NFL Week 12 results 11-4
Season to date 125-66
An existential question of sorts for week fourteen; If Rex Ryan, sitting at home, easting cheeseburgers and playing playstation, loses a couple of games of Madden Football, does he carry the game system out back and bury it in the yard? On to the picks.
Browns @ Bills
Two teams going in very different directions. After a commendable start to the season, the Bills have started to wear-down and give the ball, and the game, up easily. The 2-10 Bills gave the rock up five times last week and had three really knuckleheaded personal fouls called too against the Vikings. The Bills also lost 2/5ths of their offensive line to injury. The Browns were working hard at losing close games until recently, when they have started to win them instead. They have a progressive, hard running back in Peyton Hillis who will be chomping at the bit to face a Buffalo defense that's giving up a league-worst 170.9 yards per game on the ground and has allowed at least 200 in each of the past two defeats. After an honourable first half of the season, the Bills year will fall apart here just a little bit more.
The pick: Browns 24-17
Packers @ Lions
The Detroit Lions are experiencing a similar season to the Bills. After some commendable hard fought losses, and a couple of dramatic wins, injuries have taken their toll and their season has started to slip south in a hurry. Their QB this weekend will be third string trigger man Drew Stanton. That is not what you need going into a game with one of the NFL’s hottest teams. The Packers have outscored opponents by an average of 19.4 points in their last five wins. Their only loss in that period came by three points at NFC South-leading Atlanta. The Packers are getting the job done, meanwhile Detroit need the off-season to regroup and retool for next season.
The pick: Packers 34-24
Giants @ Vikings
Strange game this. The media, in its pre game previews, are focusing on a 41 year old QB who may or may not play, and who has, to date, thrown a NFL leading 18 interceptions. One of the biggest sports sites actually doesn’t mention Favre’s backup, Jackson, once. He is most likely playing! Not one word dedicated to the lad. How on earth does Favre get so much attention? Could it be anything to do with the fact he is the same age and race as the vast majority of those who click on these types of stories? That’s one for the sociologists to decipher. This game is a littler easier to read. On paper it looks easy enough for the G-Men, but, wait. The Giants have built their season on the back of dominant wins over bad teams. They have so many injuries in their receiving corps they have been forced to run, run, run. What is easily the greatest asset of the Vikings as a team? Their overwhelming ability to stop the run. The Vikings, believe it or not, can still make the big dance. Home field, their powerful defensive line and the desperation to make it a meaningful season produce an ‘upset’ Vikings win. Just remember, you heard it here first.
The pick: Vikings 28-26
Bengals @ Steelers
There is something rotten in The Bungles camp. Major overhaul required. After yet another loss last week, Terrell owens was afforded the opportunity to talk to the media. A chance to sound a resounding call to arms, pick his team mates up with a rallying call. Instead, the usual, ‘Diva’, me-first rubbish that prevails amongst this sorry lot. Imagine coming out with the following turgid crap after your team has suffered a devastating loss. "Go back and watch the film. I can play this game. There ain't nobody I feel can stop me when I'm out there. That's just confidence, it's not arrogance." There also ‘ain’t nobody’ that can stop you talking that unique brand of selfish bullshit, is there, Terrell? In a uniquely team based sport, Owens is a uniquely selfish simpleton. Meanwhile, whatever you might think about Pittsburgh, they are a very solid ‘team’ in every sense of the word. They should pick apart this sorry mess easily.
The pick: Steelers 30-17
Buccaneers @ Redskins
Tampa are coming off a little two game losing streak, but there was no shame in those losses. Coming off a 17-10 defeat at Baltimore the previous week, Tampa Bay (7-5) lost 28-24 at home to South-leading Atlanta last Sunday. Before thinking the awful Redskins, a team in turmoil, have a chance, remember the Buccaneers are a perfect 7-0 against teams with sub-.500 records. Washington is one of those teams.
The pick: Buccaneers 27-17
Falcons @ Panthers
Two teams on very different streaks, The Falcons have won six on the trot while the Panthers have lost six in a horrible skid. The Panthers were crushed last week by a very poor Seattle team, while Atlanta won in impressive comeback fashion against a very good Buccaneers team. You can see where this is going.
The pick: Falcons 30-13
Raiders @ Jaguars
Football is all about balance. The Chargers have no balance, and the Raiders exploited that in last weeks somewhat surprise win. The Chargers basically have no special teams and a pitiful run game. The Raiders out gained the Chargers 251-21 on the ground in a 28-13 win. The Jaguars, however, are a very balanced team. They have a decent passing attack and a superior running game. Maurice Jones Drew is playing some of the best football of his life. Oakland are really hard to get a read on, the answer to this game might be in the respective quality of opponents defeated. The Raiders have beaten a very suspect Chargers team twice, and wins over Seattle and Denver are nothing to write home about. The Jags have defeated Tennessee, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas and Indianapolis. Advantage Jacksonville. It could be close though.
The pick: Jaguars 24-20
Rams @ Saints
The Rams are going to be a force next season, however their 2-4 road record is an immediate handicap. Taking a road trip to New Orleans is not going to be an enjoyable experience for them. The Saints have very quietly repositioned themselves as a firm Superbowl favourite. They have won five in a row including big wins over Dallas and Pittsburgh. The Rams will put up a fight but succumb to the pressure late on.
