So here are some picks for week 12.
JETS (7-3) @ TITANS (10-0): After beating the Patriots in overtime, everyone on the planet is going crazy about the Jets. Can the Jets take off to the Super Bowl? Can they win the AFC title? Can they beat the unbeaten Titans? Those questions and more have been tossed around this week, and the real answer to all is ... no ... for right now. The Jets are a good team, but not a great team. They are not as good as the group from 1998 that went to the AFC title game, but a win in Tennessee will begin to change my mind a tad.
I don't buy the idea that the Jets will somehow find a way to run the ball on a vaunted Titans defense led by Keith Bullock and Albert Hanyesworth. I don't buy the idea that Brett Favre won't turn the ball over to a team that is the best at causing turnovers. Moreover, the Jets defensive pass rush has been weak in the last couple of games, and if they struggle to get to Kerry Collins, it will be a long afternoon. Remember, the Jets are a good team, not a great team. PICK: TITANS 20, JETS 13.
Patriots (6-4) @ Dolphins (6-4) : So the Dolphins are all of a sudden world beaters, and Chad Pennington all of a sudden knows how to throw a football. I don't buy it at all. If the Dolphins were a stock, I would advise anyone to stay away from it, because it is bound to plummet. The Dolphins lucked out against the awful Seahawks and the dreadful Raiders, beating both teams by only two points in each game. If the Fish play like that against the Patriots, they are bound to lose.
The Pats, seem to be coming into their own, especially quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel threw for 400 yards against the Jets and seems to be gaining confidence with each week. If the kid keeps it up, he will be a hot commodity on the market in 2009. Don't expect the Patriots to fall for the wild cat offense this time around. Bill Belichick is great at making adjustments, and I am sure he has a plan to stop Ronnie Brown. Prediction: Brown will rush for about 40 yards, and the Pats will eat Chad Pennington alive, as they always have. PICK: PATRIOTS 24, DOLPHINS 14.
EAGLES (5-4-1) @ RAVENS (6-4): Shhhh; don't tell Donovan McNabb that games end in a tie when nobody scores in overtime. McNabb's excuse that he didn't know the OT rules was not only lame, it was the dumbest thing to admit to the media in years. McNabb should be ashamed of himself that he was unaware of such a rule because it makes it look like he didn't care about the game. That's something that McNabb is good at doing.
The Ravens, on the other hand, got exposed as a fraud football team in a 30-10 loss to the Giants. Their defense is overrated, and the offense is still pathetic even with an energetic rookie at quarterback. But, for some reason, I believe that the Ravens will find a way to win this one and get back on track. PICK: RAVENS 27, EAGLES 20.
GIANTS (9-1) @ CARDINALS (7-3): The only thing that can stop the Giants is the Giants, but this game looks like a prime game for Big Blue to blow. The Cardinals have one of the league's most high powered offenses, with a revitalized Kurt Warner, and the terrific receiving tandem of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquain Boldin. This is something the G-men have not seen this year, so it will be imperative for Big Blue to get a rush on Warner, or it will be a long night.
Offensively, the Giants should be fine in this game. The Cards are not known for a great defense; remember, this is a group that gave up 56 points to the Jets earlier in the year. Expect a shootout in the desert. PICK: UPSET SPECIAL: CARDINALS 41, GIANTS 38.
PACKERS (5-5) @ SAINTS (5-5): Here is a game of major playoff implications; in fact, this is very much like a playoff game for both teams. The Packers have been up and down all season, but with quarterback Aaron Rodgers improving each week, it is hard to believe that the Pack will be contained for much longer. Of the three 5-5 teams in the NFC North, the Packers have the most talent, and eventually it should come out big time. A blowout win versus Chicago was a start in the right direction.
Speaking of the right direction, the Saints are going in the wrong direction. Reggie Bush and Duce McAllister have completely disappeared, leaving Drew Brees to figure it out for himself. Brees has done his part, leading the leauge in passing yards, but the fact remains that his stats are not good enough to win games. This is a huge problem for New Orelans, flashing stats, but no results. The only good thing to come out of this Saints season is Brees telling tight end Jeremy Shockey on the sideline to shove it sideways a couple of weeks ago. PICK: PACKERS 37, SAINTS 27.