Week 13 NFL
December? Geez, where has the season (and the year) gone? As the last quarter of the season unfolds, teams are either gearing up for a playoff run or girding for the end of season shakeup. This is the home stretch where the game mean a lot more, as they develop I will provide playoff implications of the matchups. Last week was a decent one for your humble scribe 11 wins was something to be thankful for, though the upset pick of the Lions and hoping the Colts had one win in them was asking too much. In any case, submitted for your review, perusal and approval are the rest of the weeks picks with the odds provided by bodog.net for entertainment and comparison purposes only. Me and Vinnie No-Neck had a good laugh about someone betting the lines and losing then trying to blame me for it. My knees only hurt cause of the arthritis
Sunday December 4
Colts (0-11) @ Patriots (8-3)
Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, MA 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Patriots by 21
Last Week Colts lost to Panthers 27-19, Patriots beat Eagles 38-20
Fast Fact This game was originally scheduled for Sunday Night but flexed
The weeks first is pretty much a walkover. What was supposed to be an annual matchup in a long running clash of the titan quarterback is looking instead like a one sided horror show. NBC and the NFL couldn’t move fast enough to flex this game out of primetime to avoid another potential one sided rout of the hapless, hopeless Colts. Facing their 3rd backup in as many weeks, the New England defense should have no problem with the Colts anemic offense In what should only be viewed by the sadistic or Pats fans only, the home team should only worry about complacency and avoiding injuries.
Pick-New England (Lock of the Week)
Broncos (6-5) @ Vikings (2-9)
Mall of America Field @ HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite No Line
Last Week Broncos beat Chargers 16-13 in ot, Vikings lost to Falcons 24-14
Fast Fact Tim Tebow’s 22 rushing attempts were the most in a game by a quarterback since 1950
Tebow mania has gotten to almost rock concert like levels. The Broncos are winning with good defense and a grinding option offense that will put you to sleep but is curiously effective. The Vikings just want this season to be over. Without the dynamic running of Adrian Peterson, the offense moves in fits and starts and poor rookie QB Christian Ponder can only do so much. I know Ive been getting burned by Tebow saying that some defense is going to catch up with them sooner or later, for some reason I think that the Vikings defense makes the Broncos pass the ball and keeps the running game in check and if they don’t win it here, might not get another decent chance at a win for the rest of the year.
Chiefs (4-7) @ Bears (7-4)
Soldier Field, Chicago 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Bears by 7
Last Week Chiefs lost to Steelers 13-9, Bears lost to Raiders 25-20
Fast Fact The Chiefs have not scored a touchdown in 9 quarters (3rd quarter of week 10)
In an ironic twist, former Bear Kyle Orton may get the starting nod playing against the team that traded him. But the Chiefs are just about on life support after losing a low scoring scrum with the Steelers. The Bears are hoping that Caleb Haenie can be enough of a caretaker to guide an up and down Bears offense. The Chiefs defense has badly regressed to its bumbling ways of beginning the season 0-4 and I don’t think that they will recover. The Bears offense aint the most scintillating but it will get the job done at home.
Titans (6-5) @ Bills (5-6)
Ralph Wilson Stadium; Orchard Park, NY (CBS)
Favorite Bills by 3
Last Week Titans beat Buccaneers 23-17, Bills lost to Jets 28-24
Fast Fact Four is the magic number, the Titans have won the last four meetings and the Bills are looking to break a four game losing streak.
The Titans are hanging around the playoff hunt but have some distance to make up in a short time to catch the Texans, the Bills frittered away chance after chance to beat the Jets and have basically destroyed any hope of making the playoffs. The Titans win when Chris Johnson is pounding the rock relentlessly and with the Bills having a weak run defense, this could be a matchup to exploit. Mix in the Titans being cash money inside the 20 with the Bills being very accommodating this may be a more one sided game than one would think. Instead, CJ2K will get his touches and the Bills stunning slide will continue with another painfully close loss.
Bengals (7-4) @ Steelers (8-3)
Heinz Field (CBS)
Favorite Steelers by 7
Last Week Bengals beat Browns 23-20, Steelers beat Chiefs 13-9
Fast Fact Steelers have won eight of the last ten meetings
Both teams come into the matchup off wins but needing this win to stay within shouting distance of the Ravens. Andy Dalton continues to impress with his startlingly unflappable demeanor and solid leadership. AJ Green has developed quickly as a go to receiver and producer of eye opening highlight catches. The Steelers as usual will go with their intimidation factor and a heavy dose of running if Ben Roethlisberger’s balky thumb is acting up. Problem is that the Bengals run defense is better than advertised. Im probably going to regret it, but for some reason the Bengals play the Steelers better on the road and I think that they will steal a tight one.
