Week 12 NFL Previews

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THE NFL WEEK 12 KEY SUNDAY PREVIEWS ARE STRAIGHT AHEAD - THERE'S MONSTER MATCHUPS IN ATLANTA, CHITOWN, BALTIMORE & INDY ... OUR NFL WEEK 12 POINTSPREAD TIDBITS ... MORE NFL NEWS & NOTES AS WE EXAMINE THE LEAGUE'S "PROBLEM CHILDREN"

By Jim Hurley:

You've been hearing all the network announcers say the same thing for weeks now:

No one can really say for any certainty who's the best team in the NFL this year.

There's been the "flavor-of-the-month" types like the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots and the New York Jets but on this last Sunday in November how about a vote for co-best teams ... the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens.

Okay, so we already witnessed that head-to-head matchup back on 11-11-10 (remember the 26-21 Falcons win) but ask us right now who's the best team in Roger Goodell's gridiron league and we're splitting our Jim Sez vote ... but remember these two clubs have something still to prove this weekend as they happen to be involved in a couple of marquee matchups and note both have the home field advantage (see below).

  NFL MOVE OF THE MONTH

The biggest NFL play of November is ahead on Sunday and the Jim Hurley Network is primed to make A LOT OF MONEY! We came to you in this space in September and October and told you the same thing. In September it was the Titans (+3) over the Giants 29-10. In October it was the Dolphins (+3) over the Packers 23-20. That's two wins by an average pointspread margin of 14 points! Now we're going for our third in a row on Sunday and to make sure you're on board this time, we're including a bonus play!Click Here to sign up online for just $50

    
NFL WEEK 12 SUNDAY PREVIEWS

GREEN BAY (7-3) at ATLANTA (8-2) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Now that the Falcons have made the Georgia Dome a house of horrors for everyone else that visits (see 5-and-oh mark in the joint for the NFC South team) the $64,000 question here is will Mike Smith's squad keep up the winning beat against a born-again Green Bay Packers side?

The Pack's won four in a row since that mid-October overtime home loss against Miami and it's the defense that's really stepped up to the fore while yielding 0, 7 and 3 points in the last three wins and here defensive coordinator Dom Capers' famed 3-4 alignment must contain hard-charging RB Michael Turner (864 yards rushing and 6 TDs) or else this figures to be a long day for Green Bay.

Note the Falcons are averaging more than 31 points during this four-game SU (straightup) winning streak and take further note that Turner has scored 22 TDs in his 18 careers games inside the Georgia Dome.

If Green Bay's gonna pull the slight upset here, than QB Aaron Rodgers (2,601 yards passing with 19 TDs and 9 INTs) must stay razor-sharp one week after chucking the ball for 301 yards and a career-best four TDs in the easy 31-3 win against Minnesota.

A dark horse figure here?

Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby has made just half his FG tries from beyond 50 yards but he might have to nail a couple of monster kicks to get the Packers over the top here.

Spread Notes - Atlanta's covered 14 of its last 21 home games since the start of the 2008 season and that includes three-of-five home covers this season. Meanwhile, Green Bay rides a four-game spread winning streak into this clash and the Packers are an electric 20-10 ATS (against the spread) away the past three-plus seasons.

PHILADELPHIA (7-3) at CHICAGO (7-3) - 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Now that the Michael Vick fervor has quieted down some, the Philly Eagles can get back to the task at hand: Trying to remain on top in the NFC East.

Last weekend's 27-17 win/cover against the 3-point underdog New York Giants didn't always show Vick in a great light as he didn't throw a single touchdown pass but there was plenty of good stuff coming from RB LeSean "Shady" McCoy who is averaging a neat 6.1 yards a carry during the Eagles' current three-game winning streak and here McCoy will look to dance and dart his way past Bears LBs Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs - no easy task for sure!

On the flip side, Chicago QB Jay Cutler (12 TDs and 10 INTs) must deal with an Eagles defense that leads the NFL with 19 interceptions and don't forget the Birds have registered 16 sacks in their five road games this year.

Spread Notes - Philadelphia is 26-16 versus the vig away since the start of the 2006 season. Chicago enters this conference duel at 4-1 ATS as underdog sides this season and that includes outright wins against Dallas, Green Bay, Carolina and Miami.

TAMPA BAY (7-3) at BALTIMORE (7-3) - 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Here's one thing worth noting about the here-and-now Baltimore Ravens: They've held seven foes to 17 points or less this year and enter this Week 12 affair and now they're looking to "mess with" young QB Josh Freeman (2,099 yards passing with 14 TDs and 5 INTs) who has been a shining light all year long. Hey, remember that Freeman was intercepted 18 times last year but now he's getting intercepted less than two percent of the time (he's thrown 388 passes) and so it'll be interesting to see whether S Ed Reed, LB Ray Lewis and Company can force him to pay for some downfield tosses here.

