posted: Nov. 23, 2005  |  Feedback

Happy Thanksgiving! The quick picks for Week 12 ...

DETROIT (+3) over Atlanta
We're due for one of those artificial turf games where two 300-pound guys land on Michael Vick and it takes them 20 minutes to scrape him off the turf. He's good for one of those a year.

Denver (-2) over DALLAS
Drew Bledsoe against the Broncos defense ... giddy up! By the way, we might make it through the rest of the season without Jake Plum having to come from behind to beat somebody.

(Boulder reader Tony C. on the Jake Plum phenomenon: This is the 'Rich Gannon Story, Part Two.' I think it went down Rich and Jake in a darkened locker room, with Rich handing Jake the magic elixir saying something like this: 'Alright Jake, this stuff's the secret. When Steve DeBerg gave it to me, he made me swear to tell no one on my team and that I would know when it was time to pass it and who was worthy. I've been watching you Jake and you are the chosen one. Guard the secret well and pass it on wisely when you're done.'")

CHIEFS (-3) over Patriots
Ladies and gentleman, the New Triplets: Tom Brady, Heath Evans and Andre Davis! And yes, the Patriots are officially in "We're locked into the AFC East and the No. 4 spot, let's get everyone healthy for January" mode. Fine with me.

BILLS (+4) over Panthers
I'm never taking Jake Delhomme on the road again. You can go to hell, Jake Delhomme. You can go straight to hell.

(Annoying announcer trend of the week: Both Fox guys kept calling Steve Smith "Steven Smith" last week. I think they thought Stephen A. Smith was playing. Why does stuff like this happen? 2005 could go down as the worst year in the history of NFL announcing. I'm convinced.)

BENGALS (-9) over Ravens
The Ravens are so bad, it took them five quarters to beat a team playing Tommy Maddox at QB. By the way, did anyone else think the Bengals would have won that Colts game if Carson Palmer didn't choke with that last interception? That's two games now where that Bengals team blinked as soon as someone else looked them in the eye. Not working in January.

Chargers (-3) over REDSKINS
Easiest game on the board. And since I have nothing else to add, Brad in Columbus solves my "Who's the MLB equivalent to Raef LaFrentz and Gus Frerotte" from last week's column:

"I think it has to be Hideo Nomo. Nomo just seems to be one of those guys that stinks and has hurt every team he's played for since leaving the Dodgers (the first time) but he keeps showing up and getting a chance somehow (a la Gus and Raef). And the thing all 3 of these guys have in common is that at some point they randomly come up with some huge game. Gus's 360 yards vs the Pats ... Raef's 7-for-7 from 3 ... Nomo's no-hitter for the Red Sox in 2001. I think the amount of parity in pro sports today breeds this kind of thing. If you took 5 teams out of the NFL and MLB, do you think guys like Gus Frerotte and Hideo Nomo would still be around? I think not."

BUCS (-3) over Bears
I'm not sure if Chicago needs this one nearly as much as Tampa does -- they have three straight road games after this one. By the way, everyone was worried that I jumped off the Bears Bandwagon last week -- hey, I haven't gone anywhere. I picked them to finish 10-6, they're going to finish 10-6. I even have $50 on them at 80-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. So there.

(Feud of the week: Phil Simms screaming about Steve Young saying Chris Simms wasn't tough enough because he grew up in a "laissez faire atmosphere." Meanwhile, Steve Young came from the mean streets of Greenwich, Connecticut. You'd hate to see this thing end with somebody getting strangled to death by a Burberry's scarf.)

VIKINGS (-4) over Browns
The lesson, as always: if you replace a talented QB who makes consistently horrible mistakes with a mediocre QB who doesn't make any mistakes, you'll win more games with the mediocre QB.

(From reader Andrew B. in Santa Monica: "Is there anything funnier in the NFL right now than the ongoing Mike Tice 'Trying to Figure Out if I Won the Challenge' Face? Last week vs. the Giants (on that quasi-Eli-fumble/forward pass play) he is marching down the sidelines, arm outstretched and pointing as if the Vikes are going to get the ball, and only about 5 seconds after the ref gives the Giants the ball back does he finally realize that he's wrong. Then yesterday, on the interception return for a touchdown, he looked like he was trying to do long division in his head for about 10 seconds until he realized the touchdown would stand. The NFL should require that Tice challenge one play per half just to show his struggles in interpreting the ref's decision.")

NINERS (+8) over Titans
The Niners are just frisky enough that this line seems high. By the way, has any receiver in the history of mankind vacillated between "absolutely unbelievable" and "freaking terrible" like Brandon Lloyd? Either he's the next Lynn Swann or the next Hart Lee Dykes. Maybe a little of both.

TEXANS (+4) over Rams
I think Maguire, Theismann and Patrick should do every Texans game. What's better than Patrick saying "This kid has all the tools" about David Carr (who's only like 3-58 in his last 61 starts), or Theismann yelping, "You cannot blame Dom Capers for what's happening here" as the cameras show Capers frozen on the sidelines with his mouth open, almost like he's trying to catch flies. And by the way, if they can't come within four points of the imploding Rams this week, that should answer the "Should Capers come back?" and "Should we renew Carr?" questions. Emphatically.

(Speaking of Theismann, here's an e-mail from Brendan in Indy: "With just around 1:00 left in the 3rd Quarter and the Texans facing a 4th and 4 from the 4 yard line. Down 31-14, the Texans lined up like they were going to go for it. At which point Joe Theismann says 'the Texans are going to go for it, and I love that call' following by the Texans calling a timeout and the game going to a commercial break. When the game returns, the Texans are kicking the field goal and the announcers are arguing about the decision to kick the field goal, with Theismann arguing FOR the field goal. I thought that maybe I had misheard who had said they loved the call to go for it, so with the beauty of TiVo I was able to go back and watch it again, and sure enough it was the great Joe Theismann! He really is creating arguments with himself!")

CARDS (+3.5) over Jaguars
On the Vengeance Scale, Kurt Warner's dramatic win in St. Louis last Sunday was at least a 0.2 or a 0.3.

RAIDERS (-7) over Dolphins
The Dolphins are this year's winner of the "Team That's Had Their Hearts Ripped Out Because of Their Crappy QB's" Award. But here's the good news: Last year's winner? The Bears. So there's hope.

EAGLES (-4.5) over Packers
I'm enjoying the Mike McMahon Era -- even have him starting for both my fantasy teams. Plus, as Amy from New Jersey points out: "How is McMahon starting if he is considered the third string QB for the Eagles? Do you think that Detmer's neck-beard is holding him back? Is he better than McMahon, but the Eagles don't want him on TV due to the neck-beard? I got all excited a few weeks ago when McNabb left the Denver game because I thought we would see the neck-beard. But, guess what? Detmer came into the game WITHOUT the neck-beard! Did the Eagles reward him for shaving it off? Also, it has been documented that Detmer travels to road games only with the clothes he is wearing and a toothbrush. (So how did he shave the neck-beard when they were playing at Denver?) Does this all lead to getting passed over when the starter gets hurt? Or is it because Detmer's the place-holder and they can't mess with the karma there? Even if it didn't cost Detmer a start, I think neck-beards should be avoided."

(See, there's a place for female footballs fans on this planet. And you thought there wasn't.)

Giants (+4.5) over SEAHAWKS
Two straight "Vegas had no idea where to set these lines" games! That's always fun. This feels like a three-point game to me.

JETS (+1.5) over Saints
I don't mean to sound callous -- really, I don't -- but if Katrina doesn't happen, there's no way Jim Haslett still has a job. Just a terrible coach. The Saints have quit on him now for four straight seasons -- he's coming up on Wayne Fontes's record. This year, everyone thinks they quit because of the hurricane after-effects, and I'm sure that played a part, there's no question. But these guys always look out undisciplined and underprepared. Always. At some point, you have to look at the coach.

COLTS (-5) over Steelers
I'm never going against the 2005 Colts again. By the way, classic moment in the Bengals/Colts game last week when they showed Chad Johnson writing something in big letters after his touchdown, and Jim Nantz happily said, "Oh, boy, let's see what Chad's up to now," and then Chad showed off his message -- "TO -- I got you baby" -- leading to this exchange:

-- Nantz: "Ah ... "
-- Simms: "Ah, jeez.."

(Four full seconds of silence.)

SEASON: 80-77-2

November 2005