Friday, November 23, 2012
NFL Week 12 Picks
So close to perfection. Damn You Rams!
I went 3-0 on Thanksgiving. If you don't believe me check my Twitter!
Last Week's Record: 13-1
Year to Date: 107-52
Minnesota Vikings vs Chicago Bears
Chicago needs Jay Cutler in a bad way. I understand Jason Campbell went up against a very good defense last week, but he still looked beyond terrible against the 49ers. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket and did not deal well with the pressure that the 49ers brought. Cutler still has not been cleared to play yet, so that makes his status for this game a question mark. Cutler makes a world of difference for this team. You know the Bears defense will be out to make a statement after a poor performance against the 49ers. It was the most points the Bears have given up all year, and it was to a QB starting his first game. The Vikings wanted to use their bye week to get their star WR Percy Harvin healthy, but Harvin has yet to practice this week. Having Harvin play takes pressure off of Adrian Peterson. Without Harvin, teams can crowd the box to stop Peterson. Christian Ponder has struggled mightily in his last few games, even failing to go over 100 passing yards in two of his last four. Both teams may be missing stars, but I like the Bears defense to take advantage of Christian Ponder and grind out a win here.
Chicago 17 Minnesota 13
Oakland Raiders vs Cincinnati Bengals
It is Carson Palmer's return to Cincinnati. The bad news for Palmer is that his Raiders team has looked terrible the last couple games. They were never in the game against the Saints, embarrassed by Baltimore, and run all over by Doug Martin and the Bucs. Maybe Oakland can just make another coaching change at the end of this year. I'm sure that would fix their problems. Oakland has some talent on offense, but Darren McFadden is injured as well as Darrius Heyward-Bay. The defense needs a major overhaul. They have had problems stopping everyone this year. The Bengals, meanwhile, are probably still laughing at the fact that they got two first round picks for Palmer. Cincinnati routed the Chiefs and are trying to right the ship after a four game losing streak mid-season. Expect a big game from A.J. Green in this one. The Raiders secondary has been shredded in recent weeks. Look for the Bengals defense to blitz and make the immobile Carson Palmer move around in the pocket, which he really can't do well. Cincinnati wins.
Cincinnati 31 Oakland 20
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns
One thing to always expect out of games between these two: low scoring affairs. And tat can be expected even more with the Steelers starting Charlie Batch at QB. Byron Leftwich injured a couple of ribs last week in their loss to Baltimore. Batch may be even worse than Leftwich. He's older and is less mobile than Leftwich. The loss of Leftwich just adds to the pile of injuries that Pittsburgh has experienced this year. Troy Polamalu is still out for the Steelers. Ryan Clark may or may not be back from a concussion. Pittsburgh is about as injured as any team in the NFL. Cleveland gave Dallas everything they could handle last week. But the Browns blew a 13 point second half lead, which is a sign of their youth and inexperience. But I would also question some of Pat Shurmur's play calling, including a 4th and 1 fade route at the Cowboys 1 yard line in the 4th quarter. Cleveland will look to pound it out with Trent Richardson at running back. I just don't like the Steelers with Charlie Btach at QB. I'm going with the Browns in an upset.
Cleveland 19 Pittsburgh 16
Buffalo Bills vs Indianapolis Colts
This is the game that will make or break the Bills season. At 4-6, a win here would pull them within a game of the Colts and give them the head-to-head tiebreaker. Buffalo's defense finally played a good game last week against Miami. But the offense sputtered in the red zone, where they were forced to settle for field goals instead of getting the ball in the end zone. C.J. Spiller played well as the primary back, and he will continue to have that role even with Fred Jackson returning. Look for Buffalo to establish the run early to take the pressure off Ryan Fitzpatrick. If Buffalo learned anything from the Colts loss to New England, it is if they blitz Luck he will make mistakes. That is what happened with the Colts in their blowout loss at New England. You would expect games like that in Luck's rookie year, but not with the way Luck is playing. Luck should do better against a suspect Bills secondary. If the Colts can get any kind of run game going, they should win this game. But the Bills look like a motivated team and have played well the last two weeks. My hometown goggles are put on and I'm taking the Bills on a last second field goal to win.
