NFL: Week 13 Picks

No more bye weeks as we hit the stretch run.  Week 13 starts with the best Thursday of the season, Thanksgiving and it’s 3 games.  I can’t remember when all these games had more playoff implications.

Week 12 was another good one for me, as I went 11-4 to improve to 109-66 on the year.  So here are my next crop of picks, let me know if you agree or not!

Thanksgiving Day Games

  • Bears @ Lions: Chicago has won two games in a row while Detroit has dropped two games straight to lose control of the NFC North.  That being said, I haven’t been impressed with the Bears in those two wins, and I think at home on Thanksgiving, the Lions find a way to break out offensively. DETROIT WINS
  • Eagles @ Cowboys: It’s a battle for control of the NFC East. It’s the first of two match-ups this season, meaning the loser will still have a shot at the crown.  Dallas hasn’t been great at home, while winning all 5 on the road.  Dallas holds the edge at quarterback with Romo over Sanchez, and running back with Murray over McCoy, so give me the Boys to improve to 4-3 at home. DALLAS WINS
  • Seahawks @ 49ers: Neither team that appeared in the NFC Championship game lead their division, that’s Arizona, but both still have a shot at the crown and a playoff spot.  The reigning champs haven’t looked like it for most of the season, and yet they can still make the postseason.  The same can be said for San Fran, though they’re a bit more consistent at this point after a 1-2 start to the year.  It’s going to be close, and with another match-up in two weeks in 12 man territory, I think the Niners take advantage, giving Turkey day games a home sweep. SAN FRANCISCO WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Redskins @ Colts: RGII has been benched in Washington.  Not surprising, but it doesn’t give them a better chance to win this game in my opinion.  Andrew Luck is better than every QB on the Redskins roster.  Add to this being a home game with playoff seeding on the line, give me the Colts in an easy one. INDIANAPOLIS WINS
  • Titans @ Texans: For Houston, they’ve already turned around a horrible 2013-14 season into a season with at least one more win.  Finishing at 8-8 would be great for this team, especially after losing Ryan Mallet this past weekend. Tennessee just continues to sleepwalk to the end of the season and I don’t see them getting their 3rd win this week on the road. HOUSTON WINS
  • Browns @ Bills: Buffalo is coming off a strange week with a blizzard that forced a home game to be moved to Detroit on Monday.  They made due with an easy win over the Jets, but now they hope to play in Buffalo this week against a team that isn’t easy to handle.  Brian Hoyer, despite a bad game against Atlanta, has his team in the playoff hunt and looking to keep pace in the AFC.  Both teams have a shot at the playoffs and defenses capable of shutting down offenses.  I like the run game better for the Bills, but Cleveland finds ways to win, and so I think they eek one out again this week. CLEVELAND WINS
  • Chargers @ Ravens: This should be a good game between two teams in the playoff conversation.  San Deigo is on two game win streak, though they haven’t been very impressive victories for a team that started out the season 5-1.  Baltimore enters action on it’s own 2 game win streak and they continue to show their depth, particularly at running back.  It’s become a theme, but I’m going with the AFC North team in this game as well. BALTIMORE WINS
  • Giants @ Jaguars: I know I picked the Giants again. But they’ve been so much better on offense lately that despite the Jags stellar redzone defense, I think New York’s defense can figure out a way to stop Jacksonville’s lone big threat in Denard Robinson to snap their 6-game losing streak. NEW YORK WINS
  • Bengals @ Buccaneers: Tampa has two wins and isn’t out of the playoff picture.  Cincinnati continues to hold a slim lead in the North, and it’s a lead I think they continue to hold when they pick up the road win this week. Unless Mike Evans learns to throw to himself between now and Sunday, give me Andy Dalton to AJ Green for the win. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Raiders @ Rams: It’s not often that a 4-7 can be called impressive, but that’s how I feel about the Rams.  Their defense is top 10 in the league, their wins are against some of the league’s best, and they keep games close.  As for the Raiders, they’re not going 0-16 so that’s their highlight.  Rams at home. ST LOUIS WINS
  • Saints @ Steelers: We all keep waiting for New Orleans to look like better than they have all year lead by Drew Brees, but it’s time accept that they’re a bad football team in a bad division.  That while the Steelers are playing in the most competitive division in the league this season.  This could be a shootout, but the run game for Pittsburgh will lift the black and yellow to a victory. PITTSBURGH WINS
  • Panthers @ Vikings: Carolina is on a 5-game losing streak, sit at just 3-7-1 and yet they still have a very real shot at winning the NFC South.  Makes you shake your head.  That division is so bad that at 4-7, the Vikings would be tied for the lead with the Falcons and Saints! Teddy Bridgewater has done a decent job in his rookie season managing games, though the pass game has been ugly for the Vikings.  But their defense keeps them in games, and I think they get another home win this week. MINNESOTA WINS

