Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Week 12 NFL Picks

Looking to ride the 3-0 momentum from Thursday into the weekend.  If you were ever going to take a Sunday off from the NFL, this would be the one as there is only one game where both teams have winning records and we have the usual assortment of dumpster fire games like Cardinals v. Rams and Redskins v. Seahawks.  (Is there a better way to convey meaninglessness than "dumpster fire?"  It's contained burning trash.  Don't even waste the fire extinguisher.  Just flip the lid closed and let it burn itself out).  

St. Louis by 3 over Arizona:  The Pick - Rams

Three weeks ago these two NFC West heavyweights engaged in a battle of football skills between unarmed opponents and the result was an overtime game that the Rams had a chance to win with a field goal as time expired that was of course blocked.  Since that game, the Rams have lost to the Browns and Seahawks and the Cardinals have resorted to their third string quarterback, Richard Bartel a/k/a "The Pride of Tarleton State University."  (According to Wikipedia, aside from producing third string quarterbacks, "Tarleton is a growing institution, know for its internationally recognized horse production program."  In other words, it's a horse farm with a library and a football team).            

N.Y. Jets by 8 over Buffalo:  The Pick - Jets

"I don't like rookies.  I hate kickers."  
"You said bullshit and experience is all it takes, right? . . . Come on in and experience some of my bullshit."  That was the last thing Reggie Hammond told Jack Cates before he shook down the redneck bar in 48 Hours and I'm starting to think that's what Rex Ryan said before he became head coach of the Jets.  The problem with the "bullshit and experience" method is that sooner or later, the people you are bullshitting are going to catch on and it won't work anymore.  One of the things that made that 48 Hours scene so great was the underlying tension created by the prospect that a bar full of rednecks were going to figure out they were being played by a black guy and what would happen if they did.

I think the Jets players are starting to reach that point with Ryan and may be losing some faith in him (their faith in Mark Sanchez and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is almost completely gone).  If they don't make the playoffs this year, I don't see the Rex Ryan era lasting past 2012.  That is a very old football team with a very shaky quarterback.  Kind of reminds me of the career arc of another mouthy coach in the late 80's.  I think it was Buddy somebody.  It'll come to me.  With all of that being said, it turns out the Bills were a fraud and that was before they lost Fred Jackson for the season.          

Cincinnati by 7.5 over Cleveland: The Pick - Bengals

Cleveland Browns season
ticket holder since 1978.
As a Ravens fan, I'm really looking forward to the Andy Dalton era.  Not only did he torch what is supposed to be one of the best defenses in the NFL for 373 yards, he did it without his future perennial all pro receiver, A.J. Green.  If the Ravens' history of helping receivers build there hall of fame credentials is any indication, that guy has found himself in the right division.  On the other side of the state we find the Browns who were already one of the worst teams in football before they looked-up and found themselves in the toughest division in the AFC.  At some point, scores of Cleveland fans wearing Browns, Cavaliers and Indians jerseys are going to start walking into Lake Erie like lemmings and everyone will understand.  No one will try to stop it and the news coverage will have a tone of hopeless inevitability, like when the Leaning Tower of Pisa finally keels over.          

Houston by 3 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Texans

Matt Leinert was picked 10th in the 2006 draft by the Cardinals, muddled through a few unproductive years in Arizona and has now settled into his role as a backup.  Blaine Gabbert was picked 10th in the 2011 draft by the Jaguars, has muddled through nine unproductive games as a starter and . . .  

Carolina by 3.5 over Indianapolis:  The Pick - Panthers

As if the Colts needed more incentive, now they get to play the team with last year's number one pick and see first hand all of the benefits that go along with that.  Next year's number one pick may, however, come with a price because the Colts have potentially overplayed their hand right into an 0-16 season.  This Sunday is their best shot at a win as they go on the road to New England and Baltimore the next two weeks and then finish with three division games against the teams they've been slapping around for the last ten years.  I thought it would be great to see the Colts tagged with the 0-16 stigma until I realized that half the guys on the NFL Network would spin it into more blather about the greatness of Peyton Manning.  You know what, they're going to do that anyway.  Down with the Colts!!!          

