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RJ’s NFL Picks, 2012 Edition: Week Seventeen

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I went 13-3 last week straight up, and 8-8 against the spread. For the season, that puts me at 153-87 straight up and 108-124-8 against the spread. Compare that record with the “experts” over at ESPN.com.

What follows are my picks for the NFL’s Week 17 games:

*Sunday, December 30*

Chicago 9-6 at Detroit 4-11 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Bears by 3)

The Lions have lost seven games in a row and are 0-5 against NFC North opponents this season. Calvin Johnson needs just 108 receiving yards to reach 2,000 for the year. The Bears would make the playoffs with a win here and a loss by the Vikings.

—RJ’s Pick: Detroit by 3

Tampa Bay 6-9 at Atlanta 13-2 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: No Line)

It’s a meaningless game. The Falcons have already wrapped up the top seed in the NFC, while the Buccaneers have already been eliminated from playoff contention. Since it’s unknown to what extent the Falcons will rest their starters, there is no line for this matchup at the time of this writing.

—RJ’s Pick: Atlanta by 8

New York Jets 6-9 at Buffalo 5-10 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Bills by 3)

The Jets are starting Mark Sanchez under center this week, as Greg McElroy is experiencing concussion-like symptoms, and Tim Tebow is apparently too much of a proven winner for the miserable Jets organization. The Bills have dropped three straight.

—RJ’s Pick: Buffalo by 11

Baltimore 10-5 at Cincinnati 9-6 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Bengals by 2.5)

The Bengals will be the AFC’s sixth seed no matter the outcome of this game. The Ravens can be the AFC’s third seed with a win and a loss by the Patriots. Otherwise, they will be the fourth seed in the conference.

—RJ’s Pick: Baltimore by 4

Jacksonville 2-13 at Tennessee 5-10 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Titans by 4)

The Titans are winless so far this season against AFC South opponents. The Jaguars have the second worst point differential in the league.

—RJ’s Pick: Tennessee by 1

Houston 12-3 at Indianapolis 10-5 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Texans by 7)

The Colts are locked in to the AFC’s fifth seed. The Texans would earn the AFC’s top seed with a win.

—RJ’s Pick: Houston by 2

Carolina 6-9 at New Orleans 7-8 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Saints by 5.5)

The Panthers have won their last three games. The Saints have scored the most points of any team in the NFC.

—RJ’s Pick: New Orleans by 3

Philadelphia 4-11 at New York Giants 8-7 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: New York Giants by 7)

Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback for the Eagles this week, replacing the injured Nick Foles. This is almost certainly Andy Reid’s last game as head coach of the Eagles. The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants could still qualify for the postseason with a win here and losses by the Bears, the Cowboys, and the Vikings, a scenario that is not as far-fetched as it may sound.

—RJ’s Pick: New York Giants by 13

Cleveland 5-10 at Pittsburgh 7-8 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: No Line)

The Browns are just 1-6 on the road this season. The Steelers have dropped three in a row. Multiple injuries to key players on both teams is the reason why there isn’t a line for this matchup. The Browns may end up starting Thaddeus Lewis at quarterback. Lewis has never taken a snap in a regular season NFL game.

—RJ’s Pick: Pittsburgh by 20

Oakland 4-11 at San Diego 6-9 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: No Line)

There is no line for the matchup because it is unknown at the time of this writing whether the Raiders will start Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor at quarterback. This should be Norv Turner’s last game as head coach of the Chargers.

—RJ’s Pick: San Diego by 14

Arizona 5-10 at San Francisco 10-4-1 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: 49ers by 16)

The Cardinals are just 1-6 on the road this season. The 49ers are 5-1-1 at home. I still think the line for this one is a little extreme.

—RJ’s Pick: San Francisco by 10

St. Louis 7-7-1 at Seattle 10-5 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: Seahawks by 10.5)

The Rams are 4-1 in their last five games, and 4-2-1 since their bye week. The Seahawks have won four in a row and are undefeated at home this year. They have scored a combined 150 points in their last three games, while allowing just 30 total points.

