NFL WEEK TWELVE PREVIEW

Thanksgiving means NFL

by Ryan Meehan and Ryan Spickler

Coach Ryan:  Welcome to Week 12 of the regular season, a week that NFL fans literally drool with anticipation for.  All year we football fans gorge ourselves with chicken wings, pizza, and most importantly beer to the despise of our families and significant others. This week with the Thanksgiving games on the schedule it gives us a whole extra football day to do this and for once a year not get the evil eye or the line “do you really do this every weekend?” Whether you are the one cooking or you’re leaving the dirty work to someone else get ready to eat, drink, and stretch out those pants a little bit farther as Thanksgiving is finally upon us. This week not only gives us our typical exciting home games for the Lions and the Cowboys (read into the picks for my true take) but also gets into some pretty fun rivalry games. As always I think the Browns will win this week and upsets will happen including our take on how the 9-1 Falcons could be in trouble. So sit back, enjoy your turkey coma, and get ready for week 12 of the NFL season!

 

Meehan:  Coach is right on the money, and I believe that although we do need to do a better job as a collective nation when it comes to stuffing our faces Thanksgiving is the exception to that.  This year we started a little bit earlier than usual, as America was sent into a panic on November 16th when it was announced that Hostess had filed for bankruptcy.  While at first this did not seem like a major shift in our abilities to purchase tickets to a monster truck rally, hate people that we have never met from Saudi Arabia, and continue to buy helicopter loads of narcotics from that part of the world, someone somewhere must have realized that this also meant we would no longer be able to acquire Twinkies and all of a sudden the social networking sites were a flurry of protest about how our right to get diabetes from a gas station snack treat would soon be taken away.  I couldn’t stop laughing just knowing that there were people all over the country who were freaking the hell out about it.  What does that have to do with football?  Absolutely nothing, that’s what the rest of this article is for. 
 
Thanksgiving Day Football:  Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6)

The Houston Texans are the next team to be guaranteed a spot on Thanksgiving. If it happens, it will happen to them. You have my word.

Coach:  This Thanksgiving weekend gives us the typical home games for the Cowboys and Lions in a tradition that is as old as Pat Summerall. As a side note although I respect the tradition these games have brought us over the years, seeing two non playoff teams share the spotlight yet again is getting as old as your Aunt Mary’s casserole recipe. Mr. Goodell in a plea to spice up the ratings and excitement of actually paying attention to these games I offer you this idea, let these be home games  for the reigning Champions out of the AFC and the NFC in a rematch of those games. Think about it, it would be extra bonus for the players and fans of the Giants and Pats to keep their excitement from making the Super Bowl the year before and seeing a match-up such as Giants and Niners along with Ravens at the Patriots. This is an idea I have had for years and although it probably will never happen it’s one that would make football fans as hungry as the smell of a 22 lb bird in the oven.  On to the actual game on the appetizer plate, the Lions and the Texans. Houston is coming off their “we are better than the Jags so we just have to show up to win” game of the year. I was slightly off in my prediction of the Texans winning 1,000 to 3 in one of several games I found myself scoreboard watching last Sunday. While I was finding myself thinking that the Texans may be exposed I also think that the fact they just weren’t revved up for this game may have played a factor. The Texans have this spotlight game this week and it would be easy for them to look ahead. More importantly for the Texans that was a game that found them down at home in the second half but still found a way to win. I understand the AFC is a down year in most people’s eyes but the fact that they won does count in my book. Do I think the Texans are Super Bowl contenders? They may be and honestly have about as good of a shot as anyone in the AFC but quite often good teams need a wake up call and that’s what I’m chalking it up to be.  The Lions on the other hand had a lead against the Packers at home in what might have been a complete microcosm of their season. The Lions have had chances this season and until Rodgers led a late rally there was hope in Detroit that they still had a shot at postseason play. Unfortunately for the Lions they have dropped two in a row to division opponents and really have crushed any hopes of making it past the regular season. Even worse for the Lions is one of the top AFC teams coming in off a game that gave them confidence in being able to pull out close games. I do think that this game is going to be closer than most people think and should be right around the 3 point spread favoring the Texans. Both of these teams have good passing games but also are going against good passing defenses. In the end this game is coming down to the Texans running game as the Lions are giving up over 115 yards on the ground per game. Bottom line is this is a good team against an OK team who has been struggling. The Texans should win and barely cover the spread due to the Lions pulling out all the punches in what is their yearly Super Bowl.

