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The Oratory's NFL Picks for Week 12
by John Canton (NFL)
Posted on November 27, 2009, 7:20 PM

John: Welcome to week twelve of the Oratory's NFL Picks. I am John Canton joined as always by my fellow prognosticators James Deaux and Matt Henry. There are only six regular season weeks left. Time flies, eh? I'm Canadian, I can say eh. I went 11-5 last week with three of my losses coming in games that I flip flopped on all week. Hopefully I can nail them this time around. I went 2-1 on Thanksgiving, so let's see how I do on the remaining 13 games this week.

James: Iíd like to apologize to my fellow prognosticators for not getting my Turkey Day picks in on time. Iíve been hellaciously busy, and my Internet connection has been off and on for three or four days now. For the record, I went 2-1 on the Thanksgiving Day gamesóI picked Green Bay and Dallas correctly, but not Denver.

Last week's results:
James 13-3
John 11-5
Matt 10-6

The standings for the season:
James 114-46 (.713)
John 104-56 (.650)
Matt 100-60 (.625)

All game times are Eastern.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta 1:00 PM
James: Atlanta has finally finished an unforgiving nine-week stretch where they played only two home games. They are probably not going to make the playoffs, but they definitely have a great shot at ending their 45-year streak of no back-to-back winning seasons. Playing in the Georgia Dome against the woeful Buccaneers is a good place to right the ship. Atlanta 37 Ė Tampa Bay 21

Matt: I canít go wrong picking against the Bucs this week can I? The Falcons have been looking flat, but not so bad as to drop what is has got to be considered a must win game to the Bucs. Falcons 24-10

John: I like the Falcons big here. It's pretty basic. The Falcons are 4-0 at home and 1-5 on the road. The Bucs are 1-5 at home and 0-4 on the road. By week 12 trends start to develop. Donít overthink it. Falcons win big here even if Michael Turner doesn't play again. Falcons 27-10

Miami at Buffalo 1:00 PM
James: Miami is still firmly in the playoff chase while Buffalo is still awful. I donít see this being close at all. Miami 30 Ė Buffalo 10

Matt: The Bills are not the worst team in the league. At least they are better than the Lions, the Rams, the Browns.... One on the many teams they are not better than? The Dolphins. Dolphins 27-10

John:I'm feeling an upset here because I tend to like home dogs in divisional games. The Bills actually played with heart last week for their new coach and realized that Terrell Owens is still a very good player if he touches the ball. In Miami's case, Ricky Williams is really running the ball well and they could definitely put some points on the board if the establish the run. The problem is I don't have enough faith in Chad Henne to pick him to win on the road in a tough environment. I've been in that stadium in Buffalo. There's a lot of wind. It's tough to adjust to sometimes. If the Bills make some plays on defense they should score enough to get the win. Bills 27-21

Cleveland at Cincinnati 1:00 PM
James: I refuse to pick Cleveland to win anything except basketball games. A furious Cincinnati wins huge here. Cincinnati 35 Ė Cleveland 14

Matt: Much like last week, Iím really pulling for an upset. Much like last week I donít see that happening. Maybe much like last week the Bengals will manage to fall apart in a game they should win and help the Steelers hang around the playoff picture a little while longer. Iíve got nothing good to say about the Browns. This team is not going to be competitive this year, next year, or anytime in the near future without major overhauls. Bengals 35-3

John: The Browns are atrocious in every way. The Bengals pissed me off big time last week by losing to the Raiders. I didn't even need them to cover. Just a win, that's all. That's what they'll get this week. One week late for me. Bengals 20-3

Seattle at St. Louis 1:00 PM
James: The last time these teams met, St. Louis was shut out...and no one cared. This time, still no one cares. Both of these teams are awful, and I suspect the outcome will be similar. Steve Jackson is hurting and Marc Bulger is out for the year. Seattle will probably squeak out a victory with a field goal. Seattle 21 Ė St. Louis 18

