NFL Week Thirteen predictions

Dec. 3, 2005, midnight | By Abe Schwadron, Josh Zipin, Pratik Bhandari | 18 years, 6 months ago

How you like your experts now?

15-1. That's all I'm going to say.

From left to right: Josh, Abe, Phil and Pratik. Photo courtesy of Zoe Norvell.

Pratik 107-69-0
Abe 108-68-0
Phil 102-74-0
Josh 114-62-0

Last Week

Pratik 15-1-0
Abe 14-2-0
Phil 11-5-0
Josh 14-2-0

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Atlanta (7-4) at Carolina (8-3) - 12:30 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Carolina

Pratik says: This is a great game featuring two great teams. The problem is, they're so evenly matched it's hard to pick one over the other. Lately though, Carolina hasn't played with the same execution they had been playing with early on in the season, so I'll pick Hotlanta.

Abe says: Michael Vick is back and better than ever, and Falcons fans couldn't be happier with the results. Atlanta's running game is unstoppable, even with Julius Peppers standing on the other side of the ball. The dirty birds rip apart the Panthers and reestablish themselves atop the NFC South.

Phil says: In this battle for supremacy in the NFC South, both teams will be looking to do the same thing: contain the opposing QB and run their opposition off the field. While Carolina has proved time and again they can handle Vick, the real X-factor in this game will be Warrick Dunn. If he can get the chains moving early, it should be a long day for the Panthers. It should be an exciting finish with Atlanta ending up on top.

Josh says: Carolina gets a big win at home. Steve Smith beats up Atlanta's less than great secondary. Carolina's speedy defense contains the Falcons' run game. Mike Vick struggles to get outside against Julius Peppers and one of the fastest defensive fronts in all of football.

Buffalo (4-7) at Miami (4-7) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Buffalo Miami Buffalo Miami

Pratik says: Buffalo played a very good Carolina team tough all the way to the end whereas Miami just beat the cellar-dwelling Oakland Raiders, so I'll go with the Bills in this one.

Abe says: Ricky Williams looked sa-weet last week against the Raiders, and it appears that Gus Frerotte isn't as stupid, or bad, as he used to be. As for the Bills, their main concern right now is finding a way to score, which they won't do against the Dolphins' D.

Phil says: Miami's given up. Coach Saban admitted it. It ruins football but makes this pick easy.

Josh says: Miami surprised me last week and beat a gritty Raiders team. Ricky Williams just looks so much faster since he quit his...habit. Run Ricky Run!

Cincinnati (8-3) at Pittsburgh (7-4) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati

Pratik says: This is like one of those predictable action movies where the bad guys (Pittsburgh) demolish the good guy (Cincinnati) early on, but at the end in the climax, the good guy always wins. You can't bet against the predictable Hollywood storyline, can you?

Abe says: What a matchup; this game will go a long way towards determining the outcome of the standings in the AFC North. Pitt lost to the Colts Monday night in a confidence-shaker, and the Bengals won big over the Ravens last week. I'll take Cincy, mostly because I want to see another Chad Johnson touchdown celebration.

Phil says: Like Atlanta at Carolina, this is another battle for a division lead that will have clear playoff implications. If Pittsburgh loses and falls to 7-5, they find themselves back in the rat race with half a dozen other teams for the last AFC wild card spot. If they win, they draw even with Cincinnati making the last few games that much more important. Carson Palmer and the Johnson's will get the offense going in hostile Heinz Field, and the Bengals will pull out the win.

Josh says: Against another high-powered offense the Steelers can't hold Chad and Carson down. The Bengals are on a roll. I mean, last week Chad Johnson proposed to a Bengals cheerleader and she said yes!

Dallas (7-4) at New York Giants (7-4) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
New York Dallas New York New York

Pratik says: New York should've won the game last week in Seattle. They outplayed Seattle in every single facet of the game. Except kicking. Thankfully, Dallas' kicker, Billy Cundiff, is much, much worse than Jay Feeley, so the Giants should win this crazy matchup between division co-leaders.

