Forget Cowboys' QB woes; Sunday is all about Eagles' Nick Foles
Eagles (-6.5) over COWBOYS
Too bad Tony Romo will miss this throwdown for the NFC East crown. Looking at his history in regular-season finales with a title at stake, the Birds would have loved facing Romo. Scroll back to 2008, and, of course, everyone remembers the Eagles' 44-6 blowout. Then in 2011, Tony and the 'Boys came up on the short end of a 31-14 score against the Giants. And last season, it was a 28-18 loss at Washington with Romo getting picked three times. So, now it's Kyle Orton, who is just a tick over average (a 35-34 record as a starter) in his NFL career. Rather than either Dallas QB, this game is all about the top-rated passer in the league. Nick Foles had his worst performance - and left with a concussion - in the first game against the Cowboys, but since that point . . . Magic! Foles sat out one game, then came back to win six of seven, and he has 22 touchdown passes in nine starts with only two interceptions. The Birds will wear the NFC East crown.
SAINTS (-12.5) over Buccaneers
This is about as simple as it gets. New Orleans is coming off back-to-back losses, which would be a little disturbing for a team that is driving for a playoff spot, but both of those were on the road. At home, it's all about perfection, at least with Sean Payton calling the plays. The Saints were 9-0 straight up and against the spread in 2011, then Payton and his staff got busted for BountyGate. After a year tending to his garden, Payton put the headset back on, and his guys are still perfect, with a 7-0 mark, 6-0-1 ATS. So, with a 16-0 straight up log, and 15-0-1 against the spread, how can you possibly make a case for the other side. As for the playoffs, it's win and in for New Orleans. The Saints could still win the NFC South (and get a bye) if Carolina loses its early game against Atlanta. If that were to happen, this would go from my Best Bet to my Play of the Century!
FALCONS (+6.5) over Panthers
Speaking of the Panthers, this could be upset city. Carolina has clinched a playoff spot, but Cam Newton and his crew did not look good doing it, squeezing out a 17-13 win over the Saints. Newton's ankle is barking, his main target, WR Steve Smith, is out, and Atlanta comes in with four covers in its last five games. This could be the last game for the greatest tight end in NFL history, Tony Gonzalez, and Matt Ryan is gonna send him out with a bang.
STEELERS (-7) over Browns
After an ugly 2-6 start, Pittsburgh has bounced back beautifully, winning five of the last seven, and more important, for my crowd, covering six of the seven. The Steelers will most likely miss the playoffs, unless the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers all lose, but after looking at Ben Roethlisberger's 16-1 record vs. the Browns, and Cleveland's 0-6 run coming into this game, ya gotta buy Steel.
SEAHAWKS (-10) over Rams
Seattle was on cruise control at home, coming into last week's game against Arizona with a 14-0 perfecto, but they were slapped back to reality when the Cards walked off with a 17-10 win. Ain't gonna happen this week. Not with the top seed and home field throughout the NFC playoffs on the line. And speaking of perfectos, the Seahawks are working on an 8-0 run at home against St. Louis and have outscored the Rams by an average of 16 points per game.
GIANTS (-3.5) over Washington
Despite Eli Manning's ugliest season in the NFL since splitting the year with Kurt Warner in 2004, Big Blue has a shot at winning their seventh game in the last 10 outings. Considering the 0-6 start, that's not too terrible.
BEARS (+3) over Packers
You've heard of the Big Bang, well this is the Big Bounce Back for Chicago after the Eagles blew the doors off.
Broncos (-12) over RAIDERS
What does Denver have left to prove? The Broncs still need a W to clinch home field all the way up to the Super Bowl, and they'll wanna prove, especially the defense, that they can dominate without All-Pro Von Miller.
Texans (+7) over TITANS
Not expecting a W for Houston, but maybe a cover against a group from Tennessee that already has one foot on the golf course.
Ravens (+6) over BENGALS
You knew Vic would throw out this gem: Baltimore is 4-0 for John Harbaugh after losses of 20 points or more.
Jaguars (+11.5) over COLTS
Indy might or might not rest some A-listers, which is why we're not prepared to lay double digits against the Jags.
Jets (+6.5) over DOLPHINS
After watching Miami get bageled by the Bills last week, we're gonna rock with sexy Rexy Ryan and his crew.
Lions (+3) over VIKINGS
Pressure is off, nothing to play for, which is exactly when - and only when - Detroit shines brightest.
Bills (+9.5) over PATRIOTS
Do you smell that? It's the aroma of a backdoor cover for the Buffs after Tom Brady ends his day in the third quarter.
49ers (Pick) over CARDINALS
Arizona gets in with a win and a Saints loss, at home, in the Superdome. Bye, bye, 'Zona.
CHARGERS (-9.5) over Chiefs
If San Diego finds an L next to Miami and Baltimore and a W here against KC, the Bolts go to the party.