Week 12 NFL Picks

22 11 2008

By Tom Peters

Last week wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. A tie game can really throw a wrinkle in your picks, but the damages was minimal. Last week I went 10 – 5 – 1, bringing the season record to a robust 102 – 57 – 1.

For the first time this season, I picked the Thursday night game correctly and I get to start off the week with a chance for that perfect week.

Let’s get it started, I have company coming for the daughter’s 3rd birthday party and it’s now or never. Family members are tough to ignore, no matter how hard you try.

Carolina Panthers (8 – 2) v. Atlanta Falcons (6 – 4)

This is a tough game to pick. The Panthers have been unimpressive in their wins against inferior Oakland & Detroit. Matt Ryan is a better quarterback at home. I know the Falcons are favored at home against a team that beat them 24-9 earlier in the season. Matt Ryan is steadily improving, but the Panther defense has been a constant all season. It’s their offense I’m worried about. I can’t imagine this team underperforming three weeks in a row. 8-2 teams don’t do that. I like the Panther front seven against Michael Turner and the Falcon offensive line. I think Delhomme finds an answer against the Falcons secondary.

MY PICK: Panthers.

Houston Texans (3 – 7) v. Cleveland Browns (4 – 6)

Brady Quinn is turning out to be a decent quarterback in his first two starts. He has yet to make the critical mistake. The Browns defense is a different story. How do you let Buffalo stay in a game they had no business being in? You can’t intercept a QB 3 times and let the game come down to a missed field goal. Houston is the tough luck team in the NFL. Sage Rosenfelsis killing them. The game is in Cleveland and the weather might play a factor. I think Steve Slaton will have a good game, but I expect the same out of Brady Quinn and the receiving corps.

MY PICK: Browns

San Francisco 49ers (3 – 7) v. Dallas Cowboys (6 – 4)

This is a good game for Tony Romo to get some good practice and to get back into rhythm. He wasn’t totally impressive in their win against the Redskins last week. The 49ers secondary is overpaid and has yet to live up to its expectations. TO would like nothing better than to stick to the team that first drafted him. Frank Gore is not 100 percent, the QB situation is a mess and the Cowboys need the win more. Don’t forget, this is a West Coast team going East for a 1pm game. No team has won in this situation yet and the Cowboys are not divisional rivals, meaning they are just a better team.

MY PICK: Cowboys

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7 – 3) v. Detroit Lions (0 – 10)

The Lions are so bad, the game is being blacked out in Detroit. Why am I even bothering to discuss this game? The Bucs still don’t impress me at 7-3. They did do a nice job running against the Vikings and keeping Adrian Peterson under 100 yards. If they can do bad things to the Viking offense, they should be able to do the same to the Lions offense even though Daunte Culpepper has added a spark to that offense.

MY PICK: Buccaneers

New York Jets (7 – 3) v. Tennessee Titans (10 – 0)

Two weeks ago I did not think this would be a game. While everyone else, including my three year old daughter (a die hard JETS fan, she loves teams with chants), is ready to jump on the Jets bandwagon, I am not. I think this will be a close game. Statistically, the Jets are a better team in all aspects (run & pass defense, run & pass offense), but Brett Favre is the reason the Jets are 7-3 and not 10-0. He is prone to making that critical mistake at the wrong time. He hasn’t done so in a while, which means he’s overdue. This will be a very close game. The Jets will cover the spread. I expect both teams to have difficulty in running the ball forcing the quarterback to win the game. For that reason, I expect Favre to make a huge mistake and the Titans to stay undefeated for at least two more weeks (they play the Lions on Thanksgiving).

MY PICK: Titans

Buffalo Bills (5 – 5) v. Kansas City Chiefs (1 – 9)

This week’s Bills song is Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. Losers of 4 straight they have been a mess. The lines can’t move anyone off the ball. Teams have figured out how to play Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans. The Bills have more turnovers than your local bakery. The Chiefs on the other hand continue to improve. Larry Johnson had a decent game and has accepted his role in the spread offense. Tyler Thigpen continues to impress me in his development. The Bills secondary is hurting, the game is in Kansas City and this matchup bodes well for the Chiefs.

MY PICK: Chiefs

Chicago Bears (5 – 5) v. St. Louis Rams ( 2 – 8 )

Wow, were the Bears unimpressive last week or what? Good thing the Rams really suck. Even better thing that Steven Jackson is hurt. The Bear defense can’t seem to stop anybody as of late. Lovie Smith is close to making my list of coaches that should be fired. While I don’t trust the Bears, keep in mind they are playing the Rams. My only hope is Torry Holt has a good game, he’s overdue and deserving.

MY PICK: Bears.

