Friday, November 30, 2012

The Hail Mary - Week 13

The San Francisco 49ers and their quarterback Colin Kaepernick are all the talk of the NFL. Kap has replaced Alex Smith as the starting quarterback, leaving many befuddled. People point to the fact that Smith was playing so well and the Niners 6-2-1 record with him as starter as reasons why the move makes no sense. Those people haven't seen Alex Smith play for the 6 years prior to this. That's because the 49ers sucked  and weren't nationally relevant. Leading the team for many of those years was Smith. In 2 games, Kap has shown more potential than Smith has shown in his entire career. I completely agree with the move to Kap. Smith never played to a level that made him above competition. You can't erase 6 years of crap by playing well for a year and a half. Kap will not always play well but the ceiling for the offenses goes substantially up with his running and passing skills. He reminds me of RG3, not at that level of play yet but the strength with which his throws, his ability to evade pressure with his speed and his calm demeanor.

Now on to the games.

Sunday, December 2

San Francisco (8-2-1) at St. Louis (4-6-1), San Francisco favored by 7 1/2

A lot of eyes will be on this game to see if Kap can string together a third straight successful start. I am all in and I think the 49ers will do in this game what they couldn't do three weeks ago. That tie with the Rams, especially with how the 49ers have played the last two weeks, is so puzzling. In St. Louis on Sunday, I expect the 49ers defense to suffocate Sam Bradford and I expect Kap to continue to make Jim Harbaugh appear to be a genius.

Prediction: San Francisco 30, St. Louis 17

New England (8-3) at Miami (5-6), New England favored by 7 1/2

The Patriots can just about wrap up the AFC East with a win in South Florida. The Dolphins slugged out a tough win against Seattle last week to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. I think they can be competitive with the Dolphins, and I hope Joe Philbin gives Reggie Bush enough carries to get going. Tannehill will have to avoid mistakes, which has been an issue this season. He was bailed out last weekend by a penalty after throwing a terrible red zone interception, where he threw across his body. Dolphins will score late to get the cover.

Prediction: New England 27, Miami 21

Minnesota (6-5) at Green Bay (7-4), Green Bay favored by 9

This is a must win for the Vikings to remain in the NFC North race. It appears it will be another game without WR Percy Harvin, which is huge. Without him the Vikings have no other play makers in the receiving game. The Packers are coming off a humbling loss to the Giants, and you would expect that Aaron Rodgers, especially with the return of WR Greg Jennings, would bounce back. The Vikings defense isn't good enough to limit the Packers as they were last week. I also don't trust Christian Ponder to be able to make the plays needed to win at Lambeau. Adrian Peterson will be the reason the Vikings stay in this game.

Prediction: Green Bay 33, Minnesota 25

Jacksonville (2-9) at Buffalo (4-7), Buffalo favored by 6

The season is long over for the Jags but they have looked like a much improved team the last two weeks. They even went so far as to pick up former Eagle Jason Babin on waivers after he was released. Chad Henne has played very well and has left Jags fans wondering what might have been. The Bills are slogging through another disappointing season, which will likely result in the firing of Chan Gailey. Homefield advantage is the only reason I like Buffalo in this game.

Prediction: Buffalo 23, Jacksonville 21

Seattle (6-5) at Chicago (8-3), Chicago favored by 4

Jay Cutler returned last week and the Beras did what they normally do with him at quarterback, win. The Seahawks went to Miami last week and did what they normally do when they go on the road, lose. No reason not to like Chicago in this game. Russell Wilson has been decent this year but needs to learn to raise his level of play on the road.

Prediction: Chicago 21, Seattle 15

Indianapolis (7-4) at Detroit (4-7), Detroit favored by 4 1/2

Weird to see a 7-4 team an underdog to a 4-7 team, but that shows the doubt that still remains about the Colts. Indianapolis has mostly feasted on a weak schedule. The Lions would probably also qualify as weak but with the playmakers they have in Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson. They haven't lived up to their seasons from a year ago, but the Lions offense has looked reinvigorated recently. I expect this to be a back and forth shootout.

