Week Twelve Against the Spread Pick ‘Em: SportsChump vs. KP vs. Ken Fang

My car’s thermostat read 40 degrees Fahrenheit as I drove home from work the other night.  Can I get a Brrrrr!!!! from the congregation… or just raise your hand, assuming it’s not frozen stuck to your keyboard.

I live in Florida for a reason but these cold temperatures are incentive to make a man move even farther south.

Speaking of what’s cooler than being cool, ice cold, my arch-nemesis, who has been out-picking me in football games all season long, was uncharacteristically brisk this week, going a Cold Miserly-like 4-10.  Yours truly, on the other hand, went a sun-tannishly 9-5.  I wear my sunglasses at night.  They just happen to be frozen to my face at the moment.

Frank ReichI guess I shouldn’t complain too much about the weather in Florida considering the Niagara women’s basketball team was just stranded on a bus for 24 hours thanks to a Buffalo snowstorm.

Speaking of Buffalo, that town’s hottest moment came in 1993 when Bills quarterback Frank Reich commandeered his team from down 31 to oust the Warren Moon-led Houston Oilers from the AFC Playoffs.

Well, I am heretofore channeling my inner Frank Reich.

Down by 12 with six weeks to play seems like a perfectly attainable goal, particularly if my opponent continues picking games with frigid-like accuracy.

Week Twelve features a slew of healthy point spreads which means that if one has the cojones to bet the underdog, enough money can be made to pay for an entire winter’s heating bill.

Our celebrity guest this week is another friend of Kevin’s. He goes by the name of Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites.   Let’s hope he’s more concerned about the weather than he is about properly researching his picks.





Putting the Oakland Raiders on prime time television is like letting that underprivileged kid work at your local supermarket… you know the one who takes a half an hour to bag your groceries.   Seriously.  Roger Goodell was already in a pissy mood about this whole Adrian Peterson saga until someone reminded him that he scheduled the Raiders to play a Thursday night game.  Then he got REALLY pissed!  Hello Raiders, goodbye ratings.  The Raiders have yet to win a game this season.  They’re 0-10.  They were 4-12 last year and 4-12 the year before that.  Talk about cold!  The Raiders have six games left this season to prove they’re not one of the worst teams in league history.  It’ll be five after this week.  The Chiefs cover.



Speaking of terrible places to live, the Cleveland Browns were once relevant in the AFC North.  That wasn’t very long ago.  Now they’re 6-4 and in last place in their division.  Ironically, the Falcons are 4-6 and in first place in theirs.  Go figure!  Don’t let this line fool you though.  Sure, Atlanta had a nice win last week but they’re still a bad football team.  Cleveland may be bad but they’re not as bad as Atlanta.  I actually thought Cleveland might be favored in this game.  They’re not.  That gives me all the more reason to take the points.



Tennessee’s coming off a short week having lost a tough Monday nighter to the Steelers.  The Eagles were just embarrassed in Green Bay.  Sanchez got beat so bad, he started considering the Butt Fumble a career highlight.  I told you all last week that I still wasn’t sold on Mark Sanchez taking over the reins in Philadelphia.  Nothing against the Sanchize but it’s just too difficult for a backup quarterback to step into a system and start winning ballgames, regardless of the talent that surrounds him.  Tennessee’s not great but they’re still putting up a fight.  Philly should probably win this game but eleven is a lot of points to lay here.  I’m taking the Titans in the hopes they keep it close.



Four days ago, nobody knew who Jonas Gray was.  Then he ran for four touchdowns and 200 yards on Monday Night Football and now even Giselle knows his name.  Tom Brady threw for two interceptions that game and the Patriots still won by 22 points!  Detroit is still one of the better defensive teams in the league but a loss last week at Arizona combined with running into a pretty hot New England team doesn’t bode well for a team that has no business leading its division.  I’m taking the Patriots here to cover.



