The 2009 NFL Picks
Week twelve


An amazing week eleven folks. The dogs had some good moments and bad moments. It looked awful for a while, as they crashed during the early games while the rest of use were doing quite well. But a 3-2 mark in the late afternoon and evening contests left them heading into Monday night with a not great, but still respectable 6-9 mark with a game to go. So 6-10 is not too shabby when you consider they were on the edge of falling off a big cliff.

We had a tussle at the top… with Mike and I turning in strong weeks… and now Dad, Mike and I are separated by a single game.

And while likely too late to make a serious run at anyone… especially since, except for the Dogs, we all did fairly well last week… Terry nailed it last week and showed some of the form that led to her destroying Mike and I last season.

It was also a week that officially saw Jay Cutler become the least valuable quarterback in his division. Yup… Matt Stafford showed more against Cleveland than I’ve ever seen Jay Cutler deliver in his career. Cutler is now the worst starting quarterback in the NFC North. (Think about that. Because I honestly think you could successfully defend my opinion as a sound argument. Jay Cutler gets all of this hype, and he isn’t in the top 3 quarterbacks in a 4 team division. Then… for fun… let’s toss in Drew Brees, Eli Manning (hey, he’s won a Super Bowl), Matt Ryan, and you begin to get the picture that he isn’t even one of the top five to eight in his conference. And the other conference? Well… sure… that’s just amateur hour. Tom Brady… Peyton Manning… Ben Roethlisberger… Phillip Rivers…)

See… from what I saw during the Philadelphia against Chicago game… Jay Cutler couldn’t hit a moving car with a football if he was sitting in the back seat of the car when he threw it.

(Ok… ok… that’s not fair. He probably could hit a moving car with a football. This week the Bears are playing the Vikings in Minnesota. If you painted the car purple and gold, left it undefended about 10-yards from him, and let him throw at it on Sunday afternoon, Cutler would hit it without a problem.)

Cutler has thrown 15 interceptions in 5 road games this year. He’s thrown 8 interceptions in the last 2 road games. And amazingly… take the two worst games for turnovers on the road (Green Bay in week one (4 picks) and San Francisco two games ago (5 picks)) and I think you could easily argue that Chicago should have won both games. This is a team that should be, at worst, 6-4 if they had adequate play from the quarterback. I swear, a healthy Chad Pennington in a Bears uniform and Chicago would be 7-3.

Now obviously I’m simplifying things a bit. Matt Forte has been nothing short of brutal this season. 10 games played, and he’s barely over 50-yards per game. He’s gone over 100-yards in a game once (against Detroit)… and been under 30-yards 3 times. (And that’s not a fluke… because he’s been under 40-yards 5 times… under 50-yards 6 times… but with three fumbles (only one lost), at least he’s controlling the ball. Sort of.)

But you tell me… think anyone in Detroit, after watching Stafford last week, would trade Stafford for Cutler? I don’t. Think Green Bay or Minnesota would like Cutler running their offenses? I don’t. Right now, he’s the least valuable quarterback in the NFC North, and I don’t think there’s an argument to be made in his favor.

And this week against the Vikings? We’re looking at 2 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 touchdown passes and a rating hovering just above 60. (To be honest… he’ll be lucky to get those touchdown passes against the Vikings… especially considering how bad he was on Sunday night, often throwing the ball harmlessly at open ground with not a single body within 10-yards of the ball when it landed (and a wide open Bears receiver the first to come into view when the ball bounced for the third time). That said… he does get sacked twice as often at home, so maybe he has that going for him in this road game. (I doubt it.))

I’m also convinced Indianapolis is not one of the elite teams in football. Yes… they’re very good. Yes… Manning looks like an uncontested MVP right now. (Only Drew Brees is in that conversation with him, and I’d love Brees to get it, but Manning is the MVP.) All that admitted and current record taken into account, the Colts are not the best team in the AFC. Two weeks in row they should have lost, and several teams in recent weeks have had them struggling. The Colts are no threat to win a title this year… none at all. Top three teams are New Orleans, Minnesota, and New England… in that order. And if the Patriots can get a bye week, they will crush the Colts if Indianapolis even gets a win in their first playoff game. For my money… I think the 14-2 Colts (notice, I still don’t buy a 16-0 Colts when the regular season ends) are going to lose their first playoff game when San Diego arrives in town.

