The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

November 14, 2012

Pro picks: Buffalo may give Dolphins cool reception

JOHNSTOWN — The problem – well, one of several problems – with the Bills and the Dolphins is they are capable of playing some real stinkers. Miami managed one last Sunday, when it was thrashed at home by Tennessee, and Buffalo has done it against the Jets and the 49ers.

When they meet Thursday night, NFL Network surely will be hoping for something more like Miami’s performances in wins over the Raiders and Jets, matched by Buffalo’s outings in victories against Kansas City and Cleveland.

The Bills are 11⁄2-point favorites over a franchise that used to suffer freezer burn heading up to Western New York this time of year. But these Dolphins are better built for the cold than in past years. Hey, they might be better built for the cold than the Bills.

Miami plays things close to the vest, which works well if the elements are a factor. Buffalo is far more wide-open in its offensive approach, and without injured running back Fred Jackson, it has lost a ton of versatility – even though sidekick C.J. Spiller is having a terrific year.

“Yeah they say it’s a great environment. The fans love their football, they love Buffalo,” Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “It’s going to be cold, so it’s going to be fun.

“I played a few cold weather games back in Texas,” added Tannehill, who was a receiver and QB at Texas A&M. “It gets cold out in the winter in West Texas, and then we played in Kansas and Iowa in college.”

He doesn’t see last week’s 37-3 debacle against Tennessee having a carry-over effect.

“Our guys are resilient. We’re realists; we know we didn’t play well, we know we didn’t perform like we’re capable of, but we’re ready to move forward, ready to go out and try to take it up a few notches against Buffalo.”

Upset special: DOLPHINS, 22-20

No. 19 San Diego (plus 7) at No. 5 Denver: Broncos are rolling, Chargers are reeling.

Best bet: BRONCOS, 34-24

No. 12 Indianapolis (plus

9 1/2) at No. 8 New England: Oddsmakers obviously don’t believe in Colts. We do – at least against the spread. PATRIOTS, 28-24

No. 6 Green Bay (minus 3) at No. 18 Detroit: Time for Packers to begin second-half surge. PACKERS, 30-23

No. 21 Arizona (plus 10) at No. 2 Atlanta: Falcons should be ticked off at how they performed with chance to win at New Orleans. FALCONS, 23-10

No. 13 Tampa Bay (minus 1) at No. 28 Carolina: Bucs can score anywhere, and Panthers don’t match up well. BU-CCANEERS, 27-20

No. 29 Cleveland (plus

7 1⁄2) at No. 16 Dallas: Hard to trust the Cowboys. Impossible to trust the Browns. COWBOYS, 30-17

No. 25 New York Jets (plus 3) at No. 26 St. Louis: Sam Bradford hates the idea of ties. He need not be concerned about one here. RAMS, 17-3

No. 32 Jacksonville (plus 16) at No. 1 Houston: Lots of points to give, most in any game this year. Give them! TEXANS, 37-13

No. 17 Cincinnati (minus

3 1⁄2) at No. 31 Kansas City: If Bengals turned things around last week against Giants, it will show in KC. BENGALS, 17-10

No. 24 Philadelphia (plus 3 1⁄2) at No. 22 Washington: Nick Foles will be no match for RG3 and rested Redskins. REDSKINS, 31-16

No. 13 New Orleans (minus 4 1⁄2) at No. 30 Oakland: Saints believe playoff berth is possible. Stumbling here would erase that. SAINTS, 33-23

No. 7 Baltimore (minus 3) at No. 9 Pittsburgh: No Roethlisberger the difference here, but barely. RAVENS,

21-20

No. 3 Chicago (OFF) at

No. 4 San Francisco: Monday night. Jason Campbell vs. Colin Kaepernick? ESPN must love that prospect. 49ERS, 13-12

2012 Record

Against spread: 7-7 (60-82-3). Straight up: 9-4-1 (85-60-1)

Best Bet: 5-4-1 against spread, 8-2 straight up.

Upset special: 7-3 against spread, 5-5 straight up.

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