Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NFL predictions Week 12

OK. I am now at 94 wins straight up, and 94 wins against the spread. (With the Phily-Cincy tie last week, I have one more loss against the spread than I do straight up. But one more tie in the straight-up column.) This past weekend, I managed to pick up 13 straight-up wins and only two losses. Not that I think it is now time to start taking my advice. So don't take my advice until I'm back in the game and stringing some good weeks together.

Pittsburgh-Cincinnatti: It is about time that the Bengals win one more. And the Steelers looked awfully rough in that squeaked-out 11-10 win over the Chargers, who are not the team they once were. Pittsburgh stacks up huge against the run, but if the Bengals want to win they will be passing anyway. The line is 10 1/2, which is way too much for a division game, even with the disparity between these two teams. Bengals to cover, Steelers to win.

Pittsburgh, 27-10 - Well, 10 1/2 was not too much here. Although the Bengals looked good early, with Chad Johnson suspended by the team for the game, there was really no chance for them, passing or otherwise. The Steelers still didn't look as good as they ought to look, but they are still winning games, and this one was fairly convincing. Pittsburgh is one of the best teams in the AFC, and they will remain there as long as they can keep beating the teams they should be beating. Cincinnatti is one of those teams.

Atlanta - Carolina: The Falcons had no business losing to the Broncos, who give every team they play an opportunity to win the game. But the Panthers looked to have a bit of a tough time with the Lions. It is a divisional game, and anything can happen, but Carolina needs to load up on some wins now before their schedule gets really tough. The Falcons are 4-1 at home, and Carolina is 2-2 on the road, but the Panthers know they need this game. So they will win it. And cover the spread, which is one point in favour of Atlanta.

Falcons, 45-28. Was this the game that indicated the Panthers are actually struggling? That perhaps they are losing a lot of steam as the season goes on? I think it might just be. And it just puts an exclamation mark on the last statement I made here. The Falcons had NO BUSINESS losing to the Broncos. I think Carolina will get back on track, but there isn't a lot of time to do so before the playoffs start.

Baltimore - Philadelphia: The Eagles are disappointing, and I am tempted to jump off their bandwagon finally, at this late stage in the season. That tie this past weekend was incredibly disappointing. Baltimore is very, very tough at home, and the Eagles are average at best on the road. Ravens to win, covering the 1 1/2.

Ravens, 36-7. Well, that's it. I am jumping off the Eagles bandwagon. I still think they are a better team, talent-wise, than the Skins or maybe even the Giants. But head-wise, they are lousy. And I hate to dump on the coach, but yanking Donovan McNabb in the first half of a game that was still very close? Throwing in the towel on the season, are we?

Cleveland - Houston: The Browns are flying high after their big Monday night win, and Houston is reeling after three straight losses. Cleveland is terrible at home, but Houston is even worse on the road. I think the Browns have found a modicum of quality, and they will take this one. There is no line right now.

Texans, 16-6. Well, I'm wrong again. I think the Browns might just lose every home game from here on out. What are they doing in Cleveland? Not that anyone cares...about either of these teams.

Dallas - San Francisco: It looks like the Cowboys might be, to some degree, back on track with Tony Romo. But Romo can't cure everything that is wrong with this team, and he is still playing with that broken finger. The spread is 11 points, way too much against a suddenly (maybe) decent Niners team. San Fran to cover the spread, Cowboys to win.

Cowboys, 35-22. OK, the Cowboys ARE back on track. At least, until Pacman Jones comes off his suspension in a couple of weeks. But it's nice to get your quarterback into the lineup and work out the kinks against a team like the Niners. Who were basically a practice squad for Dallas in this game. So much so that they didn't even cover that huge spread.

Denver - Oakland: The Broncos seem to be able to keep winning, despite playing some questionable football. The Raiders have been playing tougher and tougher week in and week out, and I think they will cover the 9 1/2 spread. But the Raiders are still not a team that knows how to win, and the Broncos seem to be able to win despite themselves. So Denver to win, Oakland to cover.

Raiders, 31-10. OK. Let me state this for the record here. This was not a terrible Raiders team fluking out a massive win over the Broncos. This was just Denver being Denver. Every game they play, against any team, they give them ten opportunities to steal the game. Take three of those opportunities, and you can do what Oakland did here. The Broncos had no business losing to the Raiders. But then, they had no business beating the Falcons either.

Jacksonville - Minnesota: The Jaguars are a big disappointment, and the Vikings I think are a pleasant surprise. However, Minnesota is a different team on the road. The Jaguars should win this one handily. Jacksonville to win, and cover the 2 1/2.

Minnesota, 30-12. There was one way the Jaguars could give this one up. Turn over the ball, again and again, giving up touchdowns. In the first quarter. This one was over by the 15 minute mark.

Kansas City - Buffalo: Two teams which all of a sudden look really, really bad. The Chiefs have lost six in a row, the Bills have lost four in a row. The game is in KC, which would lead me to take the Chiefs against the spread. But there is no spread right now. So I will take the Bills.

