Play Q & A with handicapper Kelly Stewart, who will answer selected questions from Las Vegas Review-Journal readers. Email her at Askkelly
Q: If you have one, what is your favorite underdog on this weekend's NFL schedule?
- Paul, Las Vegas
A: I'm going with the Seahawks plus-3 at Atlanta. I know the Falcons are a great home team (7-1 straight up), but I have yet to figure out how they are 13-3. On paper, they definitely don't look it.
As for Seattle, its only losses have come on the road. I've been pretty impressed with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who's not afraid to run or get hit. Running back Marshawn Lynch is going to be hard to stop, and even if the Atlanta defense can contain him, it will open up Wilson to utilize play-action passes.
Well, what about "Matty Ice"? Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan hasn't seen a great pass defense in several weeks. The Seattle defense has held its past six opponents to 17 points or less. I'm putting my money on the underdog with all the momentum.
Q: You've been riding the Denver Broncos a lot this season, so are you staying on them?
- Ron, New York
A: Peyton Manning and the Broncos have been good to me for the past three months, so I am staying on them against Baltimore. There are some key things to think about in this game when laying 9½ points with Denver. The Broncos are 10-1 against the spread as favorites and 9-2 ATS at home this season.
Stats aside, this is Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' final season, so he says. Does the team come out and play for its inspirational leader? I don't think it matters. The Broncos are on a roll, winning 11 consecutive games, and they have had an extra week to prepare.
The Ravens somehow made it into the playoffs despite looking mediocre for most of the season. I just don't see a close game here. Make sure you get the right number on this one. My big play will be Denver minus-6 in the first half.
Q: You've disregarded Texas A&M and quarterback Johnny Manziel all season. It seems like he humbled you and Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Has your opinion changed?
- John, College Station, Texas
A: This email was much longer and very detailed, and it was quite funny to read along with a few from other people. No doubt, Manziel is a (redshirt) freshman phenom. No doubt, he won the Heisman Trophy. Yes, he has great (padded) stats, but he also has a great offensive line, arguably one of the best in college football. His fame will continue in the next few years with the big men protecting him.
Again, I'm sorry for all the bashing on Johnny Football, but he just lacks any characteristics for me to be a fan of him. I guess, as he would put it, I'll just "KEEP HATIN'."
Kelly Stewart of Hottiehandicappers.com can be reached at Askkelly@reviewjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kellyinvegas.