Week 12 NFL Picks

Can you believe that it is already Week 12? We are dangerously approaching the Land of No Football and this weekend especially reminds us that we must Give Thanks for it every week it is generous enough to be a part of our lives. We are 11 weeks down and, including the playoffs, only have nine to go and those last two weekends only have three games combined.

After that not-so-substantive introduction, it’s time for the picks which as always are done against my buddy Asif who writes Uninformed Commentary.

Previous Records:
Ryan:
Week 11: 8-4-2
Season: 89-63-9

Asif:
Week 11: 6-6-2
Season: 82-70-7

Thursday

Green Bay (-6) @ Detroit

Ryan: Even when the Packers have off days, they find a way to win. The Lions have a bad habit of getting behind by two touchdowns early while, more often than not, they have a good habit of erasing these deficits. This could very well play out in tomorrow’s game because the Packers often get ahead and then take their foot off the pedal, letting inferior teams back in it. If the Packers were to theoretically lose a game, this would be a pretty good time for it.

Still, though, I think Green Bay comes out focused and determined for this whole game to send a message that Detroit still has a far way to come. You come at the king, you best not miss. Packers cover.

Asif: My initial instinct was to take Detroit, but then I realized that’s just silly. Green Bay covers.

Miami @ Dallas (-7)

Ryan: No respect for the Dolphins who are on a three-game win streak and would be on a five-game win streak had they not been Tebowed and blown a game late against the Giants. I’m not quite sure who wins this game but either way I think it will be close and that this line is therefore too high. Dolphins cover.

Asif: As a Giants fan, looking at Dallas’s schedule for the rest of the season (Miami, @ Arizona, NYG, @ Tampa, Philly, @ NYG) is very upsetting. I just have to take solace in my deeply held belief that Tony Romo will find a way to screw it all up for the Cowboys.

I really hope that no one in Miami has tricked themselves into believing that Matt Moore is a QB worth starting next season. Dallas covers.

San Francisco @ Baltimore (-3)

Ryan: The 49ers given me every reason to have confidence in them this season while the Ravens have given me lots of reasons not to. The 49ers are still flying under the radar a little bit as a truly elite team. They may be peaking too early but the fact remains that they win–and cover–like every week. I’m going to keep picking that to happen until it doesn’t. 49ers cover.

Asif: I see no reason why the Ravens should be favored in this game considering that they aren’t coming off a loss or playing the Steelers. I realize that San Francisco is traveling cross-country on a short week, but the Niners are better than the Ravens even when Baltimore is trying, which is only 40% of the time. Also, Alex Smith is better than Joe Flacco. Looking back at that paragraph makes me feel like I’ve been huffing paint. San Fran covers.

Sunday:

Arizona @ St. Louis (-3)

Ryan: Via the rule of blindly picking the home team in NFC West match-ups that don’t feature the 49ers, Rams cover.

Asif: Derp bowl. Rams cover, or whatever, I don’t really care.

On a significantly more interesting note, has anyone seen the Kohl’s Black Friday commercials that feature a version of Rebecca Black’s “Friday?” This would be fairly meta if it wasn’t so intensely idiotic (Black, Friday, am I the only one who thinks about these things?). “Friday,” was a funny, if insanely annoying internet footnote five months ago and it’s the best marketing plan you could come up with Kohl’s? REALLY?

Buffalo @ NY Jets (-8)

Ryan: The Bills have been an in utter tailspin for the past three weeks; they’ve been outscored 106-26 and have looked like anything but the team that started 5-2 with wins over the Patriots and Eagles.

The Jets are the latest victims of the Tebow revolution. For some reason they couldn’t stop it at the end even though Rex Ryan wrote a book on defense that featured a 20-page chapter about how to stop the option play. Mike Mayock and Brad Nessler–who are by far the best announcing team in the NFL and second in professional sports behind Marv Albert and Steve Kerr–may or may not have mentioned that during last week’s telecast.

I think the Jets win but Bills cover in this one.

Asif: So you’re saying giving Ryan Fitzpatrick $24MM guaranteed based on half a season of greatness was a bad idea? At least Gregg Easterbrook will never be able to complain about the cheapness of the Bills again. And anytime, Easterbrook is silenced we should all give thanks. Thanksgiving picks, I get them. Oh and also, Mark Sanchez is TERRIBLE. Bills cover.

