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Pudge’s Picks – Week 12

November 24th, 2013

I changed the way I picked games against the spread this week, which I think more closely mirrors how I picked games successfully in the past. Why it took me this long to do that, who knows? But if it results in a better week, then that’s how I’ll try to pick down the stretch so that I can try and finish this season above .500 against the spread.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I’m expecting a big day for Alshon Jeffery for the Bears and my fantasy team this week

Chicago Bears (6-4) at St. Louis Rams (4-6)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Rams (-1.5)

It’s rather simple, I have more confidence in Josh McCown than Kellen Clemens. Plus an injury to Cortland Finnegan (who is doubtful) makes me believe that Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are in for big days as they face Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson. The only thing that gives me some pause is the Rams edge pass rush, as I have little confidence that Jermon Bushrod and Jordan Mills will handle themselves well against Robert Quinn and Chris Long, respectively. But I think McCown finds a way in the end.

Spread Pick: Bears
Straight Pick: Bears

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Browns (-2.5)

The “real” Jason Campbell showed up last week, with his penchant for checkdowns and not throwing deep. If Campbell continues to play that well, and I expect he will, then I just don’t see how the Browns can be expected to beat a decent Steeler team at home.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) at Detroit Lions (6-4)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Lions (-9.5)

The Bucs looked good last week against the Falcons (who doesn’t?). But I think the Lions will bounce back at home. I think Calvin Johnson won’t get stuck on Revis Island, plus Reggie Bush should have a stronger performance. Coupled with the matchup of Ndamukong Suh against Davin Joseph, I think that will put a lot of pressure in Glennon’s face and he won’t be able to find Vincent Jackson as much against a weak Lions secondary.

Spread Pick: Lions
Straight Pick: Lions

Minnesota Vikings (2-8) at Green Bay Packers (5-5)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Packers (-4.5)

Mike McCarthy has had success with backup quarterbacks finding ways to win against weaker opponents, and Scott Tolzien improved last week. I think he can beat the Vikings with their weak secondary, coupled with the fact that Adrian Peterson is sorta beat up. This musical chairs of quarterbacks just isn’t working in Minnesota.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

San Diego Chargers (4-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Chiefs (-5.5)

The Chargers pass defense is especially weak, but I think their run defense is good enough that the Chiefs and Jamaal Charles won’t run rampant over them. And I think with injuries on the right side of that Chiefs line, it will be even harder for Charles to get going. I expect Philip Rivers to keep this one close.

Spread Pick: Chargers
Straight Pick: Chiefs

Carolina Panthers (7-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-5)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Dolphins (+4.5)

This feels sort of like the classic sort of game, where you expect a Panther team with momentum to take care of business on the road against a struggling Dolphins team. On paper that should be the case, with the Panthers front against a weak Dolphins offensive line. This one should be a low-scoring defensive effort, which does bode well for Miami. Unlike San Diego however, I suspect Carolina has the horses to take advantage of the injury to Mike Pouncey.

Spread Pick: Dolphins
Straight Pick: Panthers

New York Jets (5-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-6)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Ravens (-3.5)

The Ravens are simply a better team at home than they are on the road, while the Jets are too erratic. I don’t have much confidence in the Ravens offense, but they’ll get a couple of favorable series thanks to field position and their defense, and you can seemingly count on Geno to make a couple of bone-headed mistakes.

Spread Pick: Ravens
Straight Pick: Ravens

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Keenum is the only Texans QB that doesn’t get booed regularly

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) at Houston Texans (2-8)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Texans (-10.5)

Not surprisingly, the Texans have yet to cover at home this season. But I’m going with them this week. I’ve picked the Jaguars far too many times this year. I think the solid game I was expecting from Case Keenum last week comes this week, plus the good game that should be coming from Ben Tate should happen this week against a weak Jaguars run defense.

Spread Pick: Texans
Straight Pick: Texans

Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Oakland Raiders (4-6)
Sunday, November 24 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

Line: Raiders (-1.5)

Matt McGloin had a good enough game last week to win, but for once I’m going to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think the Titans put the clamps on Rashad Jennings this week, and if so, the Raiders really have nothing going for them offensively.

Spread Pick: Titans
Straight Pick: Titans

Indianapolis Colts (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (6-4)
Sunday, November 24 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

Line: Cardinals (-2.5)

I like the Cardinals defense to slow down the Colts offense. Patrick Peterson should be able to lock down T.Y. Hilton, and prevent the rest of the Colts receivers from having the big games they need to get Indy the win on the road. I don’t like the matchup of Robert Mathis against that Cardinals offensive line, but I think in a low-scoring affair, Arizona might be able to get it done.

Spread Pick: Cardinals
Straight Pick: Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys (5-5) at New York Giants (4-6)
Sunday, November 24 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

Line: Giants (-2.5)

The Giants have the momentum, and the Cowboys haven’t swept the Giants in a season series since 2007. But the Cowboys are the better team and I think should assert that this week. Look at the quarterbacks the Giants have beaten the past four weeks: Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, Terrelle Pryor, and Scott Tolzien. Now that they face Tony Romo and a real Cowboys offense that has a healthier DeMarco Murray, I think their winning streak comes to an end.

Spread Pick: Cowboys
Straight Pick: Cowboys

Denver Broncos (9-1) at New England Patriots (7-3)
Sunday, November 24 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

Line: Patriots (+2.5)

The injury to Talib is the main reason why I’m going to pick the Broncos. I do think Belichick will craft some scheme that can mess up Peyton Manning, but not having his most potent defensive weapon, coupled with just an adequate pass rush isn’t the recipe for success against the Broncos offense. But I do think Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski will have that Patriots offense humming to keep pace with Manning and the Broncos for much of the night.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

San Francisco 49ers (6-4) at Washington (3-7)
Monday, November 25 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

Line: Redskins (+5.5)

Simply put, the Redskins defense is so bad that even a struggling 49ers offense shouldn’t have much problem moving the ball and scoring against them.

Spread Pick: 49ers
Straight Pick: 49ers

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