Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sportszilla's NFL Picks: Week 12
By Zach

For this, the Thanksgiving weekend, Ben and I are once again providing our picks. The picks for Thursday's games will be up on Wednesday night, with the rest coming on Saturday. As always, home teams are in bold.

This Week:

Ben: 9-5-1
Zach: 8-6-1

Lions +3 vs. Falcons

Ben takes: Falcons. Is there a tougher team in the NFL to read right now than the Falcons? After back to back losses at home the one time postseason front runner is now in a dog fight just for a wild card spot. The Michael Vick experience makes its first Thanksgiving visit and Joey Harrington couldn't have come at a better time. At least I think it's Harrington; it could still be Jeff Garcia. One thing we do know is that it isn't Dan Orlovsky. At this point, does it matter? The Lions always play hard on Turkey day, but the Falcons will pull it out. Right.
Zach takes: Falcons. Well, Mike Vick had his best passing day of the season last week and they lost. Plus, they're on the road coming off a short week. Still, the Lions suck, especially since Joey Harrington is going to get the start. Right.

Cowboys +2.5 vs. Broncos

Ben takes: Cowboys. Dallas hasn't played well lately and were lucky to get out of Philly with a win. Then they got the Lions at home, which is the equivalent of a bye. The Boys' offense played like that on Sunday too. Meanwhile Denver had an even task against the Jets last weekend and also failed to impress. I don't trust Jake Plummer or Drew Bledsoe. But I'll take the home team here. The Broncos are 6-0 at home this year but just 2-2 elsewhere, while the Boys are 4-1 in Dallas. Besides, one of these home teams has to win on Thanksgiving, right? Wrong.
Zach takes: Cowboys. The setting is perfect for the Broncos to slip up. The Cowboys have the talent to stop their run game and make Jake Plummer beat them. They can run the ball with Barber and Jones. And they're at home on the short week. Plus, I still don't believe in Denver. Wrong.

Chiefs -3 vs. Patriots

Ben: Chiefs. I don’t think highly of the Chiefs, but I think even less of the Patriots at this point. The Pats will be able to pass on that awful defense, but the Chiefs will be able to run all over New England. Given they can control the clock and are at home and with the Pats’ line beat up on the road, I’ll take the Chiefs in this one. Right.
Zach: Patriots. I just don't think the Chiefs have the weapons in the passing game (outside of Gonzalez) to attack that dreadful Patriot secondary. When I think about this game, I see Trent Green making the one mistake that Brady avoids and the Patriots pulling a close one out. Wrong.

Bengals -9.5 vs. Ravens

Ben: Bengals. I fear the Bengals and big lines, but I’m not sure the Ravens can score more than 10 points. With the Ravens D now beat up, (no Ray Lewis or Ed Reed), one has to figure at home the Bengals can put up at least 20 points. Besides I can’t justify actually picking Kyle Boller when he’s not up against Tommy Maddox, and I didn’t even do it then. Right.
Zach: Bengals. There are two ways to look at the Bengals. You could say they're not good enough, not experienced enough to beat the best teams in the league. You might also note that they blow out bad teams. And boy, the Ravens suck. Since Kyle Boller is (by far) the worst QB in this game, Cincinnati is the fairly easy pick. Right.

Bills +4 vs. Panthers

Ben: Bills. Who has faith in an NFC team at this point? Not me. So I return to an old standby, Buffalo at home in November/December. The Bills D is awful against the run but solid against the pass. That’s all Carolina can do. Expect this one to be ugly and close, so I’ll take the points and go with the Bills. No, not even JP Losman can scare me off. If Kyle Orton can beat the Panthers, anyone can. Push.
Zach: Panthers. I know it's in cold weather. But I just don't see much in this Bills team. They're not really playing for much, and with Losman at QB their offense might as well just give up. This may not be a blowout, but the Panthers are gonna be angry, and they're good enough to make that mean something. Ben, you gotta stop taking terrible QBs. Push.