Cleveland @ Cincinnati (-7.5)

Ryan: One of my favorite things this season has been the petition for Andy Dalton to dye black stripes in his hair so his head resembles the Bengals helmet. How AWESOME would that be?! Not that he has acknowledged it in any way but I am rooting for the Bengals to make the playoffs just in case that would be the occasion where it happened.

The Bengals’ only home losses have come against the 49ers and Steelers, two of perhaps the five best teams in the NFL. After throwing three interceptions in last week’s loss, some wondered if Andy Dalton was exposed by the Ravens defense. For now, I’m going to say that’s not the case because it’s not like the Browns have the personnel to replicate Baltimore’s success. I’m riding the red rocket for another week. Bengals cover.

Asif: The Browns suck. Cincy covers.

Houston (-3) @ Jacksonville

Ryan: What would this line have been if Matt Schaub was starting instead of Matt Leinart? 10? I was fortunate enough not to see any of the game but the Jaguars lost to the Browns last week. And here I was thinking that the Jags were a good bad team.

The Jaguars have an average rush defense, giving up 111.2 yards per game on the ground this year while the Texans are second in the league with 158.1 rushing yards per game. We are going to see a steady dose of Arian Foster and Ben Tate as Leinart becomes integrated into the offense. Meanwhile, the Texans lead the league in total defense (269.7 ypg) while the Jaguars rank LAST in total offense (249.5 ypg). Even if Leinart sucks, which I’m not yet willing to concede, he can’t be any worse than Blaine Gabbert. Texans cover.

Asif: The AFC South is just like the AFC West, except all the teams are in bland cities that I don’t want to visit because they’re filled with fat people. Here are the AFC South cities: Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Nashville, and Houston. It’s like they designed a division for the single purpose of inspiring me to make a dismissive wanking motion. At least in Oakland, you might get stabbed, or beaten by the police. EXCITING! Also, I wish I had Blaine Gabbert’s hair. Houston covers.

Carolina (-3.5) @ Indianapolis

Ryan: The Colts have lost their last five games 164-44. Picking against them every week in that stretch has been extremely productive for my record. Once again, they should be getting a touchdown against every team in this league with the possible exception of the Rams. Panthers cover.

Asif: I wish this game was next year so we could see Andrew Luck face off against the team that would have drafted him had he entered the 2011 draft (yes, Luck would have been drafted over Cam Newton and there wouldn’t have been much debate about it either). The fact that the Colts have almost certainly won the Suck for Luck sweepstakes is pretty depressing for those of us who don’t like openly watching a fan base of over-privileged fatsos openly root for their team to tank a season. Sadly, the world is a terrible, unfair place that is filled with pain. Pain which we will all have to endure as Colts fans casually toss their fetus-faced messiah (Peyton Manning) aside for the newer, younger model, continuing to be obnoxious as all hell. Just stay in school, Andrew, we’re all begging you. Panthers cover.

Tampa Bay @ Tennessee (-3)

Ryan: According to Bill Barnwell, the Bucs have had a historically difficult schedule for the past six games. I feel like they are a little bit undervalued right now. They aren’t going to make the playoffs, but they sure can mess it up for opponents who could, starting with the Titans this week. Buccaneers cover.

Asif: Remember when everyone was all like, “Whoa the Titans are totally gonna catch the Texans now!” for a couple weeks when Mario Williams and Andre Johnson got hurt, and then how we totally did the same thing all over about three weeks later when Matt Schaub got hurt?

Ryan: Was that everyone or just you? It certainly wasn’t everyone who writes this column…

Asif: And then the Titans lost some games and we were all, “OH, that’s right… the Titans are the definition of NFL mediocrity and we all need to stop being so silly…”? That was fun.

By the way, the Bucs are just as bland and mediocre as the Titans, so get ready for the Tennessee hype machine to go back in full effect this week after the Titans cover. Just keep this in mind four weeks from now when the Titans are mathematically eliminated and cameras catch Chris Johnson burning $100 bills while eating a ham sandwich on the sidelines.

Minnesota @ Atlanta (-9.5)

Ryan: The word is that Adrian Peterson is OUT. The Vikings are wasting his prime and may have been wise to follow the Football Outsiders advice and trade him for a huge bounty prior to the season. My friend Craig, a not-quite-die-hard Vikings fan, vehemently disagreed but he’s wrong.

Atlanta has won four of five and its only loss in that time was in overtime to New Orleans. Falcons cover.

