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NFL Week 12 : My Picks: Thanksgiving Edition

The NBA has Christmas Day games. MLB has its July 4 games. The NHL has it’s outside game on New Years.

Each sport has their respective “day” on the calendar.

I love the NBA’s Christmas Day schedule. Often filled with top tier matchup’s (like last year’s Heat vs. Lakers game), the games on Christmas day have become another gift for me and most NBA fans.

Baseball has every team play on Independence Day. Some argue that this day is the most prestigious of all the sports respective “days.” I beg to differ. For me, I always find the MLB games to lack that “wow” factor. They don’t seem all that special compared to the other sports top notch matchups.

I bash on the NHL quite frequently, but the game played outside on New Years day is pretty freaking cool. That’s doesn’t mean I watch the whole game, but I will give hockey a glance when I normally wouldn’t. Now can the Sharks get in on the New Years day festivities please?

Turkey. Football. Get fat. Watch people try and kill each other.

There’s no doubt that football and Thanksgiving go hand in hand. They were made for each other. It’s the day when you see family members you haven’t seen in awhile, catch up over dinner, share some stories, get bored of those stories, butter that warm sourdough roll and stuff turkey and gravy in between, dress fancy for dinner than immediately change out when you’re done, have pumpkin pie for the first time since last Thanksgiving, ask yourself “Am I related to that guy?”, but most importantly, more important than anything I just listed: it’s a day when you can unite with family and enjoy the game.

My mom and sisters struggle each Sunday with my dad and brother’s day long chillfest on the couch watching the games. But on Thanksgiving? They even get into it.

This Thanksgiving should be no different.

We always travel to Fresno for Thanksgiving. Translation? We always travel to Cowboys-land for Thanksgiving. It’s fun but no doubt can rub some family members the wrong way. Two years ago the Raiders played the Cowboys on Turkey Day in Cowboys Stadium. Most of my family is Raiders fans, the other small portion is Cowboys fans. That was fun.

I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Enjoy family, the food, but most of all: the football.

5-8-1 last week

78-63-5 for the season

Home team in BOLD and CAPS

Packers (-7) over LIONS

It kinda sucks that this game is in the morning doesn’t it? Normally I don’t mind Lions games in the morning because of their usual terrible squad but for ONCE I wish this game was the afternoon game. This game has all the ingredients of a great, entertaining game. With Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford on the same field I expect nothing less than 80 points between the two. Take the Packers in an absolute shootout.

COWBOYS (-7) over Dolphins

Anyone else think Matt Moore is a top 15 QB in the making? No? OK…nevermind. The Cowboys are rolling, playing in Dallas and facing a fairly weak Dolphins defense. All signs point to a trap game here but I think the Cowboys are actually good this season. Yes…for once they might deserve the attention they get. Take the ‘Boys in a surprisingly competitive game.

49ers (+3) over RAVENS

The “Harbowl” as it’s come to be known now…this game seemed like a mismatch when the schedule was released. Oh how the tables have turned. You guys know my stance by now: take the 49ers until they fail to cover. 9-0-1 against the spread this season the 49ers have been absolutely money (See what I did there?). Take the 49ers in what should be a fantastic way to end Thanksgiving day.

Cardinals (+3) over RAMS

Two NFC West teams playing against each other. Any NFC West matchup that doesn’t involve the 49ers are always the worst games of the week. Ugh. Take the Cardinals. I’m still bitter from that horrible OT loss the Rams gave me a couple weeks ago.

JETS (-8) over Bills

The Jets piss me off. Not just because their coach tells paying fans to “Shut the fuck up!”, but because they’re wasting so much talent. They have the talent to win the Super Bowl. They’re one of the most talented teams in the league. Does that fall on the head coach? In my opinion no. Brian Schottenheimer is the one to blame here. He should be fired after the season. Will he? Probably not. Even with the Jets offensive woes they should beat the Bills pretty handily this week.

That Bills victory over the Pats seems like years ago now doesn’t it?

BENGALS (-7½) over Browns

All signs point to AJ Green being back for this week. The Bengals should have no problem with the Browns. Ugh. Anyone else just have the immediate impulse to shake their head in disgust after just saying “the Browns?” OK just me then.

Texans (-3½) over JAGUARS

If Schaub was playing I’d say this would be a double digit spread. Vegas is essentially saying Leinart is at least a seven point downgrade. That’s understandable, but I think Leinart is due to shock the world here. He has incredible talent on both sides of the ball. If he can’t succeed in this situation he really should just go back to partying with sorority chicks at USC. Can’t blame him for that though.

Panthers (-3½) over COLTS

A shockingly low line for a team coming off scoring 35 points on the road against a tough Detroit defense. Now they’re playing one of the worst defenses in the league? I think the correct term for Cam Newton’s play this week would be: HAM. Sign me up!

Buccaneers (+3½) over TITANS

If last year’s Chris Johnson was playing I would take the Titans. It also doesn’t help that their starting QB is more brittle than Samuel Jackson’s character in “Unbreakable.”

