2014 Quick Hitters (Week 12 NFL Picks)
A highly successful week ten was followed by a mediocre week eleven. What will be in store as we transition to the Week 12 NFL Picks? In my defense, I believe it’s the first time this season that I posted a losing record (2-3) in my moderate confidence picks. Moreover, we saw five underdogs win straight up and I’m thinking this week might be fairly similar for some reason (which would be bad for my favorite picks). Only two teams are on bye this week; the stumbling Carolina Panthers and hard-to-read Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s the last week for byes, so get ready for the home-stretch in your pick’em leagues.
*Remember that my picks are straight up (MONEYLINE) and vegas lines are merely used to determine whether I’m choosing an upset, favorite or even pick.
Here are my results on the year:
Overall Record: 102-58-1 (0.634)
Last Week’s Record: 6-8
Record in Thursday Games: 9-2
Record in Sunday Games: 81-45-1
Record in Sunday Night Games: 3-8
Record in Monday Games: 9-3
Record in Upset Picks: 8-13
Record in Even Picks: 23-16
Record in Favorite Picks: 71-29-1
Record in “Toss-Up” Picks: 47-37
Record in “Moderate Confidence” Picks: 48-18
Record in “Lock of the Week” Picks: 7-3-1
*Even picks are classified as opening lines under 2.5 points.
Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons
Vegas Odds: Atlanta (-3)
The Pick: Cleveland in an UPSET
Reason: I’m starting to feel like I should give up on the NFC South in competitive games. I almost want to pick no team when they play divisional games because we all lose by watching them. Cleveland really disappointed last week by being outplayed in every facet of the game versus Houston at home. Expect this team to bounce back with the addition of wide receiver Josh Gordon. Have I mentioned that the Falcons have the worst defense in football?
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
Vegas Odds: Pick’em
The Pick: Cincinnati at EVEN
Reason: Does anyone have a coin? I mean, really, there’s no right side to pick in this game. The Texans are starting Ryan Mallett and the Bengals are the most jeckyl & hyde team in all of the league. I’ve been burned so many times by this Cincinnati team, but I also think they can be dangerous if they play to their potential.
St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers
Vegas Odds: San Diego (-6)
The Pick: San Diego as a FAVORITE
Reason: I won’t bore you with the details behind this one as I trust the Chargers’ offense a lot more than I do the Rams. St. Louis is coming off a huge high in an upset against the Broncos. Despite the impressive win, the offense was pretty bad. They will have their chances against a terrible Chargers’ defense, yet I’m still picking the home team with low confidence.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Vegas Odds: Seattle (-5.5)
The Pick: Seattle as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Arizona Cardinals are so fascinating in that their offense is slightly below average, yet they somehow have the best record in football. This team reminds me a lot of that Kansas City Chiefs team who stormed through the regular season last year before coming back to reality in the playoffs. The Cardinals defense is awesome, but no way they can keep this up each and every week. Seattle is in serious danger of missing the playoffs and will do just enough to win this game at home.
Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos
Vegas Odds: Denver (-7.5)
The Pick: Denver as a FAVORITE
Reason: Here’s the matchup of the week between a couple of teams who feature top ten defenses and offenses. I’ll give Peyton Manning and the Broncos a pass last week in their loss at St. Louis because it was their third straight road game. It will be a damn shame if the Dolphins don’t make the playoffs which seems very probable when they drop this tough game in Denver. I just can’t pick against the Broncos who are still a top five team in my opinion.
Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers
Vegas Odds: San Francisco (-7.5)
The Pick: San Francisco as a FAVORITE
Reason: This game probably could be a Medium Confidence pick, yet it’s Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ crappy offense that has me holding back. When you struggle to score points, it’s easy for a worse team to pull out an improbable victory. Heck, Eli Manning threw five interceptions last week and San Francisco still should have lost the game. The Redskins have few positives and were downright terrible in a loss to the lowly Bucs. The 49ers should win here, but you just never know with this team.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Vegas Odds: Dallas (-3)
The Pick: Dallas as a FAVORITE
Reason: This is a game I’ve singled out and like because people love the value of New York here. I don’t as I think they are a team with a ton of problems on both sides of the ball. What has Dallas done to make you think they can lose to the Giants? While they did drop a game to the Redskins, it appeared to much more of a fluke to me. The Cowboys’ offense is still really efficient and the Giants’ defense isn’t exactly stopping good offenses these days.
