26 November 2013

2013 NFL Predictions: Week 13

It simply would not be Thanksgiving without football. After all, if you had to pick between football and cranberry sauce, is that even a question? The NFL on Thanksgiving is as old as the league itself and football on Thanksgiving dates back to the Grant administration. So have a Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy some football, and enjoy my week 13 predictions.

Last Week: 4-10
2013: 108-66
Locks: 10-2

Thanksgiving, November 28th
Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) vs. Detroit Lions (6-5) - Fox, 12:30
At least Scott Tolzien provided America with this incredible touchdown run but he was generally ineffective save for that drive for the Packers against Minnesota. Mike McCarthy made the bold move to put in Matt Flynn, a move I was skeptical of but one that worked out brilliantly as he led the club on a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to get to overtime, where Green Bay ultimately fought to a tie. There was no question that Flynn gave the team a much-needed jolt, but what can he do when a team fully prepares for him? I'm not sold and I think Detroit gets a win they really need. Gobble gobble.
Lions 30 Packers 24

Oakland Raiders (4-7) vs. Dallas Cowboys (6-5) - CBS, 4:00
Jason Garrett knows that for the Cowboys to win, they will have to rely on the right arm of Tony Romo and while it has not been entirely pretty for the club this year, the fact that Romo may be having the best season of his career has been big. And considering the Raiders have really struggled against the pass this year, not to mention come in losing three of their last four, give me Dallas to win the coveted thing that Phil Simms gives out to winners of the CBS Turkey Day game.
Cowboys 30 Raiders 18

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-6) - NBC, 8:30
Remember when we all thought the Steelers were in deep doo-doo after starting off 0-4 going into their bye week? Well thanks to winning five of their last seven, as well as the middle of the AFC being so mediocre (love that six-way tie at 5-6 for the sixth spot in the AFC), the Steelers are very much back in the mix. One of those other clubs in the 5-6 mix are the Ravens, who have been decent of late but not great (winning three of their last eight) and definitely got helped by some brilliant quarterback play from the Jets this past Sunday. Give me the team that has been looking stronger of late and is generally trending upwards.
Steelers 17 Ravens 10

Sunday, December 1st
Tennessee Titans (5-6) vs. Indianapolis Colts (7-4) - CBS, 1:00
I am finding it difficult to get a read on either team, both of whom are in the playoffs as of press time. The Colts have at times looked like a team to look out for in the AFC but thanks to some pitiful first halves of late, they find themselves in holes in games including of note the two demolitions at the hands of St. Louis and of Arizona in the last three weeks. Meanwhile, Tennessee is in the hands of the great Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he looked very sharp in the win at Oakland on Sunday. I do think what will cost the Titans this week is the loss of Michael Griffin to suspension at safety, which leaves a nice hole for Andrew Luck to exploit.
Colts 25 Titans 17

Chicago Bears (6-5) vs. Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1) - Fox, 1:00
As we all know, ties are great and while the Vikings let a 16 point lead slip away in the fourth quarter at Lambeau and ended up settling for the big T after a generally unwatchable overtime period, given how disastrous this season has been for Leslie Frazier and his team, I think they'll be content for now. For the Bears, who have been rather inconsistent, particularly after a disappointing loss at St. Louis that was a little wider on the scoreboard than in reality, Josh McCown will remain under center but I think they are prone for a little upset action.
Vikings 23 Bears 21

Miami Dolphins (5-6) vs. New York Jets (5-6) - CBS, 1:00
Just in case he has not shown enough, Geno Smith is still starting for the Jets for some reason. Over his last four games, Smith has thrown seven interceptions and no touchdowns and he has been especially disastrous the last two weeks. And now since the Jets have lost two in a row, I lost my alternate week win-loss strategy! The best thing is the Jets are very much in the playoff race, as our their opponents this week. Miami has had their fair share of internal issues, but they have been in every game since September. I think Smith will be a mess yet again and Miami will get a big road win.
Dolphins 19 Jets 12

Arizona Cardinals (7-4) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) - Fox, 1:00
Where have the Cardinals come from this year? Well there were folks that were high on these guys and Paterson legend Bruce Arians has done a great job. Carson Palmer has given them some big plays under center and the defense is quite good. They find themselves very much in the hunt in the NFC, losing out on a Wild Card spot due to a tiebreaker with San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Eagles have been pushing the pigskin all over the yard offensively. However, their defense is a mess and are vulnerable to some Palmer deep balls. Even with an early start, give me the Cards.
Cardinals 31 Eagles 30 

