The weekly NFL spread picks; two of the toughest teams to figure out square off

Like so many teams in the NFL right now, we have mixed signals on the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas is 4-3 and an overwhelming favorite to win the NFC East. That's mostly because the East is horrendous. And the Cowboys have taken advantage of that.

Dallas is 3-0 against the NFC East. But they're just 1-3 against everyone else, and the one win came at home against a bad Rams team. The Cowboys can score (third in the NFL at 28.6 points per game) but give up a ton of yards (29th in the NFL at 393.9 yards per game).

Then again are the 4-3 Lions, Dallas' opponent this week, easier to figure?

Football Outsiders has Detroit ranked 14th this week using its DVOA metric, which seems about right. Every time you'd like to bump the Lions up (because they sure do have some talented players), they lose to the Cardinals, or get blown out by the Packers, or figure out a way to drop a home game to the Bengals.

Still, at home this week against a Cowboys team without DeMarcus Ware (and maybe without DeMarco Murray too), the Lions should cover as 3-point favorites. But who knows what to expect from either team.

Here are the rest of this week's picks (and I'm aware how awful the record is ... it's pretty incredible, actually. But as we know, it's just for recreational purposes. Thankfully):

Buccaneers (+6) over Panthers (picked yesterday): I apologize to the Panthers for jumping off the bandwagon. I'd like back on it, please.

Browns (+7.5) over Chiefs: Hey Chiefs fans, I don't have the only ranking that moved your team down one spot this week. Football Outsiders' metrics must be KC haters too.

Dolphins (+6.5) over Patriots: New England seems destined for a lot of close games this year.

Saints (-11) over Bills: I like what Thad Lewis has done, I just don't know that he's experienced anything like playing the Saints at the Superdome.

Eagles (-5.5) over Giants: If you saw the Giants perform on Monday night, you'd know they shouldn't be the pick over any team not quarterbacked by Josh Freeman.

Jaguars (+16.5) over 49ers: At some point Jacksonville has to lose by less than double digits. For the Jaguars' fans sake, I'll avoid a London Jaguars joke. You've been through enough.

Jets (+6.5) over Bengals: Both of these teams love playing close games, so why not another on Sunday?

Steelers (-2.5) over Raiders: Neither team is that good, but one of them is going to have three wins in a wide-open AFC wild-card race.

Broncos (-12.5) over Redskins: Even on a normal week, the Redskins' secondary would be a good candidate to give up 50 points to Peyton Manning and crew. With the Broncos coming off a loss, it seems almost certain.

Falcons (+2.5) over Cardinals: It was just the Buccaneers, but the Falcons showed some heart in their win last week.

Vikings (+9) over Packers: If Green Bay can cover this spread on the road with so many key starters injured, that might be more embarrassing to the Vikings than last Monday's debacle.

Seahawks (-11) over Rams: Kellen Clemens vs. the Seahawks defense? My, my. And yet more horrible luck for ESPN's "Monday Night Football" matchup. This game looked OK a couple months ago.

Last week: 5-10
This season: 40-67-2

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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