Matt: Our weekly bad Vs Worse game. To be honest, I think the Rams are going to keep this one very close despite their weekly efforts to ensure a better draft pick. The Rams are just a few mistakes away from having five wins and being on the outside of the playoff bubble in the NFC. I have a feeling Iím going to have some regrets about not going with the Rams here. Seahawks 18-17

John: My Rams are 0-5 at home while the Seahawks are 0-5 on the road. Somebody has to win, right? You thought I'd predict a tie there, didn't ya? Nah, I'm going Rams. I know Steven Jackson's questionable, but I think he'll play. He doesn't need practice. Give the man the ball. He'll make it happen...unless Kyle Boller throws it away. Wouldn't be the first time. Rams 23-20

Carolina at NY Jets 1:00 PM
James: Jets: I will never understand Carolina. The playcalling in that game against Miami was some of the most mind-boggling Iíve ever watched. They have maybe the best running back tandem in the NFL and they throw it three straight times on 1st and 10 in the red zone?? John Fox probably sealed his fate with that game. On the other side, the Jets are terrible right now mainly because Mark Sanchez is showing in spades that he is a rookie. Iíll pick Carolina, although that is an indictment on the Jetsí offense, rather than any real confidence in the Panthersí. Carolina 24 Ė New York 20

Matt: Tough game to call and with both teams on the outside of the playoff hunt, not really worth much analysis. Iím going with the team that seems to be on less of a downward spiral. Panthers 20-13

John:The Jets, losers of 6 of 7, are three point favorites. Um, what? Mark Sanchez is a mess at this point. The defense isn't stopping the run and the pressure seems to be getting to Rex Ryan, who needs to stop talking as much as he does. It's not helping. The Panthers will win thanks to their excellent running attack and because they've finally realized how much Jake Delhomme sucks. Welcome to the club, Panthers. Panthers 24-23

Washington at Philadelphia 1:00 PM
James: Washington probably wasnít meant to win that game at Dallas anyway... Philadelphia 28 Ė Washington 6

Matt: The Eagles get a much needed win at home against the Redskins. To their credit, Washington is a much improved team since the head coach stopped calling the plays. They wouldnít lose to the Lions again, but they wonít beat the Eagles. Eagles

John: There are a number of bad teams in the league that are pesky at home, but they're absolutely garbage on the road. The Redskins fall into that garbage category although after looking at their scores they really haven't been blown out away from home. I think they'll keep it close while they lose. They know the Eagles well, so they should cover the nine points. As for the Eagles, they're destined for close games because they're a predictable offense that doesn't run the ball enough. Teams know how to defend them. Eagles 24-17

Indianapolis at Houston 1:00 PM
James: I feel really bad for Houston since they seem to just find ways to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Badly want to pick Houston to upset Indianapolis, but they have the Texansí number. Indy 28 Ė Houston 24

Matt: People have been calling each game that the Colts have played since the near loss to the 49ers a trap game for this unbeaten club. I only jumped off of the bandwagon once during that time period. Iím doing it again, with the Colts facing the same team and for the same reasons. Texans 18-17

John:They played three weeks ago with the Colts winning 20-17. Houston missed a field goal late. Last week Houston lost again because Kris Brown missed another field goal late. They are either going to play the best game of their lives and win or completely implode. I'm going with the implode route. The Colts are focused, hungry and sure of themselves. The Texans are probably wondering what kind of team they are. In a situation like this you have to like the undefeated team here because you know what you're getting with Peyton Manning at the helm. Colts 27-20

Kansas City at San Diego 4:05 PM
James: The Chiefs are coming off their biggest win in years, and San Diego is fresh off a thrashing of the Broncos. San Diego should handle the Chiefs pretty easily. San Diego 30 Ė Kansas City 17