Sunday 4/4:25PM Games

  • Cardinals @ Falcons: ARIZONA WINS
  • Patriots @ Packers: GREEN BAY WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Broncos @ Chiefs: DENVER WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Dolphins @ Jets: MIAMI WINS
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NFL: Week 9 Picks

We’re nearing the halfway point of the season, with some teams already 8-games in.  The time to start thinking playoff picture is here, so look out for my midway thoughts next week after all teams have played at least half their schedule.

As for my picks, after a poor week 7, I rebounded going 11-4 last week, improving my season total to 75-45.  There are 6 teams on their bye here in week 9 (Falcons, Bears, Bills, Lions, Packers & Titans)… so basically the entire NFC North.

Thursday Night Football

  • Saints @ Panthers: It’s an important game in the NFC South, but it’s not as important as I thought it might be.  Not only did I think these would be the teams battling for the division title, I thought these were two teams that could challenge for a top seed in the conference.  Yet here we are, with both teams under .500. Again, I would’ve said preseason that Carolina’s defense plus the home crowd would give them the edge, but this isn’t the same defense of a year ago.  So for that reason, I think Drew Brees and company find a way to get their high powered offense going on the road. NEW ORLEANS WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Buccaneers @ Browns: Tampa Bay is not good.  I thought they would be when the season started, but that was a bad call.  Cleveland has been better than most thought, and they rebounded a week ago after a bad loss to Jacksonville, even if it was against the Raiders.  I like the Browns to be a very surprising 5-3 come the start of week 10.  CLEVELAND WINS
  • Cardinals @ Cowboys: Another big match-up for the Cardinals, and despite being on the road, I think they come out with another win over the NFC East.  It’s not guaranteed that Tony Romo will be on the field for Dallas after injuring his back on a huge hit on Monday night.  Sure, DeMarco Murray is going to get his yards, but if Brandon Weedon is the starter, Arizona’s defense is going to have a field day.  And to be completely honest, I’d probably pick the Cards even if Romo was healthy. ARIZONA WINS
  • Eagles @ Texans: Philly has been near the top of the league all season, and for good reason.  But I was much more impressed with them last season when the were the surprise NFC East champs.  LeSean McCoy hasn’t been great, and Nick Foles was never going to be as mistake free two years in a row.  Houston is worlds better than last seasons disappointing team and find themselves at .500.  JJ Watt is going to have a field day and I think the Texans get above that .500 mark. HOUSTON WINS
  • Jaguars @ Bengals: Jacksonville couldn’t follow up their first win of the season in week 8, while Cincy bounced back from a few bad outings to pick up a much needed win in the division.  While the Bengals still didnt look crisp, they are better than the Jags and playing at home should help as well. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Chargers @ Dolphins: Both teams have been pretty good this season.  San Diego is struggling a bit of late, losing two i a row, with Miami winning their last two.  Miami is home and playing better, but I think the Chargers find a way to shake off the bad vibes of the past couple weeks and get their 6th win of the season, keeping the pressure on Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the AFC West. SAN DIEGO WINS
  • Redskins @ Vikings: Both teams enter action in the cellar of their respective divisions with identical 3-5 records. Washington is coming off a road win against the NFC East leading Cowboys.  Minnesota too is coming off a road win, theirs coming against a less than impress Bucs team.  So who continues their winning ways?  I say the Vikings at home.  RGIII is making his return for Washington, and I just don’t see that going well against a decent Minnesota defense. MINNESOTA WINS

