Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Week Twelve Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 21, 2008

There isn’t a whole lot to say about Pittsburgh’s 27-10 win over the Bengals last night, other than the result did not come as a surprise.  The surprise was that the game was still 10-7 at halftime, but Pittsburgh’s running game eventually got going (strangely enough with Mewelde Moore, not Willie Parker) and the Steelers defense swarmed and stifled the Bengals offense after the first drive.  Pittsburgh dominated the line of scrimmage defensively in the second half, and offensively started to assert themselves by the fourth quarter.  Pittsburgh needed that game with a tough stretch coming up, and they know they’ll need to get the running game going earlier in games than they did last night to be successful.  The Steelers’ final touchdown drive was impressive, chewing time off the clock and converting third downs in business like fashion (This is why I thought ‘game over’ immediately after Cincinnati’s field goal to cut it to 20-10.  Why would Cincinnati not go for it on fourth and goal there down 20-7?).  It wasn’t a perfect performance for Pittsburgh by any means, but they got win and now have 10 days to get ready for a trip to New England.  Now, on to the picks, keeping in mind I am 1-0 so far this week for once:

Last Week: 10-5-1 (.625)  Season: 99-59-1 (.626)

– Chiefs over Bills: Upset alert.  The Buffalo Bills have really fallen off the wagon.  After a 4-0 start, and then 5-1, the Bills have lost four straight and five of six.  Trent Edwards’ play has really regressed after he had a really stellar first month of the season.  The Bills were in the game against Cleveland last week in spite of Edwards, not because of him.  His three first quarter picks really put the Bills in a hole, and for him to not complete even one pass to top receiver Lee Evans in the game in inexcusable.  There is a significant track record of young quarterbacks faring horribly in their first appearance at Arrowhead Stadium, so this is not where the Bills want to be playing right now with Edwards struggling so mightily.  The Chiefs played hard again last week against New Orleans, and they are desperate for a win especially at home, and they will find a way to beat the rapidly flaming out Bills.       

– Patriots over Dolphins: The Dolphins creamed the Patriots in the first meeting week three in Foxboro.  That was the game in which Miami brought out the Wildcat formation for the first time, and it resulted in five Ronnie Brown touchdowns.  This time the Dolphins get them at home, but Bill Belichick has now had time to study the Wildcat.   Let’s just say that Belichick doesn’t take well to being embarrassed.  He and his team will be much better prepared for the Wildcat this time, and they will be highly motivated to avenge the week three loss.  Miami has very quietly been one of the hottest teams in the league, having won four in a row, but they’ve barely won their last two against Seattle and Oakland.  If the Dolphins don’t give a better effort than they did in those two games they could actually be in big trouble.  New England isn’t afraid to play on the road, and they win this one here to once again make things interesting in the AFC East.

– Titans over Jets: I’ve learned my lesson.  I will not pick against Tennessee again anytime soon.  I’m sure Jeff Fisher is distraught that I am no longer picking against them.  The Titans are definitely for real, and they’ve handled three very difficult tests in a row, including two straight on the road.  They’re dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and Kerry Collins is playing so well that Vince Young has no hope of seeing the field this season or maybe next.  Is it possible the Young injury in week one is the best thing to happen to the Titans all season?  The Jets will provide another stiff test, especially since they are coming off their biggest win of the season in New England.  If Brett Favre plays as well as he did in Foxboro, this could be a very entertaining game indeed.  However, odds are the Titans defense will be able to come up with a big turnover late and they will continue their winning ways. 

– Ravens over Eagles: The fact that the Eagles allowed themselves to be involved in a tie game proves they are not among the league’s elite as once thought.  For Donovan McNabb to not know that a game could have ended in a tie is inexcusable (although to be fair, how many other players also didn’t know?  Probably more than you’d think).  Philadelphia also may not have Brian Westbrook, who is questionable again.  If he’s out, then it will be a Baltimore field day.  It may be all Ravens anyway even if Westbrook plays.  Baltimore will be hopping mad after waxed by the Giants last week, especially the Ravens’ defense.  The Ravens also know they can still see Pittsburgh’s taillights in the AFC North with a win.  An angry Ravens defense and a slumping Eagles team is not a good combination for Donovan McNabb and company.  Baltimore wins, and it could easily be by a lot. 

– Browns over Texans: This is easily the dud game of the week.  I feel sorry for fans in Texas that don’t care about the Texans who will get stuck watching this game on CBS.  Houston’s progress on offense has really stalled with Sage Rosenfels at the controls instead of Matt Schaub, although Steve Slaton is doing his best to carry the team on his back.  The run defense could be a trouble spot for the Browns after they got shredded by Marshawn Lynch last week.  Cleveland is coming off a big Monday night win over Buffalo, but Brady Quinn suffered a broken tip of his finger in the contest.  Quinn will try to play, but if he can’t go, Derek Anderson may get another shot to run the offense.  I am tempted to pick the Texans because of the Quinn injury and they fact they were able to keep it close against the Colts, but a hunch says the Browns will be able to get the win at home.     