New England Patriots (8-3) vs. Houston Texans (2-9) - CBS, 1:00
The Patriots' comeback against the Broncos on Sunday night was very impressive considering how disastrous they looked in the first half, and it came on the backs of a brilliant performance by Tom Brady. It certainly has not come as easy as it has in the past for New England but they continue to plug away and get some impressive wins. And now they get to go into a completely dead Houston club that looks to be the frontrunner for the first overall pick. New England is my Lock of the Week.
Patriots 34 Texans 13

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8) vs. Carolina Panthers (8-3) - Fox, 1:00
All of a sudden, Tampa Bay is playing some good football. They have won three games in a row with the latest coming on the road in Motown in a bit of a back and forth affair. Not to mention that they completely fell apart on November 3rd in Seattle. Now a club that was dead to rights is making themselves to be a player. And thus I think they will give the Panthers a bumpier ride than the home club would ideally want on Sunday. I don't think they'll win but I think it will be a good ballgame.
Panthers 28 Buccaneers 24

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) vs. Cleveland Browns (4-7) - CBS, 1:00
It is going to take a lot for me to change my opinion of the Jaguars being one of the worst teams I have ever seen, but with winning two out of three, they are no longer the team with the worst record as they have the tiebreaker over Houston for that, for what it's worth. I will say I really like rookie coach Gus Bradley and I cannot wait to see what they do under him once they get a competent roster in place. I do think, however, that even after looking awful these past two weeks, that Cleveland will rebound and get a victory here.
Browns 14 Jaguars 12

St. Louis Rams (5-6) vs. San Francisco 49ers (7-4) - Fox, 4:05
Somebody explain the Rams to me, please? I mean, Kellen Clemens is Kellen Clemens but the club is playing well under our good friend Jeff Fisher and they have beaten two solid clubs in a row (Indianapolis and Chicago respectively) by a combined score of 70-29. That's good stuff. However, I am not expecting the same this week at the Stick. Frisco followed up two straight tough losses with a very fine win in Landover and their defense was popping. And again, Kellen Clemens is, well, you know the story by now.
49ers 31 Rams 20

Atlanta Falcons (2-9) vs. Buffalo Bills (4-7) - Fox, 4:05 (Toronto)
You know, at least the Falcons showed up last Thursday and came close to upsetting the Saints but ultimately coming up short. It now has been a month since the club last won, against the Buccaneers when they were a disaster, and that their only win since week two. Meanwhile, the last time we saw the Bills they were smoking the Jets at home but a disastrous performance by Geno Smith certainly helped the cause. But this game will be at Rogers Centre, where Buffalo has only won once since the series started in 2008. I like the Falcons to pull off an ostensible upset.
Falcons 20 Bills 17

Denver Broncos (9-2) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) - CBS, 4:25
Kansas City was thought to be in better shape this second go-around against the Broncos at home, and we all know Arrowhead is a tough place to play. However, the Chiefs will not have a completely healthy crew with their pass rushers with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston both being banged up, which could prove to be fatal against Peyton Manning. And Kansas City has shown to be vulnerable with two losses now in a row. Give me Denver, who cannot be happy with their collapse in Foxborough.
Broncos 35 Chiefs 24

Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) vs. San Diego Chargers (5-6) - CBS, 4:25
It ain't easy being cheesy but for the Bengals, they do look like the clear top team in the AFC North, almost be default, and while they may be limited come playoff time due to Andy Dalton, with a solid offense and a strong defense, they are in good shape. The Chargers are pushing the action with Philip Rivers looking strong under center while benefiting from a little smoke and mirrors on the side. Cincinnati has the guys defensively to slow down Rivers and force San Diego to try to beat them in an alternative method, which I doubt they can do.
Bengals 29 Chargers 24

New York Giants (4-7) vs. Washington (3-8) - NBC, 8:30
The folks in burgundy and gold looked awful yet again on Monday night in the loss to San Francisco where they showed no life in the second half as the game went away from them. The leadership questions surrounding Robert Griffin III, albeit unfair, are not going to go away as long as the team keeps losing, leaving real questions about where they are headed down the line. And this team is not making a run like last year's did. The Giants, who are playing much better and are in the hunt in the NFC East (great division), should take this one.
Giants 30 Washington 20

Monday, December 2nd
New Orleans Saints (9-2) vs. Seattle Seahawks (10-1) - ESPN, 8:40
I feel like this game would be even better on a neutral field, after all, these are two teams that are fantastic on the home (Field) turf. That said, the Seahawks, who may just be the best team in football after all, have not lost at home since Christmas Eve 2011. However, the Seahawks are in trouble at cornerback as Brendan Browner is out with a groin injury and quality reserve Walter Thurmond is suspended. They are going to try out some veterans to fill the void but that is never a good sign against Drew Brees.
Saints 31 Seahawks 28

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