Coach’s Pick:  Texans 24, Lions 20

Meehan’s Pick:  Texans 33, Lions 14

Thanksgiving Afternoon Football:  Washington Redskins (4-6) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Washington will try and skin the Cowboys alive on Thanksgiving

Meehan:  I have never been a bigger fan of the Washington Redskins in my entire life.  Not only do they have the opportunity to showcase their quarterback’s incredible talent level on national television where casual football fans everywhere will be watching, they also get the chance to make Jerry Jones miserable on the very same broadcast.  You can’t give the Skins a whole lot of credit for their 31-6 win over the Eagles last week, anybody could have put together that performance the way Philly is playing at the moment and there were still moments where the offense looked shaky at best.  The Cowboys have won two straight, but they haven’t exactly done it blowout fashion.  They barely got away with a win last week against Cleveland in a game where they should have crushed the Browns at home to get back to .500 and have everybody talking Cowboys again just the way Jerryworld likes it.  I’m not only making this pick with my heart, I’m making it based on the fact that I’m not one hundred percent convinced that Dallas is the better team.  Washington has been up and down this year, but this is a very big stage for Robert Griffin III to make statement and this is the day on which he becomes a huge star.  Statistically, Griffin hasn’t put up the type of numbers that Luck has but he is a very different quarterback.  If he can avoid DeMarcus Ware, this could very well be a very easy win for the Cowboys who I still can’t seem to buy into. 

 
Meehan’s Pick:  Redskins 26, Cowboys 20
  
Coach’s Pick:  Redskins 27, Cowboys 23
 
Thanksgiving Night Football:  New England Patriots (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6)
 

A shot from the Bradyscape

Meehan:  First and foremost, I have to give it up to NBC for finding a way to get this game on in primetime on a network that doesn’t have “NFL” in front of it.  I love the three game format for Thanksgiving, but let’s be honest a lot of us weren’t watching those games because we don’t have NFL Network.  Bravo to NBC for starting what I hope will be a great holiday tradition, and for leading with a game that should prove to be great.  Even though we here at FOH are Pats fans and respect what they have been able to do over the years, let’s be honest there are still a lot of fans out there who hate them.  You’ve heard it all, “Cheatriots”, “Belicheat”, et cetera.  Personally I think the whole Spygate thing got out of hand really fast, but the one group of people that will never forget about it are Jets fans because it was their team being videotaped.  That’s who the Patriots will be playing on Thanksgiving night, but all is fair in love and war so let’s also be honest about this one:  Not a lot of people like the Jets either.  This year hasn’t helped that fact as Rex Ryan has slowly moved from a guy who makes bold predictions to a guy who makes weak excuses.  Now let’s briefly examine how this game will play out from a football angle…The Patriots are coming off of a 59-24 drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts, where they showed the rest of the league that they’re still the Patriots.  The Jets won last week, but it was a little ugly.  This one is going to be closer than one might expect.   I expect the Jets’ defense to do everything in their power to make sure Thanksgiving night isn’t a repeat of last week.  I’m taking New England by a field goal, and I don’t believe that they it will be a decisive one.  I can see this game being a toe to toe in the first two periods, but then the Patriots will put together a few big plays and the Jets will attempt to catch up late but fall short.  And one of the main reasons they will is because the Jets don’t have the players in place on offense to make a game deciding play late.  Pats by 3. 
 
Meehan’s Pick:  Patriots 27, Jets 24
  
Coach’s Pick:  Patriots 36, Jets 21

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-3) 

 

