Now that's more like it! The mojo was working big time last week, to the tune of 13-3. If only I felt that confident for Week 13. Not sure why, but I have very little faith in the picks this week. That said, starting with correctly picking the Thursday night game, I'm off to a good start. Skip down to the Sunday section to see the remaining selections....
CINCINNATI over Baltimore
While I'm rooting for the Ravens, something tells me the Bengals will find a way to get done at home on (semi) national TV. After smacking down the hated Steelers last week, Baltimore could suffer a slight letdown - enough for Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and Co. to get out with the W.
Cincinnati 24 Baltimore 16
Indianapolis over TENNESSEE
Love the never say die attitude Jeff Fisher has instilled in his young Titans, and I truly believe the kids can and will hang tough against the mighty Colts. If we were using spreads, I'd be tempted to grab Tennessee, but since we're not, I'll stick with Manning and Co.
Indianapolis 27 Tennessee 16
ST. LOUIS over Arizona
Rams pulled one out last week, which might finally have them back on track. Staying at home to face the woeful Redbirds can go a long way toward maintaining the good feelings in St. Loo.
St. Louis 30 Arizona 20
CHICAGO over Minnesota
Bears, back home after 3 week road stint, and coming off a loss, are as close to a lock as you will see in the NFL this season. Vikes are so up and down anyway, and walking into this situation won't help them fix all that has gone wrong thus far.
Chicago 35 Minnesota 10
N.Y. Jets over GREEN BAY
Taking the Jets on the road at Lambeau? Yep. Unthinkable in recent years, these are not your Momma's Packers, and Coach Mangini has his team poised to potentially run the table and get a decent playoff seed. Funny thing is, they're not this good, but when you beat what the league gives you, you deserve the accolades.
N.Y. Jets 23 Green Bay 14
NEW ORLEANS over San Francisco
Saints move closer to improbable playoff berth by knocking off tough Niner squad. Drew Brees for MVP, anyone? Sean Payton should just be handed Coach of the Year now as well.
New Orleans 27 San Francisco 20
San Diego over BUFFALO
Much as I'd like to think the Bills can pull this one out, I just can;t bring myself to pick them. Bolts get Merriman back on defense to solidify what was one of the league';s top units in the first part of the year. That, plus LT, spells another win for San Diego.
San Diego 28 Buffalo 17
Kansas City over CLEVELAND
Given 10 days off to refresh Larry Johnson's legs, KC should be able to keep pace in the playoff race. Chiefs could use a laugher here after a few tight games in arow, and a date with the Ravens next week.
Kansas City 23 Cleveland 14
WASHINGTON over Atlanta
Eat it, Falcons. I will never pick you again until you show me something, anything. Skins playing for pride and '07 jobs, will prevail as we move closer to an implosion in Atlanta.
Washington 24 Atlanta 17
NEW ENGLAND over Detroit
Pats can use big win over Bears as a springboard to division title, and will not suffer a letdown at home against Detroit. Matt Millen should take notes while here on how to properly run a franchise.
New England 30 Detroit 7
MIAMI over Jacksonville
Red hot Fins look to gum up the playoff works against roller coaster Jags. Jacksonville is not the same on the road, as I've mentioned in this space, and Miami is doing its second half run, as also mentioned here. Add those together, and all signs point to Miami.
Miami 17 Jacksonville 10
OAKLAND over Houston
What a wacky team, these Raiders. Steadily more competitive, thanks solely to a defense which has played it's collective heart out, they can finally break out with a win against a Texan team which had to travel cross country after losing to Jets last week. Art Shell is still an awful coach, though.
Oakland 17 Houston 10
PITTSBURGH over Tampa Bay
The Underachiever Bowl pits two teams who had much higher expectations in September against one another. Since the Steeler loss was the uglier one a week ago, and they're back home, they get the slight edge.
Pittsburgh 24 Tampa Bay 13
N.Y. GIANTS over Dallas
I have absolutely no idea why I'm choosing the Giants. They appear to be coming apart at the seams, squabbling internally, as well as with the media, while their young quarterback seems to be regressing to the point where he looks like a scared rookie again. Cowboys come in red hot, with QB Tony Romo the toast of the league. Maybe the G-Men, who will get back Sam Madison and perhaps Umienyora, can pull it together for one week and tough one out in front of the hoe folks in what should be a cold, windy Giants Stadium.
N.Y. Giants 20 Dallas 17
Seattle over DENVER
The Jay Cutler era begins, at a strange time, this late in the season. Though the switch is entirely warranted, it is still a huge gamble by Mike Shanahan. He likely would not have had to do this if the running game was doing well, and I'm having trouble seeing how things will be much different with the kid taking the snaps. Hawks are no strangers to playing in the high altitude, and surely studied the films of Larry Johnson and Michael Bennett shredding the vaunted Bronco defense on Turkey Night.
Seattle 24 Denver 16
Carolina over PHILADELPHIA
Early NFC favorites Carolina struggling along at 6-5, but should not encounter a lot of resistance facing porous Philly defense. It just seems like the right time for the Panthers to make their annual run toward January, and this is a good place to kick it off.
Carolina 23 Philadelphia 15
Last week: 13-3
Overall: 111-65 (63.1%)