49ERS (-6) over Giants: Why is this line almost a TD? Because San Francisco is gonna do a stomp dance on the defending Super Bowl champions. First up - and always at the top of the list is - revenge. The Niners lost at home to the Giants in the NFC title tilt last season (20-17), basically thanks to the incredible muffs of not one, but two punts by 49er WR Kyle Williams (one in the fourth quarter leading to a touchdown and another in OT setting up the Giants' winning field goal). If you're thinking, well, what about Eli Manning and that high-scoring offense, forget it. New York put up 41 against the Browns (so what?), 36 against the Panthers (ditto), and 41 against the Bucs (who cares?). Against teams that actually play defense - such as the Cowboys and Eagles - Big Blue scored only 17 points in each game. And watch as SF QB Alex Smith plays his best game of the season in this, my Best Bet.
JETS (-3) over Colts: What an amazing and emotional win for Indy last week, beating the Packers with a TD in the last 35 seconds. That win was inspired by the absence of coach Chuck Pagano, who missed the first of an indefinite amount of games while undergoing treatment for leukemia. There is no way that kind of emotion can be replicated 2 weeks in a row. There has to be a letdown, which makes this the perfect spot for the Rex Ryans to post a desperately needed W.
DOLPHINS (-3 1/2) over Rams: Bravo to St. Louis and first year coach Jeff Fisher for the 3-2 record out of the chute. But let's look at that record under the microscope. All three wins have come at home. On the road, the Rams are 0-2 this season, and have lost 34 of the last 42 overall (.190 winning percentage). They've scored only 41 points the last five times away from home (an average of 8.4 ppg), and since Miami has covered five of the last seven at home, we'll swim with the Dolphins.
Bills (+5) over CARDINALS: Buffalo has looked awful the last two times out, getting blitzed by the 49ers (45-3) and the Patriots (52-28). What to think? Well, those two teams might very well wind up in the Super Bowl, so it was not a huge surprise. Arizona will not be playing on Super Sunday - that's a Double V guarantee! - and while the Cardinals might squeeze out a win at home, the final margin will be no more than a field goal.
BUCCANEERS (-4) over Chiefs: If Tampa could ask the magic genie for a couple of wishes, they would be: "Please let us have a bye to heal some aches and pains," and "please let us host the Kansas City Chiefs in muggy Florida." Done, done!
Cowboys (+3 1/2) over RAVENS: Baltimore might be working on a superb 14-0 straight-up winning streak at home, but in the all-important spread-a-licious category, the Ravens are under water, covering only six of those 14.
BROWNS (+2) over Bengals: Not thrilled with this contest, but at least the 0-5 Brownies will come to play.
FALCONS (-9) over Raiders: Atlanta is very tough at home. Oakland is very ordinary on the road. That equals a cover for the Falcs.
Patriots (-3) over SEAHAWKS: Looks as if Tom Brady can do whatever he wants this season. And that whatever should be a W against Seattle.
Vikings (+2 1/2) over REDSKINS: This is based on RGIII being under center. If he's out, the line moves dramatically, and Minny becomes a strong play.
Packers (+4) over TEXANS: Without All-Pro LB Brian Cushing, it's gonna be a long afternoon for the Houston defense.
CHARGERS (-1) over Broncos: All the money is flooding in on Denver, but San Diego has won four of the last five, so we lean Bolts.