This week we move into the third movie of the definitive John Cusack trilogy… and, while I prefer last week’s film, this one is the one that gets all of the attention… Say Anything.

Green Bay at Detroit (pick)“I am looking for a dare to be great situation.” It’s nice to dream wonderful things… but reality is occasionally more powerful. Green Bay scores 10 more points a game than Detroit does… and they give up 10 points less per game than Detroit. (Detroit opponents have scored 120 more points than the Lions have this year… not only is that an average of being outscored by 12 per game, but keep in mind the Lions won twice.) After inexcusably losing to Tampa Bay, Green Bay has put together two good games in a row, smothering Dallas 17-7 and knocking off San Francisco 30-24. As if common sense weren’t enough… injuries may limit Detroit on offense, with both Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson question marks as I write this.
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: Green Bay
Dad: Green Bay
Mike: Green Bay
Molly: Green Bay

Oakland at Dallas (13½) “Diane Court doesn’t go out with guys like you. She’s a brain.” “…trapped in the body of a game-show hostess.” This one is far more difficult than it should be. And I blame that on the combination of three things: (1) The short week means first impressions matter… since teams don’t prepare as deeply as they normally would and tend to focus on what they do well and hoping the opponent can’t stop them. (Advantage: Dallas) (2) Dallas has looked like crap for two straight weeks, and if it weren’t for beating Washington 7-6 they would have lost both of them. (Advantage: Oakland) (3) Oakland changed their quarterback, seems to have the players thrilled by that change, and took out Cincinnati last week. (Advantage: I have zero clue, since I don’t know how to view that one) More than half of the Oakland losses have been by 20-points or more. The Bengals game ended 20-17… nice, but hardly demonstrating a ton of offensive firepower. And let’s not forget… with Cedric Benson out of the game, Cincinnati didn’t field a powerful running attack. Oakland isn’t winning me over. By the way… Tony Romo is 3-0 on Thanksgiving, and Dallas has won all three of those contests by at least 25-points.
Bob: Dallas
Terry: Oakland
Dad: Dallas
Mike: Oakland
Gus: Dallas

New York (Giants) (6) at Denver“I don’t know you very well, you know, but I wanted to ask you – how’d you get Diane Court to go out with you?” “I called her up.” “But how come it worked? I mean, like, what are you?” “I’m Lloyd Dobler.” “This is great. This gives me hope.” I should ask how Kyle Orton is doing. But here’s the thing that makes this a fairly quick decision for me… remember how early on the Denver defense was the talk of everything this side of Josh McDaniels, Kyle Orton and chicken salad? Sure you do. It was the fourth game of the year before someone scored 10 against them. On October 19th, they defeated the Chargers while giving up 23 points. Since then… 30 points given up in losing to the Ravens… 28 in a loss to the Steelers… 27, a loss, the Redskins… yes, the Redskins scored 27… the Chargers put up 32 in Denver’s fourth straight loss… and, I don’t know if I mentioned, the Washington Redskins scored 27 against them. My point is… I don’t like the way the Broncos look on defense. At all. They’re 6-4 now, and have actually given up more points on the year than they’ve scored. Not good. Memo to Miami: Your door to the playoffs is opening a bit wider.
Bob: New York
Terry: New York
Dad: Denver
Mike: New York
Molly: Denver

Indianapolis at Houston (pick)“Joe. She’s written sixty-five songs. Sixty-five. They’re all about you. They’re all about pain.” Indianapolis’s undefeated run will end this week or next… against Houston or Tennessee. They’ve been shaky over four straight games, and the past two should have both been losses. (I believe the Colts will be sending Christmas cards to Billy Cundiff and Ed Reed after last week’s escape.) The trouble in picking the upset here is that Houston is coming in off of a Monday night game where they choked against the suddenly hot Titans. I’m going to go with the desperate team here… in a pick I’m not entirely comfortable with. But get this… Houston wants to believe they are a playoff team. They are the desperate team. And something is very wrong in making this game a toss-up. Their season officially ends with Miami and New England. A loss here and their season unofficially ends.
Bob: Houston
Terry: Indianapolis
Dad: Indianapolis
Mike: Indianapolis
Gus: Houston

