Last week's picks started with such promise.

" … The unbeaten Cardinals are due to lose … The Packers can win without Adams …"

Yessir. Had a couple good picking weeks. Upset Special had been humming along. It actually hurt being that full of NFL prognosticating wisdom.

Then, uh-oh. Things went decidedly south in a hurry as the NFL did what the NFL does to people who think they know what will happen in the NFL.

" … The Bucs will sputter, but they won't lose … The 49ers will prove unworthy of being favored in Chicago … The Panthers are dead-team-walking … "

Then things got downright cringe worthy.

" … It doesn't matter who starts at quarterback for the Jets … Jaguars 17, Seahawks 16! …"

Then the crash landing was too gruesome to watch as Philly was sneaking out to a 41-doughnut lead in Detroit.

" … Upset Special: Lions Win! …"

On the bright side, last week's picks (5-10 straight up and against the spread) did rank in the top eight of picks segments this season.

So, as a wise starter in Myrtle Beach once said on the first tee, "Swing hard in case you hit it."

Then again, playing it conservative for a week might work, too. Faith in teams like the Vikings, Bears, Jaguars and Bengals is lost. The only upset picked was Atlanta at New Orleans.

And, as for the Lions …

They WILL NOT LOSE this week. Guaranteed.

UPDATED ODDS: Spreads, money lines, over/under

Here's a look at this week's games:

Vikings (+6) at Ravens
The urge is to pick the slumping Vikings to get blown away on the road against an unfamiliar elite team coming off a bye. They're emotionally spent after an embarrassing loss to Cooper Rush. Danielle Hunter is done for the year. Patrick Peterson is out. Mike Zimmer probably hasn't slept since July, and now he has to stop Lamar Jackson. Klint Kubiak seems overwhelmed. Kirk Cousins seems too cautious and/or shackled. The Vikings, however, still have at least one more one-score battle left in them. Ravens 30, Vikings 23

Texans (+5½) at Dolphins
Two 1-7 teams riding seven-game losing streaks and sporting two of the three worst scoring offenses in the league. Ick. Dolphins 3, Texans 0

Broncos (+10) at Cowboys
The Cowboys beat the Vikings on the road with a backup quarterback making $54,117.65 a game. They should do quite well at home against Denver — sans Von Miller — with a starter making a tad bit more than that. Cowboys 30, Broncos 16

Patriots (-3½) at Panthers
Are the Patriots a bad good team or a good bad team? Either way, they'll climb above .500 against a Carolina team that's been held under 200 yards passing the past four games. Patriots 27, Panthers 20

Bills (-14½) at Jaguars
Blah, blah, blah. Bills win. Guaranteed. Lock … of … the … Week. Bills 32, Jaguars 3

Browns (+2½) at Bengals
A more desperate Browns team coming off a 1-2 homestand hits the road and lands another sucker punch to Cincinnati's feel-good season. Browns 30, Bengals 29

Raiders (-3) at Giants
If Rich Bisaccia keeps this up, Jon Gruden might win Least Valuable NFL Coach of the Year. Raiders 30, Giants 20

Chargers (-1 ½) at Eagles
After back-to-back duds, it's time that Justin Herbert plays like Justin Herbert again. Philly falls to 0-4 at home, which isn't great for a first-year coach. Eh, Nick Sirianni? Chargers 34, Eagles 31

Packers (+7½) at Chiefs
The spread moved six points when Aaron Rodgers was ruled out with COVID-19. That's because the Packers are 6-11-1 since 2008 when someone other than Rodgers starts. Jordan Love faces a friendly defense, but he'll still be overwhelmed. Chiefs 30, Packers 20

Cardinals (+2½) at 49ers
Arizona won the first meeting 17-10 this season. The 49ers have momentum, but the Cardinals will bounce back after the Packers loss. Cardinals 24, 49ers 22

Titans (+7 ½) at Rams
Sorry, Adrian, but Tennessee without Derrick Henry is darn near like the Packers without Rodgers. Rams 34, Titans 24

Bears (+6 ½) at Steelers
Big Ben and his defense will use the national Monday night stage to remind us why it's always risky to count Pittsburgh out too early. Steelers win a fourth consecutive game. Steelers 24, Bears 19


Falcons (+6) at Saints
Beat Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champs one week. Lose to the Falcons the next? Yep. Sounds about right for the NFL and guys like Trevor Siemian. Falcons 26, Saints 23

Last week's Upset Special: Lions (+3) 19, Eagles 17. Actual score: Eagles 44, Lions 6. Record: 5-3.


Last week's record straight up/against the spread: 5-10/5-10.

Season record straight up/against the spread: 77-45/57-65.

Vikings picks straight up/against the spread: 5-2/3-4.