Jets (10-5) at Rams (7-8). Line: Jets by 3. Over-Under: 43.
Sunday, 1:00 ET
WALTER'S GAME OF THE WEEK.

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Rams by 2.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Pick.

The Game. Edge: Jets.
Injuries: JETS: OUT: DT Josh Evans, CB Ray Mickens. DOUBTFUL: DE John Abraham. RAMS: OUT: OT Kyle Turley, G Chris Dishman, C Dave Wohlabaugh, S Zack Bronson.

This is one of two games on Sunday where both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. If the Jets lose, they need either the Broncos or Bills to lose. If the Rams are defeated, they are eliminated from playoff contention.

Curtis Martin rushed for just 33 yards against the Patriots on Sunday, but the Rams' defense is a far cry from New England's stop unit. St. Louis surrenders 4.8 yards per carry, good for fifth-worst in the NFL. Martin will approach the 150-rushing yard plateau, setting up play-action opportunities for Chad Pennington, who struggled against the Patriots. Pennington has a tendency to get antsy and starts over-throwing his receivers when he plays hard-hitting defenses like New England, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the Raiders of 2002. The Rams have anything but a stellar defense, meaning Pennington will torch a secondary that permits 202 passing yards per contest.

If only Mike Martz would run the ball more. The Rams scored on their opening drive against the Eagles with all running plays. St. Louis has the capability to be one of the best running teams in the NFL, which would significantly cut down on their turnovers, but Martz won't have it. The ignorant head coach will revert back to throwing the ball as often as possible with talented, but error-prone Marc Bulger. The Jets are known for their devastating pass rush, which will often get to Bulger because the Rams' offensive line has given up 47 sacks this season. Martz may have some success running the ball, but the Jets yield just 3.8 yards per carry to opposing running backs.

The Rams played against the Eagles' second- and third-string Monday night and barely won, 20-7. That is a clear indication of how poorly they will play against a superior team that will actually try to win.


The Trends. Edge: Jets.
  • Post Monday Night Syndrome: Teams coming off a Monday night victory are 10-18 ATS the following week since 2003.
  • Rams are 2-4 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: Jets -3 (open) to Jets -3.
  • Total Movement: .
  • Weather: Dome.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Chad Pennington, Curtis Martin, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Jets Defense.
  • Sit Em: Marshall Faulk, Steven Jackson, Rams Defense.

Prediction: Jets by 17. (Jets -3). Money Pick. Over.




49ers (2-13) at Patriots (13-2). Line: Patriots by 13. Over-Under: 37.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Patriots by 17.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Patriots by 14.

The Game. Edge: Patriots.
Injuries: 49ERS: OUT: QB Tim Rattay, C Jeremy Newberry, DE Andre Carter, DE Brandon Whiting, LB Julian Peterson, LB Jamie Winborn, CB Ahmed Plummer, CB Mike Rumph. QUESTIONABLE: WR Brandon Lloyd, WR Arnaz Battle. PATRIOTS: OUT: TE Ben Watson, OT Adrian Klemm, OT Tom Ashworth, NT Dan Klecko, CB Tyrone Poole. DOUBTFUL: CB Ty Law. QUESTIONABLE: RB Kevin Faulk, WR/KR Bethel Johnson, DE Richard Seymour, LB Matt Chatham, CB Randall Gay, S Dexter Reid.

The 49ers are clearly the worst team in the NFL. They are 2-13, coming off a 41-7 home loss to Buffalo, and they are privileged to conclude their season at New England. Think they will show up?

Even if San Francisco decides they have something to play for, how are they supposed to score against the Patriots? Kevan Barlow gains 3.3 yards per carry because his offensive line is one of the NFL's worst and there is no stability at the quarterback position. The erratic and weak-armed Ken Dorsey will probably be making the last start of his professional career and is there a worse way to go out than to play against Bill Belichick and his crazy schemes? New England's backups will not allow the 49ers to score.

Corey Dillon will probably sit out, but Tom Brady will operate a few drives, abusing a weak San Francisco defense in the process. When Brady leaves the game, Rohan Davey will take over. Davey will receive assistance from Patrick Pass, who will look impressive again a defense that yielded 6.1 yards per carry last week.

San Francisco is pathetic and has give up on their 2004 campaign. New England's backups will easily handle the 49ers' backups.


The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
  • Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 10-19 ATS since 2002.
  • Patriots are 22-7 ATS at home since 2001.
  • Patriots are 12-1 ATS at home since 2003.
  • Patriots are 9-2 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Line Movement: Patriots -14 (open) to Patriots -13 to Patriots -14 to Patriots -13 to Patriots -13.
  • Total Movement: 40 (open) to 37.
  • Weather: Partly Cloudy, 39 degrees. 6 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Patrick Pass, Patriots Defense.
  • Sit Em: 49ers Offense.

Prediction: Patriots by 16. (Patriots -13). Under.




Bengals (7-8) at Eagles (13-2). Line: Bengals by 3. Over-Under: 39.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Eagles by 3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Bengals by 3.

