NFL: Week 12 Picks

As November comes to an end, the playoff picture is coming more into view.  And that means Thanksgiving Day football! Three games all with playoff implications will get week 12 going.  We still have two undefeated teams in the Panthers and Patriots.  Do I think both stay that way? Keep reading to find out!

I went 7-7 last week, bringing my season pick total to 87-67.  Not bad but let’s do better this week shall we?

Thanksgiving Day Football

  • Eagles @ Lions: Don’t look now by the Lions are playing their best football of the season (not that is saying much for how they played in the first half).  It was never a question of talent with this team.  As for the Eagles, they are reeling.  Detroit is used to playing on Thanksgiving, and with their upswing, I think they’ll walk all over the struggling Eagles. Look for Calvin Johnson, if healthy, to put up big numbers.  DETROIT WINS
  • Panthers @ Cowboys: Carolina enters week 12 as the only undefeated NFC team, while Dallas got their QB and first win in eight games last week, so both teams feel pretty good about themselves heading into a short week.  And while some could argue the Cowboys wouldn’t have lost seven straight with Tony Romo, they are still a work in progress, where as Cam Newton and company are getting better every week.  I think Dallas will give them a run for their money, but I like the Panthers this week on the road. CAROLINA WINS
  • Bears @ Packers: It’s kind of weird for as any times as these division rivals have played each other, it’s never been on Thanksgiving.  Well, that all changes this week.  The Packers are coming off a much-needed victory last week against the Vikings which put them back atop the NFC North (tied with Minnesota but currently holding the tie breaker).  Chicago had looked better with two straight wins before losing a close one to Denver in week 11.  Green Bay can’t take any opponents lightly the way they’ve played for the past month, but at home, I like Aaron Rodgers to light up the Bears defense.  GREEN BAY WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Raiders @ Titans:  The Raiders were starting to figure things out at 4-3, but now they are losers of three-straight and now have two teams ahead of them in the West to go with others in the wildcard race. After clicking offensively for a good part of the first seven weeks, they cant get things going again, and have been inconsistent defensively against teams as hungry as they are.  Tennessee entered week 11 still in the AFC South race despite a 2-7 record.  But they couldn’t muster much against Jacksonville, burying them two games into the cellar.  Oakland is healthy, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t get back on track offensively this week, especially if Derek Carr can find Amari Cooper early an often. OAKLAND WINS
  • Bills @ Chiefs: The Chiefs are on a four-game win streak that has them right in the thick of the wildcard hunt in the AFC.  After weeks one and two when they allowed a combined 74 points, the defense has been great allowing, no more than 18 points in a game. Buffalo enters action with an identical 5-5 record to KC, so this game could make or break a playoff spot.  The offense has picked up for the Chiefs, helping them get back in the race, while the Bills have been extremely up and down this season on both sides of the football. The consistency of Kansas City the past month is why I am taking the home team here in week 12.  KANSAS CITY WINS
  • Buccaneers @ Colts: The Buccaneers are starting to round into form, and find themselves just a game behind the Falcons for second place in the NFC South.  Indianapolis is in better position in the AFC South, tied for first.  Whether the Colts win or lose this season, it tends to be a close game.  The Bucs have followed a similar path, though their first game of the season was a big loss to Tennessee, while they blew out Philly a week ago. So it tends to be harder to predict which Tampa team will show up. That being said, watching both teams of late, I actually trust the Bucs more, simply because I didn’t expect anything from them heading int other season, yet here we are, week 12 and they have the same record as a Colts team i picked to make it out of the AFC this season.  So I’ll roll with the road team here. TAMPA BAY WINS
