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News » NFL GRIDIRON GUIDE: Ravens are no match for teams like Steelers

NFL GRIDIRON GUIDE: Ravens are no match for teams like Steelers

NFL GRIDIRON GUIDE: Ravens are no match for teams like Steelers

Best bet


All picks against the spread

Marquee matchups

Steelers (10-3) at Ravens (9-4)

Line: Ravens by 2 Over/Under: 34? TV: Ch. 2, 4:15 p.m.

The battle for first in the AFC North will have all the subtlety of an ax fight, which will be a quasi-religious experience for purists.

Pittsburgh hasn't covered in Crabtown since 2003, but Baltimore has lost to the Steelers, Titans, Colts and Giants. The Ravens can push elite teams but aren't at their level. The pick: Steelers

BUCS (9-4) at Falcons (8-5)

Line: Falcons by 3 Over/Under: 44? 1 p.m.

Home teams are 25 under .500 ATS, but the NFC South's stadiums are fortresses. The Panthers, Bucs, Falcons and Saints are 22-6-2 ATS as hosts, and 9-1 in divisional games. Maybe it's time to go against the grain. Tampa's defense rebounds from a humiliation at Carolina and surprising Atlanta starts fading away. The pick: Bucs

Broncos (8-5) at Panthers (10-3)

Line: Panthers by 7? Over/Under: 47? 4:15 p.m.

Considering it was a first offense, the judge was pretty rough on O.J. Simpson. With Peyton Hillis (hamstring) out for the season, Mike Shanahan could use The Juice to back up seventh-string RB Tatum Bell, a Lions reject. After running for 299 yards against Tampa, Carolina might get 400 on Denver. The pick: Panthers

Around the league

Titans (12-1) at TEXANS (6-7)

Line: Titans by 3 Over/Under: 44? 1 p.m.

The Titans are a bettor's dream. They're not only a league-leading 11-2 ATS, they also rarely have to spot many points. Houston beat rats (Bengals, Browns, Jaguars, Packers) in its 4-1 surge and won't handle this challenge. Don't expect a letdown by Tennessee after clinching the AFC South. The pick: Titans

Seahawks (2-11) at Rams (2-11)

Line: OFF (Matt Hasselbeck questionable) Over/Under: OFF 1 p.m.

Favorites (102-100-4 ATS, 2 pick 'ems) went 9-7. Only in the revolting NFC West could a 2-11 team be favored. If you bet this one, I have an 800 number you should call. At least Seattle is still putting up a fight. The Rams quit long ago. The pick: Seahawks

49ers (5-8) at Dolphins (8-5)

Line: Dolphins by 6? Over/Under: 41? 1 p.m.

You can trust the Fish with small spreads, but as big favorites they couldn't cover against the Raiders, Seahawks and Rams, winning by a combined eight points. The 49ers are 4-1 ATS for Samurai Mike Singletary and might keep it close. The pick: 49ers

Lions (0-13) at Colts (9-4)

Line: Colts by 17 Over/Under: 45 1 p.m.

As negative perfection looms, Rod Marinelli keeps the faith. "I believe in the invisible," he said. The serene coach didn't say if he could see a win coming. The march to 0-16 won't end against Indy, winner of six straight. The pick: Colts

Chargers (5-8) at Chiefs (2-11)

Line: Chargers by 5 Over/Under: 46 1 p.m.

It's a duel of master strategists Herm Edwards and Norv Turner, guys you'd love to play poker with. San Diego's magic number for playoff elimination is 1. K.C. has lost 20 of 22. Who's more likely to mail it in? The pick: Chargers

Redskins (7-6) at Bengals (1-11-1)

Line: Redskins by 7 Over/Under: 36? 1 p.m.

Even if Cincy hadn't beaten the Jags, that tie would have been an indelible stain on pure failure. A 1-4 skid has ruined Washington's wild-card hopes, but even on the road the Bengals are a homecoming game. They have no TDs in 11 quarters. The pick: Redskins

Packers (5-8) at Jaguars (4-9)

Line: Packers by 2? Over/Under: 45 1 p.m.

