Randall the Handle's NFL selections, Week 12

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) hands off to Matt Forte (22) in the second half of their...

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) hands off to Matt Forte (22) in the second half of their NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers in Chicago, Illinois November 20, 2011. Cutler broke his thumb during the game and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks after surgery. (REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

RANDALL THE HANDLE

, Last Updated: 7:32 PM ET

Randall the Handle’s NFL selections, Week 12

BEST BETS

Bears (7-3) at Raiders (6-4)

LINE: OAKLAND BY 4

Jay Cutler or Jay Leno, the Bears are the better team here and taking any points offered here is a gift. Chicago has won five straight and with Matt Forte leading the way against the Raiders’ 25th-ranked run defence, a sixth straight win would not surprise. Oakland remains beat up at all sorts of positions and the team continues to take costly penalties. Bears QB Caleb Hanie has been in the organization for four years. He’s familiar with the offence and when combined with Chicago’s defence and special teams play, he can lead his team to a win here. Raiders have yet to cover as chalk.

TAKING: BEARS +4

RISKING: $44 TO WIN $40


Broncos (5-5) at Chargers (4-6)

LINE: SAN DIEGO BY 6

There are times in college football when an unranked team is actually favoured against a ranked squad. That’s mainly because oddsmakers know the real truth and pointspreads are not based on myth. The same principle applies here. Tebowmania is fantasy. A San Diego team that has lost five straight is listed as a six-point favourite. That is reality and it sends a loud message. This is the NFL and it never has been more of a passing league than it is today. Give us one of the league’s best passers in Philip Rivers, facing off against Tim Tebow and his embarrassing passing abilities, and a blowout would not surprise.

TAKING: CHARGERS -6

RISKING: $33 TO WIN $30


 

Giants (6-4) at Saints (7-3)

LINE: NEW ORLEANS BY 7

Oh, those Giants. Each time they move up the league’s ladder, they find a way to slide back down. Frequently, it is when they are expected to win that they disappoint, while performing best when expectations are low. Already, they have defeated both the Patriots and the Eagles as substantial road underdogs. With the Saints’ weak tackling skills, New York’s behemoth RB Brandon Jacobs capable of exploiting that weakness, and the G-men’s pass rushing skills, the Giants once again could pull off a considerable upset.

TAKING: GIANTS +7

RISKING: $33 TO WIN $30

Last Week: -$66

Current bankroll: $850


THE REST

Texans (7-3) at Jaguars (3-7)

LINE: HOUSTON BY 3.5

The Texans go from “score Matt” to “door Matt” as Matt Leinart replaces the injured Matt Schaub. While the line has been adjusted to account for the change, we still prefer a Jacksonville side that plays solid defence and is returning home after three away. The Jaguars’ last home game was a win over the Ravens.

TAKING: JAGUARS +3.5


 

Panthers (2-8) at Colts (0-10)

LINE: CAROLINA BY 3.5

The Panthers came out of the gates guns a-blazin’. Now they appear to be shooting blanks. Their neophyte offence is making too many mistakes while the defence can’t seem to stop anyone. The Colts are unsightly but are offered home points from a weak opponent, after a bye week.

TAKING: COLTS +3.5


 

Browns (4-6) at Bengals (6-4)

LINE: CINCINNATI BY 7.5

The Bengals are battered and bruised both emotionally and physically after a pair of losses to Steelers and Ravens respectively. That makes spotting its biggest spread of the year a considerable order for adolescent Cincinnati bunch. Cleveland’s unheralded defence has actually allowed fewer points than Cincy’s.

TAKING: BROWNS +7.5


 

Vikings (2-8) at Falcons (6-4)

LINE: ATLANTA BY 9.5

The Falcons lack football’s killer instinct. Until they acquire it, we’re not anxious to be spotting prohibitive points with them. Obviously, the Vikings aren’t the same with Adrian Peterson on the shelf, but as we observed when they lost him last week, Minnesota won’t roll over.

TAKING: VIKINGS +9.5


 

Bills (5-5) at Jets (5-5)

LINE: NY JETS BY 9

While the Jets remain iffy, we’ll grant them a mulligan for their dismal performance in Denver, seeing that they had a difficult scheduling sequence. Off 10 days rest and facing a spiralling Bills team, New York should control a visitor that it defeated by a 27-11 count in Buffalo just three weeks ago.

TAKING: JETS -9


 

Buccaneers (4-6) at Titans (5-5)

LINE: TENNESSEE BY 3.5

The Bucs have taken a step back this year, or have they? Tampa’s previous six games were a nasty set that included the 49ers, Saints, Bears (in London), Saints again, Texans and Packers. This becomes a drop in class against a Tennessee team that isn’t strong to begin with and could be without its starting quarterback.

TAKING: BUCCANEERS +3.5


 

Cardinals (3-7) at Rams (2-8)

LINE: ST. LOUIS BY 3

St. Louis shouldn’t be favoured over Arizona’s cheerleaders, let alone its football team. The Rams are an abomination and after getting smoked at home to the Seahawks, the morale on this untalented and injured squad has to be at an all-time low. Not exactly a marquee game.

TAKING: CARDINALS +3


 

Redskins (3-7) at Seahawks (4-6)

LINE: SEATTLE BY 4

Amazingly, the Seahawks have not been favoured in their past 17 games. Then again, unless they are playing within their feeble division (sans San Francisco) or facing the Colts, we see no reason that they should be. Washington’s pass rush enough to tip the scales in its favour.

TAKING: REDSKINS +4


 

Patriots (7-3) at Eagles (4-6)

LINE: NEW ENGLAND BY 3.5

The Eagles’ playoff hopes remain on life support, but at least there’s a pulse. After a crucial road win at Giants, Philly will host a New England squad that is traveling on a short week along with its share of injuries. Vick or no Vick, the Eagles’ speedy playmakers pose problems for Patriots defensive schemes.

TAKING: EAGLES +3.5


 

Steelers (7-3) at Chiefs (4-6)

LINE: PITTSBURGH BY 10.5

With Ben Roethlisberger nursing a fractured thumb and facing a team that has limited ability, expect the Steelers to take a conservative approach to this one. That will suit the Chiefs as they will hope to run the ball and keep Pittsburgh’s offence off the field, keeping this one within range.

TAKING: CHIEFS +10.5

Last week’s record: 4-8-2

Season: 69-81-9

 


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