Note: Every week, I pick games against the spread on the Michael Irvin Show, and I'm putting them on our blog.
It's the lament of those of us who decide to mess around with NFL spreads: Many of them come down to one play. Last week, the Bears were up 10 late and, giving 3 points, looked like a lock to at least push. The Cardinals were also doing great in Washington, until they choked. Here's hoping for no heartache this week (picks in bold with spread).
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers -7
Despite him being my new lust object, Matt Ryan has a quarterback rating of 129 when he plays at home; he's got a QB rating of 29 when he's away from the Georgia Dome. Expect Panthers LB Jon Beason to have a big game.
Arizona Cardinals +1.5 at New York Jets
One of the smartest coaching moves of the season was the Cardinals staying on the East coast this week for their 1pmET game at the Meadowlands.
San Francisco 49ers +5.5 at New Orleans Saints
The 49ers' success this season has come on balance: They have the 9th-ranked defense, Frank Gore has 400 yards of total offense, and Isaac Bruce had a breakout game two weeks ago. The banged-up Saints get the Niners at the wrong time.
Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1
The Packers will be without safety Atari Bigby and corner Al Harris. Word has it that Charles Woodson doesn't have his usual focus when Harris isn't on the field. Against a team that threw for 407 yards last season, he'll need it.
Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans -3
Two of the League's three leading interceptors are in the Titans secondary. That will free them up to stack the box against the Vikings' running game. Gus Frerote was pretty good in his first outing; look for a big slip this week.
Last week: 3-3. Season: 9-8.