It was right there, the chance to get back to within single digits of the break-even mark for this abomination of a 2012 football season. It’s not been an abomination on the field, mind you; just in terms of how well (or, more accurately, how poorly) I’ve navigated it this year.
Usually it takes FEMA to assess this sort of a disaster area. The record last week was a putrid, awful, terrible, completely fu … ahem … 3-11-1 (at the time my picks were filed, there was no line on the Monday nighter between Carolina and Philadelphia).
Fortunately, I come from both German and Irish stock, so I have stubbornness to spare. And with that, here are this week’s picks with home teams in CAPS:
Saints (plus 3½) over FALCONS: It’s been the year of the hook in Vegas and the hook has caught me several times already. But while I like Atlanta to beat New Orleans, I can’t bring myself to lay more than a field goal.
Jaguars (plus 6) over BILLS: Chad Henne is much, much better equipped to be a starting quarterback in the NFL than is Blaine Gabbert. Do not mistake that as praise for Henne so much as it is an indictment of Gabbert.
BEARS (minus 4) over Seahawks: It’s taken 12 weeks and 11 games, but I think I’ve finally figured out that Seattle is not so much with the being good on the road.
Colts (plus 4½) over LIONS: This is not to be confused with an “Indianapolis will win the game” pick. No, rather this is more of a “there is no way Detroit is capable of winning by more than a field goal” pick.
Vikings (plus 9) over PACKERS: Minnesota’s pass rush is way too good and Green Bay’s offensive line way too bad to lay more than a touchdown.
Texans (minus 6½) over TITANS: Tennessee has officially become like one (OK, several, but don’t judge me!) of my ex-girlfriends – officially too crazy to try and figure out. Blow out Miami on the road, take a bye week and lose at Jacksonville? Really?
Panthers (minus 3) over CHIEFS: Kansas City is the only team in the NFL that has already been officially eliminated from playoff contention. So, yeah, that Romeo Crennel hire really worked out, huh?
RAMS (plus 7½) over 49ers: I like a lot of what I’ve seen so far from Colin Kaepernick. But inexperienced starting quarterbacks on the road in back-to-back weeks can be a dicey proposition.
DOLPHINS (plus 9) over Patriots: New England is rolling right now but I like Miami’s feisty defense to at least keep it respectable. Wait, didn’t I think the same thing about the Jets on Thanksgiving?
Cardinals (plus 4½) over JETS: Hey, look! It’s the moveable object against the resistible force. The nicest thing I can say about this game is that at least it didn’t make it into prime time.
BRONCOS (minus 7) over Buccaneers: Florida teams in December in the Rocky Mountains; yeah, not so much.
Browns (no line) over RAIDERS: For the record, I’d take Alabama and the points against the Raiders at this point. Game is off the board at this writing due to uncertainty over Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden.
CHARGERS (plus 2½) over Bengals: San Diego may have finally learned that games are not over just because the team goes to the locker room once.
RAVENS (no line) over Steelers: Baltimore is a different offense at home than it is on the road. Pittsburgh’s an entirely different team without Ben Roethlisberger, which is why there’s no line here—Big Ben may or may not go.
COWBOYS (minus 10) over Eagles: This one couldn’t have gotten flexed out of prime time? Really? We get Philadelphia on prime time in back-to-back weeks? Is this Hell? Can I speak to someone in charge?
Giants (minus 2½) over REDSKINS: There may have never been a more timely bye week in NFL history than the one New York got in Week 11. The beatdown the Giants laid on Green Bay on Sunday night was epic.
Last Week: 3-11-1