with Denver’s opponent, effectively ensuring a Broncos victory in his mind. That’s the way football fans think. Well J.D. I’m picking your Broncos. Good luck next weekend! Broncos win 31-17
BALTIMORE RAVENS @ Cleveland Browns +4
Siding with the Brownies paid off last weekend but two weeks in a row? That’s impossible right? The Ravens have had an extra week to adjust to life without Ray Lewis. As leery as I am of Baltimore right now I think they have enough left to cover in Cleveland. Ravens win 24-17
Arizona Cardinals @ GREEN BAY PACKERS -11
The Arizona Cardinals have lost four in a row after starting the season off with four consecutive victories. The Monday night beat down they suffered at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers had to be deflating. This is a team heading in the wrong direction. The Packers are battling some injury issues to their wide receivers, but with Jordy Nelson likely to return, the Pack will roll. Packers win 27-14
CHICAGO BEARS @
Tennessee Titans +4
The Bears defense has scored more touchdowns than the Jacksonville Jaguars offense this season. I don’t know if that’s true or not but it sounds right. Brian Urlacher and the boys have been brilliant all season and I don’t see that changing against a Titans team that’s coming off a loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts. Bears win 28-13
Miami Dolphins @
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS +3
Rookie quarterbacks collide when Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins travel to Indianapolis to face Andre Luck’s Colts. The Dolphins have a stout defense but their greatest strength lies in their run defense. Andrew Luck has been sharp at home all season, a trend I expect to continue. Colts win 24-21
Carolina Panthers @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS -3
Red Flag! I don’t understand this line at all. How can a Robert Griffin III led team only be a three point favorite at home against the 1-6 Carolina Panthers? I’m baffled. Usually a suspicious line like this would have me siding with the books, but I just don’t see RG3 losing this game. Redskins win 34-28
DETROIT LIONS @
Jacksonville Jaguars +4
Matthew Stafford, and the rest of the Detroit Lions offense, appears to be finally finding their form from last season. That’s bad news for a very poor Jaguars team. Can we trust Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars to keep pace with the high flying Lions? Lions win 30-21
Buffalo Bills @
HOUSTON TEXANS -10
The Texans have the best running game in the NFL led by Arian Foster. The Buffalo Bills are allergic to tackling ball carries. That’s a recipe for disaster if you’re a Bills fan. Don’t expect the Bills to circle the wagons in Texas. It’s not happening. Texans win 37-17
TAMPA BAY BUCS @
Oakland Raiders -1
I Love the Muscle Hamster in this match-up. Bucs rookie running back, Doug Martin, should have another big game against a very average Raiders run defense. Tampa Bay quarterback, Josh Freeman, has set a franchise record by tossing three touchdown passes in three consecutive games. Buccaneers win 24-20
MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ Seattle Seahawks -5
Vikings quarterback, Christian Ponder, has been awful since revealing his love affair with ESPN’s College Gameday host Samantha Steele. Hopefully they don’t break up in the next week. My anti-jinx policy requires that I side with the Vikings. Vikings win 20-19
Pittsburgh Steelers @
NEW YORK GIANTS -3
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-3 in road games this season. The defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants are 3-1 at home. The Giants have Eli Manning. Need any more convincing? Giants win 27-20
DALLAS COWBOYS @ Atlanta Falcons -4
The Atlanta Falcons are 7-0 on the season and the Cowboys are still the bumbling Cowboys. Seems like an easy decision, but I’m still not buying the Falcons. They’re just not this good. I refuse to believe it! The Cowboys season is slipping away. Dallas has to have this game. Cowboys win 30-27
Philadelphia Eagles @
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -3
Eagles quarterback, Michael Vick, is lucky he doesn’t have to suffer the same fate that his poorly performing dogs did in the fighting ring. Vick has been terrible this season but he’s going to get one more chance against an equally terrible Saints defense. Saints win 30-24