Logic is for Suckers — NFL Week 12 Picks

NFL Picks

We are not gamblers. That doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. Some of these choices have actual thought put into them. More of these choices were made with gut, intuition, and a little thing called grit.

Employ these recommendations at your own peril. Gambling is ungentlemanly.

[Home team in caps. Lines, team rankings, and standings as of 11/20/14 (before the Thursday night game).  All lines per VegasInsider.com consensus. Bye: Carolina, Pittsburgh]

ATLANTA (-3) vs. Cleveland

The Basics:

Atlanta: 4-6, 1st NFC South, #10 total offense, #13 scoring offense, #32 total defense, #23 scoring defense

Cleveland: 6-4, 4th AFC North, #14 total offense, #18 scoring offense, #22 total defense, #7 scoring defense

Derek: J.J. Watt does not play for the Falcons. That is good news. The Falcons are winless against non-NFC South teams. That is also good news. Josh Gordon is back. More good news. And I only have to lay … wait, I’m getting three points with the Browns? Heh, okay! Browns it is.

Will: A brief note about all of my picks this week: they’re going to be short and sweet. They aren’t worth a damn when I put time and energy into them, so I’m going to make pure gut calls this time around and see how it goes.

Josh Gordon is back, and that’s all I need to know. Browns!

PHILADELPHIA (-11) vs. Tennessee

The Basics:

Philadelphia: 7-3, 1st NFC East, #4 total offense, #4 scoring offense, #26 total defense, #20 scoring defense

Tennessee: 2-8, 3rd AFC South, #31 total offense, #30 scoring offense, #21 total defense, #19 scoring defense

Derek: That’s quite a spread. I’m not a Titans sympathizer or anything, but the prospect of laying 11 on the performance of Mark Sanchez when the Eagles’ biggest game of the season is this Thursday gives me pause. I’ll take the Titans.

Will: The Titans are kind of awful, but this is a huge line and they almost beat the Steelers last week. The Eagles, like the Steelers, are from Pennsylvania. Thus, I’m picking the Titans.

NEW ENGLAND (-7) vs. Detroit

The Basics:

New England: 8-2, 1st AFC East, #7 total offense, #2 scoring offense, #16 total defense, #13 scoring defense

Detroit: 7-3, 1st NFC North, #21 total offense, #26 scoring offense, #1 total defense, #1 scoring defense

Derek: So, maybe I shouldn’t have let my dog pick the New England game last week. New England has been really good, and I wonder how long they’re going to be so predictable. I feel like a surprising result is on the horizon. Yet, the Pats have been so dominant, I can’t pick against them. Give me the Patriots.

Will: The Patriots are destroying everyone, and I still arbitrarily don’t believe in the Lions. New England it is.

Green Bay (-9.5) at MINNESOTA

The Basics:

Green Bay: 7-3, 2nd NFC North, #9 total offense, #1 scoring offense, #25 total defense, #17 scoring defense

Minnesota: 4-6, 4th NFC North, #30 total offense, #28 scoring offense, #12 total defense, #14 scoring defense

Derek: The Packers have been dominant at home, but they haven’t looked nearly as good on the road. They’re 2-3 outside of Lambeau, with one of those wins requiring a game-winning touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers with three seconds to play.

I’m not saying the Vikings have a great home-field advantage, or even that they’re very good. But the Packers lost by three touchdowns to the Saints in their last road game, and the Saints aren’t exactly a good team. The Packers could also overlook the Vikings since they destroyed them last time and they host the Patriots next week. I like the underdogs.

Will: Same as what I said for Pats-Lions, except I have reason not to believe in the Vikings. Go Pack go.

INDIANAPOLIS (-14) vs. Jacksonville

The Basics:

Indianapolis: 6-4, 1st AFC South, #1 total offense, #3 scoring offense, #24 total defense, #22 scoring defense

Jacksonville: 1-9, 4th AFC South #27 total offense, #31 scoring offense, #29 total defense, #31 scoring defense

Derek: The Colts have feasted on bad teams this year. They’re also coming off an embarrassing loss and will want to take it out on the lowly Jaguars. I might take the Colts even if the line was 21. Thankfully, I don’t have to. Colts roll.

Will: The Jags are terrible, and the Colts put up a ton of points, but I like Blake Bortles to lead Jacksonville to some meaningless garbage time points. Jacksonville covers.

HOUSTON (-1.5) vs. Cincinnati

The Basics:

Houston: 5-5, 2nd AFC South, #15 total offense, #15 scoring offense, #30 total defense, T-#8 scoring defense

Cincinnati: 6-3-1, 1st AFC North, #17 total offense, #16 scoring offense, #28 total defense, #15 scoring defense

Derek: Are we getting the Andy Dalton we saw against Cleveland, or the one we saw against New Orleans? With J.J. Watt involved, I’m betting on the former. The Texans are 5-0 against the Bengals since 2008. Arian Foster/Alfred Blue should have a nice day, and Dalton may be dealing with PTSD by the 4th quarter. The Texans prevail.

Will: J.J. Watt is an animal, but I think the Bengals will be able to corral Ryan Mallett better than the Browns. Cincinnati FTW.