Matt: The Chiefs arenít quite as bad as their record indicates, and they have a pile of momentum coming off of the upset win over the Steelers last week. The Chargers are also on a roll, and at home, and the better team. They have finally gotten the running game back on track. Chargers 30-17

John: The Chiefs absolutely fall into that "pesky at home, garbage on the road" category. The Chargers have figured it all out. They're a very dangerous team right now. It'll be a comfortable win here. Chargers 34-10

Jacksonville at San Francisco 4:05 PM
James: I want to pick Jacksonville here, but they are a terrible road team. San Francisco doesnít overly impress me, but they can beat the Jags at home. San Francisco 23 Ė Jacksonville 14

Matt: Jacksonville may be one of the most difficult teams in the league to pick due to the wide inconsistency in how they play week to week. Sure they are 6-4, but look at the teams that they have faced this year. The AFC South is playing the NFC West this year which allows for several easy wins. They have also beaten the Jets and Bills. By virtue of playing in the NFC West, the 49ers havenít faced much competition yet either. Despite what appeared to be a strong start, the 49ers have fallen quite flat in the past few weeks. The Jaguars seem to be the hot team right now. Jaguars 24-18

John: The 4-6 Niners need this one if they have any hope of making the playoffs while the 6-4 Jags need to keep winning to get in the tough AFC. It's tough to forecast a game when you've got two teams that play only once every four years. They don't know eachother, so to me when that happens I like going with the better offense. I think the Niners will have a tough time stopping Jones-Drew, Sims-Walker, Garrard-Quarterback and...wait a second. Team hypen tricked me. That's okay, though, because I'm picking them. Jaguars 17-16

Arizona at Tennessee 4:15 PM
James: Tennessee is on fire right now, but they get a tough test here with one of the best road teams in the league. Tennessee needs to give Arizona a healthy dose of Chris Johnson and they will be fine. Tennessee 28 Ė Arizona 24

Matt: Arizona is going to be the least deserving playoff team this year. Then again, they were last year as well when they went to and almost won the Superbowl. Remember the Titans from last year? This team is even more dangerous now that Vince Young is playing up to match some of his hype. Eventually heís going to get smashed on that option play though. Until then, this team has still got an outside shot at the playoffs. I considered picking the Cardinals here, but they canít win every road game while being awful at home can they? Titans 32-12

John: With the way Chris Johnson is running right now (1200 yards and a ridiculous 6 yards per carry) I'm not picking against him. Can't do it. Vince Young is playing well enough that he's making those key plays on third and short that Kerry Collins had trouble converting earlier in the year. If they had benched Collins in week three instead of week six they might be in a playoff race right now. The Cards are good team on the road as their 5-0 road record shows, but I think that's an inflated number due to their easy road schedule. I'll roll with the Titans. I'm a believer. Titans 30-21

Chicago at Minnesota 4:15 PM
James: Chicago has no momentum of any kind, and Minnesota is, for my money, the best team in the NFL. I suspect this one will be hideously painful for Bearsí fans to watch. Minnesota 31 Ė Chicago 10

Matt: Very sad to see the shape that the Bears are in right now. Iím thinking that a Vikings Championship run will finally give Farve the closure he needs to his career to retire for real this time. I think, but maybe not. Probably. Yeah, heíll retire after winning another Superbowl. No doubt about it. Or not. Vikings 27-10

John: The Vikings are playing as well as anybody right now while the Bears are playing as poorly as some of those 1 or 2 win teams out there. Cutler's completely off his game. Now he's on the road against the best defensive line in football? I really don't like Chicago's chances. When (not if) Cutler turns it over the Vikes will capitalize like the always do thanks to the lethal Favre/Peterson combo. I like Minny to roll here. Vikings 34-17

Pittsburgh at Baltimore 8:20 PM
James: Pittsburgh just isnít the same team with Troy Polamalu, as last week showed. Meanwhile, Baltimore has crashed and burned into mediocrity because their defense is old and Joe Flacco is stuck in neutral. This one could go either way, but Iíll choose Baltimore solely on home-field advantage. Baltimore 17 Ė Pittsburgh 14

