Throwing Darts: Dialing up four dogs

You should know the rules by now. Five games go to post, using the spreads from Yahoo! Pro Football Pick'Em. Join us, pick with us, talk football with us. Everyone is on the lookout for the Telltale Dart.

One Week 8 disclaimer: I settled on these selections Friday night, and I didn't go into deep analysis of the weather forecasts. I'll consider the weather news on Sunday morning - for fantasy only. My picks below are my picks below, they'll stay as called, come hell or high water. Be merciful, Mother Nature.

Panthers +7.5 at Chicago: Sometimes you have to go ugly with some of these picks. The Bears are on a short week. Carolina hopefully is ready to weed out the read-option - and make a commitment to a more traditional running game. Chicago's offensive consistency comes and goes. All I'm asking here is for the Panthers to hang around.

Eagles -2 vs. Falcons: Andy Reid's bye week resume speaks for itself (13-0), and while the Falcons are also rested, this looks like a spot where they could easily hit a pothole. Matt Ryan's career numbers on the road have been mediocre (not so much this year, but in previous years), and the foundation of the Atlanta scheme works better at home, in the dome. Get ready for ambush week.

Redskins +4.5 at Steelers: I haven't seen a bad run from the RG3 Redskins yet, and Pittsburgh still has exploitable flaws on both sides of the ball. The healthy amount of points provide for a significant backdrop; the Redskins can easily secure a cover simply from a competitive day, or they could play like dirt for three quarters and then reel in a comeback cover late. It's nice to have different paths to the end prize.

Colts +3.5 at Tennessee: Maybe the Colts simply got caught in a New York meat grinder back in Week 6 - the Jets are playing much better on defense than many realize. Indy's offense earned its share of cred with wins over Minnesota and Green Bay, and even last week's TCOB job over Cleveland had some value to it. Getting above the standard three against a Tennessee club with its share of fleas, I'll gladly accept the spot.

Cardinals +6.5 vs. Niners: Legitimate home-field edge, strong defense, rivalry game. The key to making the number will be limiting John Skelton's mistakes. Punts are okay, even in bulk to some extent; handouts are not.

Last Week: 3-2
Season: 24-11
2011: 41-39
2010: 49-34

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