NFL Predictions – Week 12

Time to put up or shut up. We’re getting down to the end of the line. These are the separation weeks. The weather is supposed to be much worse than it is. It’s supposed to be a factor in places like Chicago and Green Bay and Buffalo. It’s not. In fact, weather is not even a story. The biggest story in the NFL, right now, is the resurgence of the Dallas Cowboys under the leadership of new QB, Tony Romo. Romo is not a rookie, but he’s a fourth-year player with very little game experience – until this month. Since being inserted into the lineup in place of Drew Bledsoe, the rookie has been hot. The only blemish was a road loss at Washington. When he entered that blowout loss to the Giants, the Giants appeared headed toward the playoffs with the most powerful offense in the conference. What a difference a few weeks can make. Suddenly, Dallas and Chicago appear to be the teams to beat, and the Giants look like a team that has lost its way. What’s on tap for this week? More Romo? Hopefully. His appears to be the only story capable of displacing that frequent dropper of passes from the headlines. Perhaps he can use some of his downtime (fewer interviews, and all) to purchase some Isotoner gloves. Maybe he could borrow a pair from Isotoner.

NFL Lines For Week 12 – NFL Football Line Week Twelve
NFL Game Lines 11/26 – 11/27, 2006

Date & Time Favorite Line Underdog Total
11/26 1:00 ET Jacksonville -3 At Buffalo 35
11/26 1:00 ET At NY Jets -5 Houston 40
11/26 1:00 ET At Baltimore -3 Pittsburgh 39
11/26 1:00 ET Cincinnati -3 At Cleveland 42.5
11/26 1:00 ET At Minnesota -6.5 Arizona 39
11/26 1:00 ET At St. Louis -5 San Francisco 44.5
11/26 1:00 ET At Atlanta -3 New Orleans 48
11/26 1:00 ET Carolina -4 At Washington 36
11/26 4:15 ET At New England -3.5 Chicago 37
11/26 8:15 ET At Indianapolis -9 Philadelphia 44
11/26 4:15 ET NY Giants -3.5 At Tennessee 43.5
11/26 4:05 ET At San Diego -13.5 Oakland 43

Monday Night Football Line

11/27 8:30 ET At Seattle -9 Green Bay 45

The picks will be quick this week. Places to go…people to see.

Which Buffalo shows up? The one that beat the Texans which beat these Jags twice? Could be. Buffalo matches up well with Jacksonville. A game in Buffalo in November with nice weather – where’s the punch line? Tough game to call because you never which Bills team or which Jags team will show up.  I’ll take the Bills to continue their little run and pull it out against a mostly one-dimensional Jaguar team.  Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 19.

I think the Jets struggle today against the Texans.  Last week, some questionable coaching decisions and untimely plays shifted the balance toward the Bears.  I believe the Jets (stop! – Don’t think I’ve written that before.) can win, but both teams will be challenged to score.  Andre Johnson presents a big matchup problem, but I’m not told on the Wali Lundi-Samkon Gado package.  While these teams don’t play one another particularly often, there is a high level of familiarity here owing to the Mangini-Patriot and Kubiak-Broncos connection.  The Broncos have had some success against the Patriots – and I suspect that will continue.  Houston 16, New York Jets 13.

My Steelers at the Ravens.  Roethlisberger continues the interception parade.  3 or 4 picks.  Steelers lose big.  Season over.  Baltimore 38, Pittsburgh 17.

The Battle of Ohio is often a close game.  The records of these teams don’t matter when they meet.  The Browns have to be steaming after giving up 21 points in the 4th quarter last week.  I don’t know that that stops them from giving up 21 points in the first quarter to Ocho Cinco and Carson Palmer.  Cleveland needs to run the ball to win.  Rudi Johnson will not get big yards unless Cincinnati can play with a lead.  Can Cleveland jump ahead and put their defense in position to win?  Why not.  Take Cincinnati, but give the points.  Cincinnati 23, Cleveland 21.

