Going 12-2 straight-up and landing the Upset Special makes a fella feel kind of smart. Until he realizes how much dumber he is than the boys in Vegas.

Yours truly went 8-6 against the spread while assuming things like Buffalo (-13) not almost losing to the Jets. And picking things like the Browns to cover 3½ points and then seeing them by 3.

Like the Browns, who won in the final seconds, the Lions beat Atlanta after the final second to raise the Upset Special record to 3-4. And, yes, thank you Atlanta for finding yet another uniquely oddball way to lose a game.

So what do you do when you pick the Lions to pull off an upset? You obviously go back to that Matt Patricia well and hope the guy with the .329 winning percentage does it two weeks in a row.


As for other upsets this week, go with the Steelers — yes, the league's only unbeaten team is getting points! — and the Raiders, who will benefit from the football demons frowning on the fact that Kevin Stefanski has brought way too much happiness to Cleveland.

As for those wiseguys in Vegas, don't be hoodwinked by their big point spreads again. The Chiefs will beat the Jets but won't cover the 19½ points.

Guaranteed! Maybe.

Last week's picks: 12-2; vs. the spread: 8-6.

Year to date: 69-35-1; 57-47-1

Vikings games: 3-3

Here are this week's picks:

Falcons (+2½) at Panthers: Panthers by 9

The inexcusable Week 6 Falcons loss continues to torment the Vikings. Four days after Atlanta lost to the once-lowlier-than-the-Vikings Lions, the Falcons will fall to Teddy Bridgewater for the second time in four games.

Vikings (+6½) at Packers: Packers by 14

You'd expect the Packers to bring out one last gasp of unbridled determination before the Vikings truly accept their fate and settle in for the long winter's nap. But Green Bay's loss to Tampa Bay two weeks ago has Aaron Rodgers and Co. dialed in ready to punish a pass defense that's lacking in the ability to rush and cover. Score: Packers 42, Vikings 28

Patriots (+3½) at Bills: Bills by 7

OK, OK. Uncle. Dynasty's time of death: Nov. 1.

Titans (-5½) at Bengals: Titans by 7

Joe Burrow is good. But he can't play defense.

Raiders (+2½) at Browns: Raiders by 3

Sorry, Kevin. But look on the bright side. At 5-3, Jimmy Haslam probably won't fire you before next Sunday.

Jets (+19½) at Chiefs: Chiefs by 14

The only suspense is whether Kansas City covers and what Le'Veon Bell will do when he scores on his former team.

Rams (-3½) at Dolphins: Rams by 7

So the Dolphins are riding a winning streak and they change quarterbacks so rookie Tua Tagovailoa can make his starting debut against Aaron Donald? OK. If you say so.

Saints (-2½) at Bears: Saints by 7

The Bears held Tom Brady to 19 points three weeks ago. Can they do the same to Drew Brees? They'll have to with the 27th-ranked scoring attack.

49ers (+3) at Seahawks: Seahawks by 5

Does anybody play more games decided by one score than Seattle? Here's guessing the Russell Wilson doesn't lose two of them in a row.

Cowboys (+7½) at Eagles: Eagles by 10

Remember when Jason Garrett going 8-8 was a bad thing?

Chargers (-3) at Broncos: Chargers by 7

Denver's just sloppy. Only Dallas has a worse turnover ratio than the Broncos (-8).

Steelers (+3½) at Ravens: Steelers by 7

The two best teams in football have four more wins than the entire NFC East. Baltimore is favored because it's at home and coming off a bye in what should be the most physical NFL game of the season so far. But Pittsburgh will go to 7-0 and takes a two-game lead in the AFC North.

Buccaneers (-10½) at Giants: Buccaneers by 14

It's not the Super Bowl and Eli Manning is retired. So give this one to Tom Brady, who hasn't thrown an interception in three games after throwing four in his first four games.


Colts (-2½) at Lions: Lions 28, Colts 26

That's right. Week 9 will feature Matt Patricia's 4-3 Lions visiting the 1-6 Vikings. Ouch.

Last week's upset special: Lions (+2) 34, Falcons 24. Result: Lions 23, Falcons 22.

Upset special record: 3-4.