2012 Week 13 NFL picks

With the exception of this week’s Thursday Night Football, all the rest of the regular season games will be played in the month of December. In this final month we will get to see which of 32 NFL teams will also be playing in January. There are 12 playoff spots up for grabs and 5 teams can clinch it in Week 13. Week 13 will start with a division rematch between New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. Here’s my pick for TNF game:

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). There are a lot of things pointing towards Falcons’ win this Thursday Night. The Falcons are playing at home on a short week and would love to revenge the loss earlier in the season against division rival New Orleans Saints who have issues on O-line. The Saints are a desperate team and I’m going against the favorite in this game. I think Saints get the win and extend their slim chances to make the playoffs.
Pick: Saints 28-26, Result: Falcons 23-13
Against The Spread: Saints (+3.5)

Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Jaguars @ BillsJacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Jacksonville has played much better over the past couple of weeks with solid performances of QB Chad Henne. The Bills will try to slow down the Jaguars and pound the ground against their suspect run defense. Difficult to decide but I’ll go with a home team with a better running game.
Pick: Bills 28-23, Result: Bills 34-18
Against The Spread: Jaguars (+6.5)

Seahawks @ BearsSeattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Tough task for the 6-5 Seahawks to beat the Bears on the road. Seahawks are 1-5 this season in games away from home and Chicago’s defense plays great, especially at home. Bears win and stay on top of NFC North division.
Pick: Bears 24-20, Result: Seahawks 23-17 (OT)
Against The Spread: Seahawks (+4.5) 

Colts @ LionsIndianapolis Colts @ Detroit Lions, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). The Indianapolis Colts improved a lot in Andrew Luck’s first season as a pro. Still, I don’t think they are as good as their record shows. They’ve played much better at home than on the road and I can see them lose this one on the road against Detroit Lions.
Pick: Lions 23-20, Result: Colts 35-33
Against The Spread: Colts (+4.5)

8Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). With a loss against defending champions NY Giants, the Packers dropped from 1st to 2nd place in NFC North division. If they want to win the division they can’t afford to lose against division rival Minnesota Vikings. With healthier receivers look for the Packers to bounce back with a win against the Vikings.
Pick: Packers 30-21, Result: Packers 23-14
Against The Spread: Vikings (+9.5) 

7Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). The Texans allowed 34 points per game in their last 2 games, but have played extremely well on offense. With a few extra days of rest Houston should get another win against the Titans who didn’t look good against the Jaguars last week.
Pick: Texans 26-20, Result: Texans 24-10
Against The Spread: Texans (-5.5) 

10Carolina Panthers @ Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Kansas City Chiefs – the worst team in the NFL are shocked with sad news coming out of Arrowhead facilities. The Chiefs can’t produce anything on offense lately and I think this tragedy won’t help them a bit. The only reason I think this could be a close game is because Kansas City plays at home and Chiefs’ defense showed last week they can play solid football.
Pick: Panthers 23-21, Result: Chiefs 27-21
Against The Spread: Chiefs (+3.5)

6San Francisco 49ers @ St.Louis Rams, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). The Rams and the 49ers tied in a game played in San Francisco back in Week 10. For the 49ers it felt more like a loss and they would like to get a win against the Rams who are also 3-0-1 within NFC West. With a more dynamic offense and improved run defense the 49ers should return from St. Louis with a win and advance to 9-2-1 for the season.
Pick: 49ers 27-17, Result: Rams 16-13 (OT)
Against The Spread: 49ers (-7.5)

3New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). The Patriots are averaging 47.5 points in the last 4 games and are on pace to break NFL record for most points scored in a single season. The Dolphins have been an up-and-down team lately and I’m not sure if they can beat the Patriots at home. They might limit them to ‘just’ 30 points but in the end New England will have too much for the Dolphins.
Pick: Patriots 31-23, Result: Patriots 23-16
Against The Spread: Patriots (-7.5)

9Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). I think it’s safe to say the Jets aren’t playing great football but they should have enough to beat the Cardinals who seem to have even bigger issues at quarterback. I anticipate low-scoring game in which home team gets the win.
Pick: Jets 20-16, Result: Jets 7-6
Against The Spread: Cardinals (+4.5)

11Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Denver Broncos, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). A tough spot to play for the Buccaneers who are used to play at much lower altitude when playing at home. The Bucs do have a weapon to battle good Denver’s defense and that’s their ground game. The Bucs could be dangerous if they can jump to a big lead early in the game. That’s a big if, with a win the Broncos will clinch AFC West division title.
Pick: Broncos 27-23, Result: Broncos 31-23
Against The Spread: Buccaneers (+6.5) 

12Cleveland Browns @ Oakland Raiders, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). A battle of two 3-8 teams probably isn’t a game an average NFL fan would be excited about. The Raiders lost 4 straight and will be looking to end the streak with a win at home. The Browns are 0-5 on the road this season and had to travel cross-country. I’m going with a home team in this one, Raiders win.
Pick: Raiders 30-27, Result: Browns 20-17
Against The Spread: Raiders (-0.5)

13Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). After they’ve won 3 straight, the Bengals are scheduled to play the Chargers who lost 3 straight. The Chargers are an underdog in this one which explains a lot about Norv Turner’s team. Somehow I think the Chargers will limit their mistakes and win at home after an overtime loss to the Ravens last week.
Pick: Chargers 20-17, Result: Bengals 20-13
Against The Spread: Chargers (+1.5)

14Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). QB Ben Roethlisberger is ruled out and won’t be ready to play against the Ravens. QB Joe Flacco will play for the Ravens and he’s been much better when playing at home. Baltimore vs Pittsburgh are almost always close games despite all the circumstances, and I think this one will be no different.
Pick: Ravens 24-21, Result: Steelers 23-20
Against The Spread: Steelers (+6.5)

15Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). QB Tony Romo must feel pretty pleased he has to face Eagles this week. In the last 5 games, Eagles’ defense allowed opposing QBs to post 120+ passer rating. That’s an unbelievable fact, look for the Cowboys to have a big day on offense against Philadelphia.
Pick: Cowboys 28-17, Result: Cowboys 38-33
Against The Spread: Cowboys (-9.5)

16New York Giants @ Washington Redskins, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). The Giants are winning again when it counts. That was a great performance against the Packers in Week 12. With a win against Redskins on Monday Night they can get a step closer of clinching NFC East division. In Week 7 the Redskins came close and almost upset the Giants, could be another close game in which the Giants will come out victorious again.
Pick: Giants 24-23, Result: Redskins 17-16
Against The Spread: Redskins (+2.5)

Week 12 record straight-up: 11-5
Overall: 115-60-1

Against The Spread: 9-7
Overall: 93-83


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2012 Week 12 Passer Rating Differential

With only 5 weeks to go in the NFL we are getting closer to this year’s postseason. The last time I posted rankings based on Passer Rating Differential (PRD, The Mother of All Stats as they call it at Cold Hard Football Facts) was after Week 8. With another month of the 2012 season concluded, let’s look at updated PRD rankings (teams in bold would make the playoffs).

There are no major changes at the top and at the bottom of the rankings compared to Week 8. The Packers are still at the top and No.1 ranked team, they also have the best Offensive Passer Rating (OPR). Despite of poor offensive performance through last 4 weeks, since I last posted the rankings, the Bears dropped only 3 spots thanks to No.1 Defensive Passer Rating (DPR). New Orleans Saints made the biggest jump, climbing 13 spots from 29th to 16th. Philadelphia is a team who dropped the most in the last month, the Eagles are now 29th ranked team and have dropped 15 spots. Kansas City Chiefs remain last on OPR and are dead last on PRD through Week 12 in the NFL, just as they were through Week 8.

If the season ended after Week 12, 11 teams from top 14 on PRD would make the playoffs, included all top 5 teams. The exception is Indianapolis, ranked 31st on PRD but currently hold AFC Wild-Card playoff spot.