Matt: It kills me to do this, because the Homer in me wants to believe in the Steelers. That said, there are just too many key injuries to that defense and with Roethlisbergerís health once again in question with no viable back up QB option, I have to pick the Ravens. I know that another loss in the Division cripples the chances for them to make the playoffs, and I know that they can and should win this game. There is just too much going on with this team right now and hardly any of it is good. Ravens 24-21

John: This is a tough call. The Steelers beat them three times last year, but I think it's fair to say that neither team is as good as last year. The 5-5 Ravens are in must-win mode because you're probably going to need 10 wins to get in the AFC playoffs. The 6-4 Steelers are in the same boat. They need this one after dropping a game to the woeful Chiefs last week. I read a stat the other day that the Steelers haven't lost three straight since Mike Tomlin started coaching them three years ago. I think that stat will hold up here even with Ben Roethlisberger dinged up. The Ravens offense hasn't been good the last four weeks. They don't have enough threats in the passing game and Flacco's regressed since the start of the year. Both teams are reeling. I'm going to go with the champs in a typical low scoring Steelers/Ravens game full of hard hits and great defensive play on both sides. Steelers 17-14

New England at New Orleans 8:30 PM (Mon)
James: Obviously the game of the week here. Iím picking New England, despite their overall poor road play. The way New Orleans was playing before they curbstomped the Bucs last week was anything but impressive. New England is the kind of team that can bring down even the best opponents. New England 37 Ė New Orleans 34

Matt: On paper, the Saints should dominate this game. Of course the Patriots get a ton of love from the sports media because they are the Patriots. Iím honestly shocked that this one isnít an even line at this point in time. The Rams came close to getting the win here a few weeks ago, but the Saints managed to prevail. Look for this to be similar to the Colts/Patriots game from a few weeks back. If the Saints can keep the pressure up for four quarters they win this game, even if it is in miracle come from behind fashion. Saints 28-24

John: I'm feeling like this will be a shootout. When two amazing offenses aren't familiar with eachother I like to think that there are going to plenty of points. If it's hard for teams that play them regularly to stop them, how are they going to stop eachother when they're unfamiliar? To me, the Saints are going to feel more pressure here, which could lead to some mistakes on their end. Of the two QBs, I think Brees is more prone to making mistakes. I'm fully aware that Darren Sharper has been great for the Saints at safety all year, but they also haven't faced a duo like Moss and Welker. I think they will be too much for the Saints. All week I've been leaning towards the Pats. I just think they're better than the 3 losses that they have and the Saints aren't as good as the 0 losses they have. I don't see myself betting on the game or rooting for anybody in particular. All I know is that when I watch the game I'm going to enjoy watching two elite QBs going head to head on a big stage like Monday Night Football. If people ask you why you love the NFL tell them to watch on Monday and say, "for games like this." Patriots 34-31

JC's Money Picks
Every week I'll pick four games against the spread or using the over/under. I was 2-2 last week for the second week in a row. I'm still looking for that 4-0 week. I've hit 3-1 a bunch, but I want that 4-0. Maybe this week. These odds come from pinnaclesports.com as always.

Season: 27-20-1 (.574)

CHARGERS -13Ĺ over Chiefs. Beat them 37-7 earlier in the year. I think it happens again.
VIKINGS -10Ĺ over Bears. Chicago's terrible right now. Vikes are on fire.
Panthers +3 over JETS. I like the road dog against one of the worst home favorites you could find.
Bills/Dolphins OVER 40. I feel like there will be a lot of points. Not sure why. Just a gut feeling more than anything.

Thanks for reading. We'll see you next week for week thirteen.

Enjoy the games.

Contact James at xenomaster_17@yahoo.com
Contact Matt at Kane_matthews@hotmail.com
Contact John at oratoryjohn@gmail.com

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