My apologies for not posting last week, but hey holiday travels make it tough! I hope you all had a good turkey day. On a side note, for those who are curious I had 9 winners. Not great, but certainly not terrible either. Thanks for the comments and messages. Here is what’s on tap for week 13:
Jets vs. Bills
In the NFL’s effort to show how paltry the CFL is we send them the Bills and the Jets?? Either way, Canada here we come! Both of these teams have been somewhat of an enigma for me this season. The Jets have been expectedly up and down as those are the growing pains with a rookie QB. The Bills on the other hand seem to come out of nowhere and make games and even win a few against what should be superior teams. Last week the T.O. and Fitzpatrick combination proved to be lethal against Miami and quite frankly it even had me scratching my head after the Bills crushed a really tough Miami team. The Jets themselves had a nice win over a very streaky Carolina team with what looked to be the same dominating defense that started the season. Both teams are confident right now and it’s probably a sucker bet, but I’m going to take a flyer and go with the Bills getting 3 points.
Broncos vs. Chiefs
The Broncos defense was stout last week versus the Giants. Due to last weeks Thursday game they should be a little fresher than KC coming into this game who was crushed by the Chargers on Sunday. The Broncos are just trying to keep up with the Chargers at this point. They sure looked motivated after getting an earful from head coach Todd Haley who dropped more F-Bombs than a Chris Rock skit. The Chiefs who have trouble beating the Broncos to begin will have their hands full this weekend just trying to keep it competitive. I take the Broncos and give the 4.5.
Steelers vs. Raiders
Big Ben looks to take the field this week and that will be a welcome site for the Steelers. I personally was shocked by how well Dixon played as QB, being a rookie and having practiced one day last week before the game. The Steelers are having a hard enough time without Polamalu, they cannot afford to pay without Roethlisberger. The loss last week if anything will have them up to play hard this week as they are on the cusp of missing the playoffs which would be a shame as they are possibly the most dangerous team given their record. They will not over look the Raiders who surprisingly have taken out Cincy and the Eagles. Go figure? The Raiders are getting some guys like Fargas back this week, but that won’t be enough to win, but should be enough to keep in within the 14.5 points. Just too many for me not to take.
Jaguars vs. Texans
The Jags looked like a defunct division I football team last week. Mistakes piled up and the Niners made them pay. It was like watching one of those bad blooper highlight reels. Very disappointing considering how well they were playing going into the game, (winning 3 in a row). Houston on the other hand, can’t buy a win. They just find ways to lose. They give away huge fourth quarter leads, and choke when it counts (down the stretch). If I didn’t know better I would have though Matt Schaub had money on the Colts. He gave that game away at the end. It just made me sick for the team, who I have been rooting for to make the playoffs this season. This game is a pick’em, but at this point I have to think that the Texans are just a better team even though they have had a run of bad luck. If they have any aspiration of salvaging the season it will be this week, if not then they are officially lost. I’m taking the Texans to rebound from a heartbreaking loss over the Jags who just looked lost last week.
Colts vs. Titans
I’ve gotta admit, I am rooting for the Titans to make the playoffs. I think that would be the story of the NFL season and it just proves how good Jeff Fisher is as a head coach. Vince Young as I have said in the past, wins ugly, but the SOB wins and that’s all that counts. Speaking of just wins, I have to believe that the Colts luck has to run out at some point. Peyton Manning is clearly the best QB and possibly player of our generation. His calling of games, the audibles, the on the field coaching, and his performance is just out of this world and we haven’t seen anyone like him or even remotely close to him since Joe Montana and when its over Joe may even pale in comparison. He can take anyone of us off the street and put up respectable numbers. Not to mention he still has one of the best SNL skits of all time. Everything says take the Colts playing at home, but until the Young train goes off the tracks, I think the Titans want it more than anyone at this point and they should at least keep it closer than 6.5.
Eagles vs. Falcons
The Eagles barely escaped with a win over the Redskins. Everyone is talking about Mike Vick because they are taking on Atlanta this week. The truth is he is not the same guy and will not be a factor even if he gets a sniff of the field this week. Furthermore, if your one of these fools still proudly wearing his jersey, you either hate yourself, hate animals, or your IQ is a few standard deviations below the mean. Okay, enough Vick talk. The Eagles defense gave up 24 points to the Redskins last week and they have not looked the same. Yes they miss their D coach Johnson who recently died of cancer, but right now I think they really miss guys like Dawkins who is in Denver and their linebacking core is and has been beaten up, with Omar Gaither, Stewart Bradley on IR and Akeem Jordan and White battling injuries. This has not allowed them to do what they like and that is blitz, and blitz efficiently. This is good for Atlanta, which has had trouble keeping backup quarterback Redman vertical. They snuck by Tampa last week and may get a boost if Michael Turner comes back this week. Westbrook likely to still be out and perhaps DeSean Jackson too, but without Matt Ryan I don’t think they have enough to keep it within 5.5.
Bengals vs. Lions
Bengals are just rolling right now and even with Cedric Benson still on the sidelines they have been able to keep the running game potent with the addition of Larry Johnson. LJ with 107 was running like an angry man last week. Nothing beats motivation. This week it looks like Ced Ben is going to play and that does not bode well for the Lions who have done well to keep competitive this season. This seems to be a case of bringing a knife to a gun fight. The Lions just don’t have enough to match the Bengals right now and relying on a Matthew Stafford’s shaky shoulder is no place to start. Cincy Covers the 13.
