I'm not hiding behind this pick: Take the Rams to cover against the Jets

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St. Louis Rams wide receiver Austin Pettis, left,

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Austin Pettis, left, is greeted by quarterback Sam Bradford, right, after scoring a touchdown on a 2-yard reception during the fourth quarter of a game in San Francisco. (Nov. 11, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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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 (3-6) at RAMS (3-5-1), 1 p.m.

Rams by 3 1/2; O/U: 38 1/2

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

I asked Editor Joe to take my name off my column this week so I could anonymously call out the Jets. But he channeled his inner Rex Ryan and told me it would be "cowardly." I was highly amused listening to Ryan tiptoe through Wednesday's news conference. Who's writing his material, someone from Mitt Romney's campaign? Are we really supposed to believe the 2012 Jets are actually "coming closer together" than last year? Later, RB Shonn Greene told a website that when it comes to these Jets, "something's got to change." For once, a Jet making sense! The Rams are 6-3 against the spread (ATS) and their defense will be too much for the Jets' offense.



PACKERS (6-3) at LIONS (4-5)

Packers by 3 1/2; O/U: 51 1/2

Green Bay will be without LB Clay Matthews, WR Greg Jennings and S Charles Woodson. Still, the Packers are 7-1 ATS in their last eight NFC North games. The Lions are 1-6-1 ATS vs. divisional foes during the same stretch. Finally, the Packers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games in the Motor City, and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 overall vs. the Lions.

THE PICK: Packers



BROWNS (2-7)

at COWBOYS (4-5)

Cowboys by 8; O/U: 431/2

The Cowboys are at home (0-3 ATS) after a big NFC East win in Philly (see: letdown). The Browns are 4-4-1 ATS this season, and coming off a bye. Also, Dallas is 4-11-1 ATS when favored by eight or fewer points dating to Christmas, 2010. Enjoy this gift.

THE PICK: Browns




at FALCONS (8-1)

Falcons by 10; O/U: 44

This isn't a good spot for Arizona, even off a bye. Falcons QB Matt Ryan is 30-4 all-time at home -- the best home record for a QB in the Super Bowl era. Arizona has lost five straight, and is 0-5-1 ATS in its last six overall.

THE PICK: Falcons



at PANTHERS (2-7)

Bucs by 1 1/2; O/U: 48 1/2

It can't be a happy locker room in Carolina these days. Coach Ron Rivera fired special teams coach Brian Murphy on Monday. Earlier this season, the Panthers canned GM Marty Hurney. I think Rivera's days are numbered as well. Tampa Bay has won and covered three straight. QB Josh Freeman is seventh in QB rating (98.2) with 18 TDs and only 5 INTs.



EAGLES (3-6)

at REDSKINS (3-6)

Redskins by 3 1/2; O/U: 43 1/2

Let the Nick Foles Era begin in Philly after Michael Vick suffered a concussion. The problem for Foles? He's behind the same awful O-line that Vick was. The 'Skins haven't beaten Philly in D.C. since 2008, but they're coming off a bye and are 7-2 ATS in their last nine NFC East games. Get your running shoes on, Foles!

THE PICK: Redskins



at TEXANS (8-1)

Texans by 15 1/2; O/U: 40 1/2

Do I think the Jags have a shot to win this game? Heck no! But remember, people, we're picking against the spread. Visiting teams are 81-62-3 ATS (57 percent) this season. Underdogs are a little better at 83-60-3 ATS (58 percent), and road dogs are the best trend at 56-35-3 ATS (62 percent). Don't forget, the Jags covered a double-digit spread at Green Bay a few weeks ago. Worth a shot.

THE PICK: Jaguars



at CHIEFS (1-8)

Bengals by 3 1/2; O/U: 43 1/2

I forgot to congratulate Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel for, in essence, firing himself as Chiefs defensive coordinator before the Steelers game last week. It worked -- almost. OK, KC didn't win, but it covered the spread Monday night in Pittsburgh and allowed 16 points in an overtime defeat (itsr sixth loss in a row). The Chiefs were ahead 10-0, the first time they've held a lead in regulation this season. (Baby steps, people, baby steps!) Cincinnati, which pulled the shocker of Week 10 by crushing the Giants, is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games after a win.

THE PICK: Bengals


COLTS (6-3)

at PATRIOTS (6-3), 4:25 p.m.

Patriots by 9 1/2; O/U: 54

TV: Ch. 2

OK, so it's not Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. But Andrew Luck vs. Brady isn't too shabby. Who would've thought both would be 6-3? Some recent trends concern me: The Pats are 1-4 ATS in their last five games vs. teams with a winning record, 1-5 ATS in their last six home games, and most alarming, they're 3-8 ATS when favored by eight or more points since 2010. All that said, be careful here.



RAVENS (7-2)

at STEELERS (6-3), 8:20 p.m.

Ravens by 3 1/2; O/U: 40 1/2

TV: Ch. 4

The absence of Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder, ribs) takes some luster away from the best divisional rivalry game of the last decade as far as I'm concerned. The Ravens were once a four-point underdog before Big Ben got hurt. Byron Leftwich is a solid backup. But the keys for me are that the Steelers' defense is playing better than the Ravens' 'D' right now. Plus, the Steelers' running back committee of Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman might get back Rashard Mendenhall. Underdogs are 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings between these two hated rivals.

THE PICK: Steelers


SAINTS (4-5)

at RAIDERS (3-6), 4:05 p.m.

Saints by 5; O/U: 54 1/2

TV: Ch. 5

These two don't play very often (five times since 1991; Saints last won there on Dec. 16, 1991). Oakland is banged up at running back. New Orleans' ground game has gotten a boost from Chris Ivory. Did you see the stiff-arm he put on Dunta Robinson during his TD run last week? (If not, look up.) Stay with the hot Saints.

THE PICK: Saints



at BRONCOS (6-3), 4:25 p.m.

Broncos by 7 1/2; O/U: 48 1/2

The Chargers are 4-0-4 ATS in their last eight in Denver and 8-3-2 ATS in their last 13 overall vs. the Broncos. I'll fade those numbers for this: The favorite is 7-3-2 ATS in the last 12 between these two. Sooner or later, the Broncos' ATS magic (four straight covers and wins) will run out, but I'm going to continue to ride those Broncos!

THE PICK: Broncos


BEARS (7-2)

at 49ERS (6-2-1), 8:30 p.m.

49ers by 5; O/U: 38

TV: ESPN; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)

Both teams lost their starting QBs to concussions last week, but the 49ers' Alex Smith (probable) is more likely to go than the Bears' Jay Cutler (doubtful). Still, Chicago (4-1 ATS in its last five road games) can score on defense and special teams.


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