11 December 2012

2012 NFL Week 15 Picks

One of the top games of the fifteenth week of the season will take place in Foxborough as Colin Kaepernick, Saved by the Bell cameo star Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers will cross the country to take on the New England Patriots on Sunday night. Could this be a potential Super Bowl preview? Here is my pick for that game as well as for the 15 others this week in the NFL.
Last Week: 10-6
2012: 127-82

Thursday, December 13
Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (4-9) - NFL Network, 8:20
Oh my lanta, Nick Foles was tremendously tremendous against the Buccaneers this past week with 381 yards, two touchdowns including the game winner at the horn. I mean, the complete and utter lack of a running game is concerning but the kid looked very good. Can he do it again? I'm not sure sure, as the Bengals have a pretty good pass defense and they are in need of a win big time after that poorly timed loss to the Cowboys.
Bengals 28 Eagles 24

Sunday, December 16
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) vs. Miami Dolphins (5-8) - CBS, 1:00
Remember when Chad Henne was looking good? It seems so long ago because he has had two bad games in a row and the Jaguars have gone back to looking like the Jaguars. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Dolphins were not incredible against the 49ers, but at least it was a game deep into the fourth quarter. Ryan Tannehill should have some fun against this Jaguars secondary and maybe they can get their running game going?
Dolphins 26 Jaguars 17

Indianapolis Colts (9-4) vs. Houston Texans (11-2) - CBS, 1:00
The Colts look to be good for the playoffs barring something surprising but this game will show how close they are to the elite of the AFC against the Texans. Andrew Luck will have to step up big but he may not be able to do so unless the offensive line steps up and they struggled with the pass rush of Tennessee this past week. Look for a balanced effort for the Texans on offense with a strong dose of the ground game to keep the ball away from Luck and pressure the rookie aggressively on defense.
Texans 30 Colts 24

Denver Broncos (10-3) vs. Baltimore Ravens (9-4) - CBS, 1:00
You think there is reason for concern in Baltimore? After all, the Ravens do not lose two games in a row often, the last time being the 2009 campaign. Their defense especially looked gassed late Sunday in Landover as they got shredded at the worst possible team late as both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins led the Skins to a comeback and then an overtime victory. Plus, they just fired their offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, which was the right move to make...after the season, not now. And will anything be different under a pass-happy new coordinator in Jim Caldwell, and it's not like Joe Flacco has been awful anyways as he's having one of his best seasons. All this upheaval will lead to a home loss.
Broncos 34 Ravens 24

Washington Redskins (7-6) vs. Cleveland Browns (5-8) - FOX, 1:00
It certainly was a wild overtime win in Landover against the Ravens but it came with the cost of Robert Griffin III suffering a knee sprain on the game-winning drive. But with how solid fellow rookie Kirk Cousins has been in relief, would it kill the Skins if Griffin was unable to go? Actually, I think it will be a moot point because I like Cleveland whether or not a hobbled Griffin is able to play. I think another rookie, Brandon Weeden, will have a strong day passing against an awful Washington secondary and pull the home upset.
Browns 21 Redskins 17

Minnesota Vikings (7-6) vs. St. Louis Rams (6-6-1) - FOX, 1:00
Adrian Peterson has been kicking ass and taking names as he is averaging 157 yards-per-game over his past seven games and seems to be unstoppable right now. There is only one thing that could slow down, the fact that Christian Ponder has been very inconsistent at quarterback. I think that point will cause a crafty Rams defense to slow down Peterson just enough to get a big win as they try to make a run at the postseason.
Rams 20 Vikings 17

Green Bay Packers (9-4) vs. Chicago Bears (8-5) - FOX, 1:00
The Packers may have won eight of ten, but it really has been over a month since they had a impressive victory and since the blowout win in Houston have played some pretty feeble competition. The biggest reason why they been winning is that the quarterback play of the opposition has been somewhere between awful and hilarious, but fortunately for them, Jay Cutler is as prone as anyone to give up games as he sucked last week and the last time these clubs met. Plus, it seems that the Packers may get one or all of the injured list of Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews and T.J. Lang, which would be huge.
Packers 31 Bears 27

