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Week 12 NFL Picks

Peyton Manning and the Broncos were gifted a victory Thursday night. Can they get another win Sunday against Miami? (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Season:       102 – 58 – 1
Last Week:  7 – 7 – 0

Thursday Recap

Chiefs 20 at Raiders 24
I picked the Raiders. Seriously, I did. Here’s proof:

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 12.42.46 AM

Why? Because Oakland is better than their record and Thursday nights often favor the home team. Also, Andy Reid needs a quarterback that actually looks downfield. Alex Smith’s progression is as follows; Jamaal Charles, tight end, Jamaal Charles, fall on football.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Browns at Falcons
Fun fact: The Falcons stand in 1st place in the NFC South at 4-6. The Browns, meanwhile, sit in last place in the AFC North at 6-4. I don’t like either of these teams. However, the return of Josh Gordon has to count for something. BROWNS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns +3

Titans at Eagles
Eight years ago the Eagles fought their way out of a three-week funk to bring their record to 5-4 with the 2-7 Tennessee Titans on deck. It was supposed to be an easy victory at home. Instead, the Eagles got killed. Pacman Jones was a monster, Donovan McNabb blew out his ACL, and the season appeared over. I was at the Linc that day when everything went pear shaped. Worst sporting event I’ve ever attended. That was the last time Tennessee visited Philadelphia. Thus, I’ll be watching with my hands over my face this time around. On the positive side, the Eagles have proven themselves capable of pummeling bad teams with so-so quarterbacks. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles -11

Lions at Patriots
New England has been rolling opponents. They’ve scored at least 37 points and won by 15 or more in five of their last six outings. The Lions boast an impressive record but their resume doesn’t equate to a team capable of knocking off the Patriots. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots -7.5

Packers at Vikings
I laughed when certain Eagles took offense to Aaron Rodgers laughing during the game last week. Some (Brandon Graham) even hoped to see Rodgers again in the playoffs. Uh, bad idea, Brandon. Such a bad idea. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -8

Jaguars at Colts
Andrew Luck and the Colts better not get comfortable because the Texans are closer than some may have expected at this point in the year. COLTS If I were Charles Barkley; Colts -14

Bengals at Texans
That’s right, if Houston can survive at home against the zombie Bengals then the AFC South would officially be up for grabs. Houston’s final five includes Tennessee (home), two against Jacksonville and a showdown with the Colts in Indianapolis. And yes, the Bengals are zombies. They looked dead after that 0-2-1 stretch in October but followed it up by taking out the Ravens (again) and Jaguars. Then, Cincinnati no-showed against Cleveland only to respond with a convincing win IN New Orleans. So yeah, I don’t know what the Bengals are, but I know they’re resilient. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans -1.5

Buccaneers at Bears
The 2-8 Buccaneers have a more realistic shot at the postseason than the 4-6 Bears. Also, I don’t think I’ve predicted a Bucs game correctly all season. BEARS If I were Charles Barkley; Bears -5.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Cardinals at Seahawks
I refuse to believe the Cardinals team we saw last week is the best team in the NFC. Arizona is garbage. This is my corner. I’ve stood here all season and I’m not moving. You’ll see soon enough. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -7

Rams at Chargers
Loser moves to LA. Or winner moves to LA. Whichever induces more competition. The Chargers look done. Even after a bye San Diego looked outmatched and overwhelmed. I hope I’m wrong. RAMS If I were Charles Barkley; Rams +5.5

Dolphins at Broncos
Denver received a gift Thursday with Kansas City’s stunning defeat to Oakland. Given Denver’s string of injuries and overall poor play over the last month, the Raiders win was probably the highlight of November for the Broncos. The Dolphins are better than you think. That defense is more than capable of keeping Peyton Manning in check. On the other hand, I don’t trust Ryan Tannehill and the offense to win a big game on the road just yet. BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Broncos -7

Redskins at 49ers
I expect Arizona to finish with 11 wins. That means the 49ers need a 5-1 finish to even have a shot at winning the division. On a related note, that’s probably not going to happen. San Francisco got miraculously lucky in New Orleans and looked more awful in victory a week ago in New York than most of the NFL’s Week 11 losers did in defeat. 49ERS If I were Charles Barkley; 49ers -9

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Cowboys at Giants
I love picking against the Cowboys whenever a division game is in front of a prime time audience. Unfortunately, the Giants flat out stink. The last time Eli Manning and the G-Men won a football game Los Angeles had two teams alive in the MLB Playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers were thought to be unbeatable, and snow wasn’t a weapon of mass destruction. COWBOYS If I were Charles Barkley; Cowboys -4

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Jets “at” Bills (7:00PM ET)
I really, really, really liked the Bills in this one until the game got moved. Buffalo’s defense is great this year but they reach another level when at home. With their playoff hopes pretty much dashed, the loss of a home game shouldn’t impact Buffalo’s season too much. With that said, Kyle Orton better be on a short leash Monday. No use letting a washed-up backup take snaps from younger players with upside. BILLS If I were Charles Barkley; Bills -2.5

Ravens at Saints
Drew Brees is killing the Saints with sloppy turnovers, poor decisions and too many missed opportunities deep downfield. You know who else is killing the Saints with almost no attention? Marques Colston. He’s been awful this season. Too many dropped balls, can’t contend for 50/50 balls, and his fumble in Detroit cost New Orleans a victory. I keep expecting Brees and the Saints to turn the corner and become the explosive offense we’ve grown accustomed to but I’m no longer convinced that’s even in the cards this season. With Brandin Cooks done for the year, Brees may only get worse. RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens +3

*****

If I were Charles Barkley…
Season:        84 – 75 – 1
Last Week:   4 – 9 – 0

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