Sunday 4/4:25 Games

  • Rams @ 49ers: The Ram defense is not good, and I thought that would be their strength.  San Fran has been quite up and down, but they have been better of late, winners of 3 out of their last 4 after a 1-2 start.  Add to that, the Niners need this one and they’re at home. SAN FRANCISCO WINS
  • Broncos @ Patriots: This right here, is the game of the week.  An AFC Championship rematch… Brady vs Manning… and the two best teams in the conference.  Denver has the best record in the league at 6-1, and has only faced one team that is below .500.  As for New England, after concern Tom Brady was declining, the Pats have reeled off 4-straight wins, 3 of which came in dominating fashion.  So who wins this one? DENVER WINS
  • Raiders @ Seahawks: This isn’t the same Seattle squad that won the Superbowl a season ago.  They’ve got some off-the-field issues to go with a lack of crispness in all facets of the game. That being said, they are home, and they have the worst team in the league on teh docket. SEATTLE WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Ravens @ Steelers: Ben Roethlisbeger is starting to feel it.  6 TD passes a week ago to help improve the Steelers to 5-3, tying them with Baltimore in an ultra-competitive AFC North division.  This is an important match-up for that and many reasons.  The Ravens fell to Cincy a week ago, and have already defeated Pitt this season, so it’ll be tough to do it again.  But with how up-and-down both teams have looked, I’m taking a leap here and taking Baltimore on the road, because after all, the Steelers defense is suspect and Joe Flacco has been known to put up some big numbers this season himself. BALTIMORE WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Colts @ Giants: Indianapolis can’t be happy with the defensive effort they put forward a week ago after 5 straight wins to rebound from an 0-2 start.  New York is fresh off a bye, but still won’t have starting running back Rashad Jennings back.  Eli Manning is on a great stretch, but the Giants have lost their last two in the division, setting them back. So what gives?  I think the game means more to New York, who has played better at home than on the road early on in the season.  So I’m thinking this is a true turning point, and Manning finds a way to further expose the Colts defense at home.  NEW YORK WINS

NFL: Week 8 Picks

So there were a lot of strange happenings last week in the National Football League.  A bunch of last play games, a lot of statement games and a number of big injuries.  Not to mention a record breaking performance from one Peyton Manning, and the number of winless teams moving to just 1.

Took a step back this week at 7-8.  Two of those wins came on final second scores by Washington and Buffalo to save me from a truly terrible week of picks.  Time to rebound. Giants and the 49ers are on their byes this week.

Thursday Night Football

  • Chargers @ Broncos: The two best teams in the AFC West get this week’s slate of games started.  San Diego lost just it’s second gmae of the season to another division foe a week ago, while Denver saw Peyton Manning’s record breaking 509th TD pass in a blowout win over the 49ers on Sunday night.  It’s still early, but this game is more important for the Chargers who have yet to have their bye, and a loss would give them 3 losses to the Broncos 1.  That being said, while I think they are well-matched, Denver has the edge at home. DENVER WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Lions @ Falcons: Detroit’s defense saved them from another home loss a week ago, where as Atlanta continues to struggle, particularly on defense.  Matt Ryan has needed all the help he could get from that side of the football, but hasn’t gotten it consistently. This may not be a high scoring affair, but much as it did in week 7, I think the Lions defense more than their offense wins this game for them.  DETROIT WINS
  • Vikings @ Buccaneers: Minnesota let one slip away on the road in week 7.  The Bucs are coming off their bye week losers of two straight.  So what gives in this one?  It’s going to be ugly, maybe the worst game of the week, and I think it ends with a road win for the Vikings, who at least know how to play some defense.  MINNESOTA WINS
  • Bills @ Jets: Buffalo pulled off the last second comeback win a week ago, but it came with a price.  They lost both halves of their high powered rushing attack in CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson.  But Kyle Orton and Sammy Watkins with a little help from their defense got them over the .500 mark. As for their AFC East rivals, the Jets lost their 6th straight, falling by just 2 points to the Patriots on Thursday night. New York looked better in some ways then they have in a while, but still ended up with another loss.  I want to say that forcing the Bills into a pass first game would be good for the Jets, but their secondary has been horrendous.  I also want to say that the Bills defense can do a number on Geno Smith.  So which team am I picking?  I picked New York to make the playoffs before the season, and while that would take a lot to happen, I am going to think if there’s a game they can win on their schedule, I think it has be this one.  NEW YORK WINS
  • Bears @ Patriots: Chicago is a mess both on the field and off, while the Patriots continue to prove early season doubters wrong.  There is a question of a lack of trust between Jay Cutler and his receiving core, which can be explosive.  New England wasn’t sharp on Thursday Night against the Jets, but made the plays when they needed to.  Another home game to prove themselves against a team in shambles usually means a win for Tom Brady and company. NEW ENGLAND WINS
  • Seahawks @ Panthers: Is it time for the defending champs to panic?  Probably.  Is it time for Carolina, also a playoff team a year ago to panic? Yes.  Seattle has an improved Arizona team to deal with in its own division, while the Panthers are just lucky the Saints have gotten off to such a terrible start.  The Seahawks are in better shape though, despite shipping out the dynamic Percy Havin and losing two straight for the first time in two years.  They know how to win and aren’t having major struggles on either side of the football.  It’s the Carolina defense that has been very disappointing so far.  And even though they are at home, I have more faith in the defending champs. SEATTLE WINS
  • Dolphins @ Jaguars:  Ryan Tannehill and the fins took advantage of a trouble Chicago squad to move to .500.  Tannehill was efficient, connecting on his first 14 passes in route to the road win.  Now they take on a Jacksonville squad that finally picked up their first win of the season over a much improved Cleveland team.  Denard Robinson broke out for 127-yards on the ground and a score to help Blake Bortles get his first career win.  I like Miami and the progress Tannehill is showing, but you can’t say enough for a team that isn’t playing for much and knows how to win now.  So I like the Jags to get another win this week.  JACKSONVILLE WINS
  • Ravens @ Bengals: Baltimore’s offense continues to shine without Ray Rice in the backfield, and it’s helped them build a lead in the AFC North over their week 8 opponents.  Cincinnati has looked bad since their week 4 bye, with the low point a shutout a week ago in Indianapolis.  I liked the Bengals to win this division before the season, and if they have hopes of doing so, this is a must win game.  So give me the home team to bounce back, because they have to. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Texans @ Titans: Both teams had a chance to pick up wins in week 7,  but neither capitalized.  But looking at the overall picture, Houston has been the far superior team on both sides of the football, so I think they get back on track, picking up a big road win in Tennessee.  HOUSTON WINS
  • Rams @ Chiefs: St. Louis feels really good about themselves coming off a win over the defending champs.  Sure they almost blew a big lead, but they held on and showed something late.  That being said, the Chiefs win in week 7 was even more impressive against a hotter Chargers squad.  So give me KC to continue a good month of sports in Missouri.  KANSAS CITY WINS