Here’s yet another huge spread on the road in a divisional game.  Yes, Green Bay is hot.  Yes, Minnesota sucks.  Yes, the team just got the bad news that Der Kommisar dropped the hammer on Adrian Peterson, suspending him for the rest of 2014.  Still though, ten points is a lot to lay on the road in a divisional matchup.  Green Bay clearly has enough firepower to win this game but I’m leery about laying that many points against a team that can’t possibly like Green Bay very much.  I’ll take the points here.



If I were in Las Vegas, here’s what I’d do.  I’d take all these huge underdogs, bet them all money line, round robin them, bet small and hope for a monster payout.  Of course, there’s no way these dogs could win outright, correct?  Trust me, stranger things have happened.  Indy just got smoked by New England Sunday night.  So does Andrew Luck gather his troops and take out their frustrations against hapless Jacksonville or is Blake Bortles inspired enough to go after the Luck-led Colts and ensure his Jags hold their own?  Indy just lost Ahmad Bradshaw which means the underachieving Trent Richardson will have to handle more of the groundwork.  That can’t make Colts fans very happy.  It doesn’t me either.  I’ll take the Jags here as Bortles will want to prove he’s no second fiddle to Luck.



Think back to four weeks ago.  The Texans were a train wreck and the Bengals were unbeatable.  So why are the Bengals underdogs here?  After all, they did the impossible last week.  They went into New Orleans and stomped the Saints.  So why are they not favorites against an unimpressive 5-5 Texans team?  Just because JJ Watt has caught a few touchdown passes means I’m supposed to believe he’s the second coming of Rob Gronkowski?  I’m not buying it.  Cincy is the better team and I’m taking them to win on the road.



Let’s hope there’s enough snow in Buffalo to cover our television screens so we don’t have to watch this mess.  Buffalo has had some serious problems scoring lately.  That doesn’t bode well against a Rex Ryan coached football team.  Ryan’s Jets are coming off a win that ended their eight-game losing streak but that shouldn’t mask the fact that they’re still a horrible team.  I like Buffalo here.  And here’s hoping those Niagara girls finally made it off the bus.



Tampa finally looked good last week against (that team from) Washington, not that that’s all that difficult.  Since coming back from injury, RGIII has been less than spectacular.  Think about it.  If your team needed a quarterback and he was available, would you invest your future in him?  Probably not…  unless you were Chicago, he he.  The Bears finally won at home last week against Minnesota.  They’ll do so again this week.  As bad as they are, they’re not about to let their former coach and quarterback come into the Windy City and steal a win.  Furthermore, think about how the Buccaneers traditionally fare in cold weather.  I’m taking Da’ Bears.



We’ve got another fantastic game here.  Arizona is 9-1, holds the best record in the NFL and is getting a touchdown on the road.  That leads me, once again, to believe that Las Vegas is begging gamblers to lay the number.  Bruce Arians already has his name engraved on his 2014 Coach of the Year Trophy.  But will that prevent his team from shitting the bed against a Seahawks team that desperately needs this win?  I’ll be bold and say the Seahawks make a statement with a big victory.



Once upon a time, I thought the Chargers were good.  That was back when I couldn’t pick football games worth a damn.  Now that I’m seeing things in a different light, I see that the Chargers are in the middle of their usual mid to late season swoon.  I mentioned last week that the Rams are not all that bad.  I was right.  They killed the Broncos.  They’ll give the Chargers all they can handle as well.  Give me the six.



Miami’s run may be over.  I just don’t like them against Denver.  This seems like the fewest amount of points the Broncos have laid in some time, especially when they’re at home.  If I’m getting Peyton and only having to lay a touchdown in Mile High against a team we’re still not sure will make the playoffs, I’m taking it to the bank.  Fortunately for me the bank is closed on Sundays so there will be nobody there to handle my ill-advised transaction.  Either way, I still like the Broncos to cover.