Cleveland at Cincinnati (14)“You must chill. You must chill.” Thanks to a gift from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati still finds itself alone at the top of the AFC North, with sweeps in hand over the two nearest foes. Life is good. Enter the Browns. The Bengals needed overtime to defeat them in October… the Ravens struggled against them, with only a shutout on the scoreboard making the game look like a comfortable win… and last week they played a very exciting game against the Lions. Cincy slammed Chicago, but hasn’t come close to an offensive performance or consistency worthy of this spread.
Bob: Cleveland
Terry: Cleveland
Dad: Cincinnati
Mike: Cincinnati
Molly: Cleveland

Chicago at Minnesota (10½)“Why can’t you be in a good mood? How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and be in a good mood once in a while?” “Gee, it’s easy.” Cutler on the road? And you want to know who I’ll pick? Are you insane?
Bob: Minnesota
Terry: Chicago
Dad: Minnesota
Mike: Minnesota
Gus: Chicago

Washington at Philadelphia (9)“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” They defeated Denver, scared the crap out of Dallas, and just a few weeks ago only lost to Philly by 10 points. The Redskins are an interesting pick here. The reality though is that Washington is 3-7 against what looks like the easiest schedule in the league. St. Louis… Tampa Bay… Detroit… Kansas City… not exactly a whopping set of obstacles to overcome and competitive. Funny too… because the free ride is over for them. After this they get the Saints, Giants, Cowboys and Chargers as part of the stretch run.
Bob: Philadelphia
Terry: Washington
Dad: Philadelphia
Mike: Philadelphia
Molly: Washington

Miami (3) at Buffalo“Am I wrecking my car?” “Yeah. A little.” There’s a corner of me that thinks Miami might be one of the six best teams in the AFC. With the extra time off following the Thursday night game last week, and a fundamentally sound team approach, I think they win this game. It’s next week… when they host New England… that things get interesting for them.
Bob: Miami
Terry: Miami
Dad: Miami
Mike: Miami
Gus: Buffalo

Arizona at Tennessee (pick)“Man, all you gotta do is find a girl that looks just like her, nail her, and then dump her, man. Get her of your mind.” “Your only mistake is that you didn’t dump her first. Diane Court is a show pony. You need a stallion, my friend. Walk with us and you walk tall.” “Bitches, man.” Slowly and methodically Arizona has moved to a 7-3 record. Sure, losses to the 49ers and Colts hurt and showed they shouldn’t be feared as an elite team… and the loss to the Panthers was a reminder of that… but would you believe they haven’t lost on the road? In fact, a 7-point win over the Giants was as close as any team has been to defeating the traveling Cardinals.
Bob: Arizona
Terry: Arizona
Dad: Arizona
Mike: Arizona
Molly: Tennessee

Seattle (2½) at St. Louis“Dude, where’d she dump you, man?” “In the car.” “Oh man, your car? Man, dissed in the Malibu. That’s your castle, man.” The Rams may be losing alot this season… an awful lot at 1-9… but here’s one they’ll win. They looked pretty good against New Orleans, and shut down Arizona for the second half last week. Enter the Seahawks, a team that can’t find a hotel on the road… forget the end zone. They are 0-5 on the road and haven’t been within 10-points in any of those games.
Bob: St. Louis
Terry: Seattle
Dad: Seattle
Mike: St. Louis
Gus: Seattle

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (11½)“I got a question. If you guys know so much about women, how come you’re here at like the Gas ‘n Sip on a Saturday night completely alone drinking beers with no women anywhere?” “By choice, man.” This is where Atlanta decides what they are doing with their season. At 5-5, with two games against Tampa, plus Buffalo and New York (Jets) left to go, 9 wins is a reasonable expectation. Add in home games against Philadelphia and New Orleans, and 10 wins isn’t impossible. But, they simply can’t lose this game and expect to make the playoffs. Last week, by losing to the Giants, they lost a potentially devastating tie-breaker. They’ve also lost to Dallas, and have a very mediocre 4-4 conference record. (To put that conference mark into perspective against the other even-record or better wild card chasers as of today… New York is 4-3 (with that head-to-head victory), Philly is 5-2, and Green Bay is 5-3.) The Falcons almost without question have to win a wild card spot with no ties to decide. Since defeating the Packers, the Bucs challenged the Dolphins (but lost) and then collapsed against the Saints. I think the Falcons showed some signs of shaking things off against the Giants last week. I like them here.
Bob: Atlanta
Terry: Tampa Bay
Dad: Atlanta
Mike: Atlanta
Molly: Atlanta