FALCONS (-9½) over Vikings

Adrian Peterson isn’t playing. That’s all that really needs to be said.

RAIDERS (-4½) over Bears

Caleb Hainee is starting for the Bears…I’ll pause for a second to give everyone time to Google his name.

Done? OK.

The Bears have a great defense. Can Michael Bush find enough seams up the middle? Can Carson Palmer infiltrate the Bears Cover 2 defense? Can the Raiders hold Matt Forte in check? Can the Raiders have less than 100 years in penalty yards?

All viable questions.

I believe in Carson Palmer. I believe the team is now fully in support of their QB now after a rough first couple weeks. Palmer has proved to be a viable QB even after months on the couch. Even without Cutler this is an extremely tough matchup for the Raiders. The Black Hole will be in full force on Sunday and I expect the Raiders to being their “A” game.

SEAHAWKS (-4) over Redskins

The Redkins are reeling losing six straight games. They look hopeless. No QB, no WR, no RB, no coach. This team needs an ownership change before it can succeed. Remember when “experts” were choosing the ‘Skins to win the NFC East after their 3-1 start? Yeah, this collapse wasn’t predictable. The Seahawks win by a TD.

Patriots (-3) over EAGLES

A fairly low line considering the Patriots are rolling and the Eagles are somewhat in flux, even with their shocking win over the Giants last Sunday. Although the Eagles played well last week at home, the Giants have been known to play the occasional “How the hell did that happen?” game. With Welker and Gronkowski at his disposal, I see the Patriots winning this one. It’s close for most of the game but the Patriots break away late.

Broncos (+7) over CHARGERS

Why is this spread so big? The Broncos defense is playing very well and here comes the Chargers turnover-friendly offense. Oh yeah and that Tebow guy is playing pretty well. I’d be willing to bet on the Broncos winning straight up, let alone getting seven points. Take the Tebows.

Steelers (-10½) over CHIEFS

The Steelers are still the best team in the AFC. The Chiefs just got massacred by the Patriots. While the Chiefs made the Patriots look offensively challenged for a half, the Pats were able to let loose as usual in the 2nd. With the Steelers potent aerial attack I see no trouble for Big Ben and Co. against KC, even on the road.

SAINTS (-7) over Giants

The Saints have had an extra week to prepare for the always disappointing Giants. The Saints are also undefeated at home. No Ahmad Bradshaw for the Giants.  While Eli has the tools to win this game, I just can’t see the Giants getting a W after looking so awful last week. Take the Saints with confidence.

—Jordan

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NFL Week 11: My Picks

My dad: “I bet Tebow takes down the Jets this week.””

Me: “No way, Jets with Revis and that complex defense will make Tebow look stupid.”

My dad: “Wanna bet? Money talks son.”

Me: “Come on that’s easy money. $10?”

My dad: “Make it $20 Mr. Confident.”

Me: “You got it. Wow, that was the easiest $20 I ever made.”

I really would have gone more if my dad wanted to, I was that confident that the Tebow Express would make a valiant stop against the Jets this week. Me and my dad bet football spreads all the time, but this one was, in my opinion, one of the easiest ones of the year.

The Broncos were coming off an emotional high after their win in Kansas City that Sunday. The Jets? The exact opposite. They were obliterated by the Patriots Sunday night. Great defenses travel, so I thought even off a short week the Jets would give Tebow enough looks to really make him struggle.

I’ve seen Denver’s defense shine before, specifically against my Raiders a couple weeks back in Oakland, but I still wasn’t a believer. Mark Sanchez has always been a late in-season bloomer, playing better as the season went on, so I was expecting a turn of the corner type game for him.

My last reason? The Jets are simply the better, more talented team. No way were the Jets going to not come into this game fired up, desperate for a win after their embarrassing loss at home last week.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong again.

I guess I have to start respecting this Tebow guy now. It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s just I’m so damn sick of hearing his name that I wouldn’t be surprised if he surpassed “Brett Favre” on my “If I Hear His Name One More Damn Time I’m Going To Punch A Whole In My Wall” list.

Yes, “he just wins games” is a phrase that also is getting severely overplayed, but it’s true. The Broncos are winning, albeit the ugliest possible way a football game can be won, and at the same time chasing the Raiders for the division lead in the AFC West. If Tebow was in the NFC South I would care a little bit less than I do now, but the fact he’s in my own division makes it even worse. He’s winning and hurting my team at the same time.

Tim, I respect you, you’re a man of faith, spirituality and whole-heartedness, but I beg you, stop winning games. Stop haunting my TV with constant coverage from ESPN and more specifically Skip Bayless, who, if you are indeed the second coming of Christ, be my Judas to your Jesus.

It has to end eventually right?

