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A good week overall, but that 8-6-1 record was completely ruined by a 0-3-1 in the Best Bets. In the three resounding defeats, it was a classic case of underestimating the Vikings and Jaguars, while the Lions should have covered but shot themselves in the foot repeatedly.

Since I went over the lead story, the return of the real referees, yesterday in the process of detailing my incorrect pick. Let’s just get to, for entertainment purposes only, the picks. Home teams in caps.

Patriots (-4) at BILLS: If you think the Patriots are going to be just fine this season despite the 1-2 start it’s a pretty easy 4 points to give.

LIONS (-4) over Vikings: after the 49ers upset last week, “Hey, how ’bout that Christian Ponder?” was one of the weekend’s big stories. In other news, nobody seems too concerned about Matthew Stafford’s leg injury, a bit surprising considering his history. That said Shaun Hill can run the ship just fine if Stafford doesn’t play, 4th and 1 attempts to draw teams offside notwithstanding.

Falcons (-7) at PANTHERS: Cam Newton’s ability to a lightning rod knows no bounds. The defense gives up scores on their first four drives, and all we are talking about is Cam Newton’s leadership and losing record. Not saying those criticisms aren’t valid, but can we get some perspective here? The rest of this team sucks. If Ramses Barden can break out against this secondary, Julio Jones and Roddy White should be ready to embarrass them Sunday.

JETS (+4) at 49ers: Strictly a contrarian pick since it’s seems a 49ers cover, especially coming off a surprise loss to Minnesota, is so obvious. And that’s how Vegas gets rich. If the expected does happen, of course there will be the usual hype about the inevitability of Tebow Time. My thing is, Tebow Time’s already been here! In the less charismatic and appealing form of Mark Sanchez. Look at last week’s game. Sanchez stunk it up for the first 50 munutes or so, missed throws, rallied when it mattered, and got the missed field calls and bonehead moves from the Dolphins he needed to be gifted a win. If Tebow played the same game with the same stats, all we would be hearing about is miracles and moxie and determination and other hosannas about a garbage win in September over the Dolphins.

CHIEFS (+1) over Chargers: The Chargers may not be good. They’re definitely not good enough to be declared road favorites.

Titans (+12) over TEXANS: My long-documented apprehension about Gary Kubiak has not quite dissipated. Plus, the Texans have could fall asleep after taking a big lead.

Seahawks (-3) over RAMS: Seattle’s defense is no joke, people. It might be good enough to where all Russell Wilson has to do is make one or two big TD throws a game to lead Seattle to victory.

CARDINALS (-5) over Dolphins: the Cardinals defense should be enough here as unlike some other much-ballyhooed defenses, they will actually generate a pass rush and knock Ryan Tannehill down. Yes, Jets, I meant you.

Raiders (+7) at BRONCOS: yes, you should be concerned about Peyton Manning’s reduced arm talent. But right now you should really be concerned about Denver’s defense, which is not good right now.

Bengals (-1.5) over JAGUARS: the Jags haven’t been completely stinktastic, but the Bengals are resembling a solid team. It shouldn’t be a shocker considering they made the playoffs last year, but let’s face it. We have different expectations for the Bengals. And not in a good way.

Saints (+7.5) at PACKERS: Another contrarian pick here, mostly because the Saints smack of a little more desperation to me. Not enough to win outright, but enough desperation.

BUCCANEERS (-2.5) over Redskins: if Josh Freeman can’t light up this now-sorry Redskins defense, then it really is time to worry. And it’s nice that Greg Schiano is sticking by his guns on the victory formation thing, but isn’t he tired of lining up against victory formations?

EAGLES (-2) over Giants: Last Thursday’s impressive display totally sets them up to disappoint Sunday. Because that’s how the Giants roll.

Bears (+3.5) over COWBOYS: I think the writing off of the Bears as contenders is a bit soon. And while the Dallas defense is living up to the hype, the offense has been underwhelming. Also underwhelming, of course, will be Jay Cutler’s demeanor and body language.

Best Bets: Patriots, Cardinals, Bengals

Season: 28-20-1, 5-5-1 Best Bets

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