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NFL Weekly Predictions
Week 7, 2007



Note: Can't say I'm pleased with last week's results. I went 7-5-1, but lost two of my top three plays. Second-half picks weren't any better at 1-2-1. Vegas lost a ton of money this past weekend, with Cleveland, New England, Philadelphia and the Giants all covering. I expect the books to return the favor this Sunday. If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.



Arizona Cardinals (3-3) at Washington Redskins (3-2)
Line: Redskins by 8. Total: 36.

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Redskins -3.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Redskins -8.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Redskins.
Injuries: CARDINALS: OUT: QB Matt Leinart, QB Kurt Warner*, OT Oliver Ross. REDSKINS: OUT: OT Jon Jansen.

At this point, I'm convinced that Bill Bidwill's goal in life is to move his franchise around, build a stadium on an Indian burial ground, strip the city of its resources, give people false hope every year, overcharge the fans on ticket prices, and then relocate his team elsewhere. I actually believe Bidwill orchestrated the Matt Leinart-Kurt Warner fued, and single-handedly tore the tendons in Warner's elbow after last week's loss to Carolina. The man is a menace and must be stopped.

Tim Rattay sucks. With Warner out, the Redskins are going to kill the Cardinals. Right? Well, that's what the public is thinking, as told by the high percentage of money shown in the Vegas section. Am I the only person who thinks Arizona has a shot? I mean, who is Washington to be laying a touchdown, when all they've done this year is beat the woeful Dolphins by three; defeat the struggling Eagles on Monday Night Football; and clobber the Lions, who stink on the road?

Arizona isn't exactly great at stopping the run, so Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts should be able to establish an effective ground attack, which will set up play-action opportunities for Jason Campbell. That said, I'm not confident that Washington will pound the rock as often as it should; last week, Campbell threw the ball 37 times, while Portis and Betts received only 23 carries. That needs to change if the Redskins want to win and cover against the Cardinals, who already have 16 sacks this season.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure Ken Whisenhunt will give Edgerrin James as many carries as possible, given that he's playing with a third-string quarterback under center. James could have difficulty finding running lanes against Washington's sixth-ranked ground defense however, meaning the Cardinals will have problems moving the chains; the Redskins have 15 sacks and are fifth versus the pass.

I can't say I really trust Rattay on the road, especially when his team is playing a 10 a.m. local contest on the East Coast. That said, I'm not too confident in the Redskins either, given their offensive deficiencies, and the amount of cash gamblers are throwing on them this week. I'm taking Arizona and the touchdown, but I'm considering Washington as a Survivor Pick, if that makes any sense.

Friday Morning Update: It looks as though Kurt Warner may play with a brace on his elbow. Let me get this straight... A fragile quarterback with a brace on his injured elbow playing a tough defense? Does anyone else see the illogic in this?


The Psychology. Edge: None.
The Redskins have the Patriots next week, but I can't see them looking past a high-octane offense in the wake of losing to Green Bay and dropping to 3-2.


The Vegas. Edge: Cardinals.
If Kurt Warner plays, there could be equal action. If not, expect heavy public money on the Redskins.
  • Percentage of money on Washington: 77% (104,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Hello, Good Bye: Underdogs of 6.5 or more are 18-10 ATS a week before their bye since 2002.
  • Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 19-27 ATS since 2002 (Ken Whisenhunt 1-0).
  • Crappy Quarterback: Tim Rattay is 2-4 ATS on the road since 2002.
  • Redskins are 3-12 ATS after a road win since 2000.
  • Opening Line: Redskins -6.
  • Opening Total: 38.
  • Weather: Sunny, 78 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Redskins Defense.
  • Sit Em: Edgerrin James.


    Prediction: Redskins 20, Cardinals 13
    Cardinals +8 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Under 36 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Survivor Pick (6-0)
    Redskins 21, Cardinals 19.



    Atlanta Falcons (1-5) at New Orleans Saints (1-4)
    Line: Saints by 8. Total: 42.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Saints -4.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Saints -7.5.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Saints.
    Injuries: FALCONS: OUT: QB Michael Vick. SAINTS: OUT: RB Deuce McAllister.

    Going into the Seahawks-Saints game, the latter had only one sack. But don't blame the players - defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs told Al Michaels and John Madden the reason for New Orleans' sack deficiency is because he hadn't been calling pressure defenses. Oh, really? It's that simple, huh? Well, I would be a millionaire right now, but I just haven't gotten around to buying my winning lottery tickets yet. Meanwhile, Emmitt Smith would be an English scholar, but he hasn't graduated the second grade yet. Damn those cursive letters!

    It's a good thing the Saints are suddenly great again because the Falcons are having severe problems on their offensive line. The latter has yielded 22 sacks this season, thanks in part to injury, problems at receiver and a certain piano-player at the quarterback position. Actually, Joey Harrington isn't playing all that poorly; he's completing 63 percent of his passes, and has just as many picks (4) as touchdowns. However, his wide outs aren't doing him any favors. Seriously, how many drops can a team have in one game? Alge Crumpler is a disgrace and needs to be cut. Roddy White, who bobbled a few balls - that sounds pretty funny; I apologize to anyone who was eating - on Monday night himself, is the only potent receiving option on the offense. Atlanta will not be able to expose New Orleans' defensive weakness, which is the secondary. Running the ball against the Saints (seventh in the NFL) will be a problem.

    Did I mention it's a good thing the Saints are suddenly great again? That's incredible timing because the Falcons' defense is an abomination. I don't really understand how they're this bad. It's not like they don't have talent. Atlanta is 24th against the run, 20th versus the pass and 17th in points allowed. In six games, they have only nine sacks. How are they going to get to Drew Brees, while containing Reggie Bush, Marques Colston and Devery Henderson all at the same time? Seems impossible to me. Like Eli Manning, Brees will dissect the Falcons' secondary en route to 30 points.

    I almost forgot. Isn't it a good thing the Saints are suddenly great again? Well, if you've been reading my picks for a while, you know where I'm going with this. I'm not buying into the one-game turnaround thing. To me, I think New Orleans still has major issues that were masked by a hideous performance by the Seahawks. I just can't buy the Saints as a 9-point favorite, especially when they've been terrible in that sort of role throughout this decade. Nine is a ton of points in a rivalry where the road team usually thrives. And it also helps that the public disagrees with me.

    Wednesday Evening Update: Byron Leftwich will start. He's not an upgrade at the quarterback position, but maybe his teammates will play harder for him. Who knows at this point?


