John Boell Newsday sports writer John Boell

Boell has worked in the Newsday sports department in various capacities since 1999. In 2010, he became Newsday's

JETS (5-4) at BILLS (3-7), 1 p.m.

Bills by 1; O/U: 41

TV: Ch. 2. Radio: ESPN (98.7)

I was impressed by the Jets' move to sign veteran safety Ed Reed. If nothing else, it lets the Jets players and fans know that their team is trying to make the playoffs and win -- now! I think I finally got this Jets season figured out: win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, win. Editor Joe says the Jets will win after losing last week. But wait, weren't they on a bye? Yes, but . . . Rex Ryan dropped a racquetball match to his brother, Rob; Running back Chris Ivory lost at golf to the Jets' water boy; and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson was defeated by yours truly in a cheesesteak-eating contest. Good, now that gets the losing out of the Jets' system. The Jets have covered four of their last five in Buffalo, and are 6-2 against the spread (ATS) in their last eight meetings overall.

The pick: Jets

PACKERS (5-4) at GIANTS (3-6), 4:25 p.m.

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TV: Ch. 5; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)

Giants by 5; O/U: 42

If I had told you a month ago that the spread would be 5, you'd have said, "Why aren't the Packers favored by more?" We all know why, and without Aaron Rodgers playing, a win bolsters the Giants' NFC East title hopes -- yes, if I had told you that a month ago . . . well, you know. Scott Tolzien isn't in Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood, but the Pack has enough offensive talent to keep it close.

The pick: Packers


REDSKINS (3-6) at EAGLES (5-5)

TV: Ch. 5

Eagles by 3 1/2; O/U: 53

Story time: I was born in Philadelphia and lived in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania the first 24 years of my life. Looks like I'm about to get my "Philly card" revoked by my friends and family back home for picking against their beloved Eagles so much. But when it comes to the Iggles at home, it's almost baffling: Philly has lost -- and not covered -- 10 straight at home dating back to Sept. 30, 2012. I think the Redskins (5-1 ATS in last six in Philly) are the more desperate team and will stay close enough.

The pick: Redskins

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LIONS (6-3) at STEELERS (3-6)

Lions by 2; O/U: 47

The Steelers don't always play the Lions, but when they do, they destroy them. Stay hungry, Lions!

The Steelers have won 12 of the last 14 meetings. In fact, Detroit's last win in Pittsburgh came on Nov. 13, 1955. I can't see first-place Detroit having a letdown. They're playing well on both sides of the ball.

The pick: Lions

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BROWNS (4-5) at BENGALS (6-4)

Bengals by 5 1/2; O/U: 42

As QB Andy Dalton goes, so goes Cincy: In the last two losses, he has thrown six INTs and two TDs. In the previous four games, all wins, he had just two picks to go with 11 TDs. But the Browns are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 vs. AFC North foes, while the Bengals are 3-9-2 ATS in their last 14 AFC North games.

The pick: Browns

RAVENS (4-5) at BEARS (5-4)

Bears by 3; O/U: 45 1/2

Chicago has struggled at home, going 1-9-1 ATS in its last 11. The Ravens are 15-6-1 ATS in their last 22 vs. winning teams.

The pick: Ravens

CARDINALS (5-4) at JAGUARS (1-8)

Cardinals by 7; O/U: 41

If the Jags could keep playing Tennessee every week they might be 16-0! Their last two wins -- last Sunday and Nov. 25, 2012 -- have come against the Titans. They'll have to remember the Titans win for good times, because the Cards are 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. losing teams.

The pick: Cardinals

RAIDERS (3-6) at TEXANS (2-7)

Texans by 7; O/U: 41 1/2

I would have never thought about taking the Texans as a touchdown favorite a few weeks ago. But Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor is questionable with a sore right knee, and Houston will get a lift from having Gary Kubiak back on the sidelines. Welcome back, coach!

The pick: Houston

FALCONS (2-7) at BUCS (1-8)

Falcons by 1; O/U: 43 1/2

As great as the Chiefs-Broncos game should be this weekend, this game is the exact opposite. Yuck! I'll use the "team-that-doesn't-stink-as-bad-as-the-other-team-covers" logic here.

The pick: Falcons


49ERS (6-3) at SAINTS (7-2), 4:25 p.m.

Saints by 3; O/U: 47 1/2

The Saints look unstoppable at home -- no wonder it's called the Superdome. They've won and covered five straight there.

The pick: Saints

VIKINGS (2-7) at SEAHAWKS (9-1), 4:25 p.m.

Seahawks by 12; O/U: 46

Seattle is 2-3 ATS in its last five at home. I think Adrian Peterson and the Vikes keep it close.

The pick: Vikings

CHARGERS (4-5) at DOLPHINS (4-5), 4:05 p.m.

Chargers by 1; O/U: 45 1/2

Miami is 1-5 ATS in its last six games; San Diego is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight on the road.

The pick: Chargers

CHIEFS (9-0) at BRONCOS (8-1), 8:30 p.m.

Broncos by 8 1/2; O/U: 49 1/2

TV: Ch. 4; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9, joined in progress)

The game of the regular season -- for now. The two teams play again at Arrowhead in two weeks. The combined win percentage of .944 (17-1) between the Chiefs and Broncos is the highest for a game this late in the season since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger (minimum nine games each). This game also features the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense in KC (12.3 ppg) vs. the No. 1 scoring offense (41.2 ppg). I'm concerned about the health of Peyton Manning. He looks like he's one big Chiefs hit away from leaving with an injury. If the Chiefs are able to run the ball, control the clock and keep Manning on the sideline, they should keep this close enough.

The pick: Chiefs


PATRIOTS (7-2) at PANTHERS (6-3), 8:40 p.m.

Panthers by 2 1/2; O/U: 46

TV: ESPN; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9; joined in progress)

Any guess on which team has the second-best scoring defense in the NFL? How about those Panthers, who allowed nine points last week in San Fran. Carolina has won -- and covered -- five straight after. Normally, I'd go with them, but the Pats are coming off a bye. Giving Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare for a game is like giving Usain Bolt a head start in the 100-meter dash.

The pick: Patriots

STAFF PICKS (best bets in caps)

JOHN BOELL: 67-77-3, 3-7 best bets; Last week: 9-5: JETS Packers Redskins Lions Browns Ravens Cardinals Texans Falcons Saints Vikings Chargers Chiefs Patriots

BOB GLAUBER: 74-70-3, 4-5-1; Last week: 9-5: Jets Giants Eagles Steelers Bengals Bears Cardinals Raiders Falcons SAINTS Seahawks Chargers Broncos Panthers

KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN: 73-71-3, 5-5; Last week: 6-8: Jets Giants Redskins Lions Bengals Bears Cardinals TEXANS Bucs Saints Seahawks Dolphins Broncos Patriots

TOM ROCK: 70-74-3, 4-6; Last week: 10-4: Jets Giants Redskins LIONS Browns Bears Cardinals Raiders Falcons Saints Seahawks Chargers Chiefs Patriots