KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills throws the ball down the field against the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter on September 11, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Bills beat the Chiefs 41-7.(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
OK, we all know betting on sports is illegal in 46 states, so don't do it unless you're in Vegas, Oregon, Montana or Delaware, but if you're going, you can make these bets for me.
San Francisco (-11.5) at St. Louis, Sunday, noon — St. Louis has mailed it in after playing some decent football over a small stretch earlier this season. The 49ers are playing for a first-round bye and homefield advantage in the postseason over anyone not named the Green Bay Packers. Frank Gore seems to be getting back to a decent state of health as he has a nice little touchdown streak going and that 49ers defense is still really good. This one shouldn't be very close, even if it is in St. Louis.
Chicago (-1.5) at Minnesota, Sunday, noon — What? Another road favorite? Yep. True, the Bears have been decimated by injuries, losing both quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte off what would have been a playoff team, but they have some decent backups starting now. Josh McCown was fresh off coaching high school football before starting against the Packers on Christmas night and having a better than average night at quarterback. Kahlil Bell was stellar in his first start at running back. Minnesota's defense is terrible and Adrian Peterson is out. Gimme da Bears.
Baltimore at Cincinnati (+2.5), Sunday, noon — The Bengals are playing to make the playoffs. The Ravens are playing for a shot at homefield advantage and a first-round bye. Andy Dalton is playing well, but he was stymied by the Ravens defense in their last meeting. I see this time around being different, at home, and with their playoff future on the line. The Ravens are great when they're on, but they've had some problems with consistency at times this season. Sunday might be one of those days.
Buffalo (+11.5) at New England, Sunday, noon — The Patriots are playing for homefield advantage, but there's growing concerns about Tom Brady's shoulder. Then again, Patriots stars are always listed on the injury report in one of the bigger running jokes in recent years. The Patriots will win this game, fear not, New Englandahs, but Buffalo will cover behind the emerging running of C.J. Spiller and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who should have a big day against one of the worst defenses in football.
Dallas (+3.5) at New York Giants, Sunday, 7:20 p.m. — Still not sure who is going to win this game. But it's going to be a close one, just like it is every time these teams meet up. So take the 3.5 points for Dallas and feel pretty comfortable with it knowing that if the Giants win it probably won't be by more than a field goal. The Cowboys had the Giants on the ropes and beaten just a few weeks ago before the defense had a historic collapse in the final five minutes. This week will be different.