NFL Picks: Predictions for Every Week 12 Game S/U, Against the Spread, O/U

Barbara Bruno@allprofootballContributor IINovember 24, 2011

NFL Picks: Predictions for Every Week 12 Game S/U, Against the Spread, O/U

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    Picks Record Through Week 11

    Straight Up: 105-54

    Against the Spread: 90-69

    Over/Under: 80-79

    Thanksgiving Games

    Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

    Straight Up: Green Bay

    Against the Spread: Detroit -6.5

    Over/Under: Over 56.5

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman passed for 342 yards on the Packers’ secondary. This may be the week that weakness bites Green Bay in the you-know-what. As always when playing Green Bay, the more points the better. Actually, “more points” is absolutely mandatory.

    The ball is firmly in Matthew Stafford’s court as he tries to out-pass Aaron Rodgers. Good luck with that.

    I don’t know what was wrong with Stafford in the first half last weekend. Yes, Carolina DB Chris Gamble is good, but the entire linebacking corps is made of papier mache. Detroit fans had better hope that the second-half guy who threw five TD passes shows up at the kickoff on Turkey Day.

    (However, can we ask TE Tony Scheffler to revise the “jazz hands” TD dance? I love show tunes more than your average NFL fan, but that was just weird.)

    Then there’s Lions RB Kevin Smith. I love what he said in the after-game questions, “If you’re talented and you’re available, you’ll succeed.”

    Good for him for staying in shape and continuing to put in the work so that he was ready when Detroit needed him to come back and re-institute a running game. He re-instituted it to the tune of 140 yards and two touchdowns.

    Smith may take heart in the performance of Bucs' RB LeGarrette Blount against the Pack in Week 11: 107 yards and a TD. But Blount is about twice as big as Kevin, so let’s not get too carried away.

    Aaron Rodgers had an “off” day last Sunday: 299 yards and three TDs. Poor guy. The team is scoring almost 42 points per game. Not a typo.

    Analysts everywhere decry the lack of a running game or a running defense in Wisconsin. Well, in the past three weeks, Packers have rushed for almost 106 yards per game and given up less than 104 yards on the ground to opponents. Not exactly Steeler-esque perhaps, but not as bad as many claim.

    Of course, Green Bay RB James Starks is questionable. That’s okay. Ryan Grant is back in the mix.

    Here’s the thing: The Detroit Lions have sacked opposing QBs 27 times in 11 weeks. They’ll need to do better than that or they will lose. 

Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys

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    Straight Up: Dallas 

    Against the Spread: Miami +6.5

    Over/Under: Under 44

    Well, thanks to the total collapse of the Buffalo Bills, this is a more interesting game than it would have been a month ago.

    I wish I thought that Dolphins’ signal-caller Matt Moore was as good a QB as he appeared to be against the Bills. The guy went 14-of-20 for 160 yards and three touchdowns. I’m afraid that he might get jerked up short vs. the Cowboys’ D. If it isn’t the pass rush, it’s the DBs.

    Miami ran the ball 30 times for 82 yards and one TD. Well, that’s not going to cut it.

    Meanwhile, Tony Romo has so much swagger back that he’s starting to sound Rex-esque. Well, practically. Must be hanging out with Rob. Okay, he did pass for 292 yards and three touchdowns of his own.

    Out-of-obscurity Cowboy runner DeMarco Murray continued his rise to fame with another productive 25 carries.

    This week we’ll find out if Tony is really healthy, if Murray can really run and if the Cowboys have a shot at the NFC East crown. That Miami defense has given up fewer than seven points per game over the past three weeks. Wow. (Okay, it was against Washington, Buffalo and KC—but still.)

    I cannot believe the accolades being dumped on Dallas after they beat…the Redskins. Seriously? And you only won because of two (yes, two) missed field goals by Washington kicker Graham Gano. I would hardly call that a decisive victory.

    Dallas will probably win and cover, but I can’t go there.

San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens

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    Straight Up: Baltimore 

    Against the Spread: Baltimore -3.5

    Over/Under: Under 39.5

    Everyone wants to bill this as the Battle of the Brothers. Okay, fine. But I don’t think they will be on the field unless one of them loses control and tries to tackle someone. (Which, actually, I wouldn’t rule out.)

    This Thanksgiving contest is the Battle of the Game-Controlling Runners/Frightening Defenses/Under-Rated QBs. You see where I’m going with this, right?

