Monday, November 23, 2009

NFL picks week 12

So far this year, I am 110-50 straight up, 94-65-1 against the spread. I have also moved up from 37th place to 11th place in the CHEZ online football pool. Three Thursday games this week!
Green Bay (10.5) at Detroit: The Packers need to take the easy ones when they can, and they won't be letting up on the sadsack Lions. However, the Lions all of a sudden looked really really good last week. Of course, that performance came against the Browns. Packers, 27-21. Verdict (Packers, 34-12). I thought the loss of Aaron Kampman and Al Harris would really hurt the Packers, and that Stafford would be able to complete some big throws. It turns out that the Lions are still the Lions, and I won't have any idea how rough the Pack's defense actually is until next week.

Oakland at Dallas (14): You can't take the Raiders lightly. Especially now that they appear to have ended the Russell experiment. That win against the Bengals was no fluke. Dallas is in serious trouble now, as evidenced by their loss to the Packers in convincing fashion and their barely-eked-out victory over the awful Redskins. I'll take the Cowboys at home, but this will not be a convincing win by any stretch. Cowboys, 18-17. Verdict (Cowboys, 24-7). All of a sudden, Dallas found their offense again. Or did they? It WAS against the Raiders. And Russell or no Russell, it appears the Raiders can't handle a defense like that of the Cowboys. Either that, or the Raiders only come to play every second week.

New York Giants (5) at Denver: Both these teams started 5-0. And both lost four in a row soon after. It looks as though the Giants may have righted their ship somewhat with a tough victory over the decent Falcons, while the Broncos have just collapsed, utterly. Still major questions on New York's defense, but bigger questions with Denver's offense. Giants, 26-20. Verdict (Broncos, 26-6). I couldn't have been more wrong about this one. No more questions about Denver's offense. Noshawn Moreno is a force. Still huge questions about New York's defense. And their offense now, I think. This was a far more dominant Denver victory than even this score would indicate. The Broncos still play KC twice and Oakland once, and they will finish 10-6, which could be good enough for the wild card!

Miami (3) at Buffalo: The Dolphins can smell a wild card berth, as long as they can continue to knock off the weaker teams on there schedule (and there aren't many). The Bills finally found T.O. and some offense last week - and still lost the game. They will lose this one as well. Dolphins, 18-14. Verdict (Bills, 31-14). Well, the Dolphins are now done. They needed to knock off the Bills, couldn't get it done, and now they have a really tough grind to the end of the season. Too bad, I like watching this team, and I would have liked to see them in the playoffs.

Carolina at New York Jets (3): A very tough game to call. The Panthers looked very good playing spoiler the last few weeks until they ran into a hungry Dolphins team. And the Jets did as well as could be expected against New England. I will take an NFC 4-6 team over an AFC 4-6 team. Panthers, 21-20. Verdict (Jets, 17-6). Not that the Panthers could have been considered a "spoiler" against the Jets, but they could have put more effort into the game than this. The coach says that putting Jake Delhomme under centre gives his team the best chance to win. That's true. But Delhomme also gives them the best chance to lose. Which makes this team impossible to predict!

Cleveland at Cincinnati (14): The Bengals were shocked by Oakland. The Browns put up 37 points on the Lions. What gives? Not like the Browns can do that two weeks in a row. Can they? Bengals, 22-18. Verdict (Bengals, 16-7). The Browns could NOT do that two weeks in a row. But they were still game, and held Ochocinco and the rest of the Bengals offense in check for most of the game. They just aren't a good enough team to beat Cincy. Or to score points against non-Lions opponents.

Indianapolis at Houston (no line): The Texans are very good, but they have run into some teams that are slightly better in recent weeks. Unfortunately for them, they are running into another team that is better this week. Colts, 24-21. Verdict (Colts, 35-20). The Colts are, indeed, better than the Texans. I was going to complain about that pass interference call that turned the game around and gave the Colts some life, but it ended up not mattering at all. Who cares about a gift TD early on when you end up winning by 15? And with the way the Colts have played in the fourth quarter this year, I never doubted them for a second - even down 17 points early.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (11.5): The Falcons are falling, and fast. And the Bucs are a really interesting up-and-coming team. But has this gap closed enough to permit a Tampa Bay win? I don't think it has. Falcons, 23-17. Verdict (Falcons, 20-17). It hasn't. Quite. With Matt Ryan out, I thought this game was done. The Falcons weren't doing anything on offense until that last drive. But what a finish!

