Wellllp. Last week to put it bluntly in the clearest terms and simplest definition, sucked. Ive been prognosticating games for a long time and its been a while since I had so many picks go so diametrically opposite of what I predict. I mean, ive had a below .500 week here and there over the years but 3-10-1? Holy obfuscation Batman! I really blew it. So as we hit the back quarter of the regular season. We have no more byes, full slates of games and good solid analysis and better picks. The odds are being provided by ESPN Scorecenter since my usual reliable source at bodog.net decided to stop posting…the odds are for entertainment and comparison purposes only and though you might get a hot plate if you come to the Hoodwood Hideout on Thanksgiving, you wont get any love if you try to hit me up to cover your bad bets.
NFL WEEK 13
Sunday, December 1
Cardinals (7-4) @ Eagles (6-5)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Eagles by 3
Last Week Cardinals defeated Colts 40-11, Eagles were on a bye
Fast Fact Eagles QB Nick Foles has thrown 199 passes without an interception, the team record is 224 held by Michael Vick.
The aviary team battle is between a pair of surprising teams in contention. Nick Foles has passed with grace and aplomb and has pushed the Eagles back to the forefront of the NFC East, meanwhile with a whole lot less fanfare Carson Palmer has quietly led the Cards into the playoff hunt with solid play and a defense that is a lot better than expected. Most of the time I would say the Western based Cards would be dead meat headed East but I’m not so sure. I still have a hard time trusting Carson Palmer in big games and this one looks to be a big one. Still the Cards defense has been on point the entire season and I think that they make a huge statement.
Pick-Arizona (Upset of the Week)
Bears (6-5) @ Vikings (2-8-1)
Mall of America Field @ HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis 1:00 (FOX)
Last Week Bears lost to Rams 42-21, Vikings played Packers to 26 all tie
Fast Fact Vikings tie was their first in 35 years, which was also against the Packers
Blowing a big lead and played to a tie the Vikings nightmare season slogs on, but the Bears are falling apart fast as the let the Rams just whale on them to the tune of 42 points. Josh McCown is suddenly looking mortal and no one is really sure if Jay Cutler is all the way ready yet. I’m tempted to call the game for the Bears on GP but I recall how the Vikings moved the ball with ease against the Bears in the Midway a couple months ago. I know its bias but I think the Vikings are due and the Bears are simply not as good as many wonks think that they are.
Jaguars (2-9) @ Browns (4-7)
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland 1:00 CBS
Favorite Browns by 7
Last Week Jaguars defeated Texans 13-6, Browns lost to Steelers 27-11
A couple months ago this game was looking like a battle for the number one pick, especially after the Browns had seemingly surrendered with their trade of Trent Richardson. The Jags looked hopeless for the first two-plus months of the season but have sprung a pair of road upsets against divisional rivals. The Browns offense is what usually betrays them but I think that they will find the sledding fairly easy against the pedestrian Jags defense while the Jags offense will have their hands full with an underrated Browns defense aching to take frustrations out on someone.
Dolphins (5-6) @ NY Jets (5-6)
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Jets by 2½
Last Week Dolphins lost to Panthers 20-16, Jets lost to Ravens 19-3
Fast Fact Jets QB Geno Smith completed 25 passes for the entire month of November, Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill completed 28 passes last week against Carolina
This may be a matchup 5-6 teams but both are fighting hard to stay on the edge of the playoff picture. The Dolphins played the Panthers very tough before taking the loss while the grinning jeering buffoon that is Rex Ryan looks more the goof as his teams offense continues to blow hot and cold from week to week and have scored only 17 points in the last two games. I really distrust the Jets on either side because they betray my pick when I take them then play like gangbusters when I don’t. I don’t trust the Dolphins either but they are playing with a little more consistency on both sides of the ball and Ryan Tannehill has played respectably in spite of playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in pro football. I know I’m likely going to regret this because that grinning jeering idiot of a Jets coach usually has one more miracle game to burn me with.
Patriots (8-3) @ Texans (2-9)
Reliant Stadium, Houston 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Patriots by 9
Last Week Patriots defeated Broncos 34-31 in OT, Texans lost to Jaguars 13-6
Fast Fact The Patriots have won 27 of the last 29 in the month of December
The Pats are feeling quite froggy after rallying smartly from a 24-0 deficit to stun the Broncos, the Texans on the other hand thought the season could get no worse but then shamed themselves with a putrid effort in a shocking loss to the Jags and now in last in their division. Tom Brady is playing a whole lot more consistent with Rob Gronkowski to throw to and the Pats defense while not world class is still good enough to bully a team like the Texans who just want it to be all over
Pick-New England (Lock of the Week)
Buccaneers (3-8) @ Panthers (8-3)
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Panthers by 8½
Last Week Buccaneers defeated Lions 24-21, Panthers defeated Dolphins 20-16
Fast Fact Panthers QB Cam Newton has completed 64% of his passes during the Panthers 7 game winning streak and has had four games during the with a QB Rating of 111.0 or better
The Panthers are riding a franchise best seven game win streak and the sparkling play of Cam Newton and an underrated lockdown defense. Coach Ron Rivera played riverboat gambler with gutsy 4th down calls on a couple drives against the Dolphins and came up aces to get the win. Meanwhile the Bucs have been on a nice roll of their own, quieting the butt of joke talk with a 3 game win streak of their own highlighted by a stunning rout of the Lions in Motown. Mike Glennon is solidifying himself as the unquestioned leader of the offense but the curve gets noticeably steeper against a Panthers defense that will not bend as easily as the three previous victims. I would be worried that the Panthers might look past this game to their high stakes primetime showdown with the Saints next week but I don’t think that will work.