Bills, 54-31. Wouldn't it be nice if this game was indicative that the Bills are back on track? That they are once again playing at the level they were at early in the year? It would certainly make that division more interesting...see Miami-New England...then again, it's the Chiefs. And I don't think you can read too much into that.

Miami - New England: The Dolphins are actually favoured here. I think the Jets are coming on very, very strong, and New England ran into a team on fire last week. The Dolphins are not on fire, despite four straight wins. They are just much, much better than last year. And I think the Patriots, more than anything, want revenge after that drubbing they took at the hands of the Fish earlier this year, the one that started their slide into the middle of the pack. Patriots to win in the upset, and of course cover the spread by extension.

Patriots, 48-28. Well, they did win, and they did cover the spread. But this isn't in any way an upset. This is just things returning, somewhat, to normal in the AFC. Both teams are quite good, neither one is great. No one in this division is great. Unless that other team did something big....

New York Giants - Arizona: The Giants are favoured by three, but does anyone really think that is enough? Kurt Warner may be having his best season since the Rams days, but he won't complete a lot of passes from his back. Arizona is good, but they're not there yet. Cardinals lose their first home game of the season, Giants cover the three.

Giants, 37-29. There was no doubt. The Cardinals really are good, and they played better on offense in this game than I expected they would. But they can't yet run with the Giants.

Indianapolis - San Diego: I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Colts are back. Winners of three straight, they go into San Diego, where the Chargers are NOT back. The San Diego Chargers of last year would have beaten the Steelers of this year. And the Colts of this year will beat the Chargers of this year. San Diego is favoured by three, Colts in the upset.

Colts, 23-20. Okay. The Colts ARE back. The Chargers have come to life though. And they really looked sharp at many occasions last night. It wasn't enough though. You had to know Peyton Manning would drive his team down the field for the win. And when are the odds-makers going to stop favouring San Diego? This team is NOT the 2007 Chargers.

Tampa Bay - Detroit: The Buccaneers need to rack up the wins on the weak competition this year, and they will continue to do so against the terrible Lions this week. The Lions, of course, are dreadful. Tampa Bay to cover the 8-point spread.

Bucanneers, 38-20. Yep. Never pick against Tampa Bay against teams they should beat. Because they always beat 'em.

Chicago - St. Louis: The Rams got absolutely hammered by an inferior Niners team this week. Look for it to happen again, at home, against the Bears. The Bears offense is far from impressive, but their defense and special teams are vastly superior to those of the Rams. There is no line on this game right now, but the Bears should cover whatever spread there may be. Chicago gets off the 2-game losing streak.

Bears, 27-3. What happened, earlier this year, when the Rams scored those two massive upsets? Realize that it is these very Rams who handed the Giants their only loss so far. And look at them now. They are possibly the worst team in the league again. The Lions could beat them.

New York Jets - Tennessee: All of a sudden, this is the biggest test of the Titans season. The Jets are on fire, riding four straight wins, and Favre has that team believing they can beat anyone. And honestly, were this game in New York, I would take the Jets. But it is in Tennessee, and I will take the Titans. But I am still taking New York to cover the 6-point spread, which is too much. Don't be surprised if this is the Titans' first loss of the season.

Jets, 34-13. Are you kidding me? OK, I AM surprised. I am very surprised. I was thinking, maybe a last-minute Brett Favre drive where a last-second field goal gave the Jets a 18-16 victory. Or something like that. I was not picturing such a convincing, powerful win over the previously unbeaten Titans. The offense is on fire, the defense looks amazing. Are the Jets, all of a sudden, the best team in the AFC? I am going to say they are. J-E-T-S!

Washington - Seattle: The Redskins are coming off a disheartening loss to the Cowboys. Thank God they can relax with a game in Seattle. The Seahawks have lost three in a row, and they have won only two games all year. This will not be #3. Skins to win, and cover the 3 1/2, Clinton Portis or no Clinton Portis.

Redskins, 20-17. What I meant was...if Clinton Portis plays, they won't cover the spread...whatever. The Seahawks aren't going to win any games like this, and Washington is reeling a little right now, which kept this game closer than it ought to have been.

New Orleans - Green Bay: A huge test for the Packers, who suddenly find themselves in first place in the North. The Saints have been very good at home, but they are pretty much out of the playoff picture. Despite an identical 5-5 record, Green Bay has a real shot at the playoffs because they are not in the same division as Carolina, Tampa, and Atlanta. The Packers will come into New Orleans and upset a team in turmoil.

Saints, 51-29. Well, I was pretty wrong about that one. Whoo! An absolute hammering by the Saints here. Most amazing to me - I know the New Orleans passing attack is great, but it looked flawless here against what was supposed to be one of the better passing defenses in the league. And a week after taking a share of the lead in the NFC North, the Packers give it up, as the Vikings and Bears both win. The road to the division title just got a lot harder. Saints still won't make the playoffs.

I am now 104-72-1 straight up, and 103-74 ATS.

1 comment:

  1. The Rams did not hand the Giants their only loss on the season. That was the Cleveland Browns on MNF Week 6 who handed the defending Super Bowl Champions their first loss this year.