  • Giants @ Redskins: It’s a tight battle in the NFC East, with all teams still in the hunt.  New York is coming off their bye with a new (old) weapon on offense in Hakeem Nicks who returns in the place of Victor Cruz who is officially out for the season.  Washington is coming off a blowout loss to Carolina, despite a pretty good showing by the offense. NFC East battles are always interesting and usually close, and I expect nothing less in this meeting. But I like the road team in this one to move back above .500 and take control of the division. NEW YORK WINS
  • Saints @ Texans: New Orleans put a few wins together and started to look like the team we’ve seen make regular playoff appearances… offensively that is.  The defense has been horrendous all season, and they were thoroughly embarrassed before their bye week by the Redskins.  As for Houston, they’ve won three straight to take a share of first place in the AFC South, mostly on the strength of their defense.  And that’s why it doesn’t really matter who the QB for the Texans is against New Orleans, they’re going to win this game with JJ Watt and company. HOUSTON WINS
  • Vikings @ Falcons: This should be a good match-up between two teams that would both be playoff participants if the season ended today.  Both are also coming off losses. Atlanta is actually in the midst of a three-game skid, with their lone win coming against Tennessee.  The offense has just not produced the way it needs to, turning the ball over 16 times in their last six games.  Minnesota was flying high before a frustrated Packers team took them done by three scores in week 11. So who wins on Sunday? I like the Vikings despite being on the road.  I see Adrian Peterson having a big day, killing clock and no allowing Matt Ryan to have the time to get back on track. MINNESOTA WINS
  • Rams @ Bengals: Two straight losses in prime time for the once 8-0 Bengals has them in jeopardy of losing a first round bye if Denver continues to win.  For a team that has lost in the first round four straight years, that would be devastating.  Not to mention they’d done well making the plays late in close games early, and now they’ve failed the past two games, including against a lesser Texans team. That being said, they welcome in a struggling Rams team, who has stopped doing what made them successful early in the season.  Sitting pretty at 4-3 and in second in a tough NFC West, St. Louis has lost three straight thanks in large part to a disappearing act on offense.  Two of their four wins came against the Seahawks and Cardinals, so they have the capability to beat anyone on any given Sunday, I just don’t think they get it done here. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Chargers @ Jaguars: So coming into the season, i you asked me which of these teams would be in a position to compete for a playoff spot, I wouldn’t have said Jacksonville.  But the Jaguars are actually in the conversation.  A lot of would have to happen in the final six weeks, but it’s very possible they steal a wild card at the very least. They’ve been able to do enough to compete in most games, winning four of 10, which puts them a game out of a wild card spot.  As for the Chargers, Philip Rivers has had no help from his defense or run game.  Plain and simple.  That being said, I just don’t like the Jaguars enough to say they’ll move over .500.  Give me the upset. SAN DIEGO WINS
  • Dolphins @ Jets:  New York is struggling, Miami is drowning.  This AFC East match-up means a chance to stay in the wild card convo for the Jets, and to get back in it for the Dolphins.  All but two of New York’s games have been decided by a score, while Miami tends to blow out opponents, or get blown out.  So unless Miami comes out guns blazing, I like the Jets to make the play down the stretch, especially if it needs to be a defensive play, to win the game. NEW YORK WINS

