Last week: 8-6. Season totals: 73-56-3, Pct. .564. Best Bets: 11-16, Pct. .407.
Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.
Indianapolis 27, JACKSONVILLE 17 (+3 1/2)—True, the Jags did win at Indy in Week 3, but they're 0-4 at home and have been outscored 126-34 doing so. Maurice Jones-Drew remains out for at least one more game. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck, who is coming off breaking the single-game rookie passing yards record, should have plenty of time to throw, facing a Jacksonville pass rush that trails the entire league in sacks with just eight in as many games.
CINCINNATI 26 (+5 1/2), N.Y. Giants 23—Yes, I know that the Bengals hardly ever beat good teams. But the road team in this series has never won a game—it's 0-8 lifetime. Upset special.
SEATTLE 31, N.Y. Jets 14 (+5 1/2)—I still think that the Seahawks would be better off with Matt Flynn at quarterback than Russell Wilson, and the stats would appear to support that view as they rank 31st in the league in passing yardage. But it doesn't seem to matter when they're at home—and it is not likely to matter in this matchup where the home team has won the last four meetings.
NEW ENGLAND 37, Buffalo 17 (+11 1/2)—From their head coach to their quarterback, it's simply hard to take the Bills seriously, and they've lost eleven straight at New England (covering in four) and are 7-12 against the line in fatigue games (the Patriots had a bye last week). No reason to see why this one will be any different.
Denver 27, CAROLINA 24 (+4 1/2)—Cam Newton may have had a breakthrough game last week, while Denver's carelessness with the ball is troubling and the Broncos have back-to-back AFC West games coming up. The Panthers take this one to the final play—at least.
San Diego 31 (+1), TAMPA BAY 20—Let's see what Doug Martin does against a real run defense (San Diego's is fourth in the league) and the Chargers are 8-1 lifetime against the Bucs, including 5-0 in Tampa. Best bet material.
MIAMI 24, Tennessee 14 (+6) - Where Jacksonville is best stayed away from until Maurice Jones-Drew comes back, it's probably wise to treat Tennessee the same way until Jake Locker returns. And it is interesting to note that when the Dolphins went 1-12 straight up at home from December of 2009 through last October, their lone home win was by 12 over the Titans.
NEW ORLEANS 30 (+1), Atlanta 27—Louis Roussel, trainer of 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Risen Star, famously observed that "Champions don't win by noses and necks. Champions dominate their opposition" (Risen Star won the Belmont by nearly 15 lengths). With five of their eight wins having come by seven points or less, the undefeated Falcons are not dominating their opposition—and this is the week it does them in, at a venue where they have lost in seven of their last eight visits.
MINNESOTA 23, Detroit 17 (+1)—The Lions have already lost at home to Minnesota (back in Week 4) and are 1-6 both ways in their last seven at Triple H. If the Vikings don't win this one, feel free to bet against them for the rest of the year.
BALTIMORE 27, Oakland 14 (+7)—At 10-24 straight up and 15-17-2 against the spread since 1996, the Raiders are actually one of the "better" warm-weather or indoor teams when it comes to playing in cold weather! But they also haven't covered on the road against The Modell Franchise (Ravens since 1996, Browns before then) since a win at Cleveland in a 1980 divisional playoff game (five consecutive non-covers). The only thing that could go wrong is if Baltimore is looking ahead to next Sunday night's AFC North biggie in Pittsburgh.
PHILADELPHIA 24, Dallas 16 (+1)—The voters opted to make no change in the White House on Tuesday, but Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is not apt to be so inclined, with either his head coach or his quarterback. Even so, it's still the Cowboys in cold weather, in which they're 13-29 straight up and even 14-26-2 against the line since 1995—and it's in the late time slot too, making it even colder.
SAN FRANCISCO 27, St. Louis 7 (+12)—This has all the makings of yet another perfectly-dreadful-to-watch 49ers game. Rams have covered just two of their last ten outdoors.
Houston 24 (+1), CHICAGO 20—I've been going back and forth on this one for three days—but not John Houseman from those iconic Smith Barney commercials. He loves the Texans because they score points the old-fashioned way: they earn them!
PITTSBURGH 38, Kansas City 16 (+11 1/2)—Continuing on the journey down memory lane, the Chiefs haven't won or covered in Pittsburgh since 1986—and two months after firing himself as defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel is very likely to get fired as head coach of this colossally underachieving team that may be in a position to replace one USC alumnus at quarterback named Matt (Cassel) with another (Barkley) come spring.
BEST BETS: SEATTLE, SAN DIEGO, PHILADELPHIA