NFL Week 12 picks 2012

The Bills go to Lucas Oil Stadium this week and I’m interested to see a full game of Andrew Luck under center.

Luck’s Colts are 6-4 and are in line for a Wild Card spot with a month and a half left of football. He’s eighth in the NFL in passing yards and — while he’s had rookie moments — appears to be the real deal.

If Luck outplays Ryan Fitzpatrick this week — a definite possibility — it will be a stark contrast between what a real franchise quarterback can do and what the Bills have been getting from the lovable but inconsistent Fitzpatrick.

Bills GM Buddy Nix suggested earlier this month he’s already looking ahead to quarterbacks in this year’s draft. Fitz and the Bills edged rookie QBs Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill this season, but if Luck sinks Buffalo’s playoff chances this weekend, he may sink any remaining hope in Fitzpatrick as well.


Bills (+3) at Indianapolis — Colts

Oakland (+7½) at Cincinnati — Bengals

Pittsburgh (pick) at Cleveland — Cleveland

Denver at Kansas City (+10) — Denver

Tennessee at Jacksonville (+3) — Jacksonville

Minnesota (pick) at Chicago — Chicago

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (+1) — Atlanta

Seattle at Miami (+3) — Seattle

Baltimore at San Diego (+1) — Ravens

San Francisco at New Orleans (+1) — Saints

St. Louis (+2) at Arizona — Cardinals

Green Bay (+2½) at Giants — Packers

Carolina (+2½) at Philadelphia — Carolina*

Skurski 77-67-5 (6-4-1)
DiCesare 75-69-5 (6-5)
Graham 72-72-5 (3-7-1)
Sullivan 69-75-5 (5-5-1)
IAGS 66-78-5 (8-2-1)
Northrop 64-80-5 (3-7-1)
Gaughan 64-80-5 (6-4-1)

Last week:

Philadelphia (+3½) at Washington — Washington
Redskins 31-6. Win

Green Bay at Detroit (+3½) — Detroit
Packers 24-20. Loss

Arizona (+10) at Atlanta — Atlanta
Falcons 23-19. Loss

Tampa Bay at Carolina (+1½) — Tampa
Bucs 27-21. Win

Cleveland (+7½) at Dallas — Cleveland
Cowboys 23-20. Win

Jets (+3½) at St. Louis — St. Louis
Jets 27-13. Loss

Indianapolis (+9½) at New England — Indianapolis
Pats 59-24. Loss

Jacksonville (+15½) at Houston — Houston
Texans 43-37. Loss

Cincinnati at Kansas City (+3½) — Bengals
Bengals 28-6. Win

New Orleans at Oakland (+5) — New Orleans
Saints 38-17. Win

San Diego (+7½) at Denver — Denver
Broncos 30-23. Loss

Baltimore (+3½) at Pittsburgh — Baltimore*
Ravens 13-10. Win

Chicago (+3) at San Francisco — San Fran
49ers 32-7. Win



Only the preseason? Fitzpatrick, Bills look like it’s still the preseason in opener

The preseason doesn’t matter, right? Save it. The Buffalo Bills continued their sleepwalk into the regular season Sunday, dropping the opener for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.

Looking at the final stat lines doesn’t begin to tell the story of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s day at MetLife Stadium. For most of Sunday’s season opener against the New York Jets, Fitzpatrick was a boy lost in a man’s world.

Fans were calling for Vince Young to come back. And you know it’s bad when Mark Sanchez shows you up.

Fitzpatrick and Sanchez both threw three touchdown passes in what would be a 48-28 Jets win, but Sanchez got all three of his when it was still a game, well before Fitzpatrick could put anything together. The Bills finally got the ball moving through the air after New York went up 41-7, with Fitzpatrick’s three garbage-time touchdowns matching his three interceptions.

Saying Fitzpatrick couldn’t get comfortable in the pocket would be putting it nicely. He was terrible in the first half and merely bad in the second.

Fitzpatrick forced passes into windows he’d be lucky to hit at a family picnic, let alone with a pass rush in his face and Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in coverage. He threw to receivers that weren’t even sort-of open, missed reads and was late on his throws. Jets cornerbacks had a field day in the first half — and if they messed up, Fitzpatrick’s throws didn’t make them pay.

The defense wasn’t any better. Mario Williams, Mark Anderson and the new-and-seemingly-unimproved defensive line was invisible. The Bills didn’t have a sack and weren’t even credited with a QB hit.

The secondary got picked apart by Sanchez and a slew of largely unknown receivers. Leodis McKelvin followed Fitzpatrick’s lead of continuing last season’s struggles, getting picked on routinely. Rookie Stephon Gilmore didn’t look good, nor did sophomore Aaron Williams.