Did anyone watch (that team from) Washington last week?  Just when I thought the Buccaneers were one of the worst teams in the league, Robert Griffin and company reminded us that there are still a few teams out there that are considerably worse.  Now they travel across the country to play a team that we once thought was a Super Bowl contender.  The only problem is that the Niners are laying ten.  (That team from) Washington desperately needs a win to not consider this season a total bust.  Mobile, dysfunctional quarterback versus mobile, dysfunctional quarterback makes for an intriguing match-up.  I like the dysfunctional mobile quarterback that can actually walk without a limp.  Give me the Niners to cover the niner.



What we have here is not a failure to communicate but rather another opportunity for Eli Manning to throw five picks in prime time.  Once again, he’s near the top of the league in interceptions thrown.  Nice to see that one Manning brother recently broke the record for career touchdowns thrown while the younger brother is completing passes at a record-setting pace… to the opposing team.  I used to think that home field advantage in this one might mean something but New York fans are so disillusioned by their sports teams these days (Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Jets, Giants) that I don’t think they give a damn anymore.  Even with an unhealthy Tony Romo, the Cowboys are the better team and should be laying more than three here.  I’ll take the Cowboys.



New Orleans got exposed last week.  Another loss means they’ll see any post-season hopes slip away faster than you can say crawfish etouffee.  Have you ever been to New Orleans for a Monday Night Football game?  Let’s just say there’s a lot of voodoo involved.  Even though the Ravens are the better team here, the voodoo that they do so well is more than enough reason to take the Saints and lay the points.



Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (+7.5)

Take the Chiefs to win outright. The Raiders will try hard, but they’ll lose in the



Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles (-11.5)

No way we get a cover here. Tennessee keeps this close. Philly wins by three or four.


Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers (-8.5)
Washington is a bad football team. Take the Niners to win totally outright. In fact, this could be decided by the coin toss.


Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (-2.5)

Cincy will take this game by a figgy.


New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-4.5)

We don’t know when this game will be played. When it it played, either Monday or

Tuesday, take the Bills as they will win this outright for the fans. The Jets don’t

have a chance.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears (-6.5)

The Bears are a strange team. Team turmoil, but then they beat Minny last week. I throw up my hands on this one. Take the Bears, but they win only by four.


Detroit Lions at New England Patriots (-7.5)

Pats are hot. They win this by two touchdowns.


Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)

Brownies win by a figgy.


Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+9.5)

Green Bay has laid 50-burgers in two straight weeks. They don’t do that this week,

but they will lay a 40-burger on the Vikes and will win outright.


Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-13.5)

Jax will close, but Indy won’t cover. They’ll win by 10.


St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers (-5.5)

I’ll take Rams by an upset by a figgy.


Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)

Best game of the weekend. Zona wins by 7.


Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos (-7.5)

Take the Broncos in a walk in the Mile High City, two touchdown win.


Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (+3.5)

Dallas wins by five.


Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)

Saints should win, but by two.




Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (+7.5)

The Chiefs allow just 201.6 ypg through the air, the best mark in the NFL.  On top of that, Oakland’s 27th-ranked run defense will have trouble handling Jamaal Charles and Kansas City’s fourth-ranked rushing offense, which also has an NFL-high 16 touchdowns on the ground.  The Raiders have lost four of its five home games by double-digits, statistically destroying any home field advantage conversation.  The Chiefs, meanwhile, have been manhandling teams in the trenches (30 sacks, plus the solid ground game), and should continue to do so.  K.C. covers on the road against the lowly Raiders.

Against the Spread: Kansas City Chiefs

Straight Up: Kansas City Chiefs


Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles (-11.5)

Mark Sanchez still has some “butt fumble” in him, as shown last week against the Packers, when he turned the ball over four times.  This is a different offense in Tennessee though, where Zach Metternberger and Bishop Sankey don’t carry the same fear with them.  Still, on the defensive side, the Titans have 29 sacks (6th most in NFL), and were very aggressive against the Steelers last week.  That kind of pass rush is almost certain to lead to Sanchez turnovers.  Because of these possibilities, I’m taking the Titans and the points, but the Eagles should still win by 10.

