360 Picks: Week 12


    We followed up our best week of the season with one that was assuredly mediocre. But it was an odd week overall in the NFL, with some big upsets – Rams over Broncos and Texans over Browns – springing immediately to mind. We’re starting our end of the season push determined to bring our winning percentages up, and feel good about this week’s pick. That said, surely the captain of the Titanic felt good about the iceberg report that cold April night in 1912.

    First let’s look at how we’ve done, then we’ll move on to this week’s selections.

    Straight up: 3-4 on High confidence picks, 4-3 on Low. 7-7 Overall
    Straight up season: 45-23-1 on High confidence picks, 50-42 on low. 95-65-1 Overall

    Spread: 2-3 on High confidence picks, 5-3-1 on Low. 7-6-1 Overall
    Spread season: 24-23-1 on High Confidence Picks, 54-56-3 on Low. 78-79-4 Overall

    OU: 6-4 on High confidence Picks, 2-2 on Low. 8-6 Overall
    Season OU: 15-20-1 on High confidence picks, 53-69-3 on Low. 68-89-4 Overall

    Parley Picks: Missed, 0-1. 1-10 Overall. It was an unusual week.
    Suicide Selections: 2-2, 32-12 Overall.

    360 Picks Week 12:

    Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons:

    Line: Falcons by 3.0
    Over/Under: 47.0

    Analysis: Atlanta leads the worst division in the NFL, the NFC West, with a record of 4-6, while Cleveland is in a three way tie for 2nd place in the best division in football, the AFC North, with a record of 6-4. The Falcons are a better team at home, and despite getting a boost from a return of suspended superstar Josh Gordon, the Browns lose their second straight.

    Straight Pick: Falcons
    Spread Pick: Falcons – 3.0
    OU Pick: Under 47.0

    Confidence: Low on the Straight and the Spread; High on the Under.

    Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles:

    Line: Eagles by 11.0
    Over/Under: 49.0

    Analysis: Tennessee almost pulled off a Monday night upset of Pittsburgh, but collapsed late, and travel north to face the Eagles at home, who are reeling from their 53-20 loss at the hands of the surging Green Bay Packers. Philadelphia bounces back, but the suddenly potent Titans offense, behind improving rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger, keeps this one close.

    Straight Pick: Eagles
    Spread Pick: Titans + 11.0
    OU Pick: Under 49.0

    Confidence:  High on the Straight and the Under; Low on the Spread.

    Detroit Lions at New England Patriots:

    Line: Patriots by 7.0
    Over/Under: 48.5

    Analysis: New England is undefeated at home, a perfect 5-0, and is surging on offense. While the Detroit defense is playing solid football, it won’t be able to keep down the potent Patriots offense that seems to find another surprise weapon every week. Meanwhile, the Detroit offense, which carried the team in recent seasons, continues to struggle.

    Straight Pick: Patriots
    Spread Pick: Patriots – 7.0
    OU Pick: Under 48.5

    Confidence: High on the Straight and the Spread; Low on the Under.

    Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings:

    Line: Packers by 8.5
    Over/Under: 49.5

    Analysis: Green Bay is surging and has been ever since quarterback Aaron Rodgers told the Packer faithful to “Relax.” But the Minnesota Vikings are angry at the treatment of teammate Adrian Peterson by the NFL, who was told by Executive Director of Football Operations Troy Vincent that he would be given time served and allowed to return to the field after pleading no contest to child abuse charges in Texans. Roger Goodell, has suspended him through April 15, 2015, and the anger will fuel the Vikings to an upset.

    Straight Pick: Vikings
    Spread Pick: Vikings + 8.5
    OU Pick: Over 49.5

    Confidence: High on the Spread and the Over; Low on the Straight.

    Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts:

    Line: Colts by 13.5
    Over/Under: 50.0

    Analysis: Indianapolis was embarrassed by the Patriots on national television last Sunday night by the Patriots and will take out their frustrations on the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville will try to duplicate the Patriots power run game plan, but don’t have Tom Brady’s passing threat to sell it. This one will get ugly early.

    Straight Pick: Colts
    Spread Pick: Colts – 13.5
    OU Pick: Over 50.0

    Confidence: High on the Straight and the Spread; Low on the Over.

    Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans:

    Line: Texans by 1.5
    Over/Under: 43.5

    Analysis: Ryan Mallett was surprisingly effective in his NFL debut game at Cleveland next week, and now starts his first home game for the amazingly competitive Texans. The division leading Bengals will give him a ruder introduction to the NFL than the Browns provided last week.

    Straight Pick: Bengals
    Spread Pick: Bengals + 1.5
    OU Pick: Under 43.5

    Confidence: Low on all three picks.

