NFL picks: Week thirteen: Turning into the home stretch

They should dedicate the entire ‘‘Cmon Man!’’ segment of the NFL Sunday warm-up show to the Eagles. C’Mon man! Dream Team? Nightmare team, more like. How do you get torn apart by such a pathetic Seattle team?! C’Mon Man! Seattle didn’t even have their one truly star player, Sidney Rice. We all love an underdog victory, but, seriously, Eagles, C’Mon Man! At least now we can finally put their season to bed. There is a massive fork sticking out of their collective backs. They. Are. Done.

On to the rest of week thirteen.

Previous weeks
Running total - 89-79 ATS
Week by week links at foot of column

Essential NFL pick links

Atlanta Falcons (7-4) at Houston Texans (8-3) +2.5
Houston beat up a bad opponent last week, something that perhaps hid their QB issues a little. Watch as Atlanta rip the cover off their dirty little secret. The Falcons are playing at a high level right now, and have the players to stop the Texans running game, forcing their third string QB into making decisions he doesn’t have the skill set to make. Matt Ryan is absolutely on fire right now. The Falcons become legitimate trophy contenders with this statement win.
The score: Atlanta 27 Houston 17
The Pick: Atlanta -2.5

Tennessee Titans (6-5) at Buffalo Bills (5-6) -1.5
The Bills showed signs of resurfacing from a tough few weeks against the Jets, indeed they should have won probably, except for two inexcusable WR drops on the final drive. At home, with a little bit of momentum, against a Tennessee team that has not really forged an identity for itself this season, this looks like a soft line.
The score: Tennessee 20 Buffalo 30
The Pick: Buffalo -1.5

Kansas City Chiefs (4-7) at Chicago Bears (7-4) -8.5
This one is a real noodle scratcher. The Bears, with a pretty average backup QB, giving up 8.5 points to Kyle Orton throwing footballs to a talented bunch of Kansas WRs? Whilst that ferocious Chicago D is duly noted, the Chiefs suddenly have a genuine, legitimate NFL QB at the helm. The Chiefs may start with Palfko, but will turn to Orton early. Orton didn’t turn into a pumpkin overnight. If anything he is rested and motivated, and Soldier field won’t be a big eye opening shock to him. Hey, the Bears are the better team, however their own QB situation is poor enough to stop you from diving in to those 8.5 points. If you are thinking about dipping your toe in, Orton to Bowe should scare the living daylights out of you.
The score: Kansas 24 Chicago 27
The Pick: Kansas +8.5

Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) -7.5
Credit the Steelers, where credit is due. They keep getting the job done. It often isn’t pretty, but the results are the same, win after win. Here’s the thing, they are not blowing teams out. In fact, they really struggled to beat a pretty awful Kansas team. That flop, combined with the short week, and you can really only pick the Bengals to hang around within those 7.5 points.
The score: Cincinnati 20 Pittsburgh 23
The Pick: Cincinnati +7.5

Denver Broncos (6-5) at Minnesota Vikings (2-9) -1.5
I have one question. Imagine the Vikings had a Muslim QB called Jimmy Jimbob, right? Imagine he prepared for every game by laying out a prayer mat on the sideline and praying to Mecca. Imagine after every big play he knelt and opened a Koran he had on his person, and read a few lines. Imagine he read sections of that Koran to his team mates pre-game. Do you think his behaviour would be accepted? Honestly? America is a funny place. Right wing ding-bats will preach the constitution to you all day long when it suits them, right to bear arms for example, however ask them about separation of church and state, clearly laid out in that same document for all to see, and they zip up faster than the muted voice of the 99%. Tebow’s ridiculous behaviour is only accepted because he is a conservative, white, young American male. Anybody who says differently has their head buried in the sand. Having said that, absolutely love him to beat the Vikings without Peterson. Yup.
The score: Denver 24 Minnesota 17
The Pick: Denver +1.5

