Picking the winners and losers of week 13 in the NFL.
Last Week: 6-7-1. Season: 57-41-1 (57.57%).
Grab your Turducken, it is Thanksgiving week in the National Football League! Time to enjoy great food, family and fun – and then escape to watch football when you’ve had your fill of the rest.
There are many things to be thankful for as an NFL fan this year. Especially as a Kansas City Chiefs fan. In addition to being grateful for parity in the league where your team CAN go from worst to first – and that the ‘Any Given Sunday’ rule holds true (see graphic, courtesy, Deadspin.com). Side note: Sunday Night we saw all we need to see in the Brady versus Manning debate. Brady is better. That game illustrates the difference between a Champion and a guy who puts up great numbers. There’s no comparison.
I’m grateful for Calvin Johnson’s superhuman performances, Tom Brady’s competitive fire, the passion of NFL fans, and for fantasy football that brings together old friends for fun each year from locations around the globe.
Happy Thanksgiving to you! Let’s look at this week’s buffet of games.
Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Detroit Lions
A divisional road game without Aaron Rodgers? NO way Green Bay. I’ll be watching this one to see Calvin ‘The Human Highlight Reel’ Johnson pull down rainbows from Matt Stafford. I bet Megatron is on Stafford’s ‘Things to be grateful for’ list. Ya think? Lions 38, Packers 17
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Toughness won’t be enough for this tough Raiders team on the Holiday Road. Dallas has too much talent and Romo has a paycheck to earn. Cowboys 31, Raiders 13
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
A great AFC North matchup. Although Pittsburgh has turned the corner, look for Baltimore to defend their home turf in a close battle. Anybody seen the weather for Thurs in Baltimore? Ravens 24, Steelers 21 (OT)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-8)
How scary are the Buccaneers now?? Very. A young team playing with grit and growing confidence will give Carolina fits. Will the real Panthers team please stand up? I’ll take the home team. Panthers 27, Buccaneers 24
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-7)
The Jaguars have made some progress, but not enough to come into Cleveland against a stout defense in front of the Dawg Pound in a December game. Start prepping for the draft – and sign Tebow to fill seats and sell merch. Browns 28, Jaguars 14
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-4)
Underachiever team plays on the road against erratic team with a better quarterback. Not only that, but the Colts have to win this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Colts 23, Titans 13
Denver Broncos (-5.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
It isn’t like the Chiefs pass rush will suffer without either Hali, Houston or both. They didn’t get to Manning two weeks ago. In fact, I suspect an increase mix of zone defense will play big dividends for Sutton’s recently stagnant unit. Then you look at a Kansas City offense that finally learned how to put points on the board prepping to play against a suddenly depleted Broncos secondary. Add in a hairline fracture of Peyton’s heel, no Julius Thomas and 137 decibels every time Manning tries to audible? I’ll take the underdog Chiefs at home. Good gravy I’m a homer. Chiefs 41, Broncos 31
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (Pick ‘Em)
Bounce-back week for the Bears. The Vikings played a depleted Packers team to a tie last week, which is pathetic. Look for the Bears to come out and steal a win on the road. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jefferies and Martellus Bennett should have a feast this Sunday as well. Bears 20, Vikings 17
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-2)
Picking a winner here is like considering political candidates. You don’t like or trust either candidate. Miami is a conundrum. The Jets are an eyesore. I’ll take the tough defense of the Jets at home in a one-score game. Ugh. Jets 16, Dolphins 14
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
An overlooked Cardinals team seems to be gelling at the right time. Even though the Eagles have impressed lately, I don’t trust them. It always seems like QB play is an issue with the danger that Chip Kelly’s offense places them in. Look for a statement game from a Cardinals team eyeballing a playoff berth. What was it Roseanne Rosanna-Danna used to say? “Ya know, it just goes to show you that no matter what – it’s always something!”. Cardinals 34, Eagles 27
Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-3.5) [Toronto, Ontario]
Technically a home game for the Bills, but they would fare better in Ralph Wilson Stadium. That said, Matt Ryan and the old birds will continue to slide. Perhaps Jadevon Clowney is in their future? Bills 30, Falcons 21
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-8)
Hear that clicking sound? That is the 49ers offense gearing up for the playoffs. Combine that with a beast of a defense at home and the odds of the Rams stealing one in San Fran are very slim. Expect a biceps-kissing make-out session between Colin Kaepernick and his right arm. 49ers 38, Rams 28
New England Patriots (-9) at Houston Texans
Did you see Tom Brady’s mastery in the historic comeback against the Broncos on Sunday Night? How about Brady Screaming Celebration with Gronk? Have you noticed the myriad of issues facing this Texans team? The Pats are now looking fierce and I don’t see a chance of Houston winning at home. Patriots 34, Texans 20
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (-1)
One of the best games of the week. A solid Cincinnati squad visits a confident Chargers squad led by a fiery and resurrected Philip Rivers. Look for the Chargers to hold serve. Perhaps they’ll show the Jim Rome versus Jim Everett clip at halftime? Chargers 23, Bengals 20
New York Giants (-1.5) at Washington Redskins
Tom Coughlin’s team now believes. After dropping a close one to the Cowboys, expect the Giants to steal one in D.C. against a tired and bewildered Redskins team facing a short week. Giants 41, Redskins 38
Monday Night Game:
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-5)
Monday Night Football gets its best match-up of the year. If not for Rob Ryan’s much-improved defense I would have to go with the Seabirds at home. But Sean Payton and Drew ‘Pinball Wizard’ Brees should shine under the bright lights. Saints 35. Seahawks 24
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Picking the winners and losers of week 12 in the NFL.
