Thursday, December 02, 2004

NFL: Week 13 Picks

This week, I'm doing something I haven't done in a while. In parentheses, I will rank games in order of my confidence. 3 is a sure thing, 2 is moderate confidence, and 1 is a pick 'em.

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams… St. Louis (3)
After last week’s abortion of a football game, remind me never again to pick a team coached by Dennis Erickson.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins… Buffalo (2)
All hope is not lost for Miami. Even with two wins, San Francisco could still win a game or two and give Miami the 1st draft pick. It’ll take determination, but every remaining game this season is losable.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints… Carolina (1)
The Panthers are the hot team in this one, having won three straight football games. On the other hand, New Orleans is maddeningly hard to predict. The good thing is that after this game, one of these teams should be out of playoff contention. There’s not much else intelligent for me to add to this discussion, so I’ll stop.

Houston Texans at New York Jets… Jets (2)
Chad Pennington is questionable to make his return to the Jets lineup on Sunday. Either way, New York is a solid football team at the Meadowlands, losing only one game at home this season. More important than Pennington is the fact that Houston’s run defense is porous and that plays into the strength of this Jets offense. Look for Curtis Martin and LaMont Jordan to have big games.

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers… Atlanta (2)
Atlanta scared me in the second half last week versus New Orleans. With their upset loss to Carolina, Tampa Bay has little chance of making the playoffs in the miserable NFC. Quietly, Atlanta is 9-2 and almost assured a first round bye.

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens… Baltimore (3)
Think the Baltimore defense will allow Cincinnati to score 58 points this week? Didn’t think so.

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears… Minnesota (2)
While it hasn’t been easy, Minnesota somehow has found a way to win two straight. Moss gets healthier this week and Culpepper puts up big fantasy numbers.

New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns… New England (3)
Same comment at that for Cincinnati/Baltimore, except substitute the name Cleveland and the number 48.

Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions… Detroit (2)
The story of this game is the return home for new Arizona QB John Navarre. Navarre was a four-year starter at the University of Michigan. Detroit benefits from having extra rest, since they played last week’s game on Thursday. Emmitt Smith is out as well for Arizona.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts… Indianapolis (3)
This is the third of three straight AFC South road games for Jeff Fisher’s Titans. I can see this one getting ugly. Lance Schulters and Andre Woolfolk, two members of the Titans starting secondary, are out. Wonder if Peyton Manning gets 7 touchdown passes and reaches Dan Marino’s record in this game?

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders… Kansas City (1)
Just like Oakland was up for last week’s rivalry game versus Denver, Kansas City comes ready to take on their heated rival. I like Trent Green to take apart a mediocre Oakland secondary. Give Kansas City credit last week for hanging with a very solid San Diego team.

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers… Denver (1)
This one comes down to urgency. A loss and the Broncos playoff chances are in serious peril. Bad weather was an equalizer in last Sunday’s upset loss to Oakland. Denver finds a way to jump back into a tie in the AFC West.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins… Giants (2)
Eli Manning is maturing as a QB. Unfortunately, his first two games came against teams with a combined three losses. Washington allows him to get his first NFL win.

Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles… Philadelphia (2)
I’ve stuck with Philadelphia every week and been wrong only once. They are playing like a team that will finally get over the hump in their 4th consecutive NFC Championship game. Green Bay, despite winning six straight, will have a hard time in a short week following their MNF appearance.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars… Jacksonville (2)
After a strong early start, the Jaguars have faded in the AFC South. Only with a big upset win here can they manage to stay in contention. Duce Staley should come back for real this Sunday, buttressing an already potent rushing attack.

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks… Seattle (2)
I know a lot of people will look at this as an upset possibility for Dallas. However, forget the fact that they beat a putrid Bears team on Thanksgiving. Dallas has played horribly as of late. The fact remains that after all of Seattle’s recent disappointments, they remain in the lead in the NFC West and are overwhelming favorites to at least make the playoffs as a Wild Card. If Mike Holmgrem is anywhere near the coach people think him to be, he’ll get his team back on track after last week’s embarrassing loss.


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