Saturday, December 31, 2011

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DETROIT AT GREEN BAY:Some think that DET have nothing to play for coming into this game.  That's easy to say if you think they like the idea of playing NO in round 1.  I'm pretty sure they'd like to avoid that and they already announced they will be playing their starters.  Will they finish the game?  That remains to be seen, but what we do know is GB will be going through the motions in this one.  If any of you saw what that looked like in the preseason you'll understand why this is probably my favorite pick of the week.  Flynn is a good prospect, but Stafford will have a monumental advantage in the air.

KANSAS CITY AT DENVER: I really liked KC -2.5 last week against OAK, but thanks to two blocked field goals (including a potential game clinching) it wasn't meant to be.  I'm coming back with them again this week against an overrated DEN team.  After NE popped the Tebow bubble, the "chosen one" followed it up with a dud last week in BUF.  This week Orton makes his unceremonial return to DEN and don't be shocked if he rains on the Tebow love-fest to close out the season.  I think the wonder boy throws another couple picks on Sunday.  Getting the hook is an extra bonus in what should be a pick em game. 

BALTIMORE AT CINCINNATI: The line moved off a key number here.  BAL opened as -3 favorites but money came in on CIN.  I disagree with the move.  CIN have made great strides this year, have a healthy AJ Green, and a sellout crowd, but can they beat the top teams?  So far they are 9-2 against the mid-range and bottom-feeders, but 0-4 against the upper echelon this season.  Meanwhile BAL is 3-0 against tough teams in 2011.  In a game as even as this, that is the tipping point for me.  Even though I'm not a Flacco fan...they should be able to rise to the occasion for a final time.  Also keep in mind BAL is a +68 in points from long drives while CIN is -39.  That could come into play if the game is decided on the final few possessions. 


TENNESSEE AT HOUSTON: Both teams have an outside chance to move up in the standings on Sunday, but both scenarios are unlikely.  Sharps think TEN have more motivation to win and moved the line up from -1.5 to -3.  That was enough for me to look at HOU.  Given the fact that Andre Johnson is suiting up, I like Yates a whole lot more than I did without the world-class receiver.   If both teams go for the win then HOU has all of the advantages with the X's and O's.  And even if HOU don't have their "A" game, they should be able to cover as a dog.  This HOU defense has held opponents to less than 20 points in 11 of their 15 games and it could get ugly if TEN get down early. 

DALLAS @ NEW YORK: The prime-time event of the week got flexed to Sunday night as the NFC East divisional crown is up for grabs.  Figuring out these teams (and this division) has been a nightmare all season so there are a lot of people sitting on the fence heading into this matchup.  The stats say one thing, but they have been largely meaningless when these teams take the field.  In theory, both teams match up pretty evenly with DAL holding the edge with their run defense (or lack of NYG run offense).  However, with home field advantage and Romo's reputation in must-win situations...I really like NY in this spot.  Throw in an injured hand for Romo and I like NY that much more. 

TEASERS: I teased a collection of favorites have been teased down for Sunday.  NO, NE, ATL, and PIT all have some incentive to win their games and all face significantly inferior opponents.  The only underdog that would give me pause is CAR.  They are a young bunch looking to get better and Newton has proved he can move the chains and put up points.  Teasing NO down to avoid a backdoor cover makes the most sense, but backing CAR with the spread has proved too volatile in the second half of the year.  They make far too many mistakes to rely on them to do anything right...especially on the road.  PHI have been covering games left and right down the stretch even though they've known a shot at the playoffs were a long-shot.  They got embarrassed in the early part of the year with all the dream-team talk so look for them to come out with the full intentions on winning the final game of the year.  This group of talent has a lot of pride and won't roll over on coach Reid.