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NFL Weekly Predictions
Week 17, 2007



Well, I went 9-6-1 overall, but only hit two of five Double Money Picks. That's odd because I've recently had less success with 1-Unit plays and better luck with higher-end selections. Let's hope I can conclude the 2007 regular season on a high note. If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.



New England Patriots (15-0) at New York Giants (10-5)
Line: Patriots by 13.5. Total: 46.5.

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Patriots -14.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Patriots -17.
Saturday, 8:15 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Patriots.
Injuries: PATRIOTS: OUT: WR Troy Brown, LB Rosevelt Colvin. GIANTS: OUT: RB Derrick Ward, TE Jeremy Shockey*.

Vegas suffered a slump starting on Thanksgiving, losing two of three weeks following Turkey Day. It rebounded Week 15, absolutely killing in the public in a predictable "screw you" week. This weekend once again produced a profit for the books, though it wasn't anything substantial. Vegas won with Chicago, Cincinnati, Atlanta and San Francisco all covering, but lost when Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Seattle all beat the number. That's only 4-4, but remember, Vegas collects the 10-percent juice. However, the books took a beating on Monday night, as the Chargers covered despite the fact that 80 percent of the money was on their side. All in all, an even Week 16 for Vegas.

It seems like if you flip on any sports channel this week, you'll find analysts bickering about whether the Patriots and Giants should be play their starters in this contest. The first is a no-brainer. There have been 41 Super Bowl champions in NFL history, but no team has ever run the table in the regular season, much less gone 19-0. If New England finishes with a flawless record and a Lombardi Trophy, it'll be known as the greatest team of all time. Oddly enough, I have them second in my power rankings this week.

The Patriots have been getting sloppy recently. Excluding the Steelers and their flawed gameplan, New England's previous four opponents have a combined record of 15-45. Yet, it managed to beat them all by an average of nine points. Going even further, the Eagles, Ravens, Jets and Dolphins have OUTSCORED THE PATRIOTS IN THE SECOND HALF by a combined total of 31-27. And no, I didn't hit my caps-lock key by accident there. New England has gotten really sloppy, eschewing its normal gameplan in an attempt to break more records. It couldn't contain Kyle Boller and Adam Joshua Feeley, both of whom haven't played well against anyone else this year. The team also couldn't score consistently on the Jets and Dolphins, two of the worst defenses in the NFL. The way the Patriots are performing right now, they don't stand a chance against the Colts. They're leaking oil, and it hasn't shown up in the standings yet because they've played really crappy teams.

Now, we must answer whether the Giants should play their starters or not. This isn't as clear cut, but I believe they should for a number of reasons. First of all, they have a chance to stop history and be forever remembered as the team that ended it all. New York has proud defensive veterans, including Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan, Kawika Mitchell, Sam Madison and Antonio Pierce, who would love to be memorialized as the league's greatest spoiler. Secondly, I believe New York needs to build momentum following its victory over the Bills. The squad showed a lot of character, coming back from a 14-0 deficit when it could have easily packed it in amid horrible weather and tons of Kevin Everett-related emotion from the Orchard Park crowd. The Giants have stumbled into the playoffs the past few years, and have consequently lost their initial contest. Tom Coughlin needs to have his guys sharp and ready to battle the Buccaneers.

As you can tell, I like the Giants. They're a major cut above the competition the Patriots have played this past month, and I don't believe Tom Brady and company will be ready. New England may still come away with a victory, but it'll be close. I can't make this a multi-unit selection because I don't really know if Coughlin will play his starters or not. I do, however, like the fact that as of Tuesday morning, this line is still -14.5 at Pinnacle, the sharpest book on the Web, and -15 elsewhere. Seems like they're inviting action on New England.


The Psychology. Edge: Patriots.
The Patriots talk like 16-0 means nothing, but it does. They'll also be gunning for a few records. They need this much more than the Giants, who have clinched playoff berth.


The Vegas. Edge: Giants.
The public knows the Giants have nothing to play for. Everyone will be on New England.
  • Percentage of money on New England: 74% (165,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
  • Patriots are 20-9 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2001.
  • Tom Brady is 97-25 as a starter (76-44 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Patriots -14.5.
  • Opening Total: 44.5.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 36 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.


    Prediction: Patriots 27, Giants 24
    Giants +13.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 46.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Patriots 38, Giants 35.



    Buffalo Bills (7-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-8)
    Line: Eagles by 8. Total: 36.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Eagles -4.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Eagles -6.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Eagles.
    Injuries: BILLS: OUT: WR Peerless Price, TE Kevin Everett, OT Jason Peters, DE Ryan Denney, LB Paul Posluszny, CB Jason Webster. EAGLES: OUT: LB Takeo Spikes.

    If you're not a Philadelphian, or you simply don't care about baseball, move on to the next paragraph. I talked to my dad the other day about the Phillies. He was frustrated about the lack of moves they haven't made this offseason. Here's how our conversation went: Dad: The Phillies haven't gotten anyone new except for Lidge, right? Me: Yep. Dad: Well, don't you think we need some starting pitching? Me: Yep. Dad: And a third baseman? Me: Yep. Dad: And some relievers? Me: Yep. Dad: What the hell, this team is cheap! Me: Yep. Dad: They're going to be even worse than last year. Me: Yep. Dad: And the Mets and Braves are going to finish ahead of us. Me: Yep.

    And you wonder why Philly fans are notorious for booing everything, including Santa Claus, players with concussions and starving orphans with terminal cancer.

    I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong about something. I was completely off on Donovan McNabb. I was calling for his exile, citing that he no longer had the mobility to be a decent quarterback. McNabb was never accurate, but his ability to scramble and his arm strength are what made him one of the top 10 signal callers in the NFL. He seemed to lose that mobility earlier in the year, but inexplicably retained it the past two weeks. The fact that he's running around means he's healthy for the first time since the Super Bowl, and that's why he was able to go a combined 47-of-76, 461 yards and four touchdowns against the Cowboys and Saints.

    McNabb's sudden improvement is why this line seems a tad too high. I think that in the wake of Philadelphia's resurgence, people have forgotten how well the Bills have played the past three months. They lost by 17 to the Giants, but they were actually winning at the beginning of the fourth quarter. They went down 8-0 to the Browns in a blizzard that completely nullified their aerial attack. But before that contest, they had covered eight of nine games, their only bad defeat coming at the hands of the Jaguars.

    I have to question where the motivation will be for the Eagles. They just knocked off their most hated rival and achieved revenge against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Now, coming home off a taxing two-game road trip, they have to battle the Bills, an underrated squad whom they have no negative affiliation with. Buffalo has more to play for. Both teams are out of playoff contention, but I think going 8-8 means much more to the visitor than it does to the host. The Eagles had postseason aspirations at the beginning of the year, whereas the Bills were picked to finish last in their division. An 8-8 record is a nice stepping stone for a young organization looking to go places in 2008.

