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  • Gary Porpora

NFL 2023 - WEEK TWELVE - PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD

NFL 2023 – TALLY WEEK ELEVEN =  8- 6 

WEEKLY OVERALL =  80– 80 - 4   

0/U  =  3 - 4          O/U CUMULATIVE 41 - 36   .532

SPECIALS  4 - 0      SPECIALS CUMULATIVE  28 - 15 - 1   .651

GAME OF THE WEEK    7 – 3  LOCK OF THE WEEK   6 – 3 - 1 

UPSET SPECIAL     3 – 7                O/U OF THE WEEK   8 - 2

PREMIUM PICKS CUMULATIVE   =  69 - 51 - 1   .575

We got slammed on Thankgiving, losing all three wagers--still had a great day.


Let's see if we can


GAME OF THE WEEK

Buffalo Bills (+3) @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3)  47.5  GW  [O]


Buffalo has not progressed this year--injuries and bad luck have played a major role--their record doesn’t reflect the true quality of the team.  The Bills are elite with a top ten defense and a top six offense, 3rd in YPP. Their defense has kept almost every contest within one score, but the Bills have lost five games--none by more six points.


On paper, the Bills hold up and are hoping Josh Allen takes the game over because Buffalo’s ground game doesn’t worry anyone--and the Eagles are the NFL’s best rushing defense. However, their defensive stat tree is skewed because teams end up just forgetting the run after half time.


Conversely, the Bald Birds can run all over a Bills defense that ranks 29th in rushing yards allowed per attempt at 4.5--and if Buffalo’s “D” somehow shuts down the Eagles run game, Jalen Hurts has the talent, the will and the tools to beat the Chargers through the air.


For Buffalo, it’s Josh Allen or bust.


Should be a shootout--we’re laying the field goal and playing the Over.


Eagles  33

Bills 26



LOCK OF THE WEEK

Baltimore Ravens (-3) @ Los Angeles Chargers (+3) 46.5  LW  [O]


According to ESPN Stats & Info:  the Ravens (8-3) have trailed for only 32 minutes and 15 seconds of game time all season, the second-best number for any NFL team through 11 games since 1970.

That is a hell of a stat, folks--and there are more that conspire to justify this as a LOW:


  • Anything Justin Herbert can do, Lamar Jackson can do better...

  • Baltimore one of the most balance teams on offense--51% run, 49% pass...

  • Ravens one of the best at overcoming in-game and seasonal adversity...

  • Crows have more big time/big game success...


  • Even sporting America’s most punchable face, Baltimore HC,John Harbaugh, is one of the league’s head coaches.


  • Brandon Staley--not one of the best...


Baltimore will play it’s first game of the year with nearly all its stars; we think the Magpies have more talent, heart and history in big games.  They should win this one going a way.


We’re going with the Over...


Ravens  31

Chargers 20



OVER/UNDER OF THE WEEK


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) 42.5   O/U


This is one of the juiciest Over/Unders of the Week 12 slate; both teams have talent offensively but are missing that something that would make them serious contenders.  Inevitably, that something is called consistency.  Consistency of execution, and game planning, and coaching--and Defense.


Poor defense usually begets more scoring than any coach wants to see--and that’s what we think will happen...Both Offenses can, and hopefully will, exploit numerous weak spots on both defenses.  We think the Horseshoes will do it better.


Lay the 2.5 and bet the Over.


Colts 24

Buccaneers 21


THE STEELERS


Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5) 34.5 [O]


I Ain’t Sayin’...I’m Just Sayin...


Seems the controversy in the ‘Burgh this week is whether it was Mike Tomlin or Art Deuce who pulled the USB on Matt Canada.


Does it really matter?  


My Grandma could call a better game than Canada, and she’s been dead for 47 years, never watched a football game in her life, and would probably curse the Steelers as  “...un gruppo di ladri....”


(You have Google, look it up:)


According to Steeler beat writers, it’s a safe bet the Steelers owner and head coach had several discussions regarding how to blame Canada.  During one or more of those sessions,


I hope Art Rooney II let Mike Tomlin know his choice as Pittsburgh’s new OC for 2024 should be someone plugged into the contemporary offensive reality in the NFL--and someone outside the Steelers umbrella.


Anyone reading this knows I’m a Tomlin guy.  They know I duly blame Tomlin and former GM, Kevin Colbert for the awful draft busts--Artie Burns, Jarvis Jones, Devin Bush--and the damn unlucky ones like Ryan Shazier, and Sean Spence.  To his credit, from some bad drafting and Mike Tomlin has taken teams to the brink of the playoffs, or made the playoffs with teams that would have been 5-11 in the hands of most any other coach--that's exemplary leadership.


After his initial 5-6 years as Steelers head honcho, patterns emerged whenever MT had to hire or fire coaches:


Coordinator hires were almost always in house, LeBeau, Finchtner, Arians--and absolutely none of them were young enough to hunger for the next job or see it as a steppingstone to a future as a head coach.  (Arians outlier situation was mucked up all the way around; nobody believes he retired.)


