Picks For All NFL Week 12 Games
Thanksgiving and Football...The American Tradition
Thanksgiving is upon us and that usually means the bye weeks are finished, teams have a good idea of where they are headed for the next six games, and upsets sneak in most unexpectedly. It should be no different this year as the playoff picture begins to unfold, and the holiday season promises to become very interesting in the NFL.
Some of the questions that must be answered seem to be at the forefront of every water cooler conversation, ESPN update and sports talk show. Are the Atlanta Falcons as good as their record says they are? Will the San Francisco 49ers be bold and make the switch to Colin Kaepernick as their starter ahead of Alex Smith? Can The Indianapolis Colts make a solid run to the playoffs? And what exactly is wrong with the New York Giants?
Week 12 will begin to unravel these mysteries with some key match-ups that will undoubtedly separate the contenders from the pretenders. The NFL is always full of excitement, unless you plan on watching the Tennessee Titans at the Jacksonville Jaguars or the MNF match-up that highlights the Carolina Panthers at the Philadelphia Eagles. (Think I'll watch the NBA that night.)
Regardless, we all have a lot to be grateful this year as we have seen terrible acts of humanity and nature ravage this country from the fires and shootings in Colorado to SuperstormSandy on the East Coast. One thing is for certain, though. We have fought through it all and will never give up when the odds are against us.
But for one day, we can sit back with family, enjoy a meal, and combine that with a great American tradition:the NFL. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and I hope you enjoy my NFL Picks for Week 12!
Houston Texans(9-1) at Detroit Lions(4-6)
The Detroit Lions are a one dimensional team that has an inconsistent QB in Matthew Stafford and the best WR in the game that can not get the ball consistently. This should not be much of a difficult time for the stout defense of the Houston Texans.
Matt Schaub should be able to pick apart this mediocre Lions secondary while Arian Foster tops the 100yd mark by the second quarter.
Texans 38 Lions 17
Washington Redskins(4-6) at Dallas Cowboys(5-5)
This is going to be a very important divisional game, especially for the Dallas Cowboys. They host the Washington Redskins in their usual Thanksgiving ritual and find themselves only one game behind the recently struggling New York Giants.
Is this finally the time for Tony Romo to show that he can lead "America's Team" to the promised land? Not with the inconsistencies of their offense and a non-existent run game. I actually can picture Robert Griffin III coming into Big D and helping the Redskins join the pack in the suddenly mediocre NFC East.
Redskins 23 Cowboys 20
New England Patriots(7-3) at New York Jets(4-6)
Is anyone else tired of hearing the Tim Tebow and gutless player talk coming out of New York. The Jets are Mark Sanchez' team, and if Rex Ryan felt there was any way possible that any other QB could run this pathetic offense better, he surely would've made the switch. The Jets are not even as good as their record indicates, and are lucky to be hosting the New England Patriots in front of a triptophan-induced nation that will not be paying much attention.
The Patriots, even without Rob Gronkowski, should have no trouble outscoring the anemic Jets. Do not forget that they still have Tom Brady and Bill Belichek. For too long now, everyone else has been secondary.
Patriots 42 Jets 13
Minnesota Vikings(6-4) at Chicago Bears(7-3)
Could anyone have imagined that the vaunted Chicago Bears defense would have been picked apart like they were at the hands of a backup QB? Bill Parcells would always say that you are what your record says you are. Well if that is true, then maybe the Bears are just very lucky to be sitting at 7-3.
The only three losses for the Bears? 49ers, Texans and Packers. The wins have come at the hands of teams that have a combined record of 25-44. Here come the Minnesota Vikings with Adrian Peterson and his 1128yds and a pretty good defense as well. If the Bears can not beat good teams, then they may very well have trouble with this divisional game. With Jason Campbell at QB, do not call in to order your Super Bowl tickets just yet.
Vikings 24 Bears 17
Oakland Raiders(3-7) at Cincinnati Bengals(5-5)
The Cincinnati Bengals are looking to stay in the playoff hunt, and what better opponent to help them, but the Oakland Raiders. Head Coach Dennis Allen seems to not have much of a clue in Oakland, and the Bengals must be salivating when looking at the tape of a team that has allowed 135pts the past three games to the Saints, Ravens and Bucs.
Being at home gives the Bengals the distinct advantage needed to put aside the hapless Raiders and stay in the wild card hunt. This is a must win for Marv Lewis' squad as the road to the playoffs becomes very rocky for the last five games.
Bengals 31 Raiders 13
Pittsburgh Steelers(6-4) at Cleveland Browns(2-8)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are now down to their third string QB, Charlie Batch, after Byron Leftwich fractured a rib in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. This might not actually be a drop off for the bumblebees, I mean, Steelers. They are facing the Cleveland Browns, who would love nothing more than to deal a serious blow to the Steelers playoff hopes.
These two teams consistently grind it out and I do not see this week's game as being any different. The only difference is that I still believe that a third string Charlie Batch is better than Brandon Weeden. So while most of the "experts" are viewing this as a win for the Browns, I have plenty of faith that the Steelers defense will step up, prevent Trent Richardson from literally running away with the game and keep them going in the right direction.
Steelers 17 Browns 13
Buffalo Bills(4-6) at Indianapolis Colts(6-4)
Andrew Luck and his upstart Indianapolis Colts received a rude awakening at the hands of the New England Patriots last week. The Buffalo Bills do not pose that same threat, but their offense can also put up points in bunches. If the Colts defense does not clamp down, this could be the beginning of the unraveling of this club.
