Here are my NFL Week 13 Picks

(12-4 last week, 113-63 for the season)

Bye teams: none


gbpackersGB @ Det – I’m actually tired of Green Bay playing badly; I want them to go back to being great.  And not only because I have Aaron Rodgers on my fantasy team, but also because the NFC is more interesting when the Packers are firing on all cylinders.  Colin Cowherd always says that we don’t really like the underdogs, we like winners, that’s why we watch big name teams, because we enjoy their success as if it were our own.  I think that applies to the Pack; we want Rodgers to throw touchdowns, and even if the Vikings & the Lions being competitive is slightly compelling, we want the division to return to the status quo & for Aaron to break records.  Speaking of the Lions, they might not agree with this concept, neither most likely will their fans.  I’m sure they love that Detroit was able to travel to Lambeau and fly home with an unusual win, breaking the streak.  But I think the rest of us just want to see Green Bay dominate; it’s impressive & expected, two things we like.  All that aside though, I look for the Packers to return the favor in this one, get back on track, and prepare themselves for the postseason.


houtexansHou @ Buf – The Texans have been playing inspired football lately behind Brian Hoyer & a defense that’s finally rising to the occasion.  They saw the door opening in the AFC South, with Indy off to such a bad start, and realized that the division was up for grabs.  Currently on a 4-game win streak, Houston has logged in quality wins over the Bengals and the Jets, also beginning a little dominance at home, somewhere they hope to be playing in January if they can just secure the division.  Matt Hasselbeck isn’t cooperating as the QB of the Colts, failing to lose one game yet this season, but Houston is breathing down Indy’s neck.  The Bills were making some noise as well, if not for the division then for a Wild Card spot, but losing a few in a row has derailed their crazy train, with Rex Ryan their unhinged conductor.  The guy isn’t a good head coach, have we all not realized that yet?  And so it shouldn’t be a surprise that his team in mediocre, not that great at home, and could very easily lose this game.  Buffalo is fiery though, I wouldn’t look for a blowout, but a close game going the Texans’ way is likely.


chibearsSF @ Chi – This might be one of the few times I’ve picked the Bears to win a game all season, and it has nothing to do with Chicago at all.  It’s all about the Niners and how much they suck.  No team has scored fewer points (14 per game).  No team has a negative point differential greater than one hundred (-119 net).  And no team has scored less than 20 touchdowns on the season (SF has 14).  This is one of the worst offenses we’ve ever seen, and that’s in an era where every team focuses on scoring, where the rules allow offensive players certain privileges, where free agents are available to every franchise, every team having the exact same amount of money to spend.  It’s sad really, how the Niners can spend the same as the Patriots but be the exact opposite.  San Francisco is SO bad that I’ll even pick them to lose in Chicago, a place the Bears have gone 1-4 on the season.  That stat just feels strange; Chicago always plays well at home, in the wind & cold, with Cutler’s strong arm.  On the flip side, the Bears are 4-2 on the road, something else that doesn’t make sense.  Well Chi Guys, you get an easy one here, so take advantage.


cinbengalsCin @ Cle – Don’t worry too much about the Bengals; they’ll be fine.  After a really tough, physical game against the Texans and an almost impossible game vs Palmer in Arizona, the 2-game skid that Cinci found themselves on could have appeared daunting.  After all, we’ve become used to Bad Andy, to poor play on the big stage, to collapses, to Marvin Lewis’ poor judgement, and to the Bungles of old.  But this team seems different, ready to fight back, and perhaps ready to get past the first round of the playoffs.  After an easy win vs the Rams, the Bengals are back on track and get a snoozer here.  In other years, a road game in Cleveland might have been rough, even with the Browns sucking as usual.  But this Battle For Ohio should be over before it begins.  The Browns lose Josh McCown for the season, they benched Johnny Manziel, and so that means Austin Davis becomes pressed into service.  The guy is young and perhaps has potential, but this team as a whole does not, and Cinci should have their way with them in every phase of the game.  If this isn’t a blowout, I’d worry.