Last Week: 7-8. Season: 51-34 (60.00%).
Another Barn-Burner of a week in the NFL! Such parity! Such intruiging match-ups! Peyton Manning’s Prime-Time North American Tour of 2013 makes a stop in Foxborough, Mass where they get to play a wounded and dangerous Patriots team. Does Luck get lucky in the desert? Can KC rebound?
Let’s look at this week’s games.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5, -115)
In what is a lost season for Atlanta, the best they can hope for is to play spoiler versus the Saints. With a depleted roster, I don’t see that happening. I’ll go with the Saints. Saints 30, Falcons 23
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh woke up. Maybe it was the bumblebee unis, but whatever – it worked. I’ll roll with a rejuvenated Steelers squad on the road against a Cleveland team with too many issues. Steelers 21, Browns 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (-3.5)
Detroit is hard to trust in non-marquee matchups. That said, they also play tough when their backs are against the wall. The Lions can’t afford to drop a game to this Bucs team. Gimme the home team. Lions 34, Bucaneers 21
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
The Aaron Rodgers-less Packers are lacking punch. That said, I don’t think their QB situation is nearly as sad and desperate as that of the Vikings. The circus of incompetence can’t do much for morale in MN. Give me the Pack at Lambeau. Packers 20, Vikings 17 (OT)
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-1)
Welcome back to Earth, Kansas City. The pressure is off. Just be yourself and go back to playing defense aggressively. The ghost of #58 seems to visit Arrowhead to lend a hand this year. Nothing against the Chargers – I just don’t think the Chiefs will lose a game at home this year to ANYONE. Chiefs 19, Chargers 14
Chicago Bears (-1) at St. Louis Rams
The Rams at home will be a tough win for Chicago. Which team will show up? The one that did everything NOT to win against Seattle? or the team that spanked Indy by a bundle? Chicago under Trestman is a consistent quality product that pulls through tough games. I’ll take the visiting Bears. Bears 28, Rams 20
Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (-1.5)
This Carolina team is on a roll. The question is, can they maintain their focus against a Dolphins team in turmoil? Miami has proved to be dangerous with their backs against the wall – but Cam Newton is too much for the ‘fins. Panthers 38, Dolphins 27
New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-6)
I so want to pick the Jets to pull and upset here. They’re a win ugly team that pulls out the most unlikely victories. The Ravens have been playing very tough the last few weeks, but I think the Mr. Hyde Jets are going to steal one in Poe’s hometown. Jets 24, Ravens 20
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10)
If Kubiak can’t let Case Keenum finish the game, then he may lose his job. Inserting Schaub is NOT the answer. I’m not saying Schaub isn’t good, I’m saying that Andre Johnson can’t HEAR HIM at the line of scrimmage because of the LOUD BOOING OF THE CROWD caused by Kubiak replacing Keenum with Schaub. C’mon Gary, let it go. Let the kid play. Texans 30, Jaguars 20
Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals (PK)
I don’t see the Luck getting lucky in the desert. There are many things great about Andrew Luck, but I must say he has been most fortuitous in many situations this year. Not this week. Not in the desert. The Cards are hitting stride with a focus on the postseason. Cardinals 24, Colts 21
Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders (-1)
Oakland is a team rising. The Titans are tough but lost. Although both teams are in turmoil at QB, Raider Nation thrives on this stuff. There is no ‘Titan Nation’. Gimme the dwellers of the Black Hole. Raiders 32, Titans 23
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-2.5, -115)
Good God. Romo versus Eli in NYC. Do the overly-talented Dallas Cowboys roll into town and post a victory? Do the Giants stay on a roll? Hmmm. Cowboys 28, Giants 27
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-1.5)
Good Gravy. Manning-Brady in November. In Foxborough. An angry Pats team ready to smack down Manning. This game comes down to health and home field advantage. I’ll take New England in a huge upset. I don’t care if NE is favored – ANYONE beating the All-Madden Broncos of 2013 is an upset. Still . . . Patriots 45, Broncos 42 (OT)
Monday Night Game:
San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) at Washington Redskins
This tough, motivated 49ers team is playing for its postseason lives. On a Plane, on a Train, in the East, against the Least. I’ll take the beast. 49ers 27, Redskins 16
Picking the winners and losers of week 11 in the NFL.
