Should it be "Tebow Time" for the Jets?
Last week: 7-7. Season totals: 80-63-3, Pct. .558. Best Bets: 12-18, Pct. .400.
Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.
BUFFALO 20, Miami 7 (+1)—How does a team lose 37-3 at home to a team that was coming off a 51-20 loss at home? Plus, this is a cold-weather night game, and Miami is 14-32 straight up since 1995 as a visitor in cold weather.
St. LOUIS 23, N.Y. Jets 14 (+3)—If Fred Capossela were still around, he would no doubt be announcing that indeed "It is now Tebow Time", but there is no evidence that Rex Ryan shares that view. And while we're on the subject of Jets quarterbacks, Joe Namath was their quarterback the last time they beat the Rams on the road—all the way back in 1970. Since then, they are 0-5, both ways, and have been outscored 156-76.
WASHINGTON 28, Philadelphia 17 (+3 1/2)—I guess the fact that the Eagles are 10-3 both straight up and against the spread at Washington under Andy Reid isn't going be enough to save Reid's job—or to make Philadelphia any kind of attractive bet in this spot. The Redskins have also lost and non-covered four in a row coming off a bye—and I'm still not tempted.
Tampa Bay 27, CAROLINA 20 (+1)—Guess Cam Newton can't do it all. It looks as if the Bucs and not the Rams are going to take the most advantage of the largest year-to-year strength-of-schedule-drop, when a month ago it looked as if St. Louis would do so (these teams are tied for taking the biggest drop in schedule difficulty from last year to this year, based on last season's records).
ATLANTA 31, Arizona 13 (+10 1/2)—Can't see how a bye week changes anything for the Cardinals, who have not won in Atlanta since 1993 (0-5 straight up, 1-4 against the spread). The Falcons are overdue for a statement game at home.
Green Bay 33, DETROIT 20 (+3)—The Packers, who have covered six in a row off the bye, have owned the Lions of late, going 12-1 outright and 10-3 points-wise in the last 13, including 5-1 both ways in their last six at Detroit, the lone loss coming when Aaron Rodgers had to leave the game early in 2010. Detroit is also 5-10 straight up and 6-9 against the line in fatigue games.
KANSAS CITY 17 (+3 1/2), Cincinnati 14—I like the spunk the Chiefs showed on Monday night, and the Bengals are ripe for a letdown after simply blowing away the defending Super Bowl champs. Cincy has already lost to two sub-.500 teams this year (Miami and Cleveland). Upset special.
HOUSTON 28, Jacksonville 10 (+16)—Not much value in laying this many points, but Maurice Jones-Drew has already been declared out for at least one more week and the Jaguars are 1-5 both ways in their last six at Houston.
DALLAS 24, Cleveland 17 (+9 1/2)—The classic "sandwich" situation for Dallas: Division game last week, two more coming up after this one; and the new Browns are well-nigh impossible to go against indoors: 10-2 against the spread all time (the retractable roof at Cowboys Stadium has been closed for the last 10 consecutive games).
New Orleans 35, OAKLAND 21 (+6 1/2)—Would Hue Jackson—fired after an 8-8 season in 2011 that was tied for Oakland's best since 2002—have done any worse with this Raiders team? The Saints are on a 9-0-1 points-spread run in November (and have won 13 in a row straight up in that month).
NEW ENGLAND 34, Indianapolis 31 (+9 1/2)—For those who have penciled Robert Griffin III in as Rookie of the Year, his team is 3-6 after having gone 5-11 last year, while Andrew Luck is 6-3 with a team that went 2-14 last year and conducted a Stalinist purge of veteran talent over the spring. But back to the matter at hand: The Colts are 3-0-1 against the line in their last four games in Foxboro and are a shocking 10-2-1 versus the points in cold-weather games since 2005, including even covering in both such outings last year, when they lost by seven at New England as a three-touchdown underdog. Take the points.
DENVER 41, San Diego 17 (+7)—Norv Turner deserves to get fired even more than Andy Reid does, if that's possible. The Broncos are perfectly capable of running the table if they can win at Baltimore in Week 15. Meanwhile, this one will be over by halftime—and Denver won't blow the lead the way San Diego did in the first meeting.
Baltimore 17, PITTSBURGH 6 (+2 1/2)—Big Ben is very doubtful at this point, and even if he does play, it is likely to go much the same way as his Monday night game in San Francisco last December went—hopefully without the blackout that marred that affair.
SAN FRANCISCO 31, Chicago 7 (+5)—You think the home domination that informed last week's Giants-Bengals matchup was massive. Well, the home team in this series has not only won 10 straight (covering in nine), but has done it by a combined 316-105. The Bears haven't won in San Francisco since 1985, getting outscored by a staggering 239-42 in seven games (also not covering in any of them), including three shutouts. Plus, Alex Smith is much more likely to play here than Jay Cutler (both sustained concussions last week).
BEST BETS: BUFFALO, GREEN BAY, SAN FRANCISCO