Asif: I don’t understand why teams make moves like the Leslie Frazier hiring. I realize that the Vikings played much better last year once Frazier replaced Brad Childress, but an iguana would have been an improvement over Chilly. There was nothing in Frazier’s past that would indicate he would be an above-average NFL head coach. You can’t tell me the Vikings wouldn’t have been better off bringing in a fresher face or at least someone who wouldn’t punt on fourth down with a little over two minutes left and a chance to tie the game. By making Frazier their coach, the Vikings made a knee-jerk reaction to a small, unrepresentative sample and now they’re paying the price for it. Of course this is the same team that thought Donovan McNabb could be a competent starting QB so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Falcons cover.

Chicago @ Oakland (-4.5)

Ryan: This one is pretty hard to pick. My gut feeling right now is that the Bears, even sans Cutler, are a little better than people think and that the Raiders are a little worse than people think. Carson Palmer and the Raiders looked pretty good the last two weeks but it isn’t as if they were playing elite teams–they beat the Chargers and the Vikings. Bears cover.

Asif: It’s Caleb Hanie time! How ya feelin’ Chicago! Has there ever been a worse name for a QB than Caleb Hanie? It just inspires zero confidence, for some reason I think of diapers. Sorry, I don’t mean to rub it in, but it has to suck to be a Bear’s fan right now. Hey, at least Matt Forte is good. Oakland covers.

Washington @ Seattle (-4)

Ryan: I got burned in my pick-blindly-against-Washington-for-the-rest-of-the-season strategy last week when they lost but covered but I’m not letting a one-game sample size get me off that track. Seahawks cover.

Asif: How have the people of the DC beltway not gotten together and collectively run Graham Gano out of town by now? It seems to me like that dude misses a minimum of four critical field goals per year…. Don’t get me wrong, Redskins FAIL is an endless source of mirth for me, but at some point it just gets kinda sad…so sad that I have no Tarvaris Jackson joke this week. Seattle covers.

New England (-4) @ Philadelphia

Ryan: Not sure if Vick plays or not and not sure how much of a difference that would make for this line or his team, which is not the most glowing of endorsements for how he has played this season. The Eagles have joined the Ravens and Giants in the most enigmatic enigmas category. They can legitimately beat or lose to anybody (well, maybe not the Colts…).

The much-maligned Patriots defense only gave up 19 points over the last two weeks but they were playing the Jets and Chiefs who have anemic offenses. This week will be a real litmus test to see if this patchwork group has actually come together just in time for the big push.

The Patriots can probably drop this one and still get a first round bye. Eagles cover.

Asif: This line should be way higher. New England’s defense has been getting better and they don’t have to worry about Vince Young lighting up their secondary. He’s played his one good game for the year, now he’ll go back to being fat and useless. Maybe he’ll even get into a fight at a strip club again. That was fun. Patriots cover.

Denver @ San Diego (-4.5)

Ryan: I’ve seen enough out of this Chargers team to conclude that they just aren’t any good and that they still get an extra 1-3 points per game on the spread because of past reputation. Their offensive line is injured and ineffective which means that Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil will wreak havoc. Meanwhile, their defensive line gets bullied every week too so for a third straight week, the Broncos’ stupid option offense will actually work. Broncos cover.

Asif: There’s only room for one overly pious nutbag QB in this here division. You just know that it pisses Philip Rivers off to no end that the media constantly fellates Tim Tebow, while he, Philip, Defender of Abstinence and Not Using Swear Words, is regarded as a moronic heel. Tebowmania has to end sometime, might as well be this Sunday, in San Diego, which is a godless land, part of Not Real America. Chargers cover.

Pittsburgh (-10.5) @ Kansas City

Ryan: Pittsburgh only had two weeks to prepare for Tyler Palko. Will that be enough? Yep. Steelers cover.

Asif: Uhhhh yeah, this line could not be high enough for me. Tyler Palko threw three picks against the Pats last week, and NE has no pass rush. Can you imagine how he’s going to play with James Harrison bearing down on him? Or Troy Polamalu coming on a blitz? Steelers cover.

Monday:

NY Giants @ New Orleans (-7)

Ryan: For the rest of the season, I am picking the Giants to do whatever the opposite is of what they did the week before. Whether the Giants end up winning or losing this game, the line is too high. Giants cover.

Asif: I am terrified of what the Saints might do to the Giants secondary in this game. That said, NY has been playing a ton of close games and Eli Manning should be able to throw the ball in the dome against a weak New Orleans secondary. Giants cover.

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