    The Psychology. Edge: Saints.
    The Saints need a win. The Falcons look defeated.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    The Falcons looked horrible on Monday night. Only a crazed lunatic would place any money on them.
  • Percentage of money on New Orleans: 57% (68,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
  • History: Saints have won the last 2 meetings.
  • Hello, Good Bye: Underdogs of 6.5 or more are 18-10 ATS a week before their bye since 2002.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 43-31 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Monday Misery: Teams coming off a 17+ loss on Monday Night Football are 9-23 ATS since 1999.
  • Saints are 16-32 ATS at home since 2001.
  • Saints are 9-22 ATS as a home favorite since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Saints -7.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Roddy White, Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Marques Colston, Saints Defense.
  • Sit Em: Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood.


    Prediction: Saints 28, Falcons 24
    Falcons +8 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 42.5 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Saints 22, Falcons 16.



    Baltimore Ravens (4-2) at Buffalo Bills (1-4)
    Line: Ravens by 3. Total: 34.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Ravens -3.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Ravens -3.5.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Ravens.
    Injuries: RAVENS: OUT: QB Steve McNair*, OT Jonathan Ogden, DE/OLB Trevor Pryce, LB Dan Cody. BILLS: OUT: WR Peerless Price, TE Kevin Everett, DE Ryan Denney, LB Paul Posluszny, CB Jason Webster.

    It's time for my NFL Primetime Sucks segment. The show finally covered all the games after missing a contest each of the past two weeks. However, for the Dallas-New England analysis, they ran the same highlight twice, two minutes apart, and showed the plays out of order. But that's not the worst part. Merril Hoge had the following to say: "When I plug in the tape, I see they are a physical running team. Eli benefrits from that... The Giants are physical running team." Giants are physical running team? Benefrits? Is that a new word? I'm convinced that by hiring Hoge and Emmitt Smith, ESPN's goal is to slice the IQ of its audience in half and completely diminish everyone's grammar. Maybe I should talks and wrote like broth of thems. That are actually hrarder than they seems!

    Meanwhile, I'm also convinced that the Ravens' goal this year is to put all of their fans to sleep. I think that following their six-turnover performance against the Bengals in Week 1, Ray Lewis commanded the offense to simply take care of the ball, allowing his defense to make all of the plays. That's exactly what happened against St. Louis last Sunday; Baltimore scored off of Gus Frerotte's five interceptions but couldn't sustain a drive. That means all Trent Edwards needs to do is take care of the football.

    Excluding the mind-boggling Terence Newman pick in the Dallas game, Edwards has done just that in his two starts. He's a combined 45-of-59 for 410 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Jets and Cowboys. Assuming Baltimore doesn't establish a huge lead, which I doubt because Kyle Boller is garbage, all Edwards needs to do is methodically move the chains and refrain from committing turnovers. I wouldn't trust him on the road just yet, but playing in Orchard Park is a different matter.

    I alluded to how much the Ravens' offense sucks. They're even much worse with Boller at the helm, especially on the road. It also doesn't help that Brian Billick isn't giving Willis McGahee the ball enough. The Bills are 26th against the run, but we've seen what they can do when emotionally charged; they contained Marion Barber and Julius Jones to 3.5 yards per carry. I believe they're angry at McGahee for trashing their team, and will be determined to stop him in his tracks more than anything - even if it means giving Boller single coverage downfield. That's a sacrifice I'd be willing to make; Boller just isn't accurate enough to make all the throws.

    Two strong edges for Buffalo in this contest: More than 90 percent of the betting public is on them, yet the line has yet to move off three. Plus, the Bills will not want to lose to McGahee. The Ravens are coming off two straight victories, so they could be walking into a death trap.


    The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
    I can't even begin to predict the psyche of the Bills. I'm not sure how they'll respond after the meltdown against the Cowboys. The Cardinals lost a bunch of games after blowing a huge lead to the Bears last year. Then again, Dick Jauron didn't yell like a crazed lunatic auditioning for a Coors Light commercial. That said, I don't see how Buffalo will not be determined to contain Willis McGahee to minimal yardage.


    The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
    I don't think the Bills have earned the gambling public's respect just yet. Could be a lot of money on the Ravens.
  • Percentage of money on Baltimore: 67% (96,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Bills are 11-5 ATS as a dog under Dick Jauron.
  • Bills are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -3.
  • Opening Total: 35.
  • Weather: Sunny, 69 degrees. Mild wind, 14 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Todd Heap, Both Defenses.
  • Sit Em: Willis McGahee, Marshawn Lynch, Lee Evans.


    Prediction: Bills 10, Ravens 9
    Bills +3 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$300
    Under 34.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Bills 19, Ravens 14.



    New England Patriots (6-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-6)
    Line: Patriots by 16. Total: 51.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Patriots -11.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Patriots -14.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Patriots.
    Injuries: PATRIOTS: OUT: RB Sammy Morris, WR Troy Brown, DE Richard Seymour. DOLPHINS: OUT: S Yeremiah Bell.

    More Merril Hoge bashing! After the "benefrit" sentence, Hoge declared that the Patriots have a few major flaws. Yeah, he's right. They can't score 40 points every single week. Their quarterback has two interceptions this year. And I think Wes Welker dropped a pass the other day. Major flaws indeed. We traded Chris Berman and Tom Jackson in for this clown? I really don't get why Boomer and T.J. don't film the show Sunday evening to have it aired after midnight and Monday afternoon. I know they're on The Blitz, but they covered only five games!

    Can anyone believe this line? Patriots favored by 17 on the road? Actually, the oddsmaker opened it up at 14 and pushed it up three points. What is his logic behind that? Does he want the public to take Miami, or does he want 50-50 action? He's getting the latter right now.

    I'm torn. On one hand, I want to have New England win in a rout. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I see the Patriots as a Major League Baseball team playing in the minors. No one's even close - not even the top squad in the NFC. The Patriots have beaten everyone by 17 or more this year, so why can't they do it against the horrendous Dolphins? On the other hand, Brady perennially struggles in South Beach. I'm not sure if he's distracted by all the super models or not, but he's 2-4 in his career down there. The two victories were margins of six and seven. Miami somehow has a habit of playing him close.

    With that in mind, let's look at the reason Brady has struggled at Miami. For one, New England isn't accustomed to the heat and humidity of South Beach. However, the most important thing to consider is the defense's domination over him. Last year, Brady was 12-of-25 for 78 yards. In 2005, he threw two picks in a 23-16 victory. Three years ago, he had four interceptions in a loss on Monday night. And so on.

    Will Brady falter again? I don't think so. Miami's defense is too old and too slow. The stop unit is 22nd against the run and 29th in points allowed. It has also generated only eight sacks in six contests. Plus, Brady has more weapons than ever before. If he can't demolish a stagnant Dolphins squad in Miami with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte' Stallworth and Ben Watson by his side, he never will.

