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Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 12

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Ah yes – this is more like it.

Stella has expanded her lead by another two games following a solid 10-5 performance in Week 11. I, on the other hand, landed at just 8-7; above .500, but just barely.

Let’s be real – it’s what we all expected. This is how it was always going to go. Sure, it took a little longer for us to get to this place than it has in the past, but Stella is giving every indication of putting her paw to the pedal and giving this thing the gas until I am left choking in the dust.

Could I mount a comeback? It’s possible, of course – there’s plenty of season left and we’re at odds on seven games just this week – but is it probable? Not so much – we’ve got years of empirical evidence that would seem to indicate that Stella’s lead is only going to steadily increase until we reach season’s end and I accept my exceedingly familiar fate.

Still – never say never, right?

We’re in agreement on all three Thanksgiving games – we’re looking at Chicago, Dallas and Buffalo as winners – so our first conflict comes in the Pittsburgh/Cincinnati matchup. I’m going with the Steelers on the road here; it’s a bit of a reach, but I have a hunch that we’re going to see an absolutely bonkers game out of rookie running back Najee Harris against a so-so Bengals defensive front. I also like the Pittsburgh front seven to harass Cincy’s Joe Burrow into making a big mistake or two. I don’t love the Steelers, but I think they upset the Bengals. Stella thinks that Burrow and company will have little trouble controlling the game on the offensive side – she’s anticipating a strong showing from running back Joe Mixon and she also thinks that rookie wideout Ja’Marr Chase has what it takes to torch this soft Steelers secondary. She figures that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is as cooked as he looks and will turn the ball over a few times. Her guess is that Cincinnati wins in a walk.

Next, I’m picking the Colts to win at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I can sit here and tell you that it’s about the under-the-radar effectiveness of the Indianapolis defense or the gutsy play of Carson Wentz at quarterback, but let’s be real: Jonathan Taylor is the reason that the Colts are going to win. He’s an absolute monster at running back and his ability to keep the chains moving will not only help the Colts score points, but keep the Bucs off the field so they can’t score any of their own. Control of the clock will be the key, and the Colts can handle that business. Stella’s as big a fan of Jonathan Taylor’s work as anyone, but she would like to remind me – and everybody – that the Buccaneers still have a dude named Tom Brady throwing the ball for them. And he’s throwing the ball to a cavalcade of exceptional talents – odds are that at least one of them will be able to get something done against the Tampa Bay D. She thinks that a couple of explosive plays – courtesy of TB12 – are going to be the difference here.

In the first of two consecutive “Does anyone really care?” contests, I’m going with the Panthers on the road against the Dolphins. Stella has chosen Miami. Neither one of us feels all that strongly about it, though I like my chances simply because I figure Cam Newton’s got a couple more good ones in him before he turns back into a pumpkin. Stella thinks the pumpkin happens this week. Either way, you shouldn’t watch this game – we won’t be.

Next, we have Atlanta/Jacksonville. I’ve got the road Falcons, who I think are slightly more talented than the Jags. Stella has the Jags because they’re at home and she figures that the one thing Jacksonville can do to really screw things up is win their way to a worse draft pick. This is one of the few easy opportunities to do so, so she figures a Jags win is in the cards. Again – please don’t watch this game.

From there, we go to a game that could potentially be one of the week’s best. I’ve got the Rams going into Green Bay and taking down the Packers. I know that L.A. has struggled a bit in recent weeks, but they’re coming off their bye and should be well-rested. Expect a bounceback from Matthew Stafford and a huge game from receiver Cooper Kupp. And if Darrell Henderson can get the run game going, then look out – it’s going to be a long day for the Pack. Stella thinks that Green Bay is reorienting and getting back on track after a few chaotic weeks (and yes, she’s of the mind that Aaron Rodgers is a deceptive man-baby – she just also thinks he’s a great quarterback). The Green Bay receiving corps – led by Davante Adams – looks poised to go big, though the Rams defense will come ready to play. This one looks like it could come down to an explosive play or two, and Stella likes the Packers as the team to come up with those game-changing plays.

In the Minnesota/San Francisco tilt, I’ve got the Vikings taking care of business in San Francisco against the 49ers. Kirk Cousins has quietly been putting together an elite season. One expects that he’ll figure out a way to put the ball into explosive wideout Justin Jefferson’s hands a few times. I’m also counting on running back Dalvin Cook to shake off the myriad distractions surrounding him off the field. Stella likes this Minnesota team as well, but she thinks the Joey Bosa-led Niners pass rush is going to force some errors on the part of Cousins and/or Cook. She’s not overly impressed with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, but she thinks that he’ll be able to do enough to get the job done against this Vikings D. They won’t be spectacular, but they’ll move the chains and get to the end zone often enough to squeak out a tough win on their home field.

Lastly, on Monday night, we’re looking at Seattle going to Washington to take on the Football Team. I’ll be honest – I don’t think the WFT is all that good. I think there are a smattering of skill players with talent, but between injuries and incompetence, they’re not great. This is more of a pick against the Seahawks, who very much look to be in free fall. It’ll be an ugly game, but I expect Taylor Heinicke to do just enough (likely with the assistance of Terry McLaurin) to win. Stella agrees with the “ugly game” sentiment, but thinks that the outcome will be reversed. She recognizes the struggles of the Seahawks and freely admits that they are in big trouble. But there’s big trouble and then there’s losing to the WFT – and she just doesn’t think they’re quite there yet. She figures Russell Wilson will manage to find a way to eke out a win; it won’t be pretty, but Seattle will wind up in the W column.

And there it is. Seven games. Who knows? Maybe I take back the lead (I won’t). Or maybe I maintain the status quo (probably not). Or maybe Stella opens up even more of a lead (that’s the one). Regardless, that’s why we play the games. Tune in all weekend and see how it goes. Wish me luck.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Nov. 25

CHICAGO at Detroit

Las Vegas at DALLAS

BUFFALO at New Orleans

Sunday, Nov. 28

PITTSBURGH at Cincinnati

Tampa Bay at INDIANAPOLIS

CAROLINA at Miami

Tennessee at NEW ENGLAND

PHILADELPHIA at NY Giants

ATLANTA at Jacksonville

NY Jets at HOUSTON

LA CHARGERS at Denver

LA RAMS at Green Bay

MINNESOTA at San Francisco

Cleveland at BALTIMORE

Monday, Nov. 29

Seattle at WASHINGTON

Week 12 record: 8-7

Season record: 98-66-1

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Nov. 25

CHICAGO at Detroit

Las Vegas at DALLAS

BUFFALO at New Orleans

Sunday, Nov. 28

Pittsburgh at CINCINNATI

TAMPA BAY at Indianapolis

Carolina at MIAMI

Tennessee at NEW ENGLAND

PHILADELPHIA at NY Giants

Atlanta at JACKSONVILLE

NY Jets at HOUSTON

LA CHARGERS at Denver

LA Rams at GREEN BAY

Minnesota at SAN FRANCISCO

Cleveland at BALTIMORE

Monday, Nov. 29

SEATTLE at Washington

Week 12 record: 10-5

Season record: 101-63-1

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 17:57

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