Carolina at New York (Jets) (3)“She’s gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.” I’ve been hearing the Jets talk about how the Patriots showed them no respect on Sunday. Let me get this straight… essentially, after being stunningly arrogant around the first meeting of the year when they talked before and after the game, they’re mad that the Patriots… who actually have been winners in recent years, as opposed to the Jets who haven’t done much without Bill Parcells (or since Chad Pennington’s first year or two as a starter)… might have looked at them like something that needed to be scraped off their shoes? Sounds like a bunch of idiots to me, but hey, if it motivates them… whatever. You earn respect by winning… not by talking the loudest or longest. And gee… look at that… winning has been a problem for the Jets lately. 3 straight losses… 6 losses in the past 7 games… the only win in 7 games was against the Raiders… and they really aren’t looking like a team with a big defense that doesn’t make mistakes. I expect the Panthers to run all over them.
Bob: Carolina
Terry: Carolina
Dad: Carolina
Mike: New York
Gus: New York

Jacksonville at San Francisco (3)“Why don’t you just call her again?” “I draw the line at seven unreturned phone calls.” There’s not much to love about the 49ers. They’ve lost 4 of 5 since their bye week… and Atlanta topped them before the bye week. But check this one out. Have you heard about the Jaguars? They’re 6-4 and people are thinking playoffs. Umm… no. See… they were 3-4 a few weeks ago. They won all three played since… over Kansas City (24-21), New York (Jets) (24-22) and Buffalo (18-15). 6-4 now… I don’t see a playoff spot in six weeks.
Bob: San Francisco
Terry: Jacksonville
Dad: San Francisco
Mike: Jacksonville
Molly: San Francisco

Kansas City at San Diego (13½)“You probably got it all figured out, Corey. If you start out depressed everything’s kind of a pleasant surprise.” This game has me stumped. San Diego is the better team… and has been playing brilliantly the past few weeks. But here’s the kicker… teams score against them. Now… sure… we’re talking about teams chasing the postseason like the Eagles and Giants. But the reality is, after 10 games, the supposedly highly impressive San Diego Chargers have given up 20 or more 6 times. And a two touchdown spread? Heck… in 7 wins they’ve covered that twice… against Kansas City and Denver, both times on the road. I think the Chargers come into this game with a bit too much swagger. They’ve done it before… and they don’t have the coaching staff to get them to focus. (By the way, San Diego hasn’t beaten Kansas City convincingly twice in the same year in more than a decade. They’ve swept both games in close battles… they’ve split the games… but they’ve never won both games by wide margins.)
Bob: Kansas City
Terry: Kansas City
Dad: Kansas City
Mike: San Diego
Gus: San Diego

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (pick)“One question: do you need, someone, or do you need me? Forget it, I don’t really care.” While I want to take the Ravens in this game, there’s alot to be concerned about. Last week I watched them miss field goals… go the entire game protecting the ball quite well… then give the ball away twice with a shot at a victory. Seriously… I don’t care that Joe Flacco threw a pick. I care that he threw it when they were within field goal range, time running down, and only needed the 3 points to win. That’s just stupid. But… not as stupid as Ed Reed tossing the ball away after that. At 5-5 I think the Ravens could be done. They might have a shot at the playoffs, since I have lots of questions with the 6-4 teams. But I think they come into this game emotionally drained. And they find a Steelers team looking for someone to spank. That said… Roethlisberger may actually be a quarterback that can’t spell cat when spotted the C-A after his head injury last week. Against my better judgment, I’m going with Ray Rice here… and the missing Troy Polamalu to matter.
Bob: Baltimore
Terry: Pittsburgh
Dad: Baltimore
Mike: Pittsburgh
Molly: Baltimore

New England at New Orleans (3)“Nobody thinks it will work, do they?” “No. You just described every great success story.” I’m picking the Patriots because I should take the underdog against a low spread. But this game is very likely to end up with a final score like 42-38.
Bob: New England
Terry: New England
Dad: New England
Mike: New England
Gus: New Orleans

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bob – Last week 13-3, season 86-72-2
Mike – Last week 12-4, season 86-72-2
Dad – Last week 9-7, season 85-73-2
The Dogs – Last week 6-10, season 73-85-2
Terry – Last week 11-5, season 69-89-2

Molly: Last week 3-5, season 39-40-1
Gus: Last week 3-5, season 34-45-1

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at