Picks For All NFL Week 13 Games
Week 13 Separates Contenders From Pretenders
So much can be said of the way the 2012 NFL season has played out to this point with the usual suspects playing as they should, as well as a couple of surprises along the way. As we head into the final stretch, the pretenders will begin to fall back into the pack that hosts the bottom feeders of the league.
There are some hard core divisional games that will undoubtedly begin to iron out a playoff picture such as in the NFC East, NFC South and AFC North. We will find out if the New York Giants will continue their up and down play against the Washington Redskins, or if Robert Griffin III is really good enough to carry his team to a divisional title or wild card berth.
As well as the intriguing match-ups this weekend, beginning with the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night, there are also the unwatchable games that are strewn throughout such as the New York Jets hosting the Arizona Cardinals. So no matter what team you might root for, this week might just be the one where your team either clinches a playoff spot, or finally takes that plunge that puts them in spoiler mode.
Five Teams can clinch playoff spots in this week 13: Ravens, Patriots, Broncos, Texans and Falcons. It's amazing that four of those teams are in the AFC and all but the Texans can clinch their divisions. So here we go to my picks for NFL Week 13. Enjoy the games and leave me your picks in the comments section below.
New Orleans Saints(5-6) at Atlanta Falcons(10-1)
What better way to begin NFL Week 13 than with the New Orleans Saints visiting the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football. I have said for quite some time that the Falcons are not as good as their record states they are, and recently, they have had to eke out some close ones against better opponents.
The Saints come in after losing big to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, and may have finally hit their wall. At 5-6, no one can realistically expect the Saints to make a run the rest of the way, and I believe that while the 49ers showed them to their grave, the Falcons will be the team to put the nail in their coffin. The Falcons will have to wait until the playoffs to get exposed, but this should be one of the more entertaining games of the week.
Falcons 34 Saints 27
San Francisco 49ers(8-2-1) at St. Louis Rams(4-6-1)
It's a great thing to have a QB controversy in the middle of the year when your starter was having one of the best seasons of his career, right? San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh has named Colin Kaepernick the starter after he has won the past two games since an injury to Alex Smith. Kaepernick has given this team a spark in all three phases and the 49ers and their fans just hope that he will be able to lead them in the playoffs.
Visiting the St. Louis Rams this week, it should be a no-brainer that the 49ers win easily, but it is a division game that the Rams may keep interesting throughout. The last time these two met, they played to a 24-24 tie, but I don't think it will be as difficult for Kaepernick and the 49ers resurgent defense this time around.
49ers 28 Rams 20
Seattle Seahawks(6-5) at Chicago Bears(8-3)
The Seattle Seahawks visit the Chicago Bears in a game that will finally put to rest the Seahawks chances of making the playoffs. We may now know just why the Seahawks Corners have played so well this year after CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner both face suspensions by the NFL for using illegal substances.
But that may be besides the point as Jay Cutler will be starting for the Bears and their defense looked convincing against the Minnesota Vikings in week 12. The Seahawks will not do much if Marshawn Lynch is stifled by the Bears D and Russell Wilson is not the caliber QB that can fully carry his team on his shoulders. This may turn into an unwatchable game if you are not a fan of either team.
Bears 35 Seahawks 13
Indianapolis Colts(7-4) at Detroit Lions(4-7)
The Indianapolis Colts were not supposed to be in the spot they are in with what most thought a mediocre defense and having a rookie QB. But Andrew Luck has given this franchise hope that there will be no rebuilding process, but a probability of continuing playoff berths. At 7-4, the Colts must be considered the surprise team of the NFL, and if they can just improve their 2-3 road record, then they may even be scary to play in January.
Now they head to play the reeling Detroit Lions, who although they are putting up points on offense, they are also giving up more points on defense. I look for this to be one of the highest scoring games of the week, and the Colts, with a little luck, pulling out the victory in overtime.
Colts 38 Lions 35
Minnesota Vikings(6-5) at Green Bay Packers(7-4)
Another quality game on the schedule this week as divisional opponents Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers do battle in Lambeau Field. Both teams were humbled last week at the hands of the New York Giants and Chicago Bears, respectively, and will be looking to right their ships and make a case for the playoffs.