Against the Spread: Tennessee Titans

Straight Up: Philadelphia Eagles


Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (-2.5)

J.J. Watt is always a factor, but it should be noted that the Bengals have allowed just 13 sacks on the season (only Denver has allowed fewer).  The Texans and its third-ranked rushing offense will attempt to move the ball against a Bengals defense that is without LB Vontaze Burfict.  But in the passing game, look for A.J. Green to have a big game against a Houston defense that is ranked 31st against the pass.  Cincinnati wins this one outright.

Against the Spread: Cincinnati Bengals

Straight Up: Cincinnati Bengals


New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills (-4.5)

The game was moved to Detroit on Monday, thanks to the crazy storm in “Buffle-snow”.  The Jets are coming off a bye, and will see Michael Vick as the starting QB again.  The Jets had a stunning win at home two weeks back versus the Steelers, but Buffalo’s defense is much stronger, leading the NFL in sacks, with 39.  The Bills are also ranked in the top ten against both the run and the pass.  Sure, Buffalo lost its home field advantage, but this team is used to neutral sites, with past games in Toronto.  On this day, the Buffalo defense will cause too many headaches for Vick.  Bills cover.

Against the Spread: Buffalo Bills

Straight Up: Buffalo Bills


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears (-6.5)

The Bears have struggled defensively, especially in the passing game, allowing 24 touchdowns and a 104.4 rating to opposing quarterbacks.  Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans has been potent over the last month, making for a nasty one-two punch with Vincent Jackson.  This duo should have some success against the Bears ‘D’.  Meanwhile, Lavonte David is a game-time decision and if he’s out, Matt Forte could see a boost offensively.  All in all, while the Bears have been a mess on defense, I like Chicago’s offensive weapons at home, but the Bucs keep it close.  Take Tampa Bay and the points.

Against the Spread: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Straight Up: Chicago Bears


Detroit Lions at New England Patriots (-7.5)

The Patriots are red hot, and received a major spark last week from Jonas Gray and the run game.  This week, New England faces the league’s top overall defense and top-ranked run defense.  Detroit is also second in the NFL in opponent third downs converted (35.2%).  Reggie Bush is likely to return for the Lions, likely giving a boost (and some balance) to the Detroit offense.  Still, playing on the road against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, a win is unlikely.  But with a defense like Detroit has, keeping this one at a touchdown or closer is a good bet.  Take Detroit and the points.

Against the Spread: Detroit Lions

Straight Up: New England Patriots


Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)

Let’s talk “game shape”, because we can’t really be sure how ready Josh Gordon will be once he finally takes the field.  We do know this though… the guy’s a beast, and he will give Cleveland’s offense a significant boost.  Toss in the fact that the Falcons are dead last in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 281.2 yards per game.  Atlanta’s home field spark gets extinguished, considering the emotional boost that comes from Gordon’s return.  Browns win this one outright.

Against the Spread: Cleveland Browns

Straight Up: Cleveland Browns


Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+9.5)

Aaron Rodgers has thrown 3 or more touchdowns in seven of Green Bay’s ten games, and will be facing a Minnesota pass defense that is 8th in yards allowed.  But the Vikings are battling through injuries on its offense, and likely do not have the horses to stick with a Green Bay team that is clicking on all cylinders.  Rodgers and the Pack cover on the road.

Against the Spread: Green Bay Packers

Straight Up: Green Bay Packers


Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-13.5)

Ahmad Bradshaw is out, leaving either an ineffective Trent Richardson or an inexperienced Boom Herron to anchor the Indy run game.  The Colts have also been struggling defensively, allowing huge numbers to teams like the Patriots and Steelers in recent weeks.  Sure, the Jags are neither of those teams, but Jacksonville is coming off a bye, and has received a boost from players like Denard Robinson.  The Colts are very strong at home, but the Bradshaw injury is a big one, and I like a rested Jaguars team to keep this game closer than two touchdowns.  Take the Jags and the points.