    I'd also like to mention a theory I've used for picking Eagles games in the second half of this season. Philadelphia is a team that struggles when it's supposed to win and plays ferociously when its back is against the wall. That's why the Eagles nearly beat the Patriots after almost losing to the Dolphins. That's also why they managed to defeat the Cowboys and Saints on the road as substantial underdogs. I don't like Andy Reid's bunch in the role as a big favorite (3-6 ATS this year). It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Bills came out of Philadelphia with the straight-up victory.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    Both teams seem to be playing hard. Both are out of the playoffs.


    The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
    The Eagles just beat the Cowboys and the Saints. Joe Public is smitten with them once again.
  • Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 77% (14,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Bills.
  • Bills are 14-9 ATS as a dog under Dick Jauron.
  • Eagles are 23-14 ATS vs. teams with losing records since 2001.
  • Eagles are 9-15 ATS vs. AFC opponents since 2001.
  • Eagles are 3-6 ATS as a favorite this year.
  • Opening Line: Eagles -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 38.
  • Weather: Showers, 44 degrees. Mild wind, 11 mph.


    Prediction: Bills 24, Eagles 20
    Bills +8 (2 Units - Money Pick) -- Push; -$20
    Over 36 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Eagles 17, Bills 9.



    Carolina Panthers (6-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6)
    Line: Panthers by 3. Total: 36.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Buccaneers -10.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Buccaneers -4.5.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.
    Injuries: PANTHERS: OUT: QB Jake Delhomme. BUCCANEERS: OUT: RB Cadillac Williams, RB Michael Pittman, OT Luke Petitgout, DE Patrick Chukwurah, CB Torrie Cox.

    Please read my Boycott the Bowls Initiative page. In it, I have a discussion with Cleveland Indians minor league pitcher Mike Eisenberg, display the awesome logo I created, and post my 10 Boycott the Bowls Commandments. I urge you to Boycott the Bowls with me in an attempt to save college football.

    Who would have thought three weeks ago that the Panthers would be three-point road favorites over the Buccaneers? Ladies and gentlemen, Week 17 - the single-hardest Sunday to handicap! I'm going to try my hardest to guide you through all of these bizarre, meaningless contests.

    I'm not sure the public is aware of this - and I'll get to why later in my write-up - but the Buccaneers have absolutely nothing to play for. They're locked into the fourth seed regardless of whether or not they win this game. But never mind being cemented into one spot - Jon Gruden pulled his starters last week at halftime, despite winning by only eight. If Gruden didn't care about pursuing the No. 3 seed, he won't try to hard to win this contest.

    At the same time, I don't expect the Panthers to be motivated to beat Luke McCown and Michael Clayton. Still, there's a greater chance Carolina will play harder than Tampa Bay, given that it needs to see what it has out of Matt Moore before the 2008 NFL Draft. Thus, the Panthers, who are obviously a better team with Moore at the helm instead of 180-year-old Vinny, and David Carr, the single-worst quarterback in NFL history, may show up and claim their seventh victory of the season.

    I briefly mentioned earlier that it seems like the public has no idea Tampa Bay doesn't need this game. I say that because, as of Tuesday afternoon, about 90 percent of the action is on the host. Yet, despite the torrent of cash heading the Buccaneers' direction, the line has moved from Pick to Panthers -3. Why would the books invite even more action on Carolina if they didn't think taking the visitor was the right side?


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The Buccaneers are going to sit their starters. The Panthers won't be as motivated to beat their archrival when it isn't trying.


    The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
    Not sure how the public is going to react here. Will they realize Tampa Bay is sitting its starters?
  • Percentage of money on Tampa Bay: 72% (33,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Road Team has won 5 of the last 6 meetings.
  • Crappy Quarterback: Matt Moore is 0-0 ATS on the road.
  • Opening Line: Pick.
  • Opening Total: 36.5.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 79 degrees. Light wind.


    Prediction: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 17
    Panthers -3 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 36 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Panthers 31, Buccaneers 23.



    Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Miami Dolphins (1-14)
    Line: Bengals by 3. Total: 45.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Bengals -2.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Bengals -3.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Dolphins.
    Injuries: BENGALS: OUT: RB Chris Perry, DE Frostee Rucker, LB Odell Thurman, LB David Pollack, LB Rashad Jeanty. DOLPHINS: OUT: QB Trent Green, RB Ronnie Brown, S Yeremiah Bell.

    I have to mention something that really irked me all year. Why did ESPN run a fantasy football "Start 'Em-Sit 'Em" segment at 12:10 Sunday morning? Did people actually wait until 12:10 to hear if their questions were answered by Matt Berry? What were the odds a question was answered? What if it wasn't? Did that person spaz out and incomprehensibly start Duce Staley over LaDainian Tomlinson? And why did Berry have to always go, "Next e-mail, my friends!?" Friends? He told you to sit running backs (Marshawn Lynch) because of bad weather, and answered only four out of 500,000 e-mails, doing so 50 minutes prior to kick off! Some friend that is.

    If you look on my Power Rankings page, you'll see that I have the Bengals ranked only two slots above the Dolphins. I know that seems odd, given that the former has five more victories than the latter. However, Cincinnati is so lethargic, unmotivated and unreliable that I had to make them 27th. It's completely ridiculous that they didn't put forth one ounce of effort against the 49ers, yet played their hearts out versus Cleveland. Like the Ravens, the Bengals are an extremely overrated, lazy squad that shows up about once a month.

    I have to believe that more than 90 percent of Cincinnati's squad will have their cars running in the parking lot, with their bags packed for a trip to the tropical island of their choice. The Dolphins aren't a rival. They have just one victory. There's no reason for a lethargic Bengals squad to try hard against them. I guarantee that half the team hasn't even looked at the gameplan this week. They're going to spend three quarters trying to establish a non-existent ground attack before they realize that their quarterback and receivers are the only good players on their roster. I'm not sure if offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski calls all the plays and insists on running the ball as often as possible, but if he does, he's easily one of the dumbest human beings on this planet. He should probably pursue Jessica Simpson once Tony Romo is through with her.

    The Dolphins, unlike the jerks from Cincinnati, are actually playing hard. They have respectable veterans like Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Vonnie Holliday who won't go down without a fight. This could be the final home game for some of those players, so they would definitely like to go out in style. And as for the younger athletes, you can be assured that they'll bring 100 percent to the table, as they're going to try their hardest to impress the omnipotent Bill Parcells.

    In a meaningless game, you have to go with the team with heart over the tin men. I think you'd have to be a fool to think Miami wouldn't love to secure its second victory of the season. I also love the fact that despite tons of action on the Bengals, this line has fallen in some shops from -3 to -2.5.


    The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
    The Bengals just beat a divisional rival, so I don't know how fired up they'll be for the Dolphins. Miami, meanwhile, will be playing hard to impress Bill Parcells.


    The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
    A publicly backed road favorite? Why not? The Bengals just upset the Browns, so there's going to be tons of cash on their side.
  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 83% (33,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Carson Palmer is 6-4 ATS as a road favorite.
  • Opening Line: Bengals -3.
  • Opening Total: 46.5.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees. Light wind.


