NFL Pick ‘Em: Week 13
Picking the winners and losers of NFL Week 13
With Week 13 of the 2012 NFL season now upon us, we are five short weeks away from entering the postseason and taking that next crucial step towards crowning the 2012 Super Bowl champion.
The gap continues to grow between the top teams in the league and the ones who are just playing for pride and draft positioning at this point. While several teams have already taken commanding leads in their divisional races and are close to securing a playoff berth, others are furiously fighting for a shot at one of their conference’s wild card slots.
Don’t be surprised, however, when the spoilers start to crawl out of the woodworks and pick up those last-minute wins while putting potentially playoff-bound teams a step behind the competition. It happens every year, and it’s bound to happen right on schedule in 2012 as only five weeks separate us from seeing the playoff picture with perfect clarity.
This is where the NFL season really gets interesting. So buckle up, sit back and enjoy the ride. The playoffs are near, and the entire league can smell it. Who gets to taste that postseason sweetness, though, will be decided in the next few weeks. For now, here’s a look at this week of NFL action.
My Week 12 picks weren’t as pretty as they have been in recent weeks, as I finished out Monday night with an 8-8 record. Considering that the last three weeks I had posted 10-4 records, the significant drop in pick accuracy is rather disappointing. Still, life goes on. This week should be better as it becomes more and more apparent as to who the winners and losers of the 2012 campaign really are.
Atlanta Falcons (10-1) vs. New Orleans Saints (5-6)
While the Falcons have all but sealed up a trip to the playoffs, New Orleans is desperately pushing to keep its postseason dreams alive. Even though they’ll be prepared for their divisional rivals, Atlanta won’t be ready for what Drew Brees and the Saints throw at them, sweeping the season series in the process.
My pick: Saints win with the playoffs now in sight
Chicago Bears (8-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)
These teams are nearly identical apart from their record: both have poor offenses that feature unproductive passing attacks while fielding defenses that strike fear in opponents. Fortunately for the Bears, their defense does lots of their scoring for them, which should help them overcome Seattle.
My pick: Bears win one that’s too close for comfort
Tennessee Titans (4-7) vs. Houston Texans (10-1)
Although they might not be the hottest team in the NFL, the Texans are one of the most well-rounded. On Sunday, they’ll show the Titans just how deadly they can be. Combine a stout defense with the passing duo of Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, and you’ve got a well-oiled machine that dispenses wins at the touch of a button.
My pick: Texans win as their boulder of momentum rolls along
Miami Dolphins (5-6) vs. New England Patriots (8-3)
The Patriots offense is simply unstoppable, and there’s not a thing that the Dolphins are going to be able to do to slow them down. New England is cruising with Tom Brady at the helm while Stevan Ridley continues to explode when you least expect it. It won’t be pretty for Miami as their playoff hopes fade.
My pick: Patriots win in a game that’s closer than it should be
Buffalo Bills (4-7) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
As the season nears its end, there will be plenty of these games between two teams who have proven to be no fun to watch. That will be the case between the Bills and Jaguars, who are both out of the playoff picture at this point. Neither team has a huge edge, but Buffalo should come away with the win.
My pick: Bills win in a snoozer between two lackluster teams
Detroit Lions (4-7) vs. Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
Arguably the biggest disappointment of the 2012 season, the Lions continue to fall just short of victories week in and week out. The Colts, however, have taken the AFC by storm and are riding their rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to consistent wins. It’ll be a fierce fight, but Luck will work his magic on Detroit.
My pick: Colts win as the postseason becomes a likelihood
Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) vs. Carolina Panthers (3-8)
Hey look! Another one of those snoozers between two teams that have already had a fork stuck in them. While the Chiefs have managed to look like one of the worst teams in NFL history, the Panthers are playing for pride and are looking for a few late-season wins. Here’s an opportunity.
My pick: Panthers win, reaffirming that the Chiefs are horrid
Green Bay Packers (7-4) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
The potential return of Percy Harvin will definitely help the Vikings and their inept passing attack, but Christian Ponder’s struggles are still prevailing. The Packers, meanwhile, are looking for a big comeback after a blowout loss to the Giants. The turnover battle will be the difference-maker.
My pick: Packers win as the Minnesota mistakes pile up early
St. Louis Rams (4-6-1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1)
Since Colin Kaepernick took over at quarterback for the 49ers, everything has gone great for the Bay Area’s only relevant football team. Although some will question whether or not he can keep them afloat during the playoffs, he’s proving he knows how to win in the regular season. That shouldn’t change against the Rams.
My pick: 49ers win as Kaepernick proves to be the future in San Fran
New York Jets (4-7) vs. Arizona Cardinals (4-7)
A few weeks into the season, you never would have guessed that both of these teams would be where they are right now. Neither is in any sort of position to make the playoffs, as pride appears to be the only thing on the line anymore. Considering the Cardinals’ quarterback situation, the Jets should come away with this one.
My pick: Jets win in the battle of the biggest letdowns
Denver Broncos (8-3) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5)
The Broncos are arguably one of the top Super Bowl contenders at this point in the season, and Peyton Manning has been the absolute difference-maker. He’s shredding defenses at ease and looking like the elite quarterback he was during his time in Indy. The Buccaneers need a win badly, but won’t get it here.
My pick: Broncos win, keeping the league’s longest win streak alive
Baltimore Ravens (9-2) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
Without Ben Roethlisberger under center, the Steelers are in trouble. Especially against a team like the Ravens, who miraculously find ways to win each week, it’s imperative that they get their regular quarterback back. That, however, is unlikely to happen, which means the Ravens will get takeaways left and right.
My pick: Ravens win in a hard-fought, rivalry-driven battle
San Diego Chargers (4-7) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (6-5)
Despite being on a three-game winning streak, there are still plenty of holes in the Bengals’ game. The Chargers, meanwhile, are still looking for their talented players to put together a joint effort this season. With the home crowd on their side, San Diego will find a way to slow down Cincinnati enough to squeak out a win.
My pick: Chargers win while assuming the spoiler role
Oakland Raiders (3-8) vs. Cleveland Browns (3-8)
Both of these teams are just waiting for the 2012 season to come to an end. The Raiders, however, are in complete shambles while the Browns are still seeing what they have in some of their young, talented players. As Oakland continues to fall apart, expect Cleveland to take advantage and notch a win.
My pick: Browns win as the Raiders flail about the field
Dallas Cowboys (5-6) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8)
Similar to the Raiders' situation, this season has gone up in flames for the Eagles as injuries and a lack of execution have them on a seven-game losing streak. It’s pretty ugly, and it won’t get any prettier against the Cowboys, who desperately need a win to stay alive in the playoff hunt. Perfect timing for Tony Romo and Co.
My pick: Cowboys win as the Eagles limp towards the finish line
Washington Redskins (5-6) vs. New York Giants (7-4)
NFC East showdowns near season’s end are always exciting, and this one should be no exception. While the Giants struggle with inconsistency, the Redskins are picking up steam as Robert Griffin III continues to exceed expectations. It should come down to the wire, but RG3 will give the Redskins the needed push.
My pick: Redskins win as the NFC East race gets more interesting