HOME TEAMS IN CAPITAL LETTERS
COWBOYS (-17) over Bengals (CBS3)
Last week, we played against Dallas in this spot, and the Redskins bumped the best mark to 4-0, and we're now looking at one for the thumb. Don't let the big, fat 17-point spread scare you away: Cincinnati is in town. And the Cowboys have more than enough offense to handle the Bengals and the spread. The 'Boys are averaging 30 points per game, while Cincy is scoring 13 points per. And that was with Carson Palmer. Even if he plays, Palmer ain't anywhere close to 100 percent and will be running for his life all day. If he doesn't, it's Ryan Fitzpatrick at the controls, and that's dreadful. He was the leading rusher for the Bengals against the Browns Sunday with a whopping 41 yards, and his passing stats, 21 of 35 for 156 yards and three interceptions, were just as ugly. T.O. is making some noise again for the Cowboys, but this week, look for Dallas to crush the visitors with a relentless ground game.
BRONCOS (-3) over Buccaneers
Denver rolled into Kansas City Sunday, figuring on an easy win, and rolled out on the losing end of a 33-19 score. Kinda shocking, but not totally unexpected. The Broncos are basically two different teams: a powerhouse at home in the Mile High air (62-24 over the last decade) and a less-than-mediocre road club (42-44). Speaking of the road, it has not been kind to Tampa the last few years, as the Bucs have only 11 wins in their last 34 outings. And if you're listening to everyone who is raving about Tampa's defense, take a step back. After getting beat by Drew Brees, the Bucs had Atlanta rookie, Matt Ryan, Chicago QB Kyle Orton, and Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay. Not exactly a future Hall of Fame list. Jay Cutler might be on that list if he continues his superb early-season work (second in the NFL in completions and passing yards, third in TDs). Denver by a touchdown.
Seahawks (+7) over GIANTS
Interesting opening for New York. The Giants beat the Redskins, 16-7, stomped the blah Rams, 41-13, then struggled to a 26-23 OT win against Cincy. Not bold enough to predict the outright upset here, but Seattle plus a TD looks very appetizing. The Seahawks get back two of their top-line receivers, Bobby Engram and Deion Branch. New York loses one of its most potent weapons, Plaxico Burress, to a suspension. Advantage Seattle.
Vikings (+3) over SAINTS (ESPN)
Minnesota's ground game is as healthy as ever, with Adrian Peterson gobbling up 420 yards, second best in the NFL. Now it's just a matter of getting Gus Frerotte a few more reps. Actually, Frerotte was pretty solid in his first start for the Vikes, completing 25 of 43 for 266 yards, and if they can cut down on the turnovers (four Sunday), the Purple People should be able to squeeze out a W in the Superdome.
CARDINALS (-1) over Bills
You know that Buffalo's bubble is gonna burst somewhere along the line, so why not in the desert Southwest. Even though the Buffs have won two on the road in 2008, they have had trouble away from home (7-17 the last 3 years), while Arizona has won nine of its last 12 in the desert, and covered four in a row as a home favorite of fewer than three points.
EAGLES (-6) over Redskins (Fox29)
Kinda like the Birds here, but there are issues. Washington ain't too bad, Brian Westbrook ain't feeling good, and the number is a bit high. Despite the reservations, it's still a light play to the Eagles.
JAGUARS (-4) over Steelers (NBC10)
Fact: Pittsburgh is covering the spread at a 25 percent clip. Fact: Jacksonville wins at home at a 75 percent clip. Fact: the Steelers have virtually no running backs. Fact: The Jags are on a 4-0 run against Pitt.
TEXANS (+3) over Colts
Betcha didn't know Houston has won eight of its last 10 at home.
RAVENS (+3) over Titans
These two teams are a combined 7-0 against the spread. Something has to give. It should be Tennessee.
DOLPHINS (+6) over Chargers
San Diego will be ready for Miami's trickeration, but the Lightning Bolts are on an 0-4 spread run on the East Coast.
Chiefs (+9) over PANTHERS
If Kaycee sticks with Larry Johnson (198 yards rushing Sunday), another cover is totally within reach.
LIONS (+3) over Bears
If Detroit beat Chicago twice last year with Matt Millen still running the show, this season should be a piece of cake.
Falcons (+7) over PACKERS
With or without Aaron Rodgers for Green Bay, Atlanta has just enough to cover this number.
Patriots (-3) over 49ERS
Give New England's defense an inexperienced QB to feast on, and you're looking at a comfortable W.