Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 12

Two issue at the forefront this week: First, the ongoing debate about the Patriots. Are they exhibiting poor sportsmanship, or simply playing to perfection? Tough call, and the reason the issue is so hotly contested is simple: we've never, ever seen anything like this at the NFL level before. This argument was commonly heard about college teams like Nebraska and Oklahoma back in the day, and they would routinely be 35 point favorites on any given Saturday against a weak sister opponent and end up winning 73-6. Even the most dominant teams of recent years have not come close to producing consistent blowout wins each week. This leads to the oddsmakers, finally, forcing bettors to lay really big numbers in order to stay on the New England gravy train - this week the Pats are laying 22 1/2 (and this line has moved several times already, meaning it could go higher by Sunday)! We've learned our lesson after hopping off the bandwagon last week, taking the Bills plus 16 1/2....then watching Buffalo fall by 46.

Also, a quick note to bid farewell to Priest Holmes, who retired this week. Going from being undrafted to All-Pro is something one doesn't see very often, and 31 did it with class and professionalism. His comeback this year once again showed that he could never be counted out, and at least he can leave after starting one last time.

A 9-7 mark last week pushed the season total to a nice round 90-70, and we look to boost the record with some early wins on Turkey Day:

Thanksgiving Day
Green Bay (-3.5) over DETROIT
Going agianst the Lions on Thanksgiving is usually a bad idea, but Favre on national TV is too good to pass up. The Packers are on a roll and won't be deterred here.
Packers 24 Lions 16

NY Jets (+14.5) over DALLAS
Jets have been losing, but have a habit of staying close when doing so. Big win over Steelers has to give them a boost as they head into Big D. Count on TO having a big day, as he usually does when there are more cameras around, but we think the Jets can harass Romo a bit and keep this one closer than you'd think.
Cowboys 24 Jets 13

Indianapolis (-11.5) over ATLANTA
Falcs were blown out at home by Bucs, which leads us to think they are the perfect cure to what ails Indy. It won;t matter who the Colts are missing, this one will be over early.
Colts 31 Falcons 10

CAROLINA (+3.5) over New Orleans
As soon as we can figure out either one of these teams. we'll alert you. When in doubt, we'll go with a home underdog.
Panthers 20 Saints 14

CINCINNATI (+1.5) over Tennessee
Another pair of impossible teams, so we'll go with the same theory (home underdog).
Titans 20 Bengals 19

Houston (+3.5) over CLEVELAND
Texans are better now that Andre Johnson is back (and more importantly, Matt Schaub is finding him). Browns are the most entertaining team in the league, having mastered the art of 3 point wins. How about another one here?
Browns 30 Texans 27

Buffalo (+7.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Let's see if the Bills can bounce back from the blowout last week. Maybe they can, but at the very least they should be able to stay within a touchdown of the oh-by-the-way-we're-7-3 Jags.
Jaguars 17 Bills 14

KANSAS CITY (-5.5) over Oakland
Brodie Croyle looked pretty good last week, despite being handcuffed by the ultra conservative play calling of Mike Solari and Herm Edwards. Croyle will have to step it up this week with the lack of an experienced halfback (Larry Johnson: OUT, Preist Holmes: Retired). Welcome to the show, (Chief RB) Kolby Smith.
Chiefs 20 Raiders 13

NY GIANTS (-7.5) over Minnesota
No Adrian Peterson for Minny, plus a devastating Giant pass rush against Tavaris Jackson, equals a Giant blowout.
Giants 30 Vikings 14

ST. LOUIS (+3.5) over Seattle
Rams have the horses (Bulger, Jackson) back, and can easily hang with a Seahawk team that does not travel well. We said it last week, and it still holds: the Rams run the table, finish 8-8 and win the West!
Rams 24 Seahawks 17

Washington (+3.5) over TAMPA BAY
Still not fully sold on the Bucs, and with a two game lead it's easy to see them fall into a bit of a trap here against the feisty Redskins.
Redskins 23 Buccaneers 20

ARIZONA (-10.5) over San Francisco
Niners are a train wreck, while the Cardinals have a real shot at (gulp) the division title. Even though 'Zona doesn't normally win big, this looks like the perfect chance to buck that trend.
Cardinals 27 49ers 7

CHICAGO (-2.5) over Denver
Time for the Broncos to come back to the pack. Given the recent play by these teams, this line doesn't really add up, and you know what that means: take the unlikely favorite.
Bears 20 Broncos 17

SAN DIEGO (-9.5) over Baltimore
Chargers are a mess, but play better at home, while the Ravens are still reeling from the we-won-no-we-didn't routine against the Browns last week. Bolts take control of the AFC West with win here, which seemed unfathomable a month ago.
Chargers 24 Ravens 13

NEW ENGLAND (-22.5) over Philadelphia
With or without Donovan McNabb, this line would still be huge. Patriots, at home, with the "let's not only win, let's break their spirit" attitude, will run away with another one, causing another vein in Don Shula's head to throb that much more intensely.
Patriots 41 Eagles 10

PITTSBURGH (-16.5) over Miami
Jeez, another huge spread, and we'll lay it, thanks very much. Steelers should be very focused after lackluster effort in the swamp, and will have enough anger to overrun the overmatched Dolphins.
Steelers 31 Dolphins 7

Best Bets: Colts, Rams, Steelers

Last Week: 9-7
Season Total: 90-70 (56.3%)

Best Bets
Last Week: 2-1
Season Total: 16-11 (59.3%)

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