Sunday 4/4:25PM Games

  • Eagles @ Cardinals: This is the game I am looking forward to most this weekend.  Two of the best teams in the NFC that both enter action at 5-1.  The key to this one?  Philly’s quick paced offense versus Arizona’s defense, which is allowing less than 20 points a game.  Even deeper, Arizona has the best rush defense in the game, going against duel threat LeSean McCoy, that could be where the game is won or lost for either side.  So who team flies higher, extends their win streak to 3 and improves to a sparkling 6-1?  Give me the red birds at home.  ARIZONA WINS
  • Colts @ Steelers: Remember when Indy started off 0-2 and everyone was freaking out?  Yeah, me neither.  Andrew Luck has this team on a 5-game win streak, and the Colts are coming off a complete team win, an impressive shutout of the Bengals.  Pittsburgh is also coming off a win, a much-needed one.  It wasn’t super impressive, but they did score 24-unanswered late to upset the Texans on the road. So the Steelers feel a little bit better about themselves, but I just can’t pick against the red hot Colts, even on the road.  INDIANAPOLIS WINS
  • Raiders @ Browns:  Oakland needs a win, but so do the Browns after a bad loss to the Jaguars last week.  Going into the season I would’ve thought this was a battle for the number 1 seed.  But it’s not.  The Browns are better than last season, and they just looked bad on the road last week.  I think they can bounce back and keep the Raiders looking at a winless season. CLEVELAND WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Packers @ Saints: Aaron Rodgers is the reigning offensive player of the week for the red hot Packers. New Orleans had a chance to get a much needed win on the road in Detroit to move to .500, but they couldn’t hold on and dropped to a surprising 2-4.  I think the Superdome gets LOUD this week and gets Drew Brees and company going.  NEW ORLEANS WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Redskins @ Cowboys: Did you know that Colt McCoy still exists?  Yeah, neither did the Titans defense.  Washington broke their slide on a last second field-goal, but it wasn’t an impressive game.  Dallas is now on a 6-game win streak and don’t look like they are going to slow down any time soon.  So give me the Boys at home to improve to a very surprising 7-1. DALLAS WINS

NFL: Week 4 Picks

Week 4 and that means we get the first round of teams on their bye.  So we won’t see Cleveland, Cincinnati, Denver, Seattle, St. Louis or the Cardinals, or 4 teams that have gotten off to great starts and two that haven’t.  I hate that byes start so early.  I can’t imagine how these teams feel, knowing they won’t get a break for the rest of the season.

I went 10-6 last week, moving me to 27-21 to start the season. I’ll take it, especially after going 7-9 in week 2.

