KANSAS CITY at OAKLAND. The Chiefs got back on track last Sunday to snap a three-game skid. Will the euphoria of that effort carry over against a long-time rival? It should. They certainly know how to shut down the Raiders, beating them 24-7 earlier in the season at Arrowhead. If Alex Smith continues to go vertically, well, that should help the running attack and Jamaal Charles could have a good day. The Raiders are giving up 26 points a game. The Chiefs are 4-0 as road favorites while the Raiders are 2-1 as home dogs. I would go higher but this rivalry has produced too many surprises. Lay the 4½ with Chiefs for $22.
SAN DIEGO at DENVER. I know, I know, I get squeamish over the hook. The odds-makers are playing games, adding and take away the half point. Vegas now has the Broncos favored by 10½. When the lines first opened I thought I would lay the wood on Denver. I’ve changed my mind. Philip Rivers could get hot and one of these days, the Broncos a la Peyton Manning will have a little bit of an off day. Wes Welker is out and that is a biggie. However, I think the West Coast boys will have trouble in the fourth quarter and the Broncos will cover. $11.
WASHINGTON at ATLANTA. Two disappointing teams. That usually computes to something screwy happening. I think Washington is screwed up more. And RGIII is on inactive duty. Give the 7 and take the Falcons for $11.
SAN FRANCISCO at TAMPA. After a big, big victory, 19-17, over Seattle, the 49ers must hit the road and you gotta wonder about that trip. I do, anyway. The 49ers should lay it on the Bucs but I do wonder. The closing schedule appears easy for them and will that affect their mind set? Call Dr. Phil, huh. Okay, I’ll go with the 49ers for $22, laying the 5.
NEW ORLEANS at ST. LOUIS. Man, the Saints do march to an up-tempo beat at home. They hammered Carolina 31-13 last week. So now they go on the road and play a gritty, but under-manned Rams team. So what gives! Hey, you have been warned: the Saints do not play as well on the road. In fact, they’re 0-3 as road favorites. The Rams don’t play that well much of anywhere. Will Drew Brees load his strong arm and carry the Saints to a lop-sided win? I think so. Heck, lay the 5½ for $22. Oh, you surprised by the low spread? Well, my power rating has the Saints giving 6. Hmmm.
SEATTLE at NY GIANTS. Going on the road as a favorite after suffering a tough loss usually spells trouble. Seattle is doing just that. And I think it will be trouble. Yes, yes, the Giants are midgets this season. But getting 7 points at home. I like that. A little. $11.
CHICAGO at CLEVELAND. What gives here? The Bears looked like Super Bowl champions and they’re taking on the Browns, the 4-9 Browns? And the Bears are getting a point! Yeah, yeah, it’s at Cleveland but so what. I expect the Bears passing game to shred the Browns. Never fear on this one. Go with $22 on the Bears.
HOUSTON at INDY. Houston lost a tough one to the Colts at home earlier this season, 27-24. The Texans’ brass fired Gary Kubiak and inserted assistant Wade Phillips. Was the coach the problem? I don’t think so. Always tough, though, to handicap a game with a coaching change. I’ll give the 5½ for $11 on the Colts.
NEW ENGLAND at MIAMI. This may be a good game for the cold New Englander tourists in Miami but for the Pats, well, this could be another difficult one. Lot of things going against them. First of all, they’re 0-3 as road favorites. Since the bye week, the widest margin, win or lose, has been 4 points — losing 24-20 at Carolina, then winning three straight, 34-31 at home over Denver, 34-31 at Houston and 27-16 at home over Cleveland. Miami has covered three of its last four games and pushed that other one. However, the Pats are giving just 2½ so maybe $11 would be okay. Do it.
NY JETS at CAROLINA. Another difficult one to read. Will Carolina bounce back from its loss to the Saints? The Panthers are 5-0 as home favorites and the Jets 2-4 as road dogs. But you gotta lay 11 points if you like the Panthers. I like the Panthers. Bet $22.
GREEN BAY at DALLAS. The Cowboys had been in control of the NFC East for virtually the entire year. The loss to the Bears, though, put them a game behind Philadelphia. They talk about injuries as the cause for the Cowboys mediocre 7-6 record. There must be more to it. Aaron Rodgers isn’t playing again, so … Geez, you gotta be on the Cowboys. The Packers are just 4-9 against the spread. How about laying 7 for $22!
CINCY at PITTSBURGH. Tough call for me. The Bengals have been my bane most of the season. Hey, they-re 0-4 as road favorites and they’re giving 3 in this one. Playing the Steelers at home is no easy endeavor, although they are just 2-3 overall there in covers this season. The Bengals whupped the Steelers at home, 20-10, in the second game of the season. On the road? Well, the Steelers are out of it and you wonder just what their mental state is. I do, anyway. Still, I will go with the Bengals to break the drought on the road. But just a little. $11.
BALTIMORE at DETROIT. Another case of two disappointing teams going at it. I just think the line is way out proportion on this one. They look like equal combatants to me so take the 6 points and the Ravens for $22.
PICKS BUT NO BETS. Arizona -3, Jacksonville +2, Minnesota +4½.
NFL LAST WEEK. 9-7 on picks. +$31. SEASON. 95-88-8. -$54.
COLLEGES LAST WEEK. 4-3 on picks. +$15. SEASON. 104-95-4. +$63.