Friday, November 23, 2007

Week 12 - NFL picks - part II

Buffalo at Jacksonville (-7.5) - The Bills have done some great things this season. Sunday night was, obviously, not one of them, but it's difficult to tell how much of that performance was Buffalo playing poorly, and how much was just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are a better team than they looked on Sunday night. Unfortunately for them, it won't help them when they, again, face a better team on the road. I'd be a lot happier with this pick if the spread were 6.5 instead of 7.5, but I've got to go with the Jaguars anyway.

Houston at Cleveland (-3.5) - The Texans played a great game last week in getting back to .500, but the Browns have too much offense, and great special teams. Cleveland by a touchdown. Or more.

Minnesota at N.Y. Giants (-7.5) - Minnesota, at 4-6, has a better record than I'd predicted before the season started. None of the losses surprised, the wins over Chicago and San Diego did. I don't have such confidence in the Giants that a win here would absolutely shock me, but I would be surprised. I see the Giants winning by 10+.

New Orleans (-3) at Carolina - How often is the 4-6 team with two straight losses the hotter team going into a game? If someone wants to complain that this pick suggests contempt for Carolina, well, yes, it does.

Oakland at Kansas City (-5.5) - Did it seem, for a moment, much earlier in the year, that the Oakland Raiders might be a real football team again? How does that happen? Well, one way is to beat a team that people think is much better than it actually is, as the Raiders did when they won in Miami. That took them to .500 at 2-2. It also represents their last victory. And when they host Denver next weekend, it will still represent their last victory.

Seattle at St. Louis (+3) - Seattle is very likely to win the NFC West. St. Louis is not. But the Rams were a hot pre-season choice to be very competitive in this division. I have no good reason for this, but I think that the Rams come up big at home here.

Tennessee (-1) at Cincinnati - How is it that the Titans are only a 1 point favorite over Cincinnati? Because they can't score. Well, they'll score against Cincinnati, enough to cover a one point spread anyway.

Washington at Tampa Bay (-3) - Since there are three Thursday games and one Monday game, this week sees 12 NFL games on Sunday. Washington at Tampa Bay is one of them.

San Francisco at Arizona (-10.5) - Somehow, the 49ers beat the Cardinals at home in week one. This week, Arizona returns the favor, with interest.

Denver (+2) at Chicago - The Bears are 1-3 at home and don't do anything particularly well. The Broncos are 2-2 on the road, and showing signs of "getting it." The Bears are playing out the string, the Broncos are playing for a division title. I don't see a good reason for the Bears to be favored, and I don't think they'll win.

Baltimore at San Diego (-9.5) - These teams were 27-5 last year - they're 9-11 this year. The Ravens can't score at all. The Chargers can't score the way that people think they should. The Ravens have no quarterbacking. The Chargers quarterback has regressed. But they're both bullies if they get a lead. This week, San Diego gets a lead at home, and the Ravens can't do anything about it.

Philadelphia at New England (-22) - The spreads just keep getting more and more ridiculous, but they still fail to match the performance. To paraphrase one of the great philosophical questions, could the Patriots themselves set a line that the Patriots could not cover?

Miami at Pittsburgh (-16) - There was never going to be a good time for this Dolphins team to go into Pittsburgh, but the week after the Steelers loss at NY to the Jets is ... sub-optimal. I still think Miami wins one, but it won't be this one. The Steelers cover the 16 in the first half, and pad it in the second.

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