Last week was the first time that I shared my predictions with the online community. I was on point with 61% of my games with the spread. I'm looking to build on that percentage this week. That brings me to the first game of week 10.
The 49ers are 3-point favorites over the Bears, who have lost four in a row. Another loss and they might lose sight of the Cardinals in the NFC West.
Chicago (4-4) has seen its once fearsome defense turn soft without Brian Urlacher, who broke his wrist in the opener, and several other key players. The Bears have won the last three meetings, all at Soldier Field, outscoring San Francisco 81-32. They could be vulnerable to the runs of Frank Gore because Chicago ranks 21st against the rush.
The Niners handle the run well but struggle against the pass, which means Jay Cutler might be airing it out all night. Chicago has looked a bit more vulnerable and a lot more fragile.
Dallas (pick 'em) at Green Bay
BEST BET: Cowboys, 21-17
New England (plus 3) at Indianapolis
Time for Bill Belichick to toy with Peyton Manning's mind again, and for the Patriots to prevent Indy from chasing their unprecedented 16-0 of 2007. The Colts just have too many injuries in the secondary.
UPSET SPECIAL: PATRIOTS, 24-20
Cincinnati (plus 6 1/2) at Pittsburgh
I have been wrong on the Bengals a lot this year, but I'm starting to believe in them — at least enough to cover.
Philadelphia (plus 1) at San Diego
Two teams that epitomize the up-and-down nature of the NFL. Philly's secondary is depleted and they only have one LB. I expect Gates and Vincent Jackson to come up big.
Jacksonville (plus 6) at N.Y. Jets
Detroit (plus 15) at Minnesota
Fresh from a bye, this should be easy for the Purple Favres. It's like having 2 bye weeks.
Denver (minus 4 1/2) at Washington
New Orleans (minus 14) at St. Louis
Been searching for hours for a reason this will be close. Still searching ...
Seattle (plus 7 1/2) at Arizona
Enigmatic Cardinals need to bring their road temperament to their dome.
Buffalo (plus 6 1/2) at Tennessee
Atlanta (minus 2) at Carolina
Baltimore (minus 10 1/2) at Cleveland
The Monday night massacre, although the Ravens really are struggling. Not nearly as much as the Browns, of course. Brady Quinn better practice throwing from his backside; I feel bad for the young fella.
Tampa Bay (plus 9) at Miami
Does anyone outside of Florida really care? Don't expect Freeman to sneak out with another win.
Kansas City (plus 2) at Oakland
Does anyone anywhere really care?
Chiefs, and cover...no points total here because they are both zeros.
There it is: safe bets by DC.