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John Paul Starkey makes his weekly NFL picks -- both straight up, and against the spread, as the NFL season reaches enters its final stretch.
Week 14 in the NFL is upon us -- and we've arrived at the home stretch of the season. Before you know it, Santa Claus will be coming down your chimney and bringing presents to all. Or something like that.
As always, I'm here to pick the winner of each and every game -- both straight up, and against the spread.
St. Louis Rams (+3) at Buffalo Bills -- Yuck. We start off Week 14 with a stinker, ladies and gents! Neither team is good, but I think the Rams are slightly less-bad. Still, it's in Buffalo, and it's a dome team playing outdoors in December. I'll take the Bills, just because home team, but I won't be surprised at all if the Rams win this game. Bills cover, too.
Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers -- Remember when people thought the Panthers would be good this year? That feels like a long time ago. I don't really think the Falcons are all that and a bag of chips right now -- they've played the weakest schedule in the NFL, but they've done what they had to do and taken care of business. Falcons win, and cover.
Dallas Cowboys (+3.5) at Cincinnati Bengals -- Another week, another awful tragedy I'm once again forced to mention. I didn't think the Cowboys would win before Jerry Brown was killed and Josh Brent was charged with intoxicated manslaughter, and I certainly don't think they'll win after. Bengals win, and cover, thanks to a big day from the ginger quarterback.
Kansas City Chiefs (+7) at Cleveland Browns -- Kansas City surprised me with an emotional win, but hats off to Romeo Crennel and his staff for someway, somehow getting a gameplan together last week. Cleveland is the better team this week -- and the home team, so I'll take the Browns. Chiefs cover, though.
Tennessee Titans (+5.5) at Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck is pretty good, huh? On one hand, I'd love to see a Colts-Broncos Wild Card round game, but on the other hand, I think my head may explode with all the Peyton Manning vs. the Colts hype. Colts win this, and cover.
New York Jets (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars -- Was last week's Jets-Cardinals game the worst game in NFL history? Seriously. That's an actual, legitimate question. This week's Jets-Jaguars game could top it. I couldn't have less interest in a football game. I'll take the Jaguars, just because they're the home team.
Chicago Bears (-3) at Minnesota Vikings -- Minnesota's playoff chances were dealt a serious blow this week when the team placed Percy Harvin on injured reserve, ending his season. I don't think the Bears are particularly good, so I'm almost inclined to pick Adrian Peterson and the Vikes in the upset. Screw it, I will -- Vikings win in the upset, as Jay Cutler throws two picks.
San Diego Chargers (+8) at Pittsburgh Steelers -- Poor Norv Turner. He should have been fired after last season, but inexplicably was given another year... and now, he's certainly going to be fired, along with general manager A.J. Smith. Steelers will win this game, but Chargers cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (+9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Another game, another lame-duck head coach. Andy Reid has no chance of staying in Philadelphia after this season, and Michael Vick's chances are probably pretty slim, too. I'm not sure the Eagles will win again this season, and I certainly don't think they'll beat the Bucs this weekend -- but they'll cover.
Baltimore Ravens (+3) at Washington Redskins -- Wow. Times have changed. The Ravens, yes, the f'ing Ravens, are underdogs against the Washington Redskins. I mean... wow. That said, I don't know if I disagree with this -- Suggs is hurt, and so is Ray Lewis -- not that the accessory to murder is any good anymore. Anyway, I'll take the Ravens to win -- and obviously, cover.
Miami Dolphins (+11) at San Francisco 49ers -- Well, this is a mismatch and a half. No, I don't think the Dolphins have a prayer against San Francisco, but I'm always against taking teams with double-digit point spreads. San Francisco wins, but Miami covers. Also, U2 wrote Miami.
New Orleans Saints (+4.5) at New York Giants -- Drew Brees and company sure are desperate, huh? Unfortunately for the 'Aints, I don't see them coming away with a win on Sunday. I do think they'll keep it close -- but the Giants ultimately come away with the win here, and the Saints cover.
Arizona Cardinals (+10) at Seattle Seahawks -- Poor Larry Fitzgerald. Seriously. What a career wasted the last couple of years. Imagine if he were in New England? Forget it, man. Or woman, whatever you, the reader, are. Against all better judgment, I'm going to take the Seahawks, at home, to win and cover.
Detroit Lions (+7) at Green Bay Packers -- This could be fun. The forecast calls for snow -- and come on, we desperately need at least one snow game this year, right? Anyway, I don't think much of the Lions, but they'll find a way to cover this game. Aaron Rodgers will Discount Doublecheck his way to victory, though.
Houston Texans (+4) at New England Patriots -- All season long, I've called the Texans frauds. I'm not about to stop now. Tom Brady makes his MVP case on Monday Night Football, and we all stop and realize that he's having a much better season than Peyton Manning. Pats win -- and cover. With ease.
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