Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Week 13 Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on December 4, 2009

Off to a good start this week.  I am not surprised that the Jets managed to win last night, for they have a lot more to play for than Buffalo.  I also think the Bills are handing opposing teams a free gift every time they move a “home” game to Toronto.   I’ll admit I didn’t watch the game (went to the Nuggets-Heat contest instead), but from what I saw of the highlights, it looked like there was a lot of Jets green in the stands.  I’m not saying the Bills would have won had the game been in Buffalo, but I think they would have had a better chance.  I realize the Bills are getting money from the city of Toronto to play one game there a year, but this is a horrible idea, just as I think the London game is a really bad idea (especially for the team giving up the home game).   If the NFL wants games at neutral sites, they need to extend the regular season to 17 games, and have the extra game be a neutral game for every team.   Besides, the Bills should not be penalizing their fans by taking away a home game, particularly one against a division rival that would prove to be key.  It’s bad enough for fans of teams who lose a home game for London, but Bills fans are really getting the raw end of the deal when their team is surrendering a home game voluntarily.  I don’t think it is a coincidence the Bills are now 0-2 in Toronto “home” games.  At any rate, on to the picks, with last night’s correct pick factored in. 

Last week: 11-5   Season: 119-56

– Patriots over Dolphins: I do think this will be a very competitive game and I do pause slightly.  Miami played tough in the first meeting on the road and was within a touchdown.  The Patriots looked lost and confused last week for the first time that I can remember in the Belichick-Brady era.  I do think Miami will be fired up for this one at home knowing they can’t afford any more slip ups if they want to stay in the race, but they have just not shown enough consistency to tell me they can win a game like this.  Last week in Buffalo is a great example, being that they completely melted down in the fourth quarter and turned a winnable game into a runaway for the other team.  I think in the end the Patriots are not likely to be that awful two weeks in a row, and I like them on the road in a close one. 

– Bengals over Lions: Cedric Benson is back for Cincy, so really the only drama here is how many carries he will cede to Larry Johnson.  The Bengals believe it or not would have a first round bye if the season ended today, and they may end up getting it if they win the games they are supposed to down the stretch.  This is definitely one of them, and I don’t think Detroit poses any threat on the road at this point.  I don’t expect this to be a close game. 

– Chargers over Browns: San Diego has a one game lead over Denver with five to play, so the Chargers know they need to take care of business in games they should win, like this one.  The Browns are the front runner right now for the distinction of worst team in the NFL, and they are starting to separate themselves in that regard.  Brady Quinn continues to show that he not anything resembling a starter in the NFL.  Meanwhile Philip Rivers is on fire and the Chargers are really clicking on all cylinders.  This is another game that won’t be close.

– Steelers over Raiders: Our parade of blowouts continues.  Ben Roethlisberger is back, but it’s not as if Pittsburgh will need him being that the Raiders are beyond awful whenever they play on the road.  The Steelers are sitting on the cusp of a wild card spot, and the way their schedule sets up I have a feeling they’re going to end up making the playoffs.  If they can get Troy Polamalu back, they could be very dangerous in the playoffs even if they are on the road (although let’s be honest, there are no road games for the Steelers being that there are seas of terrible towels everywhere they go).  A repeat of 2005, when the Steelers won three road games en route to the Super Bowl?  The rest of the AFC hopes not.   Regardless, they’ll get this one very easily.

– Jaguars over Texans:  I really don’t know what to make of either of these teams.  Houston has talent at every position.  They have good coaches.  They just can’t seem to finish off games and get wins.  Jacksonville is an enigma too in that they win when it is unexpected and they fall flat on their faces when they are a favorite.  This matchup is such a toss up that I can’t even figure out who the favorite is supposed to be.  Reports of a hobbled Maurice Jones-Drew do make me slightly hesitant to pick the home team here, but I don’t see any way he sits out.  Jacksonville seems more in the race right now than Houston, and thus I think they have more to play for.  Jags win.

– Colts over Titans: This is a very intriguing game indeed, and if it was in Nashville I would probably go the other way.  Tennessee has won five straight after an 0-6 start and has the look of a team that is not slowing down.  They do need to keep winning if they want realistic hopes of a playoff spot, but this is also by far the toughest game remaining on their schedule.  The Titans have historically done well against the Colts, but this year’s Indy team is not out of a game even if they are down three scores, as they have proven in multiple games this season.  The Colts have already clinched the AFC South, but they won’t take the foot off the gas until home field advantage is secured, and maybe not as long as their undefeated.  This should be a thriller, but I like the Colts at home in this one.

– Broncos over Chiefs: This is not an easy game for Denver considering this is still a fairly nasty rivalry.  The Broncos have also not played well at Arrowhead, managing to get blown out there last year when the Chiefs had an awful 2-14 season.  Denver in December has been particularly bad in KC, going 1-16 lifetime.  The Chiefs also have played relatively well at home this year, shocking the Steelers two weeks ago and also taking Dallas to overtime.  I think the Broncos are well aware of the potential slip ups, and thus are taking this game very seriously.  Denver also has a real advantage in that the Chiefs don’t run the ball well, which has been Denver’s downfall in this matchup in recent years.  This game also has a very interesting subplot with Josh McDaniels coaching against Matt Cassel, whom he tried to acquire in the offseason after last year’s 11-5 run with the Patriots together.  This could be an ugly low scoring game, but I think the Broncos find a way to win this one, 17-13.