    New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (Detroit):

    Line: Bills by 3.0
    Over/Under: 41.0

    Analysis: This game will be played Monday night at 7:00 at Ford Field in Detroit due to the 6 to 8 feet of snow fall in the Buffalo area and limited availability of safety and emergency personnel at Ralph Wilson stadium. 220,000 tons of snow fell on the stadium and smothered that area of the country this week. Snowmobiles were dispatched to collect some of the players for the team’s flight to Detroit. The Bills beat the Jets a month ago 43-23 at Metlife stadium, and will win again, providing the snow pummeled residents of Buffalo with a lift.

    Straight Pick: Bills
    Spread Pick: Bills – 3.0
    OU Pick: Under 41.0

    Confidence: Low on all three picks.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears:

    Line: Bears by 5.5
    Over/Under: 47.0

    Analysis: Lovey Smith return to Chicago where he coached the Bears to 9 seasons before being fired after a non-playoff 10-6 season in 2012. He would like nothing better than to upset the home team with his upstart Buccaneers, as would Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown, who started 7 games for the Bears in 2013, but wasn’t re-signed despite throwing 13 touchdowns against only 1 interception. Unfortunately, the Buccaneers don’t have enough to win the game, but they will keep it close.

    Straight Pick: Bears
    Spread Pick: Buccaneers + 5.5
    OU Pick: Over 47.0

    Confidence: Low on all three picks.

    Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks:

    Line: Seahawks by 7.0
    Over/Under: 41.0

    Analysis: Arizona beat Seattle in Seattle last season, registering the only home loss for the eventual Super Bowl champion, and knocking a lot of people out of Suicide pools. Players and coaches have long memories, and Seattle will extract their revenge against the 9-1 Cardinals and now starting quarterback Drew Stanton.

    Straight Pick: Seahawks
    Spread Pick: Seahawks – 7.0
    OU Pick: Over 41.0

    Confidence: High on the Straight and the Spread; Low on the Over.

    St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers:

    Line: Chargers by 5.5
    Over/Under: 43.0

    Analysis: St. Louis registered one of the signature upsets of 2014 when they beat the Denver Broncos at home last Sunday. Traveling out west to face the San Diego Chargers at home, the Rams seek to make it two AFC West opponents in a row. They will come close, but won’t quite get the job done.

    Straight Pick: Chargers
    Spread Pick: Rams – 5.5
    OU Pick: Under 43.0

    Confidence: High on the Straight and the Under; Low on the Spread.

    Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos:

    Line: Broncos by 7.0
    Over/Under: 47.5

    Analysis: Victims of the upset by the St. Louis Rams, Denver will extract their revenge against the Miami Dolphins, who are coming off a long rest, having played on Thursday Night Football last week. No quarterback has ever thrown 8 touchdown passes in one game. That won’t happen – Brock Osweiler might get the last one or two.

    Straight Pick: Broncos
    Spread Pick: Broncos – 7.0
    OU Pick: Over 47.5

    Confidence: High on the Straight and the Spread; Low on the Over.

    Washington Redskins at San Francisco Forty-Niners:

    Line: Forty-Niners by 10.0
    Over/Under: 44.0

    Analysis: San Francisco was remarkably unimpressive last week, winning by only 6 despite intercepting Eli Manning 5 times. But that was on the road, they return to the field of dreams to face the reeling Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III, the quarterback who doesn’t know when to stop talking. Head coach Jay Gruden does, or rather, was told to by owner Daniel Snyder, who consecrates the very ground, the failing third year quarterback walks on. This will not end well. Fortunately, the draft picks the Redskins mortgaged to draft Ryan Leaf Griffin have all been used by the Rams, and they will be able to use their top 5 pick in 2015.

    Straight Pick: Forty-Niners
    Spread Pick: Forty-Niners – 10.0
    OU Pick: Under 44.0

    Confidence: High on all three picks.

    Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants:

    Line: Cowboys by 4.5
    Over/Under: 48.5

    Analysis: This game is the Giants Super Bowl, who would like nothing more than to upset the Cowboys on national television and restore some semblance of pride to the franchise. They will play hard, they will fight the good fight, but their run defense is horrific and DeMarco Murray will run roughshod over them.

    Straight Pick: Cowboys
    Spread Pick: Cowboys – 4.5
    OU Pick: Over 48.5

    Confidence: High on the Straight and the Spread; Low on the Over.

    Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints:

    Line: Saints by 3.0
    Over/Under: 50.5

    Analysis: New Orleans was in a great position to seize control of the NFC South, with three straight home games and the lead in the division. That was two weeks and two losses ago. The Saints bounce back in a big way on Monday night.

    Straight Pick: Saints
    Spread Pick: Saints – 3.0
    OU Pick: Over 50.5

    Confidence: High on all three picks.

    If you want to play a parley: The best of the high confidence picks… Patriots – 7.0, Broncos – 7.0, Forty-Niners – 10.0, Colts – 13.5

    If you’re in a suicide pool: In order… Forty-Niners, Colts, Broncos, Patriots


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