For the Win - Week 12
by Jeff Pasquino
November 21st, 2012

Here I am again this year, back for more NFL picks. Just like last season I will still be picking all of the NFL games each week, but I will try and help some of you with some confidence and rankings of the selections - which also may assist those of you with Las Vegas trips. I tend to rate games that I like (and some extras like Over/Unders) with 1-3 "Stars", which basically highlight my best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars I don't truly like one way or the other, but will select to help those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools or other contests that they may be participating in either this week or this season.

Week 11 was better with the pick of the week, the star picks and the teasers, but it was still mediocre overall. Let's get rolling with a full slate of games back on the schedule. Here we go with the selections:

Note that the lines and Over/Unders are taken from VegasInsider.com.

Note – last week I missed the write-up for Baltimore-Pittsburgh. I had Baltimore in the staff confidence pool and would have taken them at -3, so I count that as a push. Sorry I overlooked that write-up.

(Thursday) HOUSTON (-3) at DETROIT
This is a tough one here as it screams "trap game" for the Texans – a bad game last week (fortunate to beat Jacksonville in overtime), a short week, a road game and Detroit's biggest home date of the year. Throw all that together and you have to like Detroit, right? Not so fast. Houston needs to win and keep their top seed in the AFC and their defense looks to get better as fast as possible and put the bad game behind them. I think Titus Young being suspended also matters. Tough call but I like Houston in a close game to win, 30-23.PICK: Texans

(Thursday) WASHINGTON (+3.5) at DALLAS
It may seem strange to take a 4-6 team on the road on a short week, especially in Dallas on Thanksgiving, but the Redskins know this drill all too well. These teams always play tight, and the Cowboys are not playing well, especially at home. Couple that with Robert Griffin III and the rest of Washington playing well (and destroying Philadelphia last week) and I will gladly take the Redskins and the points. PICK: Redskins

(Thursday) NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) at NEW YORK JETS
Another rivalry game here on Thanksgiving night between two AFC East teams that lose no love over one another as New England travels to visit the Jets. New York just won a game over St. Louis but the Patriots are completely rolling after racking up another 59 points last week – but they did lose Rob Gronkowski to a broken arm. I doubt that matters much as Tom Brady and company should top 30+ points again, and I don't see the Jets topping 20. Patriots win by double digits, something like 34-19. PICK: Patriots

JACKSONVILLE (+3) vs. TENNESSEE
Tennessee comes off of their bye week to head to Florida and take on a disappointed Jacksonville club that nearly pulled off the major upset in Houston in Week 11. The Jaguars are starting to both force and take advantage of turnovers, and Chad Henne made all of his receivers looks good last week. I like the home dog here and Jacksonville to pick up their second win of the season. PICK: Jaguars

INDIANAPOLIS (-3) vs. BUFFALO
New England picked Indianapolis apart in Week 11, racking up 59 points against the young but developing team. The Bills are more rested and at home, but they showed little signs of live against Miami last week despite picking up a victory. The Colts are better and need this game to keep their Wild Card hopes alive. Take Indianapolis for the win. PICK: Colts

PITTSBURGH (EVEN) at CLEVELAND
The Steelers are on their third string quarterback, but Charlie Batch is a proven veteran who is more than capable of running and offense and holding down the fort until Ben Roethlisberger heals up. Cleveland pushed the Cowboys to the brink of a loss before Dallas rallied at home to win in overtime. Although I think the Browns are improving, the Steelers need this game too much and have a long history of beating up on Cleveland. I like the Steelers to win this one on the road, even if it is not very pretty. PICK: Steelers

OAKLAND (+8.5) at CINCINNATI
Last week the Bengals blew up the Chiefs while Oakland was beat down by New Orleans in the Black Hole – so why am I picking the Raiders on the road? Two sets of two words – "Carson Palmer" and "revenge game". Think about it – what would mean more for Palmer than to go back to his old stomping grounds and show everyone that he's still got it? I think this game is far closer than many would expect, even if A.J. Green is virtually unstoppable. I think Oakland can win this outright so of course I like getting lots of points here. PICK: Raiders

DENVER (-10.5) at KANSAS CITY
Pick a matchup – any matchup – and find me one where the Chiefs have the advantage. Peyton Manning against the Kansas City defense? Not really. Kansas City offense… wait, who are we kidding. After Jamaal Charles, there is nothing left to even discuss – with Brady Quinn and company (and I use "company" loosely, as Dwayne Bowe is iffy and who knows who there is behind him) struggling to do anything with the ball. Denver should be up by 14 by halftime and cruise like the Bengals did last week. Denver in a laugher. PICK: Broncos

SEATTLE (-3) at MIAMI
Picking Seattle on the road sounds like a tough call, but after the Seahawks rested with a bye week they should be all geared up to take the long trip to South Beach and take on the Dolphins. Miami struggled in Buffalo last week and have been regressing each week since a relatively good start. I like Seattle to use Marshawn Lynch a great deal and pound the ball against the Dolphins to shorten the game and steal a road victory they sorely need to stay on top in the hunt for a playoff spot. PICK: Seahawks