Saints vs. Redskins
Can I just say that I’m happy someone socked it to Bill Belichick last week? After running up the score on just about every team he can, he finally gets a beat down of epic proportion and acts like a whiney child and yanks his guys with plenty of time to play. Awful. He should be ashamed. The Saints are the cream right now and have risen to the top of the NFL heap. So why are they giving only 9.5 to the woeful Redskins? Because this is a classic trap game. And quite frankly this is the type of game they tend to keep close after blowing out a quality opponent. Everyone is taking the Saints this week and I’m headed the other direction. Skins keep it within 9.5 in what should be a sloppy game.
Panthers vs. Bucs
The Panthers have been wildly inconsistent this season and were man handled by the Jets. Now with Jake Delhomme apparently dealing with a broken finger it doesn’t get any easier for them when they play the invigorated Buccaneers who have been playing good football the past few weeks with Johnson at the helm. What’s worse for the Panthers is the backup Josh McCown is out for the season as well and it looks like Matt Moore will be taking his place. Not good news for a team looking to rebound. The Panthers are giving 6.5 points and this is way too much for a team on the skids. The Bucs keep this one close if not win the game.
Bears vs. Rams
There is so much dissention amongst the Bears these days its like watching a bad day time soap. Jay Cutler once the savior of the franchise is now being criticized for being “too flashy” from Urlacher. Are you kidding me? Look at what this guy has to throw to. He is trying to make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t and it has cost him. Period. The team is just dysfunctional, their offense has the ability to move the ball but just can’t score, the defense is woeful. They are thanking their lucky stars the Rams are coming to town. The problem for the Bears is that the Rams are no push over and give a quality game to most of their opponents. The Bears are giving 9 and I just don’t see it. I think the Rams keep this one close with Steven Jackson at the helm.
Chargers vs. Browns
Ugh. I hate talking about any game involving the Mangini led Browns. The Chargers have turned it around and are playing like the team we thought they were (Denny Green in my head). The Chargers could have laid a stinker last week versus a weaker opponent; instead they took care of business. I have no reason to believe that Philip Rivers and company won’t have another big day and crush the woeful Browns. The Browns were surprisingly competitive versus the Bengals, but this is not a rival and the motivation will not be there. Chargers cover the 13.
Seahawks vs. 49ers
A pick’em game this week. Both teams had dominating performances last week with the Hawks taking care of the Rams and the Niners crushing the Jags. I put a little more stock in the Niners victory as they ended a good 3 game run by the Jags. Not to mention, they play tough at home and they seem to be the more physical team at this juncture taking on their head coach’s mentality. The Niners should bully the Seahawks and easily take care of business at home.
Vikings vs. Cardinals
Vikes have looked like the second best team in football right now behind the Saints. As we all know they are a very complete team with Adrian Peterson running the ball, a dominating defense, and a quarterback who has been mistake free, and accurate in Brett Favre. Brett who? This is not the same guy we have seen throughout his career. Completing 88 % of his passes and is arguably the most efficient QB in the NFL. Did I just hear there was a snowflake in hell? Arizona on the flip side is still one of the scariest teams to play and are capable of taking out anyone. They will be motivated to show their stuff against a team who is making a Superbowl run. With a 7-4 record they are no slouches themselves and had a disappointing loss versus the Titans last week. Before that loss they reeled off three straight victories. They are getting 5 points at home and I have to take the dog here as Arizona should be able to keep it close.
Cowboys vs. Giants
My beloved Giants are just pitiful. It pains me to see them play this bad. I can only hope they muster up enough pride to beat their rival Cowboys. The Giants are playing at home with those swirling winds and the weather will not be favorable for the Cowboys who will be playing away from the confines of that gorgeous dome. The Cowboys haven’t been over powering, but they have taken care of business. The Giants on the other hand are scratching their heads since week 5. Brandon Jacobs is not the same guy, the defense has had no consistent pass rush, and the secondary is a ticking time bomb. This is going to be a battle in the trenches. Normally I would favor the Giants, but the Dallas offensive line is big and beefy and should be able to drive the ball consistently. Not to mention the WR in Roy Williams and Miles Austin should give the Giants secondary fits all day. Cowboys are only giving 2.5 and I’ve gotta give it in this case.
Patriots vs. Dolphins
Well the Pats should be relatively fresh on offense after Bill Belichick whined like a baby and yanked the starters early last week. Boo hoo…someone get him a tissue please? The fact is they were crushed by a better team, but they are still a very good team and should not be overlooked. This is a huge game for them against the Dolphins and the victory would all but insure their playoff bid. The Dolphins looked terrible versus the Bills last week and Chad Henne looked shocked and lost at times. With a rotation of offensive lineman due to so many injuries this team is starting to break down. Ricky Williams is still more than capable of carrying the load and was able to practice this week after suffering from an injury to his chest (not from smoking anything either). Even with a banged up O line he still got 115 yards. The Pats recover this week though and cover the 6 points.
Packers vs. Ravens
If there is one team I’m a little disappointed in this year it’s the Ravens. They appeared to be a complete team at the start of the season and I thought Flacco would take off after such a good season last year. They seemed to be a team ready to take it to the next level, but they just haven’t. Yes they won last week, but they barely escaped with a win versus a rookie QB who practiced one day before the game. The Packers on the flip side have sort of surprised me and have reeled off 3 in a row. The beat the lowly Lions last week, but they have beaten the Cowboys and the Niners before that. For me they only have one real good win this season and that was versus the Cowboys and their 7-4 record is deceiving. The Ravens have faced better competition in Cincy twice, Pitt, Pats, Denver, Chargers, etc. Win or lose they have kept it close and I put more stock in their 6-5 record versus superior competition. They are getting 3 points and though it is at Green Bay on a Monday Night, they are the better team.