New England Patriots vs New Orleans Saints Free Pick

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New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints (-2.5) Free Pick: The way the Saints have played this year, whether it’s beating up on good teams or fighting back to win games they should have lost, or just never giving up despite everything going wrong – I don’t see how I can’t pick them as a mere 2.5-point favorite at home. They undefeated part doesn’t win me over, but all the intangibles have me interested.

The Saints should be as healthy as they’ve been in weeks, as3 key contributors (Sedrick Ellis, Jabari Greer, and Reggie Bush – in that order, too) plan on playing and are probable for this Monday Night’s game after missing last week’s domination of the Buccos. Those first two should make a huge impact as they’ll be desperately needed if they’re going to eek out another win and stay undefeated.

I have no bad things to say about the Patriots. They are the best coached team in the NFL, you can see that by all the little things they do right, and how they continue to do what they do while losing key players during the off-season and to injury. They really do everything well, and probably have two of the best players ever in Tom Brady and Randy Moss. They have only lost 3 games on the year, and they easily could have won all three if the ball bounced the other way on a single play. They are probably 3 plays away from being undefeated just like the Saints and Colts.

But, the Pats 3 losses have all come on the road, and despite their very talented run defense, I think the Saints can run on the Patriots with the fear of Drew Brees fresh in the minds of the Pats’ coordinators. This one is going to be very close, but if the Saints early season games are any indication of how they’ll rise to this challenge, I think the smart money has to be on them.

Enjoy one hell of a Monday Night Football Game!

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens Pick & Preview

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Pittsburgh Steelers (pk) @ Baltimore Ravens Pick & Preview: I wouldn’t bet this game. There it is, my advice to you. If Big Ben is healthy enough to play, and he makes it through even most of this game, I think the Steelers pull it out – but an early week injury update of “probable” has moved to “questionable” and the Ravens really bring the heat and hit harder than any defense in the NFL. I am still sticking with the Steelers, as bruised and battered as they are, but I’m going to have to wear this one on the chin like an Iron Mike uppercut if Dennis Dixon takes all the snaps for Pittsburgh this week. You never know, but if Big Ben sits, I like my pick-em Steelers pick a lot less. But I would still be excited to see what one of the better running college quarterbacks I ever watched could do on an NFL stage.

This game is off the books in all but 3 sportsbooks that I pay attention to, and for the same reasons I warn you to stay off this game. But Pittsburgh has beaten the Ravens in 4 of the last 5 meetings, and 3 in a row including a play-off game last season. Pittsburgh has lost 2 straight, and three straight just seems unlikely. The Ravens have lost three straight, and haven’t looked very good offensively since their 30-7 win over Denver 4 weeks ago.

So far, the Ravens have only beaten the mediocre to low-level NFL teams (aside from the Broncos). They have wins over Cleveland (twice), Kansas City, and San Diego (back earlier in the year when SD was struggling). They’ve lost to Cincinnati (twice), Indianapolis, Minnesota, and New England. They’ve played tough in all those games, and special teams has hurt them. But there’s a chance special teams hurts them again, especially against a stout defense that doesn’t allow many touchdowns. I’ll take the Steel city, but I’m worried if Ben doesn’t get the start. Intrigued, but worried.

Arizona Cardinals vs Tennessee Titans NFL Free Pick

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Arizona Cardinals (+1) @ Tennessee Titans NFL Free Pick: Alright, the Titans have been money since the staff got their heads all cleared up and removed Kerry Collins from the starting quarterback position. Since then, normal Vince Young things have fallen into place – the Titans have just won football games, and luckily for their backers, they have just covered them as well. That’s 4 straight wins and 4 covers in a row for the Titans.

And Vince hasn’t just been a runner, he’s been an accurate passer and kept defenses honest on all four occasions. Vince has completed over 65% of his passes, thrown 3 touchdowns and had only 1 interception since he became the starter. Vince’s presence has also opened up things for Chris Johnson. The fastest back in the NFL has been explosive all year, but since Vince has taken over, CJ has rushed for over 130 yards in all four games. He has over 640 yards in those 4 games, and has scored 6 rushing touchdowns in those games. That’s big time.

But I think the Titans flounder here. I think Kurt Warner and those Cardinals receivers end up doing a little too much against the Titans secondary. I also think Beanie Wells gets enough yardage on the ground to do some damage and keep the Titans more honest than they’ll want to be. Arizona will probably hold Chris Johnson to fewer yards than he’s had in any of the Titans recent wins. Arizona is 5-0 on the road this season, and they’ve won 6 of their last 7 games – they are just as hot and prepared to win this one as the Cardinals are. The Titans are also coming off a short week.

Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings Week 12 Free Pick

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Chicago Bears (+12) @ Minnesota Vikings Week 12 Pick: I’m biting my lip while making this pick, and it’s not because there’s something good leftover on my mustache. No, I hate making this pick. The Vikings could easily win by 12 points, covering this spread while intercepting and sacking Jay Cutler like it’s their job, and beating up a defensive front that’s had plenty of  trouble stopping the run, all while Brett Favre picks apart a shaky secondary that has their share of struggles. But, after all is considered, I am taking Cutler and those disappointing Bears to come out and fight a little harder than usual, and maybe even upset the Vikes. Here’s why…

The Bears have been their own worst enemy, and one of these days (an already sometimes this year) they will break away from the mistakes and play a game that doesn’t give their opponents great field positions, defensive touchdowns, or anything of that nature. They have played well enough to cover double digits in all but 2 games so far this season, the Cardinals and Bengals – both times they gave up 40+ points. I don’t think this will be one of those games, they are already basically out of the playoff race, and already have very little to play for – that’s a good thing for this team that often presses too much.

With the weight off his back, and a secondary that can get hit for bit plays, I think Jay Cutler has a good day – that alone will be good enough for the Bears to cover. Their second road win of the year? That might be a stretch, but I see this one being close.

Kansas City Chiefs vs San Diego Chargers Point Spread Pick

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Kansas City Chiefs (+14) @ San Diego Chargers Point Spread: Yet another double digit spread. And there’s a lot of them this week. There were already two on Thanks Giving (both favorites won and covered), and there are 6 altogether in Week 12 – that’s crazy business – and there’s another game at 9.5 (that you can get at 10 at a pretty popular sports book right now – the Skins getting 10 at Philly). Nuts. I like the underdog in 5 of the 6 double digit games, and I like the Skins too. So if the favorites make out like they did on Thanks Giving, I will be in trouble this week. I just think the spreads are too high. I know the year started out with favorites slapping dogs around like they peed on the carpet, but this is getting out of hand.

The Chargers have played well, and won lots of a games lately, shoot they’ve won 5 straight coming in, and covered each of their last 3, going as far as destroying the Denver Broncos in Denver 32-3. But they’ve still only won 2 games by more than 14 points this season. But yes, one of them was Kansas City in KC to start this recent winning streak they are still riding. But I think KC makes this one a lot tougher.

Since losing to the Chargers on October 25th, the Chiefs have won two of their last 3, and covered all three. They lost to the Jaguars by a field goal, then beat the Raiders and upset the Steelers last week as well. They’re playing their best football of the year. They’ve also played a lot of close games this year, and have only lost 2 games by more than 14 points.

They are the pick here, the spread is inflated!

Jacksonville Jaguars vs San Francisco 49ers Free Pick

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ San Francisco 49ers (-3) Free Pick: I am stunned that more people are picking the 49ers than the Jaguars – maybe the public has seen the Jags fly West and noticed the passion and push in which they played with on that occasion. The Hawks blew them out 41-0. Yeah, not a pack of rabid, wicked-smart, fire-breathing, evil-witch hawks, the freaking Seahawks… Maybe it’s because the Jaguars are 2-3 on the road this season, and historically a bad road team. Maybe it’s because San Francisco, despite generally playing ugly football, played tight with the best teams the AFC South has to offer, losing by 3,4, and 7 to the Texans, Colts, and Titans.

Or maybe none of that stuff matters, and what really looks bad for the Jags is how they barely pulled out a win last week and could hardly run the ball effectively against the Buffalo Bills. Or maybe, and this is what I like even more, is that just about every solid run defense has shut down the Jaguars offense this season.

The 49ers may not be pretty on the eye test, and they may be 4-6 on the year and all but out of the playoffs, and they may even be a team that has lost 4 of their last 5 games, but they can stop the run, and despite having one of the best running backs in the league, the Jaguars don’t have a great offensive line.

I think that ends up being enough as the 49ers win by a touchdown or more over the Jaguars. I’m still stunned the public likes San Francisco, it just doesn’t seem like their kind of move. But hey! Good on ya guys, we’re together on this one!

Arse's Five Favorites: NFL Week 12 Free Football Picks

Hey, what can I say, beginners luck, maybe? I was 3-1-1 and continued my money-making ways with some winning favorites in Week 11. I say beginners luck because it was my first time making public picks, for all to see, and all to judge, and despite one bad call, I did alright. From what I’m told, if I can go 3-1-1 for the rest of my life, I’ll be a very rich man. Sounds good to me. Let’s see if I can just… Here are five more favorites for Week 12.

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Week 11 Review:
(W) – Indy -1 @ Baltimore: Indy barely beat the Colts, but Indy only needed a two point win to cover for me, and they managed exactly that.
(P) – Packers -6 @ San Fran: The Packers were up big and up early, but the 49ers gnawed away at the spread and had me finish as a push. Damn them.
(L) – Jags (-8.5) @ Buffalo: The Jags should have lost this game, but they did just enough to win while failing to cover against a down and out Bills squad. Ugh.
(W) – Pats (-10.5) @ Jets: A late Patriots touchdown got me into a cover scenario, but I deserved it – the Pats dominated this game.
(W) – Eagles (-3) @ Chicago: The Bears might have looked better than the Eagles, but neither team looked good and the Eagles were just the better team, hence the close cover.

