Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Gienie’ in a bottle: Patriots, Browns, and Seahawks highlight week 12 picks

(Sam Riche/MCT)
(Sam Riche/MCT)

Just when you think you’ve got the NFL figured out, it throws a weekend like week 11 at you. Denver losing to St. Louis? The 4-6 Falcons on top of the NFC south? All of week 11 just serves to validate the old saying – NFL stands for “Not For Long.” I avoided disaster, going 2-3 overall and against the spread, but it was nothing like the success I had in prior weeks. Here’s to a better round of picks in week 12.

Thursday Night: Oakland Raiders (+7) vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Is this the next prime time blowout? On the surface, the answer appears to be yes. The Chiefs just staked their claim as the second best team in the AFC with a strong win over defending champion Seattle, and the Raiders are threatening to become the second team in history to go 0-16. But this has all the makings of a dreaded trap game for Kansas City. They play Denver next week in a game with huge divisional implications. No matter how much the Chiefs say they aren’t looking past Oakland, human nature says they are. I think Kansas City comes out sluggish, but Jamaal Charles does enough to power them to a close win.

The pick: Kansas City 20, Oakland 16

Atlanta Falcons (-3) vs. Cleveland Browns

The Falcons are coming off an ugly win against Carolina, and the Browns are coming off an ugly loss against Houston. Normally, home field advantage for Atlanta would sway my pick in their favor, but the NFC south is just abysmal. As Bill Barnwell of Grantland noted, the division is 6-20-1 against opponents outside the NFC south. That, plus the return of Josh Gordon, has me firmly in Cleveland’s corner.

The pick: Cleveland 27, Atlanta 17

New England Patriots (-7) vs. Detroit Lions

Detroit’s defense is good, maybe one of the best in the league. And the Patriots didn’t just look good in Indianapolis on Sunday night – they looked great. Meanwhile, the Lions lost to an elite Arizona Cardinals team. It’s natural to think New England will play a little worse and Detroit will play a little better. However, I can’t pick against the Patriots in any way right now. It will be close for awhile, but New England ends up covering.

The pick: New England 28, Detroit 17

Philadelphia Eagles (-11) vs. Tennessee Titans

Eleven points is way too much to bet on a team quarterbacked by Mark Sanchez. That is all. The Eagles win because their roster is better top to bottom, but doesn’t come close to covering.

The pick: Philadelphia 20, Tennessee 17

Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Seahawks have struggled at times this year, but they still hold a 4-1 home record. Arizona looks great, but they have overachieved all season and they’re due for a letdown game at some point. Drew Stanton was OK at home, but I don’t envy him on the road in Seattle this week. Six and a half points is a lot to bet against the current best team in the NFC, but the Cardinals have to go through some of the bumps the rest of the league suffers through at some point.

The pick: Seattle 24, Arizona 10

Last week: 2-3 overall, 2-3 against the spread
Season: 11-9 overall, 14-6 ATS

Ross Gienieczko can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RossGien.

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