    I wouldn't play this game for too many units. Covering 17 on the road is too much to ask from any team, even the Patriots.


    The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
    The Patriots could have one of their "flat spots" after being the Patriots. The Dolphins, meanwhile, will once again be desperate for their first victory.


    The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
    Whom do you think bettors will have their money on?
  • Percentage of money on New England: 72% (94,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current and '06 head coaches are 76-61 ATS on the road following a road win (Bill Belichick 3-3).
  • History: Home Team has won 8 of the last 11 meetings.
  • Zero Trend: 0-6 (or worse) teams are 15-2 ATS since 2000.
  • Zero Trend: 0-6 (or worse) teams are 8-0 ATS vs. non-losing teams since 2000.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 43-31 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Patriots are 22-9 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Brady is 88-25 as a starter (72-39 ATS).
  • Tom Brady is 2-4 ATS at Miami (largest victory by 7).
  • Dolphins are 8-2 ATS as a home underdog after two straight losses the previous 10 instances.
  • Opening Line: Patriots -14.
  • Opening Total: 50.5.
  • Weather: Possible showers, 85 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte' Stallworth, Ben Watson, Patriots Defense.
  • Sit Em: Chris Chambers, Dolphins Defense.


    Prediction: Patriots 38, Dolphins 17
    Patriots -16 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 51.5 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Patriots 49, Dolphins 28.



    San Francisco 49ers (2-3) at New York Giants (4-2)
    Line: Giants by 9. Total: 39.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Giants -7.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Giants -9.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Giants.
    Injuries: 49ERS: OUT: DE/OLB Manny Lawson. QUESTIONABLE: QB Alex Smith*.

    I make notes during the week in hopes of having something interesting to say in the leads of my weekly picks. I jotted something down at 4 a.m. - think of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry couldn't figure out what he wrote down upon waking up in the middle of the night. Here it is: "Stressed about teas and crumpets." What!? This may sound crazy, but I think I was worried about the Dolphins-Giants contest in London next week. Covering the NFL, I never imagined ever having to know any aspects of the British culture. Now, I have to spit out jargon like tea, crumpets, Spice Girls, bloody hell, bloke, and "the need for braces and a better dental program" just to impress our cross-Atlantic neighbors. Man, I really am stressed out.

    Something else that's stressing me out is Alex Smith's availability for this game. Will he play? Is his shoulder OK? As of Wednesday afternoon, this is still a mystery. A report on ESPN.com says that Smith's shoulder is progressing, and that he could be ready for the Giants. I guess that means he's in. If not, I'll stuff crumpets into my face in disgust. Now, if only I could figure out what a crumpet is.

    Am I the only one who thinks what the Giants are doing defensively is extremely flawed? Putting four defensive ends on the field may be effective against some squads, but teams with power running games will simply run draws and trample the small interior. Check out whom New York has beaten the past few weeks: Philadelphia, Atlanta and the Jets. Neither of those three clubs have a strong running back capable of pounding the rock in between the tackles. Frank Gore can definitely do that. If Gore has a career day, which is very possible against this scheme, Smith will benefit off play-action, beating a secondary that isn't very good.

    Amid their struggles, everyone forgets how stout the 49ers' defense is. They limited three of their opponents to 20 points or less, including the high-octane Cardinals, and the Ravens, who only scored nine because Willis McGahee couldn't find any lanes to shuttle through. The 49ers are ninth against the run, so the Giants won't be able to establish Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns like they did on Monday night. Instead, Eli Manning will be forced to attack a secondary comprised of two Pro Bowl cornerbacks, Nate Clements and Walt Harris. The Giants will be able to put up some points because Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey are that good, but this won't be the blowout the spread indicates it will be.

    I thought about taking New York as my Survivor Pick, but I don't know how focused the team will be. Coming off a short week - Tom Coughlin is brutal after Monday Night Football - the Giants have to start packing their bags for their trip to London. That could be too much for them to handle. I may change my mind if I hear that Smith is ruled out.

    Friday Morning Update: Alex Smith will not be starting. I still don't trust the Giants as a huge favorite with their minds set on London.


    The Psychology. Edge: Unknown.
    I'm not sure how focused the Giants will be for this contest; they have to prepare for a trip to London. This has never happened in the NFL before.


    The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
    The Giants look great. The public will pound them unless the number is too high.
  • Percentage of money on NY Giants: 77% (94,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • Bye Bye: Mike Nolan is 0-2 ATS off a bye.
  • Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 19-27 ATS since 2002 (Mike Nolan 1-3).
  • Monday Might: Teams coming off a 17+ win on Monday Night Football are 25-14 ATS since 1999 (Tom Coughlin 0-1).
  • Monday Misery: Tom Coughlin is 2-6 ATS after Monday Night Football.
  • Giants are 6-12 ATS as favorites of 6.5 or more the previous 18 instances.
  • Opening Line: Giants -10.
  • Opening Total: 40.
  • Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees. Mild wind, 11 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey.
  • Sit Em: Brandon Jacobs, Reuben Droughns.


    Prediction: Giants 19, 49ers 13
    49ers +9 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 39 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Giants 33, 49ers 15.



    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) at Detroit Lions (3-2)
    Line: Lions by 2.5. Total: 44.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Buccaneers -1.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Buccaneers -3.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Buccaneers.
    Injuries: BUCCANEERS: OUT: RB Cadillac Williams, RB Michael Pittman, OT Luke Petitgout, DE Patrick Chukwurah, CB Torrie Cox. LIONS: OUT: S Daniel Bullocks.

    Even more grammar lessons from Emmitt Smith. Try these quotes out at your next job interview!

    1. "T.O. just do not draw the double team."
    2. "He's gonna be the guy Tom Brady look for on third downs."
    3. "The leadership definitely have to come from the leaders." (Wow, that's a really profound statement.)

    A few weeks ago, I compared the Lions to Texas Tech or Hawaii, meaning they have the ability to beat up on crappy teams, but struggle against top-notch foes. My point was proven when Detroit was blown out at Philadelphia and Washington. Tampa Bay is one of the elite teams in the NFC, so does that mean the Buccaneers are going to roll in Detroit? I wouldn't count on it. Rod Marinelli, the Lions' head coach, is a former employee of the Buccaneers. Just as Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm had an edge against the Steelers, Marinelli will have a few tricks up his sleeve for a familiar Tampa Bay defense.

    Or, at least for Jon Kitna's sake, I hope he does. Kitna has been sacked a mind-boggling 28 times this year. Tampa Bay only has 11 sacks on the year, but the defense will get to Kitna behind his flawed blocking scheme. The Buccaneers are fifth in points allowed and eighth in passing yards, so they should be able to at least contain Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson and Mike Furrey.