balravensBal @ Mia – The Ravens have now won 2 games in a row, though they’re nowhere near finishing up with the record most of us expected.  Not surprising I guess, given their slow start and rash of terrible injuries to key players: LB Suggs, WR Smith, RB Forsett, QB Flacco.  Those are probably the four most important players on the team, and with the usually reliable K Justin Tucker struggling as well, Baltimore has a team that has started to look forward to next year.  Don’t tell the backups that though, they’re playing fairly well in relief, with the veteran Matt Schaub leading the pack.  This team can’t compete against solid teams anymore this season, but I don’t think we can call Miami ‘solid’.  The Dolphins made some wholesale changes looking for a rebound, but that was short-lived, and now they’re back to their losing ways.  The division is way out of reach, though a Wild Card spot is only 2 games away, so maybe there’s a tiny spark of life left in this club.  But playing at home has been a curse, not a blessing, in 2015, where the Dolphins have gone 1-3.  With a Ravens team that won’t quite give up, look for a Miami loss.


seaseahawksSea @ Min – This could be one of the best games of the week, a matchup between NFC playoff hopefuls.  After a terrible start to the season and a ton of doubt heaped on their shoulders, the Seahawks have won two in a row, even outscoring the Steelers in a wild game.  When the defense has played poorly, which has been happening sporadically, the offense actually seems capable of stepping up their game.  Wilson starts throwing, running, creating plays, and Seattle stays in the game.  Even the loss of Jimmy Graham shouldn’t affect them much; he wasn’t a part of the plan anyway.  Basically, I like what I’ve seen from this team lately, a desire to win, and an ability to score when hard-pressed.  It’s that ability to score that gives them the advantage in this tough game.  The Vikings can’t match that firepower, and although their defense has been playing very well & they’re 4-1 at home, I think the Seahawks have the ability and the confidence to come in and get the win.  I predict that AP will have a bad game, stuffed at the line, and that Wilson will be able to engineer just enough to fly his team home happy.


nyjetsNYJ @ NYG – This isn’t really a home or away game, as both teams play in this stadium, so throw that out the window and pick the better team to win this game.  An argument for the Jets would be their receiving duo, who seem to each catch a touchdown in every single game.  Credit Fitzpatrick & Ivory for establishing a great offensive rhythm, and don’t forget a defense that has been stingy with points all season.  The Jets currently hold a Wild Card spot and would like to hold on to it, so look for inspired football from a club that might be better all around than people readily think.  The Giants, on the other hand, might be much worse than we’re willing to say.  I’ve been beating the drum for Eli’s boys all season, almost demanding that they win the NFC East, what with all the injuries & bad play in their division.  It was theirs for the taking, but instead the Redskins stole it, and I don’t think they’ll be willing to give it back.  New York let this season slip away, and perhaps a loss here coupled with a Washington win might seal the deal.  I expect Eli to be harassed and to have a bad day.  Sorry kid.


aricardinalsAri @ STL – Carson Palmer & the Cardinals continually prove that they’re one of the best teams in the league, especially now that their two losses don’t differentiate them as much; the Pats have a loss now, the Broncos have two, the Bengals have two, the Packers have three.  Only the Panthers remain undefeated, and think about how great a game that would be, Carolina vs Arizona for the NFC Championship.  Could happen, perhaps should happen, though don’t count out the Pack quite yet, and Minnesota & Seattle will have something to say as potential Wild Cards.  Point is, even without their starting two running backs this week, the Cards would be the favorites vs almost any team, home or away.  At other times, I might give the Rams defense more respect in St. Louis, especially since STL is 3-0 against the NFC West on the season.  But their offense is playing so very badly, whether it’s Foles or Keenum under center, that you can’t pick this team with any confidence at all.  If Arizona is for real, they win this game.  If this lose, a playoff loss in an early round becomes much more imaginable.