    As long as Frank Gore and Ray Rice go into this game reasonably healthy, there will be no mysteries in the offensive game planning for either side. Power run and short passing. The catch here for Baltimore is that Ray Rice has only gotten a bit more than 82 yards per game in the past month and the defense has given up 100.

    On the other side, we all know that Frank Gore is awesome, but how about the SF run D? 75 yards per game over the last three weeks. Wow. Hope Rice eats his Wheaties.

    We know that the Niners have one tremendous TE in Vernon Davis, but now Kyle Williams is starting to become a receiving presence. However, the Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith combo gives Baltimore a deep game that I’m not sure Alex Smith and Braylon Edwards can match. Well, I think it’s possible. Just not likely.

    The 49ers’ O couldn’t score more than two FGs against Arizona in the first half last weekend.

    The Ravens’ collective experience is a good thing in that they won’t mind the short week in terms of game planning. The Ravens’ age, on the other hand, is a disadvantage. Ed Reed was looking pretty beat up by the end of the game on Sunday.

    Ray Lewis says he’s playing. Ravens’ fans hope so. If he doesn’t play, I’d change to the Niners.

    I’m going with Baltimore based on that experience as a winning team. But San Francisco absolutely could win, so don’t go nuts.

    Incidentally, for Jay Cutler and LaDainian Tomlinson, here is a public image note: Please look at clips of Mr. Lewis cheering on his teammates from Sunday’s game. That, gentlemen, is how you behave in a team sport when you are injured and stuck on the sidelines.

Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons

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    Straight Up: Atlanta 

    Against the Spread: Atlanta -8.5

    Over/Under: Under 44.5

    When the dreaded “high ankle sprain” diagnosis came down for Vikings’ RB Peterson, the odds went whacko on this game, so I’ll take the middle of the road on it. Even if he can play, one doubts that “All Day” will be his usual completely dominant self on Sunday.

    And anyone who has seen any Vikings games in the past three years knows that there is no offensive line whatsoever when it comes to pass protection.

    No one wants to talk about it, because everyone is still all annoyed at Brett Favre and they don't want to admit how much he made that offense in spite of the O-line.

    And Sidney Rice is now catching balls in Seattle. And Percy Harvin’s role in the 2011 offense is an enigma. And their quarterback is a rookie.

    But, hey, there’s defense, right? Well, their best (though old) CB Antoine Winfield is out, CB Chris Cook may still be on the bench due to a domestic abuse charge and Safety Husain Abdullah has a concussion.

    Plus, one of the famous linebacking Henderson brothers (Erin) has a bad hamstring, which could impact the run D. Terrific.

    Theoretically, the Falcons should crush Minnesota in the Dome. Rookie WR Julio Jones is still battling a hamstring problem, but Matt Ryan will have HOF TE Tony Gonzalez and (possibly Pro Bowl) WR Roddy White available for passes.

    Plus, we can’t forget the excellent RB Michael Turner and newly redefined changeup back, Jason Snelling toting the rock. They’ve averaged almost 140 yards per game in the past month.

    The Falcons have scored almost eight more points on offense and given up 14 fewer points on defense in the past three weeks. I was rather surprised that the less-than-revered Atlanta defense was giving up less than 17 points in a month in which they played against Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson and Drew Brees/anyone else on the offense. That’s better than I thought they could do.

    Moving on.

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Straight Up: Houston 

    Against the Spread: Houston -7.5

    Over/Under: Under 37.5

    Welcome back, Matt Leinart. Leinart chose to stay in Houston as a backup because he absolutely loves playing in this offense. Well, he gets his shot—and WR Andre Johnson is even probable!

    Leinart will also have the considerable services of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. (If you missed the nattily-clad Foster on the CBS pre-game show, he was quite charming and will not need to worry about a post-playing career.)

    You know that coach Gary Kubiak will coddle Matty as much as possible with running plays, play-action, etc. All that stuff you do with a baby QB.

    Except that Leinart isn’t really a baby. At least Texans fans certainly hope that he has grown up. And, as little patience as I have for childish gazillionaires, I have to say that he does at least speak more maturely. We’ll see.

    The Jaguars’ defense is not a pushover, despite losing to the Browns. Although, I have to admit to being less confident about them than I had been. To be fair, I must mention that JAX lost a starting DB and a starting LB in the last two weeks.

    However, they have held their own against the pass, allowing less than 175 yards through the air. That’s not great news for a backup Texans' QB trying to resurrect his NFL reputation.

    But, with Foster and Tate combining for 200.7 yards per game in the past month, it probably won’t matter.