    Prediction: Dolphins 30, Bengals 10
    Dolphins +3 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$550
    Under 45 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Bengals 38, Dolphins 25.



    Detroit Lions (7-8) at Green Bay Packers (12-3)
    Line: Packers by 5. Total: 39.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Packers -16.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Packers -6.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Packers.
    Injuries: PACKERS: OUT: RB DeShawn Wynn, S Nick Collins. LIONS: OUT: WR Roy Williams, S Daniel Bullocks.

    As you may or may not know, I like to jot down some ideas for leads during the week. Well, apparently I was on crack one night because I wrote down the word "snowman" on a sheet of paper. I have no idea what this means. Did I want to make fun of snowmen? I feel like Jerry Seinfeld when he went around asking everyone what he wrote down on a piece of paper at night. Does anyone know what I meant men by "snowman?" I'm completely at a loss now, and I guess I have to admit that all the alcohol I've consumed in college has finally gotten to me. I'm going to be a vegetable in five years.

    I think if you take a step back and really look at these spreads, you'll see how odd they really are. I didn't have much of a problem with Carolina being favored by three over Tampa Bay because the former is two weeks removed from knocking off the Seahawks, and the latter rested its starters last week. But let's take a look at this line. Packers are a slim, three-point home favorite over the Lions. "Home," being the keyword because these are the same Lions who lost road contests to the Eagles, Redskins, Cardinals, Vikings and Chargers by a combined score of 213-69. Wow! 213-69!? That's ridiculous!

    Detroit obviously can't score or stop anyone outside of Ford Field. Other than lack of talent, I'm not sure why the Lions have so much defensive trouble as visitors, but their offensive woes are easy to diagnose. Their weapons are simply ineffective off the fast track of their home field. It's exactly why the Rams have had so much trouble winning on grass over the years. Making matters worse for the Lions is that Roy Williams and Kevin Jones, two of Jon Kitna's favorite weapons, are out for this game. The Packers, who have 36 sacks on the year, are going to be in Kitna's face on every snap.

    I know there's a chance Green Bay will sit most of its players. Brett Favre might have only one drive. Ryan Grant, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings won't see much action. But as we've discovered when the Packers lost to the Cowboys, Aaron Rodgers is a pretty capable quarterback. I seriously doubt he'll have any problems dissecting a horrible Lions defense, even if James Jones is his No. 1 option.

    There is precedent for the Packers covering a meaningless game. In 2004, Green Bay was locked into the No. 3 seed. Instead of packing it in, the team actually beat the 5-11 Bears as three-point underdogs. I know, different coach on the sidelines, but the same quarterback's at the helm. I have a feeling he'll want to make amends for last week's 35-7 loss to Chicago.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The Packers will be sitting their starters, so I don't know how motivated the Lions will be to beat a bunch of backups.


    The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
    The Packers are only -3? I know their starters won't be playing the whole time, but I'm getting giddy just looking at this line.
  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 92% (40,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Packers.
  • History: Packers have won 12 of the last 14 meetings.
  • Lions are 4-9 ATS on the road since 2006.
  • Packers are 10-7 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Brett Favre is 10-1 ATS in home finales.
  • Opening Line: Packers -3.
  • Opening Total: 37.
  • Weather: Snow showers, 32 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.


    Prediction: Packers 31, Lions 10
    Packers -5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 39.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Packers 34, Lions 13.



    Jacksonville Jaguars (11-4) at Houston Texans (7-8)
    Line: Texans by 6.5. Total: 41.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Jaguars -7.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Texans -3.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Unknown (starters).
    Injuries: TEXANS: DOUBTFUL: QB Matt Schaub*.

    Funniest comment ever that wasn't even supposed to be funny. On Sunday NFL Countdown (or NFL Sunday Countdown if you're Keyshawn Johnson - I had to do it one last time), Chris Berman turned to Emmitt Smith and said, "Maurice Jones Drew, he's a pounder. Emmitt, I know you like a guy like that." Yeah, in case you couldn't tell by my numerous Aurora Snow references lately, my mind's in the gutter. Sorry, that's just who I am. Don't hate.

    Speaking of gutters, that's where this game belongs. I've waffled so many times on my thoughts regarding the outcome of this contest that I'm considering issuing my first ever zero-unit selection in the NFL. How about I give you my reasons for taking Houston and Jacksonville, and you can decide where to go with it?

    Why You Should Pick Jacksonville: Are you seriously thinking about laying 6.5 with the Texans? They're the Texans - in their franchise history, they're just 1-5 against the spread as favorites of a field goal or more. You have to be mentally insane to think Houston can win by a touchdown when expected to. Sure, the Jaguars will be resting some of their starters, but as with the Packers-Lions situation, there is precedent in believing Jacksonville will cover.

    In 2005, the Jaguars were 12-4, but because the Colts were 14-2, they were locked into the fifth seed. They played the Titans (4-12) the final game of the year and were favored by 3.5 at home. Instead of not showing up and letting a divisional rival come away with a victory, Jacksonville ripped Tennessee to shreds, 40-13. Jack Del Rio may want to keep his team's momentum going with another blowout.

    Why You Should Pick Houston: This has more to do with line movement than anything. The Texans, who opened up at -4, have gone up to -6.5 even with all of the action on the Jaguars. Why would the books want even more Jacksonville money? It doesn't make any sense unless they know Houston is going to easily cover the number. And despite everything I said about a Jaguars precedent, there is a chance that Del Rio sits everyone and doesn't even come up with a gameplan for the Texans.

    Why You Shouldn't Pick This Game: Hopefully you know the answer to that already. There are way too many unknowns surrounding these two squads. But because I issue selections on every game, I think I'll just take the underdog. Of all the points I've brought up, I think the one where Houston is horrible at covering medium and large spreads as a favorite is the strongest. Plus, it's not like the Texans played all that well against Indianapolis' backups in the second half of last week's contest.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The Jaguars just clinched, so they'll be resting their starters. Once again, Houston won't be motivated to beat Quinn Gray.


    The Vegas. Edge: Texans.
    No idea where the public is going with this one.
  • Percentage of money on Jacksonville: 82% (34,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Texans have won 4 of the last 7 meetings.
  • Opening Line: Texans -4.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: Retractable Roof.


    Prediction: Jaguars 27, Texans 20
    Jaguars +6.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Over 41 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Texans 42, Jaguars 28.



    New Orleans Saints (7-8) at Chicago Bears (7-8)
    Line: Saints by 1.5. Total: 40.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Saints -7.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Saints -7.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Saints.
    Injuries: SAINTS: OUT: RB Reggie Bush, RB Deuce McAllister. BEARS: OUT: G Ruben Brown, DT Dusty Dvoracek, CB Nathan Vasher, S Mike Brown.

    I spent $400 on Christmas presents when I went to the mall on Friday. Please shoot me. Honestly, I have no idea what I bought. I'm convinced I was replaced by a stunt double upon entering the mall, who took my credit card and cash. When I left the mall, I had just $14 left in my pocket, and my card felt 50 pounds lighter. So, I searched through one bag and found some DVDs and a Philadelphia Flyers beer mug. OK... so far, so good. Upon opening the second bag, I found some moisturizer, nail shiner and a Desperate Housewives cookbook. So, apparently my stunt double is a flaming metrosexual. Not that I have anything wrong with metrosexuals - the last thing I am is a metrophobe. I fully support men who wear cologne, shop at the Banana Republic and shower more than once a week, though I can't say I'm one of them.