The Game. Edge: Bengals.
Injuries: BENGALS: OUT: WR Peter Warrick, C Rich Braham, DT Tony Williams, DT Matthias Askew, LB Nate Webster, CB Dennis Weathersby, CB Greg Brooks, CB Rashad Bauman, P Kyle Richardson. QUESTIONABLE: QB Carson Palmer*, DE Duane Clemons, S Rogers Beckett. EAGLES: OUT: RB Correll Buckhalter, FB Jon Ritchie, FB Thomas Tapeh, WR Terrell Owens*, G Shawn Andrews, DE Derrick Burgess, DE Ndukwe Kalu, DT Hollis Thomas.

The Eagles do not want to finish the regular season with two straight losses, but will Andy Reid risk injury to Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and other starters to win his 14th game of the season? No.

Westbrook will probably not play, while McNabb will engineer two or three drives at most. Philadelphia will score points while the starters are in because Cincinnati is ranked 28th against the run. Dorsey Levens looks rejuvenated and will be able to trample the Bengals' front seven, allowing McNabb to shred Cincinnati's porous secondary. However, when McNabb and starters on the offensive line leave the game, the Eagles will find it hard pressed to score. Koy Detmer proved Monday night that he has neither the arm strength nor the accuracy to facilitate an NFL offense. Jeff Blake showcased why he has bounced around the league-he has no awareness and makes too many mistakes. Philadelphia will not score once their starters leave the game.

Even if the Eagles starters on defense play, Cincinnati will not have trouble lighting up the scoreboard. Philadelphia cannot stop a power runner with speed, as witnessed when the Rams ran down their throats Monday. Rudi Johnson's bursts through wide-open running lanes will enable Jon Kitna to utilize play-action. Once Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, Michael Lewis and Brian Dawkins check out of the game, Kitna will frequently connect downfield with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, one of the league's best wide receiver tandems.


The Trends. Edge: Bengals.
  • Eagles are 3-8 ATS vs. AFC opponents since 2001.
  • Eagles are 5-2 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: Bengals -3 (open) to Bengals -3.
  • Total Movement: 40 (open) to 39.
  • Weather: Showers, 51 degrees. 7 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals Defense.
  • Sit Em: Eagles Offense and Defense.

Prediction: Bengals by 10. (Bengals -3). Over.




Vikings (8-7) at Redskins (5-10). Line: Vikings by 4. Over-Under: 41.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Vikings by 2.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Vikings by 4.

The Game. Edge: Redskins.
Injuries: VIKINGS: OUT: TE Jim Kleinsasser, OT Mike Rosenthal, CB Ken Irvin, S Tyrone Carter, K Aaron Elling. REDSKINS: OUT: RB Clinton Portis*, OT Jon Jansen, DE Phillip Daniels, LB LaVar Arrington, LB Mike Barrow, CB Ade Jimoh, S Matt Bowen, K John Hall, KR Chad Morton. DOUBTFUL: CB Fred Smoot.

This seems eerily familiar. The Vikings need a road win in the final week of the season against a team that has no playoff aspirations. Minnesota faced similar circumstances in 2003 when they needed to win at Arizona to qualify for the post-season. They fell short to the 4-12 Cardinals, 18-17.

Minnesota surprisingly does not run the ball well. Excluding a 25-yard burst, Michael Bennett was restricted to just 4.1 yards per carry last week against a Green Bay stop unit that does anything but stop the run. The Redskins are ranked second against the run, meaning Daunte Culpepper will be throwing early and often on Sunday. Washington surrenders 180 passing yards per contest, thanks to outstanding coverage by Fred Smoot and Shawn Springs. Randy Moss is difficult to contain, but he is nursing a sore back. The Redskins' defense aspires to be ranked first in the NFL, which they can accomplish by putting the clamps on the Vikings.

Clinton Portis is out, but Ladell Betts actually gains more yards per rush than Portis. Minnesota will have to place eight men in the box because they cannot stop the run. Patrick Ramsey, who has been playing well recently, will take advantage by utilizing play-action and torching a Vikings secondary that permits a whopping 246 passing yards per contest.

The Vikings are 1-19 in outdoor games since 2001. They will not win their second, despite their efforts to clinch playoff berth.


The Trends. Edge: Redskins.
  • Vikings are 1-19 in outdoor games since 2001 (7-13 ATS).
  • Redskins are 14-23 ATS at home since 2000.
  • Redskins are 4-9 ATS at home since 2003.
  • Redskins are 4-9 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Line Movement: Vikings -6 (open) to Vikings -4 to Vikings -4.
  • Total Movement: .
  • Weather: Showers, 56 degrees. 6 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss, Nate Burleson, Rod Gardner, Laveraneus Coles.
  • Sit Em: Clinton Portis (out), Vikings Running Backs and Defense.

Prediction: Redskins by 3. (Redskins +4). Double Money Pick. Upset Special. Under.




Saints (7-8) at Panthers (7-8). Line: Panthers by 7. Over-Under: 46.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Panthers by 4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Panthers by 5.

The Game. Edge: Panthers.
Injuries: SAINTS: OUT: DE Willie Whitehead, CB Ashley Ambrose. QUESTIONABLE: S Steve Gleason. PANTHERS: OUT: RB Stephen Davis, RB DeShaun Foster, RB Joey Harris, WR Steve Smith, G Bruce Nelson, G Doug Brzezinksi, DT Kris Jenkins, DT Shane Burton, S Damien Richardson, KR Rod Smart.

