2010 Weekly Predictions: Week 12

November 25th, 2010 - 8:58 am

I finished with a good slate of predictions for Week 11 with a 14-2 record, the second two-loss mark I recorded in three weeks. It was not, however, a good week for picking against the spread as I finished with just a 9-7 mark. The two games that tripped me up were Buffalo-Cincinnati and Washington-Tennessee. We’ll see how I do this week, starting with the three Thanksgiving games. All three of those games feature matchups between teams with opposite records, which should make them easy picks, but one never knows in this crazy year of football how things will play out.

Full predictions will come out later this week. Point spreads for Thursday’s games comes from Vegas.com as of Thursday morning.

Last Week: 14-2
Last Week against the spread: 9-7

This Week: 13-3
This Week against the spread: 9-7

Overall: 116-60
Overall against the spread: 95-75-5

New England Patriots (8-2) at Detroit Lions (2-8)
This would appear to be a blowout waiting to happen, wouldn’t it? The Lions have kept games close this year with their young dynamic offense and a defense led by monstrous tackle Ndamukong Suh. But the Patriots are a much better football team and while their defense isn’t very good, at least not statistically, their offense is the highest scoring unit in the league.
Prediction: New England 30, Detroit 20
Actual Score: New England 45, Detroit 24
Spread Pick: New England -6 1/2
Actual Score: New England 45, Detroit 24

New Orleans Saints (7-3) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7)
In the midst of the Cowboys’ free fall, I would have said the Saints would come in on Thanksgiving and roll over Dallas, but I’m not so sure anymore. Dallas has been playing better since Jason Garrett took over the team. I’m not so sure the Cowboys could keep up if the game became a shootout, though. The Saints also have the league’s No. 4-ranked defense.
Prediction: New Orleans 24, Dallas 20
Actual Score: New Orleans 30, Dallas 27

Spread Pick: New Orleans -3 1/2
Actual Score: New Orleans 30, Dallas 27

Cincinnati Bengals (2-8) at New York Jets (8-2)
This is not the kind of game the schedule makers were hoping for when they put it in prime time on Turkey Day. The Bengals have been a major disappointment this season, especially considering some experts predicted a Super Bowl run from them. The Bengals have a below-average defense and an offense that ranks in the middle of the pack. The Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez, who’s not high on my list, has been performing much better lately and their defense — ranked No. 7 — should close this game out.
Prediction: NY Jets 27, Cincinnati 17
Actual Score: NY Jets 26, Cincinnati 10
Spread Pick: NY Jets -9
Actual Score: NY Jets 26, Cincinnati 10

Minnesota Vikings (3-7) at Washington Redskins (5-5)
Teams usually get a boost when their head coach gets fired and their interim head coach steps in. I don’t see this week as an exception as I feel the Vikings have a lot of good players who still have a lot of pride and will expose the Redskins’ league-worst defense.
Prediction: Minnesota 20, Washington 17
Actual Score: Minnesota 17, Washington 13
Spread Pick: Minnesota +1
Actual Score: Minnesota 17, Washington 13

Tennessee Titans (5-5) at Houston Texans (4-6)
Both of these teams are going through hard times right now with high expectations before the season. The Titans have Vince Young drama and the Texans are underachieving. Both teams are tied with 1,270 rushing yards on the season, ranked No. 8 in the league, so we can expect to see a lot of carries. Interestingly, both teams have faired about the same defending the run as just 43 yards separate Tennessee’s run defense (1,035) from Houston’s (1,078). I think the difference in this game is Houston’s ability to pass the ball as they’re ranked No. 11 compared to the Titans’ 31st rank.
Prediction: Houston 27, Tennessee 23
Actual Score: Houston 20, Tennessee 0
Spread Pick: Tennessee +6 1/2
Actual Score: Houston 20, Tennessee 0

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4) at New York Giants (6-4)
The Giants are coming off a close divisional loss to the Eagles and surely will have extra motivation to not let this one slip away. One, because they’re better than the Jaguars, and two, because I’m sure they’re well aware of the Jaguars’ game-winning Hail Mary touchdown pass against Houston two weeks ago. Jacksonville may have an identical record, but they have their work cut out for them to try to beat the Giants on the road.
Prediction: NY Giants 27, Jacksonville 17
Actual Score: NY Giants 24, Jacksonville 20
Spread Pick: NY Giants -7
Actual Score: NY Giants 24, Jacksonville 20

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) at Buffalo Bills (2-8)
The Bills have won their last two games after dropping their first eight, but I think the fun stops here. The Steelers have the No. 5 defense and ought to clamp down on the Bills’ offense. I think Pittsburgh will have a big day running on the Bills’ league-worst run defense.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Buffalo 13
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 19, Buffalo 16
Spread Pick: Pittsburgh -6 1/2
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 19, Buffalo 16

