QMI Agency handicapper, Randall the Handle and Sun Media’s Rob Longley and Ken Fidlin each were awarded a fictitious bankroll of $1000 to start the season. With that play money, they will be making their NFL selections each week along with a specified amount attached to the games they find most appealing. Our only stipulation was that any wager could not exceed 5% of their respective bankroll. As in the real wagering world, each wager requires the selector risk $11 to win $10.
Last Week: -$25
Current bankroll: $667
Chiefs (6-9) at Broncos (8-7)
LINE: DENVER BY 3½
It’s can be gratifying to flaunt your new beau at a gathering when you know the ex (who dumped you) is going to be there. Kyle Orton was treated poorly from Day 1 in Denver and when the relationship didn’t work out, he was courted and signed by the rival Kansas City Chiefs. Orton’s replacement was none other than the enigmatic Tim Tebow. Anyone that has ever watched a football game knows that Tebow is not of NFL calibre at the quarterback position. His ineptitude finally caught up to him and the Broncos as Denver has dropped consecutive games by a combined 81-37. Look for the Chiefs and Orton to rub it in their opponent’s face here.
TAKING: CHIEFS +3½
RISKING: $33 TO WIN $30
Lions (10-5) at Packers (14-1)
LINE: DETROIT BY 3½
Aaron Rodgers said it best: “This was a good win for us to get back on the right track and get the No. 1 seed obviously. Now that we have the top seed locked up, I think the priorities may shift a little.” While it’s never that easy, the Detroit Lions have plenty at stake to motivate them for this one. A Detroit win has them heading to the winner of Cowboys/Giants. A loss has them visiting the New Orleans Saints. Do the math. Detroit was shredded by Green Bay on Thanksgiving and would like to amend that loss. The Packers have nothing to prove here and will treat this game as such.
TAKING: LIONS –3½
RISKING: $33 TO WIN $33
Redskins (5-10) at Eagles (7-8)
LINE: PHILADELPHIA BY 9
Unless the Philadelphia Eagles are eligible for playoffs and no one told us, we can’t see why this game is priced in this range. This is a divisional match up between two teams that will be watching the playoffs from home and where the road team has covered five straight. If not for four interceptions in previous meeting, the Redskins’ 20-13 loss to the Eagles may have had a different result. Philadelphia is 2-5 at home this year and this one provides less motivation than any previous contests.
TAKING: REDSKINS +9
RISKING: $33 TO WIN $30
49ers (12-3) at Rams (2-13)
LINE: SAN FRANCISCO BY 10½
The Rams are just 60 minutes away from ending this nightmarish season but they’ll have to pay a price before doing so. The Niners need this game and with their rugged style and St. Louis’ fragile state a decisive win is to be expected. Rams have scored just 26 points over past four weeks.
TAKING: 49ERS –10½
Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5)
LINE: TENNESSEE BY 3
The Titans need a win and an awful lot of help from others to qualify for the post-season. The Texans are secured in their playoff spot but after dropping a pair and having 10 days to get ready for this one, we expect an ambitious effort from the host before limping in to first-ever playoffs.
TAKING: TEXANS +3
Colts (2-13) at Jaguars (4-11)
LINE: JACKSONVILLE BY 3½
Had the Colts truly cared about getting first pick in the upcoming draft, they would have allowed Curtis Painter to continue at quarterback. They didn’t and they’ve won consecutive games. The Jaguars are at par with Indianapolis and cannot be trusted to win, let alone by a margin.
TAKING: COLTS +3½
NY Jets (4-10) at Dolphins (5-9)
LINE: MIAMI BY 1½
The Jets chances of making the playoffs are about the same as Rex Ryan having a mount in next year’s Kentucky Derby. While Gang Green will be going all out, the Dolphins will relish the spoilers’ role and with jobs on the line and having won four of six, have to lean home team at short price.
TAKING: DOLPHINS –1½
Bears (7-8) at Vikings (3-12)
LINE: MINNESOTA BY 1
The Bears were in the thick of things until injuries decimated star players and things went downhill from there. The Vikings never got up the hill but that allowed them to look at some young players, including QB Joe Webb who is exciting to watch and could be the difference maker in this one.
TAKING: VIKINGS –1
Bills (6-9) at Patriots (12-3)
LINE: NEW ENGLAND BY 11
Plenty of motivation remains for the Patriots here as a win secures home field for playoffs and New England hasn’t forgotten an early season 34-31 loss to these Bills. Buffalo can’t be trusted on the road, having given up at least 28 points to its past five opponents while being outscored 171-73.
TAKING: PATRIOTS –11
Panthers (6-9) at Saints (12-3)
LINE: NEW ORLEANS BY 8
Tough situation for the Saints coaching staff as this one goes same time as Rams/Niners. If San Fran wins, which is likely, then New Orleans is locked in as a No. 3 seed. Coach Sean Payton should call off the dogs at some point and that will suit Cam Newton’s explosive offence just fine.
TAKING: PANTHERS +8
Buccaneers (4-11) at Falcons (9-6)
LINE: ATLANTA BY 12
Another funny spot. If Detroit defeats Green Bay, Atlanta is flying to New Orleans next week. If Packers win, the Falcons would head to either Dallas or the Giants with a victory. The Bucs are hopeless as they’ve dropped nine straight and most were of blowout proportions.
TAKING: FALCONS –12
Ravens (11-4) at Cincinnati (9-6)
LINE: BALTIMORE BY 2
The Bengals have yet to defeat a winner this season and while the Ravens have been less than impressive lately, they are at their best when playing in division with a 5-0 mark. Considering Baltimore’s pedigree and that the Ravens can lock up a No. 2 seed in AFC with a win, it seems the better way to go.
TAKING: RAVENS –2
Steelers (11-4) at Browns (4-11)
LINE: STEELERS –7
This is another awkward one as the Steelers can only win the division if the Ravens lose to the Bengals but both games go at the same time. That said, more inclined to lean Browns here as Pittsburgh figures to remain cautious with some of its key guys on the limp.
TAKING: BROWNS +7
Seahawks (7-8) at Cardinals (7-8)
LINE: ARIZONA –3
The Cardinals might be fun to watch but not if you need them to win by a margin. After Arizona’s 28-21 opening game win over the Panthers, the Cards have won just two games by more than four points and both of those were by same 19-13 counts that occurred in overtime.
TAKING: SEAHAWKS +3
Chargers (7-8) at Raiders (8-7)
LINE: OAKLAND –3
The Chargers lay over the Raiders in almost every offensive category and before last week’s debacle in Detroit, San Diego had won three straight, outscoring its opposition 90-38. If nothing else, the Bolts want Norv Turner to keep his job and burning Oakland would be a gratifying way to end season.
TAKING: CHARGERS +3
Cowboys (8-7) at Giants (8-7)
LINE: NY GIANTS –3
Early playoff game as the winner advances and the loser goes golfing. Most think the Cowboys will fail but we’re not so sure considering that Dallas is best when taking points and Giants are wretched when giving any away. The Giants battled back to win three weeks ago and this one should be tight as well.
TAKING: COWBOYS +3
Last week’s record: 9-5-1
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