New Orleans has shocked the NFL world by stringing together three wins in the month of December. The Saints have been notorious for their late-season meltdowns but suddenly find themselves in playoff contention. Those who are concerned that New Orleans will make the playoffs need not worry-the Saints will provide their fans with a week 17 implosion that they will never forget.

The Saints will struggle to run against Carolina's stellar defensive front, which restricted Deuce McAllister to 22 yards on seven carries in their Dec. 5 meeting. McAllister will be stuffed once again, forcing Aaron Brooks to operate in long-yardage situations. When Brooks does not have the luxury of an effective ground attack, he commits more turnovers than a bushel full of Jake Plummers. Brooks threw two interceptions and fumbled once in New Orleans' 32-21 loss to the Panthers.

Unlike their pathetic NFC South rivals, Carolina will be able to run the ball. Nick Goings has five-100 rushing yard performances in his six NFL starts, including a 122-yard performance at New Orleans. The Saints are ranked 27th against the run and will surrender mass yardage to Goings, allowing Jake Delhomme to play-action them into their playoff graves. Delhomme completed 22 of 29 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown on Dec. 5.

Carolina will establish an early lead and will force many turnovers in a relatively easy win. The Panthers might be the most dangerous team in the NFC.


The Trends. Edge: Saints.
  • History: Panthers have won 4 of the last 5 meetings.
  • Divisional Dogs of Seven: Active coaches who are divisional underdogs of 7+ points are 40-18 ATS since 2002.
  • Line Movement: Panthers -7 (open) to Panthers -7.
  • Total Movement: .
  • Weather: Cloudy, 66 degrees. 6 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Joe Horn, Donte Stallworth, Jake Delhomme, Nick Goings, Mushin Muhammad, Panthers Defense.
  • Sit Em: Deuce McAllister, Saints Defense.

Prediction: Panthers by 20. (Panthers -7). Over.




Dolphins (4-11) at Ravens (8-7). Line: Ravens by 11. Over-Under: 33.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Ravens by 6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Ravens by 8.

The Game. Edge: Ravens.
Injuries: DOLPHINS: OUT: QB Jay Fiedler, RB Lamar Gordon, FB Rob Konrad, WR David Boston, DT Larry Chester, DT Tim Bowens, LB Junior Seau, LB Brant Boyer, S Chris Akins, S Shawn Wooden. DOUBTFUL: QB A.J. Feeley*. RAVENS: OUT: RB Musa Smith, G Edwin Mulitalo, CB Dale Carter. DOUBTFUL: TE Todd Heap*, CB Deion Sanders. QUESTIONABLE: RB Jamal Lewis*, WR Travis Taylor.

Baltimore needs a victory and other scenarios to occur to qualify for the playoffs, but don't expect the Dolphins to let the Ravens walk all over them. Jason Taylor and others are playing hard for interim coach Jim Bates.

That said, how are the Dolphins supposed to score against the Ravens' defense? Baltimore's stop unit is overrated because they are unable to contain teams with two-dimensional attacks coupled with a solid offensive line. However, Miami cannot run the ball and quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who is starting for the injured A.J. Feeley, is inexperienced and raw. Baltimore may score a touchdown or two off a Rosenfels interception or fumble.

The Ravens should have Jamal Lewis available and will establish him against a Miami defense that struggles to stop the run. Monstrous defensive tackles Tim Bowens and Larry Chester have missed a large portion of the season, which is why the Dolphins surrender 4.3 yards per carry. Kyle Boller will struggle because the Dolphins are outstanding against the pass, but the Ravens will wear down Miami's defense.


The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
  • Ravens are 25-14 ATS at home since 2000.
  • Ravens are 11-4 ATS at home since 2003.
  • Ravens are 5-2 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: Ravens -9 (open) to Ravens -10 to Ravens -11.
  • Total Movement: 35 (open) to 34 to 34 to 33.
  • Weather: Showers, 56 degrees. 9 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Jamal Lewis, Ravens Defense.
  • Sit Em: A.J. Feeley, Sage Rosenfels, Sammy Morris, Travis Minor, Kyle Boller, Travis Taylor, Todd Heap (doubtful).

Prediction: Ravens by 16. (Ravens -11). Over.




Browns (3-12) at Texans (7-8). Line: Texans by 9. Over-Under: 40.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Texans by 7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Texans by 9.

The Game. Edge: Texans.
Injuries: BROWNS: OUT: QB Jeff Garcia, WR Andre Davis, TE Kellen Winslow Jr., OT Ryan Tucker, G Kelvin Garmon, C Jeff Faine, DE Courtney Brown, LB Ben Taylor, LB Brant Boyer, CB Leigh Bodden. QUESTIONABLE: TE Aaron Shea, LB Warrick Holdman, CB Chris Crocker. TEXANS: OUT: G Zach Wiegert, LB Jay Foreman, S Marcus Coleman. DOUBTFUL: LB Antwan Peek. QUESTIONABLE: KR J.J. Moses.

Luke McCown will start his fifth-consecutive game and will attempt to break Cleveland's nine-game losing streak. During McCown's stint as a starter, the Browns have scored 7.3 points per contest. Cleveland obviously will focus on establishing the run with Lee Suggs, who gained 143 yards on 38 carries Sunday against the Dolphins. Houston will respond by placing eight men in the box, forcing McCown to beat them with virtually no help from the wide receiver position. No chance that will happen.