One thing to watch for with the Ravens is how they fare on third-down plays as Baltimore's converted just 34 percent of the time on third down the past five weeks and QB Joe Flacco (2,433 yards passing with 16 TDs and 7 INTs) has gotten a wee bit more tentative in recent weeks when facing third-and-five or more yards. If Flacco wants to make some hay here, than WR Derrick Mason could get targeted should Tampa Bay's secondary blanket wide-out Anquan Boldin.

Spread Notes - Baltimore is 16-8 versus the vig as betting favorites since the start of the 2008 season and the Ravens have notched spread wins in seven of their last nine games against NFC competition. On the flip side, Tampa Bay enters this tilt on a four-game spread winning streak and the Bucs last covered five in a row early in the 2008 season.

On Sunday Nite, it's ...

SAN DIEGO (5-5) at INDIANAPOLIS (6-4) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Could this amount to a playoff elimination game of sorts here? Keep in mind that the Chargers and Colts both have made it to the post-season in each of the last four years but it's been a major grind of late for Indianapolis as road losses-but-covers at Philly and New England have eaten away at Jim Caldwell's team and it will be interesting to see how QB Peyton Manning fares here following that late-game INT in Foxboro last Sunday in that 31-28 loss/cover.

Manning twice hooked up for second-half scores with WR Blair White but something tells us Pro Bowl stud WR Reggie Wayne must deliver at crunch time plus it would be nice if the Indy ground game showed a pulse: Note that the Colts are averaging just 88.5 yards a game rushing and Indy's averaged less than 60 rushing yards a game in its last five head-to-head tilts against San Diego.

The Chargers are keeping fingers crossed that TE Antonio Gates will play here (foot) but QB Philip Rivers (3,177 yards passing with 23 TDs and 9 INTs) doesn't seem to have any problems lining up his targets these days as evidenced by that 35-14 MNF win against Denver.

Spread Notes - Indianapolis is 15-9-1 against the odds when in the favorite's role since the start of last year but the Colts are 1-5 ATS when playing San Diego since 2004 and note that includes a pair of playoff setbacks. The Chargers are riding a three-game spread winning streak at press time and this figures to be the first time this season that San Diego's in the point-grabbing role (21-7-3 ATS as pups since the start of the 2004 campaign).
  

NFL WEEK #12 POINTSPREAD TIDBITS

Let's go 'round the league and get you our Jim Sez NFL Week #12 Pointspread Tidbits with all figures below against the spread:

  • The Arizona Cardinals are 6-12-1 overall since the middle of last season;
  • The Carolina Panthers are 2-8 overall this year;
  • The Houston Texans have failed to cover six of their last eight games against Tennessee;
  • The Kansas City Chiefs have covered five of their last six games versus Seattle;
  • The Miami Dolphins are 6-1 away since late in the 2009 season;
  • The St. Louis Rams have covered six of their last nine games as underdogs;
  • The Washington Redskins are 7-12-2 at home the past two-plus seasons.
     

NFL NEWS & NOTES: THE LEAGUE'S "PROBLEM CHILDREN"

It's a daunting question when you really get right down to it:

What are some of the NFL member teams going to do with their "problem children"?

You know who we are talking about - Tennessee QB Vince Young, Miami WR Brandon Marshall and Cincinnati wide-out Terrell Owens come to mind first when we think about guys that simply are not worth the trouble to keep on a football team.

Young's post-game antics last week - which included tossing his shoulders pads and jersey into the crowd following Tennessee 19-16 overtime loss to Washington -- was just the latest bit of immaturity shown by the one-time University of Texas mega-star quarterback but that was a mere drop in the bucket as compared to what he's been putting Titans head coach Jeff Fisher through the past few years.

As you know, Young has been banished from the team via thumb surgery but most reports circulating out of Nashville claim that Fisher wants no part of the spoiled brat signal-caller even though owner Bud Adams is telling both sides to "work it out".

Miami pass-catcher Marshall, meanwhile, hasn't been taken to task as much by the mass media but here's the reality: The former Denver trouble-maker hasn't always run hard on his routes and is way too much of a diva for a guy who's only had a couple of big years. His recent hamstring injury is blessing-in-disguise stuff because it's gonna force the Dolphins to see how they can survive without him at times.

Then there's Owens who - we must admit - doesn't create the kind of angst these other players do but don't you think that the Cincy Bengals have tired of his post-game quotes that these days are nothing more than a moan-and-groan session. Sure, the Bengals have lost eight in a row following that 26-10 loss to the New York Jets on Thanksgiving Night but this is a guy in his first year with this AFC North crew and yet he appears to be a regular spokesman following dreary losses.

Advice to T.O. Shut up already!

Maybe Young, Marshall and Owens all will wind up posting nice stats in their respective careers when all's said and done but maybe the league's "problem children" shouldn't be treated with kid gloves - after all, the above-mentioned guys have all contributed to their teams demise in recent weeks and they should be held accountable instead of being allowed to whine.

NOTE: Get our Monday Night Football Preview - that's the San Francisco 49ers at the Arizona Cardinals -- plus all the NFL Week 12 and College Football weekend roundups in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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