When the Jags (league-low 3-10 ATS) leave the tunnel, they should play the Tom Petty oldie "Free Fallin' ". In their 1-6 fold they beat only the Lions, which doesn't count. The Packers are done, but unlike Jacksonville, they're still trying. The pick: Packers

Vikings (8-5) at Cardinals (8-5)

Line: OFF (Gus Frerotte questionable) (Over/Under: OFF TV: Ch. 5, 4:05 p.m.

If DTs Kevin and Pat Williams get suspended, maybe the Vikings should sign Oprah, who's up to 200 pounds and telling the world.

Arizona is 5-1 (four covers) at home. If Frerotte, can't play, Shaky Tarvaris Jackson would start for Minnesota (2-5 ATS away), which barely won at Detroit. The pick: Cardinals

Patriots (8-5) at Raiders (3-10)

Line: Patriots by 7 Over/Under: 39 1/2 4:15 p.m.

The Raiders perennially are the NFL's dumbest, most penalized team. Their scouts target the guys most likely to commit false starts and personal fouls. The Pats' defense is injury-riddled, but count on the Raiders to bail them out. Matt Cassel was back at practice yesterday after missing time after the death of his father. The pick: Patriots

Browns (4-9) at Eagles (7-5-1)

Line: Eagles by 14 Over/Under: 39 1/2 TV-Radio: ESPN, WFAN (660), Monday, 8:30 p.m.

From written off to heavy favorite in prime time: This is the NFL. Double-digit favorites are 8-15 ATS, but seven of the last eight covered. With playoff life again, Philly will be fired up before the sadistic home folks. Why watch: To see if Romeo Crennel orders a cheesesteak during a challenge. The pick: Eagles

BILLS (6-7) at Jets (8-5)

Line: Jets by 7 1/2 Over/Under: 41 TV-Radio: Ch. 2, WABC (770), WEPN (1050), WRCN (103.9), 1 p.m.

That Reason to Believe sweep of the Patriots and Titans feels like it happened two months ago. Time to channel WFAN's Joe Benigno: "You knew, you knew, that no matter how good it felt, that the Jets won those games just so they could rip your heart out one more time. " No-shows against the Broncos and 49ers ended the Subway Super Bowl babble, and now the playoffs are no sure thing. Luckily, Buffalo is in the midst of a 2-7 disintegration. If the Jets can't rebound here, vacation could start early. The pick: Jets

Giants (11-2) at Cowboys (8-5)

Line: Cowboys by 3 Over/Under: 45 TV-Radio: Ch. 4, WFAN (660), 8:15 p.m.

Tony Romo's implosion in Pittsburgh delighted Kevin the Cowboy Hater: "How 'bout them Cowboys? Romo is already in playoff form. " (In December and January, he's 4-8 with 20 turnovers. ) Toe expert Jerry Jones said Marion Barber could have played. After a deflating loss, always question the courage of your toughest player. Distractions aggravated the Giants for a week. In Dallas, they're a constant, like bugs in a swamp. These 'Boys don't like pressure, and their season is on the line. The pick: Giants

The Picks

Ouor writers' picks for this week's NFL games

Ed McNamara 102-102-4 best bets: 10-4

Jets Bucs Seahawks Chargers Cardinals

Giants Panthers 49ers Redskins Patriots

Steelers Titans Colts Packers Eagkes

Bob Glauber 103-101-4 best bets: 3-11

Jets Bucs Seahawks Chiefs Vikings

Giants Panthers Dolphins Redskins Patriots

SteelersTitans Colts Jaguars Eagles

Tom Rock 110-94-4 best bets: 6-8

Jets Falcons Seahawks Chargers Cardinals

Giants Broncos Dolphins Redskins Patriots

Steelers Titans Colts Packers Eagles

Erik Boland 108-96-4 best bets: 3-10-1

Jets Bucs Rams Chiefs Cardinals

Cowboys Broncos Dolphins Redskins Patriots

Steelers Titans Colts Packers Eagles

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 12, 2008

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