BUFFALO (-4.5) vs. New York Jets

The Basics:

Buffalo: 5-5, 3rd AFC East, #25 total offense, #23 scoring offense, #6 total defense, T-#8 scoring defense

New York: 2-8, 4th AFC East, #26 total offense, #29 scoring offense, #7 total defense, T-#27 scoring defense

Derek: This game has been moved to Monday night in Detroit. Does that mean we have to move it lower in the column because the games are listed in chronological order? Is the same announcing crew doing it? How much will they charge for tickets? Will it be nationally televised? Will it be televised at all?

Oh, right, the game. I’m not really sure how we’re supposed to pick this game. Buffalo is better, but I heard they haven’t even been able to practice this week. That seems like a problem. The Jets are underdogs, so I guess I’ll take them?

Will: Buffalo straps on their snowshoes and ekes out an ugly one. Bills!

CHICAGO (-6) vs. Tampa Bay

The Basics:

Chicago: 4-6, 3rd NFC North, #13 total offense, #19 scoring offense, #19 total defense, #32 scoring defense

Tampa Bay: 2-8, 4th NFC South, #28 total offense, #25 scoring offense, #27 total defense, #30 scoring defense

Derek: I’m beginning to change my tune on the Bucs. Their record is awful, but they really only got destroyed by the Falcons and Ravens. They’ve been competitive otherwise. They also seem to be better on the road, somehow, and they’re closer to winning their division than the Bears are, somehow. What the heck — Josh McCown Revenge Game!!! Bucs.

Will: The Bears will go on a mini-run to produce some false hope before their season truly crashes and burns. Chicago wins and gets everyone excited for a week or two.

SEATTLE (-6.5) vs. Arizona

The Basics:

Seattle: 6-4, 3rd NFC West, #11 total offense, #10 scoring offense, #3 total defense, #12 scoring defense

Arizona: 9-1, 1st NFC West, #20 total offense, #14 scoring offense, #13 total defense, #3 scoring defense

Derek: I see what you’re trying to do, Vegas. You’re trying to get me to pick against my team by forcing me to lay 6.5 points against the team with the best record in the league. Nice try. Logic is for suckers. Seahawks!

Will: I mean, the Cardinals have won 90% of their games, and they’re getting six and a half? I choose Arizona, and expect some wonderfully terrible “Raising Arizona” puns to follow.

SAN DIEGO (-4.5) vs. St. Louis

The Basics:

San Diego: 6-4, 3rd AFC West, #22 total offense, #17 scoring offense, #9 total defense, #6 scoring defense

St. Louis: 4-6, 4th NFC West, #29 total offense, #27 scoring offense, #17 total defense, #25 scoring defense

Derek: I was all over the Rams annihilating the Chargers so it would look even more surprising when the winless Raiders beat them next week. Then the Raiders beat the Chiefs and now my narrative is ruined. This sucks. Just like San Diego’s offensive line! The Rams’ defensive line has been playing well, and the Dolphins showed us what happens when you pit a good defensive line against the Chargers. I side with the Rams.

Will: (flipping coin) This will be a bad Rams week. Chargers win.

DENVER (-7) vs. Miami

The Basics:

Denver: 7-3, 1st AFC West, #3 total offense, #5 scoring offense, #5 total defense, #16 scoring defense

Miami: 6-4, 2nd AFC East, #16 total offense, #11 scoring offense, #2 total defense, #4 scoring defense

Derek: The Broncos will be angry. Denver isn’t a fun place to play, either. I continue to believe the Dolphins are overrated. The Broncos cover.

Will: The Dolphins will make Denver work enough to keep this one close. Marine Mammals!

SAN FRANCISCO (-9) vs. Washington

The Basics:

San Francisco: 6-4, 2nd NFC West, #18 total offense, #20 scoring offense, #4 total defense, T-#10 scoring defense

Washington: 3-7, 4th NFC East, #8 total offense, #22 scoring offense, #10 total defense, #24 scoring defense

Derek: The Redskins have covered three times this season. Two of them were division rivals they got up for. The other was Jacksonville. I don’t like their chances in this one. I’ll take the Niners.

Will: The Redskins are a flaming bag of poop, but sometimes a flaming bag of poop is good enough to cover. Washington!

Dallas (-3.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS

The Basics:

Dallas: 7-3, 2nd NFC East, #6 total offense, T-#7 scoring offense, #15 total defense, T-#10 scoring defense

New York: 3-7, 3rd NFC East, #19 total offense, #21 scoring offense, #31 total defense, #26 scoring defense

Derek: The Giants look done, and they’re playing in a game they should lose. This is the game that begins their playoff run.

Will: Hahahahaha oh man the Giants are miserable. But Eli seems to bounce back when you least expect it. This week, I read from the Book of Eli.

NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) vs. Baltimore

The Basics:

New Orleans: 4-6, 2nd NFC South, #2 total offense, T-#7 scoring offense, #20 total defense, #21 scoring defense

Baltimore: 6-4, 3rd AFC North, #12 total offense, T-#7 scoring offense, #11 total defense, #5 scoring defense

Derek: I have two weeks worth of recent football that tells me differently, but I just can’t bet against the Saints in the Superdome. They can’t lose three straight home games … right? Saints find a way.

Will: I like the Saints to win, but the Ratbirds (as some Clevelanders affectionately call the Ravens) cover.

Phew, that was intense. If not thinking at all works this week, then I will employ the same strategy for every other endeavor for the rest of my life. What could possibly go wrong?

Last week

Derek: 5-9

Will: 8-6

Overall

Derek: 32-23

Will: 23-21



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