    I'm going to reference something I wrote about in my Week 16 write-up many times on this page, so I might as well start talking about it now. It's the infallible Aurora Snow Theory. It goes like this: "If Team A needs to win to get into the playoffs, and Team B isn't involved in any sort of postseason implications, Team B will either win or keep the score close because Team A will choke." I then went on to make several jokes at the expense of Miss Snow. It was good times for all.

    I brought up the Aurora Snow Theory for a reason. Do I think the Saints are going to choke instead of swallow? They're in a must-win situation, right? Well, sort of. Even if they win, they're not guaranteed anything. They need the Vikings and Redskins to lose. That's a lot to ask for, especially when you consider the former is battling the inept Broncos, while the latter is going up against a team that may sit all of its starters.

    There are two reasons I like New Orleans in this contest. On top of not being guaranteed a postseason berth with a victory, the Saints actually have playoff experience, which goes a long way in a must-win. They know what it takes to come out as victors. Drew Brees will torch a banged-up Chicago defense amid the relatively calm weather.

    My other angle for picking the Saints is that Chicago, like Philadelphia, has built some respectability in the wake of playing a pair of rivals fiercely. But as I noted about the Eagles, the Bears may not care as much about beating New Orleans as they did the Vikings and Packers. Chicago's season was somewhat validated by its 35-7 thrashing of Green Bay, meaning the team may not show up to battle the Saints. And I don't think Kyle Orton can take advantage of the Saints' horrific secondary regardless.

    I'm not making this a multi-unit play because there's definitely chance Aurora Snow plays a factor. But for reasons I've listed, along with fading average bettors who are throwing countless cash on Chicago, and the fact that the Saints play better on the road, I like New Orleans to win by at least a field goal.


    The Psychology. Edge: Bears.
    The Saints need this game to get into the playoffs. They don't control their own destiny, but the bottom line is that they need to win. To top it off, this is a Revenge Situation, as Chicago knocked them out of the postseason last year.


    The Vegas. Edge: Saints.
    It's no secret the Saints need to win. The public's going to pound them.
  • Percentage of money on Chicago: 71% (45,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Saints.
  • Saints are 39-25 ATS on the road since 2000.
  • Drew Brees is 9-3 ATS as a road favorite.
  • Opening Line: Saints -3.
  • Opening Total: 38.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 34 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.


    Prediction: Saints 28, Bears 17
    Saints -1.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Over 40 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Bears 33, Saints 25.



    Seattle Seahawks (10-5) at Atlanta Falcons (3-12)
    Line: Pick. Total: 38.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Seahawks -10.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Pick.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Unknown (starters).
    Injuries: SEAHAWKS: OUT: WR Deion Branch, DT Marcus Tubbs. FALCONS: PRISON: QB Michael Vick.

    In my last lead I talked about metrosexuals. The guy who sold me the nail shiner and moisturizer was straight out of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He had a semi-lisp and spoke with a semi-European accent. I couldn't even understand what he was saying, to be honest. Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, it was kind of cool because this guy could have sold me on anything. He called me over and did something to my nail. Now it's so shiny it can reflect anything. I don't even need to turn on my car headlights at night anymore because my nail reflects the moonlight. This guy had me so hooked by this that he sold me moisturizer that I don't even know whom to give to. He was so convincing I would have done anything he asked me to. I would have ran around the mall naked and given him $100 for it. Seriously, I'm going to avoid this guy from now on before he gets me to buy more stuff.

    From the Michael Vick dog-killing situation, to Joey Harrington making everyone in the locker room listen to his piano playing, to Bobby Petrino quitting on his team, this has been a horrendous season for the Falcons. But you have to believe that a victory in this game will somehow quell some of their hardships and perhaps propel them to a solid 2008 campaign. A win over Seattle would let Atlanta give Bobby Petrino the middle finger, allowing it to move on. Now I know what Dr. Phil feels like.

    This is one situation where the Falcons won't care whether or not Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace or Charlie Frye is at quarterback. They just want to win. They came close last week at Arizona, despite being double-digit underdogs, and I have to believe they're going to go all out because this is the final game of the year.

    It's no secret that the Seahawks will be resting their players. They have the No. 3 seed locked up, so they don't need to win this game. Seattle has been in the same situation twice the past two years. They won in 2006 as 3-point underdogs at Tampa Bay, but failed to cover as 4.5-point dogs at Green Bay (4-12) the season before. The Seahawks are coming off a blowout victory against the Ravens, and have already shown a tendency to be lazy when they lost at Carolina in Week 15. I doubt they'll be up for a long plane ride to Atlanta.

    Making the case stronger for the Falcons, this line has risen from two to three despite the public backing Seattle. I really hope Atlanta wins; I'm in favor of anything that makes Bobby Petrino look like a fool.


    The Psychology. Edge: Falcons.
    The Seahawks are locked into the third seed. The Falcons, meanwhile, are playing hard now that their idiot coach has left.


    The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
    Will people actually take the Falcons as a favorite?
  • Percentage of money on Seattle: 84% (27,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 23-33 ATS since 2002 (Mike Holmgren 2-9).
  • Seahawks are 6-10 ATS on the road since 2006.
  • Matt Hasselbeck is 8-14 ATS as a road favorite. ???
  • Opening Line: Falcons -2.
  • Opening Total: 39.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Prediction: Falcons 28, Seahawks 21
    Falcons PK (4 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Correct; +$400
    Over 38 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Falcons 44, Seahawks 41.



    San Francisco 49ers (5-10) at Cleveland Browns (9-6)
    Line: Browns by 11.5. Total: 40.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Browns -13.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Pick.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Unknown (starters).
    Injuries: 49ERS: OUT: QB Alex Smith, DE/OLB Manny Lawson. BROWNS: OUT: OT Ryan Tucker, C LeCharles Bentley, LB Willie McGinest.

    I lied two leads ago. I said I spent $400 on Christmas gifts. It was actually $340. I used $60 on the third season of Beverly Hills 90210. Hey, I'm not ashamed to say that. Sure, the plot sucks, but I can honestly say that I'm in love with Shannen Doherty circa 1990-1996. I know she's since allegedly slept with every man on this planet, but the Shannen Doherty of a decade ago could have asked me to literally have her child and I would have done it. To be the first man pregnant since Arnold Schwarzenegger in that cheesy movie for the right to be ordered around by Shannen Doherty (circa 1990-1996?) That's a no-brainer.

    I'm really confused here. Of all the strange lines this week, this one takes the cake. And the fact that the public isn't pounding one side is even more bizarre. If you know why this line is so odd, congratulations, you've been paying attention to ESPN, NBC, FOX and CBS. If not, turn on ESPN News and watch for 30 minutes. You'll soon see the light.

