It’s sure been a while since I “picked my knows” on here – and that’s “knows”, not nose. For those that are familiar with TWHS, you therefore know about my regular posts surrounding the NFL, and picking games against the spread.
So, let’s give thanks to football by getting down and dirty with the spreads again, shall we?
I’m not in the same CBS Sports pool as in previous years, so this time picks will be made while using spreads from Bovada, an online betting site. For the specified games with no line listed via Bovada, the spreads will be taken from the CBS Sports Fantasy page.
To try something new, my THREE LOCKS OF THE WEEK are highlighted in green.
But enough chatter… let’s get to it.
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 Bovada and CBS Sports Fantasy).
Pick Your Knows: 2013 NFL Week 13 Picks Against the Spread
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-6.5)
Aaron Rodgers was back on the practice field, but Matt Flynn – who was quite effective in the fourth quarter last week – is working with the first team and will get the start for the Packers. While Flynn is not Aaron Rodgers, the Pack should still move the ball and stay in this game. Green Bay still has the second ranked offense in football, while Detroit is fifth. The Lions have a vulnerable pass defense, and are a team that faltered against both Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay over the last few weeks. I like Detroit’s home field advantage on Thanksgiving, but my gut thinks that Matt Flynn will give a boost to Green Bay’s offense, making this a close enough game. Take the Pack and the points.
KP’s Pick: Green Bay
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-9)
As mentioned in my NFL Power Rankings for Week 13, the Cowboys are ranked in the bottom five in run offense, pass defense and run defense. Oakland has the fourth best rushing offense, averaging 140.6 yards per game. The key will be if Tony Romo can light up Oakland’s 25th-ranked pass defense, which has allowed 21 touchdowns on the season. Dallas should win this game at home on Thanksgiving, but Matt McGloin is a fiery player, dating back to his time at Penn State. If he makes a few plays and Oakland can run the ball, this one could be close throughout. Take Oakland and the points.
KP’s Pick: Oakland
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
Expect a low scoring, grudge match whenever these teams get together, with the home team always having the slightest edge. In this case, that is the Ravens. But the Steelers have been playing better football in recent weeks, so this should be a tight game throughout. In the end, the key to this game will be in the trenches. Pittsburgh’s offensive line has been beaten up all season long, allowing 37 sacks, the fifth most in the league to date. Meanwhile, the Ravens are tied for the league high with 37 sacks. Expect Baltimore to pressure Big Ben all game long. Baltimore wins and covers…barely.
KP’s Pick: Baltimore
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-4)
Over the last three weeks, the Colts have two blowout losses and one tight victory against these Titans. Ryan Fitzpatrick is in for the injured Jake Locker, and has thrown for 5 TD’s, with 0 INT’s over Tennessee’s last three games. Indy’s run game has faltered, with Trent Richardson continuing to struggle. That leaves Andrew Luck at home, facing off against a Titans defense that is ranked in the top ten against the pass, while allowing just 8 TD’s through the air all season. Home field advantage or not, that stat points me in the direction of the Titans. This game comes down to a late field goal, and therefore, I’m taking Tennessee and the points.
KP’s Pick: Tennessee
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-7)
The Jags are playing better football as of late, but still lacks the talent to compete with most teams. The Browns, however, own the 28th-ranked run offense, posting just one touchdown on the ground all season long. That leaves it to Cleveland’s passing game, which will again be led by Brandon Weeden, who has struggled all year. Jacksonville is a decent team against the pass, too. Therefore, the writing is on the wall. Cleveland, even while playing at home, likely will not defeat the Jags by more than a touchdown. Take the Jags and the points.
KP’s Pick: Jacksonville
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-9)
The Bucs have won three straight games, while the Panthers have taken seven in a row. Cam Newton is having a great season, and Carolina’s defense has been nasty, especially against the run. The Bucs will likely have to lean on Mike Glennon and the passing game. Tampa Bay has also been solid against the run. The Bucs also have 15 INT’s on the year, tied for the third most in the league. Carolina doesn’t usually blow teams out, and Tampa Bay has been playing better football over the last month. Therefore, expect this one to remain in single digits. Take the Bucs and the points.
KP’s Pick: Tampa Bay
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-1)
The key stat of this one focuses on the run game, with the Bears surprisingly being ranked last in the NFL against the run, allowing 145.2 yards per game. On the other side of the field, lies Adrian Peterson. The combination of a fairly healthy Peterson and bruising backup Toby Gerhart could be a nightmare for the Bears in this game. Therefore, this is a tricky one, as Minnesota’s defense has struggled. However, playing at home, I’m going to bank on Adrian Peterson taking over this game. Vikings win.
