Yet another 1-1 effort in my week 12 picks, however I netted a small profit as my winning pick stood at +105 or +113, depending if you bet the spread or took the Cincinnati Bengals outright. I also had the Packers to continue their red-hot ways and knock off the Vikings by at least ten points, however Minnesota kept it close throughout the game, limiting us to a small profit on the day.
Cincinnati jumped out to an early 7-0 lead over the Houston Texans after the first quarter of play, and the Bengals would never relinquish that lead throughout the afternoon. A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu were outstanding for the Bengals in the pass game as Green caught over 100 yards on 12 catches while Sanu scored a touchdown and even saw some time coming out of the backfield. Jeremy Hill was impressive on the ground as well while Alfred Blue couldn’t repeat his record-setting performance from the week prior as he rushed for under 50 yards. As expected, Quarterback Ryan Mallett struggled in his second career start and threw for just 189 yards on the day while completing just 47% of his pass attempts.
I came up short on my Green Bay -10 pick as Aaron Rodgers and the Pack weren’t quite as good offensively, but were still good enough to earn themselves a 24-21 road win over the Minnesota Vikings. The pick actually looked good with under five minutes to go in the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead, however the Packers defence let me down and allowed Minnesota to score and convert a two-point conversion to cut the Green Bay lead to just three. Eddy Lacy was the star in this one for Green Bay as his 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns (one receiving) helped Green Bay win despite a mediocre performance from Aaron Rodgers. This goes to show how big home-field advantage can be as Green Bay throttles teams at home, and ekes out wins on the road. Nonetheless, the Packers are putting themselves in a great position to have homefield advantage in the playoffs, so this may not be a concern until a possible Superbowl appearance.
We have some Turkey Day football on the horizon so Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Americans out there and I hope you enjoy your day full of the three F’s. Family, friends and football!
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
Lines – San Francisco Pick’em (-125)
OVER 40 (-110)
My Pick – SEAHAWKS (+105)
To cap off some Thanksgiving football tonight we have the Seattle Seahawks travelling to arch rival San Francisco to take on the 49ers in what could be the most physical game of the NFL season so far. San Fran is done licking their wounds from last season’s tough NFC Championship loss in Seattle, however the Seahawks will be coming into Levi’s stadium on an extremely high note after knocking off the NFL-leading Arizona Cardinals this past Sunday by a 19-3 score. Seattle held the Cardinals to just a single fieldgoal in the contest and to be honest, the Arizona offense looked lost against a Seattle defence that looks to have found their form after struggling for much of the first half of the season. Colin Kaepernick has had the Seahawks number when they play in San Fran, however the brand new Levi’s Stadium will provide a change of venue and hopefully a change in results for the Seahawks on the road in San Francisco. Defensively, the numbers between these two teams match up extremely close with both hovering around 300 total yards per game surrendered, pass yards allowed is within one yard of each other (208 vs. 207) and points allowed per game is within a few decimal points of 20 for each team. They also have very similar QB’s in terms of their style, as both do not throw for a ton of yardage, but they escaper the pocket and find ways to make plays with their legs. So, the reason for this pick you ask? Two words: Beast Mode. Marshawn Lynch is the type of back that can almost carry a team on his shoulders with the physicality he brings to the table and he tends to play well in big games. Sure, Frank Gore has been as reliable and consistent as any Runningback in the NFL over the last decade or so, however the 49ers rush for 120 yards per game and the Seahawks average 170 yards per game on the ground. There aren’t may numbers that point significantly in either direction for this game, which explains why there isn’t a spread for this game, so I am running on almost pure instinct in this one. I believe Seattle to be the better team overall and the defending champs know how to win when it matters the most. Take the Seahawks in a mild upset tonight over the 49ers of San Francisco.
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San Diego Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens
Lines – Baltimore -7 (+110)
OVER 45.5 (-110)
My Pick – OVER 45.5 (-110)
An AFC clash is in order Sunday afternoon in Baltimore as two teams that are at least hoping for a wildcard berth into the playoffs meet for the first time in almost exactly two years. These two 7-4 teams know very well what is on the line in this tilt and I expect both squads to come out gunning. Philip Rivers looked like a strong MVP candidate in the first six or seven games of the season, however his drop in play has not mistakenly coincided with a slide in the overall play of the Chargers. However, The Chargers managed 410 yards last week against a very good St. Louis Rams defence, and Ryan Mathews eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark on 12 carries which the Chargers needed in a big way. For the Ravens, they have been defensive stalwarts in their home games recently, but they have given up at least 26 points in three of their last four games against San Diego. Offensively, Justin Forsett has been huge out of the backfield for Joe Flacco and company as he approaches 1,000 yards on the season and ranks third in the league in rushing yards, and Steve Smith has done wonders for Flacco after spending the first 13 years of his career in Carolina. Smith has 817 yards receiving to go along with five touchdowns on the season, while Torrey Smith has accumulated 544 yards so far to go along with six touchdowns. Torrey is averaging 17 yards per catch this season, which shows me he is a serious deep threat for Flacco and he also extends plays with yards after the catch as good as any receiver in the AFC. Baltimore’s 26.8 points per game is likely more than most people would have expected out of a Flacco-lead offense that had the whole Ray Rice situation going on leading up to the season. The total for this game is lowers than I expected, likely due to the fact the Ravens have played solid defence at home recently, but the Chargers need this game just as bad as the Ravens do, so I am looking for Rivers and the Chargers offense to give the Ravens all they can handle and more. A possible upset is lurking here, but I am going with the OVER 45.5 in a game that has some serious playoff implications.