tbbuccaneersAtl @ TB – Their is no colder team than the Falcons, ice cold just like their franchise QB.  But while the nickname denotes calmness under pressure, you’d love to see Matt Ryan get fired up a little, perhaps igniting his team.  See what I did there?  Anyway, the Falcons have a slew of problems and could not be more mentally frazzled.  They do get their star RB back this week, which should help, and momentum is fickle enough to swing any which way, but it’s hard to pick a team that’s slumping so much and has yet to win inside the division.  On the other hand, the Bucs are 2-1 in the NFC South, and Famous Jameis is leading his team to more victories than I had imagined he would.  The defense is a problem though, and allows too many teams to hang around for too long, when Winston & Martin’s points should be enough to win the game.  I won’t ever be a fan of Lovie Smith, nor of Jameis Winston, but Tampa Bay is playing well enough to earn some grudging respect, even if the playoffs aren’t really a strong possibility.  Look for Tampa to win here & Atlanta to continue its slide.


jaxjaguarsJax @ Ten – I thought for sure that the Jaguars would win at home last week vs the inept Chargers, right after beating the equally terrible Titans in Jacksonville the week before.  Well, that didn’t happen, and incidentally I’m out of my Survival pool, so there’s that.  Not that the Jags are great, but Bortles is actually playing well, scoring points, though he doesn’t have much support from a crappy defense.  But these days offense wins football game, and the Jags can score, so they should at least be in ever game they play from this point on.  Especially when they play bad teams; enter Tennessee.  The Titans lost to the Jags two weeks ago, and should do the same here.  You might think, because the game is in Tennessee, that now the Titans have the advantage.  Well, the Titans are 0-6 at home this season, which goes along with 0-3 vs the division, so a win isn’t likely to be on its way.  Mariota has slumped, which couldn’t have been helped by the firing of his coach, and won’t see much improvement this season.  Perhaps he’ll improve next year, but for now, this team is perhaps the worst in the league.


kcchiefsKC @ Oak – The hottest team in the NFL, the Chiefs have now won 5 straight games.  Pretty impressive, and only more so when you remember that this team started 1-5.  What an incredible turnaround, and they now find themselves smack dab in the middle of the Wild Card race.  They’re still three games behind Denver in the AFC West, the Broncos refusing to lose under Brock’n’Roll Osweiler, but Kansas City is keeping themselves relevant and ready for the playoffs.  Both the offense & defense are humming, and I wouldn’t pick any but the best teams to beat them right now, home or away.  The Raiders are far from one of the best teams, going 5-6 on the season and playing more of a spoiler role than a contender, winning here & there, but never showing us a solid all-around team.  I like Derek Carr, but their defense needs improvement, and Jack Del Rio isn’t the coach to do it.  He had his opportunities in Jacksonville and in Denver, proving his mediocre status.  But with enough positives, he’s in no danger of losing his job, while his team is in real danger of losing every game from here on out.


denbroncosDen @ SD – I think you’ll forgive me if I take a moment to bask in the glory of last week’s victory over the undefeated Patriots.  I know that they’re banged up, I know some of the calls went our way, but Brock Osweiler led a Broncos offense that beat Tom Brady’s Patriots, and that feels great.  I don’t want Peyton Manning anywhere near this team right now; thank you for you service, here’s a gold watch, please retire.  Seriously, we’ll always be thankful to Peyton, but he’s an albatross right now, a playoff curse that has outlived his regular season magic.  Broncos fans are ready to Brock And Roll all the way to the Super Bowl (with a little help from our amazing defense), and hopefully San Diego is just a speed bump on the way to that goal.  The Chargers are as bad as anti-Rivers activists like me have always known them to be, finally proving that he’s nothing special.  They’re 2-4 at home, 0-2 in the division, and won’t have an answer for a solid team with momentum.  Still, the Chargers are a rival, these games are usually tough, and Osweiler is still getting his feet wet, so a close game might be in order.


