As we move into Week 14, teams are trying to get one final push to qualify for the playoffs. Many of the division races are still up for grabs, but the wild card picture is what is crazy right now. With so many desperate teams, it makes picking against the spread even harder, because you also have the teams that fight one week and look like they are mailing it in.
But for this week, our 'expert' picks for the early Sunday games focus mostly on the favorites. We go with seven of the nine favorites that play at the 1 PM slot. Continue on past teh jump to see our individual picks.
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.0): After seeing the Texans play with Texas-sized heart every week and overcome the injuries to their most important players, it is hard to pick against them. However, they face a Bengals team that really has been taking care of business, except for those pesky Steelers and Ravens. Look for the Texans magic to run out this week. Pick: Bengals, -3.0.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (no line): Detroit is one of those teams that started quickly, yet are trying to stay alive for the playoffs. They have to do it one more week without Ndamukong Suh. However, they face a 2-10 Vikings squad. Ford Field will be the difference. Pick: Lions, straight up.
New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans (+3.5): It isn't the Superdome, but the Drew Brees super show moves on to Nashville, where the Titans are playing solid football. However, you can't bet against a Saints team that looks to be on a crash course to face the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Pick: Saints, -3.5.
Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins (no line): You never know which Eagles team is going to show up and the Dolphins may be the best 4-8 team the league has ever seen -- ever. They have really started putting it together behind their defense and the play of Matt Moore. No reason to believe they won't continue against a team that doesn't always show up to play. Pick: Dolphins, straight up.
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets (-9.0): The Jets are now at a favorable part of their schedule and need to get on a roll to clinch a playoff berth. The Chiefs at home are a great way to reach that goal. Kyle Orton isn't familiar yet with the playbook and Tyler Palko has been pretty much awful. Normally, we don't trust the Jets when we have to give away a lot of points, but this is a no-brainer. Pick: Jets, -9.0.
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins (+8.0): You have to love it when a home team is the underdog by more tan a touchdown. The Patriots looked well on their way to covering a huge spread, but then allowed the Colts and Dan Orlovsky to make things interesting. The Redskins are one game away from the giving up on the rest of the season. Tom Brady owns the dagger. He will use it. Pick: Patriots, -8.0.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (+2.5): This is our main upset pick. The Panthers have been able to put up points and Cam Newton loves to score touchdowns. The Falcons on the road are always a questionable proposition. With Michael Turner and Julio Jones nicked up, it will not be smooth sailing. Pick: Panthers +2.5, but we like them straight up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars (no line): We can understand the lack of a line. Who would really put money on this game? Blaine Gabbert is arguably the worst QB in the league. Yes, they have Maurice Jones-Drew, but we are taking Josh Freeman and Legarrette Blount to win the Terrible Florida Bowl. Pick: Bucs, straight up.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-16.5): Last week, against a three TD spread, the Colts were able to cover, but it was against a Patriots defense not renowned for their ability to stop teams. The Ravens are a different story. Don't expect the same gaudy numbers from Dan Orlovsky. He's not Peyton Manning. Pick: Ravens, -16.5.
Stay tuned for the late game picks later today.