Chuck’s Choices: NFL Week 12

Jameis WinstonLast Week: 1-3-1

Season: 29-19-2 (.604)

It Was a Bad Week

I swear I will never, ever pick against the Carolina Panthers–at least for the remainder of this season. If I have even a tinge of an idea of picking against them, I will simply stay away from their game. The Panthers have made a fool of me–and many handicappers this season–and will be respected in this column until they at least lose a game. My apologies to the Panthers, their fans, and my friend Pam who reminds us on Facebook each week to “keep pounding.” I am assuming that’s a Carolina catch-phrase and that Pam is neither a carpenter nor a masochist.

Suffering losses on the Redskins, Jets and Bears (at least the Bears put up a fight) last Sunday, the weekend was salvaged a bit by wins on Chiefs routing of the Chargers and a push on the Patriots (-7) against the Bills.

What did we learn over the weekend? The ‘Skins are no good away from D.C.; the Jets are losing their mystique on defense; it’s not too late to jump on the Chiefs’ bandwagon and the Patriots are looking rather mortal.

Chuck’s Choices for Week 12

(Home team in ALL CAPS. Chuck’s Choice is first team named. Point spreads courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas via SportsMemo.)

An inspired Saints "D" makes the difference

An inspired Saints “D” makes the difference

Saints (+3) over TEXANS  How do we want to look at this? The Saints have won three of their last five games, or; The Saints have lost their last two in a row. Because I’m picking New Orleans in this game, I will take option Number One. I will also point out that the one road game the Saints have won this year was at Indianapolis on artificial turf. They have lost every road game they have played this season on real grass. Fortunately for us, the Houston Texans decided to install the pseudo-turf in their stadium this season. Plus, the Texans have not played a team this year at home with the passing attack of Drew Brees (Chiefs, Bucs, Colts, Titans, Jets). Houston, you might have a problem. The Saints are off of their bye, with a new defensive coordinator. That means a lot of guys trying to impress their new boss. Saints 42, Texans 20

Buccaneers (+3) over COLTS  The Indianapolis Colts are 5-5 this season, with wins over all three of their rivals in the “murderous” AFC South, along with triumphs over Denver (with a crippled Peyton Manning) and the suddenly deflated Falcons. The Bucs are 5-5 and still believe they have a chance at the playoffs. Aside from TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is out again with a shoulder injury, Tampa Bay is one of the healthiest teams in the league right now. Here is an oddity: Despite the fact that the Buccaneers play their home games on natural turf, their two road wins have come on fast, artificial surfaces in New Orleans and Atlanta. The ESPN fantasy numbers help here too. The Colts are 22nd in the league in points allowed to opposing RBs; 23rd against QBs and 27th versus Wide Receivers. Buccaneers 35, Colts 18

Washington Redskiing

Home Sweet Home for Kirk Cousins and the Skins

REDSKINS (+2.5) over Giants  The ‘Skins played like their were playing a game of Shirts and Skins against the Panthers last week, but Carolina has made a lot of teams look silly. The poor showing actually helps in this situation, as Washington is getting points at home, where they are a different team. At 4-6 and still very much in the hunt for the top spot in the NFC East, all four wins have come at FedEx field in D.C. They have lost one game at home, 17-10 to the Dolphins in a game the Redskins were withing one play of tying up at the end of the game. Sitting atop the division is none other than the New York Giants at 5-5. There is motivation galore on the Washington side of the ball in this game and, believe it or not, they have the talent to win this one. Redskins 27, Giants 24

49ERS (+10.5) over Cardinals  Hey, call your friends, here’s a crazy one! The 49ers can play some ball at home. Like the Redskins, they save their best stuff for their fans at Levi’s Stadium, beating the Vikings, Ravens and Falcons, and putting up a good fight before losing to the Packers 17-3. They did have a clunker against the Seahawks, but they should show up in this one, with QB Blaine Gabbert finding the going much easier in San Francisco after getting beaten up in Seattle last week. Here’s another tidbit: Arizona may not be used to their role here. According to R.J. Bell at Pregame, this is only the second time they have been a double-digit favorite on the road since 1989. The Cards are a great team, but with a three-game lead in the NFC West, it will be hard for them to be interested in doing anything but escaping with a win. Cardinals 21, 49ers 17

Josh McCown

McCown is back at QB for the Browns

BROWNS (-3) over Ravens  Seriously, it is very hard to pick the Browns in any week. The Ravens, however, are so beat up that they have new players in almost all of the skill positions. Normally we would like a team with a QB playing his first game after the starter (Joe Flacco) goes down. This is not a normal time. There are lots of negatives on the Baltimore side, and lots of positives on the Cleveland side, including home field. Coach Mike Pettine has also benched Johnny Manziel–and probably gained the respect of the entire team. The better QB (Josh McCown) is now starting. Finally, there is the fact that the Ravens used to be the Browns before they were spirited away by owner Art Modell in 1996. The folks in Cleveland still remember that, and relish any opportunity to beat the tar out of the Ravens. Considering the health of the team, the new Browns have a good chance to kick them when they’re down this Monday night. I must apologize to Josh and Nick at the Dynasty Pulse Podcast. In our weekly ATS discussion, I foolishly picked the Ravens. I have changed my mind.  Browns 31, Ravens 6

Good Luck!

Follow me on Twitter: @Chuck_Pod

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