Carolina Panthers (1-9) at Cleveland Browns (3-7)
Boy, there’s a whole lot of bad here. Carolina has the worst team in the league and the Browns are at home. Cleveland wins. Enough said, let’s move on.
Prediction: Cleveland 23, Carolina 13
Actual Score: Cleveland 24, Carolina 23
Spread Pick: Cleveland -10 (would be a push by my prediction)
Actual Score: Cleveland 24, Carolina 23

Green Bay Packers (7-3) at Atlanta Falcons (8-2)
One of the two games to pay close attention to this week, the Falcons have been very good, nigh unbeatable, at home. The Packers enter this game as one of the league’s most resilient teams, though, winning games despite being decimated by injuries. Atlanta’s ability to run the ball ought to be the difference in this game as they squeak by with the win.
Prediction: Atlanta 23, Green Bay 20
Actual Score: Atlanta 20, Green Bay 17
Spread Pick: Atlanta -2
Actual Score: Atlanta 20, Green Bay 17

Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) at Seattle Seahawks (5-5)
Seattle has one of the worst offenses and worst defenses in the league and yet they sit atop the NFC West with a .500 record. They’re a tougher team to beat at home due to the 12th man and the crowd noise, but I think Kansas City will find a way to win the game. Expect a heavy dose of the run game from the league’s top rushing offense.
Prediction: Kansas City 23, Seattle 20
Actual Score: Kansas City 42, Seattle 24
Spread Pick: Kansas City -2 1/2
Actual Score: Kansas City 42, Seattle 24

Miami Dolphins (5-5) at Oakland Raiders (5-5)
Miami has been a great road team this year with a 4-1 record, but they’re a little beat up and headed in the wrong direction. I like Oakland at home in this one because they have the league’s No. 2 rushing offense and will attack the Dolphins’ struggling run defense.
Prediction: Oakland 24, Miami 17
Actual Score: Miami 33, Oakland 17
Spread Pick: Oakland -3
Actual Score: Miami 33, Oakland 17

St. Louis Rams (4-6) at Denver Broncos (3-7)
It’s funny how the venue of this game can make a huge difference. If this game were in St. Louis, I would have predicted a Rams victory. But the Broncos’ No. 4 passing offense will give the Rams fits and the home crowd will push them over the edge.
Prediction: Denver 24, St. Louis 20
Actual Score: St. Louis 36, Denver 33
Spread Pick: Denver -3 1/2
Actual Score: St. Louis 36, Denver 33

Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) at Chicago Bears (7-3)
The Bears will clearly face their second toughest test of the season against an Eagles team with great speed on offense led by the rejuvenated Michael Vick. Vick is 0-3 against the Bears but that was pre-prison for him. This game ought to be a tight one that hinges on one or two big plays — hopefully not mistakes. The Bears offense may not be that good but it’s efficient and the defense is playing great. I think the Bears pull off a close one.
Prediction: Chicago 24, Philadelphia 21
Actual Score: Chicago 31, Philadelphia 26
Spread Pick: Chicago +3 1/2
Actual Score: Chicago 31, Philadelphia 26

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) at Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
Tampa Bay wants to prove it’s one of the big dogs, and they’ll get their chance to enter the picture this week on the road against Baltimore. The Ravens have the No. 8 defense and the No. 13 offense. They’re also 4-0 at home. I think the Buccaneers learn a lesson this week.
Prediction: Baltimore 21, Tampa Bay 14
Actual Score: Baltimore 17, Tampa Bay 10
Spread Pick: Tampa Bay +7 1/2
Actual Score: Baltimore 17, Tampa Bay 10

San Diego Chargers (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
The Chargers have had some success in the past against the Colts and they bring in the league’s No. 1-ranked defense. But something about the Chargers’ 1-4 record on the road this year doesn’t sit well with me and I feel Peyton Manning will find a way to win this game.
Prediction: Indianapolis 24, San Diego 23
Actual Score: San Diego 36, Indianapolis 14
Spread Pick: San Diego +3
Actual Score: San Diego 36, Indianapolis 14

San Francisco 49ers (3-7) at Arizona Cardinals (3-7)
Who the heck thought it’d be a good idea to schedule these two teams on a Monday night? Yes, San Francisco was predicted to be good this year, but Arizona was not. Now they’re both bad and the game isn’t worth my time. San Francisco has the much better defense and I expect that to be the difference maker.
Prediction: San Francisco 23, Arizona 20
Actual Score: San Francisco 27, Arizona 6
Spread Pick: San Francisco -1
Actual Score: San Francisco 27, Arizona 6

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