Washington at Philadelphia (no line): The Eagles should have hammered the Bears, but they didn't. The Skins should have beaten the Cowboys, but they didn't. Washington is just a bad, bad team. Eagles, 33-16. Verdict (Eagles, 27-24). Again, what a finish! The Eagles should have hammered this team. And what was Andy Reid thinking with that onside kick to open the game? Against the Saints, I get it. Against the Skins? What gives?

Seattle (1) at St. Louis: What a crappy game between two crappy teams. Then again, that's what we all thought about Browns - Lions last week. Rams either get their first home win, or Seahawks get their first road win. Rams, 14-12. Verdict (Seahawks, 27-17). I guess they should have won. Still don't care.

Kansas City at San Diego (13.5): This might be the eliminator pick of the week. Although the Chiefs won a big one last week, and Matt Cassel finally looked like a real NFL QB, does anyone think they can do it two weeks in a row? Especially against the suddenly unstoppable Chargers? Chargers, 27-10. Verdict (Chargers, 43-14). Look out! The Chargers may be the only team capable of even looking at that second seed in the AFC.

Jacksonville at San Francisco (3): The Niners are coming apart of late, and although they made a late charge at Green Bay, they also let the game get out of reach early on. They have one win in their last five games. Jacksonville, on the other hand, are quietly putting up a good record, and are currently sitting in what would be a wild card spot. They have one loss in their last five games. Make that one in their last six. Jacksonville, 26-21. Verdict (Niners, 20-3). Give it San Fran. Once they had the Jaguars down, they never let up, and kept their foot on Jacksonville's neck the whole second half.

Chicago at Minnesota (3): The Vikings are, in my estimation, the most complete team, and the best team, in football right now. Better even than the Colts and Saints. And they will steamroll the Bears, who have totally lost touch with their identities of late. All the Vikings need in this game is a win, and they have one more Lions game to run the table in their division. They want that. By the way, for some reason the opening spread in the CHEZ pool is 3 points - for the Bears! That's a misprint, likely, but a gimme at 16 points, isn't it? Vikings, 38-13. Verdict (Vikings, 36-10). Why was Brett Favre still in this game in the fourth quarter? Ah, crap! I was off by one.

Arizona at Tennessee (no line): The Titans have been coming on really strong, with four wins in a row after starting the season 0-6. They really think they can run the table. They can't - they do play the Colts at one point. But they can certainly win this game, with their secondary healthy. Chris Johnson will have a big, big day. Titans, 20-16. Verdict (Titans, 20-17). Ah, crap! I was off by one. This was one of the most exciting finishes I have seen all year. Gotta love Vince Young - hey, wouldn't it be bonkers if Tennessee made the playoffs? They would need a lot of help but, don't look now...

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (no line): The Ravens are still very, very dangerous. They have to hate the way they have lost so, so many close games this season, especially to teams in their own division. The Steelers have a few question marks, especially at QB where Big Ben Roethlisberger could be hurt for this one. If he is, it could be a brutal offensive showing for the Steelers against a still-rough-and-tough D. The Steelers lose their 3rd straight. Ravens, 20-17. Verdcict (Ravens, 20-17). That's the first time all season I have called the score exact! I am feeling so good about myself...except for all those other losses...

New England at New Orleans (3): The Saints are an awesome force. An unbelievable offense, and a sneaky, opportunistic, ball-hawking defense. If they get through this game, they play Washington, Atlanta and Carolina on the road, and Dallas and Tampa Bay at home. With the exception of Tampa and Washington, those are reasonably tough teams. But the biggest chance at an upset to ruin the perfect season comes this week against the Patriots. It won't happen. It won't quite happen. Saints, 32-30. Verdict (Saints, 38-17). I think it says more about the Patriots that they rolled over and died in the third and fourth quarter than it does about New Orleans. Sure, it was a blowout, but New England is a bully who beats on bad teams and curls up in a ball once they are getting crushed.

So far this week I am 11-5 straight up (121-55 overall), and 8-8 against the spread (102-73-1 overall)


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