    Detroit has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The team surrenders 31 points and 264 passing yards per game, as well as 4.4 yards per carry to opposing running backs. However, the Buccaneers don't exactly have the most explosive weapons in their arsenal. The top two running backs are out, tight end Alex Smith is hobbled, while Joey Galloway happens to be the only potent receiver Jeff Garcia has at his disposal. The Lions, who have 14 sacks in six games, need to rattle Garcia enough to throw him off his game.

    I think this is a great spot for Detroit. Not only are we fading a shady line that the public is pounding, we're also going with a coach very familiar with his opponent.


    The Psychology. Edge: Lions.
    This seems like a Sandwich Situation for the Buccaneers; they're coming off a win against a quality opponent, and could be focused on Jacksonville next week. The Buccaneers are on an Emotional Alert, coming off a last-second game-winning field goal against the Titans.


    The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
    I can't see the public not backing a conspicuous underdog. Why is Detroit favored again?
  • Percentage of money on Tampa Bay: 66% (78,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Buccaneers are 6-17 ATS on the road after a win under Jon Gruden.
  • Jon Kitna is 2-8 ATS as a home favorite since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Lions -1.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Earnest Graham, Joey Galloway, Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, Mike Furrey.
  • Sit Em: Kevin Jones, Tatum Bell.


    Prediction: Lions 20, Buccaneers 17
    Lions -2.5 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$300
    Under 44.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Lions 23, Buccaneers 16.



    Tennessee Titans (3-2) at Houston Texans (3-3)
    Line: Titans by 1. Total: 38.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Pick.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Pick.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Titans.
    Injuries: TITANS: OUT: WR David Givens, CB Pacman Jones. QUESTIONABLE: QB Vince Young*. TEXANS: QUESTIONABLE: WR Andre Johnson*.

    Is there a petition we can sign to permanently put Jimmy Kimmel in the Monday Night football booth? He was hilarious. I loved his making fun of Joe Theismann - I do it myself, see the Steelers-Broncos game. And his line about Joey Harrington was classic. In case you missed it, "Harrington's not a very good quarterback, but at least he's nice to his pets." I know four is a crowd, but Kimmel and Tony Kornheiser together, combined with Ron Jaworski's knowledge of the game, would be incredible. Just as long as they keep Theismann away.

    I guess this line indicates that Vince Young is playing. It's a shame Young was struck with the Madden Curse at Tampa Bay because Tennessee would have improved to 4-1. And it's too bad for the Texans, because at 3-2, this game means more to the Titans than if they were 4-1. Consequently, if this battle is close in the fourth quarter, Young will do whatever it takes to slay his opponent. But I'm not sure if it'll come down to the very end. Houston is 28th against the run. In fact, it surrendered 11 yards per carry to the Jaguars last week. How sick is that? The Titans have one of the better ground attacks in the NFL, meaning they'll be able to rip off 7- and 8-yard gains with ease.

    The Texans need Andre Johnson back. Reports indicate Johnson could be ready, but that's no guarantee. It better be because Matt Schaub will need to throw the ball as often as possible, given that Tennessee is fourth against the run. If he has Johnson, moving the chains won't be as difficult.

    I'm going with the Titans as long as Young's playing. It's ridiculous how people just don't give him the respect he deserves. But who cares? I do. He's a winner. And considering that the line is only 1.5, that's basically all he has to do.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    Both teams need to win to keep up with the Jaguars and Colts.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    The line seems to suggest that Vince Young will play. I'm not sure if the public will place their money on an injured quarterback. Then again, the public just saw the Jaguars smoke the Texans. Not sure if the cash will be flowing in that direction either.
  • Percentage of money on Houston: 55% (50,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 90-65 ATS on the road following a road loss (Jeff Fisher 6-4).
  • History: Titans have won 8 of the 10 meetings.
  • Vince Young is 11-6 as a starter (13-4 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Titans -1.
  • Opening Total: 38.5.
  • Weather: Retractable Roof.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: LenDale White, Chris Brown, Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels.
  • Sit Em: Ahman Green.


    Prediction: Titans 24, Texans 20
    Titans -1 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 38.5 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Titans 38, Texans 36.






    Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) at Oakland Raiders (2-3)
    Line: Raiders by 1.5. Total: 37.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Raiders -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Raiders -3.
    Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.
    Injuries: RAIDERS: OUT: RB Michael Bush.

    Funny moment during the Duel in Dallas: The camera panned to Robert Kraft sipping herbal teal in his press box. Jim Nantz pointed out that Kate Hudson was sitting next to Kraft, prompting Phil Simms to suggest, "Maybe he's going to make a movie with her... And then I'm going to illegally download it." OK, fine, Simms didn't say that last part; I thought of doing that myself. You caught me. But seriously, if Kraft made a movie with Hudson, I wouldn't even want to see it. Hudson by herself or with someone more attractive, definitely; but I don't want to watch some flabby 66-year-old dude, no matter how rich he is. I'm no gold-digger.

    Why do I have to take this game seriously? Does this matchup really have to decide who has at least a share of first place in the AFC West? I can't imagine the Raiders being .500 this late in the season, but the Chiefs improving to 4-3 is even more bizarre.

    Kansas City was able to beat Cincinnati last week because the Bengals couldn't expose the former's weakness - the inability to stop the run. The Chiefs are ranked 23rd against it, which could spell trouble because LaMont Jordan and Justin Fargas are averaging a combined five yards per carry. Assuming Jordan and Fargas rip through Kansas City's front seven, Daunte Culpepper will have plenty of opportunities to play-action the Chiefs' secondary to death. Culpepper went 24-of-37 for 230 yards, one touchdown and two picks against the Chargers - and that was without the support of a solid ground attack.

    You know everything I said regarding Kansas City's defense not being able to stop the Raiders? Well, the same applies to Oakland's stop unit and the Chiefs' offense. In fact, the Raiders are even worse than Kansas City is against the run. Much worse. Try dead last. Larry Johnson will have another solid outing, setting up short-yardage situations for Damon Huard.

    With both teams essentially the same, we have to figure out who has the edge in this contest. I'm a bit curious about the spread. The Chiefs are coming off an impressive victory against Cincinnati, while the Raiders were just blown out in San Diego. Vegas could have made Kansas City a short favorite to receive 50-50 action, but it didn't do so; it posted Oakland -3 on the board, prompting thousands of gamblers to throw their hard-earned cash on the visitor. A nice ploy, but it's not going to work here. Well, at least I hope it doesn't...