Abe says: The video footage of Jeremy Shockey's sideline celebration turned shock and disappointment after the first of Jay Feely's missed winning field goal attempts is probably the funniest thing I've seen in the NFL all year. That, plus Feely himself, makes this pick an easy one.

Phil says: See a pattern? There are a lot of great division rivalries this week. Though this appears to be as exciting as all the others, it really won't be. The Giants are a great team while the Cowboys are just above average. Look for a convincing win for the G-men.

Josh says: At home and coming off what was really an unlucky loss, the Giants play with a vengeance and beat their division rival. Dallas struggles to run the ball against the Giants and can't get their passing game going against Will Allen and New York's secondary.

Green Bay (2-9) at Chicago (8-3) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Chicago Chicago Chicago Chicago

Pratik says: Chicago is going to slaughter Green Bay. But then again, last time I said something along those lines, Samkon Gado went off and Green Bay won. Let's hope it doesn't happen again.

Abe says: In a battle of top-10 defenses and NFC North rivals, there's only one factor that will affect the outcome of this game - special teams. Misters Vasher and Azumah will dominate.

Phil says: Chicago will win like they do every week by relying on defense, but this time they'll have help from the atrocious Green Bay offense. If it weren't for Favre, Green Bay would be winless.

Josh says: Bears love to eat cheese heads. Plus, Green Bay lost to the Eagles - who are quarterbacked by the one and only Mike McMahon.

Houston (1-10) at Baltimore (3-8) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Baltimore Baltimore Houston Houston

Pratik says: This is like one of those horrible crashes that you see every once in a while on the Beltway. It's horrible and awful and you just feel bad that such a tragedy occurred, but you simply have to keep watching sometimes. Even Baltimore can't screw this one up, but then again, I may be underestimating the Boller effect.

Abe says: The Ravens' purple jerseys probably aren't that big of a deal for Deion Sanders, considering that they match most of the suits he wore during his stint CBS as an analyst. That being said, J-Lew is back in B-More. And oh yeah, the Texans are trash.

Phil says: Houston reaches win number two. David Carr connects a few times with last week's break out wide receiver, Andre Johnson, to drag Baltimore down into the gutter with them.

Josh says: Andre Johnson had a breakout game for the Texans last week and the Texans actually came close to winning their second game of the season. This might be the week that they do it. Picking Houston against anyone is an upset, but they definitely have a chance this week. Upset special: see me.

Jacksonville (8-3) at Cleveland (4-7) - 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville

Pratik says: Jacksonville lost Byron Leftwich to a gruesome ankle injury, but David Garrard is a lot better than people think he is. A good many teams inquired about Garrard during the offseason and there are about ten teams that I can think of that would actually be upgraded with the mobile, athletic Garrard at QB instead. Cleveland has just had a bad year starting with the injury to Kellen Winslow, Jr. as well as the frustratingly slow development of talented rookie Braylon Edwards. Historically, wide receivers make quantum leaps in production in years two and three in the league, but they have to suffer through year one first. Ultimately, I believe that Jacksonville's stingy defense will carry them to victory past the hapless Browns.

Abe says: Both the Jags and the Browns may be without their starting quarterbacks this week, meaning the game will be won on defense and on the ground. I was about to pick Cleveland when I realized that they have no run defense. Get well soon, Byron.

Phil says: The Jags can't run silently any longer. With an 8-3, soon to be 9-3, record they should and would be nationally recognized except they play in the same division as the Colts. The Jags only real test in their remaining games is against Indianapolis and even if they lose, it leaves them with 11 or 12 wins. Don't be too surprised if, even without Leftwich, this team goes deep into the playoffs.

Josh says: A Jaguars team without Byron Leftwich is still better than an entirely healthy Browns squad.

Minnesota (6-5) at Detroit (4-7) - 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota

Pratik says: Minnesota lost Daunte Culpepper, supposedly the best player on their team, yet now they're actually winning. Something isn't right there. And they're not winning with some crazy good backup either, they're winning with Brad Johnson, a quarterback whose main goal is to make sure that he doesn't lose the game for the team. Not only is he treading water, he's actually performing much better than Daunte had been performing. Detroit is simply in a mess, especially after firing head coach Steve Marriuchi for reasons I still don't understand.