KP’s Pick: Minnesota
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
The biggest matchup of this game will be Philadelphia’s run offense (1st in NFL – 150.6 ypg) versus Arizona’s run defense (2nd in NFL – 81.3 ypg). Nick Foles is getting the nod as Philly’s starting QB for the ret of the season, and Chip Kelly’s team has had an extra week of preparation, while the Cardinals have to travel cross country. That’s an advantage for Philly, but in the end, I have to look at the pressure that will be on Carson Palmer. Philly’s defense is ranked 24th in sacks, therefore, leaving Palmer some time to throw to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. In a close game, I’m taking the Cardinals and the points.
KP’s Pick: Arizona
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-1)
The Dolphins blew another lead last week, losing a heartbreaker to the red hot Panthers. Meanwhile, the Jets have struggled offensively with Geno Smith under center. Both teams have struggled to protect its quarterback, with New York allowing the third most sacks (38) and the Dolphins allowing the most in the league (44). If the Jets can establish a solid run game, this will end up a victory. But, I can’t help but see just how poorly Geno Smith has played as of late, and therefore, I’m taking the Dolphins on the road.
KP’s Pick: Miami
New England Patriots at Houston Texans (+9)
The Patriots overcame a 24-point deficit at home against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Tom Brady is having an outstanding second half, and getting more production out of his offensive weapons, since both Rob Gronkowski and Shane Vereen returned from injury. Houston is reeling, with a lack of depth in its run game… and run defense is the largest weakness that the Patriots have. That’s not a good combo for Houston, and I like Brady and the Pats to keep rolling. New England covers on the road.
KP’s Pick: New England
Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-3.5)
The Falcons are one of the huge disappointments in the NFL this season, especially on defense. Atlanta is ranked in the bottom ten in run offense, pass defense and run defense. Atlanta’s pass game has held its own, despite key injuries. Buffalo’s pass defense, however, leads the NFL with 16 interceptions, and its defense is tied for the league lead, with 37 sacks. This likely means a lot of pressure and possible mistakes for Matt Ryan, who has received little support from the run game and defense. The Bills aren’t explosive on offense, but the Falcons are a mess. Therefore, I’m taking the Bills to cover.
KP’s Pick: Buffalo
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5 – CBS Sports)
It’s surprising to see this line as high as it is, considering just how well the Rams have played over the last few weeks, coupled with how anemic San Francisco’s passing offense has been throughout the season. Sure, Kaepernick played great on Monday night, but that was against the Redskins’ floundering D. That’s an add-on… the Niners are playing on short rest. St. Louis has played well against the Niners since Jeff Fisher took over, and a close game is likely here. San Francisco’s best chance at a blowout win will be forcing numerous mistakes from St. Louis quarterback Kellen Clemens. Take the Rams and the points.
KP’s Pick: St. Louis
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (+5)
Kansas City’s defense has faltered in recent weeks, allowing big numbers to both the Chargers and this week’s opponent, the Broncos. Peyton Manning and Denver are likely frustrated by last Sunday night’s blown lead in New England, and that anger could be taken out on a Chiefs team that is trying to get back on its feet. K.C. does have home field advantage, which is a plus, considering the hostile and energetic crowd that always shows up at Arrowhead. The key to this game will be injuries, with a number of players currently questionable or doubtful, including Knowshon Moreno, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Julius Thomas, Tamba Hali, Eric Fisher and Justin Houston. With this high volume of injury question marks, it’s a good idea to avoid this game, if you can. Since I’m picking them all, I’m sticking with Peyton.
KP’s Pick: Denver
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (-1.5 – CBS Sports)
The Chargers are riding a high, coming off an emotional win over the Chiefs. On the other side, the Bengals have had a week to rest. The Bengals are ranked in the league’s top ten in pass offense, pass defense and run defense. It’s hard to ignore that balance, though Cincinnati is 2-4 on the road. Still, with a week to prepare, I like the Bengals, with a spread this close. Cincy wins outright.
KP’s Pick: Cincinnati
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (+1)
The Giants lost some momentum last week, after losing to the Cowboys at home. Still, New York is a better football team as of late, with Eli Manning making fewer mistakes and Andre Brown providing balance to the offense. The defense is also playing better. On the other side, the Redskins are a hot mess, with negative headlines aplenty, RGIII struggling and Mike Shanahan acknowledging that everyone – players and coaches – are now playing for jobs, and not the playoffs. The result here is simple, and there’s no need to even look at stats. Sure, the Redskins are at home, but playing on short rest, after getting torched by San Francisco on the national stage. It will happen again. Eli and the Giants win big.
KP’s Pick: New York Giants
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-6)
This is easily the game of the week. Drew Brees and the Saints have a high-flying offense, while the Seahawks have a power run game and a solid defense that is very difficult to beat at home. This may come as a surprise to some people, but this game features two of the top five overall defenses. Yes, the Saints are fifth in total defense, allowing 309.9 yards per game. The Saints are also tied for the league lead, with 37 sacks. In the end, I like the talent and aggressiveness of the Saints, and even when playing in such a hostile environment, New Orleans will keep this game closer than six points.
KP’s Pick: New Orleans
Happy Thanksgiving from The Wife Hates Sports!