Thursday, November 24, 2011

NFL 2011: Week 12 Thanksgiving football

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I had hoped to get this post up earlier in the day, but, well, work and a bad commute intervened. So here we are, at 9:22 pm, and it's 3-3 in the third game of the day, Niners at Ravens, the Harbowl, the Harbrawl -- the Harbrouhaha. Call it what you will. It's a solid defensive struggle, and I'm rooting 176% for San Fran.

There's the rivalry with the Steelers, of course, and we need the Ravens to lose (they're currently tied atop the AFC North at 7-3, but Baltimore holds the key head-to-head tiebreaker), but I also loathe this Ravens team, from the original owner, Art Modell, who moved the team from the great football city of Cleveland (and, yes, I realize that Baltimore lost the Colts to Indy in an even more indefensible move, but two wrongs don't make a right), to the arrogant, we-never-do-anything-wrong coach, John Harbaugh, to Flacco and Rice on offence, to pretty much the entire defence, especially Suggs and blowhard extraordinaire Ray Lewis. They're a good team, sure, and I respect them, but that's as far as I can go.

Anyway, as you may know, my associate editor Richard, a friend of ours nicknamed Comfortable Kid, and I are tracking our picks this year, with posts going up each Sunday at 11 am, as well as on Thursdays and later in the season on Saturdays. I'll provide the updated standings on Sunday. For now, here are (were) our picks for today's three games: Green Bay at Detroit, Miami at Dallas, and San Francisco at Baltimore.

Oh, it's now 6-3 Ravens. Ugh.

MJWS

Green Bay, Dallas, Baltimore.

Well, I got the first two right, which is good start, particularly after sucking badly the last two weeks.

And the Ravens just picked off Alex Smith in the endzone. I just don't see how the 49ers put up points in this game. They have the D to keep it close, but Baltimore's just the better team, and being at home gives them the additional advantage.

Detroit was a tempting upset pick, but I just couldn't do it. And it's good I didn't. After a close first half, with Detroit hanging tough, Rodgers and the Pack blew it open in the second, and the final score, 27-15, doesn't reflect how dominant Green Bay was. Rodgers and that great passing game can turn it on when they need to, and Stafford, Megatron, and a really good Lions passing game in its own right just couldn't keep up.

Miami was also a tempting upset pick, as they've played really well of late, but I think it's reached the point where they're actually a bit overrated. In Week 6, they lost badly to the mediocre Jets. In Week 7, they got beaten by Tebow and looked absolutely awful. They kept it close in Week 8 against the up-and-down (and beatable) Giants and then won three straight, easily, over the Chiefs, Redskins, and Bills. But those are some terrible teams and Miami got each of them at just the right time. There was no way they were going to go into Cowboy Stadium and come out with a win.

After all, of the Cowboys' four losses, the only bad one was the Week 8 loss to Philly, 34-7. The other three were by 3 (Jets), 4 (Lions), and 4 (Patriots) points. The Jets, to repeat, are mediocre, but it was opening week and they're an experienced team that can play really well, and the other two are playoff teams. And two of those losses (Jets, Pats) were on the road. On the other hand, other than a Week 2 win over the Niners, a game they should have lost, Dallas hasn't beaten anyone good: Redskins twice, Rams, Seahawks, Bills, and now the Fins.


I had to go Dallas. They just have so much more talent than Miami, and they were playing at home on a day, Thanksgiving, that they seem to own. But credit Miami for keeping it so close, and even for being ahead. It took a FG with no time left on the clock for Dallas to take it 20-19.

As for the Harbrouhaha, well, I'm off to watch the second half. Enjoy. Tune in Sunday for more football talk, and of course keep checking back for our regular politics blogging, with a ton of music, which we're focusing on more and more, thrown in for good measure.

Happy (American) Thanksgiving! Go Niners!

RKB

Green Bay, Miami, San Francisco.

I'm on the road for the Thanksgiving holiday so don't have much time to write. A few thoughts: Dallas barely beat Washington and Miami was pretty impressive last week, so that's my upset.

Man, Green Bay looks beatable, and maybe this is the week against Detroit, who can sure put up points, but I'm still picking the Pack.

San Francisco vs. Baltimore should be a good game, but the Niners have been just a bit more consistent.

The Kid

Green Bay, Dallas, San Francisco.

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