Thursday, November 21, 2013

NFL Week 12 Picks: All Kinds Of Wrong

They Have Sex. A Lot.
This is where I write a paragraph about wot's it all about, and you skim until the asterisks, then delve into the High Larity that is the 2013 NFL picks. And, well, I'd like to provide it... but there is just No Time, and there hasn't been time in a very long time, because the Day Job has turned into the Day And Night And Early Morning Job. It's what happens in Q4 in my business, and I'm counting the days until it's no longer Q4... because, well, it's gotten to the point where a day without a double or triple shift is starting to feel wrong. Which means I'm all kinds of wrong in all kinds of places. And now that I've given you all kinds of confidence about my acumen... on to the picks!

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NEW ORLEANS (-9.5) at Atlanta

Float a big number in a road dome game with a Saints team that's Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to road work? Sure, because Atlanta Fan is unmatched in his ability to bail out on a weak year, and Saints Fan is going to own this building. Look for QB Drew Brees to stay clean all night, and for Terrible Night Football to live down to its name. Atlanta can't end this year fast enough, and yes, it's somehow all Steven Jackson's fault. Dude is just death to franchises.

Saints 38, Falcons 20

PITTSBURGH (+1) at Cleveland

The Steelers have been sneaking up a bit recently, with the pass defense in particular alternating good halves with terrible ones. I like them to do the deed this week against a Browns team that just seems random, and without strong work from coach or QB. But honestly, this one is as coin flip as it gets.

Steelers 24, Browns 20

Tampa at DETROIT (-9.5)

On the off chance that you thought this really was going to be the Lions' year, what with Green Bay and Chicago living with back-up QBs and backed-up defenses... well, consider that they have to work with a coach that calls fake field goals from serious distance while up four on the road late. No, seriously. This week, Jim Schwartz isn't the biggest doofus on the field, and Lion Fan tries to delude themselves into thinking that Schwartz doesn't have an even worse ace up his sleeve for the inevitable first-round playoff loss. Besides, there's no way this Bucs team wants Schiano back enough to run off a lot of meaningless save his job wins.

Lions 31, Bucs 17

Minnesota at GREEN BAY (-4.5)

Oddly enough, I've seen almost all of Scott Tolzien's work as the Packer QB, and honestly, he's not all that bad. This week, he gets to show it against a Minnesota team that, on top of their terrible QB situation, is well and truly coming to grips with the fact that RB Adrian Peterson is on the downside of his Hall of Fame career, and that they've more or less wasted it. As if Minnesota winters weren't depressing enough.

Packers 34, Vikings 16

San Diego at KANSAS CITY (-5)

Bit of a small number for a team with one loss and the best home field in the AFC, especially when you consider just how middling of a road team the Chargers have been. At least San Diego is finally starting to prefer Actual RB Ryan Mathews over Gritball Danny Woodhead, though neither is going to do much against a resilient Chiefs defense.

Chiefs 27, Chargers 17

Chicago at ST. LOUIS (pick 'em)

At some point, when you are starting a QB named McNown, you're going to pay for it. The Rams are solid on defense, running with authority with RB Zac Stacy, and might even have woken up the spectacular disappointment that is WR Tayvon Austin. If the Bears can make Brandon Jacobs and Ray Rice look relevant, it's staggering what Stacy could do here, and the Rams' defense has been adept at takeaways this year.

Rams 31, Bears 17

CAROLINA (-4.5) at Miami

I can't figure either of these teams out, so feel free to go the other way on this one. Carolina keeps taking down teams with pedigree (San Francisco, New England) in ways that seem destiny-ish, and the Dolphins shook off the most famous OL meltdown ever to give the Chargers an inexplicable loss last week. I'm going to take the Panthers on talent here, and because this front seven against the NFL's most sacked QB has to play into some kind of wilding.