    I don’t know what to say about Jaguars’ QB Blaine Gabbert. He’s a rookie and he doesn’t have much in the way of WRs. But he does have a wonderful running back and the JAX offense can’t even manage two TDs a game. And Maurice Jones-Drew is good for at least one every week!

    Jones-Drew may not do that well on Sunday against a Texans’ D giving up less than 75 yards per game.

    We all thought that Gabbert was the safest pick in the draft this past April. He’s completing fewer than 49 percent of his passes, has six TDs and five INTs. Hmmm.

    This game holds a bit of morbid fascination for those of us who see Blaine Gabbert and Jack Del Rio getting just buried and will watch to see if Leinart can rise to the occasion. Anything could happen.

    I’m a softee: I hope that both QBs do well.

    Beyond that, Houston will win and cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans

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    Straight Up: Tennessee 

    Against the Spread: Tennessee -2.5

    Over/Under: Under 43.5 (it’s going to rain)

    Are the Titans still contenders now that the Texans have lost their QB as well as their best defender and their best WR is still iffy? This game could tell us the answer.

    I really like Matt Hasselbeck, but the Titans have lost to every good team they have played this season. Now, it’s not Matt’s fault. RB Chris Johnson is an NFL joke, he’s been so bad after his big contract. And the only decent WR went on IR before Hasselbeck even got a test drive.

    Johnson might do better vs. a Bucs’ D laying down for 157 opponent rushing yards every Sunday. Ugh.

    Tampa Bay hung tough with Green Bay last week. They didn’t win, but they might have. And, hopefully, that will give them heart as they soldier on in a disappointing season.

    On the plus side, the Bucs have beaten both the Saints and the Falcons in home games. And yet they lost to everyone else.

    It has been a very difficult schedule in 2011. Wonder who Raheem Morris ticked off to wind up only playing one losing team all year? And that one is the Colts, so it shouldn’t have been a losing team.

    I’m taking the Titans, but only if Chris Johnson can get it in gear. And we won’t know that until the first quarter.

Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams

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    Straight Up: St. Louis 

    Against the Spread: St. Louis -2.5

    Over/Under: No numbers here either, but I think it will be under 38 points.

    Who will be starting for the Cardinals this week? Just as I was starting to have faith in Arizona QB John Skelton, he threw three INTs last week. Which explains why you might have seen third-stringer Richard Bartel in the game at the end. Oh dear.

    Kevin Kolb is supposed to be questionable this week, hence the lack of numbers above. You know he’ll play if he possibly can. Skelton made Kolb look bad in those two wins. With the three INTs—not so much.

    It really is awful that Arizona rookie RB Ryan Williams was injured before the season started. For him and for the team. Beanie Wells is another one of those C.J. Spiller/Shonn Greene/Ryan Matthews-type guys who can’t seem to tough it out in the Big League. And they let Tim Hightower go.

    Weak running game, weak defense, weak QB. Wow. No wonder Arizona can’t score more than 16 points. Larry Fitzgerald can’t do it all.

    What is wrong with the Rams? Total disarray. If the team had better pass protection and had acquired a real WR in Brandon Lloyd in, say, August, they would be in much better shape. As it is, sophomore QB Sam Bradford has a bad ankle and the offense can’t even get to two TDs a week. Steven Jackson can’t do it all.

    Neither defense impresses me. They only have decent stats because they are in the NFC West.

    I vote we line up the Chargers, the Cardinals, the Rams and the Cowboys and everybody play NFL musical chairs until the music stops. Then everybody go back to your cities and rebuild your teams in a sane manner.

    Except that I’m betting both the Rams and the Chargers will have new coaches.

    At this rate, maybe the Cardinals too.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

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    Straight Up: Cincinnati 

    Against the Spread: Cincinnati -7.5 (as long as Dalton starts)

    Over/Under: Raining and 50s. Yuck. Under 37.5

    The Game Between Young QBs We Like. Oh come on, I don’t care how much of a curmudgeon you are, you have to root for baby-faced Colt McCoy.

    And Andy Dalton is such an unlikely hero that he has completely captivated the Rust Belt.

    Cleveland RB Chris Ogbannaya has started two games, run for 205 yards on 40 carries and a TD. The Browns might, just might have found a running back. We’ll find out against the Bengals’ D.

    Too bad that their best WR remains their return man. Did you see Josh Cribbs “stick the landing” on the corner catch? Awesome.

