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Preston's NFL Week 12 Pick 'Em Preview: Down the Stretch They Come

Week 12 in the NFL starts the home stretch of six consecutive weeks with no bye.  If you play fantasy football, you can breathe a sigh of relief.  If you root for a team plagued with injury, there will be no let-up from here on out.

I am against games played on Thursday. I believe it is a competitive disadvantage for everyone involved.  I honestly believe those games should occur only during the bye period of the schedule, and only with teams coming off the bye. Players don't have enough time to heal between games, and the product becomes diluted. San Diego and the Jets were upset, so maybe there's a trend to follow. This week features not one, but three games on Thursday.  Good luck following the injury report for those.

This week features a multitude of interesting games and I look forward to see which team surprises everyone. For Yahoo! fantasy leagues that utilize the confidence point system, my confidence rating is listed after the team names. For Sirius leagues with best bets, my five highest confidence choices are my best bets. Any time I pick the underdog to win, I call it an upset.

Season Total : 105 wins, 55 losses

Last Week: 11 wins, 3 losses

Average:   9.5 wins, 5 losses

Last Year: 157 wins, 99 losses

Best Year: 170 wins, 86 losses

CSC Yahoo Pick 'Em Rank : 2nd out of 84

Sirius Pick 'Em Rank: 274th out of 8,511


This Weeks Picks

Lions Over Packers, 1 - Upest #1 - Packers 27, Lions 15

Rams Over Cardinals, 2 - The Cardinals are playing surprisingly well on defense. Yet with Kevin Kolb hurt, they resorted to using a third QB last week because John Skelton wasn't getting the job done. I think the chemistry between Sam Bradford and Brandon Lloyd comes to fruition in this game and the Rams come away victorious by a field goal.

Buccaneers Over Titans, 3 - Upset #2 - I'd feel much better about this choice if this game were in Tampa. I'd like to see Jake Locker get the start.  I think the Titans have their QB of the future and I think he offers more now. I understand the logic that Houston and Indianapolis are both without their star quarterback and the Titans have a chance to make the post season, but realistically, they can't go too far because the lack of talent at skill positions. Since I can count on Tampa's rushing attack, and because they played the Packers tough, I'm going with them.

Dolphins Over Cowboys,  4 - Upset #3 - Cowboys 20, Dolphins 19

Ravens Over 49ers, 5 - Ravens 16, 49ers 6

Panthers Over Colts, 6 - Coming off the bye, this is perhaps the best chance the Colts have to win a game and avoid going 0-16. That said, I've picked Indianapolis to win two times too many. While the third time may be the charm, I'll let others pick this upset. I'm going with Carolina and their ability to run the ball on the Colts defense that isn't built to stop the run.

Raiders Over Bears, 7 - I've seen strange things happen in the NFL. Just last year, Colt McCoy and Max Hall both led their team to victories over a high powered Saints team. Can Chicago's vaunted defense force Oakland into multiple turnovers?  Maybe, but can Mike Martz will himself to match Oakland's dedication to running the ball?  I'm not sure. I'll take the Raiders to get the win on their way to becoming the AFC West division champions.

Texans Over Jaguars, 8 - I think Matt Leinart has really grown up over the last two years and finally approached his trade like a professional.  The Houston offense is tailor made to fit his strengths and I think the Texans don't miss a beat.  To Jack Del Rio: stop throwing coaches under the bus and take responsibility for not giving MJD the ball when you most needed to.

Redskins Over Seahawks, 9 - Upset #4 - I picked Seattle to beat the Rams last week because I just thought Pete Carroll had the advantage. This week, I believe Rex Grossman has an "on" game and helps the father/son combo save face. I like Washington's defense better here, though I'll take Seattle's run game. I think the difference is Rex.

Jets Over Bills, 10 - I wish I had some gut feeling telling me to take the Bills, because my heart wants them to win.  Anatomy aside, despite how poorly the Jets have been playing on offense, their defense knows exactly how to stop Buffalo.  Ryan Fitzpatrick has been in a funk, especially since losing his starting center for the year, and his wide receivers are banged up. Buffalo hasn't been able to stop the run since losing Kyle Williams, and I look for the Jets to get back to their old identity in this game.

Chargers Over Broncos, 11 - While a loss here won't stop the Tebow madness, it will reaffirm what we already know:  you can't win consistently without a quarterback who can convert on third down.  I don't think San Diego will make the playoffs, but I believe they'll end their losing streak, banged up offensive line and all, because the Rivers to Jackson connection beats anything Tebow can throw at them (pun intended).

Patriots Over Eagles, 12 - Upset #5 - Vince Young turned the ball over three times to the Giants on Sunday night, yet the Giants scored zero points off those turnovers. It won't be the same with Tom Brady and the Patriots.  I haven't seen DeSean Jackson all year and Maclin is a little banged up. I look at Riley Cooper and see two guys just like him playing for the Patriots.  Yes, the Eagles have a good front four, and yes, Tom Brady doesn't play so well when he gets punched in the mouth.  But in an up and down season, I'll take the Eagles to have another head scratcher against the better coach and better quarterback. 

Bengals Over Browns, 13 - The Bengals have the better coach, quarterback, running back and better pass catchers. They are more explosive. Defense is a wash, as both teams rank near the top (all four AFC North defenses are in the top 10).  I think Cincinnati will make the post season as a Wild Card along with Pittsburgh; a win here helps them achieve that goal. 

Falcons Over Vikings, 14 -  I really hope the Vikings shock us here, but I can't pick one good reason to lend hope to that scenario.  I would almost hope Jared Allen can injure Matt Ryan, but I won't because I don't want bad juju on Drew. The Falcons just seem to have a leprechaun shoved up their wazoo, which explains that face Mike Smith makes. I'll take the captain of the checkdown and a healthy Michael Turner over the Vikings pass rush, rookie quarterback with no targets, and a banged up Adrian Peterson.

Saints Over Giants, 15 - Drew Brees will dissect the Giants linebackers and secondary, and the Saints will outrush the Giants by a 2:1 margin. The Giants pass rush and Eli Manning will both have their moments, but in both cases it won't be enough as the point differential increases.

Steelers Over Chiefs, 16 - A Dick Lebeau defense doesn't get beaten by a nobody quarterback making his second start. If Palko thought the Patriots defense (ranked near last against the pass) was tough, he's in for a rude awakening.