Bill Jones is a little swamped this week, so I'll be covering him with the picks. For those of you who depend on Bill's advice each week, well...you're stuck with me. I'll try not to let you down.
Green Bay -9 1/2 over Carolina- This is some roll that Brett Favre and the boys are on, eh? Now they get the Panthers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Carolina hasn't been awful on defense this year, giving up only 215 yards per game through the air. But they are surrendering 113 yards and a touchdown per game on the ground. Look for the Packers to establish the run early, for Brett to throw a touchdown or two and for the stifling Green Bay defense to shut down whoever gets the nod in Carolina's revolving door quarterback situation.
New England -16 over Buffalo- How can we endorse a 16 point spread in the NFL? Easily...it's the Pats after all. They have run roughshod over just about everyone and the Bills will be no different. The Belichick Crew have had an extra week off to rest their injuries and come up with new ways to get the ball in the endzone. This week, it might be Steve Grogan coming out of retirement to throw a lineman-eligible touchdown to John Hannah. Boy, won't Mike Vrabel be steamed about that one?
San Diego +3 over Jacksonville- Jacksonville's formerly tough defense gives up 261 ypg through the air. While Phillip Rivers has been no one's idea of a Pro Bowl quarterback this season, he's proven he can get the ball to Antonio Gates, whom the Jaguars have no answer for. Week 9's meltdown against the Vikings notwithstanding, the Chargers defense has been very active the past three weeks, producing 4 sacks and 10 interceptions. Look for them to batter Quinn Gray (or David Garrard...it doesn't matter) and to bottle up Jones-Drew and Taylor.
Take it to the Bank pick:
Pittsburgh -9 1/2 over New York Jets- You could probably make this a 19 1/2 point spread and it would make no difference. Pittsburgh has been simply dominant on the defensive side of the ball this season except for a couple of out of character games. Meanwhile, the Jets offense has an extreme inability to run the football. The passing offense doesn't exactly keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night either. Pittsburgh will dominate with their own running game and a few Ben Roethlisberger touchdowns thrown in for good measure.