Pick-Cincinnati (Upset of the Week)
Panthers (3-8) @ Buccaneers (4-7)
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Buccaneers by 3
Last Week Panthers beat Colts 27-19, Buccaneers lost to Titans 23-17
Fast Fact Panthers QB Cam Newton scored his 10th touchdown last week to break the rookie record.
The Panthers continue to grow and impress. Cam Newton is making a mockery of those that though he couldn’t translate to the big leagues. Meanwhile the Bucs season is growing more and more and more disappointing as Josh Freeman continues to suffer through growing pains. What would have looked like a one sided game two months ago is a toss up now, I’m betting that buoyed by success on the road, the Panthers will build on this with a mild upset in the division.
Raiders (7-4) @ Dolphins (3-8)
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Dolphins by 3
Last Week Raiders beat Bears 25-20, Dolphins lost to Cowboys 20-19
Fast Fact The Raiders are gunning for their first four game win streak since 2002
The Raiders should be worried, unlike their cross bay counterparts, the trips east haven’t been as kind. With a number of key components not being at the ready, the Raiders will be leaning on Michael Bush that much more heavily. The Dolphins are playing much better than their 3-8 record would show and are a team no one wants to face right now. Im still not convinced that the Dolphins offense can make headway against the Raiders aggressive and athletic defense. It will be a struggle but Im thinking that the Raiders can grind out an ugly but effective win.
Jets (6-5) @ Redskins (4-7)
FedEx Field; Landover, MD 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Jets by 3
Last Week Jets beat Bills 28-24, Redskins lost to Seahawks 23-17
Fast Fact The Jets have won only once in the series a 3-0 snoozer in 1993.
The grins and haughtiness came back to Rex Ryan after a tight win over Buffalo and the Jets still are very much alive in the wild card race. The Redskins pulled a stunner going cross country and rallying to beat the Seahawks. Rex Grossman hearkened back to his fast start with a solid game. But there is a marked difference between throwing on the up and down Seattle secondary and going against the stronger Jets defenses. Roy Helu continues to shine and he can keep the focus off heavily rushing the easily rattled Grossman. The Jets need this win and will likely make it interesting before pulling away.
Pick-New York Jets
Falcons (7-4) @ Texans (8-3)
Reliant Stadium, Houston 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite No Line (unclear QB situation for Texans)
Last Week Falcons beat Vikings 24-14, Texans beat Jaguars 20-13
Fast Fact Texans RB Arian Foster has averaged 156.6 yards from scrimmage and scored 8 times in the last five games, all Texan wins.
Contrary to popular rumor, I was not contacted about quarterbacking the Texans, neither was Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Jake Plummer or any “is he still in this league?? “ quarterback to fill the Texans need at QB. Nor did Texans coach Gary Kubiak put an ad out on Craigslist. The untried TJ Yates will get his first NFL start and gets a tough draw in a Falcons team that has gotten a second wind and is trying to keep pace in the NFC wild card race. Look for heavy doses of Arian Foster but the Falcons will likely load up the box and dare Yates to throw on them. I surmise that he might be able to but not effectively. This could be a tight game but Im thinking Matty Ice and his offense will wear down the Houston defense.
Ravens (8-3) @ Browns (4-7)
Browns Stadium, Cleveland 4:05 (CBS)
Favorite Ravens by 7
Last Week Ravens beat 49ers 16-6, Browns lost to Bengals 23-20
Fast Fact The Ravens had nine sacks against the Niners tying a franchise record.
The Ravens are looking like a tough out in the AFC as they wore a young Niner team down methodically in a bruising game. The Browns jumped out fast but crumbled under a relentless Bengal rally. Point blank, the Ravens are better on both sides of the ball. They know it and the funny things is I think the Browns know it too.
