Thank you, Drew Brees and the Saints.
Because of their 45-16 rout of Atlanta, Pro Picks not only is guaranteed being over .500 for the season against the spread, but also snapped an ignominious streak of nine successive missed Best Bets.
We are tempted to make every game with a line the Best Bet for the final weekend of the season, but given the lack of success in that area, maybe it’s best to just swallow the overall record with top choices and move on.
Hoping to move on to the playoffs are the Giants and Cowboys, who meet at the Meadowlands for the NFC East crown, with the loser going home. Both teams have had schizophrenic seasons, with the Giants revitalizing their chances when they rallied to beat the Cowboys on the road three weeks ago.
But New York, a 3-point favorite, has been mediocre at home, just 3-4. Yet emerging star receiver Victor Cruz is glad to be playing in the Meadowlands.
“It is a big advantage playing here with our fans and their natural hate for the Cowboys is always good,” Cruz said. “The fans will be on our side and it is good to be home, it is good to be familiar with this place and them. It is going to be a good game. They are not going to go down without a fight and we know that.”
Dallas might be undermanned for the fight. Quarterback Tony Romo has a bruised right hand,
Running back Felix Jones is battling hamstring tightness, and starting left guard Montrae Holland was put on injured reserve this week with a partially torn left biceps.
Still, a win and the Cowboys are in.
“For us, things have gone our way enough to give us this chance,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You can look back at the successes that we had that maybe we shouldn’t have had and maybe some of the disappointments we’ve had that maybe we shouldn’t have had. That’s the Giants. That’s every team in this league.”
Dallas owner Jerry Jones expressed his fear of the Eagles before last week’s matchup, and Philly easily handled Dallas, 20-7. We wonder if Jones is quaking in his Cowboy boots about this one.
He should be. ... GIANTS, 28-24
Tennessee (minus 1½) at Houston — Titans do their part to grab AFC wild card; game means nothing to locked-in Texans. ... BEST BET: TITANS, 20-13
San Diego (plus 3) at Oakland — Staying-home-for-playoffs Chargers get some small satisfaction by eliminating Raiders. ... UPSET SPECIAL: CHARGERS, 24-23
Kansas City (plus 3) at Denver — On to the postseason for Tebow and company. ... BRONCOS, 14-13
Baltimore (minus 3) at Cincinnati — No way Ravens want to go wild-card route again. Bengals would earn wild card with win. ... RAVENS, 20-19
Pittsburgh (OFF) at Cleveland — Steelers chase Ravens in vain. ... STEELERS, 20-9
Buffalo (plus 13) at New England — AFC playoffs run through Foxborough, not so fearsome a prospect anymore. ... PATRIOTS, 31-17
New York Jets (plus 1) at Miami — Dolphins finish off Jets’ collapse. ... DOLPHINS, 17-10
San Francisco (minus 10½) at St. Louis — Niners grab a playoff bye. ... 49ERS, 19-7
Detroit (minus 3½) at Green Bay — Packers will show up, try to avoid more injuries. Even then, they can make it close. ... LIONS, 31-28
Carolina (plus 9) at New Orleans — Brees takes yards passing record into stratosphere in shootout with Cam Newton. ... SAINTS, 37-31
Seattle (plus 3) at Arizona — Cardinals get to .500, Seahawks don’t. ... CARDINALS, 24-17
Indianapolis (plus 5) at Jacksonville — Colts stay Lucky, although losing to Jags takes some effort. ... JAGUARS, 17-16
Washington (plus 9) at Philadelphia — Eagles surely didn’t dream of this being the end. ... EAGLES, 30-10
Tampa Bay (plus 10½) at Atlanta — Hey, Falcons, enjoy that trip back to Nawlins next week. ... FALCONS, 35-9
Chicago (minus 1) at Minnesota — Get the season over with. ... BEARS, 13-10
Against spread: 8-7 (overall 118-101-4); straight up 11-5 (overall 155-85).
Best Bet: 3-13 against spread, 11-5 straight up.
Upset Special: 10-6 against spread, 7-9 straight up.