Another week in the books and the Green Bay Packers are still undefeated. This week, the Packers travel to the Big Apple to take on the Giants, a team that’s spiraling in the wrong direction, especially after last week’s lopsided loss to the Saints.
Over in the “Pick Your Knows” department, I have fallen on my face for the second consecutive week, failing to reach the .500-mark. Here’s hoping that I can finally bounce back as we heads into the final weeks of the regular season.
Last Week: 7-9
This Season: 90-86
Last Season: 144-112
It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows” – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 13’s scheduled games (with spreads as they appear through CBSSports Fantasy).
Pick Your Knows: 2011 NFL Week 13 Picks Against the Spread
Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks (+2.5)
Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin are out again for the Eagles. Two weeks ago, that didn’t matter versus the Giants. Last week, it did against the Patriots. This week, Seattle’s offense is far less superior to the previous two opponents – and that’s especially the case now that Sidney Rice is out for the year. Seattle has been solid against the run, but last week, they struggled against Roy Helu and the Redskins. Facing off against LeSean McCoy will be an even bigger task. With this in mind, I’m taking the Eagles.
KP’s Pick: Philadelphia
Update: The Eagles tank again, falling to Seattle 31-14. Make it four straight losses for me now during Thursday games.
Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
Chris Johnson has played better in recent weeks, and the Bills showed improvement last week against the Jets. But Buffalo still is without a solid running attack, and the Bills are also 21st in the NFL against the run, which means that Johnson could have another effective week. Because of this, in a tossup game, I’m taking the Titans to prevail on the road.
KP’s Pick: Tennessee
Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears (-8.5)
Caleb Hanie could not lead the Bears to victory last week, and clearly, the Chicago offense has taken a slight hit without Jay Cutler in the lineup. On the other side, Kansas City’s offense has been completely ineffective with the inexperienced Tyler Palko under center. Todd Haley hasn’t named the recently acquired Kyle Orton as the starter, but if the Chiefs continue to struggle on offense, he could get into the lineup rather quickly. Here’s banking that Orton will, and if he does, I think Kansas City will improve enough that they keep this game inside a touchdown.
KP’s Pick: Kansas City
Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (+2.5)
The Texans continue to roll, while also fighting off injuries to key offensive players. The latest victim is backup quarterback Matt Leinart, who is out for the year. Tyler Yates appears to be the next in line – and with him in the lineup – the Falcons could potentially focus on trying to shut down Arian Foster and the Houston run game. With the Texans potentially being one-sided on offense, that leaves a clear advantage for Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Michael Turner and the Atlanta offense. That’s why I’m going with the Falcons to earn a key road win in Houston.
KP’s Pick: Atlanta
Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
The Dolphins have played solid football over the last month, winning three games, while also pushing both the Giants and Cowboys to the brink in close losses. This game will also face off Michael Bush versus Reggie Bush in the run game, considering that Darren McFadden will be out again for the Raiders. Oakland’s 32 sacks on the season is the 6th best in the NFL, and the Raiders should be able to find a way to pressure Matt Moore all day, forcing mistakes. These mistakes could lead to key game winning scoring drives by Carson Palmer.
KP’s Pick: Oakland
Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings (-0.5)
The Broncos are now 5-1 with Tim Tebow as the starting quarterback, and the defense has improved in recent weeks, too. The Vikings will be without Adrian Peterson for the second consecutive week, meaning that the Minnesota offense will take a major hit. It’s never pretty when Tebow is under center, but with a half-point spread, it’s just picking a winner – and at this point, I have a hard time picking against Tebow, especially with AP out of the lineup.
KP’s Pick: Denver
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-20.5)
The winless Colts fired their defensive coordinator, as well as benching Curtis Painter and naming Dan Orlovsky as this week’s starting quarterback. Indianapolis has struggled on both offense and defense, and everyone knows that Bill Belichick will keep putting the pedal to the metal, especially after some tough losses to the Colts in the past. Even with a spread as high as this one, I have a hard time believing that an Orlovsky-led Colts squad can stay within three touchdowns of Tom Brady and the Pats. New England covers at home in a laugher.
