NFL Picks for Week 12
by John Canton(NFL)
Posted on November 23, 2006, 11:18 AM
John: Welcome to week twelve of our weekly NFL picks column. Iíd love to sit here to spout off some wisdom about the great National Football League, but to be honest Iím in mourning after learning that no Kevin Federline/Britney Spears sex tape exists. K-Fed, my idol, you let me down. How can I concentrate on the NFL now? I guess Iíll have to since I have a job to do. I went 8-8 last week, which is okay, but Iím really tired of going .500 every week because itís happened way too often for me. Iím ready for a winning week with a double digit win total. Do I think itíll happen this week? No, of course not. Also note that Iím probably going to be brief in my comments this week due to lack of time more than anything.
drq: It was a terrible week for me in the eleventh week of our picks, as I went a scandalous 6-10 and pretty much locked up last place positioning in our little three-man race. And, with a good portion of the league clogged together at or around .500, things don't seem to be getting any easier. With the exception of Indianapolis, Chicago and maybe Baltimore, nobody's post-season life seems to be a sure thing at this stage and a lot of teams are just hanging around on the cusp of greatness. The matchups are becoming much more heated and interesting with the end of the line beginning to come into focus, and the only certainty is that nobody in the prediction business knows as much as they think they do.
Last Week: John Canton: 8-8
Brett Berliner: 7-9
John got the win last week, but nobody was stellar. This National Football League is CRAZY we say. Crazy!
Note: Brett Berlinerís picks will be edited in when they are received.
Miami at Detroit 12:30 p.m. (Thursday) drq: For the second year in a row, the Dolphins are beginning to come on strong now that their post-season fate seems to have already been determined. The Lions, on the other hand, still don't really know who they are, where they're going or how they intend to go there. Three weeks ago, they thrashed the Falcons by sixteen points, much to the chagrin of odds-makers around the world. Now they're coming off a pair of losses against the Niners and the Cardinals. In the case of Arizona, the loss came against the team with the worst record in the league. The game doesn't really matter to either team, but I like Miami. Miami: 17 - Detroit: 7
John: I donít think Detroitís any good (they lost to the Cards!) although they usually seem to play better on Thanksgiving at least if you forget Peyton Manningís six TDís on them two years ago. Miamiís defense is playing great football right now (especially Jason Taylor), which means theyíll force turnovers and theyíll win this game because of that. Dolphins 20-10
Tampa Bay at Dallas 4:15 p.m. (Thursday) drq: Despite their victory over Washington last weekend, the Bucs managed to continue their disturbing trend of steadily regressing with each consecutive game. With the way the Redskins have been playing this season, not to mention the first career start of rookie QB Jason Campbell, this should've been an easy win for Tampa Bay. Instead, they did everything in their power to give it away late, only to be saved by the clock. Bruce Gradkowski is beginning to show some flashes of originality and foresight, rushing with the ball when the situation calls for it, showing he isn't afraid to throw the ball away when nothing's happening, but he's still a rookie struggling through his first season under the gun. Dallas is a scary team right now, with Tony Romo showing substantial poise and Terry Glenn overshadowing TO in the receiving game, and I don't think Tampa can contain them any better than Indy did in the fourth quarter last weekend. Dallas: 28 - Tampa Bay: 14
John: Fine Dallas, I think youíre good now. I hate it, though. I really hate the Cowboys because of how much pub they get from the media. They are playing good football, so they deserve some props for that. The defense is in sync (no, not in N Sync drq, sorry), the running game is good and Tony Romo is playing effective football unlike the statute known as Drew Bledsoe. The Bucs just arenít a good team this year. I donít know if itís injuries or age, they just arenít there. I like Dallas comfortably here. Cowboys 30-13
Denver at Kansas City 8:00 p.m. (Thursday) drq: The mighty Broncos have begun to come apart at the seams. Their once-proud defensive unit, after allowing only a handful of TDs in their first few games, have since taken some harsh fire from the powerhouses of the AFC. The last time these two teams met, September 17th in Denver, it was a 9-6 kicker's duel. Within the confines of Arrowhead stadium, with a healthy Trent Green and a stampeding Larry Johnson, I think they'll make up for that previous lack of offensive production. The Broncos are on the decline, while the Chiefs seem to be headed in the opposite direction. Kansas City: 35 - Denver: 20
