Mac's Picks - Week 12

Going 2-1 in the Turkey Day games has me off to a pretty good start this week. I'm kicking myself for taking the Falcons (and the 12 points) over the Colts, but I thought that with all the injuries the Colts are dealing with, they'd end up having to grind out a win on a short week against a team that was making the right move in starting Joey Harrington.

In hindsight, that probably should've triggered an alarm inside my head. What was it about Joey Harrington that got me thinking he could help the Falcons cover a 12-point spread against the defending Super Bowl Champions in a quasi-nationally televised game? Lesson learned, and it won't happen again.

Last week: 6-9-1

2007 Season: 72-82-6

Tennessee (-2) at CincinnatiDo you want to know what passes for a "feel good" story in the Queen City these days? This article about how Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry plans on avoiding the off-field trouble now that he has become a father.

You see, Henry became a first-time father eight months ago…and four months later, he welcomed the arrival of his second child. I'm no moral authority here, but the normal gestation period for humans is still about nine months, right? At this rate, he and Travis Henry (no relation) are going to square off in "Cheaper by the Dozen: The Reality Show", coming to FOX in 2020. Pick: Titans -2

Buffalo at Jacksonville (-7 ½) – The Buffalo Bills have played two tough teams on the road this season (Pittsburgh, New England) and were thoroughly shellacked each time. And those were games that they had rookie running back Marshawn Lynch.

Without him, going against a Jaguars team that was energized last week by the return of David Garrard probably means another blowout road loss for the Bills. Pick: Jaguars -7 ½

Oakland at Kansas City (-5 ½) – Since 2003, the Oakland Raiders are something like 2-43 in divisional games, so only a fool would expect them to go into Arrowhead on Sunday and beat the Chiefs.

However, without Larry Johnson or Priest Holmes, more weight falls on the untested shoulders of QB Brodie Croyle, so I suspect the Raiders can at least keep it close. A straight-up win over an AFC West opponent will have to wait for the JaMarcus Russell Era to officially begin. Pick: Raiders +5 ½

Seattle (-3) at St. Louis – The Seahawks sacked Marc Bulger seven times the last time these two teams met, and St. Louis, though coming off back-to-back wins, yielded six sacks to San Francisco a week ago.

Making this week more appetizing for the blitzing Seahawks defense is this little nugget of information: By signing 37-year old Todd Steussie, a player the Rams paid an injury settlement to back in September, and immediately inserting him into the starting lineup, the Rams will use their 15th offensive line combination of the season. Pick: Seahawks -3

Washington at Tampa Bay (-3) – Even after getting shredded by Terrell Owens a week ago, the Redskins still had a good shot at winning that game. That's as much a testament to how well the development of Jason Campbell has gone as it is an indictment of how poorly the Cowboys secondary has played this season.

Things figure to be a lot tougher for Campbell when he goes up against a Buccaneers defense that is 3rd in the NFL in pass defense. Pick: Buccaneers -3

Houston at Cleveland (-3 ½) – I know the entire city of Houston is excited about having a .500 football this late in the season since the early days of Steve McNair's career, but this is a road game in late November to a city that is slightly chillier than Houston. Because they score touchdowns, you've got to like Cleveland in this one. Pick: Browns -3 ½

New Orleans (-3) at Carolina – Carolina is actually ahead of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South standings and beat them in the Superdome earlier this season. So it's kind of a surprise to see that the Panthers are a field goal underdog at home against the Saints this week.

I can't see the Panthers going winless at home for the entire season, and with the Saints struggling, this is the week they get off that schneid. Pick: Panthers +3

Minnesota at NY Giants (-7) – With the Vikings without Purple Jesus again this week, I wouldn't touch the Vikings with a ten-foot pole. Or in this case, a seven-point spread. Pick: Giants -7

San Francisco at Arizona (-10 ½) – I don't want to take anything away from the Arizona Cardinals, but I've watched their last two games and I've seen Detroit and Cincinnati serve them up a pair of wins on silver platters.

I don't actually believe San Francisco can beat them, especially at the spaceship the Cardinals play in, but I do believe the 49ers can keep it close in a game that might just resemble a trap-like device. Pick: 49ers +10 ½

Baltimore at San Diego (-9 ½) – Entering Week 12, the Ravens and Chargers have combined to go 9-11. Before the season, I projected them to finish a combined 25-7.

I'd be mad at these teams for making me look like an idiot, but it's my own fault for not realizing that an offense run by Brian Billick would probably sputter and a team coached by Norv Turner would probably underachieve. I mean, I really didn't need Miss Cleo to see this sort of the coming. Pick: Chargers -9 ½

Denver at Chicago (-2 ½) – If the Broncos win this week, they'll remain tied for the AFC West lead with a 6-5 record, and the loss will drop the Chicago Bears a full 6 games back in the NFC North race. You called that before the season, too, right? Pick: Bears -2 ½ (Who the hell is Andre Hall?)

Philadelphia at New England (-23 ½) – A 23 ½ point spread in the NFL? Is this some sort of joke? Making it worse is this: Knowing that Philadelphia had the audacity to show up for that Super Bowl three years ago, and that the Eagles were going to start AJ Feeley for the injured Donovan McNabb at quarterback this week, would you pick against the Patriots this week? Pick: Patriots -23 ½

Miami at Pittsburgh (-16) – I can't help but be a little bit disappointed that Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter isn't talking to the media in the days leading up to his return to Pittsburgh. Why, after all these years, does Porter choose this week to hide his stupidity? Pick: Steelers -16 ("…and with the 1st pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select…")


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