Tennessee by 3 over Tampa Bay:  The Pick - Titans

"I'm just saying' I'd run faster with a
twenty dollar bill in each of these hands."
I had never made a desperation fantasy football trade until two days ago when I unloaded Calvin Johnson and Marion Barber for Marques Colston and Chris Johnson but that's what you do when you're 5-6 and your best running back just went from having a strained calf to being out for the season with a broken fibula.  (The Bills are so cheap that it took a few hours for Fred Jackson's HMO to approve the x-ray).  Now I'm putting my season in the hands of a guy who got his fat contract and seems just as happy running for 13 yards as he does running for a 113.  Maybe if the Titans taped a few twenties to the goal posts it would inspire him.  At this point, I'd contribute to the cause.  

Atlanta by 9.5 over Minnesota:  The Pick - Falcons

Viking fans don't get enough credit for the misery they've had to suffer.  They are one of two franchises to be 0-4 in Super Bowls, they missed a chance to get to another one because their kicker who had made 39 field goals in a row missed a 38 yarder in the 1999 NFC Championship Game and then they had to watch Brett Favre throw away another chance in the 2010 NFC Championship Game, both at home.  Now, just over a season and a half removed from being one play away from the Super Bowl, they're starting backfield is Christian Ponder and Toby Gerhardt.  At least they're going to be spared watching the Timberwolves this season.  (Since I wrote that, there was breaking news of an NBA labor deal.  Sorry Minnesota).               

Seattle by 4 over Washington:  The Pick - Seahawks

"I'm a funny guy right?  RIGHT?"
Rex Grossman versus Tavaris Jackson.  What else is there to say?  I can't think of anything because I can't get the word "dreck" out of my head so, instead of forcing it, let me just refer you to one of the funniest things I've ever seen involving Liam Neeson doing improvisational comedy with Ricky Gervais (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKTh7zBIcrM).    
         

Oakland by 4.5 over Chicago:  The Pick - Bears

See what happens when you accuse your quarterback of being soft.  He breaks his thumb trying to make a tackle just to prove how tough he is like G. Gordon Liddy holding his hand over a candle.  I'm still not completely on board with the Raiders and the Bears have enough to beat average teams without Cutler.  And now that the Broncos have laid out the blueprint for winning without passing, you don't even need a real back-up quarterback anymore.  Caleb Hanie's projected stat line:  3-8 for 53 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.   


San Diego by 6.5 over Denver:  The Pick - Broncos

You're offering me Tebow and points against a team Norv Turner is trying to coach out of a downward spiral?!?  You shouldn't have.  


New England by 4 over Philadelphia:  The Pick - Patriots

You mean this wasn't a documentary?
The Eagles have more talent at just about every position except quarterback which means they have about the same chance of me outracing Tony Stewart if you put me in a Shelby GT500 and Tony in a Hyundai Sonata . . . which would be no chance in hell.  (My three year fantasy NASCAR stats - 3rd, 1st and out of the money.  Then I quit.  I think everyone in the league hated me because I knew nothing about racing and felt compelled to point it out every other week.  "I don't know how I keep winning, I don't even watch the races."  NASCAR fans are very sensitive and protective of their sport.  Kind of like soccer fans with southern accents.   It probably didn't help that I named my team "Shake 'n' Bake").  


Pittsburgh by 10 over Kansas City:  The Pick - Steelers

Remember when the Raiders started Kyle Boller right after signing Carson Palmer because Palmer wasn't ready, but after Boller threw three picks they put Palmer in anyway and he proceeded to throw three more picks?  Well the Chiefs just signed Kyle Orton but he's not ready so they're going to start Tyler Palko against the Steelers and this could get out of hand in a hurry.

New Orleans by 7 over N.Y. Giants:  The Pick - Saints

Savor this Monday night game because for the next two weeks we get San Diego at Jacksonville and St. Louis at Seattle.  (Don't be surprised if they go all out to save the ratings for that second game and give Hank Williams, Jr. an open microphone to say whatever he wants at halftime).  Give the Giants credit.  They're hanging on despite being crushed by injuries and Eli Manning is actually being mentioned as one of the top quarterbacks in the league.  I think Drew Brees puts that into perspective on Monday.        

Last week:  6-5-2 . . . . Season: 41-37-2