This is where the pretenders are clearly separated from the contenders, and even though the Vikings have Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers will make sure that his Packers are headed in the right direction. The Packers run defense is horrendous, and Peterson might get 150 yards and keep this game close, but Packers stand their ground at home.
Packers 27 Vikings 24
Carolina Panthers(3-8) at Kansas City Chiefs(1-10)
Talk about how lucky a team can get being able to pad their win total and their stats two weeks in a row. Last week, the Carolina Panthers played the abominable Philadelphia Eagles, and now have the luxury of meeting the Kansas City Chiefs.
I get the fact that the Chiefs played a tough game against the Denver Broncos this past week, but that is a divisional opponent they see each year, and the Panthers may be a little more than Brady Quinn can handle. If you thought that Monday's showcase between the Panthers and Eagles was a bust, don't even turn on this game. NBA, anyone?
Panthers 24 Chiefs 13
Houston Texans(10-1) at Tennessee Titans(4-7)
This could turn out to be a division game that is a lot tougher than the Houston Texans would bargain for. RB Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans has clearly regained his form, rushing for 347 yards the past three games and will eclipse the 1,000 yard mark in this game. QB Jake Locker has struggled at times, but with Dowell Loggains as new offensive coordinator, maybe Titans Coach Mike Munchak can get a boost from shaking things up a bit.
On the other sideline, the Texans have been playing extra football lately, with two OT games the past two weeks against the Lions and Jaguars. This is where a divisional opponent can exploit their rival and pull an upset at the most inopportune time, such as the Texans trying to keep a lead on the Colts. Yes, I am calling an upset special on this one as the Texans finally play their dud game of the year.
Titans 24 Texans 23
Jacksonville Jaguars(2-9) at Buffalo Bills(4-7)
This is another one of the filler games this weekend as the Jacksonville Jaguars head to upstate New York to visit the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars have played better of late, but the Bills will prove to be too much to handle.
C.J. Spiller should have a 100+ yard game and Ryan Fitzpatrick will exploit a shaky Jags secondary, but Chad Henne might just do his best to keep this one close. Still not on the must watch list.
Bills 31 Jaguars 24
New England Patriots(8-3) at Miami Dolphins(5-6)
In the most anticipated divisional game of the...oh, who am I kidding? The New England Patriots have been the 2012 version of the "Greatest Show on Turf", racking up 407 pts this season, far ahead of any team in the NFL. This will not stop against the Miami Dolphins, who are stout against the run, but are 26th in the league against the pass.
The Patriots will come out using the pass to set up the run game, and by halftime, what should have been considered a "flop" game for the Pats, will turn out to be an AFC East title.
Patriots 38 Dolphins 17
Arizona Cardinals(4-7) at New York Jets(4-7)
Can someone please call the paramedics? The New York Jets may finally find a pulse against the Arizona Cardinals. The only problem is that Rex Ryan and his "Gang Green" do not have many fans left that want to watch their games and the circus act that owner Woody Johnson has allowed to form.
The Cardinals are a dismal team that when it fell this season, it fell quick and has lost its past seven games and will turn to rookie QB Ryan Lindley to right the ship. My, how the Jets look good all of a sudden, huh? But, with no faith in Mark Sanchez, and a non-existent run game in New York, it is not a given that the Jets put aside the woeful Cards that easily, so maybe that wasn't a pulse I heard. I believe Ken Whisenhunt and his fourth ranked defense against the pass will be the difference in this one.
Cardinals 23 Jets 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers(6-5) at Denver Broncos(8-3)
The Denver Broncos had their work cut out for them in Kansas City this past week, but were still able to come up with a win. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played to a heartbreaking loss to the Falcons in which leaves them basically facing all but elimination in week 13.
The Broncos with a win, can clinch the AFC West division, but the offense has not looked in sync the past few weeks. The loss of Willis McGahee might have hurt more than John Fox or Peyton Manning might want to admit, but they just signed short-yardage back Jacob Hester, who might be able to give a boost behind Knowshon Moreno.