– Cowboys over Giants: The Giants are a team that looks nothing like what they did in the first month of the season.  They have no running game owing to their top two running backs being injured, Eli Manning does not appear to be healthy or even remotely playing like himself, and the defense is not near as stingy as it was earlier in the year.  Even though this game is in the Meadowlands, New York has the look of a team that has already faded and will have a very difficult time turning things around in time to make the playoffs.  The Cowboys are coming off two wins at home against bad teams, so it will be interesting to see how they play in a tough division game on the road.  Dallas has historically flamed out in December, so the pressure in on for them to win.  Keep in the mind the Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game since 1996, and Wade Phillips may be out if they don’t win one this year.  That said, I think Dallas is the better team here, and I like them to win on the road.

– Eagles over Falcons: Things are quickly turning ugly in Atlanta, as Matt Ryan is out and Michael Turner is still very much hobbling.  The Falcons struggled to beat Tampa Bay at home with Chris Redman, and the Eagles present a much tougher test.  Philly will be without DeSean Jackson, but they still have plenty of other weapons, including LeSean McCoy, who has come out of nowhere this year to spell Brian Westbrook.  The other interesting thing about this game could be Michael Vick’s return to Altanta, but since he hasn’t been a big part of the Eagles’ offense, I don’t think he’ll be on the field more than a few plays and will not be a factor.  I like the Eagles to win this one and keep their playoff hopes alive.

– Saints over Redskins: The Saints sure looked impressive in every way last week in their dismantling of New England.  New Orleans has proven that they can score points almost at will, especially at home.  The defense is still somewhat inconsistent, but they have stepped up when they needed to.  I still think the Saints could be in trouble against an offense that can keep up with them, such as the Vikings or Colts, but Washington is definitely not in that category.  If the Saints don’t have a letdown following last week’s big win, they should coast here.  The Redskins have given great effort in recent weeks, but they won’t be able to keep pace with the Saints’ offense.  New Orleans may well become the second team in NFL history to go 16-0 and lose in the playoffs.

– Bears over Rams: Chicago has suffered a number of blowout losses this season, and it is pretty obvious that 4-7 is not what they had in mind when they traded for Jay Cutler.  They don’t have a first or second round pick next year, so their best hope may be that Matt Forte and Brian Urlacher return to health next year and Cutler matures in the offseason.  It will be interesting to see what happens if the Bears win a few games down the stretch.  If that happens does Lovie Smith return as coach?  In any case, even Chicago won’t have any trouble with this one at home, being that the Rams are starting a backup quarterback and have the look most games of a team that isn’t even playing hard.  Chicago wins an ugly one.

– Buccaneers over Panthers: This will also be a very ugly game indeed.  Jake Delhomme is out for the Panthers due to a finger injury, and that is why I am picking visiting Tampa Bay.  I realize that Panthers fans have called for Delhomme’s benching all year, but they will find out that Matt Moore is no improvement.  Carolina does have an ability to run the ball, but the lack of passing game has really curtailed that this year.  The Bucs meanwhile did nearly pull an upset in Atlanta this week, and I do like Josh Freeman’s potential.  This game won’t matter in the end, but I like Tampa to pull the upset.

– 49ers over Seahawks: Remind me next year to pass on T.J. Houshmanzadeh in my fantasy draft.  Seattle has clearly forgotten how to throw the football this year, and their running game hasn’t been much better.  San Francisco meanwhile keeps showing that they are a team that could break out at any time, and they did give an impressive defensive performance last week in completely shutting down Maurice Jones-Drew.  If things break right for San Francisco, they might be a player in the weak NFC, or at the very least they could spoil things for a number of teams down the stretch.  I like San Francisco to steal this one on the road, and they may do it without too much difficulty.

– Vikings over Cardinals: This could be a good Sunday nighter, but if Kurt Warner doesn’t play than it may not even be a competitive game.  Matt Leinart wasn’t horrible last week, but he didn’t exactly do much to help Arizona win the game either.  I still maintain that Minnesota is the best team in the NFL, and I am sticking with my preseason prediction of the Vikings winning it all.   They will have no trouble scoring points in this game via the ground or the air, and the defense has also been very solid.  If Warner is out, and the Cardinals can’t run the ball, they are in huge trouble even at home.  Even if Warner plays, I still like Minnesota to win this game.

– Packers over Ravens: The Monday nighter is interesting, and I am tempted to pick Baltimore on the road, but the Ravens are not consistent or reliable the way they’ve been in previous seasons.  The Ravens defense has had trouble against explosive offenses this year, and thus I think Aaron Rodgers could actually be in for a big night.  Baltimore’s offense also has slowed down in recent weeks after a hot start.  This should be an entertaining game and I do expect it to be close, but I like Green Bay to win this one at home with the night crowd behind them.

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