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No psychological edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: Raiders.
    I can't really see the public backing either side.
  • Percentage of money on Kansas City: 80% (70,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Chiefs.
  • History: Chiefs have won the last 8 meetings.
  • Chiefs are 11-15 ATS on the road since 2004.
  • Raiders are 6-14 ATS in October since 2001.
  • Raiders are 6-18 ATS at home the previous 24 instances.
  • Opening Line: Raiders -1.
  • Opening Total: 38.
  • Weather: Sunny, 67 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Damon Huard, Larry Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez, Daunte Culpepper, LaMont Jordan, Ronald Curry.
  • Sit Em: Both Defenses.


    Prediction: Raiders 20, Chiefs 16
    Raiders -1.5 (2 Units - Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Under 37.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$50
    Chiefs 12, Raiders 10.



    New York Jets (1-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-4)
    Line: Bengals by 6.5. Total: 47.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Bengals -6.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Bengals -6.
    Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Bengals.
    Injuries: BENGALS: OUT: RB Chris Perry, WR Chris Henry, DE Frostee Rucker, LB Odell Thurman, LB David Pollack, LB Rashad Jeanty.

    Thanks to forum poster Egg for pointing this out: Chicago police are reporting that an individual attempted to egg Lovie Smith's house Tuesday morning. The report stated:

    "An empty egg carton was recovered at the scene. Two eggs hit Mr. Smiths house, three eggs went over his house and hit his neighbor's back door, two eggs hit the houses of each of his next-door neighbors, and the remaining three eggs were found broken on the ground near the carton from which the individual threw them." Looking at what was hit, police officials say they are listing Rex Grossman as the primary suspect.

    Another poster, GiantsFanMike, responded that it couldn't have been Grossman because he wouldn't have been able to hit Smith's house. Well, that's assuming there wasn't an Indianapolis Colts defensive back knocking on Smith's door at the time.

    I also wouldn't rule out Chad Pennington if there were multiple cornerbacks at the front door. That's all Pennington seems to do nowadays; he tosses the ball into triple coverage and severely underthrows his receivers, thanks to his weak arm, which rivals an 8-year-old girl's. Browsing through ESPN.com, I can't find any story indicating that Pennington will be benched. What are the Jets doing? Why are they still trying to win with this guy? It's not going to happen.

    The Bengals are ranked 30th against the pass, and while Pennington will have a few successful, methodical drives, he just doesn't have the arm strength to burn Cincinnati downfield. The Jets also lack a potent rushing attack to expose a front seven that yields 5.1 yards per carry. Look for them to score about 17 or 20 points, but nothing crazy.

    Can Cincinnati put up 26 and win by a touchdown or more? I don't see why not. The Bengals, who average 25 per game, struggled at Kansas City because the Chiefs have a solid secondary. The Jets don't. In fact, they surrender 243 passing yards per contest because their front seven has only six sacks. In a major attempt to save their season, Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh could all have career performances against one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

    The Bengals need to win. I liked them a lot prior to seeing the Vegas percentage rise from 60 to 88 in a span of a few hours.


    The Psychology. Edge: Bengals.
    This is pretty much a Must-Win Situation for the Bengals. I know the Jets have a worse record, but they're pretty much done because their quarterback is a joke.


    The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
    I don't think anyone wants to back Chad Pennington the way he's playing right now.
  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 74% (74,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Jets are 12-24-3 ATS as an underdog the previous 39 instances (5-7 under Eric Mangini).
  • Chad Pennington is 15-7 ATS off a loss.
  • Opening Line: Bengals -6.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: Sunny, 69 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Lavernues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
  • Sit Em: Rudi Johnson, Jets Defense.


    Prediction: Bengals 34, Jets 20
    Bengals -6.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 47.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Bengals 38, Jets 31.



    Minnesota Vikings (2-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
    Line: Cowboys by 9. Total: 46.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Cowboys -9.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Cowboys -10.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
    Injuries: COWBOYS: OUT: WR Terry Glenn, NT Jason Ferguson, DT Tank Johnson.

    I woke up this morning after a night of watching Heroes and theorizing about who the Nightmare Man is - check out the forum for some speculation - when I realized that I don't have a trend to check for how well teams fare coming off snapped winning and undefeated streaks. So, I locked myself in vault and went over the results of every game since 2002. I felt like Peter Petrelli absorbing Ron Jaworski's power to seclude himself from society and watch/study football. I'll definitely take that over spontaneous regeneration, flight and mind-reading. Anyway, since 2002, teams that have started 5-0 or better, and lost the following week are 6-4 against the spread when attempting to rebound. Favorites in that role, however, are just 3-3, meaning all my work was for nothing. What a waste of time. I don't even care if Sylar storms into my house and carves my head open at this point.

    Adrian Peterson's ability to run the ball is more impressive than anything half the Heroes can do. The 224 yards he accumulated on the ground was the most yardage Chicago has ever allowed to a single running back in franchise history. And that's saying a lot, considering Peterson ran all over Tommie Harris, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and company. However, while the Bears are 27th against the run, Dallas is fifth. I don't think Peterson will even come close to matching his Week 6 performance. If I'm right, the Vikings will have major problems moving the chains, given that Tarvaris Jackson just doesn't have the talent or the weapons to expose the holes in Dallas' secondary.

    The Vikings are the best at keeping opposing runners in the backfield, though the same praise cannot be utilized in regard to their secondary; Minnesota is ranked dead last in passing yards allowed per game (288.4). Even Brian Griese looked like a Pro Bowler last week. Tony Romo, attempting to rebound off a dismal performance in Buffalo and a loss to New England, will dissect the Vikings' defensive backfield all afternoon. If Minnesota wants any hope of containing Romo, it must apply heavy pressure on him. That's easier said that done, considering Dallas yields just 1.3 sacks per contest.

    I love the Cowboys in this spot. Besides the fact that they match up really well against the Vikings, they'll be looking to rebound off two poor performances. The infallible Hello, Good Bye trend also applies. And, we don't have to worry about any larcenous activity; the public isn't really pounding Dallas.


    The Psychology. Edge: Cowboys.
    The Cowboys are going into their bye, so they need to end the first half of their season on a high note, following a loss and a very close call in Buffalo. The Vikings are on an Emotional Alert, coming off a last-second victory at Chicago.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    There should be lots of cash on the Cowboys.
  • Percentage of money on Dallas: 55% (92,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Cowboys.
  • Hello, Good Bye: Favorites of 6.5 or more are 25-3 ATS a week before their bye since 2002.
  • Post-First Loss: Teams losing their first game after starting 5-0 or better are 6-4 ATS the following week since 2002.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current and '06 head coaches are 76-61 ATS on the road following a road win.
  • Crappy Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson is 1-0 ATS on the road.
  • Cowboys were 6-1 ATS after a loss in 2006.
  • Tony Romo is 9-6 ATS as a starter.
  • Opening Line: Cowboys -10.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 85 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Patrick Crayton, Jason Witten, Cowboys Defense.
  • Sit Em: Chester Taylor, Julius Jones.


