Top Jimmy (USAT)
Five picks against the number, that's how we roll here. The lines come from Yahoo! Pro Football Pick-Em. Only games with a posted number are eligible for selection. Let's get down to business.
Niners -10 vs. Dolphins: Jim Harbaugh knows what buttons to push the week following a loss. His Niners are 5-0 in that situation since he took the job, allowing just 8, 0, 3, 0 and 6 points in those spots. Miami's offense has been stuck in third gear for a while, and left tackle Jake Long just went out for the year. It's going to be a long day, Ryan Tannehill.
Browns -6.5 vs. Chiefs: I like how the junkyard dogs have hung around this year (despite their head coach in many instances). The Browns are 4-3 in their last seven games, and they really should have won the Dallas match. Can they handle spotting a sizable number like this? I'm willing to part with the points because I'm expecting the underrated Browns defense to generate some turnovers against the mistake-prone Chiefs, and I wonder if Kansas City might be in for a letdown of sorts after last week's emotional (and gallant) victory.
Lions +7 at Packers: Although Green Bay was able to grind out a cover last week (depending on your number, anyway), the 23-14 victory over Minnesota was no work of art. The Pack really hasn't put together a complete game since the Week 6 shellacking of Houston. I know the Lions are a mess of their own, but the Matt Stafford/Calvin Johnson show gives you a chance to compete (or cover) against anyone. Even if Green Bay controls the game, the backdoor is an option for Detroit (Stafford seems to play his best ball late in games, when the margin for error shrinks).
Titans +5.5 at Colts: The public is head-over-cleats for the Colts and that's fine with me. Someone has to back these contrarian sides. Perhaps Indianapolis is primed for a letdown after last week's crazy comeback in Detroit, and maybe the Colts won't be ideally focused for this matchup given that two Houston games are still ahead on the schedule.
Bengals -3 vs. Cowboys: Cincinnati has a rep of not beating good teams, but I will give them credit for earlier wins over the Redskins and Giants. The defense has been terrific for a solid month, and I like the balance with Cincinnati's offense. Can Tony Romo play a clean and mistake-free game on the road against this type of opponent? Will the Cowboys be able to handle Cincinnati's creative rushing schemes, which will require Romo and his receivers to execute and adjust with hot routes? I like going against a Jason Garrett team after the Philadelphia week; Garrett has yet to cover in four games that fit this criteria. And I still maintain a general distrust of the 2012 Cowboys.
Last Week: 2-3
Related NFL video on Yahoo! Sports:
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Cowboys arrest, death serve as sad reminder DUI is major problem for NFL
• Juan Manuel Marquez lands crushing right, KOs Manny Pacquiao | Photos
• Johnny Manziel takes the Heisman: Pat Forde says why (video)
• Y! News: Best news photos of 2012