ATLANTA (EVEN) at TAMPA BAY
Some games are easy picks, and some scream "sucker bets". I am not sure which one this one is, but I for one cannot pass up a 9-1 team that is a virtual toss-up, even if they are on the road against a divisional team. Tampa Bay had to come back late to beat Carolina in overtime, and the Panthers are the worst team in the NFC (or at least in the running for that unwanted title). I like what the Bucs are doing there long term, but right now the Falcons need to win this game to shake off the bad feelings from nearly losing to Arizona last week. PICK: Falcons

CHICAGO (EVEN) vs. MINNESOTA
Another divisional game this week, which makes these picks tougher. Add to it that we have both the Vikings coming off of a bye and injury questions – plus making picks early in the week – which only adds to the difficulty. I will take the easy route here and go with the home team, the better team and my gut – all of which says to overlook Adrian Peterson's fantastic year and take the better club. Chicago in a close one. PICK: Bears

BALTIMORE (EVEN) at SAN DIEGO
This just in – San Diego is done. The Chargers lost any chance of salvaging their season by losing to Denver last week, so the Ravens get a break in what normally would be a tough road trip. Baltimore needs to rekindle their offense after a meager output in Pittsburgh last week, so I expect Joe Flacco to take to the air and find Torrey Smith early to get a lead and then coast the rest of the way. PICK: Ravens

ST. LOUIS (+2.5) at ARIZONA
The trivia question coming soon to a sports bar near you will be "Who is that at quarterback for Arizona?"The answer is Ryan Lindley, a sixth round draft pick from San Diego State who was the third guy behind both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. That's about the only answer he will be for the Cardinals, as he is far from ready to salvage their woeful quarterback situation. Take the Rams to play better than last week and step up for a road win in Arizona this week as Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson pick up their performances. PICK: Rams

SAN FRANCISCO (-1) at NEW ORLEANS
I really am having some difficulty with this one. On the one hand, Drew Brees and company are red hot, but the Saints defense is nothing close to even an NFL average group. The 49ers may not have Alex Smith this week, but Colin Kaepernick looked much better – and against the Bears no less, a Top 5 defense. San Francisco feels like the team to beat right now out West and they need this game to stay out ahead of the Seahawks and to try and secure a first round playoff bye. The Saints will not go down easy, as they need every win they can get to stay in the playoff hunt, but I am leaning towards the team with seven wins even on the road. If San Francisco can cover Jimmy Graham and force more field goals than touchdowns then I love their chances. This will be a good one to watch and might be the game of the day. I'll take the 49ers in a close one, 31-27. PICK: 49ers

GREEN BAY (+3) at NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants are coming off of a much needed bye week and face a Green Bay team that has struggled to put teams away, but New York is still not guaranteed to be the healthiest team on Sunday. Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw are still healing up, and the Giants have been inconsistent over the past few weeks, including a bad road loss to Cincinnati in Week 10. Green Bay needs to keep finding ways to win and scoring as they are trying to keep up with Chicago, so give me the Packers and the points in what should be a close game. PICK: Packers

(Monday)CAROLINA (+2.5) at PHILADELPHIA
After what should be great NFL action on both Thanksgiving and Sunday, Week 12 ends in a whimper with a contest between the two weakest NFC franchises – the Panthers and the Eagles. Both teams had high hopes and expectations coming into this season, but much has gone wrong with both clubs. Carolina is probably happier to be on the road after a bad loss at home to Tampa Bay in overtime, while the Eagles have to head home after a terrible beat down by the Redskins last week. Michael Vick is likely out for the game and LeSean McCoy could miss it as well with a concussion – so I expect the "Fire Andy" chants to start sometime about 8:15PM. This game will be ugly and could easily get away from the Eagles in a hurry. PICK: Panthers

Best Bets

Once again this year I will give not only the "Best Bets" but also a rating of each one on a 1-3 "Star" scale. The more stars, the more I like that side of the game.

* ONE STAR GAMES *

  • (Thursday) HOUSTON (-3) at DETROIT
  • (Thursday) WASHINGTON (+3.5) at DALLAS
  • (Thursday) WASHINGTON "FOR THE WIN" (+160) at DALLAS
  • (Thursday) NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) at NEW YORK JETS
  • JACKSONVILLE "FOR THE WIN" (+140) vs. TENNESSEE
  • INDIANAPOLIS (-3) vs. BUFFALO
  • PITTSBURGH (EVEN) at CLEVELAND
  • OAKLAND "FOR THE WIN" (+330) at CINCINNATI
  • ATLANTA (EVEN) at TAMPA BAY
  • ST. LOUIS "FOR THE WIN" (+120) at ARIZONA
  • (Monday) CAROLINA (+2.5) at PHILADELPHIA
  • ** TWO STAR GAMES **

  • OAKLAND (+8.5) at CINCINNATI
  • *** THREE STAR GAMES ***

  • None this week.
  • PICK OF THE WEEK: Oakland Raiders

    Results

    Last Week

  • OVERALL: 6-7-1 (46.2%)
  • BEST BETS (STARS): 8.8-5 (63.8%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 1-0 (100%)
  • Season

  • OVERALL: 73-82-4 (47.2%)
  • BEST BETS (STARS): 55.7-63 (46.9%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 5-9 (35.7%)
  • As always, questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com.

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