New England Patriots (6 – 4) v. Miami Dolphins (6 – 4)

The 3rd place Patriots have had 10 days to prepare for the 2nd place Dolphins and their gimmick Wildcat offense. Why teams are starting to adopt some versions of it is beyond me. Anyway, the Patriots are starting to show some vulnerability with their injuries. The Dolphins are hot, winning four straight and five of their last six. I think the Patriots are the better team though. Belichick has done a very good job coaching this team and with extra days to prepare, they have an edge. Don’t expect the Wildcat to get them again.

MY PICK: Patriots

Minnesota Vikings (5 – 5) v. Jacksonville Jaguars (4 – 6)

Conventional wisdom say the Vikings should win this game. The only problem with that thought is the Viking don’t do anything conventionally. The run defense played uninspired against Tampa Bay. The Jaguars have played much better since losing to Cincinnati. Offensive balance has been much better and the defense is starting show signs of life. This is especially important against the inept Vikings passing game. This game is in Florida and the Jaguars are a team that is still over reliant on the run and will look to control the clock. If they keep the Williams on the field for their trademark 14-play, 9-minute drives, the Vikings run defense will wear down in the heat and the Jags will play Jags football. Expect Adrian Peterson to see 7 and 8 men in the box all game. There is no reason to respect Gus Frerotte and the pass game.

MY PICK: Jaguars

Philadelphia Eagles (5 – 4 – 1) v. Baltimore Ravens ( 6 – 4)

Now that Donovan McNabb knows that games can end in ties (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the dig), I expect a more inspired effort when the clock gets closer to :00. But let’s be serious, they’re playing the Ravens. The Eagles jsut aren’t that good. The Raven defense should have no problem in doing what I think are the three keys to the game. First, pressure McNabb andforce the quick throw. Second, contain Westbrook. Three, createturnovers. The Eagles can be beaten by the pass and Joe Flacco should be able to do it if the Eagle blitz can be picked up.

MY PICK: Ravens

Oakland Raiders ( 2 – 8 ) v. Denver Broncos (6 – 4)

Denver has looked impressive in the 4thquart comebacks over Cleveland and Atlanta, two decent teams. The Raiders are not a decent team, regardless of Darren McFadden’s return. The Devner running game will still have it’s struggles, but Denver should be able to beat the Oakland secondary and the inept Raiders offense.

MY PICK: Broncos

New York Giants (9 – 1)  v. Arizona Cardinals (7 – 3)

I’ve been saying it all year, the Giants are the best team in football. The Cardinals are not as good as their record indicates. This will prove it. The Giants should be able to control the ball and clock with their massive running game. Brandon Jacobs is questionable, but Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward are more than capable of running for 100 yards. Plaxico Burress is questionable, but Eli Manning has the ability to find Amani Toomer and the emerging Steve Smith. The Giant defense will stop Tim Higtower and Edgerrin James. They will also pressure Kurt Warner into some questionable throws. When Warner does not have time to throw the ball, he does not put up the MVP like numbers like he has been doing all season. Giants will win and cover the spread. Didn’t Eli win in this stadium last year?

MY PICK: Giants

Washington Redskins (6 – 4) v. Seattle Seahawks ( 2 – 8 )

Good thing the Redskins are playing the Seahawks because they haven’t looked good the last three weeks. the Redskins have an inability to put teams away while losing their last two games at home. The Seahawks are injury prone and they can’t seem to stop anybody. Expect Clinton Portis to have a big game and Jason Campbell should do an adequate job against the porous pass defense. The game will be close though.

MY PICK: Redskins

Indianapolis Colts (6 – 4) v. San Diego Chargers (4 – 6)

TRAP GAME!!!!! The Chagers are at home andon national television. They are 2 – 0 with huge wins in this situation but this is a bad time to get the Colts. The Colts are hot, winning three straight againstgood teams that traditionally give them trouble. Peyton Manning’s timing with the receivers, especially Marvin Harrison is getting much better. Joseph Addai is playing like the capable running back he is. The Chargers can’t do anything right. Lose to Pittsburgh without giving up a touchdown. Fail to move the ball, fail to stop teams you should beat. The Chargers are like a trophy wife. Looking good but unreliable and unfaithful. The Colts are poised to make a Super Bowl run.

MY PICK: Colts

Green Bay Packers (5 – 5) v. New Orleans Saints (5 – 5)

This is a tough game to pick. The Packers were very impressive in defeating the Bears. Ryan Grant looks like he’s a better late season running back. The Saints have a good passing game, but Brees isn’t getting the ball in the endzone due to a lack of first-class receivers. The running game is mediocre at best. While the Packer secondary is banged up andhave had trouble with passing teams. I think the Packer running game is going to help them get back on the right track and if the defense can keep Brees in check, meaning lots of yards but no touchdowns, the Packers could win.

MY PICK: Packers

There are my picks for this week. Let’s hear your disagreements.




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