    To those who are too lazy to turn on the TV: Newsflash - the Browns don't need to win this game! In a crazy tie-breaker situation, their playoff lives solely depend on what the Titans do on Sunday night. If Tennessee wins, Cleveland is out. If Tennessee loses, Cleveland is in. Nothing the Browns do Sunday afternoon matters the slightest bit.

    So, there's no reason to think Romeo Crennel won't sit some of his starters in the second half. And there's also no reason to think Romeo isn't going to come up with some half-baked (cookies?) gameplan. Even if the Browns want to make amends for losing to the Bengals, they can't possibly be completely focused for an inferior opponent as a large favorite, with their postseason lives hanging in the balance four hours after the conclusion of this game.

    The 49ers have quietly played better recently. Shaun Hill is much more efficient and safe than Trent "Five Turnover" Dilfer. Frank Gore, meanwhile, will carry the load and trample a front seven that couldn't contain Cincinnati's putrid ground attack. I know San Francisco has perennially sucked on the East Coast at 1 p.m., but 10 points gives us a lot of maneuverability.

    Again, this game means absolutely nothing to Cleveland. The public is split 50-50, which leads me to believe that at least half of the people who gamble on football games are completely clueless.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    Odd that whatever the Browns do this Sunday doesn't matter. I don't get it... But that just means they'll be resting starters. The 49ers are playing tough, but I don't know if they'll be motivated to beat a bunch of backups.


    The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
    Will people realize Cleveland doesn't need to win? Why did the line open up so high?
  • Percentage of money on Cleveland: 63% (45,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Browns.
  • Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 23-33 ATS since 2002 (Mike Nolan 1-6).
  • Browns are 5-12 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Opening Line: Browns -11.5.
  • Opening Total: 39.5.
  • Weather: Snow showers, 37 degrees. Mild wind, 11 mph.


    Prediction: Browns 16, 49ers 13
    49ers +11.5 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$330
    Under 40 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Browns 20, 49ers 7.



    St. Louis Rams (3-12) at Arizona Cardinals (7-8)
    Line: Cardinals by 6. Total: 48.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Cardinals -9.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Cardinals -8.5.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.
    Injuries: RAMS: OUT: OT Orlando Pace, DE Leonard Little, CB Tye Hill. CARDINALS: OUT: QB Matt Leinart, OT Oliver Ross. QUESTIONABLE: WR Larry Fitzgerald*, WR Anquan Boldin*.

    It's a damn shame we haven't been able to listen to Marshall Faulk all year. Faulk is almost as great of an "analysis" as Emmitt Smith. Just check out some of priceless quotes!

    1. After Bryant Gumbel said, "There's a lot of black and gold in here," Marshall replied, "There's a lot of black and gold in here." (Commentary: Marshall apparently follows the old adage, "When you have nothing interesting to say, simply repeat what the last guy said.")
    2. "Can they get back to what they was..." (Commentary: Hooked on Emmitt's Phonics worked for Marshall!)
    3. "It's not often you have a key play that leads to uhh... a uhh... four- or five-play touchdown." (I don't know what's funnier - the fact that Marshall doesn't think a key play leads to a touchdown, or the fact that he said "four- of five-play touchdown." How do you have a touchdown that lasts four or five plays? Maybe Marshall should stick to repeating what Gumbel says.)

    Did you know the Arizona Cardinals used to play in St. Louis back in the day? Yeah, they were called the St. Louis Cardinals. So, if they stuck around, the city would still have two teams named the St. Louis Cardinals. How much confusion must that have caused back in the day? People must have asked each other to go to the Cardinals game, and they'd be looking for each other in two different parking lots. Anyway, that fact is much more interesting than this game.

    Actually, it's sort of refreshing to talk about a contest that doesn't deal with either team sitting its starters. This is going to be a good, old-fashioned NFC West battle, even though Arizona joined the division just five years ago.

    The Rams have been playing better recently now that they have Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson healthy. I don't trust an Arizona secondary that surrendered more than 300 passing yards to Chris Redman, so Bulger could have a field day throwing to Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. Meanwhile, we all saw - and by "we," I mean the five people who have the NFL Network - how much St. Louis' defensive backfield struggled Thursday evening. It just couldn't contain Ben Roethlisberger and his plethora of wide outs. It won't get any easier Sunday, as Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are unstoppable if they're both in the lineup at the same time.

    I see no reason not to take the points. The Rams usually struggle on the road, but this is in another dome, so they'll be OK. The visitor has actually won the previous five meetings, so that goes to show that it doesn't matter that this contest is in Arizona. I'm putting one unit on St. Louis. If you're still not sure whom to bet on and you want action on this game, remember, when in doubt take the dog and fade the public. You're doing both with the Rams.


    The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
    This game is insignificant. The only thing I can see is a possible Revenge Situation for the Rams, who lost to the Cardinals earlier in the year.


    The Vegas. Edge: Rams.
    The Cardinals are definitely more of a public team than the Rams.
  • Percentage of money on Arizona: 65% (21,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
  • History: Road Team has won the last 5 meetings.
  • Rams are 16-30 ATS in road games since 2001.
  • Cardinals are 11-4 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Opening Line: Cardinals -6.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Prediction: Cardinals 30, Rams 27
    Rams +6 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Over 48 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Cardinals 48, Rams 19.



    San Diego Chargers (10-5) at Oakland Raiders (4-11)
    Line: Chargers by 8.5. Total: 42.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Chargers -6.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Chargers -6.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Chargers.
    Injuries: RAIDERS: OUT: RB Justin Fargas*, RB Michael Bush.

    I usually host a party at my house every two months. Depending on how many people are home from college and if they're busy or not, it can get pretty wild. We had 60 or so people at last year's Pre-New Years Eve party. Well, we're planning another one for the 28th, but for some reason, almost every single girl my sister, my cousins and I have invited are busy. It's pretty ridiculous and depressing at the same time. This got me thinking. Why isn't there a party-girl service? Think about it - if you're trying to throw a shindig, and it's looking like it might be a sausage fest, you should be able to hire girls to come to your party. It would be awesome - I would even utilize it if ample females RSVP, if not just for variety. Honestly, why doesn't such a thing exist? It's not prostitution because sex would be optional for the girls. It's like an escort service, but for morons who like to drink tons of alcohol. I'm seriously considering starting something like this.

    Anyway, I picked the Broncos last Monday night because I assumed the Chargers would be a bit lackadaisical, seeing as how they had nothing to play for, excluding the three seed. Perhaps I should have taken into account the immense pressure Norv Turner is under to produce in the playoffs this year. The Chargers, despite their 14-2 record, faded down the stretch last season, failing to cover on numerous occasions. That appears to be different now. Turner needs to have his squad sharp for its first-round tilt against the Browns or Titans.

    Speaking of Turner, he's another reason why I'm laying a billion points with the Chargers on the road. This actually falls under the former-coach theory, as Turner coached Oakland in 2005. He knows how to contain them, though that probably doesn't take much effort. JaMarcus Russell is making his first start, so you know Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips have to be licking their chops in anticipation of accumulating numerous sacks. Antonio Cromartie will have two interceptions in this contest, and San Diego will have at least a 20-point lead at halftime.