2012 Week 12 NFL picks

All 32 NFL teams already had their bye week and have played 10 out of 16 regular season games. Week 12 will start with 3 games on Thanksgiving, 2 early games and 1 night game in primetime. I’ll post the rest of my picks for Week 12 later on, but first, here are my picks for 3 Thanksgiving games:

Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions, Thursday 12:30 PM (ET). The Lions are at home for an early Thanksgiving game. Normally that should be a big advantage, but not for Detroit. The Lions are 0-8 in last 8 seasons. Schedule is one of the reasons for Lions’ poor record over the past 8 thanksgiving games as they’ve faced opponents with a 60-21 combined record. This year is no different, coming up for the Lions, 9-1 Houston Texans.
Pick: Texans 24-20, Result: Texans 34-31 (OT)
Against The Spread: Texans (-3.5) 

Photo: nfl.com

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys, Thursday 4:15 PM (ET). Last year Dallas came away with a 20-19 win over the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving. I expect another close game this year when the Cowboys meet division rival Washington Redskins. RGIII will enjoy all the attention he’ll get on Thursday and will try to lead his team to a victory. QB Tony Romo is 5-0 on Thanksgiving games and I think he will improve to 6-0.
Pick: Cowboys 27-24, Result: Redskins 38-31
Against The Spread: Redskins (+3.5)

New England Patriots @ New York Jets, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). Patriots scored 45, 37, and 59 points in their last 3 games, but before that the Jets held them to ‘just’ 29 points and forced them to play overtime at home. This time its New York with a home-field advantage. Still, the Jets don’t have enough on offense to win in the end, but will again play hard and keep this game close.
Pick: Patriots 28-21, Result: Patriots 49-19
Against The Spread: Patriots (-6.5)

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). I will assume QB Jay Cutler gets cleared and will play on Sunday. With him in the lineup Bears have a chance to win. Also look for Chicago’s defense to rebound after poor MNF performance. RB Adrian Peterson will have his day but eventually it will be QB Christian Ponder who’ll have to make plays and I’m not sure he will have success against Bears’ defense.
Pick: Bears 23-17, Result: Bears 28-10
Against The Spread: Bears (-5.5)

Oakland Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). I expect both quarterbacks to have a big day in this matchup. QB Carson Palmer will be extra motivated against his former team but it will be QB Andy Dalton who’ll have bigger day against Raiders’ defense with WR A.J. Green on his side.
Pick: Bengals 34-24, Result: Bengals 34-10
Against The Spread: Bengals (-7.5) 

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). The Browns lost a lot of games this season, but have been competitive in each game. Steelers will be without starting QB again and will have plenty of problems against Cleveland who plays solid on both sides of the ball. For the Browns this must be their highlight of the season. I’m going with a home team to upset the Steelers.
Pick: Browns 20-17, Result: Browns 20-14
Against The Spread: Browns (+3.5)  

Buffalo Bills @ Indianapolis Colts, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). The Colts are completely different team at home than on the road and so are the Bills. Both offenses will have success in this game but it is Indianapolis who will have home-field advantage. The Colts are due for a rebound after an embarrassing loss to New England in Week 11.
Pick: Colts 31-28, Result: Colts 20-13
Against The Spread: Bills (+3.5)

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). QB Peyton Manning on one side and Brady Quinn on the other… The way the Chiefs are playing at the moment they really don’t stand a change against Denver Broncos. Behind QB Peyton Manning the Broncos will get their 6th straight victory and advance to 8-3.
Pick: Broncos 30-17, Result: Broncos 17-9
Against The Spread: Broncos (-10.5) 

Seattle Seahawks @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Seattle Seahawks play much better at home than on the road and now have to travel cross-country to play early game in South Florida. That’s always tough to do, but the Seahawks had a chance to rest and prepare during bye week which will compensate for a long trip. Miami hasn’t played good lately and will have hard time scoring against Seattle’s defense.
Pick: Seahawks 23-13, Result: Dolphins 24-21
Against The Spread: Seahawks (-2.5) 

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). With a 6-4 record Buccaneers are in a Wild-Card playoff race but have little chances to win NFC South division. Still, they will be a tough opponent for Atlanta who had a great start to the 2012 season but hasn’t played as good lately. QB Matt Ryan probably won’t duplicate his bad Week 11 performance. With lots of receiving weapons the Falcons should beat the Bucs and advance to 10-1.
Pick: Falcons 31-24, Result: Falcons 24-23 
Against The Spread: Falcons (-0.5)

Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). The Jaguars surprisingly showed some life on offense, what’s even more surprising is that it came against Houston’s defense. It will be interesting to see if the Jaguars can keep it up this week against the Titans. It will be close but I’m going with the Titans and their balanced offense.
Pick: Titans 34-30, Result: Jaguars 24-19
Against The Spread: Titans (-2.5) 

Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). Remember last season’s 34-14 loss the Ravens took against the Chargers? The Ravens probably remember it too well which must be bad news for the Chargers. QB Joe Flacco has a history of bad play on the road but this time I think he gets it done with a little bit of help from RB Ray Rice.
Pick: Ravens 27-24, Result: Ravens 16-13 (OT)
Against The Spread: Ravens (-0.5)

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). After a rough start the Saints are playing much better and have improved on defense. Next for the Saint are the 49ers who beat up the Bears on MNF. Saints have a much better O-line and QB Drew Brees is no Jason Campbell either. Tough spot for the 49ers who will have hard time containing Brees and Co.
Pick: Saints 26-24, Result: 49ers 31-21
Against The Spread: Saints (+1.5)

St.Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). This should be a low-scoring game between 2 NFC West teams who are playing much better on defense than on offense. After a 4-0 start Arizona lost 6 straight and I can’t see how Cardinals can improve, at least not with Ryan Lindley at quarterback.
Pick: Rams 17-16, Result: Rams 31-17
Against The Spread: Rams (+2.5)

Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). An important game for both teams. Packers need to win this game to stay on top of NFC North division. Giants are coming off a bye week and will look to get back on track after a couple of bad performances. The Packers will look to get some revenge for last season’s playoff loss and I think they’ll get some.
Pick: Packers 31-27, Result: Giants 38-10
Against The Spread: Packers (+2.5)

Carolina Panthers @ Philadelphia Eagles, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). When it’s all said and done in Week 12 in the NFL we’ll get to see 2-8 Panthers against 3-7 Eagles play on MNF. Not a lot of people will want to see this game between 2 teams who constantly underperformed this season. Assuming there won’t be another tie, I’m picking the Panthers to win this one on the road.
Pick: Panthers 24-21, Result: Panthers 30-22
Against The Spread: Panthers (+2.5)

Week 11 record straight-up: 11-3
Overall: 104-55-1

Against The Spread: 7-7
Overall: 84-76


2012 Quality Standings – Week 11

With Week 11 completed it is time for Thanksgiving week in the 2012 NFL season, but before Week 12 starts on Thursday with Thanksgiving games, let’s take a look at teams’ standings from different angle. For the first time this season I put up a table of so-called Quality Standings in order to measure teams based on games they’ve played only against opponents with winning record. At this point in the season we have 14 teams with winning records, 8 in the NFC and 6 in the AFC. Here’s a list of those 14 teams currently holding a winning record,

Houston Texans (9-1), Atlanta Falcons (9-1), Baltimore Ravens (8-2), San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1), New England Patriots (7-3), Green Bay Packers (7-3), Chicago Bears (7-3), Denver Broncos (7-3), New York Giants (6-4), Seattle Seahawks (6-4), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4), Indianapolis Colts (6-4), Minnesota Vikings (6-4),

and the table with Quality Standings sorted by conference and winning record:

A few observations from the Quality Standings above:

– Carolina, Buffalo, San Diego, Kansas City, Cleveland and Miami have yet to win against teams with winning record
–  Houston, Seattle and San Francisco have the most wins against ‘quality’ teams (3)
–  Atlanta has the best record (1-0), but they also played only 1 game against ‘quality’ teams
– Dallas, Jacksonville and Carolina have played the most games against teams with winning record (7), with Dallas having the best record among those 3 teams.

2012 Week 11 NFL picks

This week we’ll see 7 division clashes starting with the battle between Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night. I’ll post my picks later this week, first here’s my pick for Thursday Night Football game:

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). After 4-3 start Miami lost 2 straight and is back under 0.500 mark with little chances of making the playoffs. There are still plenty of games left, the first one against division rival Buffalo Bills. Bills lost 3 straight and will try to end their losing streak. I had hard time to decide, but I’ll go with team with better defense.
Pick: Dolphins 27-24, Result: Bills 19-14
Against The Spread: Dolphins (+1.5)