Rams (3-8) @ 49ers (9-2)
Candlestick Park, San Francisco 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Niners by 14
Last Week Rams lost to Cardinals 23-20, 49ers lost to Ravens 16-6
Fast Fact The Rams allow a league worst 159 rushing yards a game
Playoff Implication: Niners clinch the NFC West with Win
The Niners are still smarting from their punishing loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving are looking for someone to take it out on. Enter stage left the hapless Rams who just find ways to give games away. The Niners are light years better than the Rams and shouldn’t have any real trouble burying a team that is outmatched.
Cowboys (7-4) @ Cardinals (4-7)
University of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, AZ 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Cowboys by 4˝
Last Week Cowboys beat Dolphins 20-19, Cardinals beat Rams 23-20
Fast Fact Cardinals RB Beanie Wells rushed for a franchise record 228 yards in last weeks win over St. Louis.
The Pokes are feeling rather froggy, having had moved into first place a game clear of the badly fading G-Men and the road gets smoother facing a Cards team that isn’t going to really put the fear in anyone. With a vanilla offense facing good Cowboy pass rush, the Cards aren’t exactly the Saints or Pack in terms of putting up points. Heck they aren’t even the Cowboys. Tony Romo will continue to put up good numbers and the Pokes may dawdle some but have more than enough to roll.
Packers (11-0) @ Giants (6-5)
MetLife Stadium; E. Rutherford, NJ 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Packers by 7
Last Week Packers beat Lions 27-15, Giants lost to Saints 49-24
Fast Fact The Giants have ended the winning streak of last two teams that had faced them with double digit unbeaten streaks (Patriots 2007, Broncos 1998)
The talk of the Packers running the table gets debated more fiercely every week, they looked almost bored in toying with the Lions before pulling away. The Packers 17 game win streak ironically started against these same Giants who had they won that game in week 16 of the 2010 season would have eliminated the Packers from playoff contention. The G-Men on the other hand just looked lost as they got housed in the Big Easy by the Saints. Simply put, the Packers are playing on another level and unless the Giants withering pass rush can get to uber QB Aaron Rodgers, they will get picked apart. If they allow him to stay clean like Drew Brees did against them last week they will be getting 40+ hung on them again and watch the Cowboys pull further away
Lions (7-4) @ Saints (8-3)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome 8:20 (NBC)
Favorite Saints by 9
Last Week Lions lost to Packers 27-15, Saints beat Giants 49-24
Fast Fact Saints QB Drew Brees has thrown a TD in 38 straight games the second longest streak in NFL history (Johnny Unitas, 47)
This game was flexed into primetime, as the NFL and NBC considered the Lions a surprise team that have played their way into primetime, but the Lions have lost four of six after their eye-popping 5-0 start and with Ndomaking Suh shelved due to stupidity…errr suspension. The Lions, while better than the Colts in primetime have lost some luster.
The Saints are rounding back into that breathtakingly scary form that they were in when they won the Super Bowl 2 seasons ago, their offense rolled up yards and put points on the board last week in breakneck style knowing that the Giants wouldn’t be able to keep up. You have to wonder if the Lions are coming back to earth fast will be able to slow down much less stop the Saints attack. The feeling here is no.
Monday, December 5
Chargers (4-7) @ Jaguars (3-8)
Everbank Field, Jacksonville 8:30 (ESPN)
Favorite Chargers by 3
Last Week Chargers lost to Broncos 16-13, Jaguars lost to Texans 20-13
Fast Fact The Chargers have lost five times by seven or fewer tops in the AFC.
The weeks started with a snoozer and ends with one. Call this the LA Bowl as I have the feeling that one of these teams may be headed to Los Angeles soon. Or in the case of the Chargers back to the city where they started in 1960. The Chargers crumbled at home in the wake of Tebow Mania and the Jags have been pretty much a lost cause all year and Jack Del Rio got the gate last week as result. The Chargers are pretty bad, but they aren’t as bad as the meandering Jags who have little offensive punch beyond Maurice Jones-Drew. Philip Rivers should have enough smarts to avoid the Jags puny rush and not throw a few picks.
Pick- San Diego
Last Week: 11-5 (Lock Correct, Upset Incorrect)
Overall: 108-68 (Thursday result not included)
Ill be coming to you from the Hoodwood on Tuesday with more thoughts on why I think Jim Boeheim in Syracuse is safe from the Bernie Fine mess, my pick for the Heisman and why the Saints will be the one to stop the Pack in January (yes in Lambeau)...Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!