Five picks against the number, that's how we roll here. Use the Yahoo! Pro Football Pickem game as your guide. Play along in the comments, keep score, impress your friends. And you're welcome to critique my selections all you want, just bring something to the table (say, a persuasive argument). Further the conversation, Bob Martin.
Bears -2.5 vs. Lions: The Bears have finally tightened up their pass-blocking problems, and Jay Cutler's pocket awareness has been sublime of late. The Lions are a top-heavy team that's lacking in some key areas: run stopping hasn't been good, offense is too one-dimensional. The Bears are at home, it's a revenge game in-division, and they're giving less than the key number of three. Even on a short week, I'm on board.
Bills +5.5 at Cowboys: I view last week's Buffalo loss as a greater statement about the Jets defense than a condemnation of the Bills offense. Dallas is getting a little too much line respect here, especially considering how inefficient it's been in the red zone. Look for the Buffalo offense to rebound and keep this game competitive, with a solid chance at an upset. Fred Jackson, it's time for a little payback.
Chiefs -3 vs. Broncos: We're 3-for-3 on Tim Tebow games in this space, with two of them being relatively easy covers (the win in Miami was a miracle, but that's for another day). It's a good time to buy low on the Chiefs and sell high on the Broncos — the number has clearly adjusted — and they get some lead time on the read-option, something the Raiders didn't have last week.
Seahawks +6.5 vs. Ravens: Baltimore found a way to get through Pittsburgh with a victory, congratulations. Very impressive. The last time the Ravens toppled the Steelers — Week 1 — they followed up with a messy loss at Tennessee. Baltimore also has that Jacksonville stink-bomb on its resume; they don't always travel well. Seattle isn't a punching bag, especially at home. Grab the spot.
Jaguars -3 at Colts: Generally I hate giving points on the road, but the Colts are the ultimate exception to so many rules in 2011. And as soon as I see Jim Caldwell on the sidelines, zoned out and mellow, I'll feel pretty confident about the Jacksonville side. Peace of mind is a beautiful thing. Losing is an organizational decree with the Colts in 2011.
Editor's Note: It was very tempting to put in 101 Spinal Tap jokes in this piece, but I didn't want to force it. But by all means, Smell The Glove in the comments. (There isn't a Nigel currently in the NFL, sadly. But there is a lot of quality footwear.)
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