nepatriotsPhi @ NE – Sam Bradford returns this week for the Eagles; is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Mark Sanchez played miserably in relief, of course, but it’s not like Bradford will be some sort of savior.  I have no idea what people see in him, and I think that trade was among the stupidest things Chip Kelly did in the offseason, though it’s hard to pick since the man is a complete bumbling idiot when it comes to the NFL.  I really don’t like that guy, or this team, and I’ll be glad to see them walloped by the Pats.  My Broncos beat the Patriots, and I assume Brady & Bellichick are mad about that, just guessing.  What happened to that genius gameplan that changes every week & works against every opponent, hmm?  Denver has always been known as a team that takes extra precautions to keep out spies, no joke, and during the Spygate years we could beat the Pats when no one else seemed to have a clue what was going on.  New England cheats, that’s just the truth, but that should have no relevance here; they could beat the Eagles with their eyes (and cameras) closed.  Final score; 10-50.


carpanthersCar @ NO – And then there was one.  The Panthers are the only remaining undefeated team and could very well run the table.  Saints, Falcons, Giants, Bucs; all beatable teams, though the ones inside the division will surely play them tough.  But the Panthers have yet to lose and I won’t even think about picking against them until they do.  Cam & Stewart are running the ball like madmen, this defense is lights out (allowing only 19 points per game), and they don’t look like they’re likely to let off the gas any time soon.  New Orleans, on the other hand, has broken down going uphill and are slowly sliding backward to their doom.  Brees & Payton should both be gone next year, and perhaps it’s time, as the success has stopped completely.  They should never have traded Jimmy Graham, they should never have hired Rob Ryan; mistakes abound with this team, and that’s why they find themselves at 4-7.  They actually play fairly well at home, but have lost three straight games and only seem to be getting worse.  With one team flying high and the other laying low, this game may be the most lopsided of the week.


pitsteelersInd @ Pit – Matt Hasselbeck deserves the MVP award if the Colts make it to the playoffs.  Andrew Luck was playing hurt, playing bad, Indy was losing, the AFC Super Bowl favorites weren’t even going to make the playoffs.  And then in stepped Hasselbeck, the 40-year-old quarterback, and all he’s done is go 4-0 in the games that he’s started.  The Colts find themselves tied for the division lead, despite the season from hell in which all their acquisitions have been busts, and they have only one man to thank for it.  Not Luck, not Pagano, but Hasselbeck.  Weird.  Now, Pittsburgh has had their own quarterback troubles, with injuries to Big Ben that required the services of Mike Vick & Landry Jones.  Also, Le’Veon Bell is out for the season, but somehow the Steelers are still in the Wild Card hunt, and a few more wins could cement it.  It’s hard to pick against a guy who’s gone undefeated off the bench, but I have to imagine that the wheels will fall off eventually.  So I’ll go with Pittsburgh’s young defense, who couldn’t stop Russell Wilson, but should be able to stop an old man.


wasredskinsDal @ Was – Speaking of QB problems, Tony Romo is out again.  This time for good, and things couldn’t be any worse in Big D.  Weeden, Cassel, it doesn’t matter, this team runs through Tony Romo.  Dez can’t throw the ball to himself, DMC can’t run no matter how good the O-line is if defenses don’t respect the pass.  This is the end of the road for the Cowboys, I’m sorry to say, and a season with great potential is officially over.  But for the Redskins, good things are just beginning.  I’m about ready to give up on the Giants, as Washington continues to win, even beating the G-Men last week.  The Redskins just don’t lose at home, going 5-1.  Pretty terrific, but another stat begs to be seen, and it’s not pretty; 0-5 on the road.  Winless on the road, unbelievable, especially for a team that’s winning its division.  If Washington can’t figure out how to win while traveling they might not even make the playoffs; the Giants might win in Week 17 and claim the NFC East for themselves.