—RJ’s Pick: Seattle by 7

Green Bay 11-4 at Minnesota 9-6 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: Packers by 3.5)

The Packers would capture the NFC’s second seed and a crucial playoff bye with a win here. They’ve won four straight and are unbeaten against NFC North opponents so far this season. The Vikings have won their last three games and are 6-1 at home this year. A win here would earn them a playoff berth. Adrian Peterson needs just 102 rushing yards to reach 2,000 on the season.

—RJ’s Pick: Green Bay by 9

Miami 7-8 at New England 11-4 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: Patriots by 10)

The Dolphins are just 2-5 on the road this season. The Patriots are undefeated against AFC East opponents this year.

—RJ’s Pick: New England by 18

Kansas City 2-13 at Denver 12-3 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: Broncos by 15.5)

This is quite a mismatch. The Chiefs have the worst point differential in the NFL. They are winless against the AFC West this season. The Broncos have won 10 straight and are 6-1 at home this season. They can capture the top seed in the AFC with a win here and a loss by the Texans.

—RJ’s Pick: Denver by 24

Dallas 8-7 at Washington 9-6 – 8:20 p.m. (Line: Redskins by 3.5)

The winner of this matchup wins the NFC East and makes the playoffs as the conference’s fourth seed. The Redskins have won six in a row. The Cowboys have played some remarkably close games this season. Their eight wins have come by margins of 7, 6, 5, 15, 3, 5, 1, and 3. Their seven losses have come by margins of 20, 16, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 3. They are 2-1 in overtime games, all decided by a field goal.

—RJ’s Pick: Washington by 12

[If you’re interested, you can check out the full list of Danny Sheridan’s Odds here.]

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About RJ

  • C2E

    Always seemed to catch your column too late to comment as the season went on, but I still read and enjoyed it.

    Went 11-5 in Week 17 and finished the regular season 171-85 (straight up).

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    FINAL SCORES:

    CHICAGO 26, LIONS 24 – RJ 0-1 (1-0 ATS)

    TB 22, ATL 17 – RJ 0-2 (1-1 ATS)

    BILLS 28, JETS 9 – RJ 1-2 (2-1 ATS)

    CIN 23, BAL 17 – RJ 1-3 (2-2 ATS)

    TITANS 38, JAGUARS 20 – RJ 2-3 (2-3 ATS)

    IND 28, HOU 16 – RJ 2-4 (3-3 ATS)

    CAR 44, NO 38 – RJ 2-5 (4-3 ATS)

    GIANTS 42, EAGLES 7 – RJ 3-5 (5-3 ATS)

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    FINAL SCORES:

    STEELERS 24, CLEVELAND 10 – RJ 4-5 (6-3 ATS)

    SD 24, OAK 21 – RJ 5-5 (7-3 ATS)

    SF 27, ARIZONA 13 – RJ 6-5 (8-3 ATS)

    SEA 20, STL 13 – RJ 7-5 (9-3 ATS…AND I NAILED THE SPREAD)

    MINNESOTA 37, GB 34 – RJ 7-6 (9-4 ATS)

    NE 28, MIAMI 0 – RJ 8-6 (10-4 ATS)

    DEN 38, KC 3 – RJ 9-6 (11-4 ATS)

    WASHINGTON 28, DALLAS 18 – RJ 10-6 (12-4 ATS)

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    RJ for the 2012 regular season:

    163-93 straight up

    120-128-8 against the spread

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Thanks for following along this season, C2E.

