Throwing Darts: Chicago Hope, Cowboy Confidence

Egg nog tastes better when you cover. Offer your five picks of brilliance in the comments.

Bears -3.5 vs. Seahawks: It's a shame Chicago lost Jay Cutler and Matt Forte when it did; a healthy Bears team could beat anyone and might be the No. 2 or No. 3 club in the NFC. Cutler finally had his pocket-awareness working, and Mike Martz was being more proactive with the pass protection. This pick is based on two things: trust in the Chicago defense and distrust of Tarvaris Jackson on the road (68.1 rating, four TDs, seven picks). The last two Chicago losses were driven by several fluky elements, as you know.

Cowboys -7 at Buccaneers: Get out the postage and seal the envelope, the Bucs are mailing it in, perhaps revolting against the abrasive Raheem Morris. Getting Aqib Talib back is a boost for the hosts, but Dallas has four significant downfield threats — Talib can't mark everyone. There's nothing wrong with Tony Romo (note the zesty 114.5 rating in the second half of the year) and Felix Jones should be in for a big game against the Tampa tollbooth.

Broncos +6.5 vs. Patriots: This number is even higher outside of the Yahoo! game, up to 7.5 in some outlets (the Patriots have been a public team for years). I'd feel a little better about the Broncos if their secondary weren't riddled with injuries, but Denver's offense should get its yards and points as well, provided the coaching staff lets Tim Tebow out of the bubble wrap in time. This week I rewatched every Tebow snap from the Minnesota and Chicago games; he's far from a finished product, but you no longer have to hide him. He's improved significantly in two months, on the tape and in the stats.

Redskins +7 at Giants: You love the G-Men as a dog, you distrust them as a favorite. The Redskins shouldn't want to win this game — improved draft slotting is more important than ever given the new rookie salary rules — but I like this offense now that Roy Helu has stepped up, and the New York secondary can't cover anyone. And when in doubt, take the points in a division game.

Raiders +1 vs. Lions: Seems like the country is on the Lions, and that's fine with me. Sometimes you simply press the contrarian button and call it a day. The number has adjusted, so we buy low on the Raiders. Hue Jackson and Al Saunders don't need to get funky with the offense; Detroit hasn't stopped the run all year.

Last Week: 2-3 (35-31-4 season)

Last Year: 49-34


Image courtesy of US Presswire

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