Prediction: Detroit 33, Indianapolis 30

Houston (10-1) at Tennessee (4-7), Houston favored by 6

The Titans and the Panthers have proven to be my dud preseason choices. The Texans have to got to be hoping from a strong defensive performance after two sub-par ones. Not a whole let else to say about this game.

Prediction: Houston 31, Tennessee 17

Carolina (3-8) at Kansas City (1-10), Carolina favored by 3

At least this isn't on Monday Night Football.

Prediction: Carolina 20, Kansas City 13

Arizona (4-7) at New York Jets (4-7), New York Jets favored by 4 1/2

Quite the season of up and downs for Arizona. They opened 4-0, a shocking start, and then have fallen to 7 straight losses. The only team more dysfunctional to them would be the New York Jets. The Jets remaining schedule actually lends them to finishing .500, but will they do it? This will be an ugly game to watch.

Prediction: New York Jets 18, Arizona 15

Tampa Bay (6-5) at Denver (8-3), Denver favored by 7

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum will be this game. Both of these offenses are known for their exciting passing games. The Bucs Josh Freeman has been having a season reminiscent of his 2010 campaign. Bucs fans have to be wondering which Freeman is the real one, since he was so bad last season. I don't expect a lot of defensive stands in this game, just two quarterbacks at the top of their game.

Prediction: Denver 37, Tampa Bay 31

Cleveland (3-8) at Oakland (3-8), Oakland favored by 2

Another poop game on the schedule this weekend. Maybe it will become interesting but neither team is playing for anything but 2013.

Prediction: Oakland 28, Cleveland 27

Cincinnati (6-5) at San Diego (4-7), Cincinnati favored by 1 1/2

The Bengals season has been a yoyo. They started off 3-1, dropped four straight to fall to 3-5, and now are on a three game winning streak and in the thick of the playoff race. The Chargers have lost seven of nine games and it appears that Norv Turner has to finally be on his way out. This is a team that will see a lot of changes this off-season. But for this Sunday, I think they can knock off the Bengals, who I don't quite yet buy into.

Prediction: San Diego 23, Cincinnati 19

Pittsburgh (6-5) at Baltimore (9-2), Line is even

These bitter rivals meet for the second time in three weeks. The Steelers season has fallen apart since the injury of Ben Roethlisberger, and hit its nadir in Cleveland last week when they had 8 turnovers. There was some talk that Roethlisberger might play in this game but it appears the Steelers will once again have to wake  Charlie Batch up from his nap. The Ravens pulled a pretty amazing comeback last week against the Chargers, with Ray Rice's amazing 4th and 29 conversion being all the talk. This will be an ugly game, I expect Pittsburgh will protect the ball much better in this game but it will be another loss that will eliminate them from the division race.

Prediction: Baltimore 20, Pittsburgh 14

Philadelphia (3-8) at Dallas (5-6), Dallas favored by 10

Sadly, NBC didn't flex this game in time and now will feast this dud upon America in primetime. The Eagles will once again be driven by rookies Nick Foles and Bryce Brown. If Dallas can't beat this down on their luck Eagles team, then they should just close up shop for the year.

Prediction: Dallas 31, Philadelphia 16

Monday, December 3

New York Giants (7-4) at Washington (5-6), New York Giants favored by 2 1/2

Everyone in DC is hyped for this game as the Redskins have gotten back into playoff contention with back to back wins. The Giants looked like they were headed on their annual November downward spiral, but then spanked the Packers. Can RG3 befuddle the Giants defense a second time? Can the Redskins defense, especially their secondary avoid giving up the big play? This is a real tough game to call because both teams either look extremely good or extremely bad at times. The Giants were awful in their last road game but generally play very well there. Washing has had a hell of a time establish a homefield advantage, so FedEx isn't going intimidate New York. I expect Eli Manning to make enough plays to lead the Giants to victory.

Prediction: New York Giants 27, Washington 20

Last Week Against the Spread: 5-10-1 (ouch)
Overall Against the Spread: 81-90-5

Last Week Straight Up: 10-6
Overall Straight Up: 114-61-1


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