This could get messy

Coach:  Heading into Sunday this is a game that is as confusing and hard to call as the even spread. All season I have been ranting and raving on how good the Bears are and how I think they along with the 49ers are the best in the NFC. Yet last week in a game that put my two NFC picks together the Bears’ fans not only had to deal with the news of Mike Ditka having a minor stroke (get better soon coach) but also had to watch as their team led by Jason Campbell got manhandled by a Niners team also calling on a backup quarterback. If the Bears have one gaping hole they never find the need to address it’s their offensive line which makes what Cutler has been able to accomplish this year all the more impressive.  The Vikings are coming off their bye after taking care of business against their division rivals the Lions. Funny enough about the Vikings is although they have lost three out of their last five they find themselves only a game out of the lead in the NFC North and are still in the conversation as one of the biggest surprises of this football season. This is a game that I would have the Bears winning pretty easily. It’s in Chicago and to me the Bears are a much more talented team but the big question mark remains Jay Cutler. Although he hasn’t exactly been lighting it up this year (12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions) there is no doubt that he makes the Bears a better team. Even if he is to return this week you wonder how well he will step back in the role with the weak offensive line surrounding him. This is a game that I think is going to come down to defense. If the Bears defense doesn’t get too worn out by the running of Adrian Peterson they have a chance but if he along with a healthy Percy Harvin are able to put some offense together I can see the Vikings win. Still the game is in the Windy City which makes it even harder to pick so my prediction is going to come down to a bunch of “ifs.” IF Cutler plays, Bears win. IF Cutler doesn’t play and Harvin does, Vikings win. IF none of the questionable players play, Vikings win on the back of Peterson. My score is going to be based of the assumption Harvin plays and Cutler doesn’t.
 
Coach’s Pick:  Vikings 20, Bears 17

Meehan’s Pick:  Vikings 23, Bears 16 

Oakland Raiders (3-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-5) 

Coach:  Since the Raiders came off their bye week they arguably have looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL. They are 2-4 with their two wins being an overtime victory against the Jaguars and a win verses the Chiefs. Since then they have dropped three in a row by an average margin of over 18 points including a 35 point loss the the Ravens. Now Carson Palmer is going to lead his mess of a team back into his old home at Cincinnati which undoubtedly will be a hostile environment. The Bengals on the flip side are coming off back to back wins including the surprising manhandling of the Giants at home. With Bengals impressive play as of late and a schedule that remains very winnable until week 16 it is not out of the realm of possibility that they could sneak  into postseason play.  As it stands the Bengals are in 7th place in the AFC and outside of games against the Ravens and Steelers the last two weeks every one of their opponents are .500 at best. Not to mention that, as of now ahead of them in the playoff standings are a very injury ridden Steelers team and the Colts who may be a year away from being a true playoff team.  This game is going to come down to what Bengals team takes the field on Sunday. During Cincy’s four game slide earlier this year everything on their team seemed dysfunctional but the last two weeks have brought fans the dynamic duo of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. This honestly could be a game that the Bengals typically forget to show up to but with a large portion of the current roster playing with something to prove against their old team I think the Bengals will play like a top AFC team. I’m sure Palmer will show up to play as well but at this point in his career Andy Dalton has more weapons and is playing much better than he is. If you own Dalton and Green in fantasy start them because I think this game will feature a lot of offensive production against a Raiders defense that hasn’t been able to stop a thing for almost a month. The spread on this game is 9 but I think the Bengals will blow away a very weak Oakland team.
 
Coach’s Pick:  Bengals 38, Raiders 16

Meehan’s Pick:  Bengals 30, Raiders 18

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Cleveland Browns (2-8)

The Browns do have a chance in this game. Picking Pittsburgh but wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Cleveland pulls this off…