    Prediction: Cowboys 31, Vikings 3
    Cowboys -9 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Correct; +$500
    Under 46 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Cowboys 24, Vikings 14.



    Chicago Bears (2-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
    Line: Eagles by 6. Total: 42.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Pick.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Eagles -3.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Eagles.
    Injuries: BEARS: OUT: DT Dusy Dvoracek, S Mike Brown. EAGLES: OUT: G Todd Herremans, CB Lito Sheppard. QUESTIONABLE: RB Brian Westbrook*

    Upon answering questions regarding that some blogs reported this is his last year, Andy Reid told the media, "I'm not even sure what a blog is." What!? How is that possible? How can a guy be an NFL head coach and so technologically challenged? Oh, and in other news, Reid just discovered fire. He'll reportedly be using it to cook the live game he caught during his bye week.

    Reid might be inept when it comes to computers, but at least his defense doesn't give up 311 rushing yards. What a disgrace that was; the Vikings had three plays - two of which were on the ground - of 60 yards or more in last week's 34-31 victory over Chicago. The Bears, now 27th against the run, could have problems containing Brian Westbrook, one of the most lethal players in the NFL. Donovan McNabb will need Westbrook to get going because he and his receivers aren't playing particularly well. McNabb is no longer mobile and simply isn't accurate; the wide outs can't get open; and the offensive line has trouble blocking. In fact, the Jets, who have registered only six sacks all year, managed two against Philadelphia last week. I guess if you multiply that out, Philadelphia is destined to surrender six sacks Sunday afternoon; Chicago's defense has 18 for the year.

    Although the Eagles have considerably less talent on their stop unit than the Bears do, they're superior statistically; they're seventh in points allowed, ninth against the pass and 10th versus the run. Nothing on Chicago's offense would really scare me if I were Reid or defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. The Bears can't pass protect (18 sacks allowed), run effectively (Cedric Benson averaging 3.1 yards per carry) or throw the ball without turning it over (Brian Griese has six picks and almost as many fumbles).

    This, in all likelihood, is not a game I will be betting on. The line seems perfect. I can't find a single edge.

    Wednesday Morning Update: It took me until Wednesday morning, but I found an edge. Andy Reid's eldest son - not Brittany - was arrested for failing to attend a hearing for a drug test. The last time one of Reid's kids was arrested, the Redskins flattened the Eagles, who seemed to have no gameplan. That could happen again.


    The Psychology. Edge: Bears.
    Both teams are desperate for a victory. However, I'm not sure if Reid's head will be in the game in the wake of his eldest son getting arrested.


    The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.
    I think the oddsmaker is trying to tell us something by setting this line so high. I'm not sure if Joe Public will get the message; I expect a good sum of cash on Chicago.
  • Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 60% (66,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
  • Eagles are 42-26 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2001.
  • Eagles are 20-13 ATS vs. teams with losing records since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Eagles -5.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.
  • Weather: Sunny, 65 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Bernard Berrian, Brian Westbrook, Both Defenses.
  • Sit Em: Thomas Jones.


    Prediction: Bears 17, Eagles 10
    Bears +6 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Under 42 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Bears 19, Eagles 16.



    St. Louis Rams (0-6) at Seattle Seahawks (3-3)
    Line: Seahawks by 8. Total: 39.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Seahawks -10.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Seahawks -11.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Seahawks.
    Injuries: RAMS: OUT: RB Steven Jackson, OT Orlando Pace, CB Tye Hill. SEAHAWKS: OUT: DT Marcus Tubbs.

    In case you missed it, ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown ran a serious segment on Bill Belichick's ripped hoodie sweatshirts, and how the Hall of Fame was going to make it a part of their display. During the piece, some frou-frou lady from the Boston Globe sneered, "He's sartorially challenged, hem hem!" in a Doroles Umbridge demeanor. I hate snobby individuals, so that got me thinking... Tons of rich and successful people wear t-shirts and hoodies with Cheeto stains on them. Think Belichick and Mark Cuban. I'd start showing up to all my job interviews wearing nothing but stained t-shirts and tighty-whities from now on, but Marmaduke from Carpoolers already used that idea, and I don't want to get sued.

    Speaking of lawsuits, Matt Hasselbeck almost had a case when the camera in the sky nearly fell on him Sunday night. How bizarre was that? Maybe that's why he and the Seahawks played so poorly. Luckily for Seattle, the Rams are just what the doctor ordered. St. Louis can neither stop the run nor the pass. Getting to the quarterback (nine sacks in six games) is also an issue. Shaun Alexander is dreadful right now, but I'm confident Hasselbeck will be able to torch the Rams.

    Marc Bulger's back. Time to celebrate, right? No! He has two broken ribs and has no business playing. I know Gus Frerotte heaved five picks last week, but honestly, Frerotte at perfect health and Bulger at 40 percent is the same quarterback. The Rams' beleaguered offensive line, a unit that has allowed 18 sacks this season, will be bombarded by Seattle's 16-sack pass rush. Bulger will be forced to throw on unfavorable downs because his lackluster running game will once again be ineffective.

    Seventy percent of the public like Seattle, but that's nothing for a Tuesday evening. I love picking 0-6 or worse teams to cover, but the hobbled Rams are not to be trusted on the road, especially going against a trend that has been 25-3 since the NFL went to its current bye format. I hate laying double digits in divisional games, but the Seahawks seem like the right side.

    Friday Morning Update: In an odd turn of events, people are now backing the Rams. Maybe they heard Marc Bulger is playing. Yeah, the great Marc Bulger with two broken ribs. I'm increasing this to three units.


    The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
    The Rams need to get out of their winless record, while the Seahawks need to rebound after dropping two in a row.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    I can't see anyone backing the Rams after their hideous performance at Baltimore.
  • Percentage of money on St. Louis: 59% (66,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Seahawks.
  • History: Seahawks have won the last 4 meetings.
  • Zero Trend: 0-6 (or worse) teams are 15-2 ATS since 2000.
  • Zero Trend: 0-6 (or worse) teams are 8-0 ATS vs. non-losing teams since 2000.
  • Hello, Good Bye: Favorites of 6.5 or more are 25-3 ATS a week before their bye since 2002.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 43-31 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 90-65 ATS on the road following a road loss (Scott Linehan 1-2).
  • Rams are 13-29 ATS in road games since 2001.
  • Rams are 7-21 ATS on grass since 2001.
  • Matt Hasselbeck is 6-2 ATS off back-to-back losses.
  • Opening Line: Seahawks -9.
  • Opening Total: 40.
  • Weather: Showers, 52 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Torry Holt, Matt Hasselbeck, Bobby Engram, Nate Burleson, Seahawks Defense.
  • Sit Em: Marc Bulger, Brian Leonard.


