Surviving Week 12
Last week was largely uneventful unless you had the Jets or Giants. I had the Pats who actually looked vulnerable for the first quarter or so before they steamrolled the Chiefs the rest of the way. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
|Team ||Opponent ||% Picked* ||Vegas ML** ||Vegas Odds
|FALCONS ||Vikings ||40.90% ||420 ||81%
|BENGALS ||Browns ||20.20% ||310 ||76%
|Steelers ||CHIEFS ||14.00% ||575 ||85%
|JETS ||Bills ||8.10% ||330 ||77%
|COWBOYS ||Dolphins ||5.90% ||280 ||74%
|Panthers ||COLTS ||3.40% ||160 ||62%
|SEAHAWKS ||Redskins ||1.60% ||180 ||64%
|CHARGERS ||Broncos ||1.60% ||255 ||72%
|SAINTS ||Giants ||1.10% ||290 ||74%
|Texans ||JAGUARS ||0.80% ||160 ||62%
Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com
** average of the two moneylines
1. New York Jets (my pick)
Vegas likes the Steelers, but they're on the road, and Arrowhead isn't the easiest place to play. Moreover, Kyle Orton
- if he's up to speed - is a competent caretaker, and the Chiefs came to play in New England before the Patriots solved them. On the other hand, the Jets are a desperate team that blew out the Bills in Buffalo a few weeks ago, and now Buffalo's missing several key players. I give the Jets an 82 percent chance to win this game.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
I don't like road teams, and Arrowhead's tough, but the Steelers have been an elite pass defense all year, and Ben Roethlisberger
's having arguably the best season of his career. The Chiefs have played well for stretches, and the Steelers aren't as physical as they have been in years past, but barring some funny bounces, I'd expect Pittsburgh to prevail. I give the Steelers an 82 percent chance to win this game.
3. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons aren't an elite team, but they play better at home, and they typically handle lesser teams like the Vikings, who are likely without their best player in Adrian Peterson
. Christian Ponder
has shown good athleticism and arm strength, but his decision making needs a lot of work. I give the Falcons an 82 percent chance to win this game.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals should handle a weak Cleveland squad at home, but Cincy is missing top cover corner Leon Hall
and might be without star wideout A.J. Green
. In that case, Cleveland, which is tough against the pass, could turn the game into a ground-and-pound slugfest, which either team is capable of winning. I give the Bengals a 76 percent chance to win this game.
5. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are playing well of late, but their win against Buffalo doesn't look quite as impressive given what Miami did to the Bills the following week. Moreover, Dallas was lucky to escape with a win against the Redskins. The Dolphins have turned their season around, both due to improved play on defense and the emergence of quarterback Matt Moore
. They're a live dog here, though the Cowboys will present a tough challenge on both sides of the ball. I give Dallas a 70 percent chance to win this game.
6. Houston Texans
I don't like taking road teams, and Matt Leinart
is a major wildcard. But the Texans defense has been consistently good this year, and Blaine Gabbert
has shown himself to be unready for the NFL as a rookie. Unless Jacksonville can stop the league's best running game - a tall order - it won't matter who's under center. I give the Texans a 69 percent chance to win this game.
New Orleans Saints
- the Saints are a good team, especially at home, but the Giants pass rush and passing game give them a puncher's chance anywhere, especially in a shootout.
San Diego Chargers
- If Tim Tebow
always finds improbable ways to win, while Norv Turner/Philip Rivers
find inexplicable ways to lose, how can you take a chance here, no matter the disparity in talent?
- Seattle plays much better at home, and its defense has been improved this year, but Washington's defense is solid, and I don't trust Tarvaris Jackson
- Carolina's defense might be the worst in the league, and the Panthers are on the road facing the Colts off a bye.