Abe says: My man Brad! The Vikings are rolling, and they even found some offense last week in their win over Cleveland. Let's see, this week the Lions lost their head coach, their quarterback, their team spirit, their fans and their chances at winning any more games this season.

Phil says: After such a pathetic start the Vikings seem to be coming together. With the offense rejuvenated by an outstanding performance by backup QB Brad Johnson, Minnesota is finally over .500 at 6-5. This week will be a test of consistency to see if this team can really keep winning. With such an underrated defense they have the ability to shock a lot of people. The Vikings should win Sunday and start their playoff push.

Josh says: Whichever team has Brad Johnson at quarterback is the team I'm picking.

Tampa Bay (7-4) at New Orleans (3-8) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Tampa Bay New Orleans New Orleans Tampa Bay

Pratik says: New Orleans is like Kennedy. They're the guys you schedule for homecoming.

Abe says: Aaron Brooks is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL...sometimes. When he spreads the ball and uses his athleticism, the Saints can beat a lot of good teams. Tampa is one of those teams.

Phil says: At home, or pretty close anyway, the Saints pull out the win with pure willpower. Cadillac Williams is still not a hundred percent and the Saints will contain him and stop the rest of Chucky's boys in their tracks.

Josh says: Even though the Saints won last week, it was against the Jets. That's like when Phil beats seven year olds in one-on-one: there's just no satisfaction. Against a legitimate NFL team this week, New Orleans finally plays someone older than them and gets what they deserve: a loss.

Tennessee (3-8) at Indianapolis (11-0) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis

Pratik says: I swear, sometimes Peyton Manning just messes with the defense by walking up to the line, calling out something like, "Hey fatty, yeah you number 95, looking around like it isn't you...come get me. Na na na na boo boo. By the way, I'm passing to Harrison on a deep corner route. Just try and stop me." With the offense he has, I would be so tempted to do that.

Abe says: Won't waste your time with this one. If you can read their records, you know who will win.

Phil says: Now if Tennessee comes out strong and really pressures Manning in the pocket, then...Wait, no, they have no chance. The Colts take another step towards perfection.

Josh says: No contest. The horses ride out in this one. Congratulations to Steve McNair for not being on injured reserve this far into the season.

Arizona (3-8) at San Francisco (2-9) - 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Arizona Arizona San Francisco Arizona

Pratik says: Operating on the theory that Arizona can only beat San Francisco, I'm going to pick Arizona in one of the ugliest games of the whole season. Hey, San Francisco fans are thankful because at least the teams aren't playing in Mexico City like they did last time.

Abe says: The best thing about the 49ers? Their gold pants.

Phil says: Wow. Who cares...both teams are already mathematically eliminated.

Josh says: Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald have got the Cardinals' offense moving in the right direction. If they got a defense and a running back they might win some games. Although Arizona's passing attack should be enough to beat the lowly 49ers.

Washington (5-6) at St. Louis (5-6) - 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Washington Washington Washington Washington

Pratik says: I refuse to believe that Ryan Fitzpatrick can lead the Rams to a win over a Washington team that knows it has to run the table to even have a shot at the playoffs. Now if the guy's name was Ryan Fitzpratik, all bets would be off...

Abe says: Yes, I am afraid of Ryan Fitzpatrick, and you should be, too. Still, the 'Skins have to catch a break sometime, and the inconsistent Rams look to be just the team to give them one. By the way, last week was just more evidence to what we've all been saying all year - LT is the best there is, period.

Phil says: We have lost fourth quarter leads the last three weeks. Please don't make it four.

Josh says: This is just a hopeful pick. If we get into a close game this week maybe we can actually come away with a win. I'm getting really tired of picking the 'Skins games wrong just because they choke in the fourth quarter. If Ryan Fitzpatrick starts this week though, I will be seriously worried for Washington. A quarterback with a Harvard education is a deadly combo.

Denver (9-2) at Kansas City (7-4) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Denver Kansas City Denver Denver

Pratik says: Both of these teams rely extensively on the ground game, but Denver's is better.