Photo: buffalobills.com

Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Last week Atlanta Falcons lost for the first time this season. Cardinals on the other hand are coming off a bye week and will be ready to play especially on defense. Unfortunately for Arizona Cardinals they will have too little on offense to upset Atlanta.
Pick: Falcons 24-16, Result: Falcons 23-19
Against The Spread: Cardinals (+9.5)

Cleveland Browns @ Dallas Cowboys, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). After an important win on the road against division rival, Dallas is back home to face a tough Cleveland team. The Browns had an extra week to prepare for this game during a bye week. Mr.November an the rest of the Cowboys should have enough to beat the Browns but it won’t be easy.
Pick: Cowboys 26-20, Result: Cowboys 23-20 (OT)
Against The Spread: Browns (+7.5)

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Lions lost a must-win game last week against Minnesota. Detroit now have to face Green Bay Packers who have plenty of players on injury list but will come out of their bye week a bit healthier. QB Aaron Rodgers is experienced enough to lead his team to another victory.
Pick: Packers 30-23, Result: Packers 24-20
Against The Spread: Packers (-3.5)

Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Bengals finally won a game against a team with winning record. Last week they beat the Giants in surprisingly comfortable fashion. This is a potential trap game for Cincinnati. The Chiefs showed last Monday Night that they can play solid defense but somehow always find a way to lose a game.
Pick: Bengals 20-17, Result: Bengals 28-6
Against The Spread: Chiefs (+3.5) 

New York Jets @ St.Louis Rams, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Last week Rams had a chance to steal one in San Francisco but had to settle for a tie. Still, Rams have to feel pretty good about the way they’ve played the majority of last week’s game and will have the confidence needed to beat the Jets at home. WR Danny Amendola is back from injury and Rams play much better when he’s in the lineup.
Pick: Rams 23-13, Result: Jets 27-13
Against The Spread: Rams (-3.5)  

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Washington is the 4th team this season, the Eagles have to face, who had two weeks to prepare to play Philadelphia. The Redskins had a week off and will be at home facing the Eagles and their rookie QB Nick Foles. Redskins should have the edge in this game with a rookie QB of their own who has a lot more experience in the NFL.
Pick: Redskins 27-24, Result: Redskins 31-6
Against The Spread: Eagles (+3.5)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Back in Week 1 the Buccaneers limited the Panthers who managed to score just 10 points. QB Cam Newton had 300+ passing yards game which wasn’t enough for a win. This week I expect a lot more points to be scored, but it will be Tampa Bay again who will be on top.
Pick: Buccaneers 31-26, Result: Buccaneers 27-21 (OT)
Against The Spread: Buccaneers (-1.5) 

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). The Texans are again big favorites to win in this game. I have no doubts that they will win and advance to 9-1. Houston is also 3-0 ATS so far in the season when favored by 10+ points. Maybe they can beat double-digit spread for the 4th time this season.
Pick: Texans 27-9, Result: Texans 43-37 (OT)
Against The Spread: Texans (-15.5) 

New Orleans Saints @ Oakland Raiders, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). Another potential trap game for a visiting team this week. After an important win against division rival the Saints now have to travel West to play the Raiders. In the past Oakland showed they can hung in games till the end and I think they’ll do it again.
Pick: Saints 31-28, Result: Saints 38-17
Against The Spread: Raiders (+4.5)

San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). In Week 6 on MNF Chargers blew a 24-0 halftime lead. Broncos ended up winning that game 35-24 and will be looking to beat the Chargers for the second time this season.  San Diego won’t go down without a fight but I think Denver has the better and more efficient QB which will eventually be the difference.
Pick: Broncos 27-23, Result Broncos 30-23
Against The Spread: Chargers (+7.5) 

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). With a 6-3 record Indianapolis currently holds wild-card playoff spot. They’ve won 4 straight and have to face another 6-3 team – New England Patriots. Colts haven’t played as good on the road and they’ll get some sort of reality check this Sunday.
Pick: Patriots 34-21, Result: Patriots 59-24
Against The Spread: Patriots (-9.5)

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). I was looking forward to see this fight for division title between Ravens and Steelers. With QB Ben Roethlisberger out I don’t think Steelers have a chance to win the game even if it is played in Pittsburgh.
Pick: Ravens 23-16, Result: Ravens 13-10
Against The Spread: Ravens (+3.5)

Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). The Bears starting QB Jay Cutler is out and 49ers listed QB Alex Smith as questionable for Monday Night. Both teams have great defenses which will make life difficult for whomever starts the game at QB. This game could be decided by plays on special teams. It will be a battle for field position all night and I can see Bears win this battle thanks to their superior special teams unit.
Pick: Bears 17-13, Result: 49ers 32-7
Against The Spread: Bears (+4.5)

Bye Week: Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans

Week 10 record straight-up: 8-5-1
Overall: 93-52-1

Against The Spread: 6-8
Overall: 77-69


2012 Week 10 NFL picks

There are 5 interconference matchups on schedule in Week 10, but non bigger than a Sunday Night clash between Houston Texans and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, Chicago. NFC currently holds a 23-13 record against teams from AFC and we will see if the NFC can maintain its dominance over AFC. Week 10 starts on Thursday Night with a division game between Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars. My pick for Thursday Night Football game:

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). The Jaguars managed to win only one game this season and they did it against the Colts in Week 3. This time around Jacksonville will be without RB Maurice-Jones Drew which will help Indianapolis focus on pass defense more than they could afford if MJD was in the lineup. It’s a short week on the road for the Colts but they will get a win and advance to 6-3.
Pick: Colts 24-16, Result: Colts 27-10
Against The Spread: Colts (-3.5)

Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Last week the Bengals lost to Denver and QB Peyton Manning, this time they’ll have to face his younger brother Eli who hasn’t played good lately. Against Bengals’ defense there’s a good chance he’ll play much better. The Giants have too much offense for Cincinnati and should win this one on the road.
Pick: Giants 27-22, Result: Bengals 31-13
Against The Spread: Giants (-4.5)

Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Miami Dolphins have played exceptionally good on defense and with Tennessee coming to town they might have their best offensive performance of this season. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill could have his best game so far. With a win at home the Dolphins will get back above 0.500.
Pick: Dolphins 27-20, Result: Titans 37-3
Against The Spread: Dolphins (-6.5)

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Minnesota managed to beat the Lions earlier this season in Week 4 thanks to 2 return touchdowns on special teams. Vikings averaged only 19 point per game in their last 3 games. Look for the Lions to get revenge and beat the Vikings away from home.
Pick: Lions 28-23, Result: Vikings 34-24
Against The Spread: Lions (-2.5)

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). I really don’t see how could the Bills win in this game on the road against division rival. The question is, can the Patriots cover the spread? Already twice this season the Patriots were double-digit point favorites and in both cases they didn’t cover the spread.
Pick: Patriots 29-20, Result: Patriots 37-31
Against The Spread: Bills (+11.5)

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Last week I picked Dallas to beat the Falcons to end their winning streak. This week I just can’t go against the Falcons. The players still remember the show Saints put on in a record-breaking game by QB Drew Brees last season. Saints’ problems on defense didn’t disappeared over last few days, Falcons advance to 9-0.
Pick: Falcons 27-24, Result: Saints 31-27
Against The Spread: Falcons (-2.5) 

San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Chargers had few extra days to prepare for their cross-country trip to Florida. Just like the Raiders they get to play early game which is a big disadvantage for West Coast teams. The Bucs will take advantage of their balanced offense but this game could be a lot closer than many people think.
Pick: Buccaneers 26-23, Result: Buccaneers 34-24
Against The Spread: Chargers (+3.5)

Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). In their last 3 games the Broncos scored more than 30 points. They’ll probably score 30+ again against the Panthers. QB Cam Newton and the Panthers will try to keep up but they won’t outscore the Broncos.
Pick: Broncos 30-23, Result: Broncos 36-14
Against The Spread: Broncos (-3.5)

Oakland Raiders @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Raiders have to travel cross-country for a 1PM ET game for the 3rd time this season. The last time they travelled far East they almost upset the Falcons. This time they’ll be without RB Darren McFadden and I don’t think QB Carson Palmer and the rest of the Raiders can pull an upset without their top running back in the lineup.
Pick: Ravens 27-17, Result: Ravens 55-20
Against The Spread: Ravens (-7.5)

