Patriots will cover against Jets; Giants get cover and win Monday night
PATRIOTS (5-1) at JETS (3-3), 1 p.m.
Patriots by 3 1/2; O/U: 43 1/2
TV: Ch. 2; Radio: ESPN (98.7)
I have to admit, I almost fell for the "new" Rex Ryan bit. You know, the coach who is quiet and lets his players do the talking for him on the field rather than grab the spotlight with his funny, zany news conferences. Thank goodness "old" Rex is back! Even if it was briefly during his conference call with the Patriots' beat writers on Wednesday when the subject turned to kissing Pats coach Bill Belichick's rings. "No, I haven't," Ryan said, "and I never will." Attaboy, Rexy! The Jets had a shot to beat host New England in Week 2, but lost, 13-10. Gang Green has lost five straight to the Pats. The Pats are 11-2 against the spread (ATS) in their last 13 road meetings vs. the Jets. Pucker up, Rex!
The pick: Patriots
1 P.M. GAMES
COWBOYS (3-3) at EAGLES (3-3)
Eagles by 3; O/U: 55 1/2
The winner of this game will sit atop the NFC Least, er, East. I know the Cowboys have been hit by the injury bug, including DE DeMarcus Ware (out) and RB DeMarco Murray (doubtful). Still, Dallas is the better team right now. Plus, the Eagles are 6-15-1 ATS in their last 22 games and 6-21-1 ATS in their last 28 home games.
The pick: Cowboys
BILLS (2-4) at DOLPHINS (3-2)
Dolphins by 8; O/U: 42 1/2
The Fins, who haven't played since Oct. 6, are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 AFC East games. Meanwhile, the Bills are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games vs. the Dolphins, and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games in Miami.
The pick: Dolphins
BENGALS (4-2) at LIONS (4-2)
Lions by 2 1/2; O/U: 47
A tough one to call, but I look to Cincy's 0-3-1 record ATS in its last four road games and 3-7-1 mark ATS in its last 11 games vs. winning teams. Cincy needed OT to beat Buffalo last week. Detroit is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games.
The pick: Lions
BEARS (4-2) at REDSKINS (1-4)
Pick 'em; O/U: 50
Two of the worst cover teams this season (Washington is 1-4 ATS; Chicago is 1-4-1 ATS). I know the Redskins don't want to drop to 1-5, but Da Bears are the more talented team.
The pick: Bears
CHARGERS (3-3) at JAGUARS (0-6)
Chargers by 7 1/2; O/U: 45
The Jags got their cover last week, but hey, they were only getting 26 1/2 points vs. Denver! It's tough to go against Philip Rivers and the Chargers (4-1-1 ATS this season) these days.
The pick: Chargers
BUCS (0-5) at FALCONS (1-4)
Falcons by 7; O/U: 43
The Bucs usually do well in Atlanta (5-1 ATS in last six at Georgia Dome, and 8-3-1 ATS overall in 12 previous meetings). But this Tampa squad is much different (see: worse). Maybe the bye week benefited Atlanta. I'll fade the trends and go with a hunch.
The pick: Falcons
RAMS (3-3) at PANTHERS (2-3)
Panthers by 6; O/U: 42
I think the Rams continue their recent success coming off back-to-back wins and covers, plus they are 7-2 ATS in their last nine road contests.
The pick: Rams
4 P.M. AND LATER GAMES
TEXANS (2-4) at CHIEFS (6-0), 4:25 p.m.
Chiefs by 6; O/U: 40
Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
The unbeaten Chiefs have been one of the best surprises. But the more desperate team -- Houston and its top-ranked defense -- keeps things close enough.
The pick: Texans
BROWNS (3-3) at PACKERS (3-2), 4:25 p.m.
Packers by 10; O/U: 46
Did you hear that someone listed a job posting on Craigslist for a new Browns QB? True story. I'm surprised no one posted an opening for a new Gridiron Guide writer. Look at my record last week, which including three, late backdoor losses. Yikes! The Browns had covered three straight before last week's loss to the Lions. Green Bay has covered seven straight at Lambeau. They won't get No. 8 as Brandon Weeden quiets his critics. The pick: Browns
RAVENS (3-3) at STEELERS (1-4), 4:25 p.m.
Steelers by 1 1/2; O/U: 40 1/2
TV: Ch. 2
The Ravens have been inconsistent, but the underdog is 8-3-2 ATS in the rivals' last 13 meetings.
The pick: Ravens
49ERS (4-2) at TITANS (3-3), 4:05 p.m.
49ers by 4; O/U: 40
TV: Ch. 5
Two of the better ATS teams: San Fran is 4-2, Tennessee is 4-1-1. I'll follow two trends: The Titans struggle vs. teams with winning records (3-9-1 ATS in last 13), while the 49ers are 21-7-1 ATS in their last 29 games on grass fields.
The pick: 49ers
BRONCOS (6-0) at COLTS (4-2), 8:30 p.m.
Broncos by 6 1/2; O/U: 56 1/2
TV: Ch. 4; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
So much for a happy homecoming, right, Peyton Manning? Social media and daytime sports talk shows have been abuzz with this whole Colts owner Jim Irsay-Manning tiff. Irsay told USA Today he was disappointed that Indy won just one Super Bowl during Manning's tenure. (To me, someone who should be even more angered by Irsay's comments is former GM Bill Polian.) Also, I can name numerous cities, including my hometown of Philly, that would kill for just one title. In fact, 14 current franchises have never won a Lombardi Trophy. I think Peyton and Denver are the favorite to hoist the trophy. Andrew Luck is good, but he's no Peyton, and the Broncos offense has too many weapons.
The pick: Broncos
VIKINGS (1-4) at GIANTS (0-6), 8:40 p.m.
Giants by 3 1/2; O/U: 46 1/2
TV: ESPN, Ch. 11; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
Who's been tortured more by the Giants this season: Big Blue fans or me? I'll call it a push. I have yet to correctly choose the winner of a Giants cover this season. Sooner or later the Giants will win a game. I believe this is as good a spot as any with a prime-time home game against a struggling opponent. The G-Men should be able to score enough points here. This game comes down to the Giants defense. If they keep running back Adrian Peterson (fourth in NFL with 483 rushing yards, tied for second with five rushing TDs) under wraps, I can't see newly named starter and former Bucs QB Josh Freeman beating them. If I could buy down a point here I would. Tread softly.
The pick: Giants