Picking NFL games is like trying to pick up a date at a bar. Sure, you can run through a mental checklist of ring visibility, your physical comparison to the potential in question, and what sort of defense their friends are running, but at the end of the night it can just be dumb luck that you get a number that isn’t to the Chinese restaurant across the street.
Such was the case for most of the lines for Week 11, as the Cardinals, Jaguars and Browns played spoiler for many a favorite. Luckily, I picked most of them and came away with a 10-4 record, showing my prowess in the dating pool or, at least, the NFL.
So as a break from stuffing ourselves with turkey this Thanksgiving weekend, here is the wit and wonder of Week 12 games!
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions
Last week, the Houston Texans almost laid down for the 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars. While Matt Schaub coordinated yardage that put him in the “almost record-breaking” books, the defense seemed to be looking ahead toward this game against the Lions. Either that, or the Jaguars offense really is that good. Right. And Andy Reid is coaching the Eagles next year. Meanwhile, the Lions once again host a Thanksgiving game for tradition’s sake. Unfortunately, television viewers will not be able to blame falling asleep during the game due to the L-tryptophan in turkey meat. They can use that urban legend for the other games.
LINE: Texans by 3
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
America’s infatuation with the Dallas Cowboys has finally begun to annoy me. It’s not the team, or Tony Romo, or Jerry Jones, or even the fact that their stadium has a television screen that’s bigger than my house. What annoys me is, after watching the 1pm game on Sunday, that I was put through the pain of watching the Cowboys all but give away a game to the Browns in over-time. Luckily, the Browns don’t know how to win too well and promptly gave the game back to the Cowboys. I was watching this mess while Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning went to war and Andrew Luck drove down the field against the Patriots for those first few minutes where it looked to be a tight game. Now the Cowboys are going to keep me from my turkey because they had to have a midday game on Thanksgiving.
LINE: Cowboys by 3
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Despite their best efforts, the New York Jets defeated the St. Louis Rams last week to all but admonish the possibility of Tim Tebow taking two snaps under center in a row. Even with a blocked field goal, a botched fake punt that surprised the Rams so much that they left their entire regular defense on the field, and quarterback switches that confuse themselves more than the Rams, the Jets did all that they could to snatch the loss from the jaws of victory. Unfortunately, the Rams just wanted the win that much less. Meanwhile, Patriots haters will be happy to know that they won’t have to see a ridiculous “Gronk Spike” from Rob Gronkowski for a few weeks as the tight end is out with a fractured forearm.
LINE: Patriots by 7
Sunday, November 25th, 2012
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Finally, after 3-1/2 seasons of high expectations and broken dreams, the Chicago Bears know who isn’t the problem on their team: Jay Cutler. Yes, he has an antagonistic attitude. Yes, his mobility is a little slow. Yes, he has millions of dollars. Yes, he has a hot baby mamma in Kristin Cavallari that we now know about after her guest appearance on The League. What doesn’t he have? Blocking, and yet he still manages to win, something Jason Campbell couldn’t pull off. Look to see Cutler take one more week off instead of getting knocked down for 60 minutes straight by Jared Allen.
Oakland Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals
As a former Ginger (or Ginger in relapse. It’s all but faded), I’m starting to believe that Andy Dalton isn’t a true Ginger. The color is just too perfect to the Bengals uniform, which goes from orange to reddish depending on the sun’s reflection, just like a Ginger. This is why we don’t like the sun. The only other explanation is that the Bengals management saw Dalton’s hair and used that as a major reason to draft him. I know, it sounds far-fetched, but these are the Bengals we’re talking about. Luckily, they’re going up against the Raiders this week, who would probably sign the Tin Man just to get their fan base foaming at the mouth even more so.
LINE: Bengals by 10
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
This match-up is one for the ages, as long as the Steelers stay focused. I’m not talking about the actual game against the Cleveland Browns. I’m talking about the battle of the ugliest football uniforms known to man. If the Steelers once again grace us with those yellow and black-striped bumblebee felon jerseys that only saw the light of day for one season back in 1934, we will have a battle of the worst old uniform with the Steelers versus the worst new uniform with the Browns. Old versus new! Yellow and black versus orange and brown! Whoever wins, fashion-sense loses.
Buffalo Bills @ Indianapolis Colts
It’s amazing how mediocre the AFC East has become, yet here we are with the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets all hovering at that point where the playoffs are possible but not probable. The Bills have a chance to pull even closer to the possible against a Colts team that, if the season were to end today, would be in the playoffs without Peyton Manning and Curtis Painter. Yes, Painter receives a mention, considering he is the reason that the Colts are in the playoff hunt. How else could the Colts have had so much Luck this season? Yeah, I just did that.
