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TPS NFL Weekly Locks: Week 12
Week 11 will be forever known as the week we moved above the .500 mark, thanks to a 2-1-1 record. Our underdog picks were perfect as the Redskins kept it close the entire game, holding the lead throughout most of it before allowing a late touchdown pass to the Cowboys. And the Titans, as we said, not only covered the 4 1/2-point spread, but won the game outright thanks in part to Kris Brown’s continued field goal failures. As for our favorites, the Colts did manage to hold on for the push in their win over the Ravens (even though we thought a win would surely give them the cover with a 2-point spread). And then there was the Bengals, who not only failed to cover against the Raiders, but lost the game outright. There is something about those Raiders this year. They continue to be terrible, but have showed up against some strong competition and pulled of unthinkable victories. We may have to consider staying away from them, although betting against Oakland can at times be tempting, so we make no promises. With 11 weeks in the books, we now find ourselves at 22-21-1 on the year, and we will continue to work on moving as far above the .500 mark as possible in order to make you some money down the final stretch.
Here is how we see things shaping up in the following four week 12 games.
Game: New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints
Pick: New England Patriots +1 1/2
Reason: In the marquee match up of week 12, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in what should be an outstanding game between two NFL powerhouses. You can also expect the fans to be as rowdy as ever, but that shouldn’t deter the Pats. New England is coming into this game having atoned for their loss two Mondays ago in Indy with a big blowout victory last weekend against the Jets. Their offense is currently clicking on all cylinders and their defense (besides the Colts game) has picked up its level of play as well. The Saints secondary has been banged up in recent week, and even if they do get some of those injured players back, they may still be hampered, and thus, have difficulties keeping up with Randy Moss and Wes Welker. The Patroits should have won their nationally televised game on Sunday night against the Colts in week 10, and they will make sure they do not let a victory slip away once again in front of a national audience. It is tough to go through a season undefeated and the Saints have been sliding somewhat in recent weeks. Expect this to be the game where they are finally dealt a blow to their perfect record.
Game: Arizona Cardinals @ Tennessee Titans
Pick: Arizona Cardinals +3
Reason: The Titans have been on a roll since coming off their bye week, winning four in a row, but the Cardinals have been equally hot as of late. Arizona has won its last three games, and since coming off a bye in week four, they have won six of their seven games played. They remain undefeated on the road (5-0), and are 2-1 against AFC opponents, their only loss coming to the Colts in week three. Kurt Warner is expected to play and should be able to take advantage of what can at times be a tremendously weak Titans secondary. The Cards have also got their ground attack going in recent weeks and should be able to keep the Titans defense in check. As for Tennessee’s big weapon, Chris Johnson, the Cards have defended the run rather well (although they have slipped a bit in recent weeks). It is unlikely that they will be able to completely shut down the Titans’ ground attack, but they should be able to slow it down enough, and outscore them through their air to get the cover, and quite possibily the win.
Game: Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
Pick: Miami Dolphins -3
Reason: The Dolphins may have lost Ronnie Brown in their backfield, but Ricky Williams is looking like a perfectly capable replacement. Last week the former Longhorn rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns (and added another through the air). As odd as it may sound, this week he may actually be able to improve on those numbers. The Bills rank 31st in the league against the run, allowing an average of 165.9 YPG and 15 touchdowns against on the ground through 11 games. The last time they took on the Dolphins, Williams had 85 yards and a TD of his own, while Ronnie Brown chalked up an impressive 115 yards and two touchdowns. Miami would go on to win that game by a score of 38-10 as they amassed a total of 250 yards rushing. Buffalo continues to struggle against the run and you can expect the Dolphins to take advantage of that. Miami has been strong against AFC East opponents thus far, with the only blemish to their 3-1 division record coming in a loss to the Patriots. Expect them to continue this success as they look to assert themselves on the ground and control the pace of the game.
Game: Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -11
Reason: Two team headed in completely opposite directions will meet at the Metrodome on Sunday when the Chicago Bears visit the Minnesota Vikings in this NFC North match up. The Bears have lost their last three games while the Vikings have strung together three straight wins following a tough loss in Pittsburgh. Minnesota is undefeated at home and will look to keep it that way. Brett Favre should be able to take advantage of a Bears secondary which has stumbled lately, allowing 12 touchdowns through the air over their past five games. That is an especially troubling stat when you consider they have played the Browns and 49ers during that stretch, and both clubs failed to score a single passing touchdown on them. Another problematic issue the Bears will have to face is Adrian Peterson. The Vikings big time back has recorded over 100 yards in three of his four games against the Bears (including a 224 yard performance in 2007) and has reached the end zone eight times (at least one in each game). Expect the Vikings to get it done both on the ground and through the air in this one, and their defense should be able to shut down a struggling Matt Forte and turnover-prone Jay Cutler. Baring any unforseen circumstances, this one could get ugly quick.