Abe says: Every Larry Johnson I know is a beast.

Phil says: In Week 3, the host Broncos led 17-0 after one quarter and throttled the Chiefs 30-10. It won't be that easy Sunday in Kansas City, where the Chiefs (7-4) have won their past 16 home games held in December. Yet even if Denver loses they still are a game up on both the Chiefs and Chargers. The real importance of this one is for Kansas City to keep up with San Diego. Let the playoff race begin.

Josh says: Denver runs and runs and runs the ball down the Chiefs' throats. Jake Plummer has bought into being a mistake-free quarterback rather than a game-changing one and the Broncos have been winning games. The Snake leads the Broncs to a win.

New York Jets (2-9) at New England (6-5) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
New England New England New England New England

Pratik says: If New Orleans is like Kennedy High, then the Jets against the Patriots is like putting the diva dancers up against our football team. Sure the divas'll break out a move or two every once in a while, but they will get demolished.

Abe says: Wow, the Jets are bad. Despite the Pats' slightly sub-par season so far, they are locked in to win their division, and Tom Brady is having an MVP-type season.

Phil says: New England doesn't deserve to go to the playoffs, but in a division with no other contender they probably will. The Jets need Pennington to have a chance playing the Pats. As he's gone, this one should be painful.

Josh says: Finally the defending champs get an easy game. They should take care of business at home. Tom Brady's interception-filled game last week was a complete aberration, and I don't think his receivers will drop that many passes this week.

Oakland (4-7) at San Diego (7-4) - 8:30 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
San Diego San Diego San Diego San Diego

Pratik says: This is the prototypical big brother beat down with San Diego playing the role of the bored big brother and Oakland playing the role of the traumatized younger sibling getting a whupping.

Abe says: Everyone knows I like to pick the Raiders in upsets, but after seeing LT murder the Redskins last week, I just can't risk it. The guy is sick, seriously.

Phil says: Every game the rest of the way is a must win for San Diego. Amazingly at 7-4, they are still third in their division behind both Denver and Kansas City. The Raiders shouldn't be too much of a challenge for LT, but down the road the Chargers are going to need to step it up.

Josh says: Randy Dandy has had arguably his worst season as a pro this year in what was supposed to be a great move. Lamont Jordan has emerged as an every-down back but he can't do it alone. Especially when he's playing against the best player in the league. Ladainian "Can't Touch This - No Really, You Can't" Tomlinson tears apart the Oak-Town defense in this one.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Seattle (9-2) at Philadelphia (5-6) - 9:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle

Pratik says: Seattle squeezed by the Giants last week and they seem to begetting all kinds of lucky breaks on their way to a 9-2 record. Philadelphia, meanwhile, is suffering not only from the T.O. hex but also from the Madden Curse that has reared its ugly head yet again. McNabb, the cover athlete for this year, got hurt early, and he was deactivated for the rest of the season last week. Without McNabb and T.O., the Eagles offense simply isn't potent enough to win the game and their defense, unlike previous years, is not dominant enough to cover for a mediocre offense. I think the nails are already in the coffin for Philly. I wish them good luck next season...not.

Abe says: Seattle is a bona fide team this year, and will continue to roll through their NFC East opponents. Mike Holmgren is underrated as a head coach - his decisions are smart and he can help his team win from the sidelines. And honestly, someone tell Mike McMahon that his last name is spelled wrong...and that he isn't Donovan McNabb.

Phil says: You never realize how special players like Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens are until there gone. The Eagles are getting a painful lesson. Seattle remains the team to beat in the NFC.

Josh says: Philly survived last week with David Akers. This week against a team with a defense significantly better than Green Bay's, Philadelphia should struggle moving the ball. Shaun Alexander is also my hero.

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Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »

Josh Zipin. Josh Zipin has trouble paying attention for more than three seconds at a time... More »

Pratik Bhandari. Pratik Bhandari is (now) a 5'6" SENIOR who (still) weighs about 125 pounds. He came from India, which could explain his diminutive stature and lived there for three years before moving to Albany, the capital of New York believe it or not, and finally to … More »

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