Last week: 8-7. Season totals: 77-63-5, Pct. .548. Best Bets: 17-12-1, Pct. .583.
Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.
Dallas 16, WASHINGTON 13 (+9)—The first of four games this week where weather is an issue; that is to say, a warm-weather or indoor team has to play at a cold-weather site—something that Dallas has done very poorly for the longest time: 12-28 straight up and 14-24-2 against the spread dating all the way back to 1995. Definitely take the points, and stranger things have happened than if the Redskins were to win outright.
ATLANTA 24, Tennessee 20 (+6 1/2)—With Matt Schaub's season-ending foot injury, the Titans have inherited the favorite's role in the AFC South even though they trail the Texans by a game and a half. They have also beaten Atlanta five straight, and Mike Smith's eighth-witted decision to go for it on fourth down inside his own 30-yard line in overtime last week could very well prove to have cost the Falcons a playoff spot.
MIAMI 17, Buffalo 10 (+1)—Buffalo's front office may have jumped the gun, to say nothing of the shark, by giving Ryan Fitzpatrick that lucrative contract extension. Bills are 27-52 straight up on grass since 1995.
CLEVELAND 13, Jacksonville 9 (+1)—The second weather-intensive game—and Jacksonville is 1-6 outright and 2-5 against the line since 2008 as a visitor in cold weather.
DETROIT 41, Carolina 17 (+7)—With Arizona's win in Philadelphia last week, the Panthers inherited sole possession of the NFL's longest-active road losing streak at 11 games. Worse yet, Carolina is 3-7-1 against the spread in those 11 losses, including 1-5 therein as a visitor on the carpet. The Lions are the best bet of the week.
BALTIMORE 19, Cincinnati 13 (+9)—The Bengals gave it a good ride against Pittsburgh but it wasn't quite good enough. Surely they can be trusted to at least repeat that at a venue where they've covered in five of their last seven (and won four outright) and have not lost once by more than a TD over that span.
GREEN BAY 51, Tampa Bay 10 (+13 1/2)—San Francisco's 8-1 start serves to keep Green Bay honest, and Aaron Rodgers figures to light it up against the NFL's second-worst defense. Another warm-weather team goes down in the cold—and in this case, goes down hard.
MINNESOTA 27, Oakland 20 (+1)—Not only have the Raiders lost a staggering 16 consecutive games on artificial turf, but they're 2-14 against the spread in them, with both covers coming at Buffalo, which is also where they last won on a rug—on October 6, 2002. No team may crack .500 in the underwhelming AFC West this year.
ST. LOUIS 24, Seattle 17 (+3)—By all rights, the Rams should have at least a three-game covering streak, if not a three-game winning streak, and the Seahawks, who once called an indoor facility home, are 4-12-1 against the line in such enclosures starting with their loss to Pittsburgh at Ford Field in Detroit in Super Bowl XL.
SAN FRANCISCO 23, Arizona 6 (+10)—What makes anyone think that the Cardinals can win two in a row on the road after having lost 11 in a row on the road prior? And what makes anyone think that they can even be competitive, particularly offensively, taking on a team that has held them to single-digit points in each of the last three times they've met, which saw Arizona get outscored by a combined 89-22?
CHICAGO 27, San Diego 17 (+4)—Remember that dude from Animal House who got three Cs and an F, yet was at the top of the Delta pledge class? Well the Chargers are at the top of this week's pledge class of cold-weather visitors, and they're 15-21 straight up and 15-19-2 against the line in such outings since 1996. And they haven't aced a test either on the scoreboard or the "big board" at Chi-Town since 1970. Look for Matt Forte to pick up right where Michael Bush left off (in Darren McFadden's injury-forced absence) last Thursday night, and steamroll San Diego's porous run defense.
N.Y. GIANTS 24, Philadelphia 10 (+3 1/2)—And it doesn't matter whether Michael Vick plays or not. The Giants won the first meeting, 29-16 at Philadelphia in Week 3—and from 1997 to the present teams that lost the first game to a division rival at home have a .337 winning percentage in the rematches on the road, compared with a .431 win rate for all other road teams over the same period. Neither the Eagles nor the Redskins may win again until they meet in the season finale at Potter's Field—oops, I mean Lincoln Financial Field.
NEW ENGLAND 34, Kansas City 0 (+14 1/2)—Last Monday night, a struggling defense got well at home. The same thing will happen again this Monday night—and the Patriots will be facing a much weaker offense than the Packers did.
BEST BETS: DETROIT, GREEN BAY, NEW ENGLAND