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    ESPN’s experts in Week 17:

    Allen
    12-4
    Golic
    13-3
    Hoge
    13-3
    Jaworski
    11-5
    Mortensen
    11-5
    Schefter
    13-3
    Schlereth
    10-6
    Wickersham
    13-3
    Jackson
    11-5
    Johnson
    11-5
    Ditka
    13-3
    Carter
    12-4
    Accuscore
    11-5
    Pick ‘em
    12-4

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    ESPN’s experts for the 2012 regular season:

    Wickersham 179-77
    Mortensen 178-78
    Hoge 171-85
    Carter 169-87
    Pick ‘em 168-87
    Jaworski 168-88
    Ditka 166-90
    Schlereth 165-91
    Accuscore 164-92
    (RJ 163-93)
    Golic 162-94
    Jackson 161-95
    Schefter 160-96
    Allen 154-102
    Johnson 154-102

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    RJ’s Picks For The Wild Card Round:

    Bengals 10-6 at Houston 12-4 – Saturday @ 4:30 p.m. – Line: Houston by 4.5

    Cincinnati has won seven of their last eight games. They have not allowed more than 20 points since Week Nine. The Texans have lost three of their last four games.

    RJ’s Pick: Bengals by 3

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Vikings 10-6 at Green Bay 11-5 – Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. – Line: Green Bay by 7.5

    Minnesota won their last four games of the regular season to slip into the postseason. The Packers have not lost at home since Week One (against the 49ers).

    RJ’s Pick: Green Bay by 4

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Colts 11-5 at Baltimore 10-6 – Sunday @ 1:00 p.m. – Line: Baltimore by 6.5

    Indianapolis won five of their last six regular season games (and nine of their last 11) to reach the playoffs after going just 2-14 last season. The Ravens have lost four of their last five games.

    RJ’s Pick: Colts by 1

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Seahawks 11-5 at Washington 10-6 – Sunday @ 4:30 p.m. – Line: Seahawks by 3

    Seattle has won five straight games and their defense has not allowed more than 17 points since Week Twelve. However, they went just 3-5 on the road during the regular season. The Redskins have won seven in a row, scoring fewer than 27 points just once in that span.

    RJ’s Pick: Seahawks by 9

  • C2E

    Man, don’t pick against the Texans!

    (Then, who knows if they’ve rediscovered what “passion” means…)

    We’re going to the game tomorrow, so they pretty much have to win or I’ll kick their ass. (That should scare ‘em!)

    By the way, Andy Dalton is a local high school star from Katy. So, expect a contingent of Bengals’ fans.

    Agree with the rest of your picks. The Ravens are the unknown, but a fired up defense still may not be enough. Colts have been playing inspired football. The Ravens look a lot like the Texans.

    I like both Washington and Seattle. I know the latter doesn’t travel well. Still, it’s the playoffs, and that sometimes makes a difference. But let’s say by 4, not 9.

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Final Score:

    Houston 19, Bengals 13 – RJ 0-1 (0-1 ATS)

    Hope you enjoyed the game, C2E. :)

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Final Score:

    GB 24, Vikings 10 – RJ 1-1 (0-2 ATS)

  • C2E

    Game was AWESOME!

    ‘Course they will get humiliated next week….

    But for now, bask in the Victory!

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Final Scores:

    BAL 24, IND 9 – RJ 1-2 (0-3 ATS)

    SEA 24, WAS 14 – RJ 2-2 (1-3 ATS)

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    ESPN’s “experts” in the Wild Card Round:

    Allen
    4-0
    Golic
    3-1
    Hoge
    2-2
    Jaworski
    3-1
    Mortensen
    3-1
    Schefter
    4-0
    Schlereth
    3-1
    Wickersham
    3-1
    Jackson
    3-1
    Johnson
    4-0
    Ditka
    1-3
    Carter
    4-0
    Accuscore
    4-0
    SportsNation
    3-1

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    RJ’s NFL Picks – Divisional Round:

    Ravens at Denver – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 1/12/13 – Line: Denver by 8.5

    The Broncos are 7-1 at home this season, while Baltimore is 4-4 on the road. The Broncos have not lost a game since the first week of October.

    RJ’s Pick: Denver by 5

    Packers at San Francisco – 8:00 p.m. Saturday, 1/12/13 – Line: San Francisco by 3

    Green Bay lost just one game this season by more than one score. The 49ers have allowed 89 points in their last three games.

    RJ’s Pick: Packers by 3

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Texans at New England – 4:30 p.m. Sunday, 1/13/13 – Line: New England by 9

    The Patriots have the top scoring offense in the league, as well as the top offense in terms of total yards. Their offense is balanced (4th in the league in passing and 7th in rushing). Houston lost three of their last four regular season games before beating the Bengals last week in the Wild Card Round.

    RJ’s Pick: New England by 14

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Seahawks at Atlanta – 1:00 p.m. Sunday, 1/13/13 – Line: Atlanta by 2.5

    Seattle has not lost a single game this year by more than one score. They won their final five regular season games, and advanced to the Divisional Round with a road win last week against Washington. The Falcons lost two of their final four regular season games, although their Week 17 loss was in a game that didn’t matter. This is the most difficult game to pick this week. It could really go either way.

    RJ’s Pick: Seattle by 1

  • C2E

    Packers-49ers. I’d like to see the Packers win, but I’ll pick the 49ers.

    I think Atlanta breaks the jinx and wins in the Postseason. I’ll be cheering for Seattle, but I think Atlanta will take this one.

    Agree on Denver. Agree on the Pats, too. I just hope the Texans give me something to cheer about!

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Final Scores:

    Ravens 38, Broncos 35 (in OT) – RJ 2-3 (2-3 ATS)

    Patriots 41, Texans 28 – RJ 3-3 (3-3 ATS)

    Falcons 30, Seattle 28 – RJ 3-4 (4-3 ATS)

    SF 45, Packers 31 – RJ 3-5 (4-4 ATS)

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    ESPN’s experts:

    Allen
    7-1
    Golic
    7-1
    Hoge
    4-4
    Jaworski
    6-2
    Mortensen
    5-3
    Schefter
    6-2
    Schlereth
    4-4
    Wickersham
    5-3
    Jackson
    5-3
    Johnson
    6-2
    Ditka
    3-5
    Carter
    7-1
    Accuscore
    6-2
    SportsNation
    4-4

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    RJ’s NFL Picks – Conference Championship Games:

    Baltimore at New England (6:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS) [Line: New England by 8]

    The Patriots have scored at least 23 points in every game this season (and postseason) except a Week Two loss against the Cardinals. They have scored at least 41 points in six of their 17 games, including their win last week over the Texans. The Ravens shocked the Broncos in double overtime last week to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the second year in a row, and the third time since they drafted Joe Flacco five years ago. This game is a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game, which was narrowly won by the Patriots, 23-20. I firmly believe the Patriots are better this season than last, and that the Ravens are not quite as good.

    RJ’s Pick: New England by 15

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    San Francisco at Atlanta (3:00 p.m. Sunday on FOX) [Line: San Francisco by 3.5]

    The 49ers dismantled the Packers last week to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the second year in a row. I will just flat out state that I don’t believe the 49ers are a consistent enough team to win the Super Bowl, should they manage to win this week. They were absolutely crushed in Week Sixteen by the Seahawks. They lost to the Rams on the road, and could only manage a tie against them at home. They created a totally unnecessary quarterback controversy when they stuck with the young and inexperienced Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith, who was having a career season until his concussion. Kaepernick has a great deal of talent, is a dual threat, and has generally played well since taking over for the 49ers (especially last week), but I suspect he’s going implode either this week or in the Super Bowl. The Falcons have been consistently good – but not great – all season. Their three losses were by four points in New Orleans (Week Ten), by 10 points in Charlotte (Week Fourteen), and by five points against the Buccaneers in a meaningless Week Seventeen game. A lot of their wins this season were close, too: six points over the Broncos, two points over the Panthers, three points over the Raiders, six points over the Cowboys, four points over the Cardinals, one point over Tampa Bay, and of course their two point victory over the Seahawks last week. The Falcons have home field advantage, where they were 7-1 during the regular season (their only home loss being in the aforementioned meaningless Week Seventeen game). I predict a close game.

    RJ’s Pick: Atlanta by 3

  • C2E

    I’d like to see the Ravens win (mostly because I’m not a Pats fan). Still, I won the fantasy football league at the office, and having Brady, Hernandez and Gostkowski on the team didn’t hurt. Flaco would have to have a career day for them to win, and realistically, I don’t think they can put up enough points to win. So, begrudgingly, I’ll admit that the Patriots take the evening game.

    Early game – I don’t really care. I like Gonzalez and would like to see him get to the SB before retirement.

    49ers – Kaepernick is an interesting story. I did read an article saying that the odds were that he was due an implosion – either in the Championship game or the SB. It would be funny if that happened and Smith came in a bailed them out…

    So, I’ll pick SF. I, too, think it will be a close game.

    -Chris

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Final Scores:

    Baltimore 28, NE 13 – RJ 3-6 (4-5 ATS)

    SF 28, Atlanta 24 – RJ 3-7 (4-6 ATS)

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    ESPN’s experts:

    Allen
    8-2
    Golic
    9-1
    Hoge
    6-4
    Jaworski
    7-3
    Mortensen
    6-4
    Schefter
    7-3
    Schlereth
    5-5
    Wickersham
    7-3
    Jackson
    6-4
    Johnson
    7-3
    Ditka
    4-6
    Carter
    8-2
    Accuscore
    7-3
    SportsNation
    5-5

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    *Super Bowl XLVII*

    Sunday, February 3rd, 2013: San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Line: San Francisco by 3.5)

    I hate both these teams, so I don’t really care who wins. The 49ers are obviously the favorite, but the Ravens have been very tough all postseason. It should be close.

    RJ’s Pick: Baltimore by 4

  • C2E

    Well…going to be a fun Sunday at your place on the 3rd!

    We have a modest Super Bowl party every year with about 25 or 30 people. We always pick a team to support and purchase t-shirts to wear for the game.

    This year, we gave up. Couldn’t really select a team to root for, so I just ordered us Super Bowl 47 t-shirts. But, we don’t “hate” either team – just don’t have a dog in this hunt.

    My call, just to be belligerent: 49ers by 7

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    I don’t like Ray L e w i s, Terrell Suggs, Jim Harbaugh, or Randy M o s s.

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    I think Alex Smith got hosed, so I can’t really root for Colin Kaepernick.

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Maybe I can root for Joe Flacco?

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Sorry about the odd comments, it would not let me post that as a single comment. FYI.

  • C2E

    Yeah, had a problem with a rejected comment myself, although I don’t understand why…

    Have similar thoughts about player personnel, hence difficult to pick a team. Like a couple on each team, though.

    In 3 different square games, so I’m routing for me to hit on at least one!

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    ARE WE READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    C o l i n Kaepernick is i m p l o d i n g…

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    Final Score:

    Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31 – RJ 4-7 (5-6 ATS)

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/the-vice-presidential-debate-drinking-game RJ

    ESPN’s experts:

    Allen
    8-3
    Golic
    10-1
    Hoge
    6-5
    Jaworski
    8-3
    Mortensen
    6-5
    Schefter
    7-4
    Schlereth
    5-6
    Wickersham
    7-4
    Jackson
    7-4
    Johnson
    7-4
    Ditka
    4-7
    Carter
    8-3
    Accuscore
    8-3
    SportsNation
    5-6

  • John Lake

    Close game. Kaepernick seemed distracted for most of the game. He developed a habit of going around to his teammates, already lined up, before first down plays, apparently with a last minute wish for luck, or maybe advice. He always runs on first possessions, which is infuriating!

  • John

    RJ where are you this year? I need you pics!