Week 12 Picks:

Indianapolis Colts (-3) @ Houston Texans: This guy Peyton Manning is worth betting on when anything a field goal or less is needed for a cover win – write that down.

Seattle Seahawks (-3) @ St. Louis Rams: The Rams are real bad, the Hawks are only real bad half the time. They should be healthier this week, and that’s enough for me, they are a superior talent when healthy.

Minnesota Vikings (-10.5) @ home vs Chicago: Listen, the Bears suck. Double digits may be tough to give a good team, as Lucky says, but the Bears aren’t a good team – the only good team in this match-up is the road guys, and they’ll win by at least 2 TDs.

Baltimore Ravens (-2) @ home vs Pittsburgh: I actually think Baltimore just needs this one more. And the Steelers are hurting. The Ravens will need to throw, but I think they do just enough to squeak this one out.

New Orleans Saints (-1.5) @ home vs New England: The Saints have been the better team, and I think their running game will step it up big, and some key guys will come back from injury to make enough of an impact to get the Saints to 11-0.

Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals Pick & Preview

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Cleveland Browns (+14.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals Pick & Preview: The Cleveland Browns aren’t good. Don’t be tricked by their performance last week against the Lions – their offense isn’t any good either. I’m pretty sure they passed for more touchdowns in that one game against Detroit than they had all season – let me check the stats…. Yep, I was right, Brady Quinn had 4 last time out. He had 1 prior to the game against the Lions. And while completing just 62% of his passes, Derek Anderson had found a receiver in the end-zone two times. So that’s 4 last week and 3 all season – like I said, their offense is just plain bad.

The Browns are bad, sure, but 14+ points worse than a team that has exactly one win by 10 points or more all season long? I like the Bengals, their defense is stout, their offense is smart, and they should be red-hot and fiery after blowing an easy win last week in a league where easy wins rarely present themselves. But this is still a division game, and the Bengals have to beat the Browns to sweep the division for the first time ever. So they’ll be thinking about something.

They are also smart (usually) and spend a lot of time just making sure they win. They play in a lot of low-scoring games, and they do the smart thing almost every time out. The odds just don’t point to the Bengals winning by more than 2 touchdowns – I’ll take the Browns (gross) and all those points (just enough for me)

Carolina Panthers vs New York Jets Free NFL Pick

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Carolina Panthers @ New York Jets (-2.5) Free NFL Pick: This is definitely a battle of, “Watch my quarterback’s interceptions kill our chances to win football games on a weekly basis” and I’m ready to watch with intense disgust. I would blame the rookie and the shriveled vet, but can you really blame Mark Sanchez or Jake Delhomme for the stupid play calling that continues to tally up the passing plays while both teams need to be running it 60% of the time? The answer is no. Whomever calls these plays obviously thinks these two teams can pass better than they do. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene can do work. They have a good offensive line. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart might be the most talented running back duo in the league, and their offensive line is usually great, and solid enough without Jordan Gross (out with injury). But still the passes come.

I know the Jets don’t have the stellar run-defense they had earlier in the year. With Kris Jenkins’ move to IR, so went the dominant force in the middle that shut down the run at all costs. But they are a better run-defense than the Panthers, and their secondary is a little more impressive as well. Revis should take away Steve Smith from Delhomme, or rather, Jake might get easily confused and throw the ball to Revis instead of Steve. Either way, it won’t bode well for the Panthers.

In a game that should be close, I’ll take the team I think is better, playing at home, and by less than a field goal. Seems like a deal to me.

Seattle Seahawks vs St. Louis Rams Pick & Preview

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Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams (+3) Pick & Preview: I think both these teams have been brutal, and I’ve been recorded saying (once or twice or twenty times) that St. Louis is one of the worst teams in football. But some how, some way, I’ve found enough that I like about them to go Rams as a small underdog at home. I’d say, “don’t ask me why” but that’s kind of my thing, I tell you why I do stuff – part of the deal. So here goes…

The Hawks are 0-5 on the road this year, and they generally stink away from the noisy home stadium in Seattle, even in solid seasons. They are even worse when they have to start playing football in the early game, 10:00 AM Pacific Time. That’s what they’ll be doing here.

Now, prior to a couple weeks ago in Detroit, the Hawks have played very well against the lower-case teams in the league, the rams, and  – well, that’s really the only bad team they whooped – ad that was in Week 1. They whooped the Jaguars, who played terrible that day in Seattle – but the Jags have been decent. They beat the Lions three week ago, 32-20, but Detroit was up early, and on top for most of that game. A late INT-TD gave them an undeserved cover. But they’ve learned how to try and play not to lose. One of the worst ways to win games in any sport.

The Hawks lack aggression, are predictable, and I think the Rams will sneak in and smack them in the mouth a little bit. St. Louis is bad, I hate them, their QB is a laughing matter unto himself, but what I’m seeing has St. Louis covering.