    I say this every week, but McCoy and Shurmur have got to target rookie WR Greg Little more consistently.

    Of course, having time to stand in the pocket without being crushed would be helpful. McCoy says that his shoulder is fine. We’ll see.

    Meanwhile, the Dick Jauron-led Browns’ D is pumped up and giving up less than 18 points these days. Unfortunately for Browns’ fans, Cincy has an excellent RB named Cedric Benson and the rush D is Cleveland’s biggest weakness.

    Andy Dalton is a star. He is even color-coded to be a Bengal. He and Colt are both completing only 59 percent of their passes, but the Bengals have a better team Gestalt. I’m serious. They have a more veteran coach, a veteran defense and a veteran running back.

    That leaves room for their incredibly talented two young WRs and TE and QB to have a party. Even without rookie WR A.J. Green, Dalton can get it done.

    Andy Dalton is the third rookie QB since 1970 with 15 TD passes in his first 10 games. The other two were Dan Marino and Peyton Manning. Hmmm.

    Oh, and for the record, that was a touchdown last week. 

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

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    Straight Up: New York 

    Against the Spread: New York -7.5

    Over/Under: Over 45

    Oh, who knows? Both teams have completely fallen apart.

    The Bills couldn’t stop Matt Moore, and the Jets couldn’t stop Tim Tebow. Honestly, guys.

    Buffalo has scored 26 points—in three weeks. Now Fred Jackson and Donald Nelson are on the injury list. Even Mr. Versatile, Brad Smith, is hurt. Not that the Bills have ever used him properly. Bet the Jets are sorry they let him go.

    Before you even take a breath to talk to me about Buffalo's former first round pick RB C.J. Spiller, may I point out that the man was stopped dead in his tracks—by a cornerback. I rest my case.

    Did I mention that the Buffalo D, which was intercepting every QB in sight, has given up an average of 35.3 points per game in the past month. Talk about being exposed. Injuries have really hurt them, too.

    The Bills gift of over 125 rushing yards to recent opponents should come in handy to a Jets’ offense without a starting running back. Shonn Greene is a bust, LaDainian Tomlinson is a change-up guy these days and Joe McKnight is a return man. Yikes.

    This matchup should help the Jets get healthy. But they have a lot of work to do. In addition to the aforementioned running problems, the O-line has fallen apart and the defense has gone from top-drawer to fair.

    And you can spare me the comments telling me how much you think Mark Sanchez “sucks.” While I respect the fan ardor (not to mention the elevated literary standards), you can't possible know that given the current mismanaged play calling. Rex Ryan is never going to understand the passing game. It’s not in his DNA (probably literally).

    But offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should know better. Mark is improving. I’m not saying he’s Joe Montana (or Joe Namath), but he is improving. He could use some pass blocking, run support and play calling that isn’t antediluvian.

Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts

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    Straight Up: Carolina

    Against the Spread: Carolina -3.5 

    Over/Under: Over 44

    I think Cam Newton has a terrific NFL future and I don’t want to see his spirit dampened any more than it has been already. So, I’m rooting for the Panthers. They should finally get a win for all of their tremendous and entertaining effort.

    Besides, they don’t need Andrew Luck.

    But, my dear Panthers, three turnovers in the second half? Three? Four INTs? Really? Ugh.

    Cam will need to be careful this week: The best thing about the Colts right now is their passing defense, which is only giving up 198 yards aerially in the past month.

    The Carolina defense has got to do something about their run defense or Joseph Addai or Donald Brown or whoever starts at Colts’ RB is going to look like Jim Brown on Sunday.

    Still, I read today that the Colts are sticking with Curtis Painter at QB. Is there anything else to say?

Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks

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    Straight Up: Washington 

    Against the Spread: Washington +4.5

    Over/Under: Rain, what else? Oh, and wind. Great. Under 45.5

    When are people going to realize that Mike Shanahan’s entire coaching mantra has been, “I’m the genius; I don’t need a quarterback. All that Denver success? It wasn’t all John Elway.” Really? It sure has looked like it was all Elway for the past 12 years since No. 7 retired. Who keeps hiring this man? Oh right, Daniel Snyder.

    I hope that Graham Gano is okay psychologically. He lost the game for his team for sure. But it’s not world peace, so let’s cut the guy some slack. And I’m a Redskins fan, so I can say that.

    Can it be that Tarvaris Jackson is developing into a real NFL QB? I don’t want to be hasty, but he looks a lot better recently. Of course, I’d probably look good too with Lynch, Forsett and Washington running the ball.