John: Should be a fun game. At least thereís one on Thanksgiving. Itís tough not to like the Chiefs at home. The story here will be about which team will do a better job of running the ball. The Broncos have the better D, but the Chiefs have the better RB, so itíll be interesting to see who wins that battle. I think ultimately the Chiefs will score the win because Jake Plummerís playing poorly at the moment and I see him doing something to cost his team the game. Chiefs 24-20
Arizona at Minnesota 1:00 p.m. drq: What happened to these teams? So much promise before the season, such close games against the nigh-omnipotent Chicago Bears earlier in the year, and now both are struggling mightily. It's been painful to watch both Brad Johnson and Edgerrin James's rocky falls from grace this season, although not quite as painful as this game has the potential to be. The Vikings suck the least, I guess. Minnesota: 17 - Arizona: 10
John: Who knows? Both teams are so horrendously bad at this point that itís a shame that one of them has to actually win the game. Maybe theyíll tie 0-0 due to sucking so much. I guess Iíll pick the Vikes to win because I think they can still run the ball although really, who cares? Vikings 19-10
Carolina at Washington 1:00 p.m. drq: The Panthers are starting to amp it up again, while the Redskins have all but written the season off by giving their rookie the opportunity to take some game-time snaps. The game may be in Washington, but without Clinton Portis and Santana Moss a game-time decision, the location of the game shouldn't make any difference. Carolina wins comfortably. Carolina: 27 - Washington: 10
John: Anybody that would pick the Redskins at this point must be out of their minds. Of course, watch them win 30-6 now that Iíve said that. Panthers 20-9
Cincinnati at Cleveland 1:00 p.m. drq: The 2006 Browns are one of those teams that are just a headache to play. They've got some untapped potential offensively, some underachievers and an armload of overachievers to match, but they haven't played all that well together this season. They're a team that could be more than they are, that any true playoff team should be able to handle, but they've got that certain intangible element that allows them to stay close in the games they have no business competing in. This smells an awful lot like a trap to me, as the Bengals are soaring behind the resurgence of Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson, but for the Bengals to fall, that duo would have to be taken off-track by some great defense. I don't think the Browns can really offer that, and as a result I'm going with Cincy running away. Cincinnati: 28 - Cleveland: 14
John: I think somebody has just informed the Bengals two weeks ago that the NFL season ahs started because they seem to be looking like the team they were last year. The defense has its problems, mainly because anybody can throw on them, but the offense is playing really well and they should have enough to get by a plucky Browns team. Bengals 27-23
Houston at N.Y. Jets 1:00 p.m. drq: You know, this could actually wind up being a pretty entertaining game. While they aren't quite playoff material yet, the Texans have been keeping things interesting most of this year, and the Jets have likewise been overachieving. Both teams like to throw the ball, although their running games shouldn't be overlooked, and have the ability to keep up fairly well in a shootout. I think the Jets are the more solid team right now, but the Texans have enough in them to make a game out of it. New York Jets: 24 - Houston: 20
John: I think the Jets are clearly the better team here even though the Texans are definitely capable of beating anybody as they have shown. I just like the Mangini boys at home here. It should be a smooth win. Jets 17-10
Jacksonville at Buffalo 1:00 p.m. drq: How can a team look as dominant as the Jags have in their two big prime time matchups this season, but then drop two consecutive games to the Houston Texans? It's not even like Houston snuck by them on a last-second field goal or a multi-lateral runback at the end of the game - they completely dominated Jacksonville in both encounters. I won't lie, the Jags seriously impressed me by handling the Giants the way they did last week. However, until they can play ball like that for sixty minutes against teams of all manner of talent and abilities, they'll never be considered more than just a fringe playoff squad, waiting to be eliminated in the wildcard round. With Willis McGahee, I'd believe a lot more in Buffalo's chances. Without, they're just about cooked. Jacksonville: 14 - Buffalo: 6
John: I smell the upset here. Lee Evans is playing out of his mind right now and the Jags don't seem to beat the teams they should beat. So I like the Bills. Bills 17-13
