NFL Week 13 Picks

Happy Thanksgiving, you’s guys! One thing I am absolutely thankful for is that Week 12 is behind us, because it was an incredibly rough one, plain and simple. Between the tie that stole a win and the 24 point comeback in New England, it was a rough ride to a 6-7 record. Thankfully, though, things didn’t go much better in Bristol. The overall stands at 110-65.

But, onward and upward we go.

Enjoy the multiple days filled with football, family, and food this week!

Byes this week: NONE! We’re done with that.

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions, Thursday, 12:30pm

Short weeks are rough on any team, but they’re especially rough on teams that are coming off of a tie or a devastating loss to an opponent that was 6 games under .500. That’s the situation both the Pack and Lions face coming into this one. Unfortunately for Green Bay, though, the short rest means there’s a “slim to none” chance that Aaron Rodgers will be ready to come back. Matthew Stafford essentially let Mike Glennon out duel him on Sunday—I can’t see him putting together back to back performances like that, especially in an all-too-important divisional showdown. Lions win 34-23

Oakland Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys, Thursday, 4:30pm

Matt McGloin grew up (presumably) as an Eagles fan. He gets an opportunity to take down a team that he (presumably) grew up hating with an intense passion. As much as I’ll be pulling for him to do just that, the likelihood of it actually happening is—to borrow from Mike McCarthy for the second time in two game previews—slim to none. Dallas’s defense hasn’t done them any favors this year, which could make this an interesting game, but (and I can’t believe I’m about to say this) the clutchness of Tony Romo in the fourth quarter hasn’t gone unnoticed this year. He should be able to pick apart the league’s 25th ranked passing attack, which has just seven picks on the season. Cowboys win 28-20

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens, Thursday, 8:30pm

After an exceptionally rough 0-4 start, the Steelers have crawled their way back into the mix in the AFC, winning five of their last seven. If they’re hot streak continues, they could find themselves with a (knock on wood, Yinzers) home playoff game in January. Any hope of that happening relies, in part, on how they do this Thanksgiving in Baltimore. The Ravens find themselves in almost exactly the same position. Basically, this will end up as the game of the night on Thursday. It might be cliche when talking about the AFC North, but I really believe that the team that can establish the run in this one is going to be the team that comes away with the W. Baltimore has shown the ability to do that against tough defenses, when they need to. They’re also a tough team to beat at home. Ravens win 17-14

Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1pm

The Eagles are coming off of a bye and officially have a brand new starting quarterback. This is Nick Foles’ ship to run, now, and if the past few weeks are any indication, it should be sailing rather high. The Cardinals come in having put together an impressive run over the course of the past month—or so say the sports media folk. The road wins have been hard to come by for Carson Palmer and the Cards—their two road wins came against the Jaguars and the Bucs, and both of those wins were not really in impressive fashion. The Eagles have hit their groove at the right time, and I like them to turn that 10-game home losing streak into a 2 game winning streak. Eagles win 34-21

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cleveland Browns, 1pm

Don’t look now, but the Jags are poised to make a run. Toss a coin on this one. (That’s what I did—except a coin wasn’t handy, so I used a flip flop.) Browns win 13-10

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts, 1pm

This year’s Colts team can be broken down into two era’s: BWI and AWI—Before Wayne’s Injury and After Wayne’s Injury. Prior to going down for the season in Indy’s incredible win over then-unbeaten Denver, the Colts were 5-2 and in the driver’s seat in the AFC South. They still are the lead dog in the division, but in the AWI era, they look like a completely different team and have made things awfully interesting. Tennessee gets a chance for revenge after a tough loss a couple of Thursday nights ago and look poised to do so—Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown that he’s more than capable at the quarterback position, and has really stepped up to the plate in Jake Locker’s multiple absences this season. Titans win 24-23

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings, 1pm

Someone has got to step up in the NFC North and pretend to want to win this division at some point, right? While on paper the Bears should have no problem in this one, there’s one aspect that should be a major concern for Chi-town fans (and it almost cost them in that first game at home against the Vikings this year)—they’re Chicago’s defense is a far cry from the defenses we’ve come to know over the years, and their 31st-ranked rush-D is probably going to struggle mightily against one of the most prolific runners in the game.  Let’s not forget that, outside of their tie against the Packers, this Vikings team did their job against the Redskins, had the Cowboys on the ropes (on the road), and they’ve shored up their turnover problems. The Bears should be on alert heading into this one. Vikings win 28-26

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets, 1pm

Miami has been great at home this season, and that showed against a surging Panthers team that they had on the ropes last week. Going on the road has been a bit of a struggle, but this week should be a different story. They travel to New York to take on a Jets team that is officially a complete mess. In his last six games, Geno Smith has just 1 passing TD and 10 INTs. That’s not good. Miami pass rush has stepped it’s game up of late, which should mean more struggles for Smith. On the other side of the ball, Ryan Tannehill has been sort of meh, but he’s doing enough to keep the Dolphins in games and give them a shot at winning. Dolphins win 17-13

