Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 13 picks

Here are my picks for Week 13.

EAGLES (-9) over Texans

Picked this one already here.

Bills (+6) over VIKINGS

The Bills deserve a lot of credit. They're only 2-9, but they've either won or lost by just three points going all the way back to Week 7. In that stretch, they've lost to the Ravens, Chiefs, Bears, and Steelers -- all by three points each. Considering those teams have a combined record of 31-13, that's rather impressive for a two-win team. Wins are obviously most important, but there's something to be said for a below-average team battling week in and week out.

DOLPHINS (-5) over Browns

A few weeks ago I said the Dolphins were not to be trusted anymore, and maybe they're not. But Jake Delhomme is starting this game for the Browns. Enough said.

TITANS (-3) over Jaguars

The Jaguars continue to be a confusing team. Not counting the NFC West because of how much of a disaster that division has been, the Jaguars are the only division leader (via tiebreaker over the Colts) that has been outscored this season (-54). Here are the point differentials for the other division leaders: Eagles (+63), Bears (+50), Falcons (+67), Jets (+77), Ravens (+62), Chiefs (+54). Also, at 6-5, the Jaguars have beaten just one team that's currently above .500: the Colts, in a 31-28 win. Now, at 5-6, the Titans are not necessarily a bad team and have actually outscored their opponents by 39 points; unfortunately, they've lost their last four games. It's entirely possible that the Titans have shut things down and will lay down again this week. But Kerry Collins will start at quarterback, which is great for the Titans because 1) it gives them some semblance of a passing game, and 2) he's not Rusty Smith. Chris Johnson is also due for a bounce-back performance after rushing for five yards last week.

CHIEFS (-8.5) over Broncos

I'm not sure how the Broncos blew the Chiefs out (49-29) a few weeks ago. Maybe it was the mile-high air or the fact that, shockingly enough, the Broncos jumped out to a 35-0 lead in the second quarter. But the Chiefs have not lost a game yet at home this season, and they should be able to put up plenty of points against the NFL's worst-ranked defense (29.4 points per game). I'm also going to bet that the Broncos don't have 35 points by halftime again either.

GIANTS (-7) over Redskins

This game is all about the battle upfront. If the Redskins can get some pressure on Eli Manning and also give Donovan McNabb enough time to throw, the Skins have a chance to earn the upset win on the road. If not, it's going to be a long day.

Bears (-5) over LIONS

Two words: Drew Stanton.

PACKERS (-9) over 49ers
Saints (-7) over BENGALS
CHARGERS (-13) over Raiders

It's entirely possible that one of these games, or even all three, end up being close. But I just have no confidence in making any of those choices.

Falcons (-3) over BUCCANEERS

Here's another team that deserves a lot of credit: Tampa Bay. At 7-4, they're plenty alive in the battle for a playoff spot in the NFC. Still, the 9-2 Falcons are absolutely rolling and have won five straight. Division rivals always have the chance for an upset, but the Falcons' only losses this season have come against the Steelers and Eagles -- two outstanding teams.

SEAHAWKS (-4.5) over Panthers
Rams (-3.5) over CARDINALS

These two games may end up being pretty bad, and yet they have playoff implications because of how awful the NFC West is. At 5-6, a win for the Seahawks or Rams would put them at .500. So that's something.

COLTS (-5.5) over Cowboys

Tough loss for the Cowboys last week, and now they get to travel to Indianapolis to face an angry Colts team that really, really needs a win. The Colts have been proven to have flaws, particularly in the running game, but it would be difficult to argue that the Cowboys don't have just as many flaws, if not more.

Steelers (+3) over RAVENS
Jets (+4) over PATRIOTS

Sunday and Monday Night Football should be phenomenal this week, as maybe the top four teams in the AFC will be battling. All four teams are rather even, and I wouldn't be shocked to see both games go down to the wire. And actually, that's what I'm predicting: games decided by a late touchdown or field goal.

Last week: 8-8
Season: 76-94-6

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