Cleveland surrendered 99 rushing yards last week to Miami, a team that has not been able to establish the run this season. Domanick Davis has broken out of his sophomore slump, bursting for 150 rushing yards against Jacksonville. Davis will wear down a tired Browns defensive front, which will enable David Carr to utilize play-action, torching Cleveland's secondary.

The Texans can claim their first non-losing season with a victory against the Browns. Laying 9 can be hazardous, but the Browns are a miserable team and Houston has won their last two contests by an average margin of 20 points.

Saturday Afternoon Update: Kelly Holcomb has made a remarkable recovery from his rib injury and will play Sunday. This pick has been changed 3:40 p.m., Saturday.


The Trends. Edge: Texans.
  • Browns are 1-6 ATS on the road this year.
  • Texans are 11-4 ATS at home since 2003.
  • Texans are 5-2 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: Texans -11 (open) to Texans -10 to Texans -10 to Texans -9 to Texans -9.
  • Total Movement: 40 (open) to 39 to 40.
  • Weather: Retractable Roof.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: David Carr, Domanick Davis, Andre Johnson.
  • Sit Em: Browns Defense.

Prediction: Texans by 6. (Browns +9). Over.




Steelers (14-1) at Bills (9-6). Line: Bills by 9. Over-Under: 34.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Bills by 3.

The Game. Edge: Bills.
Injuries: STEELERS: OUT: TE Jay Riemersma, G Kendall Simmons, NT Casey Hampton, CB Deshea Townsend. DOUBTFUL: QB Ben Roethlisberger*, RB Jerome Bettis*, LB Clark Haggans. QUESTIONABLE: RB Duce Staley*, LB Kendrell Bell. BILLS: OUT: C Trey Teague. QUESTIONABLE: G Chris Villarrial.

Bill Cowher claims that his team will try hard to win this game. The problem is, the Steelers don't have anything to play for, and history has shown that as hard as a coach may try, the players know the situation and when to put forth maximum effort.

Ben Roethlisberger is out, while Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis will see limited action. That means Verron Haynes will receive many carries. Buffalo's superb run defense, which is ranked third in the NFL, will put the clamps on Haynes, forcing Tommy Maddox to throw on many obvious passing situations. The Bills surrender just 149 passing yards at home, meaning Pittsburgh's offense will experience many stalled drives. Maddox will also be sacked often, because unlike Roethlisberger, Maddox is not a nimble quarterback.

The Steelers' stop unit is arguably the NFL's best, but with nothing to play for, they will be lethargic Sunday, despite the pleas of their head coach. Willis McGahee, whose emergence was a catalyst for Buffalo's late-season surge, will run well against the best run defense in the league. Pittsburgh will have to bring a safety into the box to counter McGahee's long gains, meaning Drew Bledsoe can utilize play-action, torching a questionable secondary.

It's a shame that this match-up did not take place a few weeks earlier. If both teams had something to play for, this contest could rival the opener between New England and Indianapolis as the season's best.


The Trends. Edge: Bills.
  • Bills are 5-2 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: Bills -9 (open) to Bills -8 to Bills -9.
  • Total Movement: .
  • Weather: Showers, 47 degrees. 14 MPH Mild Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Willis McGahee, Eric Moulds, Lee Evans.
  • Sit Em: Steelers Starting Offense and Defense.

Prediction: Bills by 14. (Bills -9). Over.




Packers (9-6) at Bears (5-10). Line: Bears by 3. Over-Under: 34.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Packers by 5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Packers by 4.

The Game. Edge: Bears.
Injuries: PACKERS: OUT: TE David Martin, C Mike Flanagan. QUESTIONABLE: FB Najeh Davenport, WR Donald Driver, OT Kevin Barry, G Marco Rivera. BEARS: OUT: QB Rex Grossman, G Rex Tucker, G Ruben Brown, LB Brian Urlacher, S Mike Brown.

The Bears are favored in this contest because the assumption is Mike Sherman will rest many-if not all-of his starters. Brett Favre will keep his consecutive-game streak alive, but the most action he will see is a single drive. Favre will be replaced by Craig Nall, a quarterback with experience in the West Coast offense. However, Nall lacks the arm strength to convert many long-yardage situations, which he will be placed in after Tony Fisher struggles to gain significant yardage behind backup offensive linemen. The Bears will be missing Brian Urlacher, and are 0-6 without him, but other key starters will all be playing. If Nall struggles, Mike Sherman may substitute him with J.T. O'Sullivan, Favre's likely replacement once he retires. Sullivan is a very capable young quarterback, but without any pieces around him, points will be hard to come by.

Although Green Bay may rest all of their key players on defense-excluding their young cornerbacks-Chicago will struggle to score. Thomas Jones will be playing against a very porous run defense, which he carved up for 152 rushing yards on 23 carries in their Sept. 19 meeting. However, the Packers will place eight men in the box, coaxing Chad Hutchinson to move the chains by himself.

Chicago has a lot more to play for than Green Bay does. The Packers are resting their players, while the Bears and their fans will do anything-even sell their souls-to sweep the hated Packers.