The Colts need to find a balanced attack with Donald Brown and Vick Ballard in order for Luck to have a chance to win this game. Ryan Fitzpatrick and C.J. Spiller will not go quietly, but the Colts should do just enough to win at home.
Colts 31 Bills 28
Denver Broncos(7-3) at Kansas City Chiefs(1-9)
The Denver Broncos had a dose of reality last week as they played sloppy and uninterested football against the Chargers. This week, they travel to another division foe that has completely fallen apart at the seams: the Kansas City Chiefs. The AFC West is made up of sub par teams and this is the worst of them all.
At QB for the Chiefs will be Notre Dame alum and perennial backup Brady Quinn, who will not be able to garner any type of rhythm against a pass rush and completely menacing defense that will not let him breathe. Then, of course, Peyton Manning steps in and reminds the league that even he can have an average game once in a while as he did last week against Norv Turner's mess. This is the first of two in the final six games between the Chiefs and Broncos, and Romeo Crennell can not wait till the year is done.
Broncos 38 Chiefs 9
Seattle Seahawks(6-4) at Miami Dolphins(4-6)
The Seattle Seahawks can not win on the road, and the Miami Dolphins can not win at home. Hmmm...interesting situation. Ryan Tannehill has been struggling of late, the Seahawks are coming off a bye with a two game win streak, and they have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way.
This will be a tough task for the Dolphins to stop Marshawn Lynch and a QB in Russell Wilson who has a knack for making opportunistic plays. The season is all but over for the Dolphins, but I feel as though it will be getting very intriguing for the Seahawks.
Seahawks 23 Dolphins 13
Atlanta Falcons(9-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers(6-4)
I have said it for weeks, and I will not rescind my thoughts. The Atlanta Falcons are not as good as their record indicates. This is the game that they get exploited as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense pressures Matt Ryan into mistakes, Michael Turner has difficulty running the ball, and Josh Freeman tosses four TDs.
Seven of the Falcons games have been decided by a TD or less, and yes, you could argue that they found a way to win. I argue that teams like Carolina, Oakland, Arizona and Dallas are just not that good, and the Falcons would have losses against better teams. Say what you will, this is my pick, and I will do with it what I want.
Buccaneers 34 Falcons 27
Tennessee Titans(4-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars(1-9)
This is one of my sleeper games of the weekend. Yes, it will put you to sleep if you have to sit through 3 plus hours watching these teams battle. Not even going to get into the stats of it, or the names. I have to pick someone, so here goes.
Titans 17 Jaguars 13
Baltimore Ravens(8-2) at San Diego Chargers(4-6)
The Baltimore Ravens sit atop the AFC North division after an unimpressive win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ray Rice has been ineffective for stretches, Joe Flacco has looked out of sync, but a bruised, battered and injury-riddled defense has kept them winning games.
The San Diego Chargers are just a train wreck that is getting poor QB play from Phillip Rivers, no run game, and a defense that is too Heckyll and Jekyll. Conventional wisdom may say that the Ravens should come out of San Diego with a win, but I believe for some reason, Norv Turner's job will remain safe for another week.
Chargers 27 Ravens 20
St. Louis Rams(3-6-1) at Arizona Cardinals(4-6)
The Arizona Cardinals had an opportunity this past week to break even by beating the Atlanta Falcons. Leading most of the game, they were not able to finish what they started and have all but fallen out of the playoff race in the NFC.
The St. Louis Rams are a team in turmoil as they have lost or tied their past five games, including last week's embarrassing loss to an anemic Jets team. This is a battle of two teams that should be evaluating for next year as they simply go through the motions while trying to play the role of spoiler for the remainder of 2012.
Cardinals 31 Rams 30
San Francisco 49ers(7-2-1) at New Orleans Saints(5-5)
What the San Francisco 49ers did to the Chicago Bears this past week with Colin Kaepernick as their QB was simply amazing. Coach Jim Harbaugh must be looking at the New Orleans Saints defense and giving thanks for the holes he is going to find.
The Saints have claimed all along that they are not out of the playoff race, but this game will be the one that started the nails in the coffin. The niners defense is stifling and Drew Brees will be running for his life from Aldon Smith and co. Kaepernick may just win the starting job after all if he out duels Brees.
49ers 34 Saints 20
Green Bay Packers(7-3) at New York Giants(6-4)
This will probably be the most entertaining game of the week pitting last year's NFC Championship match up. Aaron Rodgers has been on fire lately for the Green Bay Packers, while Eli Manning seems to have lost his rhythm in the New York Giants offense. So what is wrong with the Giants? It is a combination of not being able to run effectively, with costly mistakes by Manning and the receivers, to go along with a lackluster defense of underachievers.
One thing we all know about the Giants: This is their time of year when everything starts coming together and their November lull becomes a distant memory as they gear for a late season playoff run. But the Packers will have something to say about any run the Giants may think they are ready to start. Even with no possibility of a balanced attack, and the Giants knowing what is coming, the Packers win on the road.
Packers 35 Giants 24
Carolina Panthers(2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles(3-7)
Maybe the schedule makers believed that this would be the match up between the dream team and Superman, but they sure got that wrong. This game is the reason for flexible MNF scheduling as the country is subjected to watching two boring and incompetent teams battling for nothing. Go Nick Foles!
Eagles 17 Panthers 12