Coach on the hot seat (USAT)
Last dance, last chance for a few out-the-door Ws. Handicap like a champion today.
Lions +3 vs. Bears: Sure, Chicago needs the game. I get that. But motivation is present on every snap in the NFL. Players are trying to secure their next contract, impress a current or future employer. Coaches are trying to save their jobs (I see you, Jimbo). And the fact that the Bears need this game has probably added too much to this line. In a division rematch, I love taking the home dog.
Rams +10.5 at Seahawks: As much as I hate going against the Seahawks in their home stadium, Jeff Fisher is one of the best preparation coaches going, especially in an underdog situation. The Rams show up against everyone. And Seattle might be looking at a mild letdown after last week's emotional win over the Niners. St. Louis can hang around.
Patriots -10 vs. Dolphins: For some odd reason, Bill Belichick rarely coasts his team into the playoffs. He has a history of taking games like this seriously, even if the gain is mild or non-existent. A rare case of me spotting a big number (and in a division game, no less).
Jets +3.5 at Bills: For all the jokes you can say about the 2012 Jets, the defense has been pretty solid. And it's a unit that's driven Ryan Fitzpatrick bonkers in recent years. New York wins outright.
Redskins -3 vs. Cowboys: Outside of Seattle, Washington DC might be the toughest home environment for a visiting team to face. This place is going to be a madhouse from start to finish. More importantly, I don't trust the Cowboys linebackers in this assignment, or Rob Ryan. The Redskins are such a difficult team to prepare for schematically, and the passing game takes a notable step up with Pierre Garcon back in the mix.
Last Week: 3-2