The pick: Saints 28-20
Seahawks @ 49ers
The 49ers are actually 3-2 in their last five games, and those two losses were to Tampa and Green Bay. Seattle generally put up a fight at home but raise the white flag on the road. Alex Smith returns for the 49ers, and he has the arm to hurt the Hawks deep. I am no fan of the 49ers season to date, so many dissapointments at all levels, but Seattle's road incompetence can not be ignored.
The pick: 49ers 24-17
Patriots @ Bears
Will Bill Belichick post news snippets and images from the famous Superbowl blow-out of old to rally his troops before this one? Do Bears fans have a warm, cosy feeling about the Patriots? Personally, as, at the time, a young Patriots fan, I will never forget that horrible, traumatic beating. Neither will Tony Eason, no doubt.
In there here and now, the Bears have righted their ship after a sticky little mid season slump. And are right now one of the form teams in the NFL. Playing with confidence at home, their defence is hitting hard and often. These two sides are fantastically evenly matched. Both will not be worried about the frigid weather forecast, and both will be riding long winning streaks coming in.
The Bears carry a slight edge playing at home in front of their fans, however two major aspects might give a slim overall edge to the Patriots.
First of all, as well as the Bears defence is playing, the Patriots are using every single offensive player at their disposal while averaging a superb 31 points a game. The Bears are averaging 20. If New England scores a couple early, it may be hard for the Bears to keep up.
Secondly, while the Bears winning streak is commendable, it has come against the likes of Buffalo, the Vikings, Miami and Detroit. The Patriots meanwhile have put away the Jets, Colts and Steelers on their streak. Clearly, advantage Patriots.
We haven’t had a Tom Brady led fourth quarter game winning drive in a while, this looks and feels like it could be just that. A hard fought, tight game with the superior offence given the ball one more time at the end with a chance to win it.
The pick: Patriots 34-28
Dolphins @ Jets
Maybe the Jets should spend a little less time talking crap, pulling stunts like burying footballs and whining to the media about being bullied, and a little more time working on their game. They were truly pathetic against the Patriots, and this week they face a hard running Dolphins team facing its last chance saloon. The Dolphins know that a loss basically eliminates them from the playoffs, whilst a win combined with a super-soft season finish scheduled wise, would actually see them right back in contention.
The Dolphins are a bizarre 5-1 on the road and will throw everything they have at the reeling Jets, who spent a short week (remember they played Monday night) posing for the media instead of identifying and working on their issues. What is it about the Jets? Why do they have to pull these media friendly, inane stunts? They will not be winning football team until they just shut up and play. What will Rex Ryan do after this loss? Gather the team together and bury Braylon Edwards, who is about as fake, fair weather player as you will find in the NFL. The Jets brought this on themselves, by winding themselves up so tight they are inevitably going to eventually break. The Dolphins have the motivation and road record to come in and cause a big week 14 shock.
The pick: Dolphins 23-20
Broncos @ Cardinals
The Cardinals are quite possibly the worst team in the NFL. The Broncos meanwhile have that whole 'new coach syndrome' thing going for them. Kyle Orton is a good QB too, and shouldn't be over looked when considering this matchup. Look for a newly invigorated Broncos to come in and lay waste to a truly awful Cardinals team. Denver might be the lock of the week, all things considered.
The pick: Broncos 27-16
Chiefs @ Chargers
Huge, huge question marks over this wildly important game. Kansas may be without their QB Matt Cassel who had an appendectomy on Wednesday. While Cassel is probably never going to win any MVP awards, he is perfect for the Chiefs, a hard working, dillegent QB who barely ever turns the ball over. Kansas loves him, with good reason, and if he's out they can kiss this one goodbye. Impossible to call until game day. but assuming Cassel doesn't recover, you can only see a Chargers win.
The pick: Chargers 27-17
Eagles @ Cowboys
Dallas are 1-5 in their sparkly new home. This has to be a source of great humiliation for them. Meanwhile the Eagles are sturdy road warriors at 4-2 on their travels. Meanwhile, the gloss has come off Eagles QB Michael Vick's season a little. The bandwagon calls for MVP, President and Nobel Prize have died down a little.
He is, however, still a handful, and will prove a very different challenge than the static, pocket passing Peyton Manning did last week. Dallas won’t be able to sit back deep in the secondary and pick off passes, if they do Vick will run all over them. This looks like a potentially exciting game, but the Eagles overall superior quality should deliver a dramatic late win. The excellent David Akers to kick the game winner late on.
The pick: Eagles 34-33
Ravens @ Texans
In the last six games Houston has five losses and one solitary win against a Tennessee team that is reeling hard. The Ravens only recent losses are too the Steelers and the Falcons, with four wins dotted around those. No need to look too hard into this one. Baltimore are the better team, and need the win to keep their season on track.
The pick: Ravens 28-20
Other weeks to date:
Week 13 (11-4)
Week 12 (9-7)
Week 11 (14-2)
Week 10 (8-6)
Week 9 (10-3)
Week 8 (10-4)
Week 7 (10-4)
Week 6 (8-6)
Week 5 (8-6)
Week 4 (9-5)
Week 3 (8-8)