– Vikings over Jaguars: I have officially given up on the Jaguars.  I have never had a preseason Super Bowl pick blow up in my face before the way I have with Jacksonville this year.  Jacksonville for whatever reason has not been able to run the ball near as effectively as they did last season.  This does not bode well considering Minnesota is among the league’s best at stopping the run.  David Garrard has certainly not been the problem, but the lack of a running game has hurt his ability to make plays in the passing game.  The injuries they’ve had on the offensive line have had a lot to do with that, but part of the Jaguars’ problem has been the defensive side of the ball too.  Jacksonville has given up way too many big plays at inopportune times.  That is a bad omen with Adrian Peterson coming into town.  If Peterson has a big day, Jacksonville is in real trouble in this one.    It seems strange to say the Vikings are more in playoff contention than the Jaguars but that is the reality.  Minnesota wins as Jacksonville’s free fall continues. 

– Broncos over Raiders: The Broncos have very quietly opened up a two game lead in the AFC West, and believe it or not they are only one game out of position for a potential bye in the AFC playoffs.  Denver destroyed the Raiders 41-14 in the opener in Oakland, but Denver did most of its damage against DeAngelo Hall, who is now a Redskin after the Raiders released him.  Denver still has half of its defense banged up, including Champ Bailey, who will once again not play.  The backups stepped up and played terrific against Atlanta last week, and the Broncos will need a similar effort this week.  The Raiders have actually run the ball well this year, and for all their struggles they have managed to keep it close in a number of games this year.  This is a huge rivalry, so the Broncos will need to be careful to avoid a letdown, but if the offense doesn’t turn the ball over than Jay Cutler and company should be able to have success offensively.  Oakland may have Nnamdi Asuomgua to shut down Brandon Marshall, but the Raiders do not have the secondary to contain Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler.  Denver wins at home to keep their AFC West lead. 

– Cowboys over 49ers: Dallas did not quite look sharp last week in Washington, but they were able to get a road division win.  It almost looked as though Tony Romo’s return lit a fire under the defense as much as it did under the offense.  Dallas in many ways is fortunate to be 6-4 considering the issues they’ve dealt with, but now they have a chance to take advantage of the friendly portion of their schedule.  Now that Romo is back, it seems like it should be only a matter of time before Terrell Owens starts putting up big numbers again.  The 49ers have played very hard for Mike Singletary the last two games, blowing out the Rams last week.  Even though it was the Rams, the Niners still had a 35-6 halftime lead, so perhaps their offense is starting to figure things out.  San Francisco is not a cakewalk anymore, so the Cowboys have to be careful, but they should be able to win this one at home. 

– Cardinals over Giants: I feel like I’m tempting fate picking against the Giants.  I do feel as though they did not get proper respect from anyone at the start of the season, especially national idiots who picked them to finish under .500.  I believe the Giants are the best team in the NFL, so this is definitely not a knock against them in any  way.  This is an interesting game because the Giants return to the scene of their Super Bowl win last year, which happens to be a place where the Cardinals have become very difficult to beat.  Arizona’s areal circus passing game has been very effective under the roof, and I believe the Giants will have trouble containing both Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.  The Giants may be without Brandon Jacobs, and even if he plays he won’t be 100 percent.  If Jacobs doesn’t play, they could still get a capable performance from Derrick Ward, but it would still hamper the Giants’ offense a little bit.  Arizona has been dominant at home, and the Cardinals will be fired up for this one to prove they are for real.  There is also a chance the Cardinals could actually clinch the NFC West this week if things break right around the league.  The motivation will be enough for Arizona to pull off the upset in the climate controlled indoor environment, with a caveat that if there is a playoff rematch in the Meadowlands, the Giants would roll in the bad weather.

– Redskins over Seahawks: Washington is coming off two tough home losses, but they currently still hold the last playoff position in the NFC.  They know they’re going to have to take care of business against a weak Seattle team if they are to maintain that position.  Clinton Portis did play against Dallas, and while he was limited, it does indicate that he should be able to go against Seattle.  His presence is really the key to the Redskins’ offense because of his ability to block in the passing game and his ability to make plays in the open field.  The Seahawks did not look any more improved with Matt Hasselbeck under center last week than they did without him, and Seattle still looks like they’re going through the motions during much of the game.  This game is very important for Washington, while Seattle is playing out the string for a lame duck coach that has announced his retirement at the end of the year.  This combination adds up to an easy Redskins victory, even on the road. 

