Four spreads of note:
Falcons +3.5 @ Lions, 1:00PM ET Sunday
Apparently the Falcons showed enough last week in their win over the Panthers to make people believe they’re starting to turn things around. Either that or folks are slowly starting to climb off the Lions bandwagon. The spread for this game opened at Detroit –4.5 and within a day it was down to 3.5. Considering Atlanta was viewed as a potential Super Bowl team this season, the Falcons look like a value getting over a field goal. With Julio Jones iffy to return from a hamstring injury, we could see a lot of Michael Turner again this Sunday, especially considering Detroit has had its issues with stopping the run. The Falcons relied heavily on Turner last week against Carolina, as he rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Personally, I think the total is the most attractive play in this game. Forty-seven points seems way to high for two teams that have struggled at times offensively.
Bears -1 @ Bucs, 1:00PM ET Sunday
The Bucs beat the Saints last week at home and they’re now a 1-point underdog against a Chicago team that hasn’t won back-to-back games all season? I guess that’s not too surprising seeing as how ugly the Bucs have looked at times, but it’s not like the Bears have performed any better away from Solider Field (0-2 with two non-covers at New Orleans and Detroit). There’s value here somewhere but it’s hard to figure out which teams will show up this Sunday, especially seeing as how the game is being played in London. Both of these squads have had rather uneven performances from week-to-week this season.
Steelers –3.5 @ Cardinals, 4:05PM ET
The spread in this game seems awfully low to me, even when you account for home field advantage. That’s probably because the Steelers have looked great one week (see Titans), only to come out the next week and barely beat an inferior opponent (see Jaguars). If the Cardinals have any chance of getting back into the NFC West race, they need to win on Sunday. The problem is that Kevin Kolb hasn’t been the quarterback Arizona thought it was getting when it traded for him this offseason. The Cards have been in every game this year except their disastrous Week 5 showing in Minnesota, but Kolb just hasn’t gotten it done in the fourth quarter.
Chiefs +4 @ Raiders, 4:05PM ET, Sunday
It’s funny, the Raiders opened as a 3-point favorite with Kyle Boller under center and as soon as they announced that Carson Palmer would start, the spread climbed to 4 points. So Palmer, who hasn’t taken a snap in a live game since January, is worth a full point in a divisional game? I know he’s familiar with the offense thanks to the time he spent with Hue Jackson in Cincinnati but so much for easing the guy in. That speaks volumes towards Oakland’s confidence in Boller. It’ll be interesting to see how this game plays out come Sunday.
2011 NFL Week 8 Point Spreads & Totals:
Chargers –1 (43.5)
Seahawks +3 (41)
Falcons +3.5 (47)
Redskins +3 (42.5)
Bears –1 (44)
Broncos +1 (43)
Texas +3.5 (44.5)
Steelers –3.5 (42.5)
Chiefs +4 (41.5)
Packers –9 (46.5)
Rams +12.5 (43.5)
Colts +14 (48.5)
Ravens –9 (39.5)