Coach: The Steelers have had one of the more interesting NFL weeks leading up to this AFC North rivalry game and currently are the most injured team in the NFL. Not only are the Steelers going into this game without injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but they also are going to be without backup quarterback Byron Leftwich. These two casualties are just part of the list that include Troy Polamalu and Jerricho Cotchery. Put it this way, the Steelers are so banged up they signed gun shot wound and smartest player alive Plaxico Burress to make up for the loss of Cotchery and possibly Antonio Brown. Make no mistake this is a team that is currently on life support as they sit in the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. Outside of Burress trying to play Michael Vick by returning this week after a stint in prison the team is going to be led by Charlie Batch who although has been impressive during his career in Pittsburgh you wonder how well the 37 year old backup will fare against a Cleveland team who is hungry for a win.  Yeah that’s right I said it, the Browns are hungry for a win and are primed to upset the Steelers on Sunday. The Browns (shockingly) are coming off another disappointing loss to the Cowboys in Dallas in a game that once again featured poor coaching and even worse officiating. However bad the Browns appear to be this year it was still another strong effort that came up short in a game that had the Browns in a position to win. So what is the difference between any other game this year and Sunday you ask? Easy, it’s the Steelers. For those of you not from Cleveland this may be hard to understand but the fans of the Browns hold a hatred to the Steelers that easily tops their hatred for the Ravens and is on par with Ohio State’s hatred towards Michig@n (on a side note go Buckeyes). The fans of the Browns have had little to cheer about every year since 1999 and understand that the playoffs have been out of the question for years. The one thing that the fans want more than anything every year is a victory against the Steelers. The fans know it, the coaches know it, and the players know it. This type of intensity and hatred is talked about year round in the media and fans hound the players and staff about it during training camp and throughout the year. It’s one of those things that are understand in these two cities that fans in other NFL towns just don’t get. This isn’t a game that can or will save the job for head coach Pat Shurmur but it is one that for just one week can make the Browns and their fans feel relevant and allow them to party in the street, even if it is for only one Sunday. The spread on the game is even and even though most people will stick to picking the Steelers those of us who follow these two teams know that this could be the game the Browns actually put it all together. Perhaps even Meehan can pick the Brownies this week in a game that the Browns most certainly should win, unless Pat Shurmur finds a way to mess it up.
 
Coach’s Pick:  Browns 27, Steelers 24

Meehan’s Pick:  Steelers 21, Browns 17

Buffalo Bills (4-6) at Indianapolis Colts (6-4)

That’s different for living room art

Coach:  Buffalo fans rejoiced last week as their defense finally decided to show up against the rival Dolphins limiting them to only 124 yards passing and a staggering 60 yards rushing. That was the kind of defense Bills fans have been hoping for since spending money like the Yankees in the offseason. The question is how much of that was due to a banged up and discouraged Dolphins offense and how much was the Bills defense actually playing together. This week will be a great test to see what is actually going on in Bills country as they travel to Indy.  The Colts are coming off their most lopsided defeat to the Pats since getting blown away by the Jets in week 6. I for one thought the Colts would play better against the Patriots and was very disappointed to see them let the Patriots score on will. Still if you look at what they were able to accomplish on the offensive side of the ball last week their is room for optimism. Yes Andrew Luck threw three costly interceptions but he still also tossed for two touchdowns and 329 yards along with their 119 yards and one touchdown of combined rushing. The Colts also are playing with purpose as they are trying to make their dream playoff season a reality and although it will still be tough to make that happen their offense against an inconsistent Bills defense should make the difference this week. The spread on the game is 9 and although I think it could be closer than that I see no reason that the Colts won’t walk out of this matchup with playoff hopes still going strong.
 
Coach’s Pick:  Colts 23, Bills 16

Meehan’s Pick:  Colts 28, Bills 17

Denver Broncos (7-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)

Broncos / Chiefs game should be a fun sack party to watch

Coach:  This is one of those rivalry games that you can usually throw records aside, sit back, and enjoy a close fun football game, notice I said usually. The Chiefs shockingly are coming off another blow out to the Bengals and have reestablished themselves as the worst team in the NFL. Even so the Broncos in the past have struggled going into Kansas City as it in all honesty is a great stadium that gets as loud as any in the NFL. Of course that was before the Broncos acquired a certain quarterback who has been using the regular season to get back into a rhythm and has led his team to a very modest 7-3 schedule.  Even when the Broncos were 1-3 you just had the feeling that he NFL was witnessing a sleeping giant and that one of the best quarterbacks of all time was going to put together something special. Granted it is too early to tell just how far Manning can lead the Broncos but one thing is for sure, this game shouldn’t be close. Last week especially brought us a couple of examples of teams under-performing and yes the Broncos and Chargers were one of those examples. This week however Peyton should have little problem taking care of a Chiefs team that makes your dysfunctional Thanksgiving family dinner look like family of the year. The spread is a heavy 10.5 but the Broncos should carve up the Chiefs in traditional holiday fashion. 
 