Last Week: 9-5. Season: 44-26 (62.85%).
HUGE week in the NFL! The Chiefs finally square off against the Denver Mannings. The Eagles get a chance to show what they know, and many other noteworthy games.
On to the notes.
Indianapolis Colts (-1) at Tennessee Titans
Straight off you have a Titans team that got beat by the lowly Jaguars in week 10. Think it might have been a tough and emotional week for these guys? On the flipside, the Colts aren’t the same with Reggie Wayne. T-Rich isn’t explosive for the offense. A suddenly hot Rams team exposed the Colts as inconsistent at best last week in a 38-8 drubbing, In Indy! Look for the home team to exercise some demons this week. Titans 30, Colts 20
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
The coin flip of the week. A case can be made for the Jets to win this one, but I don’t trust them. Too many recent snafus, headaches, heartaches, erratic decisions and butt fumbles for me to pick the Jets this week. The Bills team is on the rise, Manuel’s back and they are playing in Buffalo. Bills 16, Jets 10
Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears (PK)
Ravens are too erratic on the road. I’ll take Trestman’s Bears at Soldier Field in a November game. Bears 28, Ravens 21
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-6)
Bounce-back week for Cincy in the battle of Ohio. Cleveland is nasty on D and pulls its wins out this year like a magic trick, but Cincy is nasty on D, explosive on O and playing at home. Bengals 34, Browns 23
Atlanta Falcons (-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs finally put a scratch in the ‘W’ column last week against the Miami Black Eyes. It was only a matter of time (see their game in Seattle two weeks ago). Glennon, Revis, Schiano and the rest of the Buccaneers will get it together this week at home against a Falcons team that has gone adrift. Buccaneers 34, Falcons 30
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (PK)
Well, at least this isn’t on Monday Night Football this week. Cardinals 14, Panthers 13
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-7.5)
Welcome Back, Kubiak. Case Keenum, J.J. Watt and the boys have missed you. I sense a very close one over a tough-minded Raiders team. RIP Todd Christensen. Texans 34, Raiders 31 (OT)
San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins (-3)
I know that west coast teams often have trouble flying back east for a game, but this Dolphins team is in turmoil and minus the left side of their offensive line. I expect a huge game from Philip Rivers. Gimme the Charge on the road. Chargers 38, Dolphins 21
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (PK)
Has Chip Kelly re-adjusted to the adjustments made by the NFL? This game we figure out what Chip Kelly has figured out. Gimme the home team in a moment of truth. Philadelphia 42, Redskins 21
Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
The Lions are roaring. Matt Stafford grew up against Dallas, and showed that in the victory last week at Chicago. Pittsburgh is tough at home, but are a shadow of their contender teams. I wonder what amazing thing Megatron will do this week? Lions 35, Steelers 24
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-7.5)
I agonized over this one for two weeks. It finally comes down to what I believe. I know this Chiefs team has been through the hottest of fires last year. The strongest steel of a team has been forged in Kansas City. It is passion, belief, mojo. It is winning nine weeks in a row. It is belief. I believe the Chiefs have some of the most amazing win-ugly luck ever simply because of the fact that they make their own luck through belief, preparation and effort. There is no fear. They already saw the worst that could happen last year. Manning is beat up, less mobile and is already hearing footsteps. Keep telling the Kansas City Chiefs that they can’t. They know better. Chiefs 31, Broncos 28
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-6)
My upset of the week. The Seahawks are beatable at home (see the game versus the Bucs two weeks ago). The Vikings are looking to come to town and punch somebody in the mouth. Somewhere between a Jared Allen stamp and an Adrian Peterson cleat mark a Vikings victory will appear. Vikings 27, Seattle 20
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (PK)
I like the 49ers team a lot. After a tough week 10 loss, they are playing for their playoff lives. I really have a hard time picking against the Saints in their ‘dome – but if the Jets can do it, the 49ers can do it better. Break out the paper bags. 49ers 38, Saints 34
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (PK)
I don’t see a floundering and thin Packers team coming into NY and beating Eli Manning’s Giants. No way. Giants 42, Packers 10
Monday Night Game:
New England Patriots (-3) at Carolina Panthers
The bright lights on Monday Night Football finally have something to highlight. This Panthers team is H-O-T. Solid defense, solid personnel, freak-of-nature QB and confidence. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have their hands full. I’ll take the Championship Quarterback on the Big Stage of MNF. Patriots 27, Panthers 21
Picking the winners and losers of week 10 in the NFL.
