Movie quote of the day:
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”
– Patches O’Houlihan, “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” (2004)
Here are the matchups for week 13:
Week 12 record: 12-4 (75 percent)
2016 record: 103-72-2 (58.7 percent)
All-time record: 225-161-2 (58.2 percent)
Dallas Cowboys (10-1) at Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
U. S. Bank Stadium
Line: DAL -3
I don’t think Minnesota is in a position to win this game, especially since Mike Zimmer won’t be on the sidelines for health reasons. The Vikings’ tough defense has now looked vulnerable in recent weeks. I expect Dallas’ offensive line to take care of business and Ezekiel Elliott to carve up the Minnesota’s defense. Dallas doesn’t have a great pass rush, but Minnesota has had a ton of injuries along the offensive line, and I think Sam Bradford will have a hard time moving the ball.
Prediction: Cowboys 24, Vikings 17
Houston Texans (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (5-6)
Green Bay, Wis.
Line: GB -6.5
Despite winning Monday night, I’m still not ready to buy into Green Bay yet because Philadelphia has been struggling. However, I do think the Packers will win this game. Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense has started to find its rhythm, and I think Rodgers should be able to score on Houston’s defense at home. Also, the Texans’ offense has been atrocious on the road this season – scoring just 42 points in four true road games. I have to go with the Green Bay.
Prediction: Packers 27, Texans 17
Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) at Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
Line: ATL -4.5
It’s still hard for me to determine just how good Atlanta is this season. The Falcons’ big win in Denver is getting less impressive. I know what Kansas City is as a team – the Chiefs aren’t going to turn the ball over and will play tough defense. Both traits travel well in the NFL. Atlanta has the No. 30 pass defense in the NFL. Therefore, I think the Falcons’ defense is going to have a hard time slowing down Alex Smith.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Falcons 20
Detroit Lions (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)
Line: NO -6
I know that Detroit has been the hot team in the NFC North, but this is going to be a tricky game for the Lions. The Superdome is a tough place to play and the Lions are 2-3 on the road so far this season. Both defenses aren’t very good, so, this game has the potential to be a shootout. I think the home crowd helps elevate the Saints’ defense and they get the win.
Prediction: Saints 38, Lions 33
Los Angeles Rams (4-7) at New England Patriots (9-2)
Line: NE -13
I’m definitely in the minority, but I’ve said it all year that I don’t think New England is that great. I feel like the Patriots are just going through the motions and they’ve failed to cover the spread the last two weeks against teams with a combined record of 4-18. Granted, both games were on the road. Rob Gronkowski is out for the forseeable future, and I’m curious to see how New England plays without him. I still think the Patriots win this game, but I think they struggle and don’t cover the spread.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Rams 16
Denver Broncos (7-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
Line: DEN -3.5
I’ve said that I think we’re going to see Denver’s fall at some point this season. After losing at home last week, I still think it’s going to happen. However, Jacksonville is very bad and I think the Broncos bounce back and win this game. Blake Bortles isn’t playing well and I think it’s going to be tough for him and the Jaguars’ offense to score on Denver’s defense.
Prediction: Broncos 20, Jaguars 13
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)
Paul Brown Stadium
Line: CIN -1
Philadelphia is starting to act like a sinking ship, but I still think the Eagles are better than Cincinnati right now. The Bengals’ offense ranks in the bottom half of the league – scoring just 19.4 points per game – and they’ll be without A. J. Green too. Philadelphia’s defense is pretty good, and the Eagles’ pass rush should be able to get after Andy Dalton. I like the Eagles in a low-scoring game.
Prediction: Eagles 20, Bengals 17
Miami Dolphins (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
M&T Bank Stadium
Line: BAL -3.5
I haven’t been a believer in Baltimore all season, and I haven’t changed my mind. The Ravens play good defense, but I still they’re overrated. It’s really hard to pick against Miami right now anyway. The Dolphins have won six games in a row, Ryan Tannehill is playing lights out, they’re running the ball well, and playing good defense. I have to go with the hot team and that’s Miami.
Prediction: Dolphins 27, Ravens 20
San Francisco 49ers (1-10) at Chicago Bears (2-9)
Line: CHI -1
I have the feeling that San Francisco will win this game and get its first win since week one. Chicago has had a ton of injuries – including losing Jay Cutler for the season. Colin Kaepernick has been playing pretty well for the 49ers since taking over as starting quarterback. Chicago’s defense isn’t very good and I think Chip Kelly will have a good game plan and find ways to score points.
Prediction: 49ers 24, Bears 23
Buffalo Bills (6-5) at Oakland Raiders (9-2)
Line: OAK -3
I think this is going to be a difficult game for Buffalo to win. Oakland’s secondary isn’t great, but I don’t think the Bills have enough weapons on the perimeter to expose the Raiders’ biggest weakness – especially with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Buffalo’s offensive line isn’t very good and I think the unit will struggle blocking for Taylor against Oakland’s pass rush. I’ve said it for a few weeks now that Oakland is the best team in the NFL and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind.
Prediction: Raiders 30, Bills 23
New York Giants (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
Line: PIT -6.5
The Giants are hot and riding a six-game winning streak. However, the combined record of the teams the Giants beat during this stretch is 20-46-1. I’m not looking into this six-game win streak too much, and I don’t think the Giants are a better team than Pittsburgh. This game could be a shootout, but I trust Ben Roethlisberger to get the win.
Prediction: Steelers 34, Giants 24
Washington Redskins (6-4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)
U of Phoenix Stadium
Line: ARI -2
Even though this is a home game for Arizona, it’s hard for me to pick the Cardinals. They just haven’t played well this season and haven’t shown any sign of improvment. Arizona is the biggest disappointment this year in the NFL. Despite the loss last week, I still think Washington is a good team, and I think the Redskins steal a win in Arizona.
Prediction: Redskins 26, Cardinals 21
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (5-6)
Line: SD -4
I want to pick San Diego because I don’t think the Chargers are a bad team, they’ve just had some bad luck this season. However, Tampa Bay has had two very good wins the last two weeks over Kansas City and Seattle. I really don’t think those wins were flukes. I believe Tampa Bay is starting to heat up and is a team to watch moving forward. Even though it’s a long road trip, I like Tampa Bay to get the win.
Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Chargers 23
Indianapolis Colts (5-6) at New York Jets (3-8)
East Rutherford, N. J.
Line: IND -2
Even though the game is at home and it’ll be Monday night prime time in a hostile environment, I can’t bring myself to pick the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been awful this season and their defense isn’t as great as it has been in the past – giving up 24 points per game. Andrew Luck should be able to make plays like usual and I think Indianapols’ defense will be able to get stops against Fitzpatrick.
Prediction: Colts 31, Jets 24
Game of the week:
Carolina Panthers (4-7) at Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)
Line: SEA -7
I feel like the loss to Tamp Bay is a small setback for Seattle. I still like the Seahawks to win this matchup. Carolina has been a mess all season. The Panthers have had a ton of injuries, and their secondary and offensive line have been awful. I think Carolina’s offensive line will have a difficult time protecting Cam Newton because Seattle has a really good pass rush. I expect Seattle to bounce back and emerge victorious.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Panthers 20
Teams with a bye week:
Thanks for reading
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