Tampa Bay Bucs at Chicago Bears
Vegas Odds: Chicago (-5)
The Pick: Chicago as a FAVORITE
Reason: Everything about this game tells me to pick the Bucs as a live underdog, but I just can’t do it. The Bucs took down a hapless Redskins team last week and that shouldn’t make you think they are better than what we thought. The Bears defense lets almost anyone in the game and who knows what version of Jay Cutler will show up. I’ll ride with the Bears because they are technically the better team.
MODERATE CONFIDENCE PICKS
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (Thursday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Kansas City (-6)
The Pick: Kansas City as a FAVORITE
Reason: If the Raiders are ever going to sneak out a win, this is a great spot. The Chiefs are coming off a hard-fought win against the Seattle Seahawks and it’s a divisional game in primetime. However, I can’t see it happening with as well as Jamaal Charles has been playing. The Chiefs have quietly built a top-ten offense that Oakland most likely can’t stop.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Vegas Odds: Buffalo (-3.5)
The Pick: Buffalo as a FAVORITE
Reason: Buffalo will get a huge uplift from running back Fred Jackson back in the line-up. If the weather is as bad as they say it’s going to be, the Bills will feel comfortable letting Jackson lead them to victory. We saw this game a few weeks ago and it wasn’t pretty for the Jets who have a serious problem not turning the ball over. Buffalo’s defense always keeps them in the game and it should win it for them in this spot.
Detroit Lions at New England Patriots
Vegas Odds: New England (-5.5)
The Pick: New England as a FAVORITE
Reason: I can’t believe people are still talking about the Kansas City Chiefs loss as if that still matters with the Patriots reeling off one of the most impressive six game winning streaks you can see. Rob Gronkowski is obviously as healthy as ever and I think he could be a legitimate match-up nightmare for the Lions as he is most teams. Moreover, I’ve given up on Matthew Stafford being a great quarterback. He’s simply a strong arm with Calvin Johnson to help out his poor accuracy.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Vegas Odds: Green Bay (-7.5)
The Pick: Green Bay as a FAVORITE
Reason: Try to pick against the hottest offense in football. Advanced metrics suggest that the Packers have passed up Denver as the most prolific unit in the league. Their defense is also improving which makes you think that this team could be a force the rest of the way. The Vikings could have improved with Adrian Peterson back in the line-up, but that’s not happening anytime soon.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Vegas Odds: Indianapolis (-14)
The Pick: Indianapolis as a FAVORITE
Reason: I wouldn’t necessarily lay the points, but Jacksonville’s offense is the worst in the league. They won’t be able to take advantage of the Colts’ weaknesses like the Patriots did last week. Jacksonville might stick around for a quarter or two and I would be slightly surprised by that.
Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles
Vegas Odds: Philadelphia (-10.5)
The Pick: Philadelphia as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Eagles were smoked in Green Bay, but don’t get carried away and think they are doomed with Mark Sanchez. The Titans competed on Monday Night, but ultimately did what bad teams do by choking away the win. This one is as simple as taking the far better team to win at home.
LOCK OF THE WEEK PICK
Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints (Monday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: New Orleans (-3)
The Pick: Baltimore in an UPSET
Reason: Time to get interesting and call an upset in my “Lock of the Week” section. It’s time to give up on the Saints being an amazing home team. While this was true in the past, they haven’t showed it this year with an uninspiring 3-2 record at home. Far too often do people use observations from previous years when evaluating teams. For me, the Ravens are the better all-around team (borderline top-10 defense and offense). Moreover, Baltimore is desperate for this win to stay in the hunt for a division title.
Week Twelve Pick Summary: 12 Favorites, 2 Upsets and 1 Even Picks
Let me know where you agree and disagree in week twelve. Good luck and most importantly enjoy the games!