2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 12

Despite what NFL players might feel, as a fan I sort of like having football on Thursday nights, and I am especially excited about tonight since my Steelers are playing the Tennessee Titans. It’s a personal highlight during an otherwise prosaic football weekend. The college schedule is unappealing at best, with makeup games like Alabama vs. Mercer and Clemson vs. The Citadel littering the landscape due to hurricane issues a couple of months ago. I understand the various reasons (mostly financial) that those games are being played, but as a fan I’d almost rather they’d been cancelled altogether. At any rate, we forge ahead as best we can, and I can’t resist being slightly braggadocious coming off of a 5-0 week, something I’ve accomplished all too rarely over the years. Zach was 2-3 last week, which means that we are back to being even for the season and both of us have winning records. We’re leaning a little more on pro instead of college games this week, so we’ll see how that goes.

My Season:        35-34

Z’s Season:        35-34

 

 

 

 

 

 

TCU (-7)              at      Texas Tech

In the latest playoff rankings the committee has the 8-2 Horned Frogs 12th, so they’re not really in that conversation any longer. However, they remain in the driver’s seat for a spot in the Big 12 title game if they win out, and I’m sure an opportunity to avenge last weekend’s loss to Oklahoma is great motivation. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders have lost 4 out of their last 5 games and are just looking to become bowl eligible. I never thought TCU was a legit playoff contender, but I don’t believe they’ll have much trouble winning this game on the road. Tech will likely need to beat Texas next week to get invited to a post-season game. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     TCU

Z’s Pick:     TCU

 

 

 

UCLA                  at      USC (-16)

I had high hopes for the Trojans this season, but a couple of stumbles along the way have cost them in the playoff rankings. This is their last regular season game but they’ll be playing in the Pac 12 title game. Conversely, the 5-5 Bruins haven’t rebounded from a tough 2016 like I thought they would and are simply playing for bowl eligibility at this point. NFL scouts will be watching this game closely, as UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and USC quarterback Sam Darnold could very well enter next spring’s draft and would likely both be first round picks. Having said that, football is a team game and USC is clearly the better team. The points make me a bit skittish, but I think they’ll cover. Since this is a rivalry game Zach believes it will be much closer than the oddsmakers think.

My Pick:     USC

Z’s Pick:     UCLA

 

 

 

L.A. Rams                    at      Minnesota          (-2.5)

While no one was paying attention somehow the Rams have actually become a decent NFL team. 31 year old head coach Sean McVay has the 7-2 Rams in first place in the NFC West and young QB Jared Goff suddenly looks worthy of having been a #1 overall draft pick. Not to be outdone, the Vikings are also 7-2 and leading the NFC North. Their quarterback situation is a little strange. Sam Bradford is injured (shocker), journeyman backup Case Keenum is starting, & former starter Teddy Bridgewater was recently activated after being on the shelf for nearly two years. Whatever they’re doing is working though. I haven’t followed these two teams enough this year to have any insightful commentary or expectations, but I do get the sense it might actually be a really fun game to watch. When in doubt I tend to favor the home team, and since I’m stubborn the Rams are going to have to show me a little more before I buy in. Zach calls this a coin flip game, although I’m not sure if he literally flipped a coin before deciding to pick the Rams.

My Pick:     Minnesota

Z’s Pick:     L.A. Rams

 

 

 

Philadelphia (-3.5)      at      Dallas

This is always a good rivalry game and oftentimes a battle for NFC East supremacy, but a few months ago who would’ve guessed that it’d be Philly leading the division while Dallas lagged three games behind?? At this moment (and things could change in an hour and change a half dozen times again before the weekend) word on the street is that Cowboys’ RB Zeke Elliott has decided to drop his legal battle and serve a six game suspension. I’m sure the fact that that’d get him back just in time for the playoffs with fresh legs had absolutely nothing to do with the decision. Of course the question is can they earn a wildcard berth?? It’s going to be really tough. Anyway, the Eagles are much better this season that I expected, and I see no reason to doubt them now. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Philadelphia

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

 

Atlanta                          at      Seattle (-3)

The Super Bowl Curse is real y’all!! After going 11-5 in 2016 and then pulling the most epic choke job in Super Bowl history the Falcons are really behind the eight ball as far as making the playoffs. They aren’t winning the NFC South and the wild card competition is fierce. Conversely, it’s business as usual for the 6-3 Seahawks, except for the fact that the Rams are much improved and lead the division by a game. If this game were being played in Atlanta I might have to ponder things a bit, but Seattle’s home field advantage is amongst the best in the NFL. Zach believes the loss of DB Richard Sherman will have a negative impact on the Seahawks and the Falcons will show flashes of their former glory.

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Atlanta

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