Panthers 26, Dolphins 13

NY JETS (+4) at Baltimore

The Jets have alternated wins and losses every week this year, so who am I to argue with the pattern? Especially when facing a Ravens team that seems to be spending all of 2013 in an effort to prove that without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, they no longer know how to play football, or have functioning vertebrae. Speaking of Reed, he'll get all kinds of attention from the media for returning home in this game, and he's got enough sense of drama to make a play or two. Gotta say, I'm kind of rooting for him.

Jets 24, Ravens 16

Jacksonville at HOUSTON (-10)

Perhaps Gary Kubiak's health problems have spread to his brain. How else can you explain yanking QB Casey Keenum for Scapegoat Matt Schaub in last week's game, which caused Texan Fan to boo so hard that the home team had to go to a silent count? Oh, and a small point here: I'm officially over on how awful Eagle Fan is, since my team dropped 10 games in a row at home and didn't freak out like those numbnuts. Anyway, Keenum will get the start this week, Jacksonville is terrible, and the Houston defense might outscore them, because JJ Watt's like that. But seriously, Houston Fan, you murder puppies. And probably deserve the Astros.

Texans 26, Jaguars 10

Tennessee at OAKLAND (pick 'em)

For the second time this year, Raider Fan has a shiny new QB to make everything better, but unlike wounded former (?) starter Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin does it with his arm. That makes shiny new RB1 Rashad Jennings viable as all get it, unlike wounder former (?) starter Darren McFadden. Oakland is having a hell of a year for a team that I honestly thought might go winless, and after this week's game against the QB-less Titans (seriously, Ryan Fitzpatrick?), they'll be 5-6 and even still have a playoff hope. (Have you seen the non-Bronco / Chief won-loss records in the AFC this year?)

Raiders 24, Titans 20

Indianapolis at ARIZONA (-1)

Another club I can't figure out, other than to say that teams with erratic offensive lines and surprisingly weak skill players are not to be trusted. The Cards are more than a little beastly on defense, make plays in special teams, and won't have to worry about traveling Colt Fan, because Colt Fan has trouble getting on airplanes without paying for an extra seat. If you combined these clubs, you'd have a 12-win behemoth, because their strengths are just that different. Are you as surprised as I am that these clubs are a combined 13-8, and that Indy could be the #2 seed in the AFC? What a year.

Cardinals 23, Colts 21

DALLAS (+2.5) at NY Giants

Nighty night time for the Giants, who have recovered from that disaster 0-6 start to have delusions of playoff again in the very charitable NFC East. They'll get Dallas off a bye they desperately needed, with WR Miles Austin come again to free up other targets for better things, and a defense that was last seen going into the fetal position against the Saints. They are better than that, in that no one could be worse, and QB Eli Manning has not stopped the turnover machine during Blue's middling tomato can kicking run.

Cowboys 34, Giants 24

DENVER (-2.5) at New England

I know, I know... Bill Belichick never blows back to back games, Peyton Manning turns into Cooper Manning in Foxboro, and the Patriots are going to take advantage of the fact that Jack Del Rio walks the Bronco sideline to smoke and mirror a SNF game. But the more I look at this game, the more I see a Pats' team that still has a 2-game lead and no real enemies in the East, and a Bronco team that isn't going to relax until they sweep the Chiefs.

Broncos 34, Patriots 20

SAN FRANCISCO (-6) at Washington

Are we looking at the End Days of Mike Shanahan? Have to think so, since DC Danny Snyder isn't going to choose him over QB Bob Griffin, and Bob was last seen throwing the Rat under the bus after last week's snooze and snap loss in Philly. This week will see Bob run and run and run some more as the quality Niner front turns the game into an exercise of Hunt and Hurt, while the offense looks like an NFL team against the historically awful DC DB corps. Oh, and Bob? While you are killing your coach, why not take out your team's terrible nickname, too?

Niners 31, Washington 20

Last week: 3-9-3

Season: 66-78-8

Caree: 436-450-37

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