Championship hopes and week 12 winner aspirations…. That’s what’s on Ol’ Lucky Lester’s mind coming into week 12. No new plan or Crazy plot to take over the world, just 16 solid picks from the man with a plan.Thursday:
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at Detroit Lions: The Lions without Kevin Jones will be a gong show against the recently revitalized Dolphins defense, so don’t even take a chance on the Lions. Miami has proven over the past few games, and ever since Nick Saban took over, that they are a second half of the year team. Look for them to treat the Lions like a Turdunkin on Bird Day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (-10.5): The Cowboys have too many options to play around with the Bucs, whose only real option is Cadillac Williams, something the Cowboys will make sure not to allow. Joey Galloway is still a game breaker, and rookie QB, Bruce Gradkowski has been solid, but with Tony Romo and the Cowboys pushing for the NFC West title, this should be a tough day for the Bucs in Dallas.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (even): The Chiefs rushing attack should dominate the Broncos suddenly sieved-like defensive front, on way to a huge inter-conference win at home. When it comes right down to it, the Chiefs need this game more, and with both the Broncos’ running backs struggling to stay on the field, KC is the more physical team, and they are at home, where they are always good.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-6): What has Minnesota done for me lately? Absolutely freaking nothing. That’s right, since an early season burst the Vikings have been just a notch above the horrible Raiders for league’s worst team honors. But, they play Matt Leinart and the bumbling Cardinals this weekend in Minnesota, a perfect game to get back on track with. Edge won’t be able to run against the Vikings, so all the weight will be on Matt’s shoulders. He’s just a little guy, not strong enough to carry that team.
Carolina Panthers (-4) at Washington Redskins: This has to be my safest pick of the week. The Panthers are leaps and bounds and years ahead of the Redskins, who start Jason Campbell at quarterback for the second time in his young career. But the Panthers aren’t the Bucs, and young Jason will soon find that out when he’s running for his life with Julius Peppers chasing him down. Look for Jason’s second outing to be a little less successful than beginners luck was.
Chicago Bears (+3) at New England Patriots: I guess I’m waiting to see if Tom Brady and the Patriots are the team that started 5-2 or the team that started 6-1 and recently ousted the Packers 35-0… Or are they the team that lost back to back games at the hands of the Colts and Jets? Either way, the Bears seem to step up big in big situations, this being one of those, I expect them to play very well. When Chicago is at the top of their game, and Rexxy is tossing the rock with confidence and accuracy, the Bears are very close to unbeatable. The overriding factor in this game, you ask? Dillon and Maroney will have a tougher time with the Bears D than Jones and Benson will have with the Patriots.
Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) at Cleveland Browns: Last week the Browns put up a good fight against the Steelers, but faded in the 4th allowing Pittsburgh to pull out with a lucky win. Well, all that does is crush an already struggling team. While Cinci on the other hand, is riding the Chad Johnson hot streak all the way to playoff contention. With the Browns’ season already in the tank, expect the team with more to lose, Cincinnati, to dominate the 2nd half and the scoreboard.
Houston Texans (+6) at N.Y. Jets: I don’t see why the Texans are getting the write off here. The Jets can’t stop anyone on the ground, giving the Texans, who actually have a pretty productive rushing attack, an easy way to control the clock, and win this football game. I’ll take the underdog with the points here, but an upset wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills: Anthony Thomas nor Willis McGahee if he was healthy, will be going anywhere positive against the Jaguar rushing defense. With Donovan Darius out, the Jaguars lose yet another big time playmaker on the defensive side of the football, but their big guys up front are healthy, making it easier for backers and defensive backs to make plays. Expect the Jags to make those plays and down Buffalo on the road.
New Orleans Saints (+3) at Atlanta Falcons: Mike Vick used to play very well against the Saints, but Aaron Brooks (his Cousin) has moved on to bigger and crappier things, so sibling rivalry shouldn’t get Mike pumped any more. Drew Brees is the better signal caller here, and Reggie Bush and Deuce are better running backs. The Saints defense has played better all year, and without an accurate arm to pick their secondary apart, (ala what Pitt did and Cinci did to them in back to back weeks) the Saints should be able to walk out of Atlanta big winners.
N.Y. Giants (-3) at Tennessee Titans: The Titans will have a nice opportunity to do what they do best, and run, against the Giants, but I have a feeling that Eli Manning is ready to trot out of his slump and carry the struggling Giants to a win against the up and coming Titans. Sooner or later NFL teams are going to make Vince Young beat them, and I don’t think Vince can beat the Giants quite yet.
Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts (-8.5): I like Brian Westbrook as a fantasy star this weekend, but I still think the Colts will pull out of Week 12 with a double digit win over the Eagles. Peyton Manning will play better than he did last week, especially against an Eagle defense that struggles against high end quarterbacks. Without McNabb, everyone will be able to see who the MVP of the Eagles is, as if there were any question going in.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5): I like the Ravens at home against just about anybody, especially a Steeler team that till walks around like they own the joint. Ray Lewis should be back in pads this week, making Willie Parker’s, Big Ben’s, and any other Pittsburgh offensive player’s lifer more difficult. If the Ravens do one thing well, it’s capitalize on opposing team’s mistakes. Ben will make his, as will the rest of the Steelers, and when they do, McNair, and more likely, the Ravens defense, will turn those mistakes into points.
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (-5): I know, the 49ers beat the Hawks last week, and have fought their way to .500 on the season while the lowly Rams have seen 5 straight defeats on way to a 4-6 record and a 1st to 3rd fall in the NFC West. But, St. Louis will win this game, because they are the better, more talented team. I hate underestimating Orlando Pace’s effect on the Rams, because he’s out this week, and I know he’s a vital part to the whole offense, but…. Ah yes, but…. The Niners leading receiver was caught drinking and driving, Vernon Davis still hasn’t proven healthy, Arnaz Battle has a flat tire, and Alex Smith has baby hands. That combination should kill the Niners in this battle.
Oakland Raiders (+14.5) at San Diego Chargers: Everyone has a down week. The Chargers, yes, even the Chargers, after two huge comeback wins, might just be too tired to dominate the lowly Raiders. I hope LT has a brilliant game, but I imagine Marty-Ball will lift its ugly head, and LT will be thrown into a run stop package put together by the only decent think in Silver and Black, a tough nosed Oakland Defense. Bad teams only have a few chances to get up and rowdy for a game, seeing a chance to stop the “All Mighty” Chargers and the leagues’ best player (LT) should get them ready to go. No crazy outcome here, just a closer game than expected.
Green Bay Packers (+9.5) at Seattle Seahawks: I don’t like the Packers, that’s for sure, but if the Seahawks expect Matt Hasselbeck to come back and make everything better, like a snoopy band-aid, then they will be stunned by Monday’s game. The Hawks problem isn’t Matt’s injury, though that hasn’t helped, it’s a bunch of guys who just expect to win on Sunday. Yeah, they have one of, if not the most talent in the NFC, especially on defense, yet they are often pathetic on both sides of the ball. They Hawks will claw back and win this game, but the Packers will teach Seattle a lesson on overlooking an opponent.