KP’s Pick: New England
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5)
Again, the Bengals and Steelers face off in a key matchup of playoff contenders. Over its last four games, the Bengals have kept each of their key games at a touchdown or less. Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and the young Bengals have the talent to keep up with the Steelers, even on the road. I’m banking on a fifth consecutive one score or less matchup for Cincy.
KP’s Pick: Cincinnati
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
The Bucs have played better over the last month, most likely due to the return of LeGarrette Blount from injury, adding more balance to the offense. Players such as Mike Williams have also had a more positive impact on the offense, too. Cam Newton and Steve Smith will move the ball and put points on the board, but Carolina’s defense has struggled, and it’s a good bet that the Bucs will do enough to get back in the win column.
KP’s Pick: Tampa Bay
New York Jets at Washington Redskins (+3.5)
The New York defense has struggled, and not posted any numbers that we are used to seeing with a team run by Rex Ryan. The Bills were able to move the ball and nearly knock off the Jets last week. The Redskins have improved on offense over the last two weeks, getting productive offensive play since Santana Moss returned to the lineup, Rex Grossman returned as quarterback and Roy Helu finally was given extensive time on the field. With all this in mind, it’s a good chance that the ‘Skins can keep this game at a field goal, especially playing at home.
KP’s Pick: Washington
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (+6.5)
The Browns have the league’s top pass defense, which means that Joe Flacco and the Ravens could face challenges moving the ball down the field. But everyone knows that the Ravens will attempt to establish a run game with Ray Rice first. Also, with the way the Ravens played last week against the 49ers, it’s a high probability that Colt McCoy and the Browns offense will struggle to move the ball – meaning that a touchdown victory by Baltimore is likely.
KP’s Pick: Baltimore
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals (+4.5)
The Arizona pass defense is ranked 25th on the season and managed just nine interceptions. This likely means that Tony Romo and the Dallas offense could have a productive day, even on the road. DeMarco Murray has continued to put up solid numbers in the run game, further adding balance to the Cowboys’ attack. Beanie Wells was spectacular last week, but continues to battle injuries. Wells also will face a tougher defense this week, and could be left out of the offensive attack if the Cardinals fall behind. Dallas covers on the road.
KP’s Pick: Dallas
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (+6.5)
The Giants have been a popular upset pick by numerous prognosticators. Eli Manning continues to have a great year, the Giants are at home, and likely could see Ahmad Bradshaw back in the offense. However, last week, the New York defense was absolutely dominated by the Saints, and at times looked clueless on the field. After going with my gut last week and taking the Lions to keep it close against the Packers, I refuse to make that mistake for a second consecutive week. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense has been too consistently solid, and a touchdown victory is a good bet on any day for Green Bay – and against any team.
KP’s Pick: Green Bay
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-13.5)
Sam Bradford will be a game-time decision, and that could provide a major difference in the result of this game. The 49ers were exposed last week, clearly struggling to protect Alex Smith against the Ravens last week. This week, San Francisco is back at home, and looking to bounce back. A victory is likely against a struggling St. Louis team, but the Niners have not had an explosive offense, and a two-touchdown win is a bit steep for my taste. Take the Rams and the points.
KP’s Pick: St. Louis
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
This is a tricky line considering that a high-octane offensive game can likely result in two teams trading touchdowns. But last week, the Saints were so explosive at home, dominating the Giants in all aspects of the game. Kevin Smith is questionable and likely a game-time decision for the Lions. If Smith doesn’t play, Detroit will likely be one-dimensional on offense considering that Maurice Morris hasn’t been consistent in the run game. Also, Suh will be out for this game due to a suspension. With this a likelihood, I’m banking on the Saints to continue its momentum from the previous game, and knock off the Lions by two scores.
KP’s Pick: New Orleans
San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars (+2.5)
The Jaguars fired Jack Del Rio during the week, and have also announced that they will keep rookie Blaine Gabbert as its starting quarterback. The Jags often play much better at home, and have had a solid pass defense throughout the season. San Diego continues to struggle, but the Chargers have so much talent on both sides of the ball, that it’s hard to pick against them, especially when a field goal victory will get it done. San Diego covers, but barely.
KP’s Pick: San Diego