Last Week: 6-7. Season: 35-21 (62.5%).
What a week in the NFL! Key injuries for the Packers, a WORLD of drama and outrage in Miami, a suddenly intriguing match-up with a reborn, Foles-led Eagles team visiting a wounded Packers team at Lambeau Field. More close battles will take place this week than you can shake a stick at.
Let’s take a look.
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings (-1.5)
The Washigton Redskins turned in an impressive performance last week in downing the Chargers. As well, the Vikings played very strong against Dallas, but can they shut down the Redskins? Give me the home team in a close one. Vikings 23, Redskins 20
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (PK)
Atlanta appears rudderless. A swath of injuries have hobbled a once powerful team. I’ll take the Seahawks because they are the better team (top-to-bottom), the better defense, and they have a better coach. Seahawks 24, Falcons 14
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-3)
Another vicious matchup with the Division lead at stake! Although the Lions have grown (I love Stafford’s heads-up QB sneak against Dallas), Chicago is rolling under Trestman, feeling good after winning in GB for the first time since 2007. Bear down Chicago Bears. Bears 30, Lions 28
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (-7, -105)
Red Alert: Aaron Rodgers is out. Seneca Wallace wasn’t getting the job done versus Chicago last week. In comes the suddenly-hot hand of Nick Foles and the much-maligned Chip Kelly Experience. It pains me to say it, but . . . Eagles 34, Packers 27
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
The Titans are too tough-minded to lose at home. I don’t see them letting the Jaguars off the mat. Mr. Clowney, welcome to Jacksonville! Titans 21, Jaguars 7
St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
The Colts absolutely stole one in Houston last week. If Kubiak didn’t have a mini-stroke then the Colts comeback never happens. That said, the Colts should hold serve well versus the Rams. Colts 35, Rams 28
Oakland Raiders at New York Giants (-9)
Giants QB Eli Manning is due to flex his mid-season form. The Raiders and Pryor aren’t strong enough yet to travel back East and take one away from the G-Men. Giants 42, Raiders 24
Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
There is no way that a Bills rookie QB is going to come in and have success against the Pittsburgh defense. Dick LeBeau is considered to be one of the greatest defensive coordinators of all time and he eats rookie QBs for breakfast. Steelers 28, Bills 13
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
“Nevermore”. This is the week that the ‘Bad Good Team’ (Ravens) puts down the ‘Good Bad Team’ (Bengals). A defending Super Bowl Champion has certain duties . . . one of them is winning at home against the Bengals. Ravens 31, Bengals 24
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (-6)
Biggest match-up here: Cam versus the 49ers D. I know Newton is improving and the Panthers are on a roll, but the S.F. Harbaughs will be well-schemed for the Panthers phenom. It doesn’t hurt that the 49ers are returning some of their receiving assets (Davis, Manningham) and Kaep has his mojo workin’ again. 49ers 34, Panthers 26
Denver Broncos (-3) at San Diego Chargers
P. Manning has spent more time in the hot tub this last two weeks than P. Diddy. With fresh ankles and rest, look for the Broncos to show the World that they will be just fine with Jack Del Rio holding the reins until John Fox returns. Broncos 48, Chargers 38
Houston Texans (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
Keenum is the real deal. If Kubiak is back and calling the plays then I expect Houston will take this one on the road. Heck, I expect it if Case Keenum is calling his own plays. Texans 30, Cardinals 20
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (-4)
Rob Ryan readies for Romo. The Saints look to bounce back from an embarassing loss to the Jets. I’m sure Dallas will throw the kitchen sink at the Saints, but the Saints at home in the dome will win the shootout. Saints 49, Cowboys 47
Monday Night Game
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)
I don’t remember a poorest slate of MNF games for an entire season. Pitiful. How can Miami be expected to win this week without the left side of their offensive line? Perhaps they should have been running a tighter ship and not have allowed a buffoon to jeopardize the success of the team. Sure, I understand initiations into groups (remember the Friar Tebow haircut?), and that is part of things in a traditional sort of way . . . but if you’re going to stock your team with individuals that make bad decisions – then you had better be policing them something fierce. Buccaneers 42, Dolphins 0
The world as I see it, from Austin, TX to Kansas City