Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Week 12 NFL Picks - Part 2

I went back and re-read the Thanksgiving Day picks and let's just say that the magical effect that Heineken has on my putting clearly does not transfer to my writing. (I continue to gain a whole new respect for Hunter S. Thompson). A sure sign of bad writing is when you can't figure out what the writer was trying to say . . . when you were the writer. (Another sign is lazily starting every paragraph with a question - see below). Part of the problem is that we are now in Week 12 and we're back to full 16 game slates so we've officially reached the "dragging Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes" part of the season. With that being the case, we're going to dispense with the analysis on some of these games and just go with the tangents as they as they come.  

Cincinnati by 7 over Oakland: The Pick - Bengals
"My dad says you don't do any 
research and that you don't really
try, except in the playoffs."

Who would have thought that when the Raiders boldly traded to get Carson Palmer from the Bengals last October they would end-up being worse off than they were before they made the deal? Oh yeah, everyone thought that. The Bengals are actually making a semi-legit playoff run which tells you everything you need to know about the condition of the AFC after you get past the top four teams (hint: it's not very good).      

Pittsburgh by 1.5 over Cleveland: The Pick - Browns

How bad must Charlie Batch have looked in practice for Mike Tomlin to stick with Byron Leftwich on Sunday night when he was getting pounded and throwing 15 yard lawn darts to receivers who were 25 yards away? And now they have to go to Batch and say, "we love you Charlie, you're our guy." The Browns have actually been competitive in every game this year but keep discovering new and more creative ways to lose. That creativity is going to be tested this week against Batch and I'm betting that, in a true George-Elaine reversal, the Browns beat the Steelers this week.

Denver by 10 over Kansas City: The Pick - Broncos

Seriously, at what number would you take the Chiefs against any good team at this point? 15 points? 20? In a related story, their quarterback of the future, West Virginia's Geno Smith, has lost five of his last six games. Sounds like a Chief already.

Indianapolis by 3 over Buffalo: The Pick - Colts

"Class of '87 coming
through mutherfucker."
How must you feel if you're a Bills fan and Peyton Manning is replaced by a rookie quarterback and ten games later the Colts show-up to your place as 3 point favorites when your own front office is the gang that couldn't shoot straight? Probably not too pleased. Speaking of being not too pleased (tangent alert), I probably shouldn't have called the ref in my alumni soccer game an "embarrassment," but that's what I thought of him after he red carded me with my family on the sideline. Since when did it become illegal to steamroll the goalie like Pete Rose trying to score on a sac fly?*   

Tennessee by 2.5 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Titans

Not much to say about two teams that will be rotting in NFL Purgatory for at least the next three years behind the structurally sound Texans and the reborn Colts so this seems like as good a time as any to mention that I just purchased my first Speedo.** I stopped short of going full thong to spare the coeds at the local college pool the uncensored version of what their husbands will look like in 20 years. Here is some footage of me emerging from the locker room for the first time Tight Pants

Chicago by 1 over Minnesota: The Pick - Bears

Without Percy Harvin, the Vikings become very one dimensional and, despite how great that one dimension is, the Bears' defense should be able to stop it. Factor in the return of Jay Cutler and this looks like the beginning of the end of Minnesota's playoff chances. (This is the part where Viking fans say "hey you just wait one . . ." and then sigh because they know I'm right). 

Atlanta by 1 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs

This could be the game where the Falcons are exposed as the one and done playoff team they are. They haven't beaten a team with a winning record all year (which is not their fault because they haven't played a team with a winning record all year) and they just escaped what should have been a home loss to the reeling Cardinals despite Matt Ryan throwing 5 interceptions (or one fewer than Aaron Rodgers threw last season). That hiss coming out of the Georgia Dome was the air coming out of his MVP campaign. 

Seattle by 2.5 over Miami: The Pick - Seahawks
You make a compelling
case ladies but your boys
are outclassed in this one.

You probably didn't know that the Seattle Seahawks have the league's second leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch and the second best scoring defense. Let that be a lesson to you. Maybe next time you'll devote a little more attention to your Seahawk's statistics and a little less time to not being a nerd.  

