NFL Picks Week 13: Indianapolis Colts to Fall?
We had a successful run in Week 12, despite missing on two huge upset picks.
We went for the gold by picking both the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints to drop their first games of the season, but instead watched in horror as they both reached the 11-0 plateau.
While we couldn’t help you out with those two picks, we did manage to go 10-4 the rest of the way, giving us a solid 10-6 record for the week.
We’re a very solid 32-15 over the past three weeks, and we’re working hard to make sure we keep that pace heading into Week 13. Without further haste, here are your picks with some analysis and a predicted score:
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
The Jets and Bills are both starting at the playoff picture from the outside, but as inconsistent as both teams have been, they still have a shot at a wild card spot. Both teams have difficulty stopping the run, while both are fairly solid against the pass. This should be a battle in the trenches.
Jets 21, Bills 17
St. Louis Rams @ Chicago Bears
The real question here is if Jay Cutler can finally put his team on his back and carry them to a win all by himself. He’s been asked to do so much, and while a lot of his mistakes fall on him, he also isn’t getting the necessary help from the rest of his offense. That shouldn’t be an issue against a weak Rams defense. Look for Matt Forte to help take the pressure off of Cutler this week.
Bears 27, Rams 16
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Much like the Jets/Bills match-up, these two teams are facing a do-or-die game, in which the loser is almost certainly out of the playoff picture. The Texans were standing at 5-4 and looked to be well on their way to a wild card spot, but have now dropped two straight, while the Jaguars ran into a desperate 49ers team last week and simply didn’t show up.
We’ll give the Texans a mulligan for losing to the still undefeated Colts, and considering how weak the Jaguars overall defense is, we like their chances to get back to .500.
Texans 34, Jaguars 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers
The Buccaneers almost got away with a huge upset against the Falcons, but now have to regroup and prove last week’s strong effort against a decent team didn’t go to waste. The Panthers, on the other hand, are without Jake Delhomme this week (sweet), but now have Matt Moore under center (upgrade?). Expect both teams to pound the rock and try to win the battle of field position.
Panthers 20, Buccaneers 13
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
After losing four straight games and then destroying the hapless New York Giants, we still can’t be sure what to make of this Denver team. It’s a safe bet they don’t have a ton of problems against Kansas City, who didn’t even show up last week against San Diego, but we’ll have to wait another week to see what this Broncos team is really all about.
Broncos 38, Chiefs 17
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
This is the battle we’ve all been waiting for. The Titans have seemingly saved their season with five consecutive wins, and an unlikely win over the Colts could catapult them into wild card positioning. These Titans are a completely different team on both sides of the ball than they were five weeks ago, and as good as the Colts may be, they just might be the task that Peyton Manning can’t complete.
The Colts haven’t been great at running the ball for most of the season, and with a stout Titans run defense in their way, Peyton Manning will be forced into action against a very solid Titans pass defense. Look for Chris Johnson to continue his tear in the upset of the week.
Titans 30, Colts 27
Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons
Even though the Eagles struggled to narrowly escape defeat against the Redskins, we have to give them the credit for sticking at it and getting the job done. Besides, everyone knows division games are never a cakewalk, no matter who the opponent is. This week should be a surprise for many, as the under-manned Falcons come into town without Matt Ryan and Michael Turner, and pose no real threat to the Eagles.
Eagles 33, Falcons 21
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
We learned a lot from the Patriots lackluster performance on Monday night. We now know that the Saints are probably just as good as they’ve been hyped up to be, while the Patriots are likely just a shell of what they were in 2007. We don’t doubt their offensive talents, especially against the weak Dolphins defense this week, but their defense is clearly not up to the task of stopping elite teams.
Patriots 41, Dolphins 21
New Orleans Saints @ Washington Redskins
The Saints proved themselves worthy of being considered the top team in the league, and despite near slip-ups in recent weeks against lesser opponents, they will waste no time in disposing of the Redskins this week.
Saints 45, Redskins 14
Oakland Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Can the Raiders land another upset? Well, if Dennis Dixon is playing, you better believe it. Dixon wasn’t bad last week against the Baltimore Ravens, but despite their poor showing against the Dallas Cowboys, we really like the Oakland Raiders pass defense. However, a good pass defense can’t win games on it’s own.
The Raiders won’t be able to move the ball consistently enough against a still very stout Pittsburgh defense, and Rashard Mendenhall could have a career day against an atrocious Oakland run defense.
Steelers 31, Raiders 9
Detroit Lions @ Cincinnati Bengals
The goal of this game for Detroit is to see Matthew Stafford grow against a good pass defense, and not simply heave inaccurate balls into double coverage. The Bengals will have Cedric Benson back and should deploy all of their backs in a nice rotation, none of which this inept Lions run defense will be able to stop.
Bengals 28, Lions 7
San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns
The Browns played the Bengals close last week, but as previously stated, sometimes that’s the way divisional games go. The Chargers showed with a gaudy performance against the Chiefs that they know what to do against inferior product. Look for both sides of the ball on offense to completely destroy a Browns defense that just lost Shaun Rogers for the season.
Chargers 37, Browns 16
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
This is a huge game with a lot os playoff repercussions hanging onto it. Already owning the series lead this season, a win from the 6-5 Giants would propel them to being just one game back from the division lead, and if they can finish with the same record as the Cowboys, they could take the division.
With the Eagles right behind the Cowboys, they can ill afford to lose this game. Despite Eli Manning not being a recommended start this week, this writer is banking on a very tight race in the unpredictable NFC East.
Giants 24, Cowboys 20
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
The 49ers showed some heart against the Jaguars last week, letting the NFL world know, that while they are wildly inconsistent, they’re not dead yet. A win this week over the sorry Seahawks could still keep them alive in the division race, especially if the Arizona Cardinals fall to the Minnesota Vikings this week.
49ers 17, Seahawks 10
Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals
Even though the Titans/Colts match is going to be a huge game, we’re crowning this as the game of the week. The Vikings are fresh off of a 3-0 home stand, and are now going into muddy waters to test their talents on the road. If Kurt Warner misses his second straight game this game likely loses it’s flavor, but we still expect a shoot-out, as neither pass defense is exceptionally great at stopping elite passing offenses.
The Vikings are better at getting to the quarterback and will make whoever is under center have a busy day by clogging the running lanes, but it still has the makings for a dramatic ending. In a game that could potentially field two 38+ year old star quarterbacks (Favre/Warner), we like the red-hot Favre to prevail yet again.
Vikings 31, Cardinals 28
Baltimore Ravens @ Green Bay Packers
People aren’t giving the Baltimore Ravens the credit they deserve. They’ve been playing great football for most of every game they’ve played this season, but have succumbed to kicker troubles and a few bad plays to end games.
If things had gone differently, this 6-5 squad could easily have victories over the Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, and New England Patriots, in addition to owning victories over the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The story is much the same for the Green Bay Packers, but with little help from Ryan Grant and the ground attack against a stout Baltimore run defense, Aaron Rodgers will have to play at the top of his game to keep his team in the playoff hunt.
Ravens 27, Packers 23