Big lines lead to tummy troubles

TREVOR BUNKE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

When word got out last week that Jets QB Brooks Bollinger was yakking up his lunch on the sidelines, some smart-aleck blurted out that Bollinger must have read my picks.

Not to make light of somebody's injury (Bollinger will start this weekend, so lay off), but my stomach is churning, too, albeit for altogether different reasons.

I'm at a crossroads in my NFL guessing career. While I can -- without fail so far this season -- pick a straight-up winner each week (11-0, hey, that's even better than the Colts), it's those spreads (6-10 record in Week 11) that seem to be getting in my way.

SOMETHING TO CHEW ON

Last week, in which there were five spreads of more than nine points, I bit on all of them, and, as usual, was wrong on three.

Four of the five big favourites won, but I can't rid visions of blowouts from my head.

Fortunately, for me anyway, the Bengals by 9 over the Ravens is the only huge spread in Week 12.

And despite the fact the big spreads don't usually go my way, I'm taking the Bengals.

So I'll sit there Sunday, watching with an upset stomach, trying to will Cincinnati to a 10-point lead.

On to the Week 12 picks:

New England (+3) at Kansas City: While the Patriots dedicated last week's win over the Saints to Bill Belichick, who lost his father prior to the game, the team didn't actually learn about Steve Belichick's death until after the game. This week, QB Tom Brady comes up big for his coach against a Chiefs secondary that might even be worse than New England's. PATRIOTS

Baltimore (+9) at Cincinnati: If the Bengals want to ensure that they are no worst than tied with the Steelers going into next week's showdown for top spot in the AFC North, then beating -- no, crushing -- the Ravens is paramount. A big bounce-back win for Cincy after last week's disappointment vs. the Colts. BENGALS

Carolina (-4) at Buffalo: How do the Bills, a team that got smacked 48-10 last week by the Chargers, bounce back this week? Not very well, I'm afraid. The Panthers, who are ticked after losing in Chicago last week, will use their running game to move the ball at will and their defence to confuse and confound Bills QB J.P. Losman. PANTHERS

Chicago (+3) at Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers can't keep this baloney up forever with Chris Simms at QB. Enter the Bears, who do just enough right to win or, at least this week, stay within a field goal. BEARS

San Diego (-3) at Washington: Last week, ex-Washington coach Norv Turner got his revenge on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder when the Raiders scored a 16-13 win. This week, ex-Washington and current San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer gets his. CHARGERS

Cleveland (+4) at Minnesota: Imagine, if the Vikings win this weekend, they'll be 6-5 ... and in the hunt for at least an NFC wild-card spot. It's hunting season. VIKINGS

San Francisco (+8) at Tennessee: When one 2-8 team is favoured by eight points over another 2-8 team, what do you do (besides change the channel)? You take the points, silly. 49ERS

St. Louis (-3.5) at Houston: I put my faith in the Texans last week against one team from Missouri. I won't do it two weeks in a row. RAMS

Jacksonville (-3.5) at Arizona: The Jaguars should win this game easily, but that's been their problem at times this season: They win, but they win ugly. That means the Cardinals likely stick around longer than they should. CARDINALS

Miami (+7) at Oakland: Remember when this used to be a marquee AFC matchup? No, me neither. RAIDERS

NY Giants (+4.5) at Seattle: In the Seahawks' five wins at home this season, the two vs. teams above .500 have been three-pointers (21-18 over Atlanta, 13-10 over Dallas -- which they should have lost). The Seahawks clinch the NFC West with a win and a Rams loss. This could be a NFC championship preview, so expect a top-flight effort from the Giants. GIANTS

Green Bay (+4.5) at Philadelphia: To even have an iota of hope at making the playoffs, the Eagles must win vs. the Packers. I think they will, it's winning by five points I can't get my head around. PACKERS

New Orleans (-1) at NY Jets: The Saints lost a home game at Giants Stadium earlier this season. On their second visit, this time as the road team, they get their win. SAINTS

Pittsburgh (+8) at Indianapolis: What does getting starting QB Ben Roethlisberger back do for the Steelers? It means the spread vs. the Colts isn't 14 points, that's what. Peyton Manning and Co. go to 11-0. COLTS

Last Week: 6-10.

Season: 75-81-4.

Best Bet: San Diego.

Best Bets: 5-6 after 8-point favourite Dallas beat Detroit 20-7.

Suicide Pick: Cincinnati.

Suicide Picks: 11-0 after Denver beat the New York Jets 27-0.


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