Coach’s Pick:  Broncos 33, Chiefs 6

Meehan’s Pick:  Broncos 41, Chiefs 20 (most points scored late)

Seattle Seahawks (6-4) at Miami Dolphins (4-6)

Running out of photgraphs. This gem of a photographical vision was taken in 2004

Coach:  This game actually has some intrigue and features two teams who are playing for the playoff lives. The Dolphins are coming off a terrible stretch of football that saw them dropping three in a row to sub .500 teams. For the Fins to have any chance of a Wild Card birth they would have to pretty much run the table the rest of the way which is highly unlikely considering their strength of schedule the rest of the way. Tannehill has been flat since getting injured which does not match well against a Seahawks defense that brings the third ranked passing defense into Miami. Still the Seahawks who are coming off their bye week have won two in a row and currently hold the last playoff spot in the NFC.  Even though this may sound like a game that has blowout all over it one thing about the Hawks has been their terrible play away from Seattle this season. The Seahawks are 1-4 on the road this year will their lone win coming against a bad Panthers team. Considering that next week the Hawks have to travel to Chicago to play what Bears fans  hope to be a healthier team, this is a game that Seahawks absolutely must win if they want to insure they make the postseason. Even though they have winnable games left no team is ever going to be successful if they can’t win on the road. The fact that the trip from Seattle to Miami is one of the farthest trips a team can make does not factor in well for the Hawks. Then again Miami  isn’t exactly a difficult stadium for road teams to play in. The spread on this game is only 3 points in the Hawks favor and I think the bye week is going to be the difference in the game although I must admit I am not overly confident that the Hawks will be able to pull it out but Seattle’s far superior defense should be the deciding factor that will end the Dolphins playoff hopes for good.
 
Coach’s Pick:  Hawks 24, Dolphins 20

Meehan’s Pick:  Seahawks 34, Dolphins 21

Atlanta Falcons (9-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)

Josh Freeman will try and derail the Falcons’ elite status on Sunday. They could very well succeed

Coach:  This should be a surprisingly fun game to watch as it puts the top two teams in the NFC South against each other for the first time all year. The Buccaneers have come out of nowhere to win 5 out of their last 6 losing only to the rebounding Saints. Even though the Vikings are the only team they have beaten during their five game winning streak that has any hope of the postseason, winning five in a row is still an impressive feat. Tampa Bay is only one game out of the playoff picture at this point and they are playing with a renewed sense of confidence behind quarterback  Josh Freeman. The biggest problem for the Bucs is their passing defense which is still last in the league. In their last three wins they have given up 21 or more in each of their victories including Carolina.  Meanwhile in Atlanta things have returned to normal after their first loss to the Saints, kind of. Yes the Falcons won last week against the Cardinals but they had to come back from 13 to do so, at home. You can’t dispute the Falcons record but if you look at their overall body of work they haven’t really played anyone yet. You can make the argument that they beat the Broncos but that was week 2, when Peyton was still very rusty. As a matter of fact the overall record of the Falcons opponents this year is 38-62 and Tampa marks only the second team this season they have played that has a record above .500. To make matters worse they have the 28th ranked rushing attack against that. It is my belief as I researched stats this week that the Falcons could be in major trouble going into the postseason. Sure an argument can be made as far as confidence and as I stated 9-1 is still an amazing record no matter who you are playing but this is a team that doesn’t match up well with the elite of the NFC. The spread on this game is only favoring Atlanta by 1 and I am going to pick the upset here which could expose a lot of holes in the Falcons game.

Coach’s Pick:  Buccaneers 24, Falcons 23

Meehan’s Pick:  Buccaneers 25, Falcons 23

Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)