New Orleans at Atlanta 1:00 p.m. drq: Both teams really, really need this win to keep up in a wild NFC South. New Orleans has lost three out of their last four, but they smeared the Falcons in their previous meeting, 23-3 in the Super Dome. Though this game is on the road, Atlanta hasn't been all that impressive on their own turf this season, with a record of 3-2, and the dirty birds have lost three straight. I think Michael Vick's woes continue this week, but Warrick Dunn keeps them close until the finish. New Orleans: 21 - Atlanta: 17
John: Close call. I canít really figure Atlanta out. I pick them and they lose. I donít pick them and they win. The Saints seem to be another of those of very good offense/porous defense type of teams. This might end up being a shootout. If thatís the case I like the Saints. Saints 37-30
Pittsburgh at Baltimore 1:00 p.m. drq: Are the Steelers a playoff team again? I really can't tell... for three quarters in Cleveland, they played like they were striving for the top of the draft board, and then for one miraculous period, they played like champions again. Despite all their inconsistencies, this is still a team that can win when they put their minds to it. Baltimore's beaten some top-level teams, and they've put up big points in almost every game - whether said points were scored by the defense or the offense - but they haven't met the Steelers yet. This one's really up in the air, since both teams have failed to show up for games already this season, but if they're both moving at full speed I like the Steelers. Pittsburgh: 24 - Baltimore: 14
John: The Steelers are basically in a must win situation every game for the rest of the year. They are in tough against a Ravens team that has found some offense ever since Brian Billick has been doing the playcalling. And guess whoís actually looking good again? Jamal Lewis. Doesnít mean heís going to run on the Steelers, but the cocaine dealer has looked solid this year. I donít know if Pittsburgh can run on the Ravens and if thatís the case Iím unsure if Roethlisberger can pass on them too. I think itís going to be a tough, physical game that ultimately the Ravens win on a last second field goal. Ravens 21-20
San Francisco at St. Louis 1:00 p.m. drq: I don't know what I was thinking, taking the Rams on the road against Carolina last week. With the injuries to their offensive line, they've basically become Arizona's big brother. They've got all the right players at all the right places on offense - two superb WRs, a great running back and a sound QB - but the rocket ship explodes on the runway because of their struggles on the line. The 49ers don't exactly have a pro bowl defense, so I can't imagine the Rams being anywhere near the big fat zero they laid on the scoreboard this week, but San Fran has beaten this team already in '06 and they've got all the momentum at present. San Francisco: 24 - St. Louis: 17
John: Ha, who came up with the odds of my Rams being favored by 5.5 points? Thatís crazy. Apparently nobody who makes the odds has seen the Rams stink up the joint for five straight losses. This team is in disarray due to a lot of injuries on offense that are crippling the offense. If you canít block in this league you canít win. Itís as simple as that. With San Franís no name, fast as hell defense on the field I donít think theyíll have a problem keeping the Rams offense under wraps. It also doesnít hurt to have Frank Gore running on the Rams always crappy run defense. Sigh. What happened to my team? 4-1 start, I was thinking playoffs and now at 4-6 on their way to 4-7 in my mind. So sad. 49ers 20-17
Oakland at San Diego 4:05 p.m. drq: Well, at least it's not a Monday Nighter this time around. Oakland's defense has improved, but nobody seems able to stop LaDanian Tomlinson this month. The Raiders should be competent enough to pick their poison this week - do they want to die by the ground or by the air? San Diego: 28 - Oakland: 3
John: Lots of points. Not by the Raiders. That was easy. Chargers 34-6
Chicago at New England 4:15 p.m. drq: Easily the game of the week, and depending on which team(s) show up to play, the end result could just as easily be a blowout in either direction as a close, competitive duel. The Bears have alternated between unbeatable and frighteningly vulnerable this season, while the Patriots have likewise performed either brilliantly or pitifully. It's tough to ride with either team here, considering those inconsistencies and their mounting losses to injury. For Chicago, Bernard Berrian and Brian Urlacher should both play, but no one can say how close they are to 100%. New England is in serious trouble without Rodney Harrison in their secondary, and unless they can get some pressure to Rex Grossman, it could be a long night. I'm taking the Bears, but nobody in their right minds should ever count Bill, Tom and the Patriots out of a big game. Chicago: 20 - New England: 10
