NFL Picks Week 14: Favorites Who Should Be on Upset Alert

Wes ODonnell@wesodonnellFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2011

NFL Picks Week 14: Favorites Who Should Be on Upset Alert

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    It's December and that means Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys need to watch their back.

    We know all about Romo's brilliance in November, but we know that he's mediocre-to-average in December and well-known choke artist.

    They are favored by three this week.

    The rest of the league has some interesting spreads as well.

    Three games—Minnesota at Detroit, Tampa Bay at Jacksonville and St. Louis at Seattle—actually have no line this week. Not a pick 'em, but the line is actually off.

    And five games actually have a spreads of seven points or more.

    Here are some favorites that need to be on upset alert.

Dallas Cowboys (-3) vs. Giants

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    Big Blue has owned Dallas of late, winning three of the last four games.

    All three New York wins have come as underdogs and the Cowboys are a disgusting 1-6 against the spread versus conference opponents this season.

    Throw in Tony Romo and Eli Manning and this game (and the season finale) have the makings of must-see TV.

    Oh, and the playoffs are on the line, too. 

    Romo's M.O. in these scenarios are to ... choke.

Falcons (-3) at Panthers

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    Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been playing "Arena" football since Week 4.

    For the first time since their win over the Seattle Seahawks, they are going to step outside and play a game on a grass field with the sky overhead.

    Atlanta is 1-2 outside this year and 0-3 against the spread on that cushy green stuff known as grass.

    The Panthers, meanwhile, are 4-2 against the spread at home this year.

Bengals (+3) vs. Texans

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    Cincinnati hasn't covered in four straight weeks. They're 1-3 straight up during that stretch with the all four games being played against division opponents.

    This week they're only favorites because of devastating injury toll that comes with the Houston Texans.

    Even so, Houston keeps finding ways to win.

    This is a game Cincinnati should  win if they want to be considered legitimate postseason contenders. In fact, they cannot afford another loss right now.

    But they're an inexperienced team that needs to be on high alert.

Patriots (-8) at Redskins

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    I am of the belief that Bill Belichick took his foot off the gas last week against the Colts because he felt sorry for his once-great rivals.

    That said, he can't be happy that they ultimately go within seven points.

    And unfortunately that is always possible with the Pats defense.

    Washington is no offensive juggernaut and I expect Belichick's secondary to pick off Rex Grossman multiple times, but if we have to put some teams on alert, then the Pats should be one of them.

Broncos (-3.5) vs. Bears

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    The magic has to run at some time right?

    No. This is Tebow we're talking about.

    But he does have this annoying knack for winning close games. A three-point win is a loss against the spread.

    Just saying.