Hello and welcome back from the bye to a week filled with byes. Six to be exact. That's the most all season (tied with Week 4 and Week 9), but the Detroit Lions are back in action and that's all that matters.
Unfortunately, the Lions return from what's like a two-week vacation to piles upon piles of work and countless emails. SO many emails. Their first three games are against teams that have won a combined 12 games in a row. After that it's four of five against division opponents, with the last two games being on the road. It's going to be a grueling finish, and if the playoffs are in the Lions' future, it'll be well-earned.
Just like when I come back to overtake Kudos!
Here are some tricky picks:
Browns (+6) over BENGALS
This is Cleveland's opportunity to take attention off the struggling Cavaliers and prove to the nation that their football team is for real and it has nothing to do with Johnny Football. Aside: I'm forced to start Jeremy Hill and Terrance West in the POD fantasy league.
Chiefs (-2) over BILLS
The Chiefs have won five of their last six and the Bills are banged up. Kyle Orton is one of the NFL's top quarterbacks is something I never thought I'd type, but he's been great since taking over for EJ Manuel.
Dolphins (+2.5) over LIONS
Despite the return of Calvin Johnson, I can't pick against the better team (statistically) after what they did to the Chargers last week while the Lions were bathing in the sun. Here's a figure to consider: The Dolphins are 18-3 against the spread as a road underdog of fewer than five points since 2008. The Lions (somehow) pulled out the last couple much-needed NFC games, but they don't really need this one against an AFC foe. I hope I'm the wrongest I've ever been.
SAINTS (-5) over 49ers
JIM HARBAUGH TO ANN ARBOR!
(How in the hell can you not at least tie the game when you have first-and-goal at the 1-yard line in a 13-10 game with under a minute to play? Well, check out 49ers tape from last week against the Rams for a free lesson.)
JETS (+5) over Steelers
Sure, Ben Roethlisberger tossed a total of 12 touchdowns in the last two games (NFL record) and the Steelers made each of their opponents in those games teaser losers against the spread, but this is the classic trap game where Vegas makes all of its money. According to ESPN, the Steelers have lost nine of their last 17 against teams with losing records.
Falcons (-2.5) over BUCCANEERS
The Bucs have allowed a league-high 3.1 touchdowns per game. I think they'll give up at least four to the Falcons, which have taken nine of the last 12 games in this series.
Cowboys (off?) over JAGUARS
I honestly have no idea what this means, but I like it to beat the Jaguars.
TITANS (+9.5) over Ravens
I don't think the Ravens will lose their nine-game winning streak in November, but I think the game will be within the spread. The Ravens were demoralized on Sunday Night Football and need their upcoming bye week, whereas the Titans have had two weeks to prepare.
Broncos (-11.5) over RAIDERS
Poor Raiders. They're the team on which Peyton Manning gets to take out all of his previous week's frustrations. I don't think the Raiders win their first game of the season and I don't think it'll be close at all. Think the 2008 Detroit Lions can start to put the bubbly on ice and wheel it into their
CARDINALS (-7) over Rams
Go ahead, Cards -- win big, and relish it blindingly for a couple weeks.
SEAHAWKS (-9) over Giants
The Giants, which lost to the mending Seahawks last year 23-0, have lost their last three games by an average of 17.7 points. This game will be an average of the two minus a touchdown. If you don't have your TI-89 handy, that means they still cover nine.
Bears (+7) over PACKERS
I'm stealing Sean's GIF from the Week 10 rooting guide:
Panthers (+6) over EAGLES
Two words: Butt fumble.
Yes, Mark Sanchez looked pretty good in relief of Nick Foles last week, but he didn't have any time to mentally self-destruct.
LAST WEEK: 6-7
POD PICK'EM STANDINGS: