NFL Week 12 Preview and Picks – In The Pocket

Thursday night games:

New England Patriots @ Detroit Lions
After a big game last week and a match-up against the Jets looming, the Patriots face a trap game this week against a Lions outfit that are better than their record indicates. New England should handle the Lions comfortably, but coming off a short rest for this Thursday game raises some red flags. If you like to look beyond the numbers, the Lions are not bad value getting the points. Lions +6.5 @ 1.91 (multiple sites)

New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have sacked coach Wade Phillips, and now their players are trying again. They have plenty of talent, but with QB Tony Romo out of action, backup Jon Kitna will see plenty of heat from this blitzing Saints D. Dallas’ secondary is also shaky, which would seem a poor match for Saints’ QB Drew Brees who started to find a bit of form last start. With New Orleans now having to win to keep pace with Tampa Bay & Atlanta in the NFC South, they seem the team most likely. Saints –3.5 @ 1.91 (multiple sites)

Cincinnati Bengals @ NY Jets
Betting against the Bengals all season has been a profitable exercise so far, but it looks like the bookies have finally wised up. Getting 9 points against a Jets team that regularly do just enough to win (and often in the last minute) is a big obstacle. However the Jets are overdue to blow a team out, and with Cincy QB Carson Palmer a shadow of his former self, they would fancy their chances of causing some turnover havoc. Jets –9 @ 1.91 (multiple sites)

Sunday games:

Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears
QB Michael Vick is the hottest player in the NFL right now, and the Eagles have ridden him to the top of the NFC East. Chicago have the luxury of facing him in the cold at home, with the Cover 2 defence that takes away the deep ball, and the athletic linebackers to cut down on Vick’s scrambling. If they can shut it down though, can Bears QB Jay Cutler avoid throwing multiple interceptions to ball-hawk CB Asante Samuel? A game best avoided, but the Bears probably have marginal value. Bears +3.5 @ 1.91 (multiple sites)

Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons
Game of the Week. The Falcons are red hot at home, losing only 1 game there in the past 2 seasons (and 5-0 this season). They have the advantage on offense in this match-up purely due to weight of injuries to the Packers, who cannot consistently run the ball and therefore find it very tough to protect a lead and control clock. What they do have is a very aggressive and effective league-leading defence. Here though it may be too much to ask. Falcons –1.5 @ 1.91 (Luxbet)

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills
The Steelers are starting to round into form – they can run it straight up the middle, or air it out with any team, and they can smash anyone in the mouth on defence. Their offensive line is starting to look shaky against premier pass-rushing teams, but the Bills don’t have anyone like that. What they have shown is that they can score and stick with better teams, and aren’t afraid to score and get that cheap cover. Bills +6 @ 1.91 (multiple sites)

Cleveland Browns @ Carolina Panthers
Not only are the Panthers awful, but they are now on their 4th-string QB. The Browns aren’t a great side, but they have a competent defence and a decent running game behind RB Peyton Hillis, one of the most improved players in the league. The 10 point spread is mammoth enough to give anyone pause to bet on a mediocre side on the road, but if you must bet this game, the Browns are really the only play. Browns +10 @ 1.91 (multiple sites)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ NY Giants
Ugh. Better minds than mine have despaired at trying to predict what this 6-4 Jags outfit will do from week to week. They have a winning record, but 3 of their losses have been blowouts. By rights, the Giants should kill them, but this week they are without the services of their top 2 wide receivers leaving QB Eli Manning without too much to throw to. If you insist on being involved in this one, the Jags getting better than a touchdown is probably where you should risk your money. Jags +7.5 @ 1.91 (Sportingbet)

Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins
Now here’s an interesting line. The Vikes, who have been quitting on their coach for weeks, finally got what they wanted when Brad Childress was fired. They go into Washington fired up, Brett Favre wants to prove that he isn’t totally washed up, WR Sidney Rice is going to play instead of pretending to be still injured. The Skins won’t be able to run the ball, and if the Vikes can get any pass rush at all, they could tear chunks out of QB Donovan McNabb. In The Pocket likes them straight up as a slight underdog this week. Vikings @ 2.05 (Sportingbet)

Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans
The Titans should be a major playoff contender, but instead they find themselves almost out of the running, and an ongoing soap opera with QB Vince Young threatens to end their season. The Titans need him to play, but is he injured? Will coach Jeff Fisher put up with the pouting and put him in? His backup certainly didn’t inspire any confidence. Then again, despite all their strength on offense, the Texans couldn’t stop a high school team right now. Right now the Texans are favoured by 6.5, but do not touch this game until the QB situation for the Titans is resolved.

Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders
Trend to watch here – east coast team travelling to the west coast often means they struggle more than you’d think. The Dolphins are banged up, QB Tyler Thigpen may be pressed into service despite being injured. Plus, Oakland will have the services of DE Richard Seymour despite him punching Ben Roethlisberger last week. Bookies have this one suspended while Miami work out who can play, but look for the Raiders to be around 4 point favourites, and they should cover such a line.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Seattle Seahawks
Two teams not to trust here. KC are a good team who can run the ball well and defend, but make some strange decisions and panic on the road. The Seahawks are a solid team at home, but QB Matt Hasselbeck is dealing with a broken wrist and his replacement is very ordinary. Hasselbeck should play, but given the must-win status for the Chiefs in this one to maintain their AFC West lead over the Raiders and fast finishing Chargers, it’s hard to tip against them. In the Pocket leans slightly towards the Seahawks straight up here, but if Hasselbeck can’t go, rush to the Chiefs. Seahawks @ 2.08 (Luxbet)

St. Louis Rams @ Denver Broncos
The Broncs normally have a strong home field advantage at Mile High stadium akin to the Springboks playing on the high veldt, but at times they have been putrid this season and it’s hard to trust them. Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford is a real player and has carried the them to their current 4-6 record, but they have blown multiple road games this year. The spread of 4 is a good one, so only bet the Rams with the points if you’re very confident. Rams +4 @ 1.91 (multiple sites)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Baltimore Ravens
Just like betting against the Bengals, betting on the Bucs with the points this season has been lucrative. QB Josh Freeman is a player, they can score points when the pressure is on, and they don’t turn the ball over – a recipe for success in the NFL. The Ravens are a much better team who cannot be relied upon to score a lot of points. The Bucs will play them tough and may even have a shot at an upset – getting 7.5 is good value. Buccaneers +7.5 @ 1.95 (Sportingbet)

San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts
Colts QB Peyton Manning has been working magic with smoke and mirrors for most of this season – injuries to his receiving corps have been devastating. Chargers QB Phil Rivers has been doing similar. Neither side have a running game to speak of, but the Chargers have historically bad special teams. Despite the Chargers usually playing the Colts well, In The Pocket favours the Colts to cover the 3 point spread. Colts –3 @ 2.00 (Luxbet)

Monday night:

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
ESPN can’t be happy to have this stinker for Monday Night Football. Both sides have been underwhelming. The Cardinals cannot get the ball to WR Larry Fitzgerald no matter who they plug in at QB. The 49ers look good for stretches then repeatedly turn it over and throw games away. Backup QB Troy Smith looked great for a week, but he (and the rest of his side) were terrible last week. No confidence about either side here, but the Niners have been overrated by the bookies all season. Take the Cardinals straight up if you like them. Cardinals @ 1.95 (Centrebet & Sportsbet)

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One Response to "NFL Week 12 Preview and Picks – In The Pocket"

  1. Ugh. Anyone considering betting the Jags should think again. Both their starting tackles are out, meaning they will struggle to stop the Giants’ pass rush.


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