Titans (5-6) @ Colts (7-4)
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Colts by 4
Last Week Titans defeated Raiders 23-19, Colts lost to Cardinals 40-11
Fast Fact Colts have won 17 of last 21 meetings and nine of last ten
The Colts are a tough team to figure, they should be running away with the super weak AFC South, instead they are getting repeatedly hammered in games that they shouldn’t. Meanwhile the Titans rebounded from their humiliating loss to the Jags by winning a thriller in Oakland. The Colts aren’t a world beater but they are good enough to beat on their weak divisional opponents. This isn’t a team that I trust in the playoffs but they’re good enough to beat the Titans at home…I hope
Falcons (2-9) @ Bills (4-7)
Rogers Centre; Toronto Ontario, Canada 4:05 (FOX)
Favorite Bills by 3
Last Week Falcons lost to Saints 17-14, Bills were on a bye
Fast Fact The Bills play a single home game in Canada’s largest city which is about 90 miles north of Buffalo, about a 2 hour drive
A game so unremarkable that is was banished to Canada. But seriously, this is a real snoozer of a game, I’m thinking that normally the Falcons would feel right at home on the fast track of the Rogers Centre turf, but they have been playing so badly as of late that I think the Bills have better than a punchers chance. The Bills have been playing decently too having rung up 37 points on the Jets vaunted defense. I’m thinking the Falcons have mailed it in.
Rams (5-6) @ 49ers (7-4)
Candlestick Park, San Francisco 4:05 (FOX)
Favorite 49ers by 8
Last Week Rams defeated Bears 42-21, 49ers defeated Redskins 27-6
Fast Fact WR Tavon Austin joined some high company with his multiple 50 yard scores in back to back games. Only hall of famers Jim Brown and Gale Sayers have accomplished this feat
The Rams are on the fringes of the playoff race and have played well as of late scoring 80 points in their last two games, routs of the Colts and Bears. The Niners looked good to start got edged in a couple games to start November and bounced back strong to whip the Redskins. As much as I admire the Rams recent strong play, I just can’t take seriously as a playoff contender. The Niners defense is a lot better than the Colts or Rams and will show that in spades
Bengals (7-4) @ Chargers (5-6)
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego 4:25 (CBS)
Last Week Bengals were on a bye, Chargers defeated Chiefs 41-38
Fast Fact The Bengals set a franchise record with 31 points in the 2nd quarter against the Browns 2 weeks ago.
This is an intriguing game, The Bengals come in rested and in high spirits after smashing the Browns in week 11, the Chargers won a thrilling shootout over the Chiefs with an eyebrow raising 41 point performance, Philip Rivers could win comeback player of the year for his solid play this season and he has kept the Chargers on the peripheral of the playoff conversation. The Bengals have shined defensively yet their weapon laded offense has scuffled along as of late held under 270 yards in each of the last three games. They should find the sledding much easier against a Chargers defense that allows a conference worst 389.5 yards a game. I can’t shake the feeling that this is a trap game waiting to happen for the Bengals given their 2-4 record on the road, but I will go against my better judgment.
Broncos (9-2) @ Chiefs (9-2)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City 4:25 (CBS)
Favorite Broncos by 4½
Last Week Broncos lost to Patriots 34-31 in OT, Chiefs lost to Chargers 41-38
I guess this doesn’t have the sexy appeal it did two weeks ago when once beaten Broncos hosted the then unbeaten Chiefs. The Broncos blew a huge lead last Sunday and lost and the Chiefs are looking like a team exposed after getting nowhere close to Peyton Manning during their week ten matchup. I think both these teams’ flaws are beginning to surface. Peyton Manning isn’t one that likes to play in the cold and the injuries that the Chiefs are suffering on their defense is seriously taking their collective toll. I still think with all the warts the Broncos are still the better team and if given the kind of time the lack of front line pressure is affording by the Chiefs. Manning may be able to pick apart their D.
NY Giants (4-7) @ Redskins (3-8)
FedEx Field; Landover, MD 8:30 (NBC)
Last Week Giants lost to Cowboys 24-21, Redskins lost to 49ers 27-6
After a pair of Sunday Night heavyweights, this one sounds like a snoozer. The G-Men wasted chance after chance to knock off the Pokes and get deeper into the NFC East scrum, while the Redskins are another loss away from packing it in mentally. RGIII and Eli Manning already look as if they have the thousand yard stare from getting hit constantly. I think the G-Men have a lot more going for it on both sides of the ball and will take a page from the 49ers dissection of the Redskins last Monday. This will be another beating in the nation’s capital before a disinterested national audience.
Pick-New York Giants
Monday, December 2
Saints (9-2) @ Seahawks (10-1)
Century Link Field, Seattle 8:30 (ESPN)
Favorite Seahawks by 4½
Last Week Saints defeated Falcons 17-14, Seahawks were on a bye
Fast Fact The last two teams that had 13 game or longer home winning streaks saw those streaks end at the hands of the Saints
Without question the best game of the week, a high stakes meeting between two divisional leaders is the penultimate game. Drew Brees is throwing like a boss and while Russell Wilson doesn’t have as a gaudy numbers he has piloted the Seahawks to the NFL’s best record. The winner here will have an inside track on the coveted #1 seed and both are just about cash money at home. The Saints have the wherewithal to beat the Seahawks at home and can put up the kind of high scoring game that they are known for but something can’t let me pick them. The home team in this matchup has the definitive advantage and with the ear splitting mind numbing noise of Century Link and the lunatic loud fans that inhabit. It’s going to be a wild time. It’ll be close, but I think the home team wins a thriller.
Last Week: 3-10-1 (Lock correct, Upset incorrect as a tie)