By Scott Taylor and Dave Petrishen
It might have been easy to miss this week’s Thursday night game. After all, New Orleans probably should have covered the eight-point spread, but the Saints played just about as badly as the wonky Atlanta Falcons.
As a result, the Saints won 17-13, didn’t cover and anyone trying to watch was probably snoring by the midway point in the third quarter.
Thursday night’s sleep inducer wasn’t a great way to start Week 12 in the NFL. Granted Drew Brees threw a pair of touchdown passes and Matt Ryan went 30-for-39, but it was still a pedestrian affair that gave fans a grand total of 30 points. This was not classic NFL football.
Hopefully that will change this weekend with 13 decent football games. In fact, there are 13 games and most of them are pretty tough to pre-determine. So tough in fact that after agreeing that the Saints would win on Thursday night, our experts have agreed on only five other games this week – the Lions, Texans, Panthers, Chiefs and Ravens.
Overall last week our boys were pretty good. In Week 11, The Doc went 11-4 (106-56) straight up and 8-7 (76-86) against the spread while The Coach went 10-5 (107-55) straight up and 10-5 (86-76) against the spread.
This week, the Doc writes the reasons for our brilliant predictions while The Coach snoozes and dreams of treats.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) at Detroit Lions (6-4) Line: Lions by 9.
The Bucs have stopped the bleeding at home but can it translate to wins on the road? They won with the run, and Detroit’s sting defense won’t let that happen. Matthew Stafford’s offense has struggled at times this season, but this game will get them on track…especially at home. The Coach says: Lions are back at home.
The Doc: TAKE THE LIONS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE LIONS TO WIN AND COVER.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) at Houston Texans (2-8) Line: Texans by 10.
Hard to think a team that hasn’t won since Week 2 will be even able to put 10 points on the board. The Texans turn over the ball too much to be taken seriously, but then again with those ridiculous helmets, who can take Jacksonville seriously? The Coach says: Ahh, do I have to pick? They both stink.
The Doc: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
Minnesota Vikings (2-8) at Green Bay Packers (5-5) Line: Packers by 5.
Take away Aaron Rodgers and what do you get? A team that won’t be able to beat the Vikings at home. Scott Tolzien better have gotten a college degree as his football days are numbered in Green Bay or anywhere for that matter. The Coach says: Tolzien or Ponder? Who cares? Neither will be their team’s quarterback next year. The Vikings don’t win in Green Bay.
The Doc: TAKE THE VIKINGS IN AN UPSET.
The Coach: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
San Diego Chargers (4-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) Line: Chiefs by 5.
There should be no shame in losing to the Broncos as the Chiefs will be playing football in January. The Chargers won’t. Seven of Kansas City’s wins have come by at least six points and I don’t expect anything less. The Coach says: Philip Rivers is a loser. But he’s always good for a couple of meaningless fist pumps.
The Doc: TAKE THE CHIEFS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE CHIEFS TO WIN AND COVER.
Carolina Panthers (7-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-5) Line: Panthers by 4.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the Panthers are the hottest team in football having beaten the 49ers and the Patriots. The Dolphins have been dealing all week with the NFL’s Jonathan Martin investigation and so the focus will be there. If I was Ryan Tannehill I’d be worried, the O-Line won’t have their head in this one. Easy Panther road win. The Coach says: Let’s watch Cam Newton pad his stats.
The Doc: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-6) Line: Browns by 2.5.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense are finally clicking and taking advantage of big plays in the passing game. The Browns have regressed from the start of the year, losing four of their last five and their offense is a mess. A strange Vegas spread… The Coach says: There are Dawgs barking.
The Doc: TAKE THE STEELERS IN AN UPSET.
The Coach: TAKE THE BROWNS TO WIN AND COVER.
Chicago Bears (6-4) at St. Louis Rams (4-6) Line: Rams by 1.
The Rams are coming off their bye week after beating the Colts while the Bears squeaked one in a strange stormy Chicago day. If the Rams can force turnovers like they did in their last game, they’ll win. Even with some guy named Kellen Clemens playing QB. The Coach says: McCown over Clemens. And I thought the quarterbacking in the CFL was weak.
The Doc: TAKE THE RAMS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN.
New York Jets (5-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-6) Line: Ravens by 4.
The defending champs have looked anything but so far this season, but they have managed to play pretty well at home covering the spread each time. The Jets looked terrible last week against the Bills in Buffalo; in fact they only have one road win all season and play poorly on defense away from home as well. The Coach says: The Jets are done.
The Doc: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Oakland Raiders (4-6) Line: Raiders by 1.
Matt McGloin? I think the surprise factor was at work last week in the Raiders win against Houston. Now that there’s game film on him expect him to fall flat on his face at home. The Titans haven’t played since last Thursday, so they’ll be ready. The Coach says: I hate both of these choices. Take the home team.
The Doc: TAKE THE TITANS IN AN UPSET.
The Coach: TAKE THE RAIDERS TO WIN AND COVER
Indianapolis Colts (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (6-4) Line: Cardinals by 2.5.
The Colts are playing their second consecutive road game which is always tough, but they haven’t played since last Thursday so that won’t be as tough as usual. However, the Colts do struggle against the lesser teams, while the Cardinals have picked up wins over terrible teams such as the Texans, Jaguars, and Falcons. They’ve been blown out by the better teams and I expect the Colts to beat them big. The Coach says: The Cards aren’t a bad team.
The Doc: TAKE THE COLTS TO WIN IN AN UPSET.
The Coach: TAKE THE CARDINALS TO WIN AND COVER.
Dallas Cowboys (5-5) at New York Giants (4-6) Line: Giants by 2.5.
The Giants are on a roll with four straight wins; sounds impressive right? Their wins have come against bad teams and bad backup quarterbacks. Reality check time when they face Tony Romo and the No.5 scoring offense in the NFL.
The Doc: TAKE THE COWBOYS TO WIN.
The Coach: TAKE THE GIANTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Denver Broncos (9-1) at New England Patriots (7-3) Line: Broncos by 2.5.
Great reason to skip the Grey Cup with this Sunday night game. Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning has always been a great match-up, but this year’s showdown comes at a time where the Patriots struggle on offense in their wins. The Broncos are on their way to a record setting season offensively. Expect the kind of shoot-out that Peyton doesn’t lose. The Coach says: I always like Brady in Foxboro.
The Doc: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE PATRIOTS.
San Francisco 49ers (6-4) at Washington Redskins (3-7) Line: 49ers by 5.
Against teams with losing records, the 49ers are 4-0 and win by an average of 25 points per game. Washington averages only 25 points per game. A night off for the 49ers. The Coach says: I’d like the Niners if I thought they were any good on the road. But when you score nine at home against Carolina, you aren’t that good.
The Doc: TAKE THE 49ers TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE WASHINGTON.