The Trends. Edge: Packers.
  • History: Packers have won 18 of the last 21 meetings.
  • History: Packers are 10-0 at Chicago since 1993.
  • Emotional Win Alert: Teams are 31-60 ATS since 2001. Packers kicked a GW FG as time expired.
  • Bears are 2-5 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: .
  • Total Movement: 36 (open) to 34.
  • Weather: Showers, 49 degrees. 14 MPH Mild Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Thomas Jones, Bears Defense.
  • Sit Em: Packers Offense.

Prediction: Bears by 7. (Bears -3). Under.




Lions (6-9) at Titans (4-11). Line: Lions by 2. Over-Under: 45.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Titans by 4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Titans by 3.

The Game. Edge: Lions.
Injuries: LIONS: OUT: WR Charles Rogers, LB Boss Baliley, S Brian Walker, KR/PR Eddie Drummond. QUESTIONABLE: G Damien Woody. TITANS: OUT: QB Steve McNair, RB Chris Brown*, G Jacob Bell, G Zach Piller, LB Peter Sirmon, LB Rocky Calmus, CB Samari Rolle, CB Andre Woolfolk, S Lance Schulters, S Tank Williams, K Joe Nedney. QUESTIONABLE: WR Drew Bennett*, OT Brad Hopkins, OT Fred Miller, C Justin Hartwig, DT Albert Haynesworth, LB Rocky Boiman, CB Andre Dyson, S Lamont Thompson, WS Scott McGarrahan.

The emergence of Kevin Jones, the return of Charles Rogers next season and the improved play of Joey Harrington gives Lions fans lots of hope for their 2005 campaign. Detroit will finish the year on a high note, because they are facing a defense that is ranked last against the run and is missing four of their top five defensive backs. Jones needs 139 yards to eclipse the 1,200 rushing yard barrier. He will accomplish that feat, setting up play-action for Harrington in the process.

Billy Volek is a talented quarterback but he will not have the services of Chris Brown for the second consecutive week. The Denver Broncos monopolized on Brown's absence by sacking Volek into oblivion. Detroit will do the same after putting the clamps on mediocre-at-best running back Antowain Smith. The Lions are ranked fifth against opposing ground attacks, meaning Volek will operate in a plethora of long-yardage situations. James Hall will add a few sacks to his impressive total of 11.


The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • Double Home Alert: Coaches are 40-32 ATS at home following a home loss since 2001 (Jeff Fisher 1-3).
  • Titans are 1-6 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: Lions -2 (open) to Lions -3 to Lions -2.
  • Total Movement: 45 (open) to 45.
  • Weather: Showers, 66 degrees. 11 MPH Mild Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Joey Harrington, Kevin Jones, Roy Williams, Drew Bennett, Derrick Mason, Lions Defense.
  • Sit Em: Chris Brown (out), Antowain Smith, Titans Defense.

Prediction: Lions by 17. (Lions -2). Money Pick. Over.




Falcons (11-4) at Seahawks (8-7). Line: Seahawks by 6. Over-Under: 42.
Sunday, 4:05 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Seahawks by 5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Seahawks by 6.

The Game. Edge: None.
Injuries: FALCONS: OUT: FB Justin Griffith, DE Karon Riley, S Keion Carpenter. DOUBTFUL: RB T.J. Duckett*. QUESTIONABLE: QB Michael Vick*, TE Alge Crumpler, DT Travis Hall, NT Ed Jasper, CB Jason Webster. SEAHAWKS: OUT: LB Anthony Simmons, S Damien Robinson, P Tom Rouen. QUESTIONABLE: QB Matt Hasselbeck*, FB Mack Strong, DE Grant Wistrom, DT Marcus Tubbs, LB Chad Brown, CB Bobby Taylor, S Michael Boulware.

The result of this game will be dependent on what transpires in the Rams-Jets contest. If St. Louis wins, the Seahawks need to win to claim the NFC West crown. If St. Louis loses, the Seahawks will have nothing to play for because they will clinch their division automatically.

Either way, Jim Mora Jr. announced that Michael Vick will play. Mora Jr. wants to keep Vick from getting rusty because the Falcons have a first-round bye. However, Vick will not run in this game; he will stay in the pocket and work on operating in the West Coast offense. If Seattle does not need to win this game, they will most likely rest some key defensive players because they will be playing on Wild Card weekend. Vick will be able to torch a skeleton crew stop unit. Warrick Dunn will also rip through a defense that surrenders 4.4 yards per carry. If Seattle needs to win this contest, Vick will struggle-as he often does when relegated to the pocket. The Seahawks will play with more tenacity than the stoic Falcons and will shut down Atlanta's offense.

If the Rams lose, which is a likely scenario, it is plausible to think Mike Holmgren will rest Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, some of his wide receivers and offensive linemen. Trent Dilfer will not fare well against a superior Falcons defense that will sack him on many occasions after Maurice Morris is stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

If the Rams win, Hasselbeck, Alexander and others will play. Atlanta has yielded more than four yards per carry in every game since their 24-14 win against Tampa Bay on Nov. 14. Alexander will trample the Falcons' front seven, setting up play-action for Hasselbeck, who will torch a Seahawks secondary that permits 258 passing yards per contest on the road.

The prediction made below assumes St. Louis wins. It will change if the Rams are ahead of the Jets around 3:30. Stay tuned.


