Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Tryptophan Effect: NFL Picks, Week 12

Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, booze, annoying aunts, uncles and cousins... and it all revolves around football. Thanksgiving is hands down the most underrated holiday on the calendar. All you need to do is get your arse to the dining table, compliment the chef, drink a few beers, and watch grown men try to kill each other from the comfort of your plush sofa. I now understand why all my uncles took naps following the Turkey Day dinner. The bird contains tryptophan, which makes you drowsy. Have insomniacs tried this?

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving tomorrow. Time to make the Week 12 picks. I went a wild-cardish 9-7 last week, raising the season mark to 67-73-5. I'm inching closer to .500. For the first time ever, we get three games tomorrow. The lame Lions-Dolphins matchup is the early game, followed by Cowboys-Buccaneers, and the best one of the day, the Broncos visiting Arrowhead to tangle with KC at night in a big game for both squads. Let's roll.

Miami (-3) @ Detroit: Forget tryptophan for insomnia. This game might do the trick as well. When your biggest angle is Joey Harrington returning to face the Lions, you know you're in trouble. The Dolphins seem to have figured out something, so they should take this one. (TV, CBS, 12:30)

@Dallas (-11) vs. Tampa Bay: Lot of points, I know, but I just can't see Tampa Bay's offense putting up points against a damn good Dallas defense, led by the hard-hitting Roy Williams. I'm also liking what I'm seeing out of Tony Romo, who seems to be building confidence each week. Cowboys win, 28-13. (TV, FOX, 4:15)

Denver (-1) @ Kansas City: This line's been going back and forth, which means we could be in for a whale of a game. Should be plenty of intensity, with the Chiefs trying to pull into a tie in the AFC West with the Broncos. If Plummer sucks the bit, will we see rookie Jay Cutler? If Trent Green can't get it done, will Damon Huard return? One week after getting gashed by LT, Denver goes up against LJ - but the Chiefs don't have the supporting cast that the Chargers do. I'm going with Mike Shanahan in a must-win game. Jake Plummer be damned. (TV, NFL Network, 8:00)

Arizona (+6.5) @ Minnesota: Just a hunch. If the Desert Dogs don't win, they'll keep it close. Edgerrin is due to break out any week now. Edgerrin? Edge? You out there? Cardinals cover.

Carolina (-4) @ Washington: This one jumped out at me when I first looked at the lines on Monday. Carolina is finally rounding into form, and they get to face a floundering team trying to break in a rookie QB. That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster. Mr. Campbell, meet Mr. Peppers. Panthers are the pick of the week.

Cincinnati (-3) @ Cleveland: The Bengals are another team that could be settling into a groove, and they're riding the strong right arm of Carson Palmer as they try to nail down a playoff spot. A rough and tumble low-scoring affair, with the Bengals coming out on top.

Houston (+6) @ NY Jets: Yes, the Jets should win the ballgame, but the Texans are like a dingleberry that won't go away. They're sticking around till the bitter end, which means they'll cover the six. Screw you, Bill Simmons. I'm coining this the Dingleberry Effect before you do. (TV, CBS, 1:00)

@Buffalo (+3) vs. Jacksonville: Love the home 'dog here. The Jaguars looked impressive Monday night against the Giants, but to be fair, the Jints are Red Sox-banged up on defense and the Bills are strong, particularly in their own house. The loss of DB Donovin Darious also hurts the Jags. Bills are the pick.

@Atlanta (-3) vs. New Orleans: Who the hell knows? The Saints throttled the Falcons back on the inspirational opening Monday night game at the Superdome, and I'm going with the revenge factor. Falcons win, keeping in mind that every time I use those two words in a sentence, they lose. (TV, FOX, 1:00)

@Baltimore (-3) vs. Pittsburgh: The Steelers will become the first Super Bowl champion to not make the playoffs since - um, I'm not sure and I don't feel like looking it up. They got a reprieve last Sunday with that lame shuffle pass, but they will go down this week to the new and improved Ravens.

San Francisco (+5.5) @ St. Louis: The Niners are the trendy pick over the last couple of weeks but you have to give them their due. Frank Gore has returned to stud form, the defense has been stellar, and the coach, Mike Nolan, actually looked pretty good in a suit last week patrolling the sidelines. Can you just imagine all the positive fashion reviews he got last week in, um, fashion-conscious San Francisco?

@New England (-3) vs. Chicago: Easily the game of the week. The Bears, per usual, look frighteningly awesome on defense and they're getting the job done on offense even though Grossman has been grossly inconsistent. Once again, this is a bet on Tom Brady, and I think the Dillon/Maroney duo can find some holes. Maroney should get the bulk of the work as Dillon was dinged up last week. The Patriots actually ripped up their field over the last two weeks and replaced it with FieldTurf. Should be interesting to see what the impact is. My only worry with this game is that we have to listen to smug Joe Buck. (TV, FOX, 4:15)

NY Giants (-3) @ Tennessee: The Giants are in disarray - Tiki criticized the coaching today - but if they have to circle the wagons this is a good team to do it against. Eli Manning has been horrible the last few weeks, but should do enough right to pull it out.

@San Diego (-13) vs. Oakland: You can talk yourself into taking the points and the Raiders, but have you been watching what the Chargers have done the last couple of weeks? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Chargers in a cake walk, with LT scoring 15 touchdowns.

@Indy (-9) vs. Philly: Not what the NFL TV scheduling Gods had hoped for, not after Donovan McNabb went down with an ACL tear last week. The Eagles are as cooked as Kramer's career, and Indy doesn't have to deal with any undefeated talk. Playing free and easy, the Colts will cruise. (TV, NBC, 8:15)

@Seattle (-9) vs. Green Bay: Another crappy game for the Kornheiser crew. I can't believe I'm taking Seattle after their pathetic display against the 49ers last week, but the Niners, I think, are a lot better than people are giving them credit for. The Packers looked horrible last week in getting waxed by the Patriots, and Brett Favre looked particularly horrible - overthrowing and underthrowing receivers at every turn. The Seahawks must be happy that the Seneca Wallace Experiment is officially over. Matt Hasselbeck returns for this one (Shaun Alexander came back last week) as Seattle tries to get it together for a postseason run. (TV, ESPN, 8:30)

no turkey day bonus pick with the BC - Miami game??
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