    Prediction: Seahawks 27, Rams 10
    Seahawks -8 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$300
    Under 39.5 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Seahawks 33, Rams 6.



    Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at Denver Broncos (2-3)
    Line: Steelers by 3.5. Total: 38.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Steelers -4.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Steelers -4.
    Sunday, 8:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Steelers.
    Injuries: BRONCOS: OUT: WR Rod Smith.

    Ready for some nostalgia? The following is a conversation that probably happened during one of ESPN's Sunday night telecasts:

    Mike Patrick: There's a flag on the field, and it looks like the Giants are going to be penalized for a false start. Paul Maguire: You can't do that! You can't make that mistake! Rabble rabble rabble rabble! That mistake will kill you! You just can't do that and expect to win games! Rabble rabble rabble rabble! The Giants are probably going to lose this game now! Huh? Where am I? Patrick: First down! Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress! What... a... strike...! The Giants are now 20 yards away from extending their lead to 31-10. Joe Theismann: I talked to Plaxico Burns, the starting safety for the New York Giants, and he told me that Eli Manning will continue to improve and become a great receiver, much like a LaDainian Tomlinson or a Duce Staley. Patrick: Brandon Jacobs runs the ball and is tackled... Maguire: I'm telling you, that's a first down! I never miss one of these! They're going to take out the chains and measure it, and the referee is going to signal first down! I'm telling you! Patrick: Third-and-11 for Eli Manning...

    I always liked Patrick, but Theismann and Maguire were horrendous, especially the former. Thankfully we have Al Michaels and John Madden in the booth to broadcast this game.

    Doesn't this line seem odd to you? The Steelers are pretty much renowned for being the third-best team in the league. People are actually giving them a shot against the Patriots, which can't be said for 29 other squads in the NFL. In the other corner, the Broncos are coming off a 41-3 blowout loss to the Chargers, which the public vividly remembers. They also dropped a home game to Jacksonville, and nearly lost to the Raiders and Bills. So, why isn't Pittsburgh favored by more than 3.5? And why hasn't the line moved despite the fact that as of Wednesday morning, 98 percent of the public is on the Steelers?

    On paper, this seems like a rout, which would explain why the average bettor is dumping his life savings onto this contest. The Steelers run the ball better than most teams in the NFL. The Broncos surrender a dreadful 5.4 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh, ranked second versus opposing ground attacks, will put the clamps on Travis Henry, who seems more concerned about not getting suspended than pounding the ball right now. The Broncos also cannot get to the quarterback, meaning Ben Roethlisberger, who will capitalize with play-action off Parker's large gains, will be able to carve Denver's old secondary all night.

    There is no doubt the Steelers are the better team, but this contest means more to the desperate Broncos, a live, home underdog playing at night in front of crazed fans. I'm fading the public and siding with Mike Shanahan, who's absolutely brilliant coming off a bye.


    The Psychology. Edge: Broncos.
    A live home dog under the lights? If you follow my college football picks, you know where I'm going with this. The Steelers don't really need this game.


    The Vegas. Edge: Broncos.
    People remember Denver's 41-3 loss to the Chargers. Why would anyone bet the Broncos?
  • Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 89% (106,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Broncos.
  • Bye Bye: Mike Shanahan is 8-3 ATS off a bye.
  • Steelers are 21-7 ATS in October since 2000.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 38-12 as a starter (32-18 ATS).
  • Broncos are 13-4 ATS off a bye week since 1989.
  • Opening Line: Steelers -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 39.
  • Weather: Showers/SNOW, 35 degrees. Mild wind, 18 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Javon Walker, Brandon Marshall.
  • Sit Em: Travis Henry, Broncos Defense.


    Prediction: Steelers 20, Broncos 17
    Broncos +3.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Under 38 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Broncos 31, Steelers 28.



    Indianapolis Colts (5-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-1)
    Line: Colts by 3. Total: 45.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 6): Colts -6.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 6): Colts -5.5.
    Monday, 8:30 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Colts.
    Injuries:

    Here are the Week 7 Look-Alike Photos Featuring Ed Reed among others.

    It's not often the best game of the week is on Monday Night Football. Ever since ESPN came out with Playmakers the NFL has done everything in its power to screw the network, including giving the right to NBC to have a flexible schedule. The end result? Crappy games on Monday night and more Merril Hoge. Ugh.

    This will be a classic. The Colts are always entertaining to watch. Peyton Manning and his arsenal of receivers are downright unstoppable at times. It seems like they have the capability of scoring 40 points every week, but refrain from doing so in an attempt not to embarrass their opponent.

    The Jaguars are the underdog everyone wants to cheer for. They cut their starting quarterback a week prior to the season. None of their receivers would even make Indianapolis' roster. This is their Super Bowl. Knocking the Colts off of their undefeated pedestal means more to them than anything. This is Rocky versus Apollo Creed. If we have a reenactment of the first movie, and Apollo wins by the slimmest of margins, we could have a push. And unlike the film, no one would be happy about that.

    Apollo KOs Rocky? It seems like everyone is expecting the Colts to triumph. I haven't talked to a single person who likes the Jaguars in this heated battle. The Vegas would indicate that; as of Wednesday afternoon, 98 percent of the public is backing the road favorite. Like the Bills-Cowboys matchup of two weeks ago, this prize fight is garnering more action than any other contest on the slate. There could be 400,000 bets on this game by kickoff.

    Despite all the cash flowing Indianapolis' way, the line hasn't budged off three. It could be 3.5 by Monday evening, but moving the line half a point isn't indicative of how the public is betting the game. This should set off a red flag, particularly a week after the books lost money on Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and the Jets.

    Rocky KOs Apollo? Although it doesn't seem like it, the Colts aren't invincible like the Patriots are. Indianapolis barely won at Tennessee this season, 22-20. If it wasn't for a Brandon Jones drop, Rob Bironas would have had the chance to deliver the knock-out blow to the Colts. A week later, the Texans kept the game to within six, despite the fact that they were missing Andre Johnson, their best offensive weapon.

    The Jaguars match up well with the Colts. Though the numbers say otherwise, Indianapolis' small interior is susceptible to power rushing attacks. The only team the Colts have played with this type of scheme is the Titans. LenDale White and Chris Brown totaled about 100 yards on 27 carries, keeping the game within two. Indianapolis will have to worry about Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew and David Garrard moving the chains with their legs. And we all know what happened in 2006; Jones-Drew, Taylor and Alvin Pearman combined for 368 rushing yards on 37 carries in a 44-17 rout.

