I’m either going to go down in flames this week and be ridiculed for riding sides with backup quarterbacks, or look like the calming voice of reason against a runaway public. I’m just going to take you down memory lane back to a season called 2007. You might recall the Patriots were an unstoppable force, and when they played the Philadelphia Eagles on a Sunday Night, Donovan McNabb had gotten hurt the week before, and the Eagles were forced to start A.J. Stinking Feeley. The Eagles had been favored in 8 of 10 games that year, but with a backup QB going against the dominating Patriots on the road in primetime, the line shot up to 24 for that Sunday Night game. The Eagles almost won.
I’ll remind everyone that the Packers have not lost outside of the final seconds all year, and though Rodgers is a very important player, they don’t exactly have chopped liver on the defensive side. The Packers are playing for their playoff lives. Flynn, who wasn’t sharp and had some key breakdowns, especially the goal line interception, still wasn’t Brodie “Croyled Milk” bad. He’ll have a week of preparation this time around. Yes, I think the Pats are the best team, and I think they win tonight, but I expect a good effort from a proud Green Bay team.
GAMES I LIKE
1. Green Bay (+15.5) at NEW ENGLAND, Sunday Night.
2. MINNESOTA (+9) vs. Chicago, Monday Night. Ordinarily, I’d say the outdoor team getting to play the dome team outdoors is an advantage, but with all the whining from Cutler and Bears about the conditions, I’m not sure I want to take them as a large favorite in Minneapolis on that field.
3. BALTIMORE (-1.5) vs. New Orleans, 1 pm. I successfully went against the Saints a couple of weeks ago in the cold weather against an AFC team (even if the Bengals blew the game) and will take the Ravens at home in this one in the cold weather.
4. TENNESSEE (-1) vs. Houston, 1 pm. How many gut punches can this Texans team take? Titans have had three extra days here.
5. SEATTLE (+7) vs. Atlanta, 4 pm. Atlanta has won close games, but this line gets you above that, and this just feels like one of those letdown situations with the Saints coming up next week, and having to travel cross country to play in the outdoors in the Northwest.
GAMES I LEAN
6. PITTSBURGH (-4.5) vs. New York Jets, 4 pm. Polamalu’s injury has lowered this line, but I still have my doubts about Sanchez taking advantage. The Steelers will shut down the Jets’ rushing attack, and it will be on Sanchez.
7. INDIANAPOLIS (-4.5) vs. Jacksonville, 1 pm. I like the Over at 48. I’m assuming that’s the line on crazy tweets sent out by @JimIrsay, so I definitely like the Over. Easiest money ever.
8. DALLAS (-7) vs. Washington, 1 pm. Normally, defenses don’t come out and say how glad they are to be playing someone, but this isn’t just anyone, it’s Rex Grossman.
9. Kansas City (+1.5) at ST. LOUIS, 1 pm. This pick is being made on the assumption Cassel will start after practicing on a limited basis this week. The cultural center of Missouri wins out in this one.
10. CAROLINA (-2.5) vs. Arizona, 1 pm. Why is Carolina favored in this one at 1-12? Because Arizona is traveling cross country for an early game, and they stink about as bad as Carolina, and are also starting a rookie QB this week who played pretty badly last week despite that score line.
11. Buffalo (+5.5) at MIAMI, 1 pm. Chad Henne needs to grow a beard and channel Dan Fouts, because it totally worked for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
12. Cleveland (+1) at CINCINNATI, 1 pm. Q: What’s high in the middle and round on both ends? A: The giant turd that is this battle of Ohio.
13. Denver (+7.5) at OAKLAND, 4 pm. I feel as though late heavy action has come in on Denver’s side from a higher source.
14. TAMPA BAY (-4.5) vs. Detroit, 1 pm. The Bucs continue their quest to make the playoffs without beating a single team with a non-losing record. Drew Stanton continues his lofty quest to be better than Drew Henson.
15. Philadelphia (+3) at NY GIANTS, 1 pm. I know I picked the Giants in my playoff predictions, but this is called hedging, people. I’m throwing darts on all these, so might as well be able to link to one of the posts and say I called it.
[photo via Getty]