The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
  • Seahawks are 1-6 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: Seahawks -5 (open) to Seahawks -6 to Seahawks -5 to Seahawks -6.
  • Total Movement: 43 (open) to 42 to 42.
  • Weather: Possible Snow, 41 degrees. 7 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Seahawks Offense (if Rams win).
  • Sit Em: Seahawks Offense (if Rams lose).

Prediction: Falcons by 10. (Falcons +6). Under.




Buccaneers (5-10) at Cardinals (5-10). Line: Cardinals by 3. Over-Under: 38.
Sunday, 4:05 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Buccaneers by 3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Buccaneers by 4.

The Game. Edge: None.
Injuries: BUCCANEERS: OUT: RB Charlie Garner, FB Mike Alstott, TE Rickey Dudley, TE Will Heller, G Kerry Jenkins, C John Wade, DT Anthony McFarland. CARDINALS: OUT: RB Marcel Shipp, RB Troy Hambrick, FB James Hodgins, OT L.J. Shelton, DT Kenny King, DE Fred Wakefield. DOUBTFUL: OT Leonard Davis. QUESTIONABLE: WR Nathan Poole.

The Buccaneers are a team with many internal problems. Simeon Rice criticized Jon Gruden's ability to discipline his team. Various players are yelling at Gruden during the game. Consequently, Tampa Bay is shooting themselves in the foot and possess a -6 turnover ratio in their three previous contests.

At first glance, the Cardinals appear to be ranked 31st against the run, allowing 4.8 yards per rush. However, their home-road dichotomy regarding that statistic is astonishing. They surrender 5.3 yards per rush on the road and just 4.1 at Sun Devil Stadium. Arizona will put the clamps on a struggling Michael Pittman, forcing the erratic Brian Griese to operate in long-yardage situations. Griese should be able to move the chains, but will commit a few key turnovers, which will be coupled with many false starts and holding penalties.

Arizona does not have the personnel to exploit the weakness on Tampa Bay's once-prolific defense. The Buccaneers can be beaten with a power runner who receives blocks from an outstanding offensive line. Emmitt Smith has played relatively well this season but he is no longer the running back who can pummel Tampa Bay's small defensive front. Josh McCown will be forced to operate in obvious passing situations. McCown has played well since being benched and has the wide receivers-Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Bryant Johnson-to be successful. But not on Sunday.

Tampa Bay has superior talent and should win this contest, but the mass rebellion against Gruden could prevent them from doing so.


The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
  • Buccaneers are 1-6 ATS at home this year.
  • Cardinals are 10-5 ATS at home since 2003.
  • Cardinals are 7-2 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Line Movement: Cardinals -1 (open) to Cardinals -2 to Cardinals -3.
  • Total Movement: 40 (open) to 39 to 38.
  • Weather: Partly Cloudy, 63 degrees. 6 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Michael Clayton, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin.
  • Sit Em: Michael Pittman, Emmitt Smith.

Prediction: Cardinals by 6. (Cardinals -3). Under.




Chiefs (7-8) at Chargers (11-4). Line: Chiefs by 3. Over-Under: 52.
Sunday, 4:15 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Chargers by 7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Chargers by 5.

The Game. Edge: Chiefs.
Injuries: CHIEFS: OUT: RB Priest Holmes, WR Marc Boerigter, OT John Welbourn, DE Vonnie Holliday, LB Mike Maslowski, LB Shawn Barber. QUESTIONABLE: RB Derrick Blaylock, WR Johnnie Morton, OT Chris Bober, S Jerome Woods. CHARGERS: OUT: WR Reche Caldwell, OT Courtney Van Buren, DE David Ball, LB Carlos Polk, LB Zeke Moreno. QUESTIONABLE: WR Keenan McCardell*, WR Eric Parker*, CB Sammy Davis.

Yet another game where a team with no playoff aspirations plays a team that has already locked up their position in the post-season. The Chargers are cemented into the fourth seed, meaning Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates and various starters on their defense and offensive line will see little action, if any.

Larry Johnson has burst out of his diapers and has rushed for more than 100 yards in three of his last four starts. San Diego is normally stout against opposing ground attacks, but run stuffer Jamal Williams will see limited action. Johnson will once again eclipse the century mark, setting up play-action for Trent Green, who should be able to torch a skeleton crew defense.

The Chargers front office may ask Marty Schottenheimer to play Phillip Rivers this week, so they can evaluate their quarterback situation after the playoffs conclude. Rivers may not receive much help with LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates and some starters on the offensive line out of the lineup. One weapon Rivers will have is Jesse Chatman, who has gained six yards per carry this season. Kansas City will counter by placing eight men in the box, forcing Rivers to operate in obvious passing situations. A Ben Roethlisberger comes along once a decade, and chances are Rivers is no Big Ben. The rookie will struggle in his first NFL start.

Kansas City can finish this season with an 8-8 record, something which Dick Vermeil is probably stressing to his team.


The Trends. Edge: Chargers.
  • History: Home Team has won 10 of the last 13 meetings.
  • Chargers are 5-1 ATS at home this year.
  • Chargers are 3-7 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Line Movement: Chiefs -3 (open) to Chiefs -3.
  • Total Movement: 56 (open) to 54 to 54 to 52.
  • Weather: Showers, 61 degrees. 9 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Trent Green, Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez.
  • Sit Em: Chargers Starting Offense and Defense.

