Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #14

Last Week 

Joe: 12-4
Aaron: 8-8 

Current Standings 

Joe: 125-65-1
Aaron: 120-70-1 


Denver at Oakland 

Aaron: The new leadership of my Oakland Raiders is proving to be just as turbulent and tone-deaf as the last overseer-- who at least had the excuse of insanity. This week's "Jon Gruden-to-Oakland" rumors -- and the organization's failure to immediately shoot them down while current head coach Dennis Allen was away from the team mourning the loss of his father -- were especially repugnant. They've chosen to build an offensive scheme around an aging, inconsistent quarterback and the salary cap left them with a skeleton crew on defense. But, no one thought to utter the word "rebuilding" for fear of alienating the paying customers. With the expected return of Darren McFadden, I think the Raiders offense -- for one night, on national television, in a nod to the torches and pitchforks -- will begin and end with the running game for a change. The one thing that won't change...? Pick: Denver   

Joe: Denver has already clinched the division. That seems like a mistake to me, but here we are. Denver's looking great, though. They weathered the loss of Willis McGahee pretty well last week, and despite Eric Decker's concerning (to me, at least) lack of fantasy production the last few weeks, all signs are looking positive. Which is exactly why they'll lose tonight: road division game, short week, all the fixings of a trap-game. Placing my bets confidently with Oakland! Yep! Oakland! Just have to type those letters, in sequence, after the word "pick." Just like so. Nothing easier than that. Just a compound proper noun. "Oak" + "land." That's pretty innocuous, right? Oak land! The Land of Oak! Nothing inherently foolish about that! Okay, fine. I'm doing it. I'M DOING IT! Pick: Oak...l...a...n...OHGODWHATAMIDOINGSOMEBODYSTOPME...d.

St. Louis at Buffalo 

Aaron: Damn it. We've reached the point of the season where "take the cold weather team at home" and "take the mediocre team that's most likely to finish the season with a string of superfluous, draft-position killing wins" are both perfectly cromulent prognostication criteria.  And, here, they're overlapping!  But, since the Bills can check both boxes...  Pick: Buffalo 

Joe: I don't like the idea of taking the Bills to take two winnable games at home in a row. They haven't really played shockingly below their level this season. They are so due. Pick: St. Louis

Baltimore at Washington 

Aaron: The Redskins have spent the past three weeks running the NFC East table, defeating all three of their divisional colleagues.  This isn't the Ravens defense of recent vintage, either.  Redskins rookie QB has taken some hellacious hits this season, but if he stays upright long enough to finish the game...  Pick: Washington 

Joe: Two teams with hugely divergent trajectories, and yet I like the Ravens here. It's not wise to make all the reverse-psychology picks in one week, but here I am. Also, shouldn't there be more of a rivalry here? What with the geography and all? Pick it up, D.C.-area. Pick: Baltimore

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay 

Aaron: Do we have to write up three or four sentences about EACH of the Eagles final four games or can we skip straight to the spoiler alert?  Pick: Tampa Bay 

Joe: People who would probably be an improvement for the Eagles at QB: Kevin Kolb. Collin Klein. Present-day Randall Cunningham. Late-1980s era WWF manager Mr. Fuji. That little girl from the Missy Elliott "Work It" video. Cockroach from "The Cosby Show." Sasha Obama. (NOT Malia, though. No arm.) Pick: Tampa Bay

San Diego at Pittsburgh 

Aaron: Reports here in San Diego indicate that Chargers head coach Norv Turner and general manager AJ Smith will be fired at season's end.  That means there's only 22 days left to compile your "worst moments of the Turner/Smith regime" lowlight packages, local news teams!  The playoff loss to Mark Sanchez(!) and the Jets!  LaDanian Tomlinson sulking on the sidelines after finishing short of the Super Bowl yet again! Every moment of this season!  I want them all!  Make it a miniseries, if you must!  Pick: Pittsburgh 

Joe: The Steelers are very likely going to make the playoffs, and again I am asking everybody: name one player who has been impressive this season. Pick: Pittsburgh

Chicago at Minnesota 

Aaron: The Bears defense is still stout enough to stop Minnesota's only offensive strength -- RB Adrian Peterson. They did it two weeks ago.  (25 years ago, you would've paid $4.99/minute for this wisdom.)  Pick: Chicago 

Joe: The Bears are maybe the biggest question mark in the league heading into the playoffs. But not in this game. Pick: Chicago

Atlanta at Carolina 

Aaron: The Panthers' wins came against New Orleans, Washington, Philadelphia and Kansas City.  They haven't defeated a team that currently sits above. 500 and...wait, they lost to Kansas City?  Brady Quinn's Kansas City?  You're sure?!  Pick: Atlanta 

Joe: That doesn't count, there were emotions involved. Your point remains valid. Looking forward to Atlanta winning by fewer points than the experts feel like they should and using that as further evidence that they're going to lose in the playoffs. Pick: Atlanta

Dallas at Cincinnati 

Aaron: The Cowboys have won three of their last four!  They're right there in the mix within a winnable NFC East!  Those three wins came against Philadelphia, Cleveland and Philadelphia (again).  They're not going to win the NFC East.  Sorry, if I got your hopes up.  Pick: Cincinnati 

Joe: Here come the Bengals! Can we somehow manufacture a nostalgia wave for the Bengals and get Ickey Woods to show up on the sidelines and do the Ickey Shuffle in the home finale? How does one get that started? Pick: Cincinnati

Kansas City at Cleveland 

Aaron: Regardless of where you stand on the second amendment, when broadcaster Bob Costas is the most despised participant in the entire Jovan Belcher/Kasandra Perkins narrative, then I can't help but think no one will learn anything from this tragedy.  Pick: Cleveland 

Joe: Can't talk about the Costas thing, lest I incur the wrath of the easily wrath-able. (Except to say that kneejerk post by Deadspin about what a douche Costas is was the most embarrassing thing they have ever done.) Anyway, Cleveland! They're not bad! Pick: Cleveland

Tennessee at Indianapolis 

Aaron: With the Titans, Chiefs and two against the Texans (who'll likely be resting their starters in the season finale), the Colts could very well finish with 11 wins.  It's a long shot, but they could meet Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the first round.  ESPN's Ron Jaworski just exploded.  Pick: Indianapolis 

Joe: Can't wait to see who's going to be the first person in sports media to ruin the Colts for me. No team stays this feel-good for long. Pick: Indianapolis

N.Y. Jets at Jacksonville 

Aaron: Yes, the Mark Sanchez bashing is unfounded and out of control.  BUT, how do you give him the start just one game after determining you needed to change quarterbacks last week?  Weak opponent, on the road and far away from booing, now Sanchez will be expected to win big.  This helps?  Pick: Jacksonville 

Joe: I'd make a plea that we stop talking about the Jets for the rest of the season, but that would mean we'd have to talk about the Jags here, and THAT is not going to happen. Pick: Jacksonville

Miami at San Francisco 

Aaron: For those wondering who we'll all agree to hate when Patriots coach Bill Belichick finally hangs up his cut-off hoodie, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh just might be ready to take his insufferable act national.  I sopped up their loss in St. Louis last week like a rack of the city's finest ribs.  With a double order of coleslaw and that lonely slice of white bread that all reputable rib shacks serve on the side.  Pick: San Francisco 

Joe: Boy am I EVER onboard for this one. 100%. He's got all the fixings, from the media tongue-bath, to the paranoia, to the general feeling that he's a giant dick. Plus, he pulls even better (worse) exaggerated faces on the sideline. Pick: San Francisco

New Orleans at N.Y. Giants 

Aaron: I don't live in New York, so I'll assume two Super Bowl championships and the Jets' melodrama is deflecting most of the hyperbolic fan/media criticism from the Giants, yes?  Still...they might wanna consider winning a game or two this month.  Pick: NY Giants 

Joe: Going home for the holidays exacerbates this, but I have to admit that I NEVER know how to answer the "what's the sports chatter in NYC?" question. I don't listen to sports radio -- or any radio -- and I don't read the local newspapers, so I honestly have no idea. But my sense is that nobody wants to be the first to cry wolf on this Giants season and let the true believers play "toldja so" if the Giants manage another late-season rebound. Pick: NY Giants

Arizona at Seattle 

Aaron: Only 8 1/2 more months until it's me who's laughing at the guy in my fantasy league who drafted Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald.  Pick: Seattle 

Joe: Condolences. Every week I look at the Cardinals and think they're a worthy upset pick, until I think about their quarterbacks and cry one lonely tear. Pick: Seattle

Detroit at Green Bay 

Aaron: Even though I picked the Lions, I loved watching Andrew Luck calmly lead the Colts down the  field in the final drive for the win.  Detroit's bullying, often dirty defense was on their heels.  It was like an old Superfriends episode come to life.  (Fine, just watch the first minute and then skip to the fourth minute.)   Pick: Green Bay 

Joe: I'd feel bad for the Packers fans for having to watch their team win ugly every week. There's no joy in watching a good team look shitty and win anyway. There were some Bills seasons like that, and you'd look back at 11-5 and think "Did I really feel good on eleven of the past sixteen Sundays?" No, you didn't. Anyway, I start to feel bad and then I try to remember the last time the Bills won eleven games at all and my heart hardens into a snarl. Pick: Green Bay

Houston at New England 

Aaron: Two very good teams?  One of them is from New England?  I assume ESPN's Monday Night Football pregame show started last Tuesday!  Pick: New England

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