    Speaking of running the ball, can Kyle Shanahan please pick a running back? Ryan Torain? Roy Helu? How is anyone supposed to develop a rhythm?

    Not that it really matters with that O-line (now missing two more starters probably) and Rex Grossman. Oh, I know, that’s mean. Yeah. The truth hurts.

    Grossman needs to be very careful on Sunday. The Seahawks have the tallest (and biggest) DBs in the NFL and the Redskins do not have the biggest WRs in the NFL. To say the least. '

    Santana Moss (who might play) and Jabar Gaffney are relics from the speedy but average-sized WR days. Yeah, that means they’re old.

    But the Washington defense is pretty darn good. (London Fletcher for the Pro Bowl please.) I know that on paper they are allowing 22 points, but they have hung tough. In fact, if it hadn’t been for two missed FGs, they would have beaten Dallas on a day when Tony Romo was clicking.

    If the Redskins can slow down Marshawn Lynch, I think that the D can make Tarvaris Jackson’s afternoon wet and miserable.

    If not, the Seahawks running backs will kill them.

Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders

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    Straight Up: Chicago 

    Against the Spread: Chicago +4.5

    Over/Under: over 41

    How about Carson Palmer? He’s succeeding in an offense so balanced he hardly has to throw the ball. So, when he does throw it—it’s usually a strike.

    Of course that was before starting WRs Darrius Heyward-Bey (who has actually learned to catch the ball before he leaves everyone in the dust) and Jacoby Ford got hurt. Great.

    Starting RB Darren McFadden is still nursing a bum foot, but backups Michael Bush and rookie Taiwan Jones are doing a yeoman’s job in relief. (What, exactly, is a yeoman’s job? Well, it means a man working hard on his own farm and denotes a great deal of effort. Don’t you love Google?)

    However, the Bears’ rush defense is giving up fewer than 84 yards every week. That could put more pressure on Palmer.

    Overall, the Chicago defense is allowing more yards than the Raiders’ D (351.7), but less points (19). And points are where it’s at.

    The Raiders are giving up more than 25 points. I know that the Bears are without QB Jay Cutler, but I still have to go with them. They have faced much tougher competition, and their running game is incredibly productive when it comes to scoring.

    And it’s the points that matter.

New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles

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    Straight Up: Philadelphia 

    Against the Spread: Philadelphia +4.5

    Over/Under: I can’t find a number on this because oddsmakers are wusses who won’t go out on a limb not knowing if Vick will play. So I say—it’s going to be around 42. The weather is cloudy and mild. Over.

    While we’re all assuming that the Pats will win their 700th AFC Divisional Title this year, this is one of those games that is hardly an automatic “W.”

    I don’t know if Philly’s performance in New York will be a lift or a letdown for the ‘Iggles.

    We know one thing: Vince Young has pulled his act together. I wonder where he’ll be starting next year after that prime time performance? I sure hope he starts Sunday: I hate cheering for Michael Vick.

    Excellent news for the Eagles is all of the injuries in New England on defense. Three LBs and their starting safety.

    Plus WR Deion Branch has a tweaked hammy and All-Decade Tackle Matt Light is questionable with an ankle injury.

    Light is particularly important because you know how crucial it is to pressure Tom Brady. According to his unofficial QB coach, Brady’s elbow is bothering him early in game. (Good thing that guy doesn’t actually work for the Pats anymore, or Bill Belichick would have him in the principal’s office for revealing that piece of info, huh?)

    The Philadelphia defense was truly impressive in Week 11. Thank goodness. I thought I was going to have to buy a billboard in the City of Brotherly Love to get people to stop beating up on poor defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

    I cannot wish good things for the Eagles as long as Vick is the QB and Andy Reid is the coach, but I hope all good things for Mr. Castillo, who has not deserved the troubles he has gotten this year.

    I hope he sends the kitchen sink at Brady and I hope it rattles him. Oh, I’m sorry—was I supposed to be objective? Oops.

    Statistically, the Pats have a 10-point advantage offensively and a six-point advantage defensively.

    Since this is the only real threat to New England winning out the season, I’m sure that they will be ready.

    But I like the Eagles as spoilers on a roll.

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers

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    Straight Up: Denver 

    Against the Spread: Denver +6.5 

    Over/Under: Under 42.5

    Can’t we just let the Chargers go home? This is terribly painful to watch.