Prediction: Chiefs by 6. (Chiefs -3). Under.




Colts (12-3) at Broncos (9-6). Line: Broncos by 8. Over-Under: 44.
Sunday, 4:15 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Colts by 6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Broncos by 7.

The Game. Edge: Broncos.
Injuries: COLTS: OUT: LB Jim Melson, CB Donald Strickland. QUESTIONABLE: LB Gilbert Gardner, CB Nick Harper. BRONCOS: OUT: RB Quentin Griffin, RB Mike Anderson, DT Luther Elliss, CB Willie Middlebrooks.

As this sky scraper point spread suggests, the Broncos have everything to play for because they control their own destiny, while Indianapolis is locked into the third seed.

Assuming the Jets take care of business at St. Louis, this will be a wild card match-up next weekend. Under normal circumstances, both teams would rest all of their starters so they don't give anything away for next week's much more significant contest. However, Denver cannot afford to rest their starters because they will be eliminated from playoff contention if they lose and the Jaguars beat the Raiders. Expect Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison and the rest of the Colts offensive weapons to see limited action, if any. The Colts will be held to less than 20 points for the first time this season.

Denver needs to be careful. They have to win to assure themselves of a playoff spot, but at the same time, they must not give anything away because they will be playing at Indianapolis next weekend. The Colts will most likely rest Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and the rest of their veterans on defense, so the Broncos should be able to score on nearly every possession.


The Trends. Edge: Broncos.
  • Revenge Situation: Colts beat the Broncos in the playoffs last year.
  • Emotional Win Alert: Teams are 31-60 ATS since 2001. Colts kicked a GW FG in overtime.
  • Broncos are 6-3 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Line Movement: Broncos -7 (open) to Broncos -9 to Broncos -8.
  • Total Movement: 48 (open) to 47 to 46 to 44.
  • Weather: Partly Cloudy, 50 degrees. 8 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Broncos Offense and Defense.
  • Sit Em: Colts Offense and Defense.

Prediction: Broncos by 31. (Broncos -8). Money Pick. Under.




Jaguars (8-7) at Raiders (5-10). Line: Jaguars by 1. Over-Under: 44.
Sunday, 4:15 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Jaguars by 4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Jaguars by 4.

The Game. Edge: .
Injuries: JAGUARS: OUT: TE George Wrighster, OT Mike Pearson, DE Lionel Barnes, DE Paul Spicer, DE Rob Meier. DOUBTFUL: RB Fred Taylor*, CB Juran Bolden. QUESTIONABLE: QB Byron Leftwich*, S Deon Grant. RAIDERS: OUT: QB Rich Gannon, RB Tyrone Wheatley, WR Ronald Curry, G Frank Middleton, G Mo Collins, G Ron Stone, S Derrick Gibson, KR Carlos Francis. QUESTIONABLE: CB Charles Woodson, CB Phillip Buchanon.

The good news is if Jacksonville wins and both the Steelers and Colts-two of the elite teams in this league-win, the Jaguars will make it into the playoffs. The bad news is Pittsburgh and Indianapolis will be resting many of their key players and will be playing against the Bills and Broncos, who are fighting for their playoff lives.

Fred Taylor is questionable and his availability will probably be dependent on what occurs in the Steelers-Bills contest. If Buffalo wins, the Jaguars will have nothing to play for and there would be no reason for Taylor to risk injury. Byron Leftwich, who is coming off a mild concussion may not play either. Greg Jones' inability to run effectively, especially against a Raiders defense that surrenders 3.9 yards per carry, will place David Garrard in many long-yardage situations. Garrard will make mistakes and Oakland will capitalize on a few turnovers. If Buffalo somehow loses, Taylor will play and should be able to gain modest yardage, allowing Byron Leftwich to occasionally burn the Raiders' secondary, comprised of injured corners Phillip Buchanon and Charles Woodson.

If the Bills beat the Steelers, Jacksonville's stellar defense may be lethargic. Consequently, Kerry Collins and his young receivers will exploit a depressed Jaguars stop unit. If the Bills lose to Pittsburgh, Jacksonville will be fired up. Oakland cannot and does not run the ball; their leading rusher is Amos Zereoue, who has 420 rushing yards this season. Collins is successful throwing the ball every down against poor defenses, but the Raiders' one-dimensional attack will not work against Jacksonville's defense, especially if they are pumped up.

If you are looking to bet this game, wait until the winner of the Pittsburgh-Buffalo game is clear. My prediction will changed around 3:30 if Pittsburgh pulls the improbable upset.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Buffalo is trailing Pittsburgh, 29-17 with 2:23 remaining in the game. The Jaguars will be inspired because they just need an Indianapolis win to qualify for the playoffs. This pick has been changed at 4 p.m., Sunday.


The Trends. Edge: .
  • Raiders are 4-10 ATS at home since 2003.
  • Raiders are 2-5 ATS at home this year.
  • Line Movement: .
  • Total Movement: .
  • Weather: Showers, 53 degrees. 8 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Jerry Porter, Jaguars Offense and Defense (if Bills lose), Raiders Offense and Defense (if Bills win).
  • Sit Em: Jaguars Offense and Defense (if Bills win), Raiders Offense and Defense (if Bills lose).

