By Zack Cimini
Diving in to late December and January football is the best time of year for sports gamblers. You’ve literally got a full slate of college football bowl games seemingly every night. Moreover the NFL spreads out it’s match ups to have enticing meaningful games. This week we have a great Christmas day late night game to get you 1-0 heading into a plethora of Sunday games. Add that handful of extra cash to your 2010 banking account as you end 2009 on a high note.
San Diego at Tennessee (-3)- Pick Tennessee
There aren’t two teams on a streak of wins like the battle we will have on Christmas. Combined the two teams have won sixteen of their last seventeen games. The Titans are a bit banged up on the defensive side of the ball but are in desperation mode and have come all the way back to have a shot at the playoffs. If they can keep scoring and control the clock with both Chris Johnson and Lendale White than they can get a huge advantage in that department. San Diego has been a quick strike largely proportioned team through the air. It could hurt them once playoff time comes if they can’t regain some form of attack with LT and Darren Sproles.
Seattle at Green Bay (-14)- Pick Green Bay
Kudos to Mike Holmgren for picking the right spot to get the heck out of Seattle. By making the move he landed himself a solid year away from the game and full control over the Browns for next season. What’s going on in Seattle is as confusing as knowing the Cardinals are going to the playoffs for the second consecutive year. They’ve bottomed out and will be going through a tough hard awakening on what they need to do for the off-season.
Oakland at Cleveland (-3)- Pick Oakland
The key to eliminating any chances for the Browns to score points is simple. Stop the running game and let Derek Anderson’s lowly quarterback rating take affect. Oakland is not getting any high praise but they’ve played a large role in making the last few weeks interesting in the playoff race. Their wins this year have all come against strong playoff contenders, which would mean they’ve handled a spoiler role well.
Kansas City at Cincinnati -13.5- Pick Cincinnati
After last weeks display against Cleveland this game should be one of the easier double digit line locks all season. The Bengals almost put a halt to the Chargers high flying win streak, and seem as balanced of a team there is currently. The defense is playing at a great level and Carson Palmer is lighting it up with his precision passes. As long as Jamaal Charles does not run wild it should be a handled game by half time.
Buffalo at Atlanta -9- Pick Atlanta
Add Buffalo to the list of teams that have no clue where to start rebuilding once the off season begins. They thought they did the right move by saying bye bye to J. P. Losman and making Trent Edwards their official starter. Than the brightest of moves was inserting Ryan Fitzpatrick who has shown countless times with chances in St. Louis and last year in Cincinnati that he can only be a backup. They can not score with any regularity and being on the road only makes this more entertaining.
Houston at Miami -3- Pick Miami
The battle of 7-7 teams should provide a playoff atmosphere of survival. Like any team sitting at .500 near the end of the season, both teams have had tremendous ups and downs. We will go with history here and pick Miami. Houston can never seem to get over that .500 hump, and always happen to come up short. Ricky Williams has done more than a solid job handling the feature role since Ronnie Brown’s season ending injury. This should be one of the best games of the weekend.
Carolina at New York Giants -7- Pick NY Giants
The Giants are similar to the Dallas Cowboys. The media is going to over hype losses or poor play to exponential levels compared to other franchises. They came out on Monday Night and smacked the Washington Redskins into a higher level of disarray that even Ron Jaworski couldn’t envision. The Giants remained calm through their rough stretch just like they did two years ago. Perhaps facing the Redskins and a little luck will get the Giants rolling enough to be a dangerous wild card team once again.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans -14- Pick New Orleans
Tampa Bay vs. Seattle last week maybe was the worst game displayed all season long in the NFL. Neither team played at a level worthy of an NFL win. The Saints have lost their perfect season and will take that out and shellacked the Buccaneers.
Jacksonville at New England -8- Pick New England
An odd line here but the Patriots have still yet to come out with that wow type game. We have all been waiting and this is a game where the Patriots actually do match up very well. Jacksonville has had a hard time all year facing teams they like to spread out their receivers and air the football out. Bellicheck and the Patriots also should not have a hard time scheming defensively.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh -2.5- Pick Pittsburgh
When you win a game the way the Steelers just did that little bit of faint hope to reach the playoffs starts to trickle thoughts of maybe it’s fate they reach it. They had no business winning that game in how poor their defense was, and the boneheaded onside kick with the lead. They managed to get it though and will look to battle hard and avenge a loss that may hurt the Steelers even if they finish 9-7.
Denver at Philadelphia -7- Pick Philadelphia
If Denver makes the playoffs they’d be the worst rated team in our books for any shot at causing disruption with a playoff run. Their offense is of the lowest levels in terms of fear in imposing a challenge to any playoff team. This is the type of game that can either change that philosophy or clinch it. Philadelphia is right atop the league in scoring and putting the opposite offensive team in a gear or two higher of play call selection than they’d like to be.
St. Louis at Arizona -14- Pick Arizona
Ken Whisenhunt’s team almost grabbed the title of most embarrassing loss of the year last week. A win is a win though and during that victory the Cardinals discovered where their running game and offense will be going from here forward. Beanie Wells was the catalyst in keeping the Cardinals from completely unraveling when Kurt Warner could not get it done with his arm. Why the Cardinals waited all season to realign the carries more in Wells way we have no clue. His dosage should be steady from here on out.
Detroit at San Francisco -12.5- Pick San Francisco
First start in his career for Michigan State alum Drew Stanton. Stanton may have looked as if he revived the Lions and keyed their quick third quarter comeback to tie the Cardinals at 17. That would not be the truth if you were watching Stanton perform. He made poor throw after poor throw the entire second half. Maybe he had to many jittery bugs in him and is going to be better prepared. Mike Singletary is salivating at the chance of preparing his team to battle against Stanton.
New York Jets at Indianapolis -5.5- Pick New York Jets
Oddmakers really have it tough for these type of games where no one knows how Jim Caldwell’s going to play it. The only main tidbit of information we need is that the Jets are hanging by a slim hope and are in a must win situation. The Colts have nothing to play for except completing a finish to an undefeated year which was just done two years ago.
Dallas -6.5 at Washington- Pick Dallas
Many people are expecting the Redskins to rise up and play the Cowboys tough as they have in years past. After their demoralizing loss and the Cowboys convincing win the momentum of such games does not stop in less than a week. The Cowboys steam roll over the Redskins just as the Giants did. We will get a few more laughs out of Jim Zorn and his Redskins ability to be successful with trick plays.
Minnesota -7 at Chicago – Pick Minnesota
This is a game to shut everyone up. Brett Favre can’t play in cold weather games or do well in December. There is an alleged rift between him and Childress that is boiling up and dividing the team. Adrian Peterson has struggled to eclipse the 100 yard mark. The only reason Minnesota is getting targeted is because they continually are on national televised spotlighted games—-and because of BRETT FAVRE. Two of their three losses were Sunday night prime time games which intensifies the lime light of the media to attack. The Vikings defense will try to help Jay Cutler reach the 30 interception mark.