Sunday 4/425 PM Games

  • Cardinals @ 49ers:  The Cardinals have been consistent all season, which is why they sit as the two seed in the NFC as we had towards the finish line.  San Francisco is just looking forward to next season.  Colin Kaepernick is done for the season.  Blaine Gabbert isn’t the answer.  All of the 49ers off-season losses hurt and they didn’t do a good enough job answering needs.  They can’t score, having hit the 20-point mark just twice this season.  This should be an easy ninth win for the Cardinals. ARIZONA WINS
  • Steelers @ Seahawks: Pittsburgh could’ve folded up and looked ahead to next season a number of times this season, with injuries and suspensions taking superstars away over and over again.  But they didn’t and would be the fifth seed in the AFC.  Seattle has had its struggles both on offense and defense, but the reigning NFC Champs should not be underestimated despite the lack of boom in the Legion of Boom we are used to.  I like the Steelers offense better than the Seahawks at this point, but I am still taking the home team this week to get back above .500.  Look for Russell Wilson to take it to the ground and make some things happen himself. SEATTLE WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Patriots @ Broncos: Well, it’s not Brady versus Manning on Sunday night as Brock Osweiler got himself another start after Denver’s week 11 win over Chicago.  So right off the bat, the QB battle favors New England, though it would have anyway this year with an unhealthy and ineffective Manning.  This game will come down to Osweiler taking care of the football, and the defense stopping Tom Brady.  The past two weeks for Brady haven’t been great, but the future hall-of-famer finds ways in the end to keep his team undefeated.  But I think that run ends this week in Denver.  I’ve loved the Broncos defense this season, and if Brady plays the way he has of late, I think they make him pay late. DENVER WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Ravens @ Browns: No Joe Flacco. No Justin Forsett. A very bad season for Baltimore got worse in week 11, losing their two best offensive weapons.  The playoff perennials are just trying to stay out of the basement now.  And I just don’t think they will climb out.  I liked what Johnny Manziel has done since being named the starter, even if it didn’t result in wins. But with Manziel’s off the field issues bumping him out of the starting role, this is a tough game to call.  I was going to take the Browns with Manziel at starting QB, so even though he won’t be this week, I think I’ll stick with them.  CLEVELAND WINS

 

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NFL: Week 12 picks

The playoff push heats up as action enters week 12, and we’ve got a lot more great games this week.

98-63 after 11 weeks. Here are my next batch of picks.  It’s the Panthers and Steelers on their bye this week.

Thursday Night Football

  • Chiefs @ Raiders: It’s not a good game, but we have an AFC West match-up to start week 12.  The Chiefs are feeling pretty good about themselves as they are tied for the division lead with the Broncos.  The Raiders are… well… the Raiders.  Their march to history continues. KANSAS CITY WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Browns @ Falcons: Atlanta is somehow leading the NFC South despite a 6-game losing streak this season.  Cleveland is still in the playoff conversatgion, but hurt themselves with a loss against Houston a week ago.  I like what Cleveland does better than Atlanta.  THey are more consistent on both sides of the ball.  So despite this being a home game for the Falcons, give me the Browns on the road.  CLEVELAND WINS
  • Titans @ Eagles: Philly is coming off an ugly road loss to the Packers, while the Titans are coming off a home loss to the Steelers.  Mark Sanchez has been okay filling in for Nick Foles, but needs more from the run game. I think Tennessee is a good remedy for their ills, so give me the home team in this one. PHILADELPHIA WINS
  • Lions @ Patriots: What a great early match-up.  The Pats have rebounded from a slow start to being one of the two, three best teams in the league.  The Lions have cooled off a bit after a slow start, specifically on offense.  Detroit will need their top rated defense on the road to slow down the Pats, and they very may well do so.  But I still like the Pats in a close one at home. NEW ENGLAND WINS
  • Packers @ Vikings: The Packers are hot… at home.  They’ve got a lot of games left on the road and have been a different team away from the Frozen Tundra where they look unbeatable.  Minnesota has a good season without Adrian Peterson in the back field, and starting a rookie QB in Teddy Bridgewater for the majority of the season.  They’re home so Minnesota won’t go quietly, but I can’t pick against MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers here. GREEN BAY WINS
  • Jaguars @ Colts: The Jaguars are just looking to the draft and the off-season at this point, while the Colts look to rebound off a blowout loss to the Pats in week 11.  Andrew Luck is having a fantastic season, but needs more out of the run game, which was hurt this week when Ahmad Bradshaw was placed on IR.  But with seeding to play for, I expect Indianapolis to have a fairly easy time with Jacksonville at home. INDIANAPOLIS WINS
  • Bengals @ Texans: Cincinnati is lucky to still hold a lead, however slim, in the AFC North.  But they can’t have any more let downs, even against a pretty good team like they play this week. JJ Watt is keeping Houston in the conversation and with this game being in Texans territory, the Bengals have their work cut out for them, though I do like them to get a big road win. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Jets @ Bills: It’s a big game for the Bills, but this isn’t even happening when it’s supposed to!  Crazy snowfall in Buffalo has forced the game to be moved to Monday… in Detroit! I like the possible playoff team even after the Jets finally picked up a win before their bye.  The run game for the Bills finds ways to get the job done even with injuries, and Sammy Watkins has been one of the most impressive rookies in the league.   BUFFALO WINS
  • Buccaneers @ Bears: This is maybe the worst game of the week.  Both teams are bad despite many thinking both would challenge for the playoffs.  The Bucs don’t do anything well except when they decide to throw the ball in the direction of rookie standout Mike Evans.  As for Chicago, they finally snapped a long losing streak last week against the Vikings, but even that one wasn’t super impressive.  Alshon Jeffery is questionable for the Bears, but they have better offensive weapons even without him than Tampa Bay, so I think they pick up a 2nd straight victory. CHICAGO WINS

