1:00 p.m. ET
New Orleans at Atlanta (+10)
Matt Ryan is probably out again for the Falcons. They're blaming it on his toe. Riiiiiight. Toe injury. Sure. I wonder how he got that toe injury. He is a Gillette spokesman, after all. Those guys are total perverts. What were you sticking that toe in when you hurt it, Ryan, huh? What kind of sick toe transgressions get you off, you freak?
My pick: New Orleans
Green Bay at Chicago (+4.5)
There is a lot of pressure on Jay Cutler. No, I don't mean to play well or win. That ship has sailed (and was then intercepted upon leaving its port). I mean there has to be pressure on him to keep finding a Jay Cutler "Fan of the Week" every week. How big is the Cutler Family?
My pick: Green Bay
Denver at Indianapolis (-6.5)
Just another example that you don't get a lot of factual reporting from the mainstream sports media. Josh McDaniels supplanted Mike Tomlin as the NFL's youngest head coach upon getting hired last spring? Umm, no. He supplanted Peyton Manning.
My pick: Denver
Buffalo at Kansas City (+2)
Because this game sucks, enjoy this.
My pick: Kansas City (and to win)
Cincinnati at Minnesota (-6)
CIN at MIN. CIN at MIN! Hey! That sounds like CINNAMON! I'm just writing game previews like a kid out here! (See, Brett Favre? See how annoying it is?)
My pick: Minnesota
Carolina at New England (-13)
Bill Belichick sent some of his players home this week because they showed up late for practice due to snow and traffic. I'm with Belichick on this. There are ways to know in advance what the weather will be and prepare for it. It's kind of like illegal videotaping your opponent's offensive signals to know what's coming. Only it's not illegal to do this to the weather. You just turn on your local weather report on TV. The best part? It won't earn your trip to practice an asterisk that will never, ever, ever be removed.
My pick: New England***
New York Jets at Tampa Bay (+3.5)
Mark Sanchez is pissed — PISSED! — that the Jets aren't letting him play this week. On top of that, they didn't even let him take the trip to Tampa. This rookie dreamboat is plenty angry. SportsPickle has secured exclusive video of Sanchez after he learned the news from Rex Ryan:
My pick: New York Jets
Miami at Jacksonville (-2)
It's the Battle of Florida. And if Jacksonville wins, perhaps they'll convince a few more Floridians that a team called the "Jaguars" actually exists. Unlikely, but it's a nice bit of motivation for the players.
My pick: Miami (and to win)***
Detroit at Baltimore (-14)
I feel bad for Ravens fans. I really do. They actually thought Joe Flacco was a great quarterback. They had been subjected to such horrific play at quarterback since getting a team, when they got something slightly better they thought he was a star. But he's not. He's a Ravens quarterback just as much as Jay Cutler is a Bears quarterback. Ravens fans seem to me like that guy in high school who never had any success with girls. Then, the first time someone pays him any attention, he falls madly in love. But then, eventually, he comes to his senses and realizes he's been hooking up with a total ugger. A girl who looks like Joe Flacco. A girl with an unsightly unitaint.
My pick: Baltimore
Seattle at Houston (-7)
Steve Slaton is out for the season with a neck injury. Too bad this happened for the opening week of the fantasy playoffs. Not that anyone who had Steve Slaton this year made their fantasy playoffs. YOU PRICK!
My pick: Houston
St. Louis at Tennessee (-13)
Kyle Boller's current skank, Carrie Prejean, has a book called "Still Standing: My Untold Story About Gossip, Hate, and Political Attacks." It has inspired Boller to write: "Still Starting: My Well-Known Story About Sucking, Turnovers, and Getting More Chances."
My pick: Tennessee
Washington at Oakland (+1)
Washington's non-division schedule this season has included the Rams, Lions, Buccaneers, Panthers, Chiefs, and Raiders. Since they don't really deserve to be in the NFL anymore, maybe the SEC or Big Ten will take them.
My pick: Washington
4:15 p.m. ET
San Diego at Dallas (-3)
The Cowboys' December/January schedule looks like this: Giants, Chargers, Saints, Redskins, Eagles. Oh, and Tony Romo is their holder again. That's all I've got. (I don't always have the jokes. Sometimes I just set it up so the team can deliver the punchline. Cowboys? Don't let me down.)
My pick: San Diego (and to win)
8:20 p.m. ET
Philadelphia at New York Giants (+1)
Andy Reid just signed a three-year contract extension. Eli Manning — Eli Manning! — is the highest paid player in football. I guess in a way it's comforting to know that the NFL is just like any other job, in that often times the least competent people have the most job security.
My pick: Philadelphia***
Arizona at San Francisco (+3.5)
I don't know if people have grown tired of the Madden "curse" storyline or what. But Troy Polamalu's downfall this season has flown under the radar. He hurt his knee Week 1. The Steelers opened 1-2. He returned and played well, the Steelers improved to 6-2. Then he hurt his knee again a month ago in a home game against the Bengals. A win would have moved Pittsburgh into first place. They lost, he hasn't returned, and they have continued losing. Five in a row, in fact, and they'll miss the playoffs. And if that's not bad enough, Larry Fitzgerald's future is Matt Leinart. The poor bastard.
My pick: Arizona
Pittsburgh at Cleveland (+9.5)
In Pittsburgh's six losses this season, they have led in the fourth quarter in all but one of them. In fact, ever since James Harrison returned Kurt Warner's last pass before the half in Super Bowl XLIII for 100 yards and a touchdown, the Steelers have gone from one of the best defenses of all-time to one of the least reliable in all of football.
Hmm. What could have happened since halftime at the Super Bowl that could have caused this?
That's right. The curse of Bruce Springsteen's old man balls. No doubt the Steelers witnessed this at halftime and decided they never again wanted to make such an impact with the ballcarrier. And you can't really blame them.
My pick: Pittsburgh***
Last week vs. spread: 4-11
Last week just winners: 10-6
- – – – -
Season vs. spread: 102-86-2
Season just winners: 129-62
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***Lukewarm Locks last week: 0-4
***Lukewarm Locks season: 12-13