Detroit Lions @ Miami Dolphins (-3.5): What homefield advantage? Miami is 1-6 when hosting, this season, and faces a Lions team which has essentially been playing with backup quarterbacks all year, yet is coming off back-to-back victories. There isn’t much to like, right now, if you’re a Dolphins fan. The offense has Brandon Marshall going for it, and that’s about it. The defense plays right up there with some of the best in the NFL, at times; other times about the only thing that side of the ball has going for it is outside linebacker Cameron Wake. Keep an eye on Calvin Johnson‘s injury situation before making a call on this game. Vinnie likes Detroit just fine regardless, but Calvin’s absence would certainly spice things up.
Gimme the Lions plus the points.
San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams (-1.5): Alex Smith, no … Troy Smith, no … Alex Smith, no really … Troy Smith versus Sam Bradford, one of the better rookie quarterbacks in NFL history. Advantage = Rams. Brian Westbrook plus Anthony Dixon (in place of Frank Gore), versus Steven Jackson. Advantage = Rams. The Rams are a young team with a young head coach and don’t have a consistently good defense, although it is a defense that tends to cause more trouble for opponents at home. And winning this week and next would guarantee an opening playoff game in St. Louis. Interesting stat: the 49ers are only one game out of first place in the NFC West, yet have lost every game against teams with a winning record. The Rams aren’t technically a winning team by definition but to Vinnie, they’re playing on a different level than the Gore-less 49ers.
Gimme the Rams minus the points.
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs (-5): The return of Kerry Collins to the list of Titans’ starters has not only brought a lot more out of Tennessee’s offense, to be sure, but not surprisingly the team’s defense has improved its play. The Chiefs are undefeated at home, however, and Matt Cassel continues to bounce back from his appendectomy two weeks ago. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones will do quite well for K.C. – enough so, any way, that Vinnie believes the Chiefs will have no problem covering. With surging San Diego nipping at their heels, the Chiefs have a lot to play for in Week 16. The Titans? Not so much.
Gimme the Chiefs minus the points.
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals (+7): Interim coach Jason Garrett has won four of six for Dallas since relieving Wade Phillips, and is motivated by the prospect of earning himself an extension from owner Jerry Jones. He is also getting everything he can out of the talent on the roster. Jon Kitna has been playing well, helped out immensely by Jason Witten, and the Cowboys have finally gotten back to running the football with some success – sparked by Tashard Choice. The Cardinals’ defense, meanwhile, continues to be one of the worst in the NFL. Quarterback John Skelton isn’t a threat for rookie of the year honors, but he does get Larry Fitzgerald involved where his predecessors tried but fell short. Vinnie likes the Cowboys quite a bit in this one, despite traveling to Arizona and having what would seem like nothing to play for.
Gimme the Cowboys minus the points.