– Bears over Rams: St. Louis has been outscored 75-6 in the first half of their last two games.  That tells you all you need to know about how bad things are in St. Louis.  The Bears lost 37-3 last week in Green Bay, which means they’re also limping into this game.  Chicago is only a game out of first in the weak NFC North, so the Bears definitely still have something to play for unlike the Rams.  Chicago’s defense has really struggled in the passing game this year, but they have been outstanding against the run (except last week) and they still have the ability to force turnovers and make things happen.  I sense a monster afternoon for Chicago’s defense against a weak St. Louis attack, and the Bears should be able to get enough yards on the ground from Matt Forte to win comfortably.  As bad as the Rams are and as difficult as Bears tickets are to find in Chicago, it wouldn’t surprise me if this felt like a home game to the Bears with tons of Chicago fans in the seats.

– Buccaneers over Lions: The 0-16 watch in Detroit continues.  Actually, the Lions gave a great effort last week at Carolina, and were just a two point conversion away from tying it up in the fourth quarter.  Daunte Culpepper didn’t look near as lost and the Lions actually got great running from Kevin Smith.  The other side of the ball is a different story however, as Detroit allowed a franchise record running day for the Panthers.  Tampa Bay’s defense successfully contained Adrian Peterson last week, and the Bucs’ defense should be licking their chops about facing the Detroit offense, and they will be able to shut down the Detroit offense.  The Bucs’ offense has taken a hit with Earnest Graham out for the season, but Warrick Dunn is perfectly capable.  Tampa Bay rolls on the road.

– Panthers over Falcons: This will be a great game in the NFC South.  The Panthers are very quietly 8-2 and in bye position in the NFC, while the Falcons are in the thick of the race at 6-4.  The Panthers won the first meeting fairly handily in Charlotte, despite being outgained on the ground.  Carolina got 100 yards apiece from DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart on the ground last week and they should be able to have success running again this week.  This has the potential to be a really high scoring game, as the Falcons have ability to run as well, even though they were contained last week against Denver.  Matt Ryan is also not playing like a rookie and he is coming off a no touchdown game, so odds are he will bounce back.  I do give Carolina a slight edge in this game because it’s been three weeks since Steve Smith has had a big day and he is due for one.  If the Panthers can win a road game like this, they will prove that they belong in the discussion for Super Bowl contenders in the NFC.  

– Chargers over Colts: I am really tempted to pick the Colts here.  Indianapolis has won three in a row, and suddenly finds itself at the top of the wild card leaders in the AFC.  They are too far behind the Titans to catch them for the division lead, but the Colts are a team that would be really dangerous in the playoffs from any position.  Peyton Manning is really playing better, and the Colts finally got a 100-yard game last week from Joseph Addai.  The Chargers are really in trouble at 4-6, and they could potentially be facing a three game deficit in the AFC West with a loss.  The Chargers defense really gave a great effort last week in Pittsburgh, shutting down the Steelers’ running game and essentially holding them to 9 points (Pittsburgh also had a safety).  There was even a LaDainian Tomlinson sighting with a touchdown.  San Diego knows it has no more margin for error at this point, and for all the Chargers’ faults this season, they have not lost a home game since the opener against Carolina.  The Chargers have been particularly dominant in night home games, blowing out both the Jets and Patriots.  This is the Sunday night game, which means the crowd will be at a fever pitch.  A desperate San Diego team with nothing less than its entire season on the line will find a way to pull this one out and keep its faint pulse beating.   

– Saints over Packers: The Monday night game is one where both teams need a win to keep their season alive.  Both teams are coming off big wins, and a win here for either team will help them get momentum going down the stretch.  The Saints should get Reggie Bush back, and if they do he gives them a dimension on offense that they’ve really been missing the last few weeks.  With Drew Brees playing at an MVP level, and the Saints’ receiving core finally healthy, a healthy Bush would give the Green Bay offense another thing they have to worry about.  The Packers are actually coming off their best game of the season having blown out the Bears, and you really can’t say that Aaron Rodgers is the reason for their five losses as banged up as the Packers have been on defense.  This should be a very entertaining Monday night game, especially considering the Saints are playing their first home game since October 13 (which I’m sorry, that is ridiculous.  The league should not have allowed the Saints to be on the road that amount of time.  The Saints “home” game that was moved to London was a joke).  The Saints fans have waited a long time for the team to return, and they will provide the team with a big lift, helping them to a Monday night win.


One Response to “Week Twelve Picks”

  1. Doug Baker said

    GOOOOOOO PATS!!!!! Hope your pick is right.

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