Buffalo 27 Indianapolis 24
Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Broncos have a commanding three game lead in the AFC West and at this point are pretty much just hoping that no one else gets hurt for them. I don't see how anybody in that division is going to catch them, especially with the way all three teams have been playing. The Broncos defense has taken big strides to improve their play from the beginning of the year. The loss of Willis McGahee isn't as big a loss as you might think. Having Peyton Manning at QB makes any running back better than they are. Look for Ronnie Hillman to have a big couple weeks ahead. For the Chiefs, they are going back to Brady Quinn at QB. They continue to look like a team drafting a QB with their top pick next year. And they also look like a team that needs to be blown up. Peyton tears this team to shreds.
Denver 38 Kansas City 14
Seattle Seahawks vs Miami Dolphins
After a couple of weeks of good football, it looks like the Miami Dolphins have finally come back down to earth. The offense has looked terrible in their last two outings. Ryan Tannehill has hit the rookie wall, and Reggie Bush is showing that he may not be the every down back he has hyped himself up to be. Things don't get much easier for Tannehill this week as he gets a rested Seattle defense to go up against. Seattle is right in the middle of a battle for the NFC West with the 49ers. Seattle just needs to hope that Russell Wilson doesn't hit a rookie wall like Tannehill has. The good thing is that Wilson has a very good defense to help bail him out if he doesn't play well. And Wilson also has a great running back in Marshawn Lynch to hand the ball off to. Look for the Seahawks to put pressure on Tannehill and force him into mistakes and bad throws that you would expect to see out of a rookie. I like Seattle to win here.
Seattle 23 Miami 13
Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I can't say enough how well Tampa has been playing under new coach Greg Schiano. The Bucs came back from a double digit fourth quarter deficit to win in over time against Carolina. At 6-4, Tampa has themselves in prime position to make a Playoff run. Vincent Jackson came up with a huge game and made some big catches late in the 4th. Doug Martin continues to show flashes of Ray Rice. And Josh Freeman has shaken off whatever problems he had last year. One problem Tampa does need to fix is their pass defense. Tampa has been beaten up pretty bad all year in the secondary. And things don't get any easier for the Bucs secondary this week with the Falcons coming to town. Atlanta continues to struggle early in games. They were down to the Cardinals last week, and then Ken Wisenhunt thought it would be smart to put a rookie QB in the game on the road in a tough environment. If the Falcons continue to struggle early in games, they won't last long once the post-season arrives. The problem Atlanta has is that they continue to struggle in the running game. Michael Turner is a shell of his former self and Jacquizz Rogers is not an every down back. I expect this to be a high scoring affair, and I like the Bucs to pull off an upset here. Tampa Bay wins thanks to a strong effort from Doug Martin.
Tampa Bay 34 Atlanta 30
Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
With the performance he put up last week, you have to wonder why Jacksonville did not turn to Chad Henne sooner. He played very well against a stout Texans defense and nearly won the game for them. With Jacksonville's season lost, Henne now has the chance to win the job for next year according to coach Mike Mularkey. I still think the Jags draft a QB next year either way. The Titans bye week may have come at a bad time. They had a ton of momentum coming off a road win at Miami that saw Chris Johnson look like the CJ2K of old and Jake Locker looked like their QB of the future. Will Henne help the Jags pick up a win here? I don't think so. Jags defense is still suspect. Titans win.
Tennessee 24 Jacksonville 21
Baltimore Ravens vs San Diego Chargers
As I said in my Week 11 Review, Norv Turner might as well start packing up his desk. The Chargers are a disappointing 4-7 and have already lost to the division leading Denver Broncos twice. Philip Rivers continues to make poor throws and seems to be trying to do too much with the football. The Chargers running game has also not been as productive as you would like to see. The coaching staff doesn't seem to trust Ryan Matthews running the ball. You can't have as much talent as the Chargers have and not produce results. Baltimore picked up a big win against the Steelers last week that pretty much gave them control of the AFC North. Baltimore still has to play the Steelers again, but they get them at home. That is why a road win was so big. One thing I like about the Ravens is that they have a very balanced offensive attack. They don't over use Ray Rice and they have enough weapons on offense to keep teams from loading up the box against them. Baltimore should have no problems with a down and out Chargers team, even on the road.