The Bucs, who are number one in run defense, will need a better game from their league worst secondary. Otherwise, Manning, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Brandon Stokley might just have a field day in the mile high city.
Broncos 24 Buccaneers 21
Cleveland Browns(3-8) at Oakland Raiders(3-8)
Here we all thought that the scrub games were over after the Jets and Cards. Well, surprise, surprise! The only interesting point to watching this game will be to see if Trent Richardson can torch this Oakland Raiders defense for over 200 yards.
Between Brandon Weeden and Carson Palmer, neither QB will be able to light it up. They just hope to keep the chains moving while getting their kickers into FG range. I guess if you need to pick someone to win, it's always safe to go with the home team. The problem is that this home team is the Raiders and at least the Browns show spunk.
Browns 23 Raiders 17
Cincinatti Bengals(6-5) at San Diego Chargers(4-7)
This might actually turn out to be an intriguing game between teams that are eerily similar. Sorry, Cincinnati, I don't mean to compare you to the Norv Turner-led Chargers. Andy Dalton is clearly a better leader on the field at this juncture of his career than Phillip Rivers is, and with no run game, the Chargers will be lucky to pull out a win.
I see the Dalton-Green connection having a solid day against a weak secondary. The Bengals will be lucky to garner 80 yards on the ground, but that may be enough to provide a balance and keep the chains moving. The Bengals move Turner and GM A.J. Smith another step closer to being "retired" by the Chargers.
Bengals 27 Chargers 23
Pittsburgh Steelers(6-5) at Baltimore Ravens(9-2)
In a do or die situation for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they travel to meet division foe, the Baltimore Ravens in what will become their last stand in 2012. The Ravens are looking to clinch the AFC North and can do so by finishing off the Steelers. A Steelers win would definitely muffle the Ravens chances for a two seed in the AFC.
Even with Ben Roethlisberger possibly playing Sunday, the Ravens are just a better team. This is usually a very close game each time they play and I do not see a new trend beginning now. The Ravens just need to find a way to get Ray Rice more involved as the playoffs approach, but this may not be a good time to start. Two weeks ago, these teams played to a 13-10 game, with Baltimore gaining the win. I see an upset brewing if Big Ben plays, but I have to call it straight today.
Ravens 16 Steelers 13
Philadelphia Eagles(3-8) at Dallas Cowboys(5-6)
To who do we owe the pleasure of having the Philadelphia Eagles play another prime time game in consecutive weeks? I understand that the schedule-makers must have salivated at the thought of the dream team facing off against division rival Dallas Cowboys towards the end of the year, but the draw is not what it was meant to be.
With a petition started to oust Jerry Jones as owner, Tony Romo as inconsistent as Ryan Tannehill, and a roster made up of underachieving players, the Cowboys are a complete mess. If it wasn't for their defense showing up at times, they might not even have two wins, let alone five.
But I will say this about the NFC East, the Cowboys are still in the hunt, surprisingly and will continue to have hope only because the Eagles can not get out of their own way. As a divisional game, these teams always put forth their best efforts, but even at their best, it will be very ugly to watch on Sunday Night.
Cowboys 24 Eagles 13
New York Giants(7-4) at Washington Redskins(5-6)
The New York Giants are coming off probably their most impressive win of the year against the Packers. Now they face a Washington Redskins team that has been playing well lately, and has a QB in Robert Griffin III that is becoming a true leader. This may not bode well for the Giants, who is beat up with injuries and is still looking a bit underachieving on defense.
The Redskins have every possibility to win this game handily at home, unless the Giants prove once again that this is definitely their time of year and the turn around has begun. The good news for the Giants is that the Redskins are poor against the pass and that will leave Eli Manning and Victor Cruz to play catch all day. The bad news is that the Redskins are the league's number two rushing team averaging 162.9yds/gm and ball control may play very heavily on Monday night.
In the tight NFC East, Eli and company know what it takes to win a division and make a run late in the season. Winning this game will go a long way in deciding the division and getting past the pesky Redskins and Cowboys.
Giants 27 Redskins 24