Game 1: Atlanta @ Detroit +3.5
Saturday Night Football? Does this mean I have to clear my schedule Saturday night and Sunday night? The Falcons are coming off a home dismantling of the Giants that few people saw coming. The Lions have had close games with good teams lately (Houston and Green Bay come to mind). I'm putting 0 units on the home dog, but I'll place some units if the spread climbs.
Detroit +3.5 (0 units) -$0
Game 2: Tennessee @ Green Bay -10.5
I feel that, more than any other NFL team, the Titans have no identity. They have CJ2K, but even the Dolphins and the Bills have the perennial loser tag attached to them. As for the actual team, Tennessee is in a rut. The Packers are absolutely on fire, and this game could be crucial for playoff seeding purposes. I'll go Green Bay.
Green Bay -10.5 (1 unit) +$100
Game 3: Oakland @ Carolina -9
The Raiders won by 15 last week, and their defense did not allow Kansas City to get a first down for quite some time. However, their red zone offense stalled, bringing on five field goals. The Panthers are on a tear lately, and have proven they can blow out bad teams. I'll go Carolina for that reason.
Carolina -9 (0 units) +$0
Game 4: Buffalo @ Miami -5
The Bills really could use a new quarterback this offseason. Sadly for them, there are no really good QB prospects this year, but Geno Smith or Tyler Wilson could fly up boards. The Dolphins still have a chance to finish 8-8 if they win out, shockingly. I think of these teams as about equal. I'll lay a unit on the visitor for that reason.
Buffalo +5 (1 unit) -$110
Game 5: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh -3
Both of these teams desperately need this game. These are likely going to be the two teams racing for the final wild card spot in the AFC. The Bengals are again proving all their doubters wrong by making a march in the direction of the playoffs under the leadership of Andy Dalton. The Steelers have looked very shaky, especially last week against Dallas where they uncharacteristically lost a big lead in a big game. Something is wrong with the Steelers, they haven't been playing normal since Roethlisberger was injured.
Cincinnati +3 (3 units) +$300
Game 6: New England @ Jacksonville +14
I have to admit, 14.5 points is a TON to lay on the road. Just imagine if this was in Foxborough. I expected this line to be 11 or so, not this high. The Patriots are, in my opinion, the best team in football. The Jaguars, however, are 2nd worst behind Kansas City. The Jaguars are in a pretty good spot, but I'm not comfortable laying units on the awful Jaguars against the steamroller Patriots.
New England -14 (0 units) -$0
Game 7: Indianapolis @ Kansas City +5
Oh my, the Vegas hates the Colts game continues! The Colts can clinch a playoff berth with a win. The Chiefs are a complete joke, which I learned the hard way last week when I had 3 units on them and they completely fell apart. They're in a position to get the #1 pick in an awful April draft class. I have a gut feeling that there's something too good to be true about this. I'm still going Indy for 2.
Indianapolis -5 (2 units) +$200
Game 8: New Orleans @ Dallas -3
Shockingly, the 6-8 Saints are still in playoff contention in a competitive NFC. They are, in my opinion, a legitimate Super Bowl contender over the next 5 years. If they manage to upgrade the horribly porous defense, they should challenge Atlanta for the NFC South. The Cowboys, are in my opinion, the imposter contender in the NFC East. I like the Saints for 2 units here, everyone is over-valuing Dallas after they beat a strange Pittsburgh team.
New Orleans +3 (2 units) +$200
Game 9: Washington @ Philadelphia +4.5
RG3 will start this game, but I can't say I'm convinced that Kirk Cousins is that much of a drop-off from him after his performance last week. The 'Skins are a charismatic team that can go places long term. However, I think the Eagles have completely mailed it in. If there's one NFL coach who would let his players mail it in, it's the incompetent Andy Reid. However, we saw how discombobulated the Steelers have been since they lost Roethlisberger, so I'm curbing this play.
Washington -4.5 (1 unit) +$100
Game 10: Saint Louis @ Tampa Bay -3
The Rams are, in my opinion, the most underrated team in the league. Before they lost to an also underrated Minnesota team last week, they had won 3 in a row. They're 2-0-1 against San Francisco and Seattle. Meanwhile, the wheels are falling off in Tampa Bay. They lost to the awful Eagles and then were pasted by the Saints. My one worry here is that Tampa is coming off a huge loss, which makes me want to curb my bet on the Rams. But Saint Louis is my favorite play this week.
Saint Louis +3 (4 units) +$400
Game 11: New York Giants @ Baltimore +2.5
Despite their pasting at the hands of Atlanta last week, I still think the Giants are one of the 6 best teams in the NFC. In the regular season, Atlanta is a complete steamroller when they want to be. Do people forget the Giants pasted Green Bay and the 49ers? The Ravens are finally coming down to where they belong on earth, and they're looking like the 5th best team in the AFC. Give me a unit on the Giants and their December magic.
New York Giants -2.5 (1 unit) -$110
Game 12: San Diego @ New York Jets -2.5
Can I throw up at this one? It's almost as bad as Kansas City vs. Oakland last week. What a joke. You have to believe that Norv Turner's days in San Diego are numbered and almost up. Ryan Matthews' complete dissapointment of a year certainly didn't help. The Jets have an extremely favorable schedule, closing the year with Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo. Sheesh. I'll go Jets for 0, I think McElroy might be hungry for a statement.
New York Jets -2.5 (0 units) -$0
Game 13: Minnesota @ Houston -7.5
As I eluded to in the Saint Louis write-up, the Vikings are quite underrated in my mind. Ponder is a servicable quarterback, and this team reminds me of the 2011 49ers (great RB, OK QB). On the other side, the Texans are going to have some difficulty getting up for this game in between their 2 tilts against the Colts. This game just doesn't mean much to Houston, I'll lay 3 units on the visitor.
Minnesota +7.5 (3 units) +$300
Game 14: Cleveland @ Denver -11
The Browns have lost by more than 13 just once since mid-October, and that was last week to the Redskins who are on fire. The Broncos are a tough cookie to crack for me. They've been a massive winning streak since the amazing comeback against San Diego in October. They've played 3 games against other teams that have clinched their division already (New England, Houston and Atlanta) and are 0-3 in those contests. I'll lay a unit on the Browns, who I don't think should be getting 13 against anyone.
Cleveland +11 (1 unit) -$110
Game 15: Chicago @ Arizona +7
People say the Bears are falling apart and are going to finish .500, but I disagree. Look at the teams they've lost to recently: Houston, San Fran, Minnesota, Green Bay, Seattle. 4 of those within a possesion. I think they deserve to finish about 10-6. They'll win out, and I think they're going to get the #6 seed and play Green Bay in Lambeau. The Cardinals' win last week was much more about the Lions' incompetence than Arizona's competence. Chicago for 3.
Chicago -7 (3 units) +$300
Game 16: San Francisco @ Seattle -2.5
This is a playoff preview game here, and it's going to be a good one. Many people are billing San Francisco as the best team in the league, but I still think the Patriots are better. An argument can be made either way. Seattle is unbeatable at home and shaky on the road. However, it seems they may have fixed that against Chicago and Buffalo. I can't bet against either team, so I'll go with the Seahawks' home dominance.
Seattle -2.5 (0 units)
Teaser: Indianapolis -1, Washington -0.5, Chicago -1 +160 (2 units) +$320
Moneyline: Saint Louis +140 (1.5 units) +$210
Moneyline: Cincinnati +167 (1 unit) +$167
NFL Week 16: +$2267 (22.67 units)
NFL 2012: +$4587 (45.87 units)