TheDC sports columnist Andy Hayes: Week 12 NFL picks

Ok, a bit of momentum. 10-6 last week, 86-74 overall (as always, against the spread).

  • NE @ Det (+6.5). Sometimes when I look at Bill Belichick on the sidelines I wonder if he missed his last meal. He often looks like someone who is annoyed by how hungry he is. Detroit, meanwhile, is plenty hungry and I think they’ll pull off an upset. Dave Rayner the unlikely hero?  Det 26, NE 23.
  • NO @ Dal (+3.5). The Saints’ opponents through Week 11 have had a combined record of 41-59. Nice schedule. And while their final 3 games are tough (@ Balt, @ Atlanta, home vs TB), their next 3 games should be easy: @ Dallas, @ Cincy, home vs the Rams. The Saints just aren’t the same this year. Their #4 team defense ranking is seriously skewed by the fact that they’ve played some incredibly bad offenses. This team could end up struggling to make the playoffs in the crowded NFC if Atlanta keeps cruising. Dal 31, NO 23.
  • Cincy @ NYJ (-9.5). Tempted to take Cincy here because the Jets seem to make every game close, no matter the opponent. But Cincy is awful. Giving up 35 unanswered points to Buff in the second half is awful…especially at home! No last minute heroics in this one. Sorry Sanchez. NYJ 37, Cincy 17.
  • GB @ Atl (-2.5). Game of the week. I had these two teams in the NFC Championship before the year started and I don’t think it’s a stretch to think it still may happen. The Packers have given up 10 points in the last 3 games. 10. That’s ridiculous.  GB 27, Atl 20.
  • MN @ Wash (-2.5). Wash is a crazy team. What are they? Who are they? How did they come back from the Philly pounding to take out what many thought was a quality team in Tenn…on the road no less? Despite the big win last week, it’s still tough to get behind Wash. In fact this week, I have the feeling they’ll get handled by an angry team no longer burdened by an unpopular leader. MN 34, Wash 16.
  • Pitt @ Buff (+6.5). Richard Seymour’s barbaric forearm clubbing of Ben Roethlisberger may eventually be regarded as an innovation in NFL fighting. For years, NFL fights have been incredibly lame because there hasn’t been a way to dramatically escalate fights beyond pushing and shoving due to all of the padding, helmets, facemasks  etc. You can’t just resolve the dispute definitively by punching a guy in the face like you can in every other sport. Fights always feel unfinished. Seymour’s creative, definitive action, however, may have changed that. This game will likely have an upset feel to it for the first 3 quarters until a devastating pick six by Polamalu. Pitt 24, Buff 17.
  • Car @ Cleve (-10.5). Has a 3-7 team ever been favored by 10.5 points? And has 10.5 points ever been too small a spread for a game favoring a 3-7 team? It’s possible that with the options both teams apparently have at QB heading into this week, they may agree before the game to simply play without QBs. Cleve 31, Car 13.
  • Tenn @ Hou (-7.5). Rusty Smith to QB for Tenn this week, seriously. Nobody has ever heard of this guy. Tenn fans are hoping he’s just not himself out there Sunday. (Sorry about that.)  Hou 30, Tenn 16.
  • Jax @ NYG (-7.5). NYG’s D to stuff MJD and then force a bunch of turnovers by Garrard. NYG 27, Jax 6.
  • KC @ Sea (+1.5). Not surprised to read an article yesterday indicating that both Matt Hasselbeck and Pete Carroll were “upbeat” after getting blown out by New Orleans last week. Though I’ve become increasingly annoyed by the never-ending positivity in Seattle, I suppose they do have one decent argument for being positive: they could conceivably sneak into the playoffs winning just one of their final 6 games. Yes, at 6-10, they could make the playoffs in the after-thought NFC West. Meanwhile, it’s possible a 10-6 NFC team (or I believe, even an 11-5 NFC team) could miss the playoffs. KC 27, Sea 24.
  • TB @ Balt (-7.5). Why do the 7-3 Bucs continue to get zero point-spread-love? Because they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record yet. The combined record of the teams they’ve beaten? 17-53. It’s not their fault they’ve played a really weak schedule and to their credit, they have made sure to win games against weak opponents. But I don’t think folks will drink the pirate Kool-Aid until they beat a good team – and it won’t happen this weekend. Balt 24, TB 13.
  • Phil @ Chic (+3.5). Chicago should simply have Devin Hester follow Michael Vick wherever he goes. Let this idea sink in. Seems stupid at first, then it starts to make sense. All ideas should be on the table when it comes to slowing Vick down. Chicago 27, Phil 24.
  • StL @ Den (-3.5). Kyle Orton sports a highly unusual look for an NFL QB.  Denver 33, StL 23.
  • Mia @ Oak (-3.5). Oak got leveled in Pitt last week. Just leveled. Why should they win this game against a team that is 4-1 on the road? Because Miami’s offensive output last week against Chicago was unbelievable. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a worse offensive performance. Tyler Thigpen looked terrified back there. While Miami’s offense can’t be that bad again – it’s impossible – it will be Oak’s offense that shines in this one. Oak 33, Mia 20.
  • SD @ Indy (-3.5). Have you ever seen anyone more confident than Phillip Rivers was last Monday night? He probably could have brokered a firm and lasting peace accord between Israel and Palestine at halftime. I’ll keep saying it until there is evidence otherwise: Phillip Rivers is the best QB in the NFL this year. SD 31, Indy 27.
  • SF @ Ariz (+1.5). As much as this feels like an inconsequential game between 3-7 teams, the winner will be in the hunt for a playoff spot in the sorry NFC West.  SF 30, AZ 27.