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NFL Week 12 Picks


NFL Week 12
 
Last Week: 13-1 (.929); This Season: 102-57-1 (.641)
 
Thursday, Nov. 22
 
12:30 p.m. ET (CBS)Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6)
Let me count the disadvantages for the Texans: A five-quarter fight through overtime Sunday to survive and win, a very short week with little practice for a foe it hasn't played in four years, travel Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. game on their body clocks Thursday, Detroit (4-6) playing for its playoff lives, realizing it can't lose another game to have a decent chance at the postseason. Houston's better. Houston's got too many anti-win factors here.
 
4:15 p.m. ET (FOX)Washington Redskins (4-6) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
A Dallas win and a Giants loss Sunday (versus Green Bay) knots the NFC East with five games to play. I don't love the Cowboys; how can you, with the inconsistency they've shown, and how they had to use about six of the nine 2012 lives to survive the Browns at home? But the defense has gone seven straight games holding foes under 28 points, and Tony Romo's weird 21-3 November streak must mean something. Especially on short weeks when the road team barely practices.
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)New England Patriots (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6)
I went 13-1 picking games last week. The only game I missed was the Jets winning in St. Louis. I don't believe I'll be wrong again this week, particularly with tight end Aaron Hernandez likely returning from injury to make the sort of impact Rob Gronkowski won't. Hard to feel sorry for a team when it lines up a star (Hernandez) and a long-time solid starter (Visanthe Shiancoe) at tight end.
 
Sunday, Nov. 25
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)
I suppose the Titans can talk themselves into being in wild-card contention with a win, but with Houston and Green Bay remaining on the sked, Tennessee's just lost too many to be in the hunt down the stretch, barring a bunch of better teams falling out.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Buffalo Bills (4-6) at Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
I'll guarantee you how Bruce Arians treated the New England skunking with his team: We handed them three touchdowns on turnovers, and if we turn even one of those possessions into a touchdown, it's a seven-point game in the fourth quarter. You know what? His team is just young enough to buy it.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Cleveland Browns (2-8)
Charlie Batch, with his shaky offensive line, had better watch the tape from the Browns' narrow loss at Dallas last week. The Cleveland defensive front swarmed and battered Tony Romo, who is a fairly mobile guy. Batch isn't. Steelers are 16-1 in the last 17 meetings in this series, but that history has had Big Ben playing in these games.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Oakland Raiders (3-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)
Carson Palmer returns to Paul Brown Stadium, and despite the fact the Raiders are out of it and the Bengals are in the wild card race, he wouldn't turn the clock back and stay in Cincinnati. Not even with his Raiders 7-13 since he arrived to save the franchise.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Denver Broncos (7-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)
The Chiefs are in the middle game of three-game homestand. Gee, I bet it's so fun for them to play at Arrowhead, and get the full support of the loyal locals.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX)Seattle Seahawks (6-4) at Miami Dolphins (4-6)
The Russell Wilson Magic Show hits South Florida for the first time. Quarterbacks with a lower rating than Wilson's 90.5: Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo, Cam Newton, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford. Pretty good value for the 75th pick in the draft, wouldn't you say?
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX)Atlanta Falcons (9-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)
Another tough one to call. It's in Tampa. Both teams are 5-1 since Oct. 1. The Falcons have been just okay the last two weeks (Falcons 50, Foes 50), with seven turnovers. I think John Abraham pesters Josh Freeman -- who has become a very good clutch player -- into a turnover or two, and the Falcons survive.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX)Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-3)
As I write this, I don't know if Jay Cutler's playing or not. That's as big a question as hangs over any team this weekend, because Cutler has figured out how to play a B game behind a bad offensive line and Jason Campbell hasn't. If this game were in Minnesota, I'd pick the Vikings.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)Baltimore Ravens (8-2) at San Diego Chargers (4-6)
With or without Ed Reed, I just don't trust San Diego. Chargers, in the last two months, are 0-6 against all teams not from Kansas City, and they give off the distinct aroma of a team playing out the string and wondering if their coach in 2013 will be a: Chip Kelly; b: Andy Reid; c. Some total longshot like Syracuse coach Doug Marrone.
 
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX)St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6)
I don't know who's playing quarterback for Arizona these days. Does it matter?
 
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX)San Francisco 49ers">49ers (7-2-1) at New Orleans Saints (5-5)
Toughest game to pick this week. Went back and forth, forth and back, and came back to this: The Saints, in the first seven games of the season, were historically bad on defense. In the last three games, they're playing at a C-minus level. That's a big improvement. Allowing 19 a game in the last three weeks? Who'd have called that? I didn't account for the Niners' quarterback dilemma here, because even if Colin Kaepernick plays over Alex smith, I can't see him being unaffected by the deafening noise in the Superdome that'll make whoever plays quarterback for San Francisco resort to the silent snap count most, or all, of the game.
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)Green Bay Packers (7-3) at New York Giants (6-4)
Last five games for each team: Pack 5-0, Giants 3-2. Last five games for each quarterback: Aaron Rodgers 17 touchdowns, two interceptions; Eli Manning two touchdowns, six interceptions. I still can't figure out how an NFL quarterback in this day and age who is not named Ryan Lindley could play five games and throw two touchdown passes.
 
Monday, Nov. 26
 
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)Carolina Panthers (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)
As incredible as the fact that the Eagles are 1-7 in the last eight games is the fact that they haven't scored 24 points in any of those games. LeSean McCoy, Mike Vick, Brent Celek, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin. In today's football, that's amazing. Picking the Eagles in this game shows you how little faith I have in Carolina's offense to do anything.
 

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