November is here, and with it, temperatures drop and playoff pressures increase. I’ve also been tracking my picks in three categories, and apparently, I am a really bad guesser. I had a losing week with my “guesses” yet again at 1-4 last week, and I think it’s about time I flip a coin on the guesses. My overall record through 8 weeks is now 58-54-4: 21-19-2 on Games I Like, 25-13-1 on Games I Lean, and 12-22-1 on Guesses.
1. Pittsburgh (-4.5) at CINCINNATI, Monday night. Pittsburgh lost in Cincinnati for the first time in 10 years last season. The home team in this series is 17-24 since 1990, and the Steelers have lost more games at home against the Bengals than on the road. Pittsburgh has been the far better team this year, and this line reflects too much built in home field advantage.
2. Kansas City (+1) at OAKLAND, 4 pm. The Chiefs have won 7 straight games in Oakland. The Raiders best defensive player, Nnamdi Asomugha, and best receiver, tight end Zach Miller, are both out for this one.
3. New York Giants (-6) at SEATTLE, 4 pm. This line opened at 4.5, but has jumped to 7 in many places, but you might still find it below a touchdown. Hasselbeck is out and Charlie Whitehurst is making his first career start, while Okung is doubtful. This line was too low to begin with, as the Giants have been dominant lately and if the turnover luck is merely neutral, the Giants should roll.
4. DETROIT (+5.5) vs. New York Jets, 1 pm. Can the Jets block Suh? This is a large line for a team that is a lot closer to average, at home, in a non-conference matchup where home field advantage tends to be greater.
5. CLEVELAND (+4) vs. New England, 1 pm. Ben Watson gets his revenge.
GAMES I LEAN
6. HOUSTON (+3) vs. San Diego, 1 pm. The Chargers would be the play here, but they have way too many injuries at the receiver positions, with Gates, Floyd and Naanee listed as doubtful. Jackson isn’t back yet, and it is down to Crayton and a bunch of people off the street. If the Texans don’t win this one, kiss them goodbye.
7. Miami (+5) at BALTIMORE, 1 pm. Miami is an amazing 4-0 on the road and 0-3 at home. I’m not making the pick on that, though. I just think these two teams are closer than 5 points.
8. PHILADELPHIA (-3) vs. Indianapolis, 4 pm. You’ll hear a lot about Reid being undefeated after a bye. There are other reasons to like Philly here, at home, in an interconference matchup, with Vick returning, Indy’s receivers depleted and Addai and Hart both out, and the Eagles being just as efficient as the Colts this year. It seems like half the Colts roster is listed as questionable with injuries this week.
9. CAROLINA (+7) vs. New Orleans, 1 pm. New Orleans has been inconsistent, and after playing well against Pittsburgh, we’ll see if they can keep their focus on the road against a weak opponent.
10. BUFFALO (+3) vs. Chicago in Toronto, 1 pm. I’m finally able to use one of my core gambling tenets: pick against Cutler when he is in another country.
11. Tampa Bay (+8.5) at ATLANTA, 1 pm. LeGarrette Blount is going to have opportunities in this game. Even though I’ve been skeptical of the Bucs, I’m not sold on this Falcons defense to cover a large number. The coin isn’t either.
12. Dallas (+7) at GREEN BAY, Sunday night. I’m leery of this one as Dallas is in the tank, but Green Bay isn’t exactly clicking on offense. The coin likes Dallas to play with an ounce of pride they have yet to show since Romo got hurt.
13. Arizona (+7.5) at MINNESOTA, 1 pm. Derek Anderson and the Cardinals mess versus the Minnesota soap opera, now with Harvin versus Childress. Geez. This is an avoid for me, but let’s go with the Cardinals getting points in this hot mess.
[image via Getty]