GLS Picks: Week 12

Okay, so yesterday wasn’t great (unless you’re only picking straight-up), but we’re 26-13-5 over the last three weeks, salvaging the season. We fully intend to keep the momentum moving in that direction and finish with our best season yet. Of course, what we intend is quite irrelevant when it comes to picking these freakin’ games.

As always, you can complement this column with the Red Heat Podcast’s Week 12 preview.

Here’s where we’ve been…

Last week: 11-3 (8-3-3 against the spread)
2011 season: 98-62 (74-72-14 against the spread)
2010 season: 155-101 (117-119-20 against the spread)
2009 season: 175-81 (122-101-33 against the spread)
2008 season: 161-94-1 (114-112-30 against the spread)
2007 season: 174-82 (118-105-33 against the spread)

And here’s where we’re going…

HIGH CONFIDENCE

The Vikings were a completely different team without Adrian Peterson last week, and they won’t have him in Week 12. To boot, they have to go up against an Atlanta team that completely dominated Chris Johnson and the Tennessee running game last week. The Falcons are too good for Minnesota, especially at home, where they haven’t lost to a team with a losing record since 2007. Falcons 27, Vikings 10

Have the Bills given up? And even if they haven’t, do they stand a chance against a team that crushed them just a few weeks ago? The Jets are desperate for a win to stay alive in the playoff race, while the Bills are a mess without Fred Jackson. Buffalo truly is one of the league’s worst teams right now, and New York is a lot better than its record. They’ve already beaten San Diego and Dallas at home this year — they should dominate Buffalo. Jets 27, Bills 10

Disaster waiting to happen: Kansas City, on short rest, against Pittsburgh, coming off a bye. The Chiefs, without their starting quarterback, against the Steelers, who are getting healthier. KC, with nothing to play for, against black and yellow, desperate for a win to keep pace with the Ravens. I know Ben Roethlisberger has a fractured thumb, but he shouldn’t have to do a lot of work in Kansas City. Steelers 17, Chiefs 0

The Giants have been solid on the road, but a rested Saints team in New Orleans will probably be their biggest challenge yet (even bigger than New England at Foxboro). Coming off a bye in 2009, the Saints put up 48 points in a blowout victory over the Giants. New Orleans is the better team, the healthier team, the more rested team and the home team. Saints 35, Giants 21

MEDIUM CONFIDENCE

Yeah, I’m taking the Broncos. And it’s mainly because their defense has been stellar both against the pass and the run. Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil should again dial it up against a depleted offensive line. Besides, San Diego’s run defense has been mediocre all season. On top of all that, there’s the Tebow factor. Right now, the Broncos are simply better than the Chargers. Broncos 20, Chargers 17

The Patriots are picking up steam, and the defense is improving as the season progresses, just as it did in 2010. New England is also healthier than the Eagles, who have to worry about the statuses of Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin, Nnamdi Asomugha and DeSean Jackson. Aside from the Dallas game, Philly has been terrible at home this season. I’m surprised the Pats are only favored by 3.5 points. Patriots 30, Eagles 20

The Bengals are coming off of two moral victories, which matters when it comes to a game against the terrible Browns. Cleveland only has four wins because their schedule has been a joke. Against Cincy’s underrated defense on the road, they stand no chance. Plus, karma’s on the Bengals’ side. They won’t look past the Browns with their playoff lives on the line coming off tough losses, and Cleveland was lucky to beat the Jags last week. The Bengals won handily in Cleveland in Week 1 and have won five of the last six meetings. They should win easily again. Bengals 23, Browns 12

Matt Schaub’s injury has very little to do with what’s going to happen in Jacksonville. The Jags have the worst offense in the league; the Texans have the best defense. And that has nothing to do with Schaub. Jacksonville won’t get blown out, mainly because you can run on the Texans and Houston will be adjusting to life without Schaub. Still, Andre Johnson’s back, which will help. Texans 24, Jaguars 13

The lucky Raiders draw the Bears sans Jay Cutler at home. But Caleb Hanie might not be that bad, and this team is still all about Matt Forte and that defense. Oakland is also just 2-3 at home this year, while the Bears have won back-to-back road games in tough places to play (Tampa and Philly). I just don’t think the Raiders, who have surrendered 5.2 yards per carry on defense, can handle Forte, who’ll get a steady workload. Plus, not having Darren McFadden in the lineup has to catch up with Oakland eventually. Bears 24, Raiders 20

LOW CONFIDENCE

Tennessee and Tampa Bay might be the two least consistent teams in the league. Tampa’s got more momentum after playing well in Green Bay, but where has momentum got them in the past? Plus, they’re on the road, and Tennessee continually follows up losses with wins. The Titans should get a decent performance out of Chris Johnson against a bad run defense and prevail at home. Titans 23, Buccaneers 20

Cam Newton is a turnover machine, but can the Colts take advantage? Because while Newton will likely turn the ball over a bunch again, he should also have no problem beating Indy’s terrible cornerbacks with his arm and taking advantage of a depleted defense with his legs. The Colts lost by two touchdowns at home to Jacksonville, and I think Carolina is better than the Jaguars. Panthers 28, Colts 21

The Seahawks are “hot” and the Redskins are cold, so the broad logic says to take Seattle at home. But Washington played really well against Dallas last week, and that pass rush is still dangerous. Against a depleted offensive line that has surrendered 34 sacks this year (third-most in the league), I think the ‘Skins might be able to force Tarvaris Jackson to make some mistakes and pull off the upset. Redskins 17, Seahawks 16

CLUELESS

For the first time in five years, I almost skipped a game. I just don’t know what to say about St. Louis and Arizona. I really don’t. Two crappy, banged-up teams from the same division. When they met three weeks ago in Glendale, an anomaly was the difference for the Cardinals when they won on a 99-yard punt return touchdown in overtime. But the Rams were the better team that day, and now they’re at home. St. Louis by a field goal makes a lot of sense, but I wouldn’t put my money on it. Rams 16, Cardinals 13

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