Maybe a “young gun” itching for a head coaching job is more open minded and willing to adjust to his personnel than coaches who prefer the booth to the sideline.


Mike Tomlin needs to do a self-assessment, and divine what he needs to do to maintain the standard he keeps referring to.


COACHING TREES...


I never subscribed to the silly “coaching tree” concept.  


Tom Landry’s tree is barely over .500.  


Lombardi has one or two flimsy branches more than Tomlin, but in his day, no black assistants were interviewed for any management positions.  


Pittsburgh’s legendary Chuck Noll isn’t mentioned much for his coaching tree--until, you know, we do some research:


His coaching tree has combined for a record of 284-219-1 in the regular season and 18-18 in the playoffs during their thirty-two seasons as head coach after serving on his coaching staffs. The coaching tree has won a single championship, in 2006 by the Indianapolis Colts, led by Tony Dungy.

Belichick’s tree is poisoned with the moldy fruits of  cheating  C’mon, if you can’t rely on a ill-gotten compendium of opponents signals, you can’t expect the results Belichick’s Patriots achieved.  Here’s what you can expect.:


The group has a cumulative record of 219-306-2. Four of them — Romeo Crennel, Joe Judge, Matt Patricia, and McDaniels — won fewer than 38 percent of the NFL games they coached. Over 36 combined NFL seasons, the 10 members of Belichick's coaching tree have six playoff appearances and only three postseason wins.

I can’t tell you what a joy it was to find those results--it’s called Karma.


THE FIFTEEN YEAR WALL


I also never bought into the notion theorizing NFL coaches hit some sort of fifteen year wall precluding them from staying with any one team longer than that defined span.


I believe coaching success, without cheating, depends mostly on the talent you’ve accrued over those 15 years and the little bit of luck you need to keep winning.


Think about it.  Does Don Shula get 357 wins if teams like the Steelers didn’t pass on Dan Marino?  Does Bill Walsh still enjoy the “Genius” moniker without Montana, Craig,  and Rice--with Steve Young waiting in the wings?


If by some miracle Kenny Pickett rises triumphant from the ashes of  the Canada debacle, and if Tomlin and his reborn quarterback make a deep playoff run--how many Steelers fans will keep writing “FIRE TOMLIN” after every article in  the Pittsburgh newspapers?


But let’s keep it less surreal.  Tomlin needs to right the ship he ran into the iceberg.  His response to that challenge will define his career tons more than any non-losing streak.


THE PICK


Tomlin has a good record against rookie QBs--don’t tell that to Cleveland’s Dorian Thompson Robinson who, last week,  treated the Steelers like JV benchwarmers.


Someone needs to ask Coach Tomlin why in the name of Dan Rooney, no blitzes were called to make Cleveland's D.T. Robinson just a teencie bit uncomfortable? On offense, why no passes over the middle, no misdirection?


Despite being out gained in every game they’ve played, despite having  a negative point differential, the Steelers are in the playoff hunt.  They have the best turnover differential in the league, and are 4th in Red Zone defense.


Jake Browning will start his first NFL game as Bengal QB...


Betting on a singularly focused Steelers effort tomorow in the Cincinnati Chili Bowl where

Pittsburgh is 16-4 SU in the last decade.


I bet Kenny Pickett throws for 225 and 2. The Steelers should be able to exploit the 2nd worst rush defense allowing 5.0 YPR, and the worst passing defense surrendering 7.0 YPP.


Then again their coach took 3 years too long to correct a mistake that might haunt the franchise forever...Three years of wasting the efforts of a HOF caliber edge rusher, an opportunistic always improving defense--not to mention Pro Bowl level offensive players like Warren, Friermuth, Johnson and Pickens.


They need a win, badly. Lay the 1.5 and play the Over.


Steelers 23

Bengals 20


As usual, my picks for the entire weekly slate are below in bold Italics:


Date              Spread Over Under 

NFL Week 12 point spreads: 

Green Bay Packers (+7.5) @ Detroit Lions (-7.5) 46  [U]

Washington Commanders (+11) @ Dallas Cowboys (-11) 48  US  [U]

San Francisco 49ers (-7) @ Seattle Seahawks (+7) 42.5  [O]

Miami Dolphins (-7.5) @ New York Jets (+7.5) 41 [O]

New Orleans Saints (-1) @ Atlanta Falcons (+1.5) 41.5

Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5) 34.5 [O]

Jacksonville Jaguars (-1) @ Houston Texans (+1) 47

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) 42.5   O/U

New England Patriots (-3.5) @ New York Giants (+3.5) 33.5

Carolina Panthers (+3.5) @ Tennessee Titans (-3.5) 37

Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) @ Arizona Cardinals (+2.5) 46.5

Cleveland Browns (+1.5) @ Denver Broncos (-1.5) 36.5  

Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) @ Las Vegas Raiders (+9.5) 44

Baltimore Ravens (-3) @ Los Angeles Chargers (+3) 46.5  LW  [O]

Chicago Bears (+3) @ Minnesota Vikings (-3) 45  [U]

Buffalo Bills (+3) @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3)  47.5  GW  [O]

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