Jaguars are going to need more than MJD

Meehan:  The Jaguars scored 37 points against the Texans last week, and even with as unthinkable as that might be to grasp remember the Jaguars sometimes have five game stretches where they don’t score 37 points.  My point is it’s possible that they might have blew themselves out during the Houston game.  There’s no way in hell they come out that inspired because a game like that does all sorts of weird things to your psyche – it tells you that even though you pulled off a hell of a game it still wasn’t good enough, and since that’s what Jacksonville has been hearing the past few years now they may actually believe it.  You know, the Tennessee Titans are much better than their record would indicate.  Tennessee is in a weird place because they should be better than 4-6.  Had they They’re still in, but they have a lot of work to do and they have Green Bay and the Texans still remaining on their schedule.  If you throw out the Indianapolis game that they lost in overtime, they have blown out in their other five losses.  I still think they have played incredibly well given all of the uphill battles they’ve had to face.  They had to open their season against New England, then head out to the West Coast the very next week and play San Diego.  They got crushed by the Vikings and the Texans, and then somehow came out and beat the Steelers on a short week.  Look, Chris Johnson is no longer the 2,000 yard back that he once was – he’s got under 900 through 10 games.  They need to come up with some type of wide receiver free agent signing in the near future or Jake Locker is not going to be used to his full potential.  Let’s be real…he’s their QB of the future – I can’t see them holding onto Matt Hasselbeck in the Twilight of his career to come back and lead that team to glory.  And their defense is ranked 26th against the pass and 28th against the run?  See why I think they might need to figure out what to do with their passing game?  They might not have a choice…I still think they win big here. 

Meehan’s Pick:  Titans 27, Jaguars 9
 
Coach’s Pick:  Titans 19, Jaguars 13

Baltimore Ravens (8-2) at San Diego Chargers (4-6)

Ray Rice has the Ravens still amongst the AFC’s top tier teams

Meehan:  Remember a couple of weeks ago when Baltimore ran up 55 points against the Raiders’ defense?  Remember when things got so bad they even had their punter run in a fake field goal for a touchdown?  I look for more of the same abuse this week when they travel to San Diego to play the Chargers.  Sure they only scored 13 points against the Steelers, but we all know how that rivalry tends to produce low scoring games regardless of who’s starting at quarterback.  I have officially given up on my hopes that the Ravens are headed into the crapper, they’ve just looked way too tough lately and not enough good things can be said about the players who have filled in for the defensive injuries and forced realignments.  They’ve played very well and are 8-2 thru ten games and appear to be every bit as good as the team who game within a chip shot of going to Super Bowl 46.   Perhaps my lack of hatred for the Ravens’ success may be a little bit clouded here seeing as how they will be facing a team that I cannot stand, the San Diego Chargers.  Here’s a perfect example of how little statistics matter when it comes down to winning ballgames:  Philip Rivers has completed 22 more passes on less attempts than Joe Flacco, and trails him by only 34 yards.  Now scroll back up to the beginning of this segments and look at the difference in their records.  

Meehan’s Pick:  Ravens 44, Chargers 16
  
Coach’s Pick:  Ravens 24, Chargers 13

St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

Sam Bradford should have no problem seeing through the transparent defense of Arizona, but how will his defense play for him?

Meehan:  I am picking this game as a tie for three reasons:  1)  I think right now these teams are pretty equally matched and I can’t see other one scoring more than 17 points.  2)  Just for shits and giggles, I think that it would be entertaining to see a team finish the year with two ties and it would also hopefully work towards proving my next point…  3)  Lastly, it might cause the competition committee to remove head from said collective bunghole and get them to understand that there should NEVER be a tie in the NFL.  Ever.  Just because it’s a regular season game doesn’t mean that the league should just be cool with it not having a resolution and more importantly (gasp) a clear cut winner.  I like the new overtime rules and think that they’re great but at the same time if we need to change it to where the second overtime period is sudden death, that’s fine with me if it means no more ties.  From my own personal standpoint, I was raised to think that the whole point of competition was that there was a winner and a loser.  A tie is the most insulting thing that you can bring about for the fans, especially for someone that paid for a ticket to see a game that essentially didn’t even happen.  Neither of these teams will make the playoffs, but I like the Rams better heading into next year because they at least have some sort of a long term plan for where they are at the quarterback position.   

Meehan’s Pick:  Cardinals 17, Rams 17

Coach’s Pick:  Cardinals 17, Rams 14

San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1) at New Orleans Saints (5-5)

Hopefully we’ll see a dunk or two on this afternoon

Meehan:  This is the rematch of that awesome divisional playoff game last year that the 49ers won in overtime when Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis in the end zone to seal the game in overtime.  I’m going against Coach here though because although the 49ers didn’t exactly face a formidable opponent in the Chicago Bears on Monday night, they once again proved that their strength is in finding teams’ weaknesses in the last day of film study and the first quarter of the game and then exploiting those weaknesses until the team in question is a bloody mess.  The Saints are hot too, they are now at .500 after losing their first four games of the season and it’s sort of unfortunate that they have to run into a team like the 49ers when everything seems to be going so well for them.  Believe it or not, if I was a Saints fan I would actually be rooting for the Falcons against the Buccaneers this weekend, because you have to figure that the two teams New Orleans needs to play poorly down the stretch are Tampa Bay and Seattle.  This one is going to be in the Superdome, but this Niners team doesn’t exactly seem like they are one to cave in just because it’s a road game.  They will be ready for this one and most certainly won’t be intimidated by the Saints “defense”. 
 
