Although the primetime games didn’t go as predicted, a bounce-back week of 10-6 straight up and against the spread was needed after two lousy weeks.
And for the first time this season, the Colts cooperated with the spread. They won and covered at home against Tampa Bay. It ends a rather dubious 10-game skid in that department. The Colts (6-5) take a three-game winning streak to Pittsburgh (6-5), where the road team is a 7.5-point underdog at Heinz Field.
We move along.
(Odds by Oddsshark.com)
Packers -2.5 at Lions — Now that running back Eddie Lacy is gaining yards again, the Packers should be a different team than the one that inexplicably lost at home to the Lions. Well, that’s the hunch, although Green Bay is puzzling. Pick: Packers 34, Lions 27.
Texans +3 at Bills — Houston has won four in a row heading into a tough environment against a team reeling from road losses to New England and Kansas City. The Bills aren’t the same team the Colts faced in Week 1, but are due to play well. Pick: Bills 27, Texans 23.
49ers +8.5 at Bears — San Francisco played Arizona tough last week, which makes this line rather curious. Can the underdogs actually cover two weeks in a row? The Bears have won three of four including at Green Bay. Pick: Bears 30, 49ers 17.
Bengals -10.5 at Browns — As Cleveland demonstrated on Monday, this team is a mess, be it who plays quarterback, a defense that struggles to get stops or special teams losing on a bizarre blocked field goal. The Bengals roll again. Pick: Bengals 34, Browns 20.
Ravens +3.5 at Dolphins — Baltimore showed it will fight to the end after pulling off a dramatic victory at Cleveland. That bucked the season trend of disappointments. Miami is as unpredictable as any team. No confidence here. Pick: Dolphins 33, Ravens 26.
Seahawks -1 at Vikings — As much as we’re used to seeing Seattle stymie teams with defense, this team isn’t as stout in the past. Opponents gain yards in chunks at times, and Seattle has struggled away from home. Pick: Vikings 23, Seahawks 20.
Jets -1 at Giants — An ugly loss at Washington has many down on the G-Men, and rightfully so. The Giants look good one week, then bad the next. No consistency so far. Not that the Jets are much better off in that department. Pick: Giants 27, Jets 24.
Cardinals -4.5 at Rams — After failing to cover at San Francisco despite having a significantly better team, Arizona heads to St. Louis to face a sliding team without a quarterback. Will this be ugly or does Arizona show more this time? Pick: Cardinals 26, Rams 16.
Falcons Even at Buccaneers — Atlanta is imploding with five losses in six games. One of those setbacks was at home against Tampa Bay, which despite a road loss to the Colts has played better ball of late. Go with home team. Pick: Buccaneers 19, Falcons 16.
Jaguars +2.5 at Titans — Tennessee continues to lose its share of close games, but Jacksonville disappointed at home against San Diego. The Jaguars won the last meeting recently in primetime. The Titans get some payback. Pick: Titans 29, Jaguars 26.
Chiefs -2.5 at Raiders — Kansas City is a bit banged up but showed plenty of offense at home in a win over Buffalo. Oakland has fallen off and came within a few minutes of losing at Tennessee. The Chiefs have been too strong lately. Pick: Chiefs 30, Raiders 27.
Broncos -3.5 at Chargers — Coming off a stunning overtime victory over previously unbeaten New England, Denver has some confidence in backup quarterback Brock Osweiler. San Diego can score, but the defense is invisible. Pick: Broncos 31, Chargers 26.
Panthers -7 at Saints — Maybe New Orleans wakes up at home and plays a decent game for the first time in weeks, but Carolina has handled all challengers and continues to do enough to stay unbeaten. The Panthers will stay that way. Pick: Panthers 33, Saints 30.
Eagles +10.5 at Patriots — New England fell apart late at Denver, so a bad loss won’t sit well with these guys. Philadelphia has been giving up points in bunches. It’s the perfect visitor for the Patriots to revert to form, even without “Gronk.” Pick: Patriots 34, Eagles 20.
Colts +7.5 at Steelers — An inconsistent Colts defense will have to somehow get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, which didn’t happen in last year’s 17-point loss at Heinz Field. They didn’t even hit “Big” Ben that last time. Pick: Steelers 34, Colts 23.
Cowboys +4 at Redskins — Washington has proven to be strong at home and Dallas is understandably on a downward slide after missing quarterback Tony Romo for so long, then losing him for the year. Pick: Redskins 38, Cowboys 20.
Last week: 10-6 (.625).
Overall: 109-67 (.619).
Last year after Week 12: 115-60-1 (.656).
Last week: 10-6 (.625).
Overall: 85-84-7 (.503).
Last year after Week 12: 93-80-3 (.537).
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.