    The only thing that scares me here is the possibility of a back-door cover. Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson will not play the entire game, so it's possible that the Raiders will make a valiant comeback against San Diego's second-stringers. This spread is so large, the back door may seem wide open at the end. I'm still backing the Chargers, but not for anything more than a single unit.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The Chargers don't need a win, even though a victory would give them the third seed. The Raiders won't want to beat Charlie Whitehurst or Billy Volek.


    The Vegas. Edge: Raiders.
    The public just saw the Chargers dismantle the Broncos on Monday night. They're going to be all over them again.
  • Percentage of money on San Diego: 98% (45,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Chargers.
  • History: Chargers have won the last 8 meetings.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 53-42 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Monday Might: Teams coming off a 17+ win on Monday Night Football are 29-15 ATS since 1999.
  • Raiders are 3-17 ATS in their final home game since 1985.
  • Raiders are 8-21 ATS at home the previous 29 instances.
  • Opening Line: Chargers -9.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: Possible showers, 54 degrees. Light wind.


    Prediction: Chargers 34, Raiders 17
    Chargers -8.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 42.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Chargers 30, Raiders 17.



    Kansas City Chiefs (4-11) at New York Jets (3-12)
    Line: Jets by 6. Total: 34.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Jets -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Jets -3.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Chiefs.
    Injuries: CHIEFS: OUT: RB Larry Johnson*. JETS: OUT: WR Laveranues Coles, LB Jonathan Vilma.

    I finally remembered what Snowman means (see Lions-Packers opening paragraph for details)! I received a few e-mails from reader David Snowberger, who signs off as "Snowman." David recently discovered a few of Emmitt Smith's proteges. Here, read what he wrote yourself: "Maurice Jones-Drew was on ESPN's First Take today and was talking about the Jags' family values. Jones-Drew said the Jags have 'a lot of humidity for their families.'" I can't wait till Jones-Drew is on ESPN in 12 years. He has the potential to break Emmitt Smith's all-time record for grammatical gaffs in a single year. Actually, now that I think about it, Jones-Drew's statement could be correct if he was referring to the heat and humidity in Jacksonville. So, the jury's out on him - but not Willie McGinest: "On PTI, Willie McGinest just responded to a question and sees the Browns take care of things 'eternally.' I'm a big Browns fan but doubt I will be around that long..."

    I love the Chiefs and I hate the Chiefs in this game. For those of you who have been following my picks all year, you're well aware that I absolutely love siding with coaches who are going against their former team. Herm Edwards coached the Jets for five years and was mildly successful with them, taking them to multiple postseason appearances, despite his awful clock- and game-management skills.

    Edwards built this Jets team, so he should know how to stop it, especially if Chad Pennington gets the start. Edwards is a defensive coach, so hopefully he'll be able to devise a scheme that can contain Pennington and his nauseatingly short throws. If Kellen Clemens gets the nod, I still think we'll be OK; Edwards knows the receivers and linemen extremely well. Having coached the Jets' defense as well, he should know how to attack it, even if Damon Huard is his quarterback. Huard actually was solid last week, going 24-of-36 for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Sure, Huard took advantage of an inept Lions defense, but the Jets' stop unit isn't much better.

    So, why do I hate the Chiefs? Because of Herm Edwards! Look, he's a great motivator, but when it comes to game planning, he's absolutely horrendous. There's no one worse in the NFL. Although this falls under the former-coach rule, I just couldn't live with myself if I placed four or five units on Herm. And besides, Kansas City hasn't covered a game since Nov. 18 (they pushed last week.)

    I'm still going with Kansas City, but this won't be a huge play, or anything. Actually, you know what? In honor of these teams sucking so much, I'm going to call for a tie. Why not? Doing so is much more fun than watching this boring crap.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The winner will be the team that wants this game more. Both squads pretty much suck really bad.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    The Chiefs haven't won since Thomas Jefferson was in office, so I doubt the public will lay much money on them.
  • Percentage of money on New York: 58% (21,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Chiefs.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 106-75 ATS on the road following a road loss.
  • Jets are 5-2 ATS as a favorite under Eric Mangini.
  • Opening Line: Chiefs -6.5.
  • Opening Total: 35.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 38 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.


    Prediction: Chiefs 20, Jets 20
    Chiefs +6 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$300
    Over 34 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Jets 13, Chiefs 10.



    Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-11)
    Line: Steelers by 3.5. Total: 34.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Steelers -12.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Steelers -3.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Unknown (starters).
    Injuries: STEELERS: OUT: QB Ben Roethlisberger*, RB Willie Parker*. RAVENS: OUT: QB Steve McNair, QB Kyle Boller, LB Dan Cody.

    You may not know this, but there was a super double-secret meeting between Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino recently. Saban and Petrino are proud members of the Greedy Liars Organization. What they talked about should be revealed to the world. Luckily, I donned the same Harry Potter invisibility cloak Pam Oliver used last week to get notes from the secret Donovan McNabb-Andy Reid rendez-vous. Here is what Saban and Petrino discussed:

    Saban: Hey Bobby! I heard you got hired by Arkansas. Congratulations. Petrino: Yeah, looks like they made a wise choice because I am the greatest football coach of all time. Saban: I meant congratulations for getting money from Arkansas while stealing for Arthur Blank. What a move! Petrino: Ha! And the kicker is, I already have another college job lined up, so I'll be getting income from three different places this time next year. Saban: Beautiful. I actually just turned down to coach the Dallas Cowboys. They wanted me really bad. I told them no, though I stuffed some of Jerry Jones' botox ointments in my pocket so I can sell them on the black market. Petrino: Brilliant move. Jones wanted to meet with me, but I told him that interviews with me cost at least $500,000. Saban: You're so smart. If I weren't married, I'd have your child.

    It would take someone mentally insane and completely deranged to bet the Ravens. They're a team in complete disarray. Their defense is extremely overrated because they're too old and over-the-hill. The offense lacks talent and play-makers. And the only reason the quarterback is starting is because the head coach is madly in love with him. I can confidently predict that there won't be a single person betting on Baltimore. Who would do such a thing? Who would risk their hard-earned cash on a squad that is 2-13 against the spread this year? It would take a brave man to do so. A brave man with no brain. A brave man, such as myself.

    The Ravens are pretty easy to figure out. They haven't covered at all because they're overrated and lazy, which I explained above. They're also internally flawed, as Ray Lewis, a horrible leader in my opinion, always finds some way to blame the offense for his troubles. If Lewis admitted early on that he has lost a step, I guarantee Baltimore would have a better record. However, we sometimes see flashes of 2000 from this team, as we witnessed when it came within one yard of knocking off the unbeaten Patriots. The Ravens have an extremely vain group of players, who only try their hardest when they are being disrespected. This happens to be one of those occasions.

