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Armchair QB: Lions find unique ways to lose

November 29, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Staff ( , The Mining Journal

Silly me, I should've realized even when the Detroit Lions players can't figure out how to lose a game, its head coach would.

In last week's column, I hemmed and hawed over who to pick on Thanksgiving, finally settling on the Lions since Houston, despite its best record in the AFC, had been getting torched on pass defense.

But alas, Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz made sure the Texans got the touchdown they needed to get to overtime by throwing his red flag and negating the review that was going to take place on what was really only a short gain near midfield.

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Now I'm in agreement that it's dumb that the review doesn't take place because of what the coach did, but I doubt many of us Lions fans would feel sorry if the same thing had happened to Houston coach Gary Kubiak.

Schwartz said he got overemotional since the referees' original call was a TD, and if this was an isolated incident, I wouldn't be overly concerned.

But this has happened before, and I don't mean the "handshake-gate" incident with San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh - I think he was OK with what he did then, especially since it didn't change the game's outcome one iota.

He's been involved in situations where his emotions seemed to get the better of him, and it sure seems like that seeps over into his players, whether it's Ndamukong Suh stepping on someone or so many of the Lions players getting in trouble with the law, especially during last offseason.

Maybe more than most sports, pro football teams tread a fine line between playing positively with emotion and getting out of control. The Oakland Raiders in their heyday got away with it, but they were most noteworthy as the only ones that ever did.

Enough of my ranting; let's get to the Week 13 picks:

Today, 8:20 p.m.

New Orleans at Atlanta - Do you think Atlanta fans will let anyone on the Saints' offense hear a word Drew Brees says at the line of scrimmage all day? I don't think so either. Falcons, 24-19.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Minnesota at Green Bay - I don't pick road teams with inexperienced quarterbacks who need to score 35 points to keep up with the opposition. Packers, 34-24.

Indianapolis at Detroit - Despite my misgivings, the same goes for the Colts. Lions, 34-23.

Jacksonville at Buffalo - I blew it two weeks ago when I picked a Florida team - Miami - to win a game in Buffalo in November. I'm sure not going to do that again with this game in December. Bills, 20-13.

Seattle at Chicago - Last weekend, the Seahawks showed how well they travel. And this is against a real quarterback. Bears, 24-17.

Carolina at Kansas City - After winning in Philly on Monday, Carolina gets another gift-wrapped road trip this week. Panthers, 14-6.

New England at Miami - The Dolphins are like the Jets: Let them play some real competition and they'll fold like a Texas hold'em poker player holding seven-deuce offsuit. Patriots, 37-20.

Arizona at N.Y. Jets - Toughest pick of the week. Do you take the team on a seven-game losing streak, or the one with no offense? If you don't which one is which, join the crowd. Jets, 13-9.

San Francisco at St. Louis - If the NFL trading deadline hadn't already passed, some special team could find a nice Christmas present in Alex Smith under their quarterback tree. As it is, San Francisco is "stuck" with two QBs better than the average team's one. 49ers, 27-16.

Houston at Tennessee - I picked the Titans to win this division before the season began. Oh boy, don't I look like the smartest guy in the room. Texans, 34-13.

Sunday, 4 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Denver - The Bucs aren't about to ground Peyton Manning's high-flying plans to the AFC playoffs and maybe even the Super Bowl. Broncos, 33-23.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore - When the Steelers go to the single-wing offense, they won't need an actual quarterback. Until then, Ravens, 33-17.

Cleveland at Oakland - I'm not impressed that the Browns took the eight turnovers they were given last weekend and turned them into only a six-point victory. Raiders, 23-21.

Cincinnati at San Diego - Yes, the Chargers should've beaten Baltimore last weekend. But they say that about every game they play in November and December. Bengals, 27-26.

Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Philadelphia at Dallas - NBC wanted to keep THIS game in prime time? Well, having the Lusitania sink 100 feet away from the Titanic would've been pretty spectacular, too. Cowboys, 31-10.

Monday, 8:30 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at Washington - I should be suspicious of the Giants, since they only win when they really HAVE to. But I'll take the Giants, 27-21.

Last week - 9-7, 56 percent. Season - 111-64-1, 63 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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