Lines are spread real thick

TREVOR BUNKE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

The average spread in Week 14 is 7.5 points. In fact, only six games have lines under 7.5 points and four of those matchups have spreads between six and seven points.

That means in 14-of-16 games for a team to cover outright, it must win by seven points.

If that doesn't scare the average (bad, in my case) NFL guesser, you are a lot braver than I. On to (I'm flinching right now) the picks.

Cincinnati (+11) at New England: Since losing their only game of the season to Steelers, the Patriots have won the next five by an average of 19.4 points a game. Three of them were road wins. In the two home games, the margin of victory was 22 points. And Patriots RB Corey Dillon will be facing his old Bengals mates for the first time. PATRIOTS

Cleveland (+11) at Buffalo: A month ago, could you have imagined the Bills being 11-point favourites against anyone? Me neither. Now, Buffalo (6-6) is a serious AFC wild-card contender, and has the schedule to run the board. BILLS

NY Giants (+10) at Baltimore: The Ravens can ill-afford to squander another game like they did last week vs. the Bengals. Fortunately for them, the Giants no longer know how to score. RAVENS

Detroit (+9.5) at Green Bay: Ah, the Lions. The perfect tonic. Against bad teams, Packers QB Brett Favre is a star. It's the good ones that give him a hard time. PACKERS

Seattle (+6.5) at Minnesota: I have to pick one of them. The best way to sum up these underachievers is that Minnesota at least lost on the road last week. Seattle was embarrassed at home by Dallas. VIKINGS

Oakland (+7.5) at Atlanta: This is one of those situations where you want to see a team prove it's capable of winning comfortably before placing your trust in it again. So to the Falcons: Prove it. RAIDERS

Chicago (+7.5) at Jacksonville: The Jaguars haven't won a game by more than six points this season. The Bears have won four of their past six games. The odds are in Chicago's favour. BEARS

New Orleans (+7.5) at Dallas: Two words: Julius Jones. The super young running back is the only reason the Cowboys are still alive in the NFC playoff race (crawl?). And he'll run all over the pitiful Saints. COWBOYS

Indianapolis (-10) at Houston: Colts QB Peyton Manning has a great shot this week of tying or breaking Dan Marino's single-season record of 48 TD passes in a season. He's four shy of tying Marino's mark. Indy will score a lot of points. COLTS

NY Jets (+6) at Pittsburgh: Game of the week. The Steelers are 14-2 all time vs. the Jets, but have failed to cover spreads the past two weeks. New York might be the third-best team in the AFC. Too good to pass on six points. JETS

Miami (+11.5) at Denver: After the Broncos' 25-24 debacle of a loss two weeks ago at home to the Raiders, I cannot in good faith put any trust in Denver. The Dolphins' defence is good enough to cover this spread. DOLPHINS

St. Louis (+6.5) at Carolina: The Panthers just might wind up in the Super Bowl yet. With a win over the Rams, they can be no worse than tied for the last wild-card spot. PANTHERS

San Francisco (+7) at Arizona: This is the week the Cardinals start their march to the NFC West crown. Mark my words ... or call me stupid. CARDINALS

Tampa Bay (+5) at San Diego: I don't know if the Buccaneers can swashbuckle their way through San Diego, but after last week's impressive performance vs. the Falcons, five points are too many to pass on. BUCS

Philadelphia (-9) at Washington: The Eagles, especially against their weak-kneed NFC brethren, are playing too well not to take these days. Philly QB Donovan McNabb is coming off a career outing vs. Green Bay. EAGLES

Kansas City (+2) at Tennessee: The tiniest spread of the week. Lots of talent heading nowhere. TITANS

Last Week: 8-7-1.

Season: 91-96-5.

Best Bet: Baltimore.

Best Bets: 7-6 after 3.5-point favourite Buffalo beat Miami 42-32.

Suicide Pick: Buffalo.

Suicide Picks: 10-3 after New England beat Cleveland 42-15.


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