    Baltimore was completely humiliated on national TV a few months ago, when the Steelers ripped them apart, 38-7, prompting Lewis to incoherently proclaim that he would avenge all of his divisional losses at home. Well, that hasn't happened because both Cincinnati and Cleveland won in Baltimore. This is Ravens' final shot to beat an AFC North foe for the first time this year, and their opportunity to get revenge against an archrival.

    I think you're going to see Baltimore come out with the same emotion and intensity it had against the Patriots. It only makes sense. Why is this line so low despite all of the action on the Steelers? The Chargers are 9-point favorites at Oakland. Shouldn't Pittsburgh be favored by the same amount here? After all, the public saw the Ravens lose to the Dolphins, and get humiliated by the Chargers, Colts and Seahawks recently. Something's definitely up.

    The Steelers have nothing to play for and will be extra cautious, especially after suffering a season-ending injury to Willie Parker. Baltimore, meanwhile, will play with the same fire it had versus the Patriots. Anything can happen in heated divisional battles; we all witnessed the Eagles and Bears upset archrivals as huge underdogs. The same may happen here.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The Steelers won the division and will be resting players. The Ravens have quit.


    The Vegas. Edge: Ravens.
    I can't see anyone backing the Ravens right now.
  • Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 70% (39,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
  • History: Home Team has won 9 of the last 10 meetings.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current and '06 head coaches are 83-63 ATS on the road following a road win.
  • Ravens are 10-19 ATS as an underdog the previous 29 instances.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 44-16 as a starter (36-24 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Steelers -4.
  • Opening Total: 36.
  • Weather: Possible showers, 42 degrees. Light wind.


    Prediction: Ravens 25, Steelers 20
    Ravens +3.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 34.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Ravens 27, Steelers 21.



    Minnesota Vikings (8-7) at Denver Broncos (6-9)
    Line: Vikings by 3. Total: 41.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Vikings -7.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Vikings -9.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Broncos.
    Injuries: BRONCOS: OUT: WR Javon Walker, WR Rod Smith, C Tom Nalen.

    It's time for more grammar lessons from Emmitt Smith! Use these quotes to enhance your street cred, but be warned - if you live in the suburbs, you may be exiled from your community.

    1. "Brett Favre went into Dallas nine times and have a big goose egg." (And I bet Emmitt had tons of big goose eggs on his grammar tests when he was in high school.)
    2. "Detroit Lions had our numbers." (Lottery numbers? What does that mean?)
    3. "He's goin change how the front office even think." (Luckily this is Bill Parcells Emmitt was talking about, so he's not goin change how the front office speak grammars.)

    Let's go back to the Aurora Snow Theory, shall we? As a reminder, this is where: "If Team A needs to win to get into the playoffs, and Team B isn't involved in any sort of postseason implications, Team B will either win or keep the score close because Team A will choke."

    The Vikings have been gagging the past few weeks. They nearly lost to an offensively inept Bears squad at home, and followed that up with a blowout loss to the Redskins. Minnesota's glaring weaknesses were exposed in the latter contest; the team can neither throw the ball nor stop the pass. Call me crazy, but I can't trust Tarvaris Jackson to go into Denver as a favorite and come out victorious in a must-win. Jackson is extremely erratic; at times, you can see why the Vikings drafted him. He's mobile and possesses a great arm. However, his horrendous mechanics and decision-making lead to turnovers. Denver cannot stop the run, so it will load up the line of scrimmage, forcing Jackson to beat them. I like Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly going against the Vikings' pedestrian receiving corps. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Bailey picks Jackson off twice.

    The Broncos are a proud, veteran-laden team that was just humiliated on national TV. The offense couldn't produce, while the defense was shredded by taunting-extraordinaire Philip Rivers. In what could be John Lynch's final home game as an NFL player, I expect Denver to come out like gangbusters and ruin a team's playoff aspirations, saving some face for what was a shameful a 2007 campaign. Jay Cutler, despite Monday night's performance, is not a bad signal caller, and will shred Minnesota's putrid secondary.

    Minnesota looks done. Even if it beats Denver and watches Washington lose to Dallas' backups, it won't get too far in the playoffs with Jackson at the helm. In a sense, a five-interception outing by Jackson could be the best thing that happens to the Vikings; it'll force Brad Childress to pursue a new and improved quarterback via the draft or free agency.


    The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
    The Vikings obviously need to win this game. The Broncos don't.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    The Vikings are in a must-win situation, and they're only -3? The public is going to pound them.
  • Percentage of money on Minnesota: 50% (40,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
  • Five Snap: Non-undefeated teams having a 5+ game winning streak snapped are 18-9 ATS the following game since 2002.
  • Monday Misery: Teams coming off a 17+ loss on Monday Night Football are 11-26 ATS since 1999.
  • Vikings are 3-22 ATS in road finale since 1980.
  • Opening Line: Vikings -3.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: Sunny, 36 degrees. Light wind.


    Prediction: Broncos 26, Vikings 24
    Broncos +3 (2 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$200
    Over 41.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Broncos 22, Vikings 19.



    Dallas Cowboys (13-2) at Washington Redskins (8-7)
    Line: Redskins by 9. Total: 39.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Cowboys -3/Redskins -6.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Redskins -6.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Unknown (starters).
    Injuries: COWBOYS: OUT: WR Terry Glenn, NT Jason Ferguson. REDSKINS: OUT: QB Jason Campbell, OT Jon Jansen.

    Before I discuss game, take a look at my Week 17 Look-Alike Pictures featuring Jabba the Hut and Jimmie Walker.

    I mentioned Week 17 is the hardest to handicap, and this game is a perfect example of why that is the case. First of all, we have no idea how long Dallas' starters will be in the game. Does Wade Phillips play them for a series? A quarter? A half? Unless I'm mistaken, Phillips has never had a 13-2 squad that had homefield advantage locked up. There's no way of knowing how he'll treat this contest. Secondly, I'm not sure if the Aurora Snow Theory applies. Sure, the Redskins need to win, so the probability of them choking is pretty high, but they actually have playoff experience. In 2005, they beat the Buccaneers and nearly knocked off Seattle in the second round. The Redskins have been here before, and know what it takes to be victorious.

    I think what it comes down to is whether or not the Redskins can realistically cover double digits. As you can see in the Trends section, Washington hasn't fared well as a favorite this year. That's because its offense has been stagnant. That may have changed with Todd Collins at the helm. Collins is exactly what a run- and defensively oriented squad like the Redskins needed - a safe quarterback who can convert third downs more often than not. He really impressed me by going into Minnesota and putting up 30 on the board against a solid defense. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he did the same thing to Dallas this weekend. However, we have yet to see him cover double digits, so until he does that, I have to be skeptical.

    There isn't much else to write about this game because we have no idea how long the Cowboys' starters are going to be on the field. I wouldn't recommend betting this game unless you're rich and don't care about losing money. I believe Washington will ultimately win, but I don't think I can lay 9.5 in this spot.


    The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
    Hmm... I wonder who needs this one more...?


