Though I missed much of the first half, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the 49ers in their total dismantling of the until now lionized Chicago Bears.
It was probably the sadist in me though because most of my pleasure was derived from Bears fans groaning around me as they watched their celebrated defense get embarrassingly handled by Kapernick–who replaced the turnover-free Alex Smith, still out with the concussion suffered in the Week 10 tie with the Rams.
I had it explained to me many times that the Bears were only losing this bad because Cutler was hurt and that it would have been a different game, were he starting. And I wholly agree: if Cutler had been playing there would have been significantly more than two Chicago interceptions thrown.
There was phenomenal back-up play elsewhere as well, with Marcel Reece of the Raiders having 193 combined yards rushing and receiving and Chad Henne of the Jags coming off the bench for 354 yards passing, 4 TDs, and no interceptions.
It goes without saying, this happens every week without fail. And the lines are scary low this week. With this this in mind, my sh*tty Week 12 “picks”.
My Pick: Houston (-3.5) @ Detroit
Houston is exhausted coming in on three days rest after their overtime victory over the surprisingly professional Chad Henne, as mentioned above. This is at Detroit on Thanksgiving and the Lions should not be mailing-in games yet. But, three is not giving enough points to Detroit. I don’t think this one is decided by only a field goal.
My Pick: Washington (+3.5) @ Dallas
If Dallas is having one of their schizophrenically competent games where they actually play to the talent level that they are on paper, I hope Robert Griffin III has one of his typically transcendent games to at least keep it close.
My Pick: New England (-7) @ New York J’ers
The Jets screwed me last week when I predicted that they would not score. They may again. I have picked three away teams on Thanksgiving, but the Patriots point differential on the season up to this point is a low +133.
I also do not believe they will be bothered by the absence of Gronkowski. While he is tied for first in the League in passing touchdowns at 10 and Tom Brady’s security blanket, constant personnel changes are almost one of things that makes these Patriots great. All this means is a larger role for players like Edelman, their capable stable of backs, and a chance for Belichick to showcase some the weirder offensive wrinkles he’s been cooking up in case this were to happen.
My Pick: Minnesota @ Chicago (No lines.)
There’s no line I guess because nobody knows who the quarterback for Chicago will be. I’m not sure why that is a reason so I will treat this like a pick ‘em.
I don’t think it matters if Jay Cutler is back, he is bad. The Bears defense also looked without their swagger Monday night. Maybe it’s different at home, but AP got a bye and Ponder has been serviceable and the Bears are on a two game losing streak, I expect them to continue to roll over.
My Pick: Oakland (+8) @ Cincinnati
I have picked another away team. It’s doubtful that Oakland wins outright, but I’ll take the points. Cincinnati may smell play-off blood in the water with the AFC North’s perennial monsters looking rather vulnerable. They are also coming off two serious double digit wins, one an 18 point victory over the slumping Giants two weeks ago and last Sunday a 22 point drubbing of the hapless Chiefs.
I think they slip just a little.
My Pick: Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh (no line)
Cleveland is due for a win. When I pick against them, they always screw me.
My Pick: Indianapolis (-3) vs. Buffalo
I know about the Colts’ atrocious defense and that Buffalo can score, but the Colts have to be better than Buffalo.
My Pick: Jacksonville (+3) vs. Tennessee
Chad Henne could show up again. This game is completely uninteresting.
My Pick: Kansas City (+10) vs. Denver
I’m taking the points, Denver should win.
My Pick: Miami (+3) vs. Seattle
Seattle is 1-3 on the road this season. But, Ryan Tannenhill sucks it. Miami is pretty stout against the run. Seattle is a better team, but they do get scared so far from home. Flip a coin.
My Pick: Tampa Bay (+1) vs. Atlanta
There are a number of narratives that each of these teams carry into this game and depending on how it goes a number of narratives they will take out.
The Bucs are everyone’s darlings and the Falcons look like they are slipping, but nobody is really talking about it. Betting either way feels like a trap.
I am a firm believer that the Falcon’s season ends this year with a home play-off loss, but I am not quite sure they slip this early. I think they, like the Bucs, will finish 3-3
My Pick: Baltimore (PK) @ San Diego
Very tempted to get cute with this one.
My Pick: Arizona (-2.5) vs. St. Louis
St. Louis just got rolled by the Jets. Arizona looked good against the Falcons. They are both on losing (and a tie) streaks. Neither team wins close games. Arbitrary pick.
My Pick: New Orleans vs. San Francisco (no line)
The Saints lost by four to the Niners in the divisional round of the play-offs last year, 36-32. The wheels stay on, for now.
My Pick: Green Bay (+3) @ New York Giants
The Giants play possum for one more week.
My Pick: Carolina (+2.5) @ Philly
Scam Newton has more than two wins in him. The Eagles do not necessarily have more than three. The Panthers took an 11 point lead this past weekend with 6:00 to go in the fourth quarter and eventually lost in overtime to the storming Bucs. I do not believe things fall apart similarly this week.
I really have no idea.
My Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week: Carolina at Philly
My last three SCLOTCOTWs were against the Falcons, against the Giants, against the Bears, for the Saints, for the Steelers, and for the Niners. For superstitious reasons, these teams are off limits this week.
Happy Thanksgiving folks.
Last Week: 7-7