OK, since I didn't get my pick in last week I am in the same predicament. Must pick my favorite winner, and go all in. I actually agreed with most of your picks this week, including WAS v NE (although I'm not crazy enough to bet this one):
MIA +9.5 v. nyg - I disagree with the box here. NYG are steamrolling teams right now and MIA looks like it wants to hide under a rock. They lost their starting QB, starting RB, and traded their #1 Wideout and TE. Zach Thomas is quoted as saying 'our defense stinks this year', Jason Taylor is quoted saying 'we are rebuilding, why is everyone afraid to say it?'. I'm considering making this my all-in pick, but the 9.5 spread is scaring me a little.
MIN +1 v. phi - You love this pick? I handicapped this game MIN +3, so I'm actually getting 2 less points than I wanted. Plus, I have a policy against betting games that involve multiple-personality teams. You just don't know which PHI team is gonna show up. It's not like they don't have the players, they are the same as last year. So why do they keep getting beat? I'm staying away.
det +5 at CHI - Agreement, but not with conviction. I handicapped this game at det +4, so I'm actually getting an extra point here, and the more I think about it there is every reason DET can win this game. I don't get the feeling CHI is ready to start rolling, they really haven't fixed any of their problems - can't run, can't stop the run, defensive injuries - BUT BUT BUT! Look what we have here! Another multiple personality team! DET regularly kills me by getting beat when they are supposed to win, and winning when they are supposed to lose. Yes, i like the big spread and think Chi is overrated but man DET scares me.
oak +7.5 at TEN - I'm agreeing with you and the box here. I handicapped the game at OAK +5, so Vegas is giving me 2.5 more points to play with. However, like you I am nervous about Young's return. TEN is home, and they seem to be a sleeper team. I don't know that they crush OAK, but I don't give the raiders a chance to pull this out. I think I'm too iffy to go all-in with this pick.
CAR +6.5 v. ind - This is the second game that I am considering for my all-in pick that goes against the box. I wouldn't bet on CAR with less than a 15 point spread - and Vegas put it at only 6.5! The Testaverde incident last week was a fluke in my opinion. Indy wins big.
cle -3 at STL - This seems to be the obvious game of the week... which makes me very very nervous. Why would the spread be so low? Surely the oddsmakers know that cleveland's offense has been putting up big points, and STL can't tie their shoelaces? What do they know that I don't? At first glance this is my #1 pick, the box agrees, you agree.... but there's something fishy going on. Every week there's one or two 'locks' that don't pan out - and for some reason Vegas knows it. Dr. Z fom SI calls this game 'the trap game' - his theory is that the oddsmakers know a lot more than anyone else, and since their goal is not to predict winners, but to get people to bet on the wrong team, every week they set a 'trap game' - by making a spread too good to be true. Dr. Z refuses to bet on these games. Similarly, Bill Simmons of espn.com page 2 says each week their is one 'obvious game' which he always bets against his gut. He doesn't blame Vegas
oddsmakers, but rather those evil gods Caprice and Whimsy. It is, of course, possible that I just need to sack up and make the bet.
CIN +3.5 v. pit - Disagreement here. CIN beating the Jets is only an indication of how low NYJ have fallen. CIN still has too many injuries, team disunity and let's not forget the steelers are gonna be pissed after losing to DEN last week. I handicapped this game at CIN +6.
buf +3 at NYJ - This also reeks of a Trap Game. Buffalo is 2-1 under their roookie QB, with the one loss being a great game vs DAL. The Jets keep finding ways to lose, and BUF already beat them once this year! You smell that? Do ya? TRAP! I'm staying far far far away from this game. My guess is with the Jets at home, Pennington playing to keep Clemens off the bench, and Mangini coaching for his life, NYJ pull an upset here.
jac +4 at TB - This is #3 that I am considering for my all-in pick despite what the box says. I hadicapped this one on the nose, but when I think about the game a bit more... Did you watch the MNF game? JAX's backup is a-w-f-u-l. I am pretty sure I saw him throw 4 incomplete passes in a row to WRs who ran hook patterns, and missed the target by 10 feet! The wideouts were standing still! I could have atleast thrown it near the guy's feet. As we noticed in week 2, TB is a real team, and even though they lost last week, Garcia's numbers are still great and they got beat by 4-2 DET. No shame in that.
hou +9 at SD - I agree with you here, but I'm not betting this game. SD doesn't even know what stadium they are playing in, but they are a hot team right now and definitely fit into the multiple personality category. FYI I handicapped it at HOU +6.
no -2.5 at SF - I handicapped this game at NO -5, so i agree with you and the box, here. NO seems to have gotten their act together, and SF looks plain awful. I am considering this game for my all-in pick. I am having trouble shaking off that foul smell from the beginning of the season though. Man, NO looked bad.
was +16 at NE - EESH. I put WAS +10 for this game, so unfortunately I am in total agreement with you. WAS has the best defense NE has faced so far, and here's a little tidbit... the last 2 games opposing running backs are AVERAGING 6 yards a carry. Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, how ya doing? Vegas is sick of NE beating spreads so they set it stupid high knowing that people would still bet on NE. Those bastards. You have to pick WAS to cover here. That is, if you are daring enough to bet this game. I am not.
gb +3 at DEN - GB had a bye week, so they've been gameplanning for two weeks. DEN is coming off a huge win vs PIT, so are they playing like they should have all along? Or was that a fluke and now they come back to earth against the 5-1 Packers? Tough to call - but I actually put GB -2 as my spread. In theory this should be an easy pick, then. However, I can't figure out these teams. DEN has a talented young QB, a strong TE, good running, decent wideouts, Dre Bly and Champ Bailey. Their weakness appears to be run defense. But wait, PIT has an awesome ground game and lost to DEN last week. And wait! GB has the 32nd ranked running game. So it's weakness vs. weakness. GBs defense is stout, so I am tempted to hang my hat on the fact that they will stop DEN's offense. BUT then again... PIT's defense is stout too! I'm gonna go look at game highlights and stats before making a call on this one...