Last week: 11-4
Titans at Lions
Just what the TV execs dialed up, right? The 11-1 Titans travel to Detroit to take on the 0-11 Lions in a matchup with major playoff implications. Well, not quite. What worries me about the Titans: For a team that's calling card is supposed to be its ground game and defense, the Titans' rushing game hasn't exactly been dominant lately. In the last three weeks, Tennessee has gone for 20, 114 and 45 yards on the ground respectively.
The pick: Titans (-11)
Seahawks at Cowboys
Here's what T.O. said after his 213-yard performance last weekend:
"I'm still not satisfied. I think that I could have done more. ...Because I could've been doing it all year long. I'm not saying that in a negative way. For whatever reason, the opportunities didn't present themselves. Like I said, I know what I can do once I get the opportunities and I get catchable balls."
Doesn't sound negative at all to me.
The pick: Seahawks (+12.5)
Cardinals at Eagles
I hear people taking the Eagles because of the whole "West coast team traveling East" thing, but I don't see it. The Birds have scored one offensive touchdown in two games. Andy Reid seems to be picking at straws at this point. And it's not exactly going to be a positive, festive atmosphere. I'm dreading watching this game, but I'll be online as usual hosting our live chat so be sure to join us if you need to vent.
The pick: Cardinals (+3)
Broncos at Jets
The question has begun to be tossed around: What if the Jets and Giants both host conference championship games? Commissioner Roger Goodell had an answer yesterday, telling WFAN 660 in New York that one game would be played at the Meadowlands like usual on Sunday, and the second conference championship game would take place Monday.
The pick: Broncos (+7.5)
49ers at Bills
Rumor you've probably heard that may or may not have any credibility: Mike Holmgren takes over the 49ers in a Bill Parcells role and hires his protege Andy Reid as head coach. Meanwhile, the San Francisco media goes in mourning having to adapt to Andy's press conferences after half a season of entertaining responses from Mike Singletary.
The pick: Bills (-7)
Saints at Bucs
Time for MC's pick of the week. MC's record on the season is 5-7.
Tampa is undefeated at home and New Orleans struggles outside of the dome. The Bucs' 'D' won't allow Drew Brees to sit comfortably in the pocket like Green Bay did Monday night.
The pick: Bucs (-3.5)
Panthers at Packers
These two teams gave up a combined 96 points in Week 12. And they both could very well end up winning their divisions. By the way, nice effort by Aaron Rodgers nailing the Saints DB after throwing an interception Monday night. Maybe someone can send a tape of that play to the Eagles' offensive players.
The pick: Packers (-3)
Giants at Redskins
Did you catch Madison Hedgecock's celebration after his first career TD last week? The Giants fullback made a rowing motion to signify rowing to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. Speaking of the Pro Bowl, the game will likely be moved to the week before the Super Bowl starting next year. The NFL said it hoped to capture more degenerate gamblers with the switch and thus heighten interest in the game (that's a joke).
The pick: Redskins (+3.5)
Ravens at Bengals
Baltimoresun.com runs an entertaining Q&A with columnist Mike Preston every week. Preston never holds anything back. For instance, he was asked this week about Ed Reed lateraling the ball during an INT return against the Eagles. Reed is notorious for doing this during returns, but why can't he just be satisfied rather than making the risky play?
Ego, dumb, childish -- take your pick. Unless it's the last play of a game and you're losing, save that stuff for the backyard with friends and family.
And there you have it.
The pick: Bengals (+7)
Colts at Browns
It was pretty refreshing to see the Colts close out Sunday night's game against the Chargers in such precise fashion. With less than a minute left and the game tied at 20, the Indy offense faced a fourth-and-one at the San Diego 48-yard line. Do you punt? Do you go for it and risk giving San Diego the ball with a chance to get in field-goal range? Do you run or pass? Indy didn't have a ton of time to decide. The previous play was being reviewed by the booth so the clock would start running as soon as a ruling was made. Peyton Manning and the Indy coaches discussed it briefly, got on the same page, let some time run off the clock and ran play-action to Marvin Harrison for a 14-yard gain. Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal three plays later.
The pick: Colts (-5)
Falcons at Chargers
Speaking of San Diego, the Chargers have lost four games this season in the final 24 seconds. Wow. But thanks to their division, you'll see headlines like Dismal AFC West opponents keeping Chargers on life support and Thanks to mediocre division, Chargers' season is still alive on the San Diego Union-Tribune's Web site.
The pick: Chargers (-5)
Steelers at Patriots
Don't you love how in the NFL, experts can go way overboard with their love for a player one week and then completely rip the guy the next? For example, if you've been paying attention this week, you know that Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I'm not blaming Cassel. He's played well -- back-to-back 400-yard games and a 7-4 record for New England is very impressive. But what will we hear if Cassel lays an egg in the first round of the playoffs? Isn't that how we judge QBs? Playoff wins? Just saying.
The pick: Steelers (+1)
Chiefs at Raiders
We're just going to Herm's Terms every week on The Kansas City Star's Web site when I get to the Chiefs pick:
This is the first time this year for our young players that we have played a team twice. Every team has been new to them as an opponent, but this is the second time we’ve played, and I think they have to realize that this is a division opponent. They came in here and did a good job against us the last time they were here.
Playing a division opponent for the second time. Got it. Can any profession compete with NFL coaches in terms of saying a lot of words but not really saying anything? I say no.
The pick: Raiders (-3)
Bears at Vikings
Did you ever doubt yourself?
"Not at all. I always had confidence in myself. Some of those things that happened in Philadelphia last year just made me stronger. And now I'm in a good position to make plays and have success on the football field."
**Note: The previous Q&A with Donovan McNabb was taken from either the Chicago Tribune or the Minneapolis Star Tribune following a 4-0 start with either the Bears or the Vikings in 2009.
The pick: Vikings (-3.5)
Monday night game will be picked Monday. Lines used are from sportsbook.com. Happy Thanksgiving.