By Doug Halberstadt
As I write this column, it’s late on Sunday night (Nov. 29) and other than the Monday night game between the Patriots and the Saints, week 12 of the NFL season is in the bag. I had a good week, 12-3 looking to go to 13-3 if the Saints can keep pace with the Colts and stay undefeated.
In the first game of the month, the New York Jets cross the state to take on Buffalo on Thursday night. It won’t be cold enough or snowy enough for Buffalo to have a home-field advantage, so I’m going with the Jets.
Speaking of taking the visiting team, in the 14 games to be played Sunday, Dec. 5, I’m taking the visitors in 10 of those games. The only home teams I have winning are the Bears against the Rams. I like Cincinnati at home over Detroit. The Colts may be tested by the Titans, but will prevail once again in Indy. I like Pittsburgh in the Steel City over the Raiders.
The road warriors I like are the Eagles in Atlanta, Denver at Kansas City, New Orleans in Washington, Tampa Bay at Carolina, and Houston at Jacksonville.
San Diego is in Cleveland, and will come away with a victory. As sure as I am about that pick, I’m equally not so sure about San Francisco over Seattle, but I’m taking them anyway. Another game that could go either way is Dallas taking on the New York Giants at Giants Stadium. I think the Giants are in a slump, and Dallas is in a must-win situation. Therefore, I’m going with the Cowboys.
Minnesota looked like world-beaters against the Bears. They won’t have it quite as easy as they did last week, but they should still come away with a win against Arizona. The Patriots are in Miami to face the Dolphins. This used to be a good game, not so much nowadays. The Patriots win by at least 10.
In the final game of week 13, it is Baltimore at Green Bay on Monday night (Dec. 7). I really like the intestinal fortitude Baltimore showed in last Sunday night’s game against the Steelers when they came away with the win in overtime. I think their defense will give Aaron Rodgers and the Pack more than they can handle. I look for Baltimore to win by a touchdown.
The Bears’ season is over. I said it at the start of November in this column, and little did I know how right I would be at the start of December. They have more problems than a high school calculus final and, unfortunately for Bears fans, Head Coach Lovie Smith and his entire staff seem to have a severe mathematical learning disability. They may get a win this week against the Rams and maybe then again in their final game of the season against Detroit.
Other than those two games, I don’t think they have a realistic chance in their other three games this year. Let me try to put it in a simple mathematical equation that maybe even Lovie can understand: Green Bay + Baltimore + Minnesota = 3 more losses for the Bears.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the December 2-8, 2009 issue