Indianapolis Colts (0-11) at New England Patriots (8-3) -20.5
They can make this -25 and it won’t scare me off. The Colts have shown absolutely no reason to back them. Doesn’t this just stink of a massive destruction job? The Patriots are rolling right now, Brady has his accuracy back, and is spreading the ball around to his two big young TEs and his collection of great possession receivers like Welker, Branch and Edelman. Woodhead and Ben-Jarvis are providing a really nice 1-2 running punch. The Patriots D has finally started to gel and develop its own identity, led by Vince Wilfork who demands attention as AFC defensive player of the year. He may not jump out of the stats boxes at you, but watch the Patriots play, and watch how much attention Wilfork gets from the offensive line. He is a game changer. That line is simply not high enough, you think the Patriots and their coaching staff will have mercy on the Colts after a few scores?
The score: Indianapolis 17 New England 48
The Pick: New England -20.5

Oakland Raiders (7-4) at Miami Dolphins (3-8) -2.5
Miami managed to keep it close against Dallas last week, however they still lost. A loss is a loss, even if they stayed well within the spread. There are not pat-on-the-back losses in the NFL. Oakland’s impressive three game winning stretch includes a quality win against the tough Bears D. Miami’s wins previous to their loss to Dallas were against poor or struggling teams. Oakland have the quality and skill to beat a limited Miami team. Remember, seven wins play three here.
The score: Oakland 24 Miami 19
The Pick: Oakland +2.5

New York Jets (6-5) at Washington Redskins (4-7) +3.5
The Jets rolled with the punches last week against a determined Bills team and still came out winners. They should have no trouble polishing off a Washington team that got absolutely pasted by Buffalo just a few weeks ago.
The score: New York 30 Washington 20
The Pick: New York -3.5

Carolina Panthers (3-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) -1.5
At least Carolina have won a ball game recently. Tampa are in a horrific five game tail spin. After a few backwards steps Cam Newton suddenly looks progressive again. His gleeful ‘Superman’ touchdown celebration is one of my favorites doing the rounds right now. He should get to do it once or twice this Sunday.
The score: Carolina 35 Tampa 30 (Yes, unexpected wild one!)
The Pick: Carolina +1.5
Baltimore Ravens (8-3) at Cleveland Browns (4-7) +6.5
Which Baltimore is going to show up? The one you can’t trust, or the one that looks like a potential trophy candidate? Two big wins over the 49ers and Bengals point towards the latter. Whilst Cleveland have definitely been playing better lately, they have struggled against the better teams. Baltimore should handle them with ease.
The score: Baltimore 24 Cleveland 13
The Pick: Baltimore -6.5

Dallas Cowboys (7-4) at Arizona Cardinals (4-7) +6.5
Dallas were a bit lazy last week and let Miami stay close. There is no evidence to suggest Arizona can do same. Dallas should remain razor focused as with the Eagles loss, they can take a big step towards the playoffs on Sunday.
The score: Dallas 32 Arizona 20
The Pick: Dallas -6.5

Green Bay Packers (11-0) at New York Giants (6-5) +6.5
Around this time last year Green Bay absolutely whacked the Giants, announcing themselves to everyone as serious contenders. No need for the announcement this year, but, result should still be similar.
The score: Green Bay 35 New York 23
The Pick: Green Bay -6.5

St. Louis Rams (2-9) at San Francisco 49ers (9-2) -13.5
Once again, the 49ers are not built to blow teams out. Look for them to get a lead, and grind the clock down.
The score: St Louis 17 San Francisco 24
The Pick: St Louis +13.5

Detroit Lions (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (8-3) -6.5
Potentially the game of the week. New Orleans should score at will against a Detroit team minus Suh, however, Detroit can put up a bevy of points against a pretty weak Saints secondary too. The problem is, just not enough.
The score: Detroit 28 New Orleans 35
The Pick: New Orleans -6.5
San Diego Chargers (4-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8) +2.5
I think we can all see the massive changes coming in San Diego. Jacksonville have a unique opportunity to beat a team in serious turmoil.
The score: San Diego 23 Jacksonville 24
The Pick: Jacksonville +2.5

Previous weeks
Week one - 11-4Week two - 12-4
Week three - 6-10
Week four - 10-6
Week five - 7-6
Week six - 4-9
Week seven 6-7
Week eight - 7-6
Week nine - 5-9
Week ten - 7-7
Week eleven - 6-7
Week twelve - 8-7