Sunday, November 23, 2014

NFL Picks: Week 12

Photo courtesy of Fox Sports
I'm back!

After two straight weeks of longing for my wonderful commentary, and having to settle for my impersonal quick picks, I'm finally able to write a full picks column.

It feels good.

I made my Thursday night pick on Twitter, as per usual, when I don't forget of course (@WilliamBotchway). Here was this week's pick:

Swing and a miss!

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.
Browns (+3) over DIVISION LEADING FALCONS. The fact that the Falcons are currently in first place in the NFC South is an absolute travesty. The entire division needs to be excommunicated from the league, and a more deserving NFC team like the Cowboys, Eagles, Seahawks, 49ers, Lions, or Packers (at least two of these teams are missing the playoffs) should replace them. What a waste of a playoff spot the Falcons will be when they get blown out at home by whoever the fifth seed is.

As for the Browns, it doesn't look like they're in prime position for the playoffs in the crowded AFC anymore, but the return of Josh Gordon gives their offense a massive boost that could propel them to a wild card berth. UPSET ALERT.

BEARS (-5.5) over Buccaneers. The amount of wide receiver talent that will be on the field today will be incredible as Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall square off against rookie sensation (and my pick to win Offensive Rookie of the Year), Mike Evans. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, and contrary to what so many people nonsensically though last year, Jay Cutler is better than Josh McCown. Don't expect too much defense in this game, which means that the Bears and their clearly superior offense should cruise to victory.

Bengals (+2) over J.J. WATT. The Bengals will never cease to confuse me this season. I'm just going to stick with my preseason feeling that they are one of the better teams in the league, even though they've given me a lot of reason not to believe that anymore. With the return of Giovani Bernard, their offense will have another dimension, as the duo of Jeremy Hill and Bernard will be tough to defend. UPSET ALERT.

Still, I'm afraid that J.J. Watt is going to catch two more touchdowns and terrorize Andy Dalton. As I should be.

Jaguars (+14) over COLTS. Too many points. I know the Colts are going to win this game by 79 points, but I certainly wouldn't bet on that. I've been staying away from double digit lines all year, and have been right more often than not.

VIKINGS (+9) over R-e-l-a-x. This is a lot of points to be giving the Vikings who aren't too bad, even though the Packers are -playing like what Robert Mays described as an "actual hurricane."

PATRIOTS (-7) over Lions. The Patriots are on a roll right now, and the Lions look like they may be trending in the opposite direction. In a matchup between the best defense in the league, and one of the best offenses in the league, I'm taking the team that has Gronk.

Titans (+11) over SANCHIZE. Too many points, especially since Zach Mettenberger has been good so far as the starting quarterback. As of right now, they are a better team than their 2-8 record would suggest. Obviously, I still have the Eagles winning, but giving 11 points would be silly.          

Rams (+6) over CHARGERS. The Bolts look terrible right now, and there may not be a worse matchup for them right now than the Rams. With a lot of offensive line issues, it won't exactly be a fun day for Philip Rivers as he plays with a rib injury, lining up against the once again dominant Rams pass rush. Say hello to the ground, Phil.

Cardinals (+7) over SEAHAWKS. The Cardinals are definitely a better team than the Seahawks, so giving up 7 points, even in Seattle, where the home field advantage hasn't been as strong this year, would be ridiculous. There's a great chance that the Cards even win this game outright, but I can't bring myself to make that pick.

Dolphins (+7) over BRONCOS. Without Emmanuel Sanders or Julius Thomas, Peyton Manning won't have his usually amazing crew of pass catchers. Now, of course, he's still Peyton Manning, and he'll turn Jacob Tamme, Andre Caldwell, and whatever's left of Wes Welker into stars this afternoon, but the talent drop off will be enough for the Dolphins to keep things close.

49ERS (-9) over Washington Professional Football Team. The Niners are hard to judge at the moment, because they show flashes of the brilliance that has made them one of the best teams in the league since Harbaugh's arrival in 2011, but they also spent most of last week giving the Giants multiple opportunities to come back and win the game (but Chris Borland was having none of it.) Aldon Smith has returned, Borland looks like he'll fill in nicely for Patrick Willis, and NaVarro Bowman isn't too far away. I think things come together down the stretch for San Fran.

Cowboys (-4) over GIANTS. The Giants are terrible. It's been a while since the Cowboys have been at the forefront of discussions about the real contenders in the league, but this game should definitely remind everyone. Watching DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys offensive line do borderline illegal things to the Giants should be interesting. Also, a week of rest for Tony Romo and his back should be greatly beneficial.

Jets (+2.5) over "BILLS" (Game Played in Detroit). The Bills have barely practiced all week because most of their team was snowed into Buffalo. As for the Jets, they are a better team than the one that got blown out at home by the Bills a few weeks ago. Percy Harvin, as well as Geno Smith not playing the worst game imaginable turns the Jets into a team that can beat the Bills. UPSET ALERT.

Ravens (+3) over SAINTS. The Ravens' secondary is in shambles, but that's not something that the Saints can necessarily exploit anymore. Without Brandin Cooks, their top receivers are the shell of Marques Colston and Kenny Stills. Overall, the Ravens are the clearly superior team. However, if they lose this week, they're all but finished in the AFC Wild Card race. UPSET ALERT.

Last Week: 7-6-1

This Week: 0-1

Season: 74-85-2

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