Baltimore by 1 over San Diego: The Pick - Ravens

This line is a testament to how bad the Chargers are right now because the Ravens (and Joe Flacco in particular) stink on the road and that stink level generally rises the further west they go (thank God the NFL doesn't have a team in Hawaii). You can say what you want about Flacco and he was at best below average against the Steelers, but the fact is that he has now played 83 games as a pro without missing one which is the 14th longest streak in NFL history and the 3rd longest active streak behind Eli Manning (146) and Phillip Rivers (113). Feel free to scoff at the importance of that stat based on Flacco's inconsistency but remember that the days of Frank Reich and Jeff Hostetler coming off the bench and winning games are over as those guys would be starting for 10 teams right now so the durability of your starting quarterback is more important than ever . . . right Bears' fans?

San Francisco by 1 over New Orleans: The Pick - Saints

The 49ers have spent a lot of time this season racking-up wins against teams led by the likes of Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jason Campbell. Their win over Aaron Rodgers was way back in week one and they were embarrassed at home by Eli Manning and the Giants. Now they have to play the NFL leader in touchdown passes on the road with uncertainty at their own quarterback position. Just has the feel of one of those games where Drew Brees gets freaky.

Arizona by 1.5 over St. Louis: The Pick - Cardinals

This pretty much sums up
the Rams' 2012 draft decision.
I don't care what all of those draft picks turn into, the Rams are going to long rue the day when they traded away the chance to draft RG, III. I get it. They'd already committed a boatload of money to Sam Bradford*** and they had other positions to fill but through 26 games before the 2012 draft (a more than adequate sample size), Bradford had thrown 24 touchdown passes, 21 interceptions and had lost 9 fumbles. The evidence was right in front of them but they went the safe route and it cost them. Bradford is such a non-factor at this point that I don't even know who is playing quarterback for the Cardinals, and I'm still picking them.

N.Y. Giants by 2.5 over Green Bay: The Pick - Packers

Not a lot of analysis needed here as I have the Pack winning-out and taking the #2 seed in the NFC. This is going to be the biggest hurdle but the Giants seem to be teetering between (a) being interested in a serious run at going back to back or (b) just milking it knowing they're pretty much getting a free pass this years thanks to last year's title and the fact that the team they share a city with is doing its impersonation of an imploding star. 

Philadelphia by 2.5 over Carolina: The Pick - Panthers

"Yup, you dropped the
ball again Goodell."
According to Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, "nobody has lined up and just beat us. No, it's just mental mistakes." I'm sure the explanation that they're playing stupid football put the minds of Eagles fans at ease along with Brent Celek tweeting, "I'm sick of this crap."**** Two points here: (1) if you were ever going to keep your money in your pocket on Monday night, this would probably be a good time as these are two of the more mercurial teams in recent memory and (2) if ever there was a game to inspire a movement to implement flex scheduling for Monday night games, this is it. The league could have given us a rematch of one of the greatest playoff games of all time (Saints-Niners) but, like Sylvester Stallone in Cop Land, "they bleeeew it" . . . ("You Blew It!").

Last Week's Record: 8-5 . . . Season Record: 80-77-3

Email the FGR here so I can stop asking myself my own questions - Email the FGR.

Endnotes

* None of this really happened other than the fact that I was "that old bald guy who keeps trying too hard" in my alumni soccer game but sometimes I need to play out potentially realistic scenarios like this one in my head to remind me that I need to avoid them in real life.

** Despite this seeming less likely to be true than the soccer game story, it actually is. I have reached the point where I am (a) sick of the old ladies kicking my ass up and down the pool and (b) beyond caring what anyone thinks of my appearance. (Cue the FGW nodding).

*** The first time I typed his name, it auto-corrected to "Same Bradford" as in, "the Rams traded away the rights to RG, III when they should have known they'd be getting the Same Bradford in 2012."

**** "I'm sick of this crap" is also about the most harsh thing you can say to your kids without feeling guilty. Of course due to the fact that I never got around to installing the sound-proof partition in my car, my kids have heard the f-bomb so many times that they think it's something you have to say every few minutes to keep the engine running.