Buccaneers -3 vs. Bears

Ben: Bears. Okay, Chris Simms isn’t as bad as people like to say he is. He’s like the anti-Brian Griese...people think Griese was actually good when he in fact, was just mediocre enough to get by. Simms isn’t the worst QB in the league; he’s just good enough to get by. But it doesn’t matter what people think about him here; the Bears defense might be the best in football. They’ll make Simms turn it over. The game will be close, so I’ll take the Bears. And no I won’t call them the 2005 version of the “2000 Ravens.” Brian Urlacher hasn’t been brought up on a murder charges...yet. Right.
Zach: Buccaneers. The way I see it, with a Bears loss and a Seahawk win, the path is clear for Seattle to become the media darling in the NFC (and thus be doomed to lose next week in Philly). Seriously, look at what happened last week with the Panthers. The Bears just aren't good enough offensively for me to believe they can go on the road and score enough to beat Tampa Bay. And since both QBs suck in this game, I can get away with taking (yikes) Chris Simms. Wrong.

Redskins +4 vs. Chargers

Ben: Chargers. Outside of the Colts, I believe the Chargers are football’s best team. Their offense is dynamic and their defense is good enough. I don’t like their coach, but in the regular season, coaches don’t usually kill you if you’ve got the talent the Bolts do. The Skins are reeling. Their defense has struggled and Mark Brunell is starting to look like himself again. LT dominates, Drew Brees continues to make Bryan Koch salivate and the Chargers roll. Right.

Zach: Chargers. The Skins are about to roll over, and the Chargers are rolling. Of course, knowing the NFL, this means that Washington is gonna win, but hey, I'm a sucker for LDT. Right.

Vikings -4 vs. Browns

Ben: Vikings. It appeared Mike Tice would be the one sure firing in the NFC North this season. Now Steve Mariucci and Mike Sherman have their heads on the chopping block while Tice is dreaming of a playoff spot. Seriously, the Vikings remaining schedule is a joke and they have a bunch of games at home. This is one of the games which combine both elements. So, technically they should tease their fans and lose a heartbreaker. But I’m a sucker for a dome team at home. Right.
Zach: Browns. Isn't it time for the Vikings to implode? Just when the fans have started believing, when all the Love Boat stuff has started to fade away? The Browns are money. Right.

Titans -8 vs. 49ers

Ben: 49ers. Okay, a couple of questions. Does anyone actually care about this game? Secondly, why in a game with teams this bad, is one team over a TD favorite? Has one 2-8 team done more to separate itself from the other? Ken Dorsey and the Niners are my pick here. They don’t have to win, but eight points is way too much. Wrong.
Zach: 49ers. This may be a total reaction pick to last week's game, but this 49er team, while bad, isn't that bad. Not bad enough to be an 8 point dog (even on the road) to a 2-8 team. Wrong.

Texans +4 vs. Rams

Ben: Rams. Awful match up. This game is about as bad as the Jets/Saints game and the Titans/Niners. At least I actually like the Jets and have a rooting interest in seeing Ken Dorsey do well for the Niners. Oh well. I’ll take the Rams because I have Tory Holt on my fantasy team. That I just can’t pick a team as bad as the Texans. Taking them is like taking the Cardinals to win the NFC West; sure you look like a genius on the off chance it happens. But most times you’ll just be sitting there wondering what the hell you were smoking while everyone you know makes fun of you for being so stupid. There, are you happy now, Zach? I’m an idiot for taking the Cardinals to win the NFC West. I should have known it was a dumb pick the moment I read Pete Prisco at CBS Sportsline made it as well. Agreeing with him is like the kiss of death. Oh well, at least he took the Texans this week. Right.
Zach: Rams. Alright Ben, no more jokes from me about you taking the Cardinals. Unless you do it again, of course. The Texans suck. How can people not realize this. Doesn't matter who's at QB for the Rams, since they actually have some semblance of an offensive line. Right.

