The NFC's biggest surprise could be the Atlanta Falcons. Many had high expectations for this team, but one loss at this stage of the season wasn't expected. The New York Giants are dominant at times, but tend to play to their opponents level. Like New England though, the playoffs is when they shine. The Chicago Bears got off to a great start, and one of their division opponents to the north, Detroit, can never seem to get it's act together. There are five weeks left until the playoffs, and this week is just as important as any. Let's get started.
As always, home team in CAPS.
ATLANTA 3 1/2 New Orleans
This would be the Game of the Week if it was on Sunday. The Falcons only loss of the year came at the hands of the Saints, and I don't see the Falcons losing to them again. The Saints didn't look good last week, and Atlanta could be in great shape if they get the home field throughout the playoffs. I think Atlanta gets it done.
Buffalo 5 1/2 Jacksonville
I am fairly certain not that many people care about this one.
San Francisco 7 St. Louis
The 49ers are suddenly the talk of the NFL, and the quarterback debate between Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick rages on. Sounds like Bledsoe-Brady from year's past. It won't really matter for this game. The Rams are game, but the 49ers have the hot hand right now.
New England 7 Miami
I have a feeling this game will be closer than some think. The Patriots sometimes have trouble with the Dolphins, but New England right now is playing about as well as anybody. Miami has been no pushover this year, but I think they will get pushed around just enough this week for the Patriots to cover the poins.
CHICAGO 4 Seattle
This is actually a pretty big game in the NFC. I keep waiting for the Seahawks to fall apart, but they haven't yet, even though they lost last week. The Bears haven't been great, but their defense could make them a tough out in the NFC postseason. The Bears should take care of things, but this is the NFL after all.
Houston 6 Tennessee
The Texans are bearing down on the number one seed in the AFC, but they need to get their defense squared away before the playoffs start. I have a feeling they are going to struggle again here. They are due for a blow out, but the Titans tend to give them fits. I think Tennessee will cover.
Denver 7 Tampa Bay
The Broncos are cruising in the AFC West, but that isn't saying much. They do look good, and he Bucs mini streak was snapped last week. The Broncos will be in the playoffs and fighting for a top seed, but I think the Bucs last chance was last week. I like Denver at home.
NEW YORK JETS 4 1/2 Arizona
J-E-T-S Jets.....wait we can't say that anymore. The Jets season absolutely cannot end soon enough. It will be interesting to see what happens in the offseason. The Cardinals totally fell apart. The Jets can't possibly be as bad as they were Thursday. They are still bad, but the Cardinals aren't much better. A Jets win MIGHT calm the masses. Temporarily.
Carolina 3 Kansas CITY
I don't see any reason at all to go with the Chiefs.
Cincinnati 2 1/2 SAN DIEGO
The Bengals are looking at a playoff berth, and the Chargers stink. If Norv Turner is still the Head Coach next year, then there is something seriously wrong with the NFL.
DALLAS 8 1/2 Philadelphia
Yawn. Both of these teams need major upgrades in the offseason, especially in Philadelphia. Say goodbye to Andy Reid.
DETROIT 5 Indianapolis
The Lions just can't seem to get it together, especially their Head Coach. The Colts magical season is because of guts and emotion, but sometimes those qualities win in the NFL. It won't give the Colts a win here but it will be enough to keep it close.
GREEN BAY 7 1/2 Minnesota
Don't count the Packers out yet. They are still very good, and can beat anybody on any given day ( I think we have heard that before ). The Vikings were done a couple of weeks ago, and I don't seem them giving much of a match up here.
New York Giants 3 Washington
The Redskins are in the playoff chase in the NFC as hard as that is to believe. They won't get in, but they will be pests for anybody that plays them. The Giants November swoon could be over, and if it is that could be a very dangerous thing for the NFC. The Giants should be able to win here.
Game of the Week
BALTIMORE 3 1/2 Pittsburgh
This isn't the matchup it might normally be, but there were not a lot of big games this week. This is a huge game for the Steelers, because a loss might mean no trip to the post season. They are decimated with injuries though, and with the Ravens being at home, I don't think they can take out Baltimore.
Stinker of the Week
OAKLAND 2 Cleveland
Look at the two teams and it should be pretty obvious why it is the Stinker. The Browns though, to their credit have played hard, so I will pick them here.
Record For Week 12: 7-9 ( 8-8 without the spread )
Record Through Week 12: 75-87-3 ( 93-72 without the spread )
Game of Week Record: 6-6
Stinker of Week Record: 4-8
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:
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