Some weeks it’s easy to look at the schedule and just throw up my hands because of team inconsistency, because of key injuries, and because sometimes the better team isn’t the better team on that particular day. Odd, I know, but that’s why they play the games.
Last week I did a good job of zeroing in on the tight ones in Baltimore and Denver, the blowouts in Kansas City and in Seattle, and the wins by New England and Houston. But I whiffed on Philadelphia (wow), the Bengals (although that went down to the wire), and whatever happened in Atlanta. It’s a new week, though, and a few games on Thursday, so this is an early edition of Ace Picks.
Here are my Picks for Week 12:
Philadelphia @ DETROIT – I keep picking Philadelphia and they keep disappointing me. It’s not for a lack of talent, but I have to say that if Mark Sanchez plays in this one they won’t win. Detroit can force turnovers, and Sanchez produces them at an alarming clip. Bradford has cut down on his in the past few games, so I hope he plays. Sadly, I don’t think in the end it makes a difference. Pick: DETROIT.
Carolina @ DALLAS – The Panthers are getting no love in this one, even though they’re undefeated. I guess everyone is waiting for them to finally show a chink in their armor, and Dallas has Romo back, which means they should win, right? No. I think Carolina goes into Big D and shows the world that they’re for real. Pick: CAROLINA.
Chicago @ GREEN BAY – The Packers are back, right? One game does not a revival make, although Green Bay impressed me with how they won last week in Minnesota. But the last time they were at Lambeau they lost — to Detroit — and this Chicago team is playing with confidence. They almost upset the Broncos last week, and Cutler is limiting his own turnovers. I like them to go into Green Bay and take a close one. Pick: CHICAGO.
New Orleans @ HOUSTON – The Texans have caught a little lightning in a bottle, and they get Brian Hoyer back. Just keep feeding the ball to DeAndre Hopkins against a defense that hasn’t been able to stop pretty much anybody lately. Brees will keep this one close, but Houston takes a nailbiter at home. Pick: HOUSTON.
Buffalo @ KANSAS CITY – I’m a believer in that Chiefs defense, so much that I picked them up and started them in two fantasy leagues last week and they paid dividends for me. I’m keeping them in this week against a team that may have to rely on E.J. Manuel to throw the ball. Pick: KANSAS CITY.
San Diego @ JACKSONVILLE – No, Blake Bortles hasn’t been setting the world on fire recently, but he’s facing a team in San Diego that’s hurting, but that hasn’t been great on pass defense regardless. I like for the Allens to light them up early and often and keep Philip Rivers in comeback mode, which is when he is forced into turnovers. Jaguars take a close one. Pick: JACKSONVILLE.
Oakland @ TENNESSEE – Speaking of inconsistent, look at those Raiders who were riding high just a few weeks ago. But Derek Carr looks like he’s taking too long to make decisions lately, and he’s facing a Tennessee defense that isn’t horrible. So why do I think he rebounds here and the Raiders take this one easily? Pick: OAKLAND.
Minnesota @ ATLANTA – Which Falcons team shows up here? They have absolutely no excuse for losing that game last week to the Colts, and they have absolutely no reason for winning this game against the Vikings. They don’t match up well on defense, and home hasn’t been a real advantage for them this year. Pick: MINNESOTA.
Miami @ NY JETS – Both teams lost last week, and I have to say that those were revealing losses. The Dolphins just can’t hang with teams that can throw the ball down the field, and that have solid offensive lines. But the Jets don’t really qualify as one of those teams right now with Fitzpatrick still hurting and Chris Ivory looking more like an old man with each passing week. Pick: MIAMI.
NY Giants @ WASHINGTON – Kirk Cousins has been money at home this season, and guess where he is this week? That’s right, in the nation’s capital, and even Eli coming off a bye week won’t be able to keep up with the Cousins train. It keeps on rolling. Pick: WASHINGTON.
St. Louis @ CINCINNATI – The Bengals looked good for most of that game against the Cardinals last week. They just couldn’t pull out a close one against another of the elite teams in the league. The Rams don’t count as an elite team. They don’t even know when to take their wobbly quarterback out of a game. Pick: CINCINNATI.
Tampa Bay @ INDIANAPOLIS – The Matt Hasselbeck train keeps on rolling. He’s perfect on the year, even though the Colts had no right winning that game against Atlanta last week. They’re playing a revitalized Bucs team that can run the ball and run it well (how about Doug Martin last week?) and I think it is a big factor here against an inferior Indy run defense. Pick: TAMPA BAY.
Arizona @ SAN FRANCISCO – Can we just say this game happened and let the 49ers take a week off? That would be more merciful that making them play against Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and Co. That pretty much tells you what I think about that San Francisco club right now. Pick: ARIZONA.
Pittsburgh @ SEATTLE – The Seahawks have been vulnerable at home this season. They gave up 38 points to the Cardinals (and lost) at home already. They were also bettered by the Panthers at home, and they should have lost to the Lions in the great Northwest too. Pittsburgh has enough offensive weapons to pull this one off, and I think they do. Pick: PITTSBURGH.
New England @ DENVER – New England is running out of warm bodies, and I think even if Amendola plays in this one he will be limited. That Denver got back to what they do best, which is limit opposing offenses, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Osweiler gives the offense a better chance to keep up with the Patriots. Denver will change some minds in this one. Pick: DENVER.
Baltimore @ CLEVELAND – Can I pick the Browns? How can I not pick the Browns? They’re got a solid game manager in Josh McCown going for them, and pretty much the whole Baltimore offense is different from the one that started last week against St. Louis. With Flacco out I think there will be growing pains in the offense as defenses stack the box to take away Buck Allen. Pick: CLEVELAND.