With just six weeks of the regular season to go, the final two teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) have their byes this week, before the race for the playoffs heats up from Thanksgiving to the New Year. A few notes on the Week 11 action before getting to this week’s picks:
- Green Bay scored more than 50 points for the second consecutive week and were again out of sight by half-time in their victory over the Eagles. They have to go on the road this weekend, but in Minnesota against a Vikings team without Adrian Peterson, who has been suspended by the NFL for the remainder of the season.
- Arizona may have lost Carson Palmer, but their defense stepped up and held the Lions to just 6 points as the Cardinals moved to a league-best 9-1. They have a three game lead in the NFC West ahead of the Seahawks, who were defeated 24-20 in Kansas City, and the 49ers, who picked off Eli Manning five times in their 16-10 win over the Giants.
- It was not a good weekend for Peyton either, who threw two interceptions in Denver’s 22-7 loss in St. Louis, meaning that for once, Cooper Manning had the best stats line of any of the three brothers last Sunday.
- The Patriots had a record day from their third string running back, Jonas Grey, who rushed for 199 yards and four touchdowns in their 42-20 win over the Colts in Indianapolis. My guess: by the playoffs that performance will be a distant memory and he will not be getting any significant carries for New England.
- New Orleans had not lost at home with Sean Payton as coach since 2010 prior to their loss to San Francisco in Week 10. They contrived to lose two consecutive games, falling to a Bengals team who had been soundly beaten at home by Cleveland in their previous contest.
- That loss for the Saints meant that the Falcons moved to the top of the NFC South by narrowly beating the Panthers 19-17, thanks to a late missed field goal by Carolina. Atlanta’s record right now is 4-6, but the are on course to hose a playoff game in the Wild Card round. Except they won’t, because their next four games are against the Browns, Cardinals, Packers and Steelers – combined record: 29-12.
- San Diego scored a touchdown within the first minute of their contest with the Raiders, then failed to add anything more than a couple of field goals in a dire 13-6 victory over winless Oakland.
- There is a good chance the game between the Jets and Bills in Buffalo will not be played on Sunday as scheduled, as the city in upstate New York has been buried by huge snowfalls.
Week 12 Picks
Last week, 10-4; Season, 87-74
Home teams in bold
Raiders +7.5 over Chiefs
Browns +3.5 over Falcons
Jets +4.5 over Bills
Bears -5.5 over Buccaneers
Texans -1.5 over Bengals
Lions +6.5 over Patriots
Packers -9.5 over Vikings
Eagles -11.5 over Titans
Colts -13.5 over Jaguars
Rams +5.5 over Chargers
Seahawks -6.5 over Cardinals
Broncos -7.5 over Dolphins
49ers -8.5 over Washington
Cowboys -3.5 over Giants
Ravens +3.5 over Saints