Sick picks for you

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

After being stuck in bed for straight days with the flu, I've got a good idea of what New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is going to feel after Sunday's tilt with the Atlanta Falcons.

Bruised, weak and a little confused.

Make no mistake, it was the flu and not last week's picks that made me sick -- although three overtime games that went the wrong way did have some ill effects.

Here are this week's picks.

* ST. LOUIS -1 1/2 AT BUFFALO: All three Bills victories have come when running back Willis McGahee rushed for more than 100 yards. That trend should continue against the Rams defence in hostile Buffalo weather. Bills 21, Rams 20.

* N.Y. JETS -1 AT CLEVELAND: The Browns missed out on an opportunity to upset the Steelers last week but don't often lose three straight home games. Browns 26, Jets 24.

* INDIANAPOLIS -7 AT CHICAGO: They may have rely more on Edgerrin James than Peyton Manning in Chicago but the Colts should dominate despite the decent Bears defence. Colts 31, Bears 17.

* DETROIT +7 1/2 AT MINNESOTA: The Vikings found their offensive rhythm late against the Packers last week. Minnesota lost in OT but regained its confidence without star receiver Randy Moss. Vikings 31, Lions 23.

* ARIZONA NL AT CAROLINA: The 'No Line' as of press time is because of a hairline fracture on the thumb of Panthers QB Jake Delhomme's throwing hand. Even if he plays, the pain may throw off the accuracy of his passes -- and we all know Carolina has no running game. Cardinals 17, Panthers 16.

* TENNESSEE NL AT JACKSONVILLE: Quarterback Steve McNair has practised and may return from a chest injury -- but who knows how many plays he can run before taking another direct hit to the sternum. Running back Chris Brown is questionable with turf toe. Regardless of who starts in either position, the Jaguars should pull off another last-minute victory. Jaguars 26, Titans 23.

* SAN FRANCISCO +8 AT TAMPA BAY: The Bucs stumbled in Atlanta last week but should have a solid game at home against the Niners. Bucs 27, 49ers 16.

* DENVER -4 AT NEW ORLEANS: The Saints surprised the Chiefs last week and could give the Broncos trouble Sunday. Denver, though, is well-rested and had a bye week to prepare an offensive game plan that will pick apart one of the worst defences in the league. Broncos 30, Saints 26.

* MIAMI +10 AT SEATTLE: The Seahawks have been hit-and-miss all year. Only running back Shaun Alexander has been great, while receivers Darrell Jackson and Koren Robinson have been average and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has stunk. Miami can keep it close with some good defensive play. Seahawks 28, Dolphins 20.

* SAN DIEGO -4 AT OAKLAND: You can bet the Raiders spent their bye week trying to figure out a way to cover Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. Chargers 27, Raiders 24.

* ATLANTA -3 AT N.Y. GIANTS: Eli Manning gets his first regular-season start for the Giants. It will be tough for the quarterback to prove the 'success-in-the-pros' gene didn't pass him by while he's running for his life against the Falcons' fantastic pass-rushing defence. Falcons 28, Giants 23.

* WASHINGTON +11 AT PHILADELPHIA: Surely, the Eagles will continue their winning ways this weekend -- although Terrell Owens faces a tough matchup against cornerback Fred Smoot. Eagles 23, Redskins 17.

* GREEN BAY -3 AT HOUSTON: Houston hasn't looked good on the road last Sunday against Indianapolis and Denver the week before. The Texans play better at home but face a Packers team on the rise. Packers 34, Texans 30.

* NEW ENGLAND -3 AT KANSAS CITY: With Priest Holmes playing, the Chiefs would have a great shot at beating the Patriots in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium. Without Holmes, K.C's defence will have to play its best game of the season. Patriots 29, Chiefs 23.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

* PITTSBURGH -41/2 AT CINCINNATI: A gut feeling -- and it may just be the flu talking -- but the Bengals have a good chance to accomplish what their Ohio counterpart failed to do last week. Bengals 27, Steelers 24.

WEEK'S BEST BET

* DALLAS +8 AT BALTIMORE: Playing their second of three in an 11-day span, the hopeless Cowboys might want to save some energy. Ravens 19, Cowboys 10.

CHECK THE RECORD

Last week: 8-6 straight up; 4-7-1 against the spread. Season: 85-59 straight up; 63-74-5 ATS. Best Bet is 6-4 after the Eagles undressed the 'Boys. Upset of the Week is 6-4 after the Lions lost to the Jags in OT. Best Bet and Upset picks are straight up.


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