Baltimore 27 San Diego 20
St. Louis Rams vs Arizona Cardinals
Is this a revenge game for Arizona? They haven't won a single game since the Rams beat them back in Week 5. The team has absolutely no answers at QB. Kevin Kolb wasn't playing bad, but then he went down with a rib injury. Larry Fitzgerald is left to wonder what it might be like if he was on a team with an actual quarterback. If the Cardinals don't address that situation in the off-season, I would seriously demand a trade if I were Fitzgerald. I don't think he has the type of personality to do that, but it has to be in the back of Larry's mind. The Rams were shut down by the Jets last week. Similar to Larry Fitzgerald, Sam Bradford has to wonder what it would be like if he had some serious threats at WR to throw to. I never like picking a rookie QB in his first start, and that is why I am taking the Rams here.
St. Louis 20 Arizona 10
San Francisco 49ers vs New Orleans Saints
The last time these two teams played, they played one of the greatest football games I have ever watched. The divisional playoff game between these two last year was great. The fourth quarter was back and forth and you couldn't take your eyes off of the TV. I wouldn't expect as great a game here, but it should still be fun. New Orleans is finally coming around after an 0-4 start. They have won five of their last six games. Drew Brees and the offense continue to keep on rolling. But the big story for the Saints is the way their defense has come around the last couple of weeks. As of this posting we still don't know who the 49ers will be starting at QB. Colin Kapernick is getting all of the first team reps in practice, so you have to figure he is the guy that will be starting. And in all honesty, why shouldn't he? Kapernick looked great in his first career start against a very good Bears defense. Kapernick is tough to game plan for because he can make plays with his legs and keep plays going, something Alex Smith really couldn't do. But the key for the 49ers to win is being able to get to Drew Brees. The 49ers defense got to Jason Campbell last week, but Drew Brees will be a different story. I'm going with the Saints. They are rolling and I trust Drew Brees to win a big football game more than I do Colin Kapernick.
New Orleans 31 San Francisco 21
Green Bay Packers vs New York Giants
Hopefully the Giants used their bye week to right some of their problems from the last couple of weeks. The Giants normally go through a bad stretch during the season, and their last two games have been that. Eli hasn't looked like his normal self. And the Giants defense has had problems stopping teams. It looks like the team will be without Ahmad Bradshaw this week, as he hasn't practiced yet this week. The Giants know how important a win is here, especially with the Redskins and Cowboys coming from behind in the division. Green Bay continues to play like the Packers of last year. Since their Week 5 loss at Indianapolis, they have won five in a row. And they have looked impressive in each of their wins. The defense played very well last week, even without Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews on the field. Aaron Rodgers continues to spread the ball out on offense, and that makes it tough for defenses to focus on stopping any one target. This game is a real toss up for me. You would expect the Giants to come out fired up and ready to take it to the Packers knowing how big this game is for them. But the Packers are just playing so well right now that it is tough to pick against them. I'm going to say this game comes down to a field goal. And if that is the case, I would rather have Lawrence Tynes than Mason Crosby right now. Giants win by a field goal.
NY Giants 38 Green Bay 35
Carolina Panthers vs Philadelphia Eagles
You can't fault ESPN for picking this as one of their Monday night games before the season started. It was a match-up between two potential Playoff teams who had exciting QBs that can make some explosive plays. But that is the cruel fate of the NFL sometimes. Both of these teams have had disappointing seasons and will probably fire their head coaches at the end of the year. Maybe one of these teams can convince Jon Gruden to leave the booth during the game and start coaching their respective team. Philadelphia is starting Nick Foles, and he did not look good last week against Washington. And the Eagles will be without LeSean McCoy this week too. The Panthers blew a late lead last week against the Bucs and it is just a sign that they don't have any true leaders on the team, and that is what Cam Newton is suppose to grow in to. I guess I will go with Carolina here. I trust Newton at QB more than Foles.
Carolina 26 Philadelphia 20
My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 2-2
Year to Date: 24-20
Denver -10.5 at Kansas City: Peyton Manning vs Brady Quinn? Yeah I like my chances.
St. Louis +2.5 at Arizona: How is a rookie QB favored in his first start?
Seattle -3 at Miami: Wheels falling off the Dolphins.
Buffalo +3 at Indianapolis: Bills playing all out here.
Until Next Time,
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