Mike Ivcic’s Week 12 NFL Preview and Free Picks

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Mike Ivcic’s Week 12 NFL Preview and Free Picks ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

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By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
Thu, 12:30pm, FOX
Line: Packers by 7
Look, Lions fans, we get it – you’re excited because you have a competitive team for the first time since the days before they wore helmets. It’s OK to think that you have a shot to beat the Packers, especially since they didn’t look good last week. But this is a nationally televised game and an undefeated season on the line for Green Bay, so please, Detroit, just start Thanksgiving the way it’s started pretty much every day of my lifetime – you lose, then I eat dinner and watch real football at 4pm.
Pick: Green Bay 38, Detroit 27

Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys
Thu, 4pm, CBS
Line: Cowboys by 7
Did I say real football? I forgot Leon Lett and Pete Stoyanovich aren’t playing in this game. So much for watching television during turkey dinner.
Pick: Dallas 34, Miami 12

San Francisco 49’ers @ Baltimore Ravens
Thu, 8:30pm, NFLN
Line: Ravens by 3
Oh, look – real football. A hard-nosed, smash-mouth, family battle that will determine if the Ravens are really the best team in the AFC, and if the 49’ers are really ready to enter the NFL’s elite. After two straight weeks of underestimating them, I’m finally going all in with San Francisco and Michigan man Jim Harbaugh. Now don’t screw it up!
Pick: San Francisco 23, Baltimore 20

Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: No Line
The biggest impact this game will have is on the draft, so there’s not even any motivation factor to assign to one team or the other. I still don’t buy the Rams offense, even with the Cardinals virtual no-show last week, so we’ll go with Arizona is a one-score game.
Note: Score may be revised after the line is posted.
Pick: Arizona 20, St. Louis 14

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Jets by 8
Fred Jackson is out for Buffalo, maybe for the rest of the season, by the Jets should never be favored by 8 with the way their offense is playing. This is basically an elimination game, so it’ll likely be close, but the Jets do get the edge playing at home.
Pick: New York 20, Buffalo 17


Carolina Panthers @ Indianapolis Colts
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Panthers by 3.5
Carolina did just about everything they could against Detroit and still came up short. They’re clearly on the right track, but as with any young team in any sport, there are growing pains. The key for teams like the Panthers is to win the games that they’re supposed to win. This is one of them, and they do.
Pick: Carolina 28, Indianapolis 14

Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Bengals by 7.5
The Bengals are still in a great position to make the playoffs, but they’ve now whiffed on two chances to pick up a big divisional win. They still get another crack at both the Steelers and Ravens, but based upon the rest of the schedule for each contender in the AFC, this is now a must-win game for Cincinnati. They have to know that, too, and I’m expecting a big performance against their in-state rival at home.
Pick: Cincinnati 30, Cleveland 13

Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Texans by 3.5
The collective gasp you heard from Houston was the realization that their playoff hopes now rest on the shoulders of Matt Leinart. Let’s remember, though, that he’s a Heisman Trophy winner and former top-10 draft pick. And he gets two weeks to prepare for a team that couldn’t score on a 7-man defense, so he won’t have to do a whole lot to get a win this week.
Pick: Houston 16, Jacksonville 6

Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Falcons by 9.5
Atlanta hung on and earned a big win over Tennessee to stay on track in both the NFC South and NFC Wild Card race. They can’t afford any missteps at this point, especially against a 2-win Vikings team, and I’d expect a big performance from Matt Ryan and Co. this week.
Pick: Atlanta 31, Minnesota 15

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Titans by 3.5
If Tampa’s not already out of playoff contention, they will be if they lose here. Meanwhile Tennessee is tied with a large group of wild-card hopefuls in the AFC at 5-5, two games behind Houston in the division. Both AFC South teams are now on their second-string QB’s, so Tampa might have a chance to confuse Jake Locker, but the Bucs look like a team that’s in the middle of the “one step backwards” after the two steps forward last year. They’ll be back next season, but this is the “learning-to-win” phase for Tampa, so Tennessee gets the win here – though I’d be more comfortable without that extra half point.
Pick: Tennessee 24, Tampa Bay 20


Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Raiders by 4
This line would easily be just as high in favor of the Bears if Jay Cutler was healthy. Instead it’ll be Caleb Heine getting thrown to the wolves with the Bears in the middle of their four week jaunt through the AFC West. If Oakland can manage to run the ball against a staunch Bears defense, they will have a chance to open some passing lanes for Carson Palmer, but in the end this is a game where guys like Urlacher and Briggs put their stamp on it and will Chicago to a win.
Pick: Chicago 16, Oakland 10

Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Seahawks by 3.5
How the Redskins managed to lose that game last week is still baffling me. For the umpteenth year in a row, a talented team has managed to post a sub-.500 record. I have no faith in this team going into a tough environment and winning a game, even if the Seahawks are the lesser team, talent-wise, of the two on the field.
Pick: Seattle 27, Washington 17

Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers
Sun, 4:15pm, CBS
Line: Chargers by 6
I would like to make this painfully clear right now – Tim Tebow is not the reason the Broncos are 5-5 right now. The defense is. Denver’s “D” might be playing the best of any defense in football right now, and it’s their performance that is allowing the league’s newest superstar to make his last-minute drives to win games. But there’s a reason he didn’t lead a fourth quarter drive to win the game against Detroit – because there is no such thing as a 40-point touchdown. The Broncos will go as far as their defense allows them to go, and with the way the Chargers offense is playing right now, expect another win for the Mile High group.
Pick: Denver 20, San Diego 15

New England Patriots @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sun, 4:15pm, CBS
Line: No Line
NBC said it about 40 times during last week’s broadcast – the Eagles will basically have to win 11 straight games to win the Super Bowl. They managed a big win on the backs of their defense last week, but this isn’t Eli Manning and his band of merry little men. This is Brady, Welker, and the virtually unstoppable Rob Gronkowski… good luck ‘Birds. You’ll need it.
Note: Score may be revised after the line is posted.
Pick: New England 32, Philadelphia 17

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC
Line: Steelers by 11
This line is heavily influence by the Chiefs performance on MNF this past week, and rightfully so – Tyler Palko is not a legitimate NFL quarterback. That said, no team should ever be giving 11 points at Arrowhead in a primetime game. The Steelers might win by more than that, but betting a big line against the Chiefs in that stadium is really taking a big risk.
Pick: Pittsburgh 20, Kansas City 13

New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN
Line: Saints by 6.5
The gauntlet continues for the Giants, who have now lost two straight heartbreakers where the offense got close but wasn’t able to convert the tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Vegas clearly noticed – the 6.5 line is just about perfect for this game. So I’ll take the touchdown and hope Eli doesn’t have one of those, “I really am an elite QB” games or the Giants will win this one outright.
Pick: New Orleans 31, New York 24

Straight Up: 105-53
Against Spread: 79-68-11

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