Sunday 4/4:25PM Games

  • Cardinals @ Seahawks: How big is this game? An Arizona win goes a long way to locking up the NFC West, and makes the Cardinal the first team in the NFL to get to 10 wins.  A Seahawks win keeps the door in the division open, and keeps pressure on teams like the 49ers, Cowboys and Packers for a Wild Card spot. Going straight off those reasons, you’d say Seattle needs this game way more than Arizona.  But the Seahawks are the defending champs and know what it takes to put a run together.  The Cardinals have been around the playoff picture of a few years now, but with a young QB at the helm, this win would do huge things for their confidence.  Arizona has been consistently good and don’t have any off-the-field issues clouding things. So I’m taking a chance with the red birds in 12 man territory.   ARIZONA WINS
  • Rams @ Chargers: St Louis has made it tough on most opponents this season, despite having a tough schedule and losing Sam Bradford in the preseason.  I mean look at the Rams wins over Seahawks, 49ers and the Broncos last week.  As for the Chargers, they finally got a win after a rough stretch.  I think they build off that and keep pressure on the top heavy AFC West. SAN DIEGO WINS
  • Dolphins @ Broncos: This is a huge game with playoff implications.  Miami took a big step a week ago with a win over the Bills to break a tie with them, while Denver took a big step back against the Rams.  I like what the Dolphins have done all year, but I can’t see Peyton Manning having a second straight bad game, and the Broncos are so much better at home.  DENVER WINS
  • Redskins @ Niners: Like many slow starters, the 49ers have rebounded and fought their way back into the playoff hunt.  Washington continues to struggle and have questions about RGIII.  So give me the home team to stay on pace in the West. SAN FRANCISCO WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Cowboys @ Giants: Every-time questions have surfaced abut Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, the Giants have rebounded and went on long runs.  They’d have to win out and hope for a lot of help for that to happen this year, but with many of their remaining games at home, and a softer schedule added to games with the Eagles and this week’s opponent, never say never.  But they have to start with a win over the Boys.  The defense has to find a way to stop DeMarco Murray, who’s rested after their bye.  And Manning needs to look like the guy from the 49ers game that drove down the field like no one was trying to stop them in their opening drive, and not the guy who ended up with 5 interceptions.  Something that could help is getting Rashad Jennings going in his second game back.  I keep going on faith and I’m taking another big leap taking the G-men here in week 12. NEW YORK WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Ravens @ Saints: Both teams need this game big-time. Baltimore is playing in the most competitive division in football, with all teams with at least 6 wins through 11 weeks.  New Orleans is surprisingly in the worst division, with no teams over .500.  and they find themselves behind the Falcons, a team that lost 6 straight at one point this season.  So while I think the Ravens are a better overall team, I think Drew Brees and company find a way at home to turn things around. NEW ORLEANS WINS