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Shutdown Corner

The weekly NFL spread picks: Bless the holiday backdoor cover

Shutdown Corner

Whether you had a little more spending cash to take with you as you threw haymakers at Black Friday sales might have depended on how lucky you were during the Thanksgiving games.

The Packers-Lions game was a train wreck, but gamblers had some great last-second drama in the other two games.


In the Raiders-Cowboys game, the final line was Cowboys by 9.5. They led by 10 points late when the Raiders pulled the relatively unusual (and correct) move of kicking the field goal first before trying to get the onside kick. One can only imagine the chaos in Las Vegas sports books (if it wasn't so depressing to think about those hanging at a Vegas sports book on Thanksgiving) as Sebastian Janikowski trotted out on the field. Janikowski hit what ended up being a meaningless field goal, and a lot of money changed hands.

If you had the Cowboys and Ravens yesterday, you got punched in the gut twice. Baltimore, a 2.5-point favorite, led the entire game but the Steelers drove to score a touchdown in the final minute. That led to the rare moment of Steelers backers rooting for the Ravens on the two-point conversion, and vice versa. When Ben Roethlisberger's pass was incomplete, the Ravens won by two points. That's an awful way to lose a bet.

But if you had the Raiders-Steelers combination yesterday you probably have enough today to buy that extra $9.99 Black Friday electric skillet you had your eye on, thanks to a pair of ridiculous backdoor covers.

Here are the picks this week:

Packers (+6) over Lions, Raiders (+9.5) over Cowboys, Steelers (+2.5) over Ravens (picked yesterday): I just can't get over how bad the Packers are without Aaron Rodgers. How much is his true value to the point spread, three touchdowns? Seems like it.

Jacksonville (+7) over Cleveland: A 4-7 team with Brandon Weeden starting at quarterback is laying a touchdown. Wow.

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Tennessee (+4) over Indianapolis: I'm not sure what's going on with the Colts, but it's something. This is a really interesting game. If the Colts lose, the Titans are just a game back in the AFC South.

Chicago (+1) over Minnesota: Well, Vegas certainly thinks the Bears' winning record is phony.

Miami (+2) over N.Y. Jets: Both of these teams are a mess. Geno Smith is just struggling too much right now for me to take them.

Arizona (+3) over Philadelphia: One team has a very good offense and terrible defense, the other has a terrible offense and very good defense. Give me the good defense.

Tampa Bay (+8) over Carolina: Think the Panthers might be looking ahead to their next game at New Orleans a little bit?

New England (-7.5) over Houston: I hate big road favorites, but what have the Texans done lately to give anyone a reason to pick them?

Buffalo (-3.5) over Atlanta: If this wasn't a weird Toronto game, I'd really like the Bills. Even so, the Bills' four-game winning streak starts here.

St. Louis (+8.5) over San Francisco: The Rams haven't been all that bad since Sam Bradford went down, with two big wins and two close losses. And again, this should be in the Rams' mind when they consider a Bradford extension.

Kansas City (+5.5) over Denver: The Chiefs were 8.5-point underdogs at Denver. The difference between the Chiefs playing there and at Arrowhead is a lot more than three points.

Cincinnati (+1) over San Diego: I like the Chargers, but I have a lot of (probably misplaced) faith in the Bengals this season.

Washington (+1.5) over N.Y. Giants: If there was a way, both of these teams would lose on Sunday night.

Seattle (-5) over New Orleans: I hate laying this many points against the great Drew Brees, but for about a dozen reasons I can't imagine a home stadium being louder and affecting a game more than the Seattle crowd will on Monday night.

Last week: 8-6
Season to date: 71-102-5

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Frank Schwab is the editor ofShutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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