Buehler’s Week 12 NFL Picks…
Thanksgiving Day Games:
Texans at Lions
The fact the Jags nearly beat the Texans at home is less important than the fact a team averaging a little over 13 points a game hung 37 points in one game on the Texans at home. The Jags gashed the Texans early with big plays, needing only 4 plays to go 81 yards on each of their first 2 touchdown drives. That can happen when a new quarterback gets behind center. Still, Matt Schaub won that shoot out and the Texans climbed to 9-1 on the season. While the Lions have far superior big-play weapons than the Jags, the Texans are perfect on the road. Texans win, but close game 35-30.
Redskins at Cowboys
RG3 had his way with the Eagles defense. The Cowboys defense is a porterhouse compared to the White Castle burger defense of the Eagles. Still the Cowboys at home is as good a home field advantage as the Bills in Toronto. Redskins win 27-24.
Patriots at Jets
Sure, the Jets beat the Rams, and Mark Sanchez put up a respectable game in St. Louis. And yes, the Pats needed an extra point and it cost them Rob Gronkowski, but the Jets don’t have the pieces on defense to hang with the Pats like they did a couple years ago. Pats win 42-21.
Vikings at Bears
The Bears have won the past 5, with Leslie Frazier, a former DB in the ’85 Bears defense, going 0-3 versus his former team as a head coach. The Vikings begin their gauntlet of a schedule with a loss to the Bears, 21-10.
Raiders at Bengals
This Bengals team is fun to watch. The Raiders are absolutely not. Last time these two teams met, Bruce Gradkowski threw 2 touchdowns in a heroic comeback for the Silver and Black. He now backs up Andy Dalton. See where I’m going here… Bengals win 32-21.
Steelers at Browns
It’s time to start paying closer attention to this Browns team. They might be 2-8, but as I mentioned last week, this defense is far more advanced than is largely talked about. The Browns have a +1 turnover margin while the Steelers have a -3 turnover margin, a 3rd string quarterback making his first start in almost a year and are on the road. Trent Richardson has rushed for 100+ in the past 3 games, averaging 107.3 in those games. Calling the upset. Browns win 16-10.
Bills at Colts
The Horseshoe let me down last week. I went out on a limb, asserting the potential Colts upset that looked likely after the 1st quarter, but that limb was promptly hacked down, caught by Aqib Talib and returned for a touchdown. Pats owned the Colts. Bills won’t. This is two big armed quarterbacks going down field. But I trust Luck rebounding. Colts win 35-27.
Titans at Jaguars
Is Chad Henne the solution in Jacksonville? Justin Blackmon thinks so. But the Titans are a peculiar team. You really never know what you’ll get, they’re coming off a bye week after throttling the Dolphins. In a battle for sustained irrelevance in the AFC South, Jags log their second win of the year, 28-20.
Broncos at Chiefs
Broncos losing this game would be absolutely irresponsible. Broncos win 32-10.
Seahawks at Dolphins
The Hawks are a different team on the road, but it’s not like being at home helps the Dolphins. Coming off a bye week, Russell Wilson will be prepared and can go into South Beach with every intention of winning. Add Marshawn Lynch and the duo of Irvin and Clemons and you’ve got a tough day for Tannehill. Seahawks win 26-20.
Falcons at Buccaneers
Sure the Dirty Birds have won 6 of the past 7 in this series and sure, the last time they met the Falcons blew up the Bucs 45-24, but the Falcons run defense is ready to be fully exposed by Doug Martin and there aren’t many quarterbacks I enjoy watching launch the ball into another stratosphere like Freeman. Bucs win in a high scoring affair 35-28.
Ravens at Chargers
Seems each week, the Chargers find new ways to get Norved. This week against a Ravens team I don’t have a single reason to believe the Chargers can beat the Ravens, and I’m beginning to wonder if Philip Rivers feels the same way. He handed the game ball over to the refs prematurely last week, made you think he didn’t want anything to do with this offense anymore. It’s not getting any better in America’s most beautiful city. Ravens win 34-14.
Rams at Cardinals
Cardinals have a good defense. And it was frustrating to watch their efforts evaporate in the Georgia Dome because the franchise doesn’t have a competent signal caller. And while the Rams are coming off a game in which they were manhandled by the Jets- read THAT again- you hope Cardinal quarterback Ryan Lindley, a 6th round pick out of San Diego State can do enough to help this team win ONE game. They’ve lost every single contest since starting the season 4-0. Time for a Cardinals victory. 20-17.
Niners at Saints
Well, Colin Kaepernick is going to start apparently. But I don’t like it. I like Kaep against the Bears because his running ability can help with an aggressive pass rush, but the Saints secondary is pretty sophisticated and improving week in and week out. He’s young. He’s on the road. He’s likely to throw picks in that environment and there is not a defense on the planet that can stop Drew Brees when he’s given the ball more than his fair share. With the young gun behind center, the Niners will lose. If Alex Smith were playing this game, I’d say Niners win. But he’s not, so they don’t. Saints win 28-10.
Sunday Night Football
Packers at Giants.
After predicting my Niners would lose this weekend, I’m hardly in the mood to predict which of the two teams the Niners might face in an NFC Championship battle might win out in this week 12 matchup. Last time these teams met in New York, the Packers won on a last second field goal in a shootout. I expect plenty of offense in this one, and with the Giants coming off a bye week, a fun Sunday night showdown. And the Giants get the best of the Pack. Giants win 31-28.
Monday Night Football
Panthers at Eagles
Gross. Panthers win. 35-21.