OK, onward and upward. What started as a very solid season has dissolved, or as the old lady used to say in the Life Alert TV ads, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Here’s my latest attempt to get off the floor.
Season Record: 29-31-1
Last Week: 1-4 (6-16 the last four weeks)
Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at Houston Texans (2-9)
Line: Indianapolis -10
The Colts lost their big matchup at home against Tampa Bay last week, as they continually shot themselves in the foot and turned the ball over four times. But that doesn’t mean a game they let slip away after leading 24-14 at the half wasn’t a positive. Rather than beat themselves up, the Colts look more like the team that will tighten their resolve. Had they beaten the Buccaneers, the Colts might have taken this one lightly, but I think they’ll cover this rising spread.
The Pick: INDIANAPOLIS 31, Houston 17
Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) at New York Jets (3-8)
Line: Philadelphia -6.5
The Eagles return to the scene of the crime. Last week, the seemingly improving Eagles were just 3.5-point favorites against the Giants at MetLife Stadium and ended up losing the game outright. Worse yet, they scored just seven points. Now just seven days later, they’ll face a pretty terrible Jets team and have to lay a touchdown. I just don’t see how the Jets stop Jalen Hurts from putting up close to 30 in this one.
The Pick: PHILADELPHIA 29, New York 18
Minnesota Vikings (5-6) at Detroit Lions (0-10-1)
Line: Minnesota -7
The Vikings are playing without star running back Dalvin Cook, but Alexander Mattison has been more than serviceable when asked to fill in for Cook in the past. Neither of these defenses has been strong, but there is so little to like about Jared Goff’s offense, especially without D’Andre Swift. That’s what makes this one reasonably attractive, even when giving up a touchdown. The Lions just don’t have the weapons to match Kurt Cousins & Co.
The Pick: MINNESOTA 27, Detroit 16
Baltimore Ravens (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)
Line: Baltimore -5
The Ravens have been banged up since J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Marcus Peters and Ronnie Stanley in the early going. Stanley was attempting to come back from ankle surgery but needed a second surgery to repair the issue. Still, the team has fought hard all season long, and while Lamar Jackson has had a spotty season, he is still in his prime. Pittsburgh will make drafting a quarterback Job One during the offseason, but right now the Steelers are stuck with a fast-aging Ben Roethlisberger, who clearly stayed at the dance a season too long.
I know Ravens-Steelers games usually come in with razor-thin margin, but I don’t think this rivalry has ever featured a quarterback this far past his prime. That’s the difference-maker for me.
The Pick: BALTIMORE 25, Pittsburgh 16
San Francisco 49ers (6-5) at Seattle Seahawks (3-8)
Line: San Francisco -3.5
Clearly, these are two teams that have passed each other going the other way. The 49ers are riding a three-game winning streak and have gotten over .500, while the Seahawks have lost three in a row to drop to an un-Pete-Carroll-like 3-8. The fact that Seattle gets such a home edge has kept the line closer than I think it deserves to be. Russell Wilson is an awfully proud warrior, and he got back as fast as he could after suffering a torn tendon in a finger of his throwing hand. The rumors are that he doesn’t really want to be in Seattle after this season, but what’s really concerning is that most of the team is playing that way, too.
The Pick: SAN FRANCISCO 26, Seattle 17
Photo Credits: Kenya Allen/PressBox