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers, 1pm

The guys in Tampa have really turned a corner after their 0-8 start (something I’m sure fans hoping for a high draft pick aren’t too pleased about). The road doesn’t get any easier for them, though, as a date with the red hot Panthers is upon them this week. The last time that these two teams hooked up, the Bucs were still getting acclimated to Greg Schiano’s way of doing things, and ever since that matchup they have been a different team—leading a game in Seattle 24-0 before an OT loss, followed by three straight wins. I expect more fight from the Bucs in this one, but the Panthers D has been nothing short of stifling in every aspect of the game. This one is less of a trap than last week’s game against the Dolphins, but Carolina better not look at this one lightly. Panthers win 30-23

New England Patriots @ Houston Texans, 1pm

Um. Yeah. About this. Pats win 42-16

Atlanta Falcons @ Buffalo Bills, 4:05pm

Is anyone actually going to watch this one? Two teams that are fighting to stay slightly above terrible. This is almost on the level of Jacksonville and Cleveland but not quite coin-flipable. Atlanta has struggled all season long on defense, especially against the run—Buffalo boasts the 7th best rushing attack in the league. Atlanta has also struggled all season, establishing their own rushing attack, which has meant that Matty Ice has had to carry the team—Buffalo actually has a decent pass defense (12th in the NFL, 229 yds per game), and how they perform could be the difference in this one. Possibly without tight end Tony Gonzalez, it’s really hard to side with Atlanta in this one. Bills win 27-24

St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers, 4:05pm

I absolutely LOVE what the Rams have done over the last two games—80 pts, just shy of 800 yards of total offense, and they’ve only committed 1 turnover while forcing 8—however, I don’t LOVE who they’ve done it against (a struggling Indy team and the schizophrenic Chicago Bears). This week is their first truly tough test over this recent stretch of success—a road matchup, within their division, and against a tough defense. The question for the 49ers will be how they handle the rookie Tavon Austin, who has been the key to St. Louis’s recent success. Their record over the last three games aside, they’ve really been able to contain opposing offenses that have been explosive over the course of the season. 49ers win 27-17

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25pm

It seems no one’s safe these days. Every team has flaws, and they’ve been exposed in Kansas City and Denver. Both teams come in limping—Kansas City, losers of two straight, and the Broncos coming off of an epic collapse in Foxboro. Peyton Manning isn’t completely healthy, and that’s obvious. How that effects him in this one could be the difference Kansas City finally showed their ability to put up points, but their defense, which has been tops in the league all season long, has put up two dud’s of performances in the past week. I expect them to play with a huge chip on their shoulder in this one. I said weeks ago that I see these teams splitting the season series, which is why I feel I need to stick to my word and go with the home team here. Chiefs win 31-28

Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers, 4:25pm

Don’t look now, but the Chargers are, well, charging. After a HUGE (I’m ALL into the all-caps thing right NOW) road win against a division rival, they find themselves back in the hunt for the final wild card spot in the AFC. This week they get to host a Bengals team coming off of a bye, but one that is licking a few wounds. Andy Dalton has not played well over the past three games, falling apart in two overtimes, and failing to get a real stranglehold on a weak AFC North division. The momentum of these teams is going in completely opposite directions right now. Chargers win 35-26

New York Giants @ Washington Redskins, 8:25pm

Another chance for Washington to look like a complete disaster of a team in prime time! New York will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss against the Cowboys, where their comeback bid fell just short. No matter how you sugar coat it, things are not right in DC. RGIII, the coaches, the offense, the defense, no one is on the same page, and it shows. Beyond the 3-8 record, in their last game against the 49ers, the Skins put up just 6 points and accumulated just 30 yards of offense in the second half. The defense has been equally as terribly—30.7 pts per game (31st), 382.1 yds per game (28th), 101.7 QBR against (30th), and 15 rush TDs against (32nd), among other pathetic stats. Oh, and they don’t get to hold on to whatever draft pick they would’ve had this spring, thanks to the trade to get RGIII (who, by the way, has thrown an interception in 9 of 11 games this season, 11 total). How’s all that working out? Giants win 24-20

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks, Monday, 8:30pm

This is almost undoubtedly a preview of the NFC championship game in a couple months. And just a quick reminder about what happened the last time these two teams met:

The run that caused an earthquake. It’s incredibly tough to win in Seattle. If anyone can do it, it’d be the Saints, but I don’t know how anyone can run a successful offense in that kind of environment. It’s easily the game of the week, and one that I look forward to watching in its entirety. It all comes down to who holds their ground between the Saints offense and the Seattle defense. Seahawks win 34-31

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