Note: Every week, I pick games against the spread on the Michael Irvin Show on ESPN Radio, and I'm putting them on our blog.
In these last couple weeks of the season, as some teams start packing it in and others aim for the playoffs, it can get a little tricky to pick games. All in all, half of the home teams this week are underdogs in the eyes of bettors, but some of them are playing their Super Bowl this week . . . (My picks in bold.)
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks +4
The Jets have a playoff spot to play for, and the season's over for the Seahawks next week. But the Jets have been playing for a lot the last two weeks and laid eggs. This is the Seahawks' Super Bowl as coach Mike Holmgren goes up against his former quarterback. The Seahawks actually have more to play for than the Jets; Plus, Senecca Wallace has been playing better.
New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions +7
Speaking of Super Bowls, this is it for the Lions. There is no way they are going to go into Green Bay next week at 0-15 and have the Packers let them win their lone game of the season. The Saints simply haven't been as good on the road; I see a high-scoring affair with the Lions keeping it close or maybe, just maybe, getting their infamy-dodging win.
Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs +3.5
The third "Super Bowl" game of the week sends the Dolphins to a freezing cold Arrowhead Stadium to play a team of guys who need two wins to end the season have a shot of keeping their coach after this season.
Houston Texans -7 at Oakland Raiders
After starting the season 0-4, the Texans have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, which makes them one of the hottest teams in the League. Andre Johnson and Steve Slaton are playing huge; Raiders fans have only the death of Al Davis to look forward to at this point. The Texans, who have never finished above .500 for the season, can do it with two wins to end the season.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears -4
Brett Favre got out of Dodge just in time, as the Packers' running game and defense have fallen off. The Bears, on the other hand, need to win out for a shot at the playoffs, and the Packers' weaknesses play right into the hands off the Bears.
Baltimore Ravens at Dallas Cowboys -4
Both teams have a ton to play for, but one of them is going to get knocked to the back of the playoff line this week. I like the Cowboys to win because they're at home, they've been playing better (except for 10 minutes in Pittsburgh) with Romo back, and I like their matchups (like Owens against Rolle).
Last week: 2-3. Season: 40-37-2