By: Steve Balestrieri
NFL Week 12, 2011Thanksgiving Day Edition
Welcome to our NFL Picks Week 12 Turkey Day Edition, where ever you are today we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope it finds you safe and surrounded by loved ones. Especially those in the military far from home, you are not forgotten today.
So with that my friend Steve the Cat (STC) and I bring you our Turkey Day picks, later this weekend, we’ll bring you the rest of the slate of games but for now, here are our Thursday Edition games to go over. Feel free to chime in with your own below.
SB- Many of the national pundits are pointing towards Thanksgiving 1962 when the Pack entered the game 10-0 before being bombed by the Lions in their only loss of the season before winning the NFL championship. The Lions once again fell behind by a large margin before coming back and winning over the Panthers last week.
How to shut down Green Bay? Hmmm, the best way may be to make them play outside in -40 below weather with a blizzard. Inside a dome with their speed? That is a tough road ahead. Detroit has the personnel to bring pressure on Rodgers but he is very good at finding an open man and sliding away from pressure. Detroit does have the players to take on the Packers 31st rated pass defense and make life difficult.
The worst thing about the Pack being undefeated is that we’re still all subjected to the old men in Miami toasting the misfortune of others, especially the inane ramblings of Mercury Morris. This one may be a shoot-out which would suit Rodgers and Pack offense just fine. Packers go to 11-0, win 34-27
STC- The TV media people are formulating all the possible plays to shut down the Packers. Do they not think every defense coordinator has not tried this every game? The Packers have forgotten how to lose. The Lions will bring a bevy of talent and one of the best pass rushing defenses. The Packers also keep the pressure on quarterbacks and thanks to Mathews have the ability to shut down any quarterbacks timing.
To win this game Aaron will only need to continue being his terrific self. The Lions and Stafford need to play like a mature offense mistakes are fine against trivial teams, but they have to find another gear to win this game. The Lions are 33-36-2 in the Thanksgiving Day Classic and cannot let the last eight consecutive TDC losses affect their game. The Lions will have a chance if they construct a rushing game and batter the Packers one weakness. Packers 35-24
SB- Hate to disagree with my esteemed partner here, but Dallas has much more to prove and to fight for, namely the division lead while the Fins are only putting off the inevitable. Not to throw water on a floundering fish…er mammal but just three weeks ago, Miami was in the Luck Sweepstakes. Now we’re hearing talk of running the table and going to the playoffs? Ah no…who wrote that one, Mercury Morris? See above.
Matt Moore is a nice story and Reggie Bush has done a nice job the past few weeks but now Rob Ryan may have something to say about that. Moore won’t have much time to throw with Demarcus Ware in his grill and the Cowboys offense should be able to move the ball against Miami’s defense even with a banged up WR corps.
This one comes down to turnovers and this week the Dolphins and Moore will make more of them under the Cowboys pressure. Cowboys 27-17
STC- A coach fighting for his job and winning as he is now… only proves one thing he was slacking off before. But that is a personal reflection of Sparano the fact is Matt Moore is hitting his stride and had earned his spot as Top Dog in Sun Life. Another player not to be overshadowed is the remarkable Reggie Bush and the rest of the Dolphins ground troops.
Also, the receiving crew is stepping up their game and showing averages most teams would die of envy to have. No disrespect meant to Romo and the Cowboys who are finally playing some decent ball, but in the big games they seem all dressed up with nowhere to go. There is no fight, need or want to win for Dallas every game seems status quo… Lose some win some it’s okay JJ is happy the stands are full. The defenses seem evenly matched with a slight tilt towards the Cowboys. The Dolphins have more to prove. Dolphins 28-17
SB- This one should be a fantastic game, I’ve been selling the Niners short all season and they’ve racked up a very impressive 9-1 record behind one of the stingier defenses in the league.
The Harbaugh brothers face each other for the first time and actually John has more to play for at this point. Locked in a tight struggle with the Steelers for control of the AFC North, they need a win to stay ahead of Pittsburgh and Cincy. The defense will be buoyed by the return of Ray Lewis who has been injured. Lewis loves the prime time spotlight and never count out either he or Ed Reed making a big play.
Defense will rule this one and I think they will force Alex Smith into making one late, something he hasn’t done this season. The Ravens offense with Joe Flacco has the wideouts with Anquan Boldin and rookie Torrey Smith that can stretch the field. Ray Rice will find the going tough Thursday night but Boldin and Smith may be the difference in finding some room. Ravens 21-17
STC- Harbaugh Vs Harbaugh Defense Vs Defense Offense Vs ? Little brother Jim (47) has created the best rookie NFL coaching debut in my lifetime and big brother John (49) and Jim are the offensive and defensive gurus the Ryan brothers think they are. For me the Ravens are that team who is always in contention, Flacco is the faltering point in so many games. On paper Flacco is often brilliant, but he does not have what it takes to be elite. On that same note I would have had far less praise for Smith last year he was horrendous.
These two coaches have whatever stellar quality it is to make teams want to win for them. The best rushing defense in the league belongs to the 49ers and that will force John to keep Flacco in the air and fighting for every down. The legends of these two brothers is the love and rivalry at who is best it’s a story for the ages. If I had a vote Jim Harbaugh wins for NFL Coach of the year. At least Mr. Congeniality. But Rob Ryan might have some words for me about crediting the Cowboys defense to John, “Bring it Ryan, either of you”. 49ers 21-20