John: Game of the week right here. I think these two teams are both in the top five overall in the entire league, so whenever two teams of this caliber play the difference always seems to be turnovers. Thatís why Iím gonna go with the Patriots. I think theyíll do enough things defensively to confuse the hell out of Rex Grossman, forcing him to make some bad throws and ultimately cost his team the game. Should be a low scoring defensive battle. Pats 17-10
N.Y. Giants at Tennessee 4:15 p.m. drq: The Titans are exactly the team nobody wants to play right now, especially coming off the kind of disappointing, confidence-shaking performance the Giants produced in Jacksonville this past Monday. Behind Travis Henry and Vince Young, the Titans are slowy showing signs of life, and have the potential to make some serious strides in the next year or two. For the time being, they're a little bit too streaky and inconsistent for my taste, but I do think they'll give the G-Men a good scare all the same. New York Giants: 21 - Tennessee: 20
John: I want to pick the Titans. I really do. However, I just think this is one of those games where Tiki Barber is going to get 25-30 carries, run for like 200 yards (and no touchdowns of course because Brandon Jacobs will get three) and carry his team to victory the way MVP type players do. Giants 27-17
Philadelphia at Indianapolis 8:15 p.m. drq: Philly looked to be on the way out even before McNabb went down last week, trailing the Titans and turning the ball over very early in the game, and I can't see them faring much better in Indianapolis Sunday night. I'd likely have taken the Colts here even if McNabb had played, but it would've been a much tighter game. Easily-overlooked skills like McNabb's ability to scramble around the pocket to avoid the rush and to move the ball with his legs against tight coverage will be sorely missed when Jeff Garcia starts this game under center. Brian Westbrook should still have a big day against the oft-criticized Colts defense, but not as big as you'd expect. Until the third quarter in Dallas, this looked like a completely different Indy D, and if they can find a way to play with that kind of intensity for just fifteen additional minutes, they'll be a legitimate force. I don't like the Eagles' chances here, but the Colts have been playing teams closer than they should, so I think Philly remains within striking distance until the conclusion. Indianapolis: 24 - Philadelphia: 13
John: Too bad for McNabb. Very likable guy. About as likable as any superstar in any sport, really. That injury pretty much means the end for the Eagles playoff chances too, I think. Itís not just him. Losing Jevon Kearse early in the year killed the defense too. You canít win without your top guys for very long in this league. Especially on the road against a pissed off Colts team that wants to avenge the loss they suffered last week. I like Indy. Big. Colts 40-10
Green Bay at Seattle 8:30 p.m. (Monday) drq: Green Bay has managed to injure both their franchise QB and their backup in the last seven days, and although Favre seems ready to play, I think he's in for a difficult test at Seattle. The Hawks are finally starting to get their stars back, after Shaun Alexander's return last week, and although last season's MVP didn't have all that impressive a return in San Francisco, the Hawks should have little difficulty in disposing of the Pack. This isn't the same team that went to the Super Bowl last season, though, regardless of health. Seattle: 24 - Green Bay: 7
John: I like the Seahawks at home in primetime games. Theyíre one of those teams that really makes teams pay when theyíre on the road in situations like this. Throw in the fact that both Hasselbeck and Alexander are back and youíve got a dangerous team right here. The Pack are good enough to keep it close for a bit, but theyíll wear down in the second half. Seahawks 23-13
JC vs. The Spread I'll use the line that TheGreek.com provides and I'll pick four games that I think you should bet on for the week.
Last week: 2-2 - Better than a losing week, but I'd love a 3 or 4 win week here.
Miami (-3) over Detroit I just really think Miami is playing great football right now. I like them here.
Indianapolis (-9) over Philadelphia It's not enough points. I think Indy's going to cream them.
Carolina (-4.5) over Washington This is more my faith in the Redskins sucking than it is in the Panthers being good.
Seattle (-9) over Green Bay Primetime game, their boys are back Ė I like the Seabags big here.
Until next week (when we post the column before the Thursday games), for Drqshadow and Brett Berliner this is John Canton saying enjoy the games. You know we will.