December 4, 2009

NFL Week 13 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

The stretch run is upon us and that means it’s time to grab onto your perceptions of teams and how they’ll fare as the pressure mounts and the temperature drops. The best thing you can do is look at the bubble teams, decide if they have a shot and stick to that choice. It’s never a bad idea to snuff out a couple of potential spoilers that could give some contenders trouble if they’re looking ahead of a game. So that means it’s time to form those opinions on teams like Jacksonville, Houston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, the NFC East teams, and Tennessee, who could actually run the table.

The lines are straight from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPS.

Denver -4.5 over KANSAS CITY
Over the past few seasons, the Broncos have an awful record playing at Arrowhead. But this is a different team with a different coach and style. The cold has never hurt Kyle Orton who was a winner up in Chicago and Denver should have Chris Chambers scouted out pretty well.

Oakland +14.5 over PITTSBURGH
Since Bruce Gradkowski took over from JaMarcus Russell, the Raiders have looked a lot more competent. There’s a very good chance that Oakland could play the spoiler role against some teams with playoff aspirations. Even though this is a must-win for the defending champs, winning by over two TDs is a bit too much to ask.

Houston -1 over JACKSONVILLE
Sure, the Texans might be one of the worst finishing teams I’ve seen in a long time, but they have to win some of them. As great as Maurice Jones-Drew has been playing, Houston usually has the Jags number.

Tennessee +6.5 over INDIANAPOLIS
The last time the Colts lost in the regular season, it was against the Titans, last season. Now these two red-hot teams faceoff will two improbable streaks on the line. Can the banged up Colts stop the amazing Chris Johnson, who has over 800 yards in the five games that Vince Young has started?

Philadelphia -5.5 over ATLANTA
Michael Vick’s return to Atlanta is one of the biggest storylines that simply won’t matter. The guy takes maybe three snaps per game and is largely ineffective. Let’s see if he comes back next season with whoever snatches him up with delusions of grandeur. The Falcons will be without Matt Ryan and that means you can chalk up one in the loss column for the Falcons.

Detroit +13 over CINCINNATI
The Bengals have an interesting habit of beating up on the tough teams, while playing the easy games tight. The Lions will be well rested and might surprise the Bengals, who might have to rely on Larry Johnson again.

New Orleans -9.5 over WASHINGTON
After beating up on the Patriots, the Saints should have an easy time with the Redskins. The coaching matchup alone of Jim Zorn vs. Sean Payton is enough to get me to lay the points. There will be no let-down game here; New Orleans is smart enough to not look ahead of opponents.

CAROLINA -6.5 over Tampa Bay
Jake Delhomme breaking a finger might be the best news Carolina gets all season. Without Jake at the helm, the team can concentrate on running the ball, which should have been their team identity all season. But as for Delhomme’s future with the cats, don’t worry fans, he just signed an extension this past off-season.

St. Louis +9.5 over CHICAGO
The Bears are one team that’s easy to shovel dirt on to and the Rams still have Steven Jackson. This season has been a lost cause for Chicago with Jay Cutler stinking up the joint while Brian Urlacher has sat on the sidelines since hurting himself in Week 1. Something needs to change in the Windy City and it will more than likely be Lovie Smith’s head that rolls.

San Diego -13 over CLEVELAND
It would be easy to cite the cross-country travel and potentially chilly conditions weighing in Cleveland’s favour, but these Browns are just plain horrible. San Diego has past of picking up their play in December, too.

SEATTLE -1 over San Francisco
The crap-fest of the week game. It’s surprising that these two teams are actually coming off of wins. These two teams had such potential at the beginning of the season, but were done in by either poor QB play or injuries. It’s hard to pick Alex Smith playing in the raucous surrounding of Qwest Field.

Minnesota -3 over ARIZONA
Whether Kurt Warner plays or not, the Cardinals will have trouble staying with the overloaded Vikings. If it is Warner-Favre, I can’t think of an older starting QB matchup.

Dallas -1 at NEW YORK GIANTS
The Meadowlands have not been a great place for the Cowboys. This game will go a long way to showing us which way these teams are going for the stretch run. Will Dallas and Tony Romo start their usually fade? Will the once mighty Giants pick up their game and try to burst into the playoffs? We’ll find that out this Sunday.

New England -5 over MIAMI
Ever since the Wildcat’s debut against the Patriots, people seem to think that Miami has New England’s number, but the Dolphins have lost two in a row against the Pats since that game. Also, if Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills can put up 24 points in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins, I shudder to think what Tom Brady can do.

GREEN BAY -3 over Baltimore
The Packers are coming off a long downtime after playing on Thanksgiving while the Ravens are on a short week after beating the Steelers on Monday night. The Ravens have to play every game like a must win and will surely keep this one close, but the Packers’ rest and home field is too much of an advantage here.

This week: 1-0
Last week: 10-5
This season: 96-72-1

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