New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). The Seahawks have yet to lose a game at home so far in the season, they are 4-0 in front of their home crowd. It will be tough for the Jets to get a win out of Seattle with their awful passing attack.
Pick: Seahawks 24-16, Result: Seahawks 28-7 
Against The Spread: Seahawks (-6.5)

Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). Division game between two similar teams with a 3-5 record. Both teams can’t afford another loss, especially against division rival. Hard to decide who will end up victorious, maybe it’s the Cowboys who will make fewer mistakes.
Pick: Cowboys 24-17, Result: Cowboys 38-23
Against The Spread: Cowboys (+1.5) 

St.Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). The Rams and the 49ers are both coming off a bye week. The Rams lost big against the Patriots in London and they probably won’t allow 40+ points against 49ers’ offense but they also won’t score many points against 49ers’ defense.
Pick: 49ers 23-10, Result: Tie 24-24 (OT)
Against The Spread: 49ers (-11.5)

Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). Game of the week between two 7-1 teams. This is also the only game this week with both teams holding a winning record. Both teams also play great defense and it should be a close low-scoring game.
Pick: Bears 19-16, Result: Texans 13-6
Against The Spread: Bears (-1.5)

Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). It’s been a long time since the Steelers played the Chiefs at home. Back in 2006 the Steelers were favored by 6.5 points against the Chiefs and won big, 45-7. Todd Haley would love it if something similar happens on Monday Night.
Pick: Steelers 31-17, Result: Steelers 16-13 (OT)
Against The Spread: Steelers (-12.5)

Bye Week: Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins

Week 9 record straight-up: 9-5
Overall: 85-47

Against The Spread: 8-6
Overall: 71-61


2012 NFL midseason Scoreability and Bendability Index

First 9 weeks are behind us and with 132 games already played the NFL’s just crossed the midpoint of the regular season. At the end of last season I posted Final 2011 Scoreability & Bendability standings. Scoreability and bendability are just two of many quality stats first introduces at Cold Hard Football Facts. Halfway there, it seems appropriate to look at how teams rank on this two quality stats because they are much more correlated with wins in the NFL than the official stats such as total offense and total defense.

The scoreability and bendability indices are team-wide indicators, measuring teams’ ability to turn yards into points and they both take into account not only teams’ offensive or defensive performance but also include performance of special teams units.

Scoreability index is calculated by dividing total yards with total points scored. The result of this calculation is Yards per Point Scored (YPS). The lower the number, the more efficiently a team scores points.

Bendability index is calculated by dividing total yards allowed with total points allowed. The result of this calculation is Yards per Point Allowed (YPA). The higher the number, the more difficult a team makes it for opponents to score points.

Here’s a table of 1st half 2012 Scoreability and Bendability index for all 32 NFL teams.
Teams currently making the playoff are colored in blue (NFC) and red (AFC).

I compared the standings above with standings based on yards per game (total offense & total defense). Once again I can make the same conclusion I’ve made many times before. Total offense & defense are so-called ‘volume’ stats and don’t show the real picture when measuring teams in the NFL. Teams ranked high on total offense or defense don’t necessary win a lot of games. Perfect example are 2012 Dallas Cowboys, at midpoint of their season they are ranked 6th on total offense and 5th on total defense – top 10 on both statistical categories but with losing record sitting at 3-5. It is different story when we look at the Cowboys and how they rank on scoreability and bendability index. They are 30th on scoreability and 25th on bendability which basically tells us that Dallas plays inefficient and one of the worst ‘situational’ football among all NFL teams. Obviously scoreability and bendability are two stats that are much closer to ‘reality’ in the NFL.

So far in the season, top 10 ranked teams on total offense have a combined record of 43-38 (53.1%), 4 of those teams have losing records and only 4 would make the playoffs if the season ended after Week 9. Total defense shows slightly better picture as top 10 ranked teams have a 50-32 record (61.0%) with only one team with losing record and 6 making the playoffs.

On both, scoreability and bendability index, top 10 teams have a much better combined record, 58-24 (70.7%) and there’s not a single team with losing record ranked top 10 on both indicators and 8 out of 10 teams would make the playoffs. Scoreability and bendability clearly paint a much better picture in terms of which teams played efficient football through the first half of the season.