7-8 last week

73-55-4 for the season

Home team in BOLD and CAPS

Jets (+7) over BRONCOSL

FALCONS (-6½) over Titans

Everything in my head is saying “Don’t pick the Falcons. Don’t pick the Falcons. Don’t pick the Falcons”. So why am I picking them? Good question. And honestly I still don’t know why I am. Maybe because they’re the more talented team. Maybe because they’re at home. Maybe because they’re determined to comeback after their heartbreaking should-be-win-but-loss-because-of-the-stupidest-call-I’ve-ever-seen last week. I like the Matt Ryan to Roddy White connection to win by a TD this week.

Bills (+2½) over DOLPHINS

I’ve been a big proponent of the “Dolphins aren’t as bad as they look” mentality. They’ve covered the past two weeks and have looked like a team that actually cares about their play on the field (Hear that Colts?). I’ve also been a big proponent (except last week) of the “Bills aren’t as good as they look” mentality. So what gives this week? The Dolphins normally are terrible at home. They beat the Redskins last week but really, the Redskins are just as bad as the Colts. This won’t be a barn burner, but I like the Bills to win outright.

RAVENS (-7) over Bengals

I hate the Ravens. No, not because I hate the dumb look that Joe Flacco has after every incomplete pass or the city of Baltimore (seriously though what’s there to like?), but because of how awful it feels to bet on them. I lost a survivor pool in just Week 2 of this year because of them. They didn’t cover last week against the Seahawks a week after a great comeback win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. What the hell? Without AJ Green I give the edge to the Ravens. I’d be lying if I said I was confident in this pick though.

Jaguars (-1) over BROWNS

I only picked this game because I had to. Really, does anyone care for this game? I’m 95.9% confident than the state of Florida could care less for this game. Heck I’m not even sure if they know they have a team. Cleveland? I’m sure they’re still lying in their corners wondering how Lebron left them for Miami. Yeah…shocker!

Raiders (-1) over VIKINGS

Adrian Peterson vs. the Raiders 25th ranked rush defense. Jared Allen vs. Carson Palmer. Jared Allen vs. Michael Bush. Jared Allen vs anyone who gets in his way. LOUD Minnesota crowds vs. Carson Palmer. For a 2-7 team the Vikings present tons of problems for the Raiders. I had my doubts last week on the road against the Chargers. Palmer proved me wrong. Here’s hoping that Palmer me right this week. Take the residents of the Black Hole. And no I’m not talking about Ray J or Reggie Bush (Kris didn’t hit it).

Panthers (+7) over LIONS

This could be my genius pick of the week, or it could end up like my Bills and Vikings picks last week. The Lions are banged up: Calvin Johnson is dealing with concussion symptoms, Jahvid Best is out (what else is new?) and Mathew Stafford is dealing with a broken right index finger (what else is new?). Cam Newton is playing on turf. Let me repeat: Cam Newton. Turf. I expect this to be high scoring and a fun game to watch. Lions take it in a close one.

PACKERS (-14) over Buccaneers

I finally manned up and decided not to choose the Packers last weekend. I tried to buck the trend after they failed to cover a couple big spreads earlier in the season. Well, they sure made me look like a moron. Home, again, facing a below average Buccaneers team? Take the two touchdowns. Heck, tease that sucker up.

Cowboys (-7½) over REDSKINS

“In the 11th round Team Rubicon selects Demarco Murray!” ……. **everyone wonders in silence for 20 seconds who the hell Demarco Murray is** ……

Yes, Demarco Murray was actually drafted in our family fantasy league. I honestly didn’t know who he was until I searched his name seconds after he was drafted.

The funny thing? Team Rubicon dropped, yes dropped, Murray the week before his huge debut start for the Cowboys.

As you would expect he was picked up immediately the next week off the waiver wire.

It’s safe to say Team Rubicon isn’t very happy with that drop.

Did I mention his other running backs are Shonne Greene and Ahmad Bradshaw?

49ERS (-9½) over CARDINALS

A wise man once said: “Good teams win, great teams cover”. The 49ers are 8-0-1 against the spread this season. Until they prove us wrong, take them.

Seahawks (+1) over RAMS

Another game that I pick because I must. After the Rams lost in OT to the Cardinals by the single worst way possible I will forever hold a grudge against them. Marshawn Lynch is also quietly having a very good season. Take Seattle against the Rams in a game that no one really wants to watch.

BEARS (-3½) over Chargers

I sorta kinda but not really wanted to pick the Chargers in the upset here. I also sorta kinda really believe the Bears could kill the Chargers. San Diego, traveling across the country against a tough Bears team that seems to be in NFC divisional round mode already. Can the Chargers stop Forte? Can the Chargers be smart enough not to kick to Devin Hester? Can FOX not zoom in on Norv Turner’s horrendous neck wrinkles, forcing me to vomit whatever food I’m currently chewing at that time? No, no and no.

GIANTS (-4½) over Eagles

No Michael Vick. No Jeremy Maclin. A sleepy, broke DeSean Jackson. The Eagles are on the road. The Giants are coming off a tough loss to the 49ers. Andy Reid is still coaching the Eagles. Need I go on?

PATRIOTS (-14½) over Chiefs

Tyler Palko is starting for the Chiefs. You’re welcome.

—Jordan