    Philip Rivers is in agony for sure. The Pro Bowler and once potential MVP has a QB rating of 81.1. Tim Tebow’s is 79. See what I mean? Ouch.

    The Bolts’ only prayer offensively is for RB Mike Tolbert to get rolling and free up Rivers. Then TE Antonio Gates might have enough left to score short and WR Vincent Jackson might decide to show up. Apparently, “going for it” is optional to Mr. Jackson this season.

    Denver coach John Fox will have had extra time to work with his improving defense and Mike McCoy will have had time to do whatever it is Denver is doing with Tim Tebow.

    McCoy is making quite the name for himself in Denver. He helped Orton to a 3,000-yard season and is helping Tim Tebow to wins. He certainly knows offense and knows quarterbacks, so all of Denver’s dedicated fans hope that he can continue to fashion some progress for Tebow.

    Of course, the magic factor belongs to Tebow alone and that doesn’t seem to be going away even under scrutiny and criticism.

    The Chargers’ defense is only letting opponents rush for about 70 yards every week these days. The matchup here is that D against Tebow. He’s certainly not much of a passing threat. Expect San Diego to bring everyone except safety Eric Weddle and one CB down to cover the run. Then it’s just “game on.”

    Denver has momentum, San Diego has desperation. Neither coach impresses me at all, so it’s up to the guys on the field.

    I have to go with Tebow and a rapidly coalescing Denver defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

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    Straight Up: Pittsburgh 

    Against the Spread: Kansas City +9.5 

    Over/Under: Under 40

    Poor Tyler Palko. I wouldn’t wish the Steelers’ defense on my worst enemy. On a very short week, I don’t know if we’ll see Kyle Orton starting, but I expect there to be a replay of Carson Palmer’s first week with the Raiders: Here’s your playbook, we’re down by 20—go get ’em!

    Poor Orton. No respect in Chicago. No respect in Denver. Your first start as a Chief—the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Orton’s arrival is probably good news for WRs Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin. Assuming that the O-line can keep him upright long enough to throw the ball. Hmmm.

    The running game I was hoping for on Monday night did not materialize as Thomas Jones ended up being the leading Chiefs’ rusher with 48 yards. I’d like to think that they can do better, but it is Pittsburgh.

    The Chiefs’ defense will have to deal with a relatively unknown entity—a prolific Pittsburgh passing game. Don’t tell Blitzburgh, but there is a high-flying aerial attack happening in Black and Gold.

    Ben Roesthlisberger has been putting up almost 300 yards per week this month. He does have a broken thumb.

    This will be an interesting matchup, since the Kansas City secondary is by far the best part of their defense, giving up less than 200 yards recently in the passing department.

    Of course that stat is courtesy of playing against Tim Tebow two weeks ago and a good pass rush against Tom Brady in the first half on Monday.

    Note to Big Ben: Beware of Tamba Hali. He’s the very large Chief who will be in your face.

    Unfortunately for Arrowhead fans, your run D is rather pathetic. Happy Rashard Mendenhall.

    This line may lower a bit with Orton’s arrival in the Midwest. But probably not much since it is Wednesday and the game is Sunday.

New York Giants at New Orleans Saints

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    Straight Up: Saints

    Against the Spread: Saints -6.5

    Over/Under: Under 50.5

    Poor Eli. Could anyone in blue catch a ball last Sunday night? It sure didn’t look like it. Things won’t get any easier for him in the SuperDome.

    Drew Brees is flying under the radar of Aaron Rodgers’ ridiculous season. But his own numbers aren’t too shabby as he throws balls to his own rather well-stocked offensive arsenal.

    He has completed almost 71 percent of his passes, with an average gain of almost 8 yards, a total of 3,326 yards, 23 TDs and 11 INTs. Yeah, he’s pretty good.

    The Giants’ defense is giving up just about the same amount of aerial yards per contest that Brees is completing, so that should remain constant.

    Big Blue’s D is allowing 21.3 points per game and the offense has only averaged 18 points per game in the past three weeks. See note above on dropped passes.

    It’s too bad that New York will probably still be without RB Ahmad Bradshaw’s services, since the Saints' run D is surrendering 135 yards each week on the ground. So perhaps big back Brandon Jacobs will have a productive day.

    If Eli can get some help on offense the Giants could win with their still-good D. But he can’t catch the passes, too, gentlemen.

    Brees and his buddies can control the ball and score points. The Giants have to score—a lot—to win.

    For the best wagers of the weekend, check out

    Value picks for Sunday.