Cardinals +3.5 vs. Jaguars

Ben: Jaguars. Odd line of the week. The Jags are 7-3 and pretty much rolling along. The Cardinals, if you skipped Texans/Rams pick, are a bad team with no hope of winning their division. I know they’re at home, but shouldn’t the Cards be getting more than 3.5? Anyway, it makes picking the Jags even easier. It should be noted that I’m taking the Jaguars, not picking against Kurt Warner. It’s a subtle difference. By the way, candidate #3 for the 2006 Jets starting QB job: Josh Mexico. He’s a free agent after this season and Dennis Green doesn’t seem to think very highly of him. And now that he’s finally got a win with someone other than McCown at QB, all bets are off. Right.
Zach: Jaguars. Ok, Kurt Warner had his fun, beating the Rams. But now he plays a real team. With Leftwich clicking, the Jags should roll over a miserable Arizona squad. Right.

Raiders -7 vs. Dolphins

Ben: Raiders. 167 yards to Reuben Droughns. Sage Rosenfelds started at QB. Zach Thomas and Junior Seau out for the season. Say it with me now… the Dolphins are DONE. Wrong.
Zach: Raiders. Is there still time for the Raiders to make the playoffs? So Pete Prisco doesn't look like a complete moron? Of course not. Wrong.

Seahawks -5 vs. Giants

Ben: Seahawks. The Seahawks are great at home. The Giants are terrible on the road. The Giants have problems against the run. Shaun Alexander is arguably the league MVP this season. The Giants got torched by the Commish last weekend. Matt Hasselbeck is a better QB and has more weapons. This one looks way to easy to pick, so the Giants will probably end up taking it. But common sense says the Seahawks win it. Wrong.
Zach: Seahawks. Sadly, because of other demands, I won't be able to watch this game. I'll be busy broadcasting NYU basketball (if you want to listen, I'm on theNYU Athletics website at 5 pm (NYU women) and at 7 pm (NYU men). Anyhow, everything tells me the Seahawks should win this game. Of course, with the luck I've had in the past, it means they're gonna lose. Aw well, I'm going down with this ship one way or the other. Wrong.

Eagles -4.5 vs. Packers

Ben: Eagles. Defense need not apply in this one. Naturally, I have to take the Commish, even though he won’t have an offensive line in front of him. The Packers D is too terrible to take advantage of that fact. I keep saying Brett Farve is due for a huge game, but maybe, just maybe he doesn’t have one left in him. There’s just no reason to believe in this Green Bay team anymore. At least on the Eagles there are young players fighting for jobs (McMahon, Reggie Brown). Yeah, I just wanted an excuse to take the Commish. We need some alternative to “Brees to the Jets”, right? Right.
Zach: Eagles. They're at home. Both teams suck, so things like that matter. Right.

Saints -1 vs. Jets

Ben Jets. This is one of those games that only people like me would actually subject themselves to watching. On the bright side, I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance Kliff Kingsbury gets into this one. Seriously, it’s something that every Jet fan is waiting for at this point. We secretly dream that Kingsbury will come in and throw for 300 yards, 4 TDs and cement himself as the savior of this franchise. Okay, back to reality. Why am I taking the Jets? Because if the Jets keep losing, they’ll get Reggie Bush. Things in life are never that simple, especially for this franchise. Right now, only the Texans have a worse record and one figures they’d take D’Bricksaw Ferguson with the first pick. Bush would be sitting gift wrapped for the Jets at #2. Like I said, it’s too simple for it to work. The Jets will add a third win here, and further handicap their future in the process. Wrong.
Zach: Saints. But if I refuse to make a pick, does that mean this game doesn't exist? I sure hope so. Right.

Colts -9 vs. Steelers

Ben: Steelers. The Steelers are 7-3 right? And no team has ever gone undefeated in a 16 game regular season right? Big Ben is playing right? Okay, now that we’ve established those three things, I can’t justify taking the Colts with that big a line. If I have doubts as to whether the team will win the game, I’m not taking them as that big a favorite.
Zach: Steelers. I agree with most of what Ben wrote. I just feel the Colts are in for a letdown. They might win, but I see this one being close at the end.

Last Week:

Ben: 9-7
Zach: 11-5


Ben: 60-64-5
Zach: 59-65-5


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