Prediction: Jaguars by 3. (Jaguars -1). Under.




Cowboys (6-9) at Giants (5-10). Line: Giants by 2. Over-Under: 37.
Sunday, 8:30 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16 Games): Giants by 2.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16 Games): Giants by 3.

The Game. Edge: None.
Injuries: COWBOYS: OUT: WR Terry Glenn, LB Al Singleton, CB Pete Hunter, CB Tyrone Williams, S Darren Woodson. GIANTS: OUT: WR Tyrone Carter, WR James McKnight, G Rich Seubert, G Barry Stokes, DE Michael Strahan, DE Keith Washington, LB Barrett Green, CB Frank Walker, S Shaun Williams, S Omar Stoutmire, S Gibril Wilson. DOUBTFUL: WR Amani Toomer*, TE Jeremy Shockey*. QUESTIONABLE: G Chris Snee.

The Giants are ranked 22nd against the run and surrender 4.5 yards per carry, but that number has drastically improved in the past few weeks. New York has given up less than 4.1 yards per rush to the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals-three teams that excel at running the football. In fact, the Giants suffocated Rudi Johnson on Sunday, restricting him to just 31 yards on 19 carries. A revitalized New York defense will put the clamps on impressive rookie Julius Jones, forcing Vinny Testaverde to operate in long-yardage situations. That will lead to tons of picks and sacks.

Dallas is statistically better against opposing ground attacks than their fierce NFC East rival, but they yielded a whopping 122 rushing yards on 23 carries to Tiki Barber in their Oct. 10 meeting. Barber, who qualified for the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, will have similar success against a Cowboys team that is coming off an emotional win against arch-rival Washington.

Saturday Update: Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey have been downgraded to doubtful and will likely miss Sunday's game. This pick has been changed 3:40 p.m. Saturday.


The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • History: Giants have won 6 of the last 9 meetings.
  • Giants are 8-23 ATS at home since 2001.
  • Giants are 4-11 ATS at home since 2003.
  • Line Movement: Giants -2 (open) to Giants -3 to Giants -2.
  • Total Movement: .
  • Weather: Partly Cloudy, 40 degrees. 6 MPH Wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Tiki Barber, Jason Witten, Giants Defense.
  • Sit Em: Eli Manning, Ike Hilliard, Amani Toomer, Jeremy Shockey, Vinny Testaverde.

Prediction: Giants by 1. (Cowboys +2). Under.


My Team by Team ATS Record
This section shows how well I do when picking each team. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed.


Cowboys: 9-5
Eagles: 9-6
Giants: 8-7
Redskins: 8-7

Bears: 8-7
Lions: 7-8
Packers: 9-6
Vikings: 4-11

Buccaneers: 6-7
Falcons: 7-7
Panthers: 10-4
Saints: 10-5

49ers: 6-9
Cardinals: 9-6
Rams: 8-6
Seahawks: 7-8

Bills: 12-3
Dolphins: 7-8
Jets: 9-5
Patriots: 8-5

Bengals: 8-7
Browns: 10-5
Ravens: 9-6
Steelers: 5-10

Colts: 9-5
Jaguars: 8-7
Texans: 10-5
Titans: 6-9

Broncos: 7-5
Chargers: 9-4
Chiefs: 5-10
Raiders: 9-6

Divisional Games: 47-39
Trend Edge: 30-37
Game Edge: 42-38
Game & Trend Edge: 8-7


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Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 21, 2013): 1-0 (+$700)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2013): 0-0 ($0)
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2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)

2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580)
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1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%)
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2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925)
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2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
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2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
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2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
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2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870)
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Career NFL Picks of the Month: 30-16 (65.2%)



My Team-by-Team ATS Record
This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

Cowboys: 9-7
Bears: 7-7
Bucs: 8-8
49ers: 8-9
Eagles: 7-10
Lions: 11-5
Falcons: 5-10
Cardinals: 10-5
Giants: 7-9
Packers: 8-8
Panthers: 8-9
Rams: 7-9
Redskins: 9-7
Vikings: 7-9
Saints: 13-4
Seahawks: 9-10
Bills: 12-4
Bengals: 8-8
Colts: 11-6
Broncos: 8-11
Dolphins: 11-5
Browns: 3-13
Jaguars: 7-8
Chargers: 11-6
Jets: 8-8
Ravens: 9-6
Texans: 10-5
Chiefs: 6-11
Patriots: 10-8
Steelers: 6-10
Titans: 5-7
Raiders: 9-7
Divisional: 51-44 (2011-12: 90-93)
2x Game Edge: 14-22 (2011-12: 41-40)
2x Psych Edge: 35-26 (2011-12: 57-54)
2x Vegas Edge: 40-38 (2011-12: 89-104)
2x Trend Edge: 24-23 (2011-12: 48-55)
Double Edge: 9-10 (2011-12: 17-23)
Triple Edge: 1-0 (2011-12: 1-1)
Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011: 0-0)

2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
2003 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 20 | XXXVIII
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2004 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XXXIX
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2005 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XL
2006 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
2006 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLI
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2008 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2008 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIII |
2009 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIV |
2010 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2010 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLV |
2011 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2011 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLVI |
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