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Celebrity NFL Picks: Roadies put the hurt on home teams last week

Sal DeFilippo

Celebrity Picks

Lance Burton, Monte Carlo master magician (23-16)
Jets -4 at 49ers
Giants -7 ½ vs. Eagles
Titans -14 vs. Browns
****
Anthony Crivello, star of "Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular" (23-16)
Giants -7 ½ vs. Eagles
Falcons +3 at Saints
Jets -4 at 49ers
****
Carrot Top, Luxor headliner (13-25-1)
Panthers -3 vs. Buccaneers
Dolphins +1 at Bills
Patriots -4 ½ at Seahawks
****
Danny Gans, Encore headliner (20-19)
Titans -14 vs. Browns
Jets -4 at 49ers
Giants -7 ½ vs. Eagles
****
Oscar Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas (20-19)
Bears -6 ½ vs. Jaguars
Eagles +7 ½ at Giants
Broncos -9 vs. Chiefs
****
Kevin Janison, KVBC meteorologist (19-18-2)
Packers -6 vs. Texans
Cardinals -13 ½ vs. Rams
Dolphins +1 at Bills
****
Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas" (26-13)
Saints -3 vs. Falcons
Panthers-Buccaneers under 38 ½
Jets -4 at 49ers

Road, sweet road.

Last weekend was one of those weekends where fans who went to root for their team on a Sunday afternoon generally left disappointed.

In 10 of the 11 Sunday daytime games, the road team escaped with a victory, throwing a huge monkeywrench in that “homefield advantage” theory. The lone team to take advantage of playing at home was Tampa Bay, and the Bucs were tied with less than two minutes remaining.

Sure, home teams were 2-1 on Thanksgiving and hosts Minnesota and Houston won on Sunday and Monday night, respectively, so for the week, road teams were a not-so-remarkable 11-5. And perhaps the fact that Cincinnati, Cleveland, Oakland and St. Louis lost home games isn’t something that should raise a red flag.

But lost in the onslaught of road wins were a few strong statements that will likely shape the postseason. Four games in particular stand out:

Pittsburgh’s dominating win at New England: Say it with me, everyone … Defense … wins … championships. The weather gods gave us a preview of playoff conditions, and the Steelers took it to the defending conference champs. Matt Cassel’s consecutive 400-yard performances seemed like a distant memory after Pittsburgh dissected the Patriots.

Atlanta’s win at San Diego: The Falcons entered the game at 7-4 and the Chargers were 4-7. But San Diego was nearly a touchdown favorite, a clear signal that the oddsmakers still weren’t true believers in Atlanta. The Falcons showed they are the real deal.

Buffalo’s stunning 10-3 loss to San Francisco: Three points? Buffalo’s sputtering offense dropped them to 6-6, alone in last place in the rough AFC East, a division they once led after a 5-1 start.

Carolina’s win at Green Bay: He’s 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, but for several years, Steve Smith has made clutch play after clutch play – and he’s back at it of late. Couple that with Carolina’s strong running game, pepper in Julius Peppers on the other side of the ball, the Panthers may be poised for a solid playoff run.

There were other games of significance, too – namely Denver’s impressive win at the Jets and Baltimore’s destruction of Cincinnati (yes, it’s the Bengals, but the Ravens also bring a rock-solid defense to the playoff table and showed how dangerous the can be).

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the road to the Super Bowl may take some road wins in the playoffs, and last weekend, there was plenty of evidence that some teams are ready to hit the road more than others.

Another 2-1 mark against the number puts the season record at 25-13-1. This week, I’ll take the Giants -7 ½ vs. the Eagles, the Cardinals-Rams over 48 ½ and the Patriots -4 ½ at the Seahawks.

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