Thursday Night Football

  • Giants @ Redskins: It’s an NFC East showdown to kick off week 4 of the NFL season.  Both teams enter action at 1-2, but are coming off very different games.  New York played the perfect game against a good defensive team in Houston to pick up their first win, while the Redskins lost in a shootout to the vision leading Philadelphia Eagles.  Sure Washington’s offense looked great, but their defense looked anything but.  The Giants could be 2-1 despite needing some time to adapt to their new offense.  So with that, I’m taking the road team to even up their record. NEW YORK WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Packers @ Bears: I’ve been disappointed with the Packers thus far, while Chicago has been impressive, especially on the offensive side of the ball.  But as someone who picked Green Bay to go far this season, I think they can turn it around, and though playing at Soldier Field is no picnic, I think they find a way and Aaron Rodgers gets back to looking like an MVP. GREEN BAY WINS
  • Bills @ Texans: Buffalo has been better than expected, while Houston looks to rebound off their first loss of the season.  This is going to be a defensive struggle.  Ryan Fitzpatrick looked off a week ago in New York, while EJ Manuel continues to grow.  So who makes the plays in the end?  Give me the home team. HOUSTON WINS
  • Titans @ Colts: Tennessee has been down right awful.  Indy took their early frustrations out on the Jaguars to avoid an 0-3 start.  To me, this one is simple.  Indianapolis is a better team, and they’re at home.  I like the Colts to even up their record at 2-2. INDIANAPOLIS WINS
  • Panthers @ Ravens: The winner of this one moves to 3-1.  With the fire-power in the NFC South, Carolina needs this one more than Baltimore.  The Ravens haven’t had too many issues succeeding without running back Ray Rice. I know Baltimore is the home team in this one, but I like Carolina in this one.  CAROLINA WINS
  • Buccaneers @ Steelers: Remember when everyone though Tampa was going to challenge for a playoff spot this year?  Yeah about that… Steelers get the victory at home. PITTSBURGH WINS
  • Dolphins @ Raiders: Charles Woodson said they were bad, and he wasn’t wrong. Oakland has scored the fewest points in the league through the first 3 weeks.  I’d say that doesn’t bode well for them, but the Dolphins have allowed the fourth most points in the league. Despite any possible QB controversy in Miami, they’re still a better team than Oakland.  MIAMI WINS
  • Lions @ Jets: Detroit is clicking on both sides of the football.  New York continues to be inconsistent.  I give the Jets a shot if Geno Smith can limit the mistakes, but against a hungry Lions defense, and possibly being without Eric Decker once more, I can’t see New York getting the win. I didn’t think the Jets would start 1-3, but that’s what I see happening.  DETROIT WINS

Sunday 4:05/4:25PM Games

  • Jaguars @ Chargers: The Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville has begun.  So that’s where Jacksonville is.  As for the Chargers, they look every bit as good as the second half team that forced its way into the playoffs a year ago. SAN DIEGO WINS
  • Eagles @ 49ers: Philly is one of 3-0 teams standing, while the 49ers are a disappointing 1-2.  But the Eagles defense was shown up by Washington a week ago, and they will be without their starting center, which won’t help LeSean McCoy get back on track. Many people felt going into the season that San Fran was poised to make another deep playoff run, and for that to happen, it has to start now.  And I think it does. SAN FRANCISCO WINS
  • Falcons @ Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater gets his first career start.  Atlanta looks to get back to the team they were in week 1 when they beat the Saints.  Matt Ryan has been quite good all season, and I think that gives them the edge. ATLANTA WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Saints @ Cowboys: If you asked me before the season which of these two teams would enter action at 1-2 and which at 2-1, I’d say the road team would be looking for an impressive 3-1 start.  But I’d have been wrong.  Dallas’ defense hasn’t looked as horrible as we all predicted, and both sides of New Orleans game hasn’t been what anyone thought through 3 weeks.  That being said, I just cannot see Drew Brees and company starting out 1-3. NEW ORLEANS WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Patriots @ Chiefs: Tom Brady has said the offense needs to step up.  Sure, it hasn’t looked like the high octane offense of the last few seasons, but even so, this team is still 2-1.  Kansas City on the other hand looks nothing like the team that started out 9-0 last season.  The fact that their defense isn’t what it was, coupled with New England being “due,” I’m going with the road team in this one. NEW ENGLAND WINS

There you have it scoreboard watchers.  Here’s to seeing who stays unbeaten, healthy and starts the road to recovery.  Enjoy the games!