LINE: Colts by 3
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Peyton Manning Experiment is alive and well in Denver, with many believing that the team can make it to the Super Bowl. The big story about this game, however, is still the Chiefs quarterback controversy. Last week, Romeo Crennel decided to go back to pre-season form by playing Cassel in the first half and Quinn in the second half. Apparently, Cassel won this battle, as the Chiefs scored two whole field goals with him under center. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: put in Ricky Stanzi at quarterback. What do the Chiefs have to lose, the #1 draft pick? Maybe Chief’s fan Loren G. “Sam” Lickteig would still be alive today if Stanzi was playing.
LINE: Broncos by 11
Seattle Seahawks @ Miami Dolphins
The Seahawks have been playing to form this season: winning home games with the 12th man and losing most of their games away from home. This week they go up against the just as inconsistent Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins, who lose as many games at home as they do on the road. What does this mean? Not much, especially if the Seahawks took their bye week to relax at Miami Beach. I haven’t seen any pictures on Richard Sherman’s Twitter account, but I wouldn’t put it past the Seahawks to have gone to Miami early to “game plan.”
LINE: Seahawks by 3
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matt Ryan came back to earth last week, throwing 5 interceptions against the Arizona Cardinals. It may not be the end of the world, but looking forward to next week’s game against the Saints, who they were beaten by again two weeks ago, the Falcons may forget that they have a game to play against the Buccaneers. Apparently, everyone forgets they have a game against the Buccaneers these days. Even fantasy football leagues still have Josh Freeman in free agency. The Buccaneers, however, have not forgotten about themselves, which is why they are at 6-4 and hovering in playoff contention.
LINE: Falcons by 1
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars had a valiant game against the Houston Texans, losing 43-37 in overtime. 37 points. That’s almost as many points as the Jaguars have scored in the past 3 games. Such a game by Chad Henne (OK, fine, Maurice Jones-Drew’s replacement helped with a whole 80 yards) has everyone who picked up Henne in their fantasy football league’s waiver wire flexing their football knowledge. “Everyone” being that league punching bag that you tricked into picking up Henne in the draft, along with his drafting of Terrell Owens and Keyshawn Johnson. Meanwhile, the Titans will try to show the world that Jake Locker really is a quarterback by having him throw for more than 122 yards.
LINE: Titans by 3
Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers
The Ravens defense is systematically being depleted this season, with the pending loss of Ed Reed for a game due to suspension for having three personal foul penalties in the past three years. That’s right, three years. I can’t remember what I was doing for the past three years. If you asked me to remember my three raunchiest articles or worst dates or biggest bowel movements from the past three years, I’d probably forget one or two, and maybe go back five years or so. The point is, when you hit people for a living, usually 30-40 times a day, it’s really hard to remember the big ones in the past year, nevermind three years. Could you imagine how much worse tackling could become if every defensive player had to analyze their past penalties for 3-10 years in case this next split-second tackle becomes a personal foul penalty, inadvertent or not? If they weren’t playing the spiraling Chargers, the Ravens would almost be worried. (UPDATE: The one game suspension of Ed Reed has been overturned. I’ll take the credit, thanks.)
LINE: Ravens by 1
San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints
Everyone laughed when I thought Joe Vitt only needed two weeks to start winning football games. How can a coach possibly build up a defense, special teams, and a lost quarterback to the point of making a whole team play-off ready in so short a time? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Jim Harbaugh of 2011. He’s a heck of a guy, and called a game win against the Bears without Alex Smith.
LINE: 49ers by 1
St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
Last week, Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams wanted a win just a little bit less than Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets. Now they go up against their fellow divisional bottom dwellers, the Arizona Cardinals, who played four straight weeks in the beginning of the season before remembering that winning isn’t all that much fun and promptly lost the past 6 games. The first loss of that run was against the Rams. Does that mean the last game against the Rams will begin a winning streak? Probably not.
LINE: Cardinals by 1
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants
The coordination of this year’s win-loss ratio for the Giants versus their 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl runs is back on track. In both past Week 12 games, the Giants lost. Therefore, Giants fans should be rooting for another loss in order to keep the nature of superstition alive in New York. Unfortunately, the Packers may not be able to oblige, as their roster is still sputtering due to injuries. The Giants may need to try and lose this one on their own.
LINE: Giants by 3
Monday, November 26th, 2012
Carolina Panthers @ Philadelphia Eagles
I’m sure that, when the NFL was scheduling this season’s games, a Panthers versus Eagles game on Monday night in the heat of November football sounded like a must-see game. Cam Newton would be rallying the Panthers into the playoffs by following up his amazing rookie year. Michael Vick would be healthy and pushing the Eagles to the top of the NFC East. It sounds great. It would be a fantastic football story. Unfortunately, that’s not the way this season went for either team, which means I’ll probably catch up on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and South Park.
LINE: Eagles by 1
Patrick Emmel is a football fan who began the manly pilgrimage of seeing an NFL game at every stadium two years ago. This year, he’s going to Philly, and maybe even Tampa if he’s unlucky. You can see more of his work at www.theineptowl.com or heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.
Patrick previously used his football knowledge to break down the best, worst and downright horrible draft picks in NFL history.
If you haven’t had enough NFL jokes, you can check out last week’s Asinine Analysis! —>