JC's Take: NFL Week 13 Picks
Hello everyone! Welcome back for my Week 13 picks! Lets get right too it!
Houston Texans vs Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles were brought back down to earth last week by getting beat at Chicago. They're still a good team but also discovered that they need to find other ways to win if Mike Vick gets shut down. The Texans surprisngly shut out the Titans, and are only a game back in the AFC South. Many people are surprised Andre Johnson was not suspended for his fight with Cortland Finnegan last week. I'm among those people. I think both deserve at least a 1 game suspension. As far as this game goes, I expect the Eagles to bounce back. While the Texans D is coming off a shut out, it was also against a rookie QB making his first start. Expect Mike Vick to run wild and be able to connect with open WRs down the field.
Philadelphia 31 Houston 20
New Orleans Saints vs Cincinnati Bengals
This is a mismatch. The Saints are rolling and seem to be finding their groove a the right time. The Bengals defense just gave up 49 points to the Bills and another 26 to the Jets. And those teams don't have Drew Brees as their QB. What else can be said about the Bengals? They've been a huge dissapointment and pretty much seem to just be sleep walking through the rest of the season. I like the Saints big.
New Orleans 35 Cincinnati 13
Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions
The Bears are staking their claim as one of the best teams in the league. They've beaten the Eagles and the Packers. Jay Cutler looks to have rebounded from that horrible 4 INT performance a few week ago. I for one did not think they would keep winning. The Lions continue to play rush and roulette with their QBs. Drew Stanton gets the start this week. The Lions have been decimated by injures on offense. If they had been able to stay healthy they could have won 3 or 4 more games. But they keep playing hard as evident by their Thanksgiving game against New England. I think this one will be close, but the Bears pull away in the end.
Chicago 28 Detroit 23
San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers
Ten years ago this was a marquee matchup. These teams have had some great match-ups in the past, especially in the playoffs. The Packers lost ground on the Bears in the NFC North after their loss in Atlanta. Now they need to keep winning in order to even have a chance at the playoffs. The 49ers rolled over the Cardinals on Monday night and at 4-7, find themselves one game out of first place in the NFC West. But they lost Frank Gore for the rest of the year, and I think that's a huge blow to their chances. Brian Westbrook played well replacing him, but he's one hit away from another injury himself. I expect the Packers to win here.
Green Bay 31 San Francisco 17
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans
The Jags had the opportunity to take control of the AFC South last week but gave up the lead late and lost to the Giants. The Titans, who many thought would be the favorites in the South after acquiring Randy Moss, have lost four straight and appear to be in disarray. They hope to have Kerry Collins back this week, which could actually be a boos for them, especially after how rookie QB Rusty Smith looked last week. If I knew for sure that Kerry Collins was playing I'd go with the Titans, but since I don't I'll have to go with Jacksonville. The offense has been playing well enough to win them this game.
Jacksonville 26 Tennessee 21
Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Broncos got burned at home by a young St. Louis offense. The Chiefs play their best football at home and seem to be unstoppable recently on offense. You have to wonder if Denver owner Pat Bowlen will really keep Josh McDaniels if there is so much fan backlash in Denver. Of course the Bills did it with Dick Jauron. But this is the same owner who fired Mike Shanahan when nobody else expected him to. I like the Chiefs in a route.
Kansas City 35 Denver 14
Cleveland Browns vs Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins kept their slim playoff hopes alive by winning at Oakland, and pretty much put an end to any playoff hopes Oakland had. Now they get a Browns team that has been playing some great football and are eager to play spoiler. It appears that Jake Delhomme will get the start for Cleveland, and that gives the edge to Miami. Delhomme did almost anything he could to hand the game to the Panthers last week. The Browns are a better team with Colt McCoy under center. Expcet the Dolphins to put heavy pressure on him and force Delhomme to make mistakes. The Browns defense will keep it close, but they can't make up for the mistakes Delhomme is expected to make.
Miami 20 Cleveland 14
Buffalo Bills vs Minnesota Vikings
The title of the Buffalo Bills highlight reel this year should be "Oh So Close." They had the game against Pittsburgh twice but found a way to let it slip away. I think they're getting more respect as a 2-9 team then they did all of last year. The Vikings are coming off of a nice road win at Washington, their first win under interim head coach Leslie Frazier. Now they come home and expect them to have the crowd into it with Brad Childress now gone. I think this will be a high scoring affair, but I like the Vikings to pull it out in the end, getting theor first win for interim coach Frazier.
