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NFL Picks & Pans: Week 12

A great week for The Beatdown in picking the winners in week 11, although my 'Upset Special' failed to hold on and lost (Cleveland). Notwithstanding my 2-1 start on Thanksgiving (I had the Cowboys in an upset, but nope, thanks to Roy Williams and Drew Brees), I hope to continue the trend, along with picking the Baltimore Ravens game hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers late Sunday afternoon. So here goes:

Steelers over Bills: For a second, I was thinking upset, but then my head looked at my heart...and laughed. While Buffalo's offense has opened up, their defense is still poor and Pittsburgh's defense is just a wee bit better, right?

Browns over Panthers: Might this be the first time all season that Cleveland was actually favored to win the game? Should be a handful of fans in both Cleveland and Carolina who actually care about this yawner.

Packers over Falcons: This is a huge game with playoff implications, especially since it is being played in Atlanta and I'm picking Green Bay to go in there and spoil Matt Ryan's stellar home record. It's also my "Upset Special Pick of the Week," as the Falcons are anywhere from a 1.5-2.0 point favorite. While both teams are among the NFC's best, I like the combination of the Pack's offense and defense over the Falcon's, as Atlanta's defense is not their strong point.

Texans over Titans:  The battle of the current Houston team versus the former one is a bit anti-climatic, with Tennessee down to their 3rd string rookie QB. However, as bad a Houston's defense has been, watch Rusty Smith have a career game and pull it out (if he throws for more than 62 yards, it's his "career" game!).

Giants over Jaguars: Jacksonville has won two straight and actually lead the AFC South, but have done it in the last seconds twice in a row. New York is upset about losing to the Eagles and will take out their frustrations on a poor Jaguars defense.

Redskins over Vikings: The oddsmakers consider this as even a game as you can have but to me Minnesota is such a train-wreck and Washington still finds ways to pull out the wins that no one expects them to. Besides, right now I like Donovan McNabb over Brett Favre, although if Tavares Jackson was the starter, I might take the Vikes.

Raiders over Dolphins: At the beginning of the year, everyone, except Oakland, would have taken Miami in this one, but due to losing two starting QB's and a rash of other injuries, Oakland's resurgence continues in this one.

Seahawks over Chiefs: This could easily be my "Upset Special Pick of the Week" as Seattle is the underdog at home, where they always play tough. So this week, we'll have two 'Upset Specials' as I don't see Kansas City good enough to go up to one of the toughest stadiums to win on the road at and beat Seattle, who is still in the lead in the NFC West.

Eagles over Bears: One of the better games of the weekend, with two 7-3 teams duking it out in the cold. I like Philadelphia's offense and opportunistic defense over Chicago's average offense and tough defense, plus some guy named Vick over the Cutler dude.

Broncos over Rams: St. Louis has been surprisingly competitive and their rookie QB Sam Bradford has a firm hold on the Rookie-of-the-Year trophy, but they will not be going into the Mile High City and beating Denver.

Colts over Chargers: (Sunday Night Football): San Diego's annual rebound to the AFC West title takes a mild detour as Indianapolis and specifically Peyton Manning has no intentions of being shown up by the Chargers' Phil Rivers in this battle of two of the best gunslingers in the league.

49ers over Cardinals (Monday Night Football): Perhaps one of the worst MNF games in history as a lot of TV's will be tuned to 'Dancing with the Stars' instead (ouch)! San Francisco actually can still fight for the AFC West title but Arizona is just trying to fight for respectability on national TV and in front of their fans, as well as trying to keep their jobs in what should be a snooze-fest. I'll be asleep long before this one goes final, you too?

Last week:  11-3

Season record:  97-61