Cardinals on the road?  No thanks.  Not even against the SOFT ass Minnesota Vikings.  Minnesota 34, Arizona 20.

The Rams are hosting the 49ers.  Frank Gore (5.5 ypg) should run amok.  I don’t think it’s enough to overcome Stephen Jackson and Torry Holt.  The Rams have to get it together this week or they can begin focusing on next year.  Bulger needs to SNAP OUT OF IT.  This could be one of the best games of the day.  St. Louis 31, San Francisco 27.

I’ll take the Saints to resume winning at the Falcons.  Atlanta is in a tailspin and the Saints have the type of talent along the defensive line that can keep Atlanta from getting too comfortable.  The Saints had a tough stretch with games at Pittsburgh and the Bengals.  Since ATL’s receivers can’t catch worth a damn, they only need to worry about Alge Crumpler.  Right?  New Orleans 41, Atlanta 21.  Okay, no Colston – so maybe not 41, but I still like the Saints.

The Washington Redskins are terrible.  I like Jason Campbell and he appeared to have a decent performance in his debut.  The bar is that much higher against a desperate Carolina team.  I would imagine that if the Saints get up early against the Falcons, the sense of urgency on the Panther sideline will grow.  Playoff spots are becoming scarce.  Carolina 27, Washington 21.

New England is a 3.5 point favorite to beat the Bears.  They’ll have to run the ball to win the game.  The Patriots, after the debacle against the Jets, spent $750k to install new field turf.  For the first time in years, the Patriots may be playing on a fast field.  I think the turf will help the road team.  Edge Bears.  Bernard Berrian, Mark Bradley – deep!  I have a feeling this will be a higher scoring game.  Chicago 36, New England 24.  Did you know the Patriots have a “mission statement”?  It says they’re building a “big, strong, fast, smart football team.”  That’s a great place to start.  Nice job – they’re still losing today.

No McNabb?  No chance.  Indianapolis 31, Philadelphia 16.  Now Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins can go to the press conference and say, “No one gave us a chance to win this game, but we pulled together as a team and gave 110 percent.  We are a team and we played as one. ”  Blah, blah, blah.  I wonder if that’s what the Notre Dame guys are saying after getting smoked like bacon last night.  “No one gave us a chance…”

The Giants, to quote Joe Namath (the drunk, horny version), will be “struhguh-linnng” against the Titans.   The Titans have truly enjoyed their time against the NFC East.  They’ve beaten the Eagles and Redskins.  Next up – the Geeeee-men.  Titans win at home because the Giants WILL NOT get the ball to Jeremy Shockey and because Plexiglass Burress will continue to take every other play off.  “Plays off?”  Don’t talk to me about plays off!  Ok, Mora fit is over.  The Giants have to get back to running the rock with Tiki Barber.  The Titans have already established their commitment to the run behind Travis Henry.  The Bills believed they could part with Henry because of his frequent (Ahman Green/Ricky Williams-esque) fumbling.  So far, so good.  Tennessee 21, New York Giants 17.

Oakland?  Nope.  When Moss is on the waiver wire in my fantasy league, you know this team is D-O-N-E.  Art Shell, to my mind, has actually done a very good job considered all of the dysfunction he’s inherited.  Al Davis looks like he’s on his LAST LEGS.  Perhaps he should really relax and hand over control of the franchise.  San Diego 51, Oakland 10.

Holmgren Bowl:  Seahawks-Packers.  Boring.  Seattle 27, Green Bay 17.

By the way, I didn’t write up my picks for the Thanksgiving Day games, but it doesn’t take much to figure out that I went with the hot hands of Miami, Dallas and Kansas City.  Also, the word off the presses is that Jake Cutler has finally taken over for Jake Plummer.  Not a surprise – I saw this coming as soon as the draft was over.

And that’s the week that will be.  Geaux Steelers!

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