Minnesota 34 Buffalo 28
Washington Redskins vs New York Giants
The Giants may have salvaged their season last week with that come from behind victory against Jacksonville. Eli Manning stepped up his game and took an injury-plagued offense under his wing and lead them to victory. The Redskins, meanwhile, probably saw their season slip away after getting beat at home by Minnesota. These NFC East matchups are always tough to call because they are usually very unpredictable. A few weeks ago Dallas won in New York. The Redskins won in Philly early in the season, then got destroyed by the Eagles at home on Monday night. I'm taking the Giants here though. I think the win last week put new life into their season.
NY Giants 23 Washington 17
Oakland Raiders vs San Diego Chargers
These are two teams that seem to be headed in opposite directions. The Raiders, after looking like they were contenders in the AFC West, have lost two in a row and have not looked good in the process. The Chargers are coming off an impressive win in Indianapolis and seem to be clicking on offense and defense. Phillip Rivers would get my vote for MVP at the moment. They wouldn't be where they are now if it wasn't for him. Hopefully, this new talk of them relocating to LA isn't a distraction for them. It shouldn't be, considering any move to LA won't come for a few years. I like the Chargers here to continue their march towards the top of the AFC West, and the Raiders to contine their downward spiral.
San Diego 41 Oakland 21
Dallas Cowboys vs Indianapolis Colts
They seem like a win for the Colts at first glance, but that may not be the case. The Colts are struggling. Peyton Manning is trying to do too much for the team. They currently have no running game to speak of, which is causing Peyton to throw more than he'd like to. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are playing some good football under interim coach Jason Garrett. Their offense has been playing well and everyone on the team seems to be playing some inspired football for Garrett. The Colts need to hope that Manning is able to take advantage of a suspect Cowboys secondary. If he can do that without forcing the ball into coverage, then they will win. I'm taking the Colts with some slight hesitation.
Indianapolis 30 Dallas 28
St. Louis Rams vs Arizona Cardinals
First let me say I think this whole Derek Anderson saga is getting blown out of proportion. Players are allowed to laugh on the sidelines even when they're losing. He did over-react at his press conference, however. But that doesn't excuse the fact that the Cardinals are a bad football team. The Rams got their first road win of the season and are probably full of confidence right now. They're offense looked good, and Steven Jackson should be able to run all over a bad Cardinals run defense. I like the Rams here.
St. Louis 27 Arizona 19
Carolina Panthers vs Seattle Seahawks
Talk about a blah game. It is important to Seattle however. The Seahawks need to win to keep pace with the Rams in the NFC West race. I guess it's important for the Panthers too if they want the first overall pick. The Seahawks are a good team at home, and I expect them to take care of the hapless Panthers.
Seattle 24 Carolina 10
Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Why not save the best three games for the end? This may be the last chance for the Bucs to prove they are for real and beling in the NFC South race. They played the Falcons close in Atlanta, and if it wasn't for a big goal line stand by the Falcons late, the Bucs may very well have won. The Bucs played the Ravens close but were not able to put enough points on the board. The Falcons are coming off of a win against Green Bay that staked their claim as the best team in the NFC, and maybe all of the league. The Falcons seem to be unbeatable at home, but they can struggle at times on the road. I expect the Bucs to go all out here and put everything they have into this game, but I don't think that will even be enough. The Falcons are just playing too good right now. Matt Ryan looks like the franchise QB everyone expected him to be. I like the Falcons in a close one.
Atlanta 23 Tampa Bay 20
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens
This is the game of the week to me. It's always a dog fight when these two teams play. The big question heading into this game is the health of Big ben. He suffered a foot injury in last week's win against the Bills. He's barely going to practice this week, but he's still expected to play Sunday. But it could limit his mobility in the pocket. That will probably mean more blitzes by the Ravens defense. They just better hope they get to Ben, because if they don't he will find holes in the Ravens secondary. The key for the Ravens to win will be Joe Flacco. The Steelers secondary can be thrown on. Flacco has been playing some good football the last month. He's not making mistakes, and he's doing just enough to help his team win. I think this one will be low scoring, like most of these teams games. But with Ben hurting, and the Ravens playing at home, I 'll take Baltimore in a low-scoring slugfest.
Baltimore 17 Pittsburgh 13
New York Jets vs New England Patriots
While Pittsburgh/Baltimore may be the Game of the Week, this one has more riding on it. Not only will the winner have the inside track on the AFC East, but they will also have the inside track on home field in the AFC. I thought the Jets would falter down the stretch, but they continue to find ways to win. The Patriots meanwhile are riding Tom Brady and the offense. The defense still has some problems that need to be fixed. In New York early in the year, the Jets were able to thrown on a young and inexperienced Pats secondary. I think they still will be able to here. I actually like the Jets in this one. Their defense will be up to the challenge of stopping Tom Brady, and Mark Sanchez isn't making the same mistakes he did late last year. Jets in a close one.
NY Jets 26 New England 24
That's all for this week. More next week, expect an extra wrestling column on Wednesday.
Until next time,