For all the time the Bills defense spent worrying about Tim Tebow and the Wildcat offense, Tebow didn’t get to throw once and wasn’t much of a factor. Then again, he didn’t have to be — Sanchez took care of the scoring.

One of the few positives of the game was C.J. Spiller’s career-high 169 yards on just 14 carries (12.1 yards per attempt), though it may have come at the cost of losing Fred Jackson for an extended period of time. We’ll know for certain how bad his knee injury is after an MRI tomorrow, but it looked pretty bad when it happened. Receiver David Nelson’s knee injury could be even worse.

Starting the regular season doesn’t mean there’s some switch the team flips to automatically start playing good football. It’s going to take more practice and more players playing like they should (Mario Williams? Williams? Bueller?). Probably the only good news ahead for the Bills is that Kansas City and Cleveland are the next two opponents on the schedule. But Fitzpatrick and Co. better figure something out soon. If they play like the did Sunday against New England and San Francisco, it’s going get a lot uglier than a 20-point loss.

NFL Week 17 picks

Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled since signing his extension. A poor finale may have even more fans calling for a quarterback in the first round of the draft.

The last week of the NFL season means it’s the last week for football picks. Milt Northrop leads the Buffalo News picks at 118-105-7. I’m tied in second with Jay Skurski at 114-109-7, with the rest of the News cast on the outside looking in.

But let’s be honest, they don’t know that I’m playing along. So it’s really between Milt and Jay, but I like winning at things so we’re keeping this up.

The tiebreaker is best bets, but I sort of forgot to keep doing those midway through the year. My bad … I’ll concede a tie. Here’s what the standings look like:

Northrop: 118-105-7
Skurski: 114-109-7
Always Game Seven 114-109-7
Gaughan: 107-116-7
McKissic: 107-116-7
DiCesare: 106-117-7
Sullivan: 104-119-7

The Bills play in Foxboro this weekend, where they haven’t won since 2000. Week 17 games are tricky to pick and hard for fans to deal with because we aren’t entirely sure what we want.

We always want the Bills to win. That’s a given. But at the same time, we’d hate for something stupid to happen, like winning a meaningless game that would hurt our draft position. For a team that was thinking playoffs the first two months of the season, we sure have a lot of holes to fill — so much so that we can’t even agree on which to fill first, but that’s another story for another time.

With a loss, the Bills can pick inside the top 10. With a win, we could move as far back as 16. It doesn’t sound like much, but it does matter. And besides, that another 45 minutes you have to watch the draft.

The Patriots have won seven straight and can clinch home-field with a win. Tom Brady is probable while offensive linemen Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer are out. How long will the starters play? Only The Hoodie knows and he’s not telling. For the rest of us, it’s all guesswork. I think Brady gets his team up a bunch and then comes out … leaving garbage time to kill bets this week.

Bills (+11 1/2) at New England
New England

Washington (+9) at Philadelphia

Tampa Bay (+12) at Atlanta

San Francisco at St. Louis (+10 1/2)
San Francisco

Chicago (+1) at Minnesota

Detroit at Green Bay (+3 1/2)

Carolina (+8 1/2) at New Orleans

Tennessee at Houston (+3)

Baltimore at Cincinnati (+3)

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (+7)

Indianapolis (+3 1/2) at Jacksonville

Jets (+2) at Miami

San Diego (+3) at Oakland

Kansas City (+3 1/2) at Denver

Seattle (+3) at Arizona

Dallas (+3) at Giants

Last week

Denver at Bills (+3)
Bills 40-14. Loss
Oakland (+1 1/2) at Kansas City
Raiders 16-13 (OT). Win
Jacksonville (+7 1/2) at Tennessee
Titans 23-17. Loss
Arizona (+4) at Cincinnati
Bengals 23-17. Loss
Miami (+9) at New England
New England
Pats 27-24. Loss
Cleveland (+13) at Baltimore
Ravens 20-14. Win
Giants (+3) at Jets
Giants 29-14. Win
Minnesota (+6 1/2) at Washington
Vikings 33-26. Win
Tampa Bay (+7 1/2) at Carolina
Panthers 48-16. Win
St. Louis (+16) at Pittsburgh
St. Louis
Steelers 27-0. Loss
San Diego (+2 1/2) at Detroit
Lions 38-10. Win
San Francisco at Seattle (+2 1/2)
San Francisco
49ers 19-17. Loss
Philadelphia (+2) at Dallas
Eagles 20-7. Win
Chicago (+13) at Green Bay
Packers 35-21.  Loss
Atlanta (+6 1/2) at New Orleans
New Orleans
Saints 45-16. Win

NFL Week 12 picks

With one career rushing touchdown to his name, this may be top-10 draft pick C.J. Spiller’s last shot to prove he isn’t a bust.

