With Thanksgiving Day done and dusted, and the over bet at 41 on the Ravens-Steelers going right down to a failed two-point conversion at the finish, it's a bleary-eyed pundit looking at another week where we see only three home dogs—and beware, because the lingering effects of tryptophan from Thanksgiving dinner may have some of those teams regretting home cooking by the end of Sunday.
It is a good thing the NFL doesn't test for turkey hormones, though if you're the Seattle Seahawks, watching your secondary getting thinned out by suspension, injury, and possible further suspension, you might start to wonder who the turkeys really are. Golden Tate already has wondered publicly, though really, Golden Tate sounds more like something you'd use to baste the turkey when you roast it.
Sure Things: San Francisco (-8) over St Louis
Yes the Rams can play D, and yes they're coming over a big win against the Bears, but the Niners can play D too, and they're unlikely to allow the Ram runners room, while making life very difficult for Kellen Clemens. I think the Niner offense may be starting to turn the corner, in the sense that they have a third receiver who caught more than one pass last week.
Best Value: New England (-7) at Houston at 2.00
Seven may seem a lot of points to be giving away on the road, but the Pats are likely to be able to scheme Houston's top threats out of the game, and if they solve their fumble problems, this may be the point in the season where Tom Brady settles down with his new receiving corps. And of course with Gronk as his security blanket, which is an odd thought unless you're Bibi Jones.
Long Odds: Atlanta 2.40 to win at Buffalo
I've picked the Bills in this game, but I have this nagging feeling that in neutral Toronto, in a stadium far more like the Bubba Dome than the Bills own park, the Falcons could come alive, and the Bills might play flat. Atlanta are also getting three points if you fancy the spread bet. It's a risk you might want to take as a balancer for another risky bet. Kansas City getting 4.5 at home against Denver is at 2.90, which may be overreaction to their two losses in a row. But without Justin Houston and with Tamba Hali hurt too, watch out.
Avoid Getting Trapped: Cincinnati (+1) at San Diego
I've picked the Chargers straight-up in this one, but the reality is they can't play D. They allowed the Chiefs 38 points last week. The Bengals are a lot like the Chiefs offensively, Andy Dalton a ginger-haired version of Alex Smith, but they do have AJ Green, and even without Geno Smith their defense could pose problems for Philip Rivers and company. I find this a fascinating matchup, but I'm leaving it alone. A Charger win would be good news for the Ravens, and all of a sudden the AFC playoff racce would look interesting again.
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