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Everyone knows the Redskins need to win.
  • Percentage of money on Washington: 56% (67,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Cowboys.
  • History: Cowboys have won 6 of the last 8 meetings.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 53-42 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current and '06 head coaches are 83-63 ATS on the road following a road win.
  • Tony Romo is 14-10 ATS as a starter. ???
  • Redskins are 2-5 ATS as a favorite in 2007.
  • Redskins are 4-14 ATS after a road win since 2000.
  • Opening Line: Redskins -7.
  • Opening Total: 40.
  • Weather: Showers, 42 degrees. Light wind.


    Prediction: Redskins 20, Cowboys 14
    Cowboys +9 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 39 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Redskins 27, Cowboys 6.



    Tennessee Titans (9-6) at Indianapolis Colts (13-2)
    Line: Titans by 5. Total: 39.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 16): Colts -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 16): Pick.
    Sunday, 8:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Unknown (starters).
    Injuries: TITANS: OUT: WR David Givens, CB Pacman Jones, S Chris Hope. COLTS: OUT: WR Marvin Harrison, DE Dwight Freeney, DT Anthony McFarland, OLB Rob Morris.

    Before I get to my (Sunday) night dissertation, I want to mention that you can compete against me and others by picking football games at the Picking Forum. You'll be able to pick every game starting Wednesday afternoon, and you can post comments for each contest as well. No prizes, but you do get bragging rights.

    Negative Units? In my Jaguars-Texans write-up, I said I was thinking about making my first ever zero-unit NFL pick because I didn't like either side. Well, I like this game less. Do negative units exist? Can I win money if my pick is wrong? That would actually be kinda cool. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a negative unit, and all creating something like that would do is confuse people. So, I'm just going to discuss the angles of this game, hopefully talking myself into a side.

    The Titans Have to Win! Tennessee controls its own destiny. If it wins, it's in the playoffs. If it loses, the team will be watching the postseason at home. But I go by the old adage that says if a squad needs to win, it's probably not that good in the first place. Just because the Titans need this contest more than the Colts doesn't necessarily mean they'll win. Yes, the Aurora Snow Theory applies.

    But the Colts May Make It Easy! That's my greatest concern. Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai and Reggie Wayne will march down the field on the opening drive and score a touchdown. As Tony Dungy has done in the past, he'll yank Manning after the initial possession, replacing him with Jim Sorgi. Sorgi will then throw dozens of incompletions, allowing the opposing squad to come away with an easy victory. This is exactly what happened a few years ago. The Broncos, in a must-win situation, beat the Colts the final week of the season, 33-14. This is exactly why Indianapolis has a laughable 1-8 spread record the final two weeks of the season since 2003.

    So the Titans Are Going to Win Easily? Are the Colts going to rest their starters in the final three quarters and allow the Titans to just walk all over them? There are two things to keep in mind. First, when Indianapolis "let" Denver win, it was because it was slated to play the Broncos in the wildcard round of the playoffs. Dungy simply didn't want to give the Broncos anything to study in the film room.

    Second, and most important, the Colts have a bye next week. Following the disastrous performance against the Steelers in 2005, Dungy could be more cautious with giving his starters too much rest. There's definitely a possibility Manning and company play a quarter and a half. If that's the case, Indianapolis could have 21 or more points on the board before it pulls its starters.

    Even with the Colts' defensive backups on the field, there's no guarantee the Titans will be able to score consistently. They have a stagnant offense because their receivers can't get open and drop too many balls. Asking them to cover 6.5 on the road in a must-win could be too much to ask.

    Vegas Implications. This is the one thing that's holding me back from making a confident, one-unit play on the Colts. With about two-thirds of the money on Indianapolis, the line has moved from Tennessee -4 to -6.5. There was already a good amount of cash on Indianapolis, so why would Vegas move the spread 2.5 points, unless it thought the Titans were the right side?

    The Bottom Line Is... Don't bet this game! There's no way in hell I'm going to. But because I have to pick a side on this Web site, I'm going to throw a unit on Indianapolis, hoping the books are wrong in their assessment of this contest.


    The Psychology. Edge: Titans.
    The Titans need to win. The Colts will rest Peyton Manning and company in the second half... or second quarter.


    The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
    The Colts are a home dog? May look enticing to some clueless bettors, but everyone knows the Titans need to win.
  • Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 79% (50,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • History: Colts have won 8 of the last 9 meetings (Titans 3-0 ATS since 2006).
  • Vince Young is 16-10 as a starter (16-10 ATS).
  • Colts are 1-8 ATS in Weeks 16 and 17 since 2003.
  • Opening Line: Titans -4.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Prediction: Colts 24, Titans 23
    Colts +5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Over 39.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Titans 16, Colts 10.


    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.


  • Live Dog: Broncos +145 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$290
  • Live Dog: Rams +225 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$200
  • Live Dog: Chiefs +210 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$200
  • 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.

  • Second-half picks will be listed here.



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    1 Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 15, 2014): 6-9-1 (-$1,380)
    Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 15, 2014): 1-2 (-$360)
    Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 15, 2014): 0-1 (-$440)
    Last Week Over-Under (Week 15, 2014): 10-6 ($0)
    Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 15, 2014): $0

    2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-3, 40% (-$580)

    2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 115-118-7, 49.4% (-$2,655)
    2014 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 40-38, 51.3% (+$70)
    2014 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 9-13-1, 40.9% (-$1,620)
    2014 Season Over-Under: 123-98-2, 55.7% ($0)
    2014 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,140

    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%)
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    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)
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    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%)
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    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)
    2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)

    2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
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    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)
    2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)

    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)
    2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)

    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
    2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245

    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)
    2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)

    Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,129-1,962-117, 52.0% (+$9,760)
    Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 684-621-31 (52.4%)
    Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 285-247-11 (53.6%)
    Career Over-Under: 1,664-1,635-48 (50.4%)
    Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%)
    Career NFL Picks of the Month: 30-18 (62.5%)



    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: 5-9
    Bears: 7-7
    Bucs: 8-6
    49ers: 6-7
    Eagles: 9-5
    Lions: 5-8
    Falcons: 6-8
    Cardinals: 7-7
    Giants: 4-10
    Packers: 9-4
    Panthers: 5-9
    Rams: 6-8
    Redskins: 8-6
    Vikings: 11-3
    Saints: 5-8
    Seahawks: 7-7
    Bills: 6-8
    Bengals: 5-10
    Colts: 6-7
    Broncos: 7-7
    Dolphins: 9-4
    Browns: 7-5
    Jaguars: 8-6
    Chargers: 5-9
    Jets: 7-7
    Ravens: 6-8
    Texans: 6-7
    Chiefs: 8-5
    Patriots: 7-7
    Steelers: 7-7
    Titans: 6-6
    Raiders: 5-9
    Divisional: 31-37 (2011-13: 141-137)
    2x Game Edge: 11-16 (2011-13: 55-62)
    2x Psych Edge: 23-21 (2011-13: 92-80)
    2x Vegas Edge: 39-39 (2011-13: 129-142)
    2x Trend Edge: 29-15 (2011-13: 72-78)
    Double Edge: 13-11 (2011-13: 27-33)
    Triple Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 2-1)
    Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 0-0)

    2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
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    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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