    Jacksonville's defense also seems to have Indianapolis' number. This is because the former's interior is so massive that it doesn't need to place eight men in the box to contain Joseph Addai. In that 44-17 blowout, Addai and Dominic Rhodes totaled only 33 rushing yards on 19 carries. This allows the Jaguars to do many things with their defense, from confusing Manning with exotic coverage schemes to attacking the quarterback with multiple blitzers. Manning threw for 313 yards in that contest, but he completed just 50 percent of his passes and tossed a pick in the process.

    Want more evidence? The Jaguars and Colts clashed in another meeting in 2006. Indianapolis won 21-14, but that was thanks to a pair of Byron Leftwich interceptions in the red zone. Manning was 14-of-31 for 219 yards and score, while Rhodes and Addai combined for just 63 yards on the ground.

    Rocky! Rocky! Rocky! It's a bit obvious to say that the crowd will be on the Jaguars' side. However, we've all seen what crazy Monday night fans can do. An Orchard Park crowd willed Buffalo to a near victory. Atlantans tried to do the same thing, but were thwarted by numerous dropped passes and a crucial roughing-the-punter penalty.

    Thanks to Jack Del Rio, the Jaguars are a disciplined team. They are mentally strong and will not commit foolish errors like the Falcons. They have a positive turnover ratio (+3) for that reason.

    Another Long Dissertation Equals How Many Units? This isn't my Pick of the Month. This selection isn't even for four or five units. I just thought a matchup of this magnitude deserves extended coverage and numerous Rocky references. But in case they've smothered you to a point where you have no idea where I'm going with this game, I like the Jaguars to unseat Indianapolis' off its unbeaten pedestal.


    The Psychology. Edge: Jaguars.
    This is Jacksonville's Super Bowl. Nothing means more to them than beating the Colts, especially at home.


    The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
    This line really surprised me. I think the public is going to pound Indianapolis and the very short number.
  • Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 88% (270,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Nine of the last ten meetings decided by 8 points or less (Colts 7-3).
  • MNF Home Dogs: Monday Night Football home underdogs are 5-5 ATS since 2006.
  • MNF Home Advantage: Monday Night Football home teams are 13-10 ATS since 2006.
  • Colts are 23-17 ATS on the road under Tony Dungy.
  • Peyton Manning is 17-13 ATS as a road favorite since 2001.
  • Jaguars are 5-1 ATS as an underdog since 2006.
  • Opening Line: Colts -3.
  • Opening Total: 45.
  • Weather: Clear, 70 degrees. Mild wind, 11 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor.
  • Sit Em: Joseph Addai, Colts Defense.


    Prediction: Jaguars 23, Colts 20
    Jaguars +3 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$330
    Under 45 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Colts 29, Jaguars 7.


    Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks
    A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week
    (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.


  • Anti-Public Parlay: Redskins +8.5, 49ers +9, Raiders -3, Cowboys -9, Broncos +4 (bought 0.5), Jaguars (bought 0.5) (.5 Units to win 23.3) -- Incorrect; -$50
  • Teaser: Bengals -0.5 & Seahawks -2 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
  • Live Dog: - Bills +145 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$145
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Marshawn Lynch +500 - Lynch will be the opening-day starter for the Bills and will have the luxury of running behind a huge offensive line. Running backs make the quickest transition into the NFL, and Lynch is the only rookie who's guaranteed a starting gig. (1 Unit)
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Field +700 - James Jones? Jacoby Jones? Who knows, Marques Colston came out of nowhere last year. (1 Unit)
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jamaal Anderson +1400 - Unlike Gaines Adams, Jamaal Anderson will be starting on Day 1. With teams concerned about John Abraham, Anderson seems like he could be poised for a double digit-sack campaign. (1 Unit)
  • Odds to Win Super Bowl: Patriots 5/2 - Not great odds, but they'll get the job done. (1 Unit)
  • Odds to Win Super Bowl: Steelers 22/1 - Getting a great deal here. (.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Chiefs Under 7.5 -155 - Larry Johnson will get hurt, the defense will suck and Herm Edwards will lose his mind. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Dolphins Under 7 -125 - I've talked about the Dolphins plenty of times already. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Steelers Over 9 -105 - The Steelers went 8-8 with a damaged Ben Roethlisberger. No way they win less than 10 this season. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Giants Under 8 -165 - No way they get to 8-8 this year. (1.5 Units)
  • Player Prop: Larry Johnson Under 1,700 Total Rushing Yards - Since Eric Dickerson, no running back who has carried the ball 385 or more times has finished in the top 10 in rushing. Johnson had 416 carries, the most in the history of the NFL. (2 Units)
  • Player Prop: Wes Welker Over 675 Total Receiving Yards - Wes Welker has been Tom Brady's new go-to-guy in training camp and preseason. I'm expecting a big year from him. (2 Units)
  • More prop picks will be listed here.



    Second-Half Bets
    Check back at halftime to see if I have any plays posted.

  • Bills +3 -115 -- Incorrect; -$220
  • Colts PK -- Correct; +$200



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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)
    Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2013): 0-0 ($0)
    Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2013): 0-1 ($0)
    Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2013): +$300

    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)
    2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)
    2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)
    2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)
    2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245

    1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%)
    2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%)
    2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%)
    2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%)
    2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%)
    2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%)
    2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%)
    2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%)
    2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550)
    2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620)
    2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370)
    2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080)
    2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925)
    2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760)
    2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580)

    2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
    2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%)
    2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%)
    2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%)
    2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%)
    2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110)
    2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510)
    2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260)
    2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180)
    2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715)
    2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130)

    2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
    2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%)
    2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%)
    2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%)
    2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%)
    2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420)
    2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055)
    2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330)
    2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790)
    2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260)
    2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650)

    2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
    2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%)
    2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%)
    2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%)
    2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%)
    2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%)
    2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900)
    2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860)
    2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195)
    2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5)
    2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135)
    2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30)

    2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035
    2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775
    2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865
    2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200
    2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590
    2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685

    2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%)
    2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400)
    2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720)
    2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640)
    2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810)
    2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870)
    2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560)

    Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,022-1,851-112, 52.2% (+$12,405)
    Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 649-587-31 (52.5%)
    Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 270-234-10 (53.6%)
    Career Over-Under: 1541-1537-46 (50.1%)
    Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-14-1 (61.1%)
    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
    2004 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2004 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XXXIX
    2005 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    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
    2007 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2007 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLII |
    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 |
    2012 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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