Gridiron Guide: Take Giants and Jets
GIANTS (7-4) at REDSKINS (5-6), 8:30 p.m.
TV: ESPN, Ch. 9. Radio: WFAN (660/101.9).
Giants by 21/2; O/U: 51
It's been a lot more quiet on the blogosphere and airwaves lately after the Giants put together an impressive performance vs. the Packers last week. Funny, I haven't seen the words "swoon," "letdown" or "choke" within a city block of the G-Men this week. The Giants can keep their two-game lead in the NFC East with a win here (Dallas should beat Philly) with four games left. Washington has talent, but I think the young Redskins will be a bit overmatched in this spot. Big Blue is 0-4 ATS in their last four vs. the 'Skins, but they're 4-1 ATS in their last five Monday nighters and 38-16-1 ATS in their last 55 road games overall.
THE PICK: Giants
at JETS (4-7)
Jets by 41/2; O/U: 361/2
TV: Ch. 5. Radio: ESPN (98.7).
As bad as Thanksgiving night was for the Jets and their fans, it was their No. 1 fan who also made some news. "Fireman Ed" Anzalone left the Jets-Pats disaster at halftime and reportedly has retired as the leader of the infamous J-E-T-S chant that occurs before Jets kickoffs. (Oh, how will we all move on from this?) Meanwhile, the Jets need to move on from one of their worst performances in the Rex Ryan era. Both teams should be angry: Arizona has the dubious distinction of being the first NFL team to win its first four games and then lose seven straight. I think the Jets (3-1 ATS this season as favorites of six or fewer points) show up big.
THE PICK: Jets
at TITANS (4-7)
Texans by 6; O/U: 47
Texans WR Andre Johnson just posted the best two-game total of receiving yards (461) in NFL history. The banged-up Texans already have matched their win total from last season and should be good enough to cover vs. the shaky Titans.
THE PICK: Texans
at CHIEFS (1-10)
Panthers by 3; O/U: 401/2
Carolina grinded out a road win in Philly Monday night, and now finds itself on a short week headed to Kansas City. The Chiefs have dropped eight straight, but they've covered two of their last three. This is KC's best shot to get a home win (0-6) this season.
THE PICK: Chiefs
at DOLPHINS (5-6)
Patriots by 71/2; O/U: 511/2
The Patriots should be well-rested off a nine-day break; wait, did they even have a "game'' last week? Just kidding, Jets fans. New England has covered four of its last five games in Miami. The Pats will clinch the AFC East title with a win here.
THE PICK: Patriots
COLTS (7-4) at LIONS (4-7)
Lions by 41/2; O/U: 51
Two Indy cheerleaders shaved their heads last week in support of Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who is fighting leukemia. The duo garnered more than $22,000, and the Colts have raised more than $250,000 for the Colts' "ChuckStrong" movement to fight cancer. Well done! Both teams are hot (Indy is 5-1 ATS and Detroit 4-2 ATS) in their last six games. The Lions are 4-10-1 ATS vs. teams with a winning record.
THE PICK: Colts
JAGUARS (2-9) at BILLS (4-7)
Bills by 6; O/U: 45
Buffalo is 3-3 ATS in its last six games, but I like the way the Jags have played under QB Chad Henne (43 of 75 for 736 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs in his last three games).
THE PICK: Jaguars
at PACKERS (7-4)
Packers by 81/2; O/U: 461/2
I read that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers apologized to Packers fans for Green Bay's dismal performance vs. the Giants. The only thing I think he needs to apologize for is the cheesy mustache he was sporting. Minnesota is 1-4 ATS in last five in Green Bay, and 3-7 ATS in last 10 vs. Packers. But take the points, especially with the Pack's numerous injuries.
THE PICK: Vikings
at BEARS (8-3)
Bears by 31/2; O/U: 371/2
Jay Cutler won't get much consideration for MVP honors, but the Vanderbilt product is just as big a key to the Bears' success as their ball-hawking defense (NFL-best 33 takeaways). The Seattle 'D' (ranked No. 5 overall) is no slouch, either, but Bears are better team.
THE PICK: Bears
49ERS (8-2-1) at RAMS (4-6-1)
49ers by 7; O/U: 40
These are two of the NFL's best ATS teams (both 7-4) who played to a 24-all tie three weeks ago. The Rams have covered four of last five vs. the Niners, and are 6-3 ATS as underdogs of eight or fewer points in '12.
THE PICK: Rams
at CHARGERS (4-7), 4:25 p.m.
Bengals by 2; O/U: 46
If Chargers coach Norv Turner is shown the door at season's end, he'll probably have nightmares of the Ravens' Ray Rice along with other missed opportunities. The inconsistent Chargers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games. Cincy has won and covered three straight and is in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot.
THE PICK: Bengals
BUCS (6-5) at BRONCOS (8-3), 4:05 p.m.
Broncos by 7; O/U: 501/2
Denver is 5-0 ATS this season as favorites of eight points or fewer. Tampa Bay is 6-1-1 ATS this season as underdogs of eight points or fewer. The early money is with Denver (16-34-2 ATS last 52 home games) as the line has slowly climbed during the week. I'll take a shot here with the Bucs (18-7-1 ATS in last 26 road games), who are playing for an NFC playoff berth.
THE PICK: Bucs
at RAVENS (9-2), 4:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2. Radio: WFAN (660/101.9).
OFF (Pittsburgh QB questionable); O/U: OFF
I don't like that Ben Roethlisberger is even considering playing. (Wasn't it two weeks ago we were told his rib injury could rupture his aorta? Yikes!) The Ravens are 6-2-2 ATS in last 10 vs. AFC North foes. The struggling Steelers are 2-8 ATS in last 10 road games.
THE PICK: Ravens
at RAIDERS (3-8), 4:25 p.m.
OFF (Cleveland QB questionable); O/U: OFF
Browns QB Brandon Weeden suffered a concussion last week but was cleared for practice and is expected to start. The Browns are 4-2 ATS in their last six games.
THE PICK: Browns
at COWBOYS (5-6), 8:20 p.m.
Cowboys by 10; O/U: 43
TV: Ch. 4. Radio: WFAN (660/101.9).
A group of Cowpoke fans petitioned the White House to have Jerry Jones removed as Dallas' owner. I hope they don't start allowing petitions at newsday.com. If they do, I'm a goner, especially after last week, when I was 5-10-1 ATS. Yuck! Speaking of bad ATS numbers, the Iggles are 1-9-1 in '12.
THE PICK: Cowboys