Depending on whether your glass is half full or half empty, you will be either overjoyed to know that there will be zero NFC East teams on television Sunday afternoon, or dismayed to realize that they have a monopoly on the nighttime games this weekend.
Games of rooting interest for Pats fans will be for Arizona to beat the Jets and for Tennessee to knock off Houston early; in the late games it will be for the Ravens to lose to Pittsburgh (can I just hope for a meteor to hit the stadium?) and Tampa Bay to win at Denver.
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8-3 New England Patriots at 5-6 Miami Dolphins
More on this game here and here. I doubt the Pats have a letdown after beating the Jets because of the amount of time that has passed since that game, and although there is a chance the team could be looking ahead to the 49ers, Bill Belichick usually keeps them pretty well grounded; all he has to do is show film of Miami beating the Seahawks, and remind the players of what happened to them against Seattle.
Prediction: Patriots 34, Dolphins 20 … âˆš
- final score: Pats 23, Dolphins 16
Pats -7 … push
Over 51 … X
4-7 Arizona Cardinals at 4-7 New Jersey Jets
Ken Whisenhunt is going with rookie Ryan Lindley over John Skelton, while waiting for Kevin Kolb to return from injury. This after Lindley just threw four picks, and the previous week completed 45% of his passes; I just donâ€™t get that decision. I suppose the question will be whether the Jets will be fired up after an embarrassing loss, or are they ready to pack it in?
Prediction: Jets 20, Cardinals 16 … âˆš
- final score: Jets 7, Cardinals 6
Cardinals +5Â½ … âˆš
Under 37Â½ … âˆš
2-9 Jacksonville Jaguars at 4-7 Buffalo Bills
The much maligned Jags are playing much better with Chad Henne at QB. Unfortunately for Jacksonville they will apparently have to go back to Rashad Jennings and his 2.8 yards per carry at RB, as Jalen Parmele was placed on IR and Maurice Jones-Drew is not ready to return yet.
Prediction: Bills 20, Jaguars 17 … âˆš
- final score: Bills 34, Jaguars 18
Jaguars +6Â½ (1 unit) … X (-110)
Under 44 (2 units) … X (-220)
10-1 Houston Texans at 4-7 Tennessee Titans
The Texans keep winning but are increasingly showing signs of vulnerability. In their last two games their vaunted defense has surrendered 68 points and 983 yards of offense. It took a while, but the loss of Brian Cushing is showing; it is now being compounded by injuries to Jonathan Joseph, Brooks Reed, and Bradie James. The Texans would be wise to give their defense and run the ball against a Titansâ€™ defense that is allowing 4.3 yards per carry (20th) and 130 rushing yards per game (27th). Arian Foster has been overworked (294 touches already), but Ben Tate should finally be back from his hamstring injury to help carry the load. Here are the questions: will Houston look past a division rival, to next weekâ€™s game against the Patriots? Will Tennessee mail it in after losing to Jacksonville, or get some pleasure in knocking off a team within their division?
Prediction: Texans 28, Titans 24 … âˆš
- final score: Texans 24, Titans 10
Titans +7 … X
Over 47 … X
7-4 Indianapolis Colts at 4-7 Detroit Lions
Two teams heading in different directions: the Lions, who made the playoffs a year ago, are looking to avoid their fourth straight loss; the Colts, who â€˜earnedâ€™ the first pick in last Aprilâ€™s draft, are seeking their sixth victory in their last seven games. Detroit is playing better than their record would indicate; all their losses have been by close margins. Indy is fortunate to be where they are; their defense ranks dead last in the NFL with only seven turnovers, and the teamâ€™s -14 turnover differential is the leagueâ€™s third worst. I think the Colts have no answer for Calvin Johnson and Detroit wins this game.
Prediction: Lions 31, Colts 27 … X
- final score: Colts 35, Lions 33
Colts +6 … âˆš
Over 51 (1 unit) … âˆš (+100)
6-5 Seattle Seahawks at 8-3 Chicago Bears
Seattle is notorious for not playing well at home, but they match up well with the Bears; the Seahawks have a very good pass rush, while Chicago struggles with pass protection. Seattle will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing at Miami last week, possibly looking past the Dolphins to this game.
Prediction: Seahawks 23, Bears 20 … âˆš
- final score: Seahawks 23, Bears 17
Seahawks +3Â½ (3 units) … âˆš (+300)
Over 36Â½ (1 unit) … âˆš (+100)
6-5 Minnesota Vikings at 7-4 Green Bay Packers
The Vikings will likely be without Percy Harvin, while Green Bay will be playing with a chip on the shoulder after being blown out last week. Even if Greg Jennings does not play, the Packers should roll.
Prediction: Packers 31, Vikings 21 … âˆš
- final score: Packers 23, Vikings 14
Packers -7Â½ (2 units) … âˆš (+200)
Over 45Â½ (1 unit) … X (-110)
8-2-1 San Francisco 49ers at 4-6-1 St. Louis Rams
The Rams played well against the 49ers the last time these tow met, but that was with a healthy Danny Amendola. So now rather than a QB controversy in SF, the talk is whether or not Colin Kaepernick has too many tats to be the face of the franchise?