JETS (-9) over Bills

ST. LOUIS (-3) over Arizona

CINCINNATI (-7) over Cleveland

JACKSONVILLE (+3.5) over Houston

Carolina (-3.5) over INDIANAPOLIS

TENNESSEE (-3) over Tampa Bay

ATLANTA (-9.5) over Minnesota

Chicago (+4.5) over OAKLAND

SEATTLE (-3.5) over Washington

New England (-3) over PHILADELPHIA

Denver (+6) over SAN DIEGO

Pittsburgh (-10.5) over KANSAS CITY*

NEW ORLEANS (-7) over Giants


Skurski: 78-73-6 (4-6-1)
Game Seven 77-74-6 (4-5-1)
Northrop: 76-75-6 (6-4-1)
McKissic: 74-77-6 (5-6)
Gaughan: 73-78-6 (5-5-1)
DiCesare: 71-80-6 (5-5-1)
Sullivan: 70-81-6 (6-4-1)

Last week

Bills (+2 1/2) at Miami
Dolphins 35-8. Win
Tennessee (+6) at Atlanta
Falcons 23-17. Push
Cincinnati (+7) at Baltimore
Ravens 31-24. Push
Jacksonville (pick) at Cleveland
Browns 14-10. Loss
Oakland at Minnesota (+1)
Raiders 27-21. Win
Carolina (+7) at Detroit
Lions 49-35. Win
Tampa Bay (+14) at Green Bay
Green Bay
Packers 35-26. Loss
Dallas at Washington (+7 1/2)
Cowboys 27-24. Loss
Arizona (+9 1/2) at San Francisco
49ers 23-7. Win
Seattle (+1 1/2) at St. Louis
Seahawks 24-7. Win
San Diego (+3 1/2) at Chicago
Bears 31-20. Win
Philadelphia (+4 1/2) at Giants
Eagles 17-10. Loss
Kansas City (+14 1/2) at New England
Patriots 34-3. Win

NFL Week 8 picks

Where is Beck's pass going?

Ryan Fitzpatrick and his new contract extension will take on the Washington Redskins this Sunday in Toronto. Washington has lost two straight and three of its last four amid a QB switch from Rex Grossman to Jon Beck while the Bills are fresh off a bye week.

The Bills won both preseason contests at the Rogers Centre but are 0-3 in regular season games up north, and that’s almost something I’ve proud of. I always want the Bills to be successful, but I also don’t want Toronto to get any ideas about poaching our team.

Regardless of how long Fitzpatrick and Beck have known each other, I’m still going to believe that Beck is not an NFL quarterback until he proves otherwise. Give me the Bills.

BILLS (-6) over Washington

TENNESSEE (-8.5) over Indianapolis

Jacksonville (+9 1/2) over HOUSTON

Minnesota (+3 1/2) over CAROLINA

New Orleans (-13) over ST. LOUIS

Arizona (+13) over BALTIMORE

GIANTS (-10) over Miami

Detroit (-3) over DENVER

New England (-3) over PITTSBURGH

SAN FRANCISCO (-8.5) over Cleveland

Cincinnati (-3) over SEATTLE*

Dallas (+3.5) over PHILADELPHIA

KANSAS CITY (+3.5) over San Diego

Overall (best bets)

Northrop: 56-42-4 (3-3-1)
Skurski: 52-46-4 (2-5)
DiCesare: 51-47-4 (4-2-1)
Game Seven 50-48-4 (2-3-1)
Gaughan: 49-49-4 (2-4-1)
McKissic: 48-50-4 (5-2)
Sullivan: 40-58-4 (2-4-1)

Last week
TAMPA BAY (+1) over Chicago
Bears 24-18. Loss
CAROLINA (-2 1/2) over Washington
Panthers 33-20. Win
San Diego (-2.5) over JETS
Jets 27-21. Loss
Cleveland (-3) over SEATTLE
Browns 6-3. Push
TENNESSEE (-3) over Houston
Texans 41-7. Loss
Denver (+2) over MIAMI*
Broncos 18-15 (OT). Win
Atlanta (+3 1/2) over DETROIT
Facons 23-16. Win
OAKLAND (-4) over Kansas City
Chiefs 28-0. Loss
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over ARIZONA
Steelers 32-20. Win
DALLAS (-12) over St. Louis
Cowboys 34-7. Win
Green Bay (-9) over MINNESOTA
Packers 33-27. Loss
Indianapolis (+14) over NEW ORLEANS
Saints 62-7. Loss
Baltimore (-7.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Jags 12-7. Loss