Here we are in week 12 already, this season seems to be flying by. Usually this late in the year the games played on Sunday will have a few gems with a pair of elite teams facing each other, but that’s not the case today. In a deviation from the usual scheduling set up, the best games this week are not on Sunday: they were either played Thursday (49ers-Ravens, Packers-Lions), or will be played tomorrow, when the Giants are at New Orleans. Of the twelve games being played Sunday only one (Chicago at Oakland) is between two teams with winning records, and that features one quarterback making his first NFL start, and another that was out of the league three games ago.

 

 

3-7 Cardinals at 2-8 Rams
St. Louis -2½; over/under 40
Arizona’s 24th-ranked 19.0 point per game offense is absolutely prolific in comparison to the Rams, who are averaging a league-worst 12 points per game. St. Louis isn’t much better on defense, allowing 363 yards and nearly 25 points per game. However, Arizona NT Dan Williams is out, which should open things up for Steven Jackson, and they could be flat after playing San Francisco last week. Teams never do well playing a third straight road game.
Rams 20, Cardinals 17


5-5 Bills at 5-5 Jets
New York -7½; over/under 42
Although many fans are rubbing their hands with glee in the latest Rex vs Sanchez chapter, remember that this team thrives on drama and chaos. Buffalo is doing what they have done best for the last twenty years: teasing their fans with high hopes, only to cruelly snatch those dreams away. Fred Jackson becomes their 8th player to go on injured reserve; the Bills have neither the depth, the experience, nor the coaching to overcome these losses. If that’s not enough, also consider the fact that Buffalo is also playing their third straight road game; that is something the NFL schedule-makers need to do a better job of avoiding.
Jets 27, Bills 13


6-4 Bengals at 4-6 Browns
Cincinnati -7½; over/under 37½
The big question in this game is not this offense versus that defense, but how a Cincinnati team that has very little experience in winning will be able handle being big favorites after back-to-back emotional games with Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
Bengals 20, Browns 13


7-3 Texans at 3-7 Jaguars
Houston  -6; over/under 37½
Matt Leinart gets a gift, playing the Jags in his first game. With Andre Johnson as a decoy the Texans can run the ball 50 times after they get an early lead. Jacksonville is averaging 12.5 points per game, 31st in the NFL.
Texans 24, Jaguars 7


2-8 Panthers at 0-10 Colts
Carolina -3; over/under 47
Good offense and no defense Panthers versus the tanking no offense and no defense Colts.
Panthers 31, Colts 10


4-6 Buccaneers at 5-5 Titans
Tennessee -3; over/under 43
Except for a win back in week 6 against the Saints, the Bucs have not shown that they can bounce back from a tough loss. They haven’t held an opponent to under 20 points since week four, and opponents have been able to run with ease against them, which is just what Chris Johnson needs right now. Look at it this way: the home team gets three points; do you think Tampa Bay is just as good as Tennessee right now? I don’t.
Titans 28, Bucs 17


2-8 Vikings at 6-4 Falcons
Atlanta -8½; over/under 44½
The Falcons have quietly rebounded after a sluggish start and now stand poised to make a December push and knock one of the NFC North teams out of the playoffs. Matt Ryan spoke up last week, wanting to take more shots downfield – and it worked; look for more of the same, which will help open things up for Michael Turner. Meanwhile the Vikings are without Adrian Peterson, which should effectively eliminate whatever chance they had of winning this game.
Falcons 31, Vikings 10


7-3 Bears at 6-4 Raiders
Oakland -4; over/under 41½
With Caleb Hennie taking over for Jay Cutler, expect to see Matt Forte running the ball quite a bit for the Bears today. The same goes for Oakland; in 68 offensive plays last week, they threw the ball just 23 times. The Raiders rank 27th against the run (4.9 yards per carry), and Richard Seymour has a knee injury.

The total has stayed under in four of the Bears last five road games and in five of the Raiders last seven games; even though this a low total I would still go with the under.
Bears 20, Raiders 17


3-7 Redskins at 4-6 Seahawks
Seattle -3; over/under 37½
How bad are the Redskins? Put it this way, Seattle is favored for the first time in sixteen games, and they play Arizona and St. louis twice a year. If not for the Colts Washington would probably be considered the worst team in the NFL right now. The team is playing as if they want Mike Shanahan gone, which probably will happen fairly soon.
Seahawks 20, Redskins 10


7-3 Patriots at 4-6 Eagles
New England -3½; over/under 49½
The Patriots secondary is a mess, but the Eagles’ starting receivers are out with injuries, so expect Vince Young to put the ball in the hands of LeSean McCoy and tight end Brent Celek early and often. Philly corners Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie are banged up, putting former Pat Asante Samuel in the spotlight; I like the Pats chances with their tight ends in the passing game.
Patriots 31, Eagles 27


5-5 Broncos at 4-6 Chargers
San Diego -6½; over/under 41
Talk about your polar opposites heading in opposite directions: the Chargers started 4-1 but have now lost five straight, while Denver has gone 4-1 in the last five games after a 1-4 start to climb back to an improbable 5-5 record.

The total line has dropped two points this week as the betting public has little faith in either offense. However, although the Denver defense has improved it is still allowing 24.7 points per game, and the San Diego offense is scoring 23.6 points per game. The total has gone over in eight of the last eleven meetings between these two teams; I like the over in this one.
Chargers 24, Broncos 21


7-3 Steelers at 4-6 Chiefs
Pittsburgh -10½; over/under 40½
Even though Kansas City is a mess, I’m not a big fan of a double-digit road favorite. The Steeler have been prone to letdowns before, and after three straight games against the Pats, Ravens and Bengals and then a week off, they may be emotionally sluggish today.
Steelers 20, Chiefs 13


6-4 Giants at 7-3 Saints
New Orleans -7; over/under 50½
The Giants have been inconsistent but they usually bounce back with a lot of points after a loss. On one hand they’ve given up as many point as they have scored and have only one win against a team with a winning record; on the other hand they have beaten the Pats and nearly beaten the 49ers, showing that they do have talent to compete with better teams. New Orleans at home is far more productive than when they play away from the Superdome Mercedes-Benz Stadium – they’re 4-0 there this year, with an average margin of victory of 22.5 points per game. Last time these two met in 2009 the score was 48-27; I’m not saying the two will combine for 75 points, but I am expecting another high scoring game.
Saints 34, Giants 24

 

 

Four Units
Jets -7½ vs Bills
Texans -6 at Jaguars
Titans -3 vs Bucs

Three Units
Rams -2½ vs Cardinals
Raiders – Bears under 41½
Broncos +6½ at Chargers

Two Units
Seahawks -3 vs Redskins
Broncos – Chargers over 41
Texans – Jaguars under 37½
Steelers – Chiefs under 40½
Saints – Giants over 50½
Panthers – Colts under 47
Panthers -3 at Colts

One Unit
Chiefs +10½ vs Steelers
Patriots – Eagles over 49½

 

 

Thursday Results
Straight Up: 3-0
Against The Spread: 3-0
Over/Unders: 2-1
Best Bet: √ 49ers-Ravens under 40; actual total 22
Overall: 5-1, +6 units out of 8 units risked