Here are my picks for Week 12…
KANSAS CITY @ Oakland – I stick by my original statement that the Raiders will win at least one game this year… but this won’t be it. Traditionally Thursday night games are won by the team with the better running game, and guess who that team is by a whopping margin this Thursday night? I just like the Chiefs on both sides of the ball right now. Their defense has stepped up and the offense goes through Mr. Charles. Game, set, match. Pick: KANSAS CITY.
Tennessee @ PHILADELPHIA – Remember a couple of seasons ago when the Eagles couldn’t buy a win at home? Well, this is the Chip Kelly Eagles, and they’re nearly automatic at the Linc, undefeated so far at home this season. I don’t think any of that changes here against a poor Tennessee team that doesn’t match up well against the Eagles biggest threat: its downfield passing game. With Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews stretching the field, Mark Sanchez will be able to pick apart that defense. The line at -11 is the right line. Eagles by 13. Pick: PHILADELPHIA.
Cleveland @ ATLANTA – The Falcons can make the playoffs. Yeah, I know it sounds strange too, with how horrible they’ve been most of the season, but it’s true. Their matchup with the Browns this week should be a difficult one as Cleveland has a good defense, but they don’t know how to deal with winning… AND they’re in Atlanta, where the Falcons are infinitely tougher, and coming off a road win. Matt Ryan comes up big at home. Pick: ATLANTA.
NY JETS @ Buffalo – Even I can’t believe I’m picking the Jets here, but I think that rhythm Michael Vick found before the bye week sticks around here, especially after another week for the offensive line to heal. With all that snow in Buffalo I don’t even know if this game happens on Sunday or Monday, but regardless, Kyle Orton’s tendency to turn the ball over and an opportunistic Jets defense will give them a, dare I say it, winning streak. Pick: NY JETS.
Tampa Bay @ CHICAGO – Mike Evans has been singlehandedly doing his best to wrest away that rookie of the year trophy from whoever used to carry it around (Sammy Watkins, maybe) with all-world efforts the past few weeks, especially with his 209 yard masterpiece last week. But when he’s the only piece of the equation, playing in hostile Chicago, I don’t like the Bucs’ chances. I think they keep it close because of him but Matt Forte has a field day. Pick: CHICAGO.
CINCINNATI @ Houston – That win in New Orleans was huge for the Bengals, who still have a legitimate shot at the number two seed in the AFC, and that rejuvenated defense has a shot at Ryan Mallett, who played above his head last week. I think he comes back down to earth, even at home, and behind the running game of Jeremy Hill the team from Cincinnati wins an important road game. Pick: CINCINNATI.
Jacksonville @ INDIANAPOLIS – This is the definition of a “get right” game for the Colts after the pounding they got at the hands of the Patriots last week. They’re not quite as solid without Ahmad Bradshaw, and that shows here, but it’s the Jaguars so they won’t need to be. Unlike the Steelers, the Colts don’t play down to their competition, and that will be apparent here as they add a win to their total. Pick: INDIANAPOLIS.
GREEN BAY @ Minnesota – What rivalry? These teams are at different ends of the spectrum right now, and after an abysmal effort by their ground game last week (which is supposed to be their calling card) the Vikings are just completely overmatched against an Aaron-Rodgers led Packers team that looked near unstoppable last week in taking out the Eagles. I think it will be closer than most of the experts say, but the end is not in doubt. Pick: GREEN BAY.
Detroit @ NEW ENGLAND – Something about this game screams TRAP to me. The Patriots had an emotional victory on the road against the Colts last week, Jonas Gray became something of a revelation with four touchdowns, and the Lions didn’t have a passing touchdown from Matthew Stafford in their loss at Arizona last week. Seems like a complete mismatch with this game in New England, right? But something tells me Calvin Johnson will have a say in this one, yes, even against Darelle Revis. Of course, though, it won’t be enough in Tom’s house, but it will be close. Pick: NEW ENGLAND.
ST. LOUIS @ San Diego – Which Chargers team shows up here? Will it be the one that was dominant in the earlier part of the season or the one that is currently mired in an 0-for-3 slump and was shutout before its bye week? I think a team somewhere in the middle, and I think against that renewed St. Louis defense that will not be enough, even at home. I’m just not picking against the Rams, who looked like world beaters against one of the better offenses in the league last week. Pick: ST. LOUIS.
ARIZONA @ Seattle – Seattle is playing pretty much not to lose right now, which was apparent in that contest last week up at Arrowhead. Home used to be a place the Seahawks could chalk in a win before the game was even played, but the defense has been exposed lately, and who was the only team to beat Seattle at home last season? You guessed it, the Arizona Cardinals. Sure, Drew Stanton is a game-manager, but so was Austin Davis when the Rams beat the Seahawks earlier this season. These Cardinals are a team of destiny. Shocker in the Northwest. Pick: ARIZONA.
Miami @ DENVER – First I want to say that I did not like the way Denver looked at St. Louis last week. They were off from the start, and their running game never really got off the blocks. That’s not a coincidence. When they have a solid running game plan the Broncos win. It’s been proven, even with the high-octane passing attack. St. Louis disrupted the Broncos timing, and they couldn’t run the ball effectively. Miami has a similar defense, but this game is IN DENVER, and I don’t see an upset Peyton Manning losing at home. The Denver D will force some turnovers and the Broncos win after a loss once again. Pick: DENVER.
Washington @ SAN FRANCISCO – The Niners played just “good enough” football in beating the Giants last week, even though they intercepted Eli Manning five times. That worries me about a team that is supposedly a playoff team, and it should worry you too if you root for the team from San Francisco. It’s because they aren’t turning those turnovers into touchdowns, settling for field goals way too often. They need to score touchdowns off turnovers, so luckily they’re playing a Redskins team that turns it over a lot, and if you ask the Tampa Bay defense, they liked those turnovers. The Niners will too. Pick: SAN FRANCISCO.
Dallas @ NY GIANTS – Eli Manning won’t throw five interceptions in this game. They’ve had a whole week to eliminate those poor decisions, or at least to cut down on them, against a Dallas team that is coming off a bye. Besides, this is a NFC East rivalry and you can throw records out the window in this one. Manning traditionally plays well against Dallas, and I think that shows up here. Rahshad Jennings is back up to speed, too, which makes a difference. They contain DeMarco Murray, they win this football game. Pick: NY GIANTS.
BALTIMORE @ New Orleans – Ouch, Saints. After two losses in a row at home where they looked like mere shells of themselves, New Orleans looks to stop the bleeding in this one. They’ve never lost three in a row at home in the Sean Payton era, but this one sets up against them, and it’s looking like they won’t have Brandin Cooks in this one either. I think Flacco keeps up the tradition of other quarterbacks playing well in the Dome this season, and the Saints drop a historic three straight at home. Pick: BALTIMORE.
The Fantasy Ace