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) vs. New Orleans Saints (5-8) - FOX, 1:00
Boy, the Saints really are awful on defense and the Giants drove that point home this past Sunday in East Rutherford by dropping 52 on them. The Saints' struggles against Giants rookie David Wilson in the ground game are particularly concerning when you take on the guy that Tampa traded up for to take ahead of Wilson in Doug Martin. Look for Tampa to pound the ground with Martin 30 times or more en route to a big victory to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Buccaneers 31 Saints 23

New York Giants (8-5) vs. Atlanta Falcons (11-2) - FOX, 1:00
Speaking of David Wilson, he was a revelation this past week as his explosiveness on returns and in the ground game gave the Giants offense another dimension and you saw that lead to that blowout of New Orleans. Meanwhile, it has been a while it seems since the Falcons came out swinging and put together big-time performances, the ten point loss at Carolina showed that this certainly is not perfect. I like the Giants to get a big road win here and strengthen a somewhat tenuous hold on the division.
Giants 38 Falcons 28

Carolina Panthers (4-9) vs. San Diego Chargers (5-8) - FOX, 4:05
These two clubs are coming off a pair of surprising victories this past week with the Panthers and the Chargers both beating the Falcons and Steelers, respectively, by ten points. Both were solid victories but I've got to give the more impressive win trophy to the Panthers because Cam Newton went absolutely nuts and showed us that when that dude in on, good luck stopping him. The Chargers are not that good against the pass anyways so give me Carolina on the road.
Panthers 28 Chargers 21

Detroit Lions (4-9) vs. Arizona Cardinals (4-9) - FOX, 4:05
I think the bottom may have fallen out in Arizona. I mean, I could be wrong, but any time you have an extended losing streak lengthened by a 58-point loss, you think that way. Their quarterback play has been absolutely atrocious, especially of late, they can't run the ball and their defense is being on the field way too long due to their inept offense. I mean, the Lions have lost a bunch of games this season but at least they have been competitive in every loss this year. I'll take them, in fact, as my Lock of the Week.
Lions 24 Cardinals 10

Seattle Seahawks (8-5) vs. Buffalo Bills (5-8) - FOX, 4:05
So yeah, the Seahawks just beat the Cardinals 58-0. No big deal. Now while the turd has absolutely hit the fan in Arizona by this point, that is still incredibly impressive. Now I have a feeling that they will have a little tougher time in Toronto this week, they will force Ryan Fitzpatrick to beat them through the air and you know the Seattle secondary will be licking its chops. Look for them to bag a couple of picks and they will roll.
Seahawks 31 Bills 18

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) vs. Dallas Cowboys (7-6) - CBS, 4:25
This Super Bowl XXX matchup is a huge game for both as their playoff lives greatly need a victory if these clubs want to get their Super Bowl hopes alive. Both are coming off very different results this past week as the Steelers lost a game they had no business losing to the Chargers at home while Dallas got a big and certainly emotional victory against the Bengals. It's easy to mock the Cowboys but they have been in every game since the bye and a couple of plays here and there, could have gone 9-0 in that stretch. Give me Dallas.
Cowboys 27 Steelers 23

Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) vs. Oakland Raiders (3-10) - CBS, 4:25
Unsurprisingly, the Chiefs fell back to Earth this past Sunday after the Panthers victory as they went out and got trounced by Cleveland by 23. Brady Quinn went back to being, well, Brady Quinn and the Chiefs wasted another strong performance from Jamaal Charles. The Raiders are certainly no great club by any stretch but with how bad the Chiefs have generally been, they'll look to pound them through the air behind the arm of Carson Palmer and I think they will.
Raiders 17 Chiefs 12

San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) vs. New England Patriots (10-3) - NBC, 8:20
For the last few weeks, as noted in my playoff predictions posts, I have been feeling that the 49ers will take this one on the road. And then I saw how awesome the Patriots were looking on offense last night against an elite defense in the Texans. New England has not lost a game in Foxborough in December since 2002 and have won 21 straight games in the second half of the season. With how this offense and this team is rolling, I'll flip-flop and take the Pats.
Patriots 35 49ers 28

Monday, December 17
New York Jets (6-7) vs. Tennessee Titans (4-9) - ESPN, 8:30
Hey, the Jets have a winning streak! Of course, who won't sneeze over wins against the Cardinals and the Jaguars but alas, the Jets are still somehow very much alive in the AFC Wild Card race thanks to improved play by their running backs Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene. The Titans have looked like a mess as they have lost three in a row and I think their losing streak will continue while the Jets' winning streak will extend a week.
Jets 19 Titans 13

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