Against the Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars

Straight Up: Indianapolis Colts


St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers (-5.5)

The Chargers’ offense has sputtered, scoring just 13 points over its last two games.  Meanwhile, the Rams’ defense has been causing teams fits over the last month, most recently shocking Peyton Manning and the Broncos.  Philip Rivers and the San Diego offense could regain its momentum at any moment, but don’t bank on it while facing the red hot Rams defense.  I like the Chargers to win at home, but take St. Louis and the points.

Against the Spread: St. Louis Rams

Straight Up: San Diego Chargers


Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)

The Cardinals keep proving us wrong, improving upon the NFL’s best record.  But playing in Seattle is a major challenge and with Bobby Wagner returning for the Seahawks, running on Seattle will not be easy, either.  That will leave Drew Stanton to likely push Arizona’s offense forward.  Tall order.  Arizona’s third-ranked run defense (80.5 ypg) will make it difficult for Marshawn Lynch, and overall, Arizona’s defense is very talented.  The Cardinals are also one of the best teams in the NFL regarding turnover differential.  But in the end, I still like Seattle, thanks to the 12th man.  The Cardinals are 9-1 for a reason, however, and will keep this game close throughout.  Take Arizona and the points.

Against the Spread: Arizona Cardinals

Straight Up: Seattle Seahawks


Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos (-7.5)

Injuries are the key to this game, specifically on Denver’s side.  Emmanuel Sanders has been upgraded to probable, and is expected to play, while Julius Thomas is questionable with an ankle injury.  Miami has the league’s fourth-ranked pass defense, and while that typically doesn’t factor into the decision against Peyton Manning, it should this time, considering an offense with players that are banged up.  Manning has also made some errors in recent weeks, while under pressure.  Miami is also fourth in the league in sacks, with 30.  It’s always difficult to pick against Peyton, but I think the Dolphins are underrated, and could keep this game close.  I’ll take Miami and the points.

Against the Spread: Miami Dolphins

Straight Up: Denver Broncos


Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers (-8.5)

RGIII is calling out teammates, Jay Gruden is calling out RGIII and DeSean Jackson is calling out everyone.  Long story, short: the Redskins are a hot mess.  Meanwhile, the Niners are playing better football and have the home field advantage, where it has beaten both the Chiefs and Eagles.  On top of that, San Francisco has the fourth-ranked pass defense (220.2 ypg), with 16 INT’s, while also holding opposing QB’s to a 74.3 rating.  Does anyone think RGIII really stands a chance?  That sound you hear is a large mass of people feverishly shaking their heads in unison.  Niners cover at home.

Against the Spread: San Francisco 49ers

Straight Up: San Francisco 49ers


Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (+3.5)

The Cowboys are coming off a bye and have had extra time to prep for a Giants team that has struggled in recent weeks.  In a divisional matchup featuring two teams that have the talent to put up points, the key stat lies in the run game.  The Giants have a line getting healthier and Rashad Jennings on the field, who will be a factor.  But more importantly, the key will be DeMarco Murray and Dallas’ second-ranked run offense (153.2 ypg) versus New York’s rushing defense, which is ranked last in the NFL, allowing 145.0 ypg (and 13 TD’s).  In fact, that stat is too hard for me to ignore.  Cowboys cover.

Against the Spread: Dallas Cowboys

Straight Up: Dallas Cowboys


Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)

The Ravens are coming off a bye and have had plenty of time to prepare for a New Orleans team that has struggled on defense through most of the season.  Both teams have allowed 14 sacks in 10 games, making it appear that sacks could be at a premium in this game.  The Saints are usually unstoppable at home, yet have lost two straight in the Superdome.  Baltimore is fifth against the run and could make the Saints one-dimensional.  With Drew Brees under center, that’s usually not a concern, but the New Orleans QB has been far from stellar this season.  Add in a Ravens team with plenty of offensive weapons, and I like Baltimore to send the Saints to a third straight loss at home.

