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The Lineman’s NFL picks — week 12
Well, a 3-3 Week 11 keeps us at .500 but we need to make a big move to get up the standings — and get ahead of Ms. Lineman who is leading by one game. Ouch.
Record: 33-33. Last week: 3-3. Pick of the Week: 4-7
PICK OF THE WEEK:
Tennessee Titans (5-5) at Houston Texans (4-6) (Line Texans minus-3.5): First off, it is difficult to back any team with a quarterback named Rusty and with Vince Young injured and in Jeff Fisher’s doghouse and backup Kerry Collins on the limp Rusty Smith will make his first career NFL start for the Titans.
Houston has the NFL’s worst pass defense and the Titans have Randy Moss, one of the league’s top wide receivers.
But Moss has just one catch in two games since the Vikings dropped the whiny wide out and the Rusty to Randy connection… well, it doesn’t sound nearly as scary as the Tom Brady or Brett Favre to Moss connection.
This game will feature two of the NFL’s top running backs and Rusty is likely to spend a good part of the game handing the ball to Chris Johnson, who sits third in the league in rushing yards (968).
Texans’ Arian Foster, the NFL’s leading rusher, can also expect plenty of work against a tough Titans defense that is allowing just over 19 points per game.
This is a contest between two desperate teams in tailspins, the Texans mired in a four game skid and the Titans having dropped three straight.
But the Texans are more desperate. They must win here if they are not to slide completely out of the playoff picture.
Texans apply Rusty remover.
Take the Texans and surrender the 3.5.
Minnesota Vikings (3-7) at Washington Redskins (5-5) (Line Vikings plus 2.5): The Vikings said goodbye to head coach Brad Childress after last week’s flop and it is hard not imagine Brett Favre getting the pink slip next unless he can deliver a win this week against the Redskins.
The Vikings are playing for pride and no player in the NFL has more than Favre so I expect to see the ol’ gunslinger go down all guns blazing.
Favre has thrown nearly twice as many interceptions as touchdowns but goes up against the NFL’s worst defense that is giving up a whopping 411.1 yards per game (ypg).
Vikes running back Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s second leading rusher, can also expect a busy day.
Leslie Frazier takes over for Childress and it will be interesting to see if the Vikings respond with the same effort the Cowboys did after Wade Phillips was sacked.
Washington has not shown much this season expect an ability to win games they have had no business winning.
The Vikings are 0-5 on the road. Favre is 4-0 lifetime against the Redskins.
Take Favre and the Vikings and the 2.5.
Miami Dolphins (5-5) at Oakland Raiders (5-5) (Line Raiders minus-2.5): Not really sure what I like about this one. The Raiders were spanked 35-3 by the Steelers last week while the Dolphins were filleted 16-0 by the Bears.
Dolphins QB Chad Henne, who was in danger of losing his job before he got injured, is still on the limp and backup Tyler Thigpen could not even get the Fish into scoring position last week.
Over in Oakland, it is a tossup between Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski.
But four of the Raiders five wins have come at home and the Dolphins have to make the long trip cross-country to the Black Hole.
Back in black, baby.
Take the Raiders and give up the 2.5.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) at Chicago Bears (7-3) (Line Eagles minus-3.5): The Bears have the NFL’s second ranked defense and the Eagles have the second ranked offense.
The Bears lead the NFC North with a record of 7-3, the Eagles lead the NFC East with a record of 7-3.
The Bears have Jay Cutler the Eagles have Michael Vick.
Take the Eagles and give up the 3.5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) at Baltimore Ravens (7-3) (Line Ravens minus-7.5): OK, the Bucs shut out the Niners last week but give me Ray Lewis and his Ravens posse any Sunday.
Tampa may well be this season’s biggest surprise but I’m not convinced they are for real and apparently neither are the bookies who have made them seven point underdogs.
This week is shaping up as a reality check for the Bucs, who travel to Baltimore where the Ravens have a seven game win streak.
Tampa QB Josh Freeman has impressed but remains on a steep learning curve. After a so-so start to the season Joe Flacco is finding his groove.
Ravens are a Super Bowl contender. The Bucs are not.
Take the Ravens give up the 7.5.
St. Louis Rams (4-6) at Denver Broncos (3-7) (Line Broncos minus-4.5): Behind quarterback Sam Bradford the Rams have made huge strides this season but the rookie is still searching for his first road win and the Mile High City is a tough place to find it.
Bradford is sure to have some fine moments against a woeful defense that is ranked second worst in the NFL allowing 28.7 ppg but Denver quarterback Kyle Orton has also been putting up some big numbers, the biggest being 3,023 passing yards making him the NFL’s third most productive QB behind only Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning.
Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd leads the NFL in yards 1,046 and yards per game 104.
Rams have lost 16 of last 17 away games… and make that 17 of 18.
Take Broncos and give up the 4.5.
PHOTO: Tennessee Titans’ Randy Moss catches a pass during warms-up prior to their NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Miami, Florida November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk