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In Wilbon's World

Pick Against Mike: Week 12

Okay, I rebounded last week when it came to picking games, but this week is a toughie. Not all the games are significant (Carolina at the Jets is a good example) but so many are difficult to get a handle on...Six games carry three-point spreads! Two of the three games on Thanksgiving Day were the easiest of the week to pick. The Raiders had no chance to beat the Cowboys and the Lions, even playing at home and with Matthew Stafford, had no chance to beat the Packers. What a joke, the Thanksgiving Day games. The one that figured to be the most compelling, Giants at Denver, was lousy as well.

The NFL ought to be able to give us better than what we got Thursday. Thankfully, I anticipated dog games and TiVo'd the Law & Order marathon on TNT and watched that Thursday, and bailed on the Giants-Broncos game in favor of the prime-time Beyonce special at 9 p.m. eastern.

Redskins at Eagles
Will the Redskins have an even worse running game than the Eagles? You never know which Philly team you're going to get from week to week. I just figure we're at the time of the season when a team with serious playoff aspirations like the Eagles ought to man-up at home and win. But these division games are tricky. Philly in OT by a FG.

Colts at Houston
I've picked the Colts to lose a couple of times recently and just barely missed. I'm tempted to do it again since the Texans, if they're going to make the playoffs, desperately need to win this game to stay tight in the wild-card race. Okay, I'll do it again: Houston at home to stop Indy's undefeated season.

Browns at Bengals
Bengals ought to be completely embarrassed over loss in Oakland last week. If they're pretenders they might lose this one, too. Hey, they're the Bengals. If they're contenders they'll win at home in an angry romp. I'm staying with the Bengals one more week. Cincy big.

Bears at Vikings
This could get ugly. Vikings by, oh, 38-7.

Dolphins at Bills
Another division game where I want to take the road team. Oh, what the heck...I will. Dolphins over the Bills outdoors in the semi-cold.

Cardinals at Titans
Cardinals are 5-0 on the road and that's where it'll stop. The Titans are on a complete roll and will not be stopped at home. Tennessee convincingly.

Seattle at St. Louis
Can you imagine paying good money to see this? Rams at home.

Bucs at Falcons
Falcons have been goofing around the last few weeks. Win this one or the season is over. Falcons at home.

Panthers at Jets
They're both done, but I'll take the Cryin' Ryans (Jets) at home.

Jaguars at 49ers
The Jaguars are the better team, without question, but are they good enough to go 3,000 miles and win? Nope. Niners at home.

Chiefs at Chargers
Chiefs playing better in the last few weeks, but not THAT much better. Chargers at home.

Steelers at Ravens
Is a run-in with Ray Lewis what a concussed QB really needs? This is the toughest game to pick in a tough week. These are just the kind of games champions rebound to win. Even though the Ravens need the game even more, I'm taking the Steelers and my favorite QB in the NFL, Big Ben, to win on the road and keep the heat on the Bengals.

Patriots at Saints
How juicy is this one? This has the chance to be one of the best post-Thanksgiving Monday Night games since the Dolphins beat the undefeated Bears in 1985. Patriots playing so, so well lately. Saints on a crusade, which gets dangerous at times. Still, Saints at home narrowly.

Editor's note: Play the pick 'em game and compare your results to Mike's here. And here are Wilbon's Thursday picks in case you missed them...

It's virtually impossible for the traditional Thanksgiving Day NFL games to be less interesting than they are this year. That doesn't mean the games won't be any good once they kick them off; the Browns-Lions game last week is proof of that. But the Raiders have zero chance of upsetting the Cowboys in Dallas, even with Bruce Gradkowski at QB.

And whatever intrigue Packers-at-Lions had was done when Detroit QB Matthew Stafford injured his left shoulder beating the Browns. With the Packers losing Aaron Kampman and Al Harris from the defense for the year and Stafford starting to justify being picked No. 1 overall in recent weeks, the Lions absolutely have a chance of knocking off Green Bay, which simply has to win this game to hold onto wild card position.

Luckily, there's a third Thanksgiving Day game now, the nighttime affair, this year between the Giants and Broncos, two of the three best teams in the NFL after five weeks, reduced to two teams struggling to hold onto playoff position now.

Packers at Lions
Sunday's injuries have ruined this one...Can't imagine Matthew Stafford playing...Daunte Culpepper could have a decent game against a longtime division rival, but the Packers need it desperately if they want to make the playoffs. Green Bay by a field goal late.

Raiders at Cowboys
Yes, the Cowboys are both fragile and overrated but they have won seven games. They're playing at home. They Cowboys are nothing if not something of a bully, which means this is exactly the kind of games Dallas wins easily. The Cowboys might even run up the score. Too bad Thanksgiving Day has to be littered with this game. Dallas big.

Giants at Broncos
It would appear the loser of this game is done in terms of the post-season. Denver's only chance to win is if Kyle Orton is able to start and play effectively. If not, Broncos won't be able to generate enough offense to win. Giants get a big one on the road.

By

Michael Wilbon

 |  November 25, 2009; 2:05 PM ET  |  Category:  NFL , Post Pro Picks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Great call on the CHI-MIN score, Mike. The Bears are easily one of the NFL's 10 worst franchises. Inept from top to bottom.

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | November 29, 2009 7:26 PM
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Wilbon, you incorrectly state this morning that you've picked the Colts to lose a "couple" times. Is now the number 5 a couple? Probably not in most people's minds.

And you've barely missed? It's a win or loss game, no points with no ribbon for second place.

Why so determined that the Colts must not have a perfect season?

Posted by: ruggermel | November 29, 2009 9:44 AM
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Michael,

While I realize this may be a bit off topic, what's your take on Tiger-Gate?

Posted by: phoss1 | November 28, 2009 8:55 PM
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WHERE'S TONY?

Posted by: KDSmallJr | November 28, 2009 3:23 PM
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WHERE'S TONY?????

Posted by: KDSmallJr | November 28, 2009 3:23 PM
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