Meehan’s Pick:  49ers 37, Saints 32
  
Coach’s Pick:  Saints 28, 49ers 27
 
Sunday Night Football:  Green Bay Packers (7-3) at New York Giants (6-4)

The Giants-Packers rivalry has turned out to be a very interesting one to say the least

Meehan:  Homer pick alert – I’m taking the Giants here.  Even though the game is at home and MetLife stadium has proved to give the New York Giants absolutely no advantage whatsoever, I really do think although the Giants have lost two in a row that they will get right back down to business on Sunday Night against Green Bay.  Not only do they match up well against the Packers, but Green Bay isn’t exactly healthy and that’s an understatement.  In a perfect world, the Cowboys would blow it on Turkey Day and I would be right about the Giants winning this game.  Even though I don’t have the greatest feeling about this pick, The Giants will be given the perfect opportunity to level the records between these two teams and they should win.  Now, SHOULD is a very unsteady term when discussing the New York Giants.  Since consistency seems to be their downfall, they’d better hope they get to Rodgers in the same fashion that Seattle’s D-line did in week two.  But at the same time, they’d also better hope that they aren’t prone to giving up big plays on those third and seven or eight.  Inconsistent teams tend to do things like that on 3rd down, which could be bad news here because Aaron Rodgers has made a career out of that.   We all know that Green Bay should be 8-2 because of the Seattle game that we mentioned earlier, but they have stolen a couple of really close games so with the injuries they have I can’t stress enough the importance of considering their increased vulnerability here.  In the end I think they will be just vulnerable enough to lose. 
 
Meehan’s Pick:  Giants 31, Packers 29
  
Coach’s Pick:  Packers 27, Giants 24
 
Monday Night Football:  Carolina Panthers (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)

To give you an idea of how free agency has affected the NFL, think about how this was the NFC Championship game less than a decade ago

Meehan:  Not to keep pouring gas on the fire, but this could very well be the worst game of the year.  It’s going to be hilarious listening to Jon Gruden struggle to explain how “great” anyone on the field will be in this game.  I’m guessing the broadcast is going to be jam packed full of shot of Andy Reid statistics because this will be the last time ESPN will get to do that in primetime.  I get that the Bucs are on fire right now, but the Panthers gave that game away to them last week and the last ten minutes were a microcosm of how Carolina’s season has gone from hopeful to hopeless.  I’m sure this one looked great for a Monday Night game at the beginning of the season, but now it has writers like myself struggling for something interesting to say.  Keep in mind, the Eagles have won those three games by a combined four points.  Why do I continue to use that statistic?  Because it’s a great stat and they continue to lose.  And it shows that Philadelphia could very easily be 0-10.  Get ready for a sloppy one…

Meehan’s Pick:  Panthers 19, Eagles 15
  
Coach’s Pick:  Panthers 20, Eagles 17

Bonus Comment:  Meehan – The Pittsburgh Steelers’ recent struggles have been well documented – they almost lost to the Chiefs at home, and Byron Leftwich is not able to absorb the hits that he once was and that really showed during their loss to Baltimore.  But they might be more desperate than one might think as they have signed former wide receiver and handgun enthusiast Plaxico Burress to a contract that will last the remainder of the season.  Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad signing by any means – Burress was the 2011 Comeback Player of Year last year with the New York Jets and looked very good doing so – but it’s important for him to understand that the second Antonio Brown and Jericho Cotchery return from injury, his career is likely over.  At 35, you have to wonder how much he’s got left and just how much he’s been working out.  But if anybody can make sure his head is clear it’s Mike Tomlin, so although this would be an awful fit pretty much anywhere else around the league it makes sense. 

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.
 
Meehan and Coach Ryan

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