With all these Thursday games, I cannot help but feel I am completely missing out on picking the games, so here come the picks. We will hopefully get to our NFL Week 12 recap on Friday or Saturday, but it turns out this whole college thing requires some attention. Who knew?
Confidence level for the week: 8
Home team in Bold
Philadelphia -8 vs Houston
The Houston secondary is one of the worst I have ever seen out of a team that is supposed to be good. The Houston pass defense is so bad that they are probably going to make Riley Cooper and Jason Avant look like studs. THAT is bad. Vick and the Eagles in a laugher.
Houston pass defense vs Michael Vick.
Buffalo +5.5 vs Minnesota
Remember how earlier in the year we realized that you could pick the Bucs to cover just about any spread? Now it is the Bills. I could easily see the Bills winning this, even in the Metrodome, and 5.5 is too high for a team as deflated as the Vikings. Leslie Frazier is good, but not good enough to suddenly turn them into a playoff-caliber team.
Miami -4.5 vs Cleveland
Colt McCoy is still out and Miami held the Raiders running game down last week. Am I missing something? 4.5? Make it 7 and I still take Miami. All I really needed to say was JAKE DELHOMME.
Jacksonville +3 vs Tennessee
Can we just agree the Jaguars are better than the Titans right now? Is it so hard to believe that they could go on the road and beat Rusty Smith? Is it beyond comprehension that the Randy Moss signing was a huge failure and may end in the firing of Jeff Fisher (though I would not bet on it)? The Titans may only be a game back, but they are done. Jacksonville is certainly capable of a clunker, but I like their chances.
KC -8.5 vs Denver
Revenge is a dish best served in Arrowhead Stadium, where betting against the Chiefs results in enormous failure. Chiefs win 34-13.
Washington +7 vs NYG
7 points to a division rival that plays people close? Please, and thank you. I do not understand this line at all, but I will take it in a second. People like the Giants a little too much, and I can understand that as I was firmly on their bandwagon, but this is going to be a tough game for them.
Chicago -3 vs Detroit
This game will be good. Mark my words. Chicago is riding way too high after finally rising to the status they feel they deserve, the Lions want payback for the week 1 Calvin Johnson ground-rule fiasco, and the Bears might have their eyes on the Patriots next week. I am taking the -3 because I think Chicago can pull it out and win by 4 or 6 or something. This is a game that you should absolutely, positively, not sleep on. Hell, it is even in Detroit, where the Lions are way, way better.
Green Bay -9.5 vs San Francisco
The only thing to fear here is garbage time for the 49ers, but the Packers are one of those teams that seem to rarely give you anything late in the game. When they are on, they stay on the whole game, and the 49ers minus Frank Gore are sort of like the Heat were last year if you were to take away Dwyane Wade. Beasley was decent and a few other guys were ok, but it was a bunch of Tito Jacksons running around without Michael. That is the 49ers now. Give me Green Bay, 41-17.
NO -6.5 vs Cincinnati
I am wary of the Saints on the road in some colder weather without their running game, However, a generally good rule of thumb would be to not pick a team that gets beaten by Brad Smith. Saints by at least 10, though Garbage Time Palmer (has a nice ring to it, eh?) could make this line close.
TB +3 vs Atlanta
Upset! The first time these teams played, Tampa hung right in there and even came back from down 17 in the Georgia Dome to make it close. This time, the Falcons go on the road and get a little shine knocked off by the Bucs. The Falcons are flying way too high and people are starting to assume they play the same way on the road as they do at home. They don’t. I expect 2 big Matt Ryan picks and a Buccaneers win. Bucs, 23-20.
San Diego -13 vs Oakland
This line seems way too high, but I think San Diego will win comfortably so I almost have no choice but to take it, right? 13 is clearly an exorbitant number, and the Chargers are not quite as good as they looked against the Colts, but San Diego has not played a close game since New England really, so I have to take them.
Carolina +6 vs Seattle
If this game was in Carolina, I would take them to win. However, it is in Seattle, meaning a crazy-long plane trip for the Panthers and a really quality crowd. There are a few fans in Seattle who have a sign that reads “False Start City” or something along those lines, and secretly, I wish they were just so committed to false starts that they tried to draw both teams offsides and travelled aroudn the country trying to do that.
Anyway, Carolina is having a minor resurgence and the Seahawks are terrible, so why not?
Dallas vs Indianapolis (X)
I need to know more on the Colts injury situation before picking this game, but if it is no better than it was against the Chargers, I am taking the Cowboys to cover the 5.5 point spread. I will get back to you on this one.
St. Louis -3.5 vs Arizona
This is a trickier pick than it should be as St. Louis is not that great on the road, but they absolutely have to have this game, so they will get it. Also, Arizona is awful and I loved every second of the Derek Anderson tirade. Is there anything funnier than a QB who abjectly sucks trying to defend laughing? He will not be in Arizona next year, so he is completely fine to burn bridges, and frankly, I do not think he went far enough. He should have told the reporter how he got these scars and how now he is always smiling like the Joker in The Dark Knight. Frankly, he is probably scarier to Cardinals fans than the Joker ever was.
Baltimore -3 vs Pittsburgh
Tempting to take the Steelers to win the rematch, but the Ravens are just better right now and get them at home. No big secrets in this pick, just a straight up pick of the Ravens. Big Ben’s dominance of Baltimore is a little worrisome, but I will take my chances.
New England -3.5 vs NYJ
I like the Jets in the postseason, but I like the Patriots in this game. The Gillette Stadium advantage is one of the few pronounced advantages left in the league and picking the Jets to win would be picking them to beat a team equal to them twice in the same season, on the road and at home, while breaking Brady’s home streak (which the Colts should have done before the Manning pick). Should be a great game, but I have the Pats.
BONUS PICK BONUS PICK BONUS PICK
Cleveland Cavaliers +5.5 vs Miami Heat
Partially sentimental. Partially 2nd night of a road back-to-back for Miami. The only risk is the crowd being so loud that it gets LeBron and Co. amped for the game.