Prediction: 49ers 20, Rams 17 … X
- final score: Rams 16, 49ers 13
Rams +7Â½ (1 unit) … âˆš (+100)
Under 41Â½ (1 unit) … âˆš (+100)
3-8 Carolina Panthers at 1-10 Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City had their big chance at a win last week, and may suffer a bit of a letdown after that. Edit: after the tragedy in KC, you have to go with Carolina; if this game is played, the minds of the Chiefsâ€™ players will be elsewhere.
Prediction: Panthers 28, Chiefs 13 … X
- final score: Chiefs 27, Panthers 21
Panthers -3Â½ (3 units) … X (-300)
Over 40Â½ … âˆš
6-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 8-3 Denver Broncos
I have been waiting for weeks for Denver to have that inevitable game where they come out flat; it happened last week, but they still won, beating the Chiefs. Look for them to bounce back with a better game at home; the Bucsâ€™ pass defense is still a work in progress.
Prediction: Broncos 34, Buccaneers 24 … âˆš
- final score: Broncos 31, Bucs 23
Broncos -7Â½ … âˆš
Over 50Â½ (2 units) … âˆš (+200)
6-5 Pittsburgh Steelers at 9-2 Baltimore Ravens
Without Roethlisberger the Pittsburgh defense needs to create some turnovers. As good as the Steelers defense is (5th in points, 1st in yards), they donâ€™t do a good job at taking the ball away (only the Colts have fewer).
Prediction: Ravens 24, Steelers 13 … X
- final score: Steelers 23, Ravens 20
Ravens -7Â½ (2 units) … X (-220)
Over 34Â½ … âˆš
3-8 Cleveland Browns at 3-8 Oakland Raiders
I know the Raiders are bad, but a 3-8 eastern time zone team being favored on the west coast? Letâ€™s not forget that Cleveland has lost twelve straight road games, and Darren McFadden may be back for Oakland.
Prediction: Raiders 24, Browns 21 … X
- final score: Browns 20, Raiders 17
Raiders +2Â½ (1 unit) … X (-110)
Over 38 … X
6-5 Cincinnati Bengals at 4-7 San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have not done well in pass protection, so they would be well advised to run the ball on a Cincy defense that is allowing 4.4 yards per carry. The problem for San Diego is that Andy Dalton has thrown nine touchdowns and no picks over the last three games, and the Bengals running game has finally come around, with 410 rushing yards the last two games; even though that was against Kansas City and Oakland, it is still noteworthy.
Prediction: Chargers 24, Bengals 21 … X
- final score: Bengals 20, Chargers 13
Chargers +2 … X
Under 47Â½ … âˆš
3-8 Philadelphia Eagles at 5-6 Dallas Cowboys
The Eagles are falling apart at the wheels, but this line is a bit too much for me to go with a Dallas team that has been inconsistent and has been almost as bad at turning the ball over.
Prediction: Cowboys 27, Eagles 17 … âˆš
- final score: Cowboys 38, Eagles 33
Eagles +10Â½ … âˆš
Over 43 … âˆš
7-4 New York Giants at 5-6 Washington Redskins
Itâ€™s December, which means the Giants are ready to start playing better football; last week we already saw improvement from New Yorkâ€™s pass rush and a better performance from Eli. The Giantâ€™s secondary is still shaky though, so Robert Griffin should be able to complete enough long passes to make this interesting.
Prediction: Giants 31, Redskins 27 … X
- final score: Redskins 17, Giants 16
Giants -2Â½ … X
Over 50Â½ (3 units) … X (-330)
Three-Team Teaser: Seahawks +12Â½ at Bears; Giants at Redskins over 41Â½; Raiders +11Â½ vs Browns (3 units)
- final totals: Seahawks won by 6 (âˆš); NYG-Was 33 (X); Raiders lost by 3 (âˆš) … X (-330)
Thursday’s results can be found here; correct straight up, but incorrect ATS and on the total for the Falcons-Saints game.
College games from this past weekend:
12-1 straight up
8-5 against the spread
One-unit plays: 5-2 (+280)
Two-unit plays: 2-1 (+180)
Three-unit plays: 0-1 (-330)
All confidence picks: 7-4 (+130)
Tale Of The Tape
Week 12 was by far my worst of the season; oh well, that kind of week happens sometimes. I lost both 3-point teasers, with the Packers blown out by the Giants and missing the Titans-Jags over by half a point; in both of those individual games I got both the ATS and the over/under incorrect as well. Best game for me turned out to be the Bears-Vikings (17-10), with two units on the Bears minus 2Â½ plus four units on the total under 39Â½.
Results for Week 12 (and the season):
Straight Up: 9-7 (56%) last week, 117-58-1 (67%) for the season
Against The Spread: 7-8-1 (47%) / 80-94-2 (46%)
Over/Under: 7-9 (44%) / 98-74-4 (57%)
1 Unit Plays: 6-6 (-60) / 40-30 (57%)
2 Unit Plays: 3-3 (-60) / 32-28-4 (55%)
3 Unit Plays: 0-5 (-1650) / 20-16-2 (55%)
4 Unit Plays: 1-0 / 2-2 (50%)
5 Unit Plays: 0-0 / 2-1 (67%)
Weekly Total: 10-12 regular; 0-2 teasers
All Confidence Picks: 10-14 (42%) / 102-79-6 (56%)
Week 12 Total: -1770
Season Total: +5710
Previous College Games
6-2, +5 Units, +480
Season Grand Total
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