Against the Spread: Baltimore Ravens

Straight Up: Baltimore Ravens

12 thoughts on “Week Twelve Against the Spread Pick ‘Em: SportsChump vs. KP vs. Ken Fang

  1. Last week was the house’s turn. Lots of bookmakers here are giving out free buffets with a smile and even the homeless are reaping their generousity.
    Yes Chris I had my heat on last night for the first time since Feb. You should take a quick junket to Ft. Myers. The best I can do is Laughlin. It’s about 5-10 degrees warmer.

  2. LeGarette Blount has returned to the fold as the Pats continue run amok this NFL season . Speaking of which I love what the Raiders are doing in terms of their interior design . No truth to the fact that the kitchen sink , bath water and the babies will be thrown out the window this season . Oakland seems to well on their way to infamy as the team will remain win-less joining the 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16) as they only other team to go through a regular sixteen game schedule , losing all of their games . WTF ! Is this what the NFL has now come to ?

    I’ll give the Miami Marlins eighteen months before they decide on shipping out Mike Stanton after the player signed a thirteen-year $325 million deal . How the #$ck can that organization sustain itself when they is barely anyone going to their home games at Marlins Ballpark , let alone many of their corporate sponsors in some cases are not nationally known brands ?

    In 2012 the Marlins amped themselves up with marquee free agents, only to then gut the team the following year. And fans suggest baseball’s executives haven’t got their heads shoved up their own @ss ? These are fans who don’t know what the ###@ they are talking about when it comes sports’ economics , and specifically the sport of baseball.

    Tophatal ……

  3. Dubsy…

    Wasn’t Hostetler a back up to Simms who went down, then Hostetler won?

    And what about Earl Morrall? Didn’t he finish up the job Griese couldn’t in ’72 in Miami?

  4. Chris
    How is it slumming , when they have lost starting running back Stevan Ridley for the foreseeable future ? Granted, the backups have proven to be effective , but I believe you’ve forgotten the six game stretch last season where Blount averaged 130 yards per game and then had a postseason mark of all purpose yards of over 285 yards which was a franchise record for the postseason for the Patriots . Besides, the Buccaneers had any damn sense they would have gone after Blount , given the fact the offense is worth a damn in terms of their passing or rushing game .

    The NFC South has been absolutely pitiful this season with all four teams posting sub.500 records

    Tophatal ………

  5. Pingback: NFL Week 12 Picks: TWHS, Sports Chump, ‘I Got Hacked’ Excuses and Special Guest Ken Fang | The Wife Hates Sports

  6. Chris

    The Patriots have a litany of productive running backs now on their roster . Which is more than can be said of the Buccaneers at present . How many turnovers and fumbles has it been for Lovie Smith bunch of blowholes without counting the numerous penalties this season ?

    Got to love the mediocrity of the NBA this season without having to listen to the idiocy of Michele Roberts’ statement concerning the Hornets’ Jeff Taylor who plead guilty to domestic abuse , assault on a Marriott Hotel employee as well as damage to hotel property . Roberts recently took over the new Executive Director of the NBPA (union) . She believes Taylor’s twenty-four game suspension by the league to be draconian an overreach of the league’s powers . I guess if Taylor had merely beaten up the hotel employee she (Michele Roberts) not have given a flying ##ck. What type of message is Roberts trying to send to female fans as well as women in general with her lame @ss comments ?

    Jeff Taylor plead guilty to all charges in an East Lansing , Michigan court over the charges in question . Sports in general and many of their leaders have their damn priorities in the wrong place . It would appear the NBA is intent in following in the idiotic footsteps of the NFL .

    Tophatal ………

  7. Chris & fellow panelists esnus

    Which two teams do you believe to be the most disappointing this NFL season and why ?

    Also , do you believe the winner of the NFC South has no right to be part of this upcoming postseason ? Bear in mind the winner is likely to end up with a .sub 500 record . Over this season not one of the quartet of teams has been able to rally off anything more than a two game win streak . How frigging pitiful is that ?

    Tophatal …………..

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