BOSTON (CBS) — There’s a place I like to visit every year around this time of year when I’m not doing so well at making my NFL picks. It’s a quiet place that very few people have ever visited, and it’s a place that always makes me feel better about my incompetence.
It’s a place called “Denial.” It’s a river in Egypt. And it’s where I’m currently located while writing this week’s picks column.
In Denial, I’m never wrong. In Denial, I have a 62 percent success rate, rather than the 38 percent success rate I have back home. In Denial, I didn’t get shown up last week by a friend and guest writer who went 8-5 simply by disagreeing with my on all but one pick.
In Denial, I’m the man, and I’m always right. So let’s get to them. It’s time for a perfect week.
(Home team in caps; Wednesday lines)
MIAMI (+3) over Cincinnati
I’m not digging the Andy Dalton lovefest, and it’s a Thursday night game, which means nothing really matters anyway. The Dolphins are due to win a game again at some point, right?
Kansas City (-3) over BUFFALO
The Bills are a very hard-to-believe 5-3 against the spread this season, despite having no quarterback for most of the year. The Chiefs are also 5-3 against the spread this season, which furthers my belief that they’re not all that good. The fact that they’ve built their 8-0 record by beating exactly zero teams with winning records, opponents with a combined record of 20-41, adds to that belief.
So in fitting with that theme, the 3-5 Bills are in line to be their next helpless victim. But the Chiefs may become the first 13-3 team in history to lose by 100 points in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Tennessee (+3) over ST. LOUIS
The Rams only play well when they’re playing at the same time as a World Series game that’s taking place down the street, and nobody’s watching them. So did it really happen? Did it count? Can they repeat it on a short week?
New Orleans (-6) over NEW YORK JETS
I’m really thankful that the Jets laid that egg last week. I got my pick wrong, but I was starting to get nervous that I was going to have to start picking the Jets regularly. Life is much easier when you can just pick against the Jets and move on.
WASHINGTON (+1) over San Diego
The Chargers are coming off their bye week, and they played the lowly Jaguars before their bye, so they haven’t played against real NFL competition in three weeks. They’re going to be rusty.
DALLAS (-10.5) over Minnesota
The Cowboys have outscored opponents 146-105 this year. The Vikings have lost by 25, 16 and 13 points in the last three weeks. I’m never comfortable taking Tony Romo in a 10-plus point spread, but sometimes you have to.
Atlanta (+8) over CAROLINA
The Falcons are having an impossibly awful year, but let’s cool it with this kind of respect for the Panthers. They have one of the worst passing games in the whole league, and for all of the Falcons’ warts, you still need to be able to pass the ball to beat them — especially by 8 points.
SEATTLE (-17) over Tampa Bay
Oh my God. This is going to be disgusting. A bloodbath. Can we get a mercy rule added to the rules before this one kicks off? Please, Roger Goodell. Think of the children!
OAKLAND (-2) over Philadelphia
Do you think Michael Vick heard that Terrelle Pryor set the record for longest QB run in history last week and said aloud, “What? How? I’m Michael Vick.”
As for the pick, I’m going to tell you right now, I’m just not going to watch this game. We’re all going to die some day. When my time is up, I don’t want to live with the regret of knowing I wasted three hours in early November of 2013 watching these two football teams play.
NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) over Pittsburgh
What are the Steelers good at? Serious question.
This matchup used to always be one of the biggest of the season. But this year? Just looking at it inspires yawns.
Baltimore (-2.5) over CLEVELAND
Scroll up to the Raiders-Eagles matchup for my thoughts on watching this game.
Indianapolis (-2.5) over HOUSTON
Line is way too low. The Texans are in the middle of an incredible freefall. It would be impressive if it weren’t so terribly pathetic.
Chicago (+11) over GREEN BAY
The world is down on the Bears too much. Not me. I’m calling for one of those bizarre Monday night performances from Josh McCown that nobody deems possible ahead of time.
I’ll see you all next week, hopefully after I no longer need to be a visitor in Denial.
Last week: 6-7