Our experts hope for accurate picks in lucky week thirteen
Game wise, the Falcons topped the Packers and the Patriots kept their winning ways alive over the Lions. But with the playoffs on the line, you never know which team is going to emerge out of the woodwork this week.
Eli came out on top in week twelve but Blake's on his tail and could definitely take first place if she has another great week.
Thursday, Dec. 2
Houston Texans (5-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-4)
Philadelphia needs a win to stay atop the NFC East and I think they will get it against Houston. Look for them to win big this week.
Vick and co. will be too much for Houston's D. Philly wins despite a big game from Arian Foster. Most importantly, Andre Johnson goes ham on some Eagle cornerbacks.
Houston won last week, as I expected, taking on a struggling Tennessee team. But the outcome of the game was overshadowed by Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who got into a fight with Tennessee's Cortland Finnegan. Neither were suspended, so expect Johnson to be on the field come Sunday. But Philly's defense might be too much for the Texans to handle and I'm not completely convinced that Houston is playoff worthy. I'll take the Eagles.
Sunday, Dec. 5
New Orleans Saints (8-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-9)
The Saints have won four straight and are returning to their former Superbowl form. I feel that they are one of the best teams in the NFC right now. Saints blow out the Bengals.
The Bengals have lost eight straight, falling 26-10 against the Jets last week. Drew Brees and the Saints have found their stride and should grab an easy win against Cincinnati.
Led by quarterback Drew Brees, New Orleans should easily be able to dismantle the Bengals and move to 9-3 in their division.
Chicago Bears (8-3) at Detroit Lions (2-9)
This is always a good match up in the black and blue division. Chicago is looking to prove they are serious. They will take care of business on the road this week.
The Bears are 8-3 and playing solid football. They'll move to 9-3 after a win at Ford Field this Sunday.
After a surprising performance against the Pats last week, where Detroit was up 24-17 until Pats quarterback Tom Brady came out and demolished the Lions' defense, I'm hesitant to pick against Detroit. But the Lions' offense won't be able to put up big numbers against a dominant Bears' defense. Sorry Lions, you lose to Chicago, yet again. But hopefully this time, it won't be because you got robbed by a referee.
San Francisco (4-7) at Green Bay Packers (7-4)
Green Bay needs a win here to keep pace with the Bears in the NFC North. I feel they will bounce back after this loss in Atlanta last week with a close win over San Francisco.
The Pack lost last week, but they faced the red-hot Atlanta Falcons. Aaron Rodgers has thrown for eight touchdown passes in his last three games. Expect more of the same this week as the Green Bay offense rolls.
The 49ers were able to defeat a struggling Arizona team last week, 27-6. However, with the loss of running back Frank Gore, things are looking pretty grim for the ‘Niners. Green Bay is still hurting after a loss to the NFC's best team (the Falcons) and the Packers are looking to prove that they belong in the playoffs. The Pack wins big.
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-6)
It's hard to believe that Jacksonville is atop the NFC South, however, with all four teams right around .500, their division is totally up in the air. I'll go with Jacksonville here since Tennessee currently doesn't have a quarterback.
Jacksonville nearly escaped with a win against the Giants last week. Maurice Jones-Drew had a day, rushing for 113 yards on 21 carries. On the other hand, the Titans failed to get anything going offensively against the Texans. Houston's defense held Chris Johnson in check as Tennessee fell, 20-0. Jags win.
Tennessee is without Vince Young. Not only does this mean that they have some guy named Rusty Smith starting at quarterback, which is unfortunate, it means they'll also have to deal with a thrashing from the Jags, who almost (and should have) beat the Giants last week.
Denver Broncos (3-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
The Chiefs are one of the best home teams this season. They're 5-0 at home and are looking to be 6-0 with a win against a struggling Denver squad.
Denver annihilated Kansas City 49-29 in week 10. The Chiefs may have the better record, but I'm going with the Broncos at Arrowhead.
KC has been pushing themselves quite a bit as of late, crushing the Seahawks 42-24 last week. Denver lost a close one to the Rams and has been receiving no help from quarterback Kyle Orton, who can't seem to orchestrate a play down field properly. This might be a tough one for the Chiefs (after all, they do play a bit shaky), but I'll take Kansas City to win.
Cleveland Browns (4-7) at Miami Dolphins (6-5)
I'm going with an upset here and taking the Browns over the Dolphins even though Miami desperately needs a win to keep pace in the NFC wildcard race. It's a bad pick, I know, but I'm going with it anyway.
Peyton Hillis is a one-man wrecking crew.
As well as Cleveland has been playing as of late, they are no match for the Dolphins. Plus, quarterback Jake Delhomme is starting for the Browns—the only way Cleveland will get points on the board is if running back Peyton Hillis can get his game going.
Buffalo Bills (2-9) at Minnesota Vikings (4-7)
This is a battle between two teams who have struggled all season long. I'm going with the Bills here because the Vikings have been a circus this season.
If it weren't for Steve Johnson's dropped touchdown catch in overtime, the Bills would have beaten Pittsburgh in week 12. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Buffalo take it to a soft Vikings team.
Minnesota pulled off a 17-14 win over the ‘Skins last week, while Buffalo lost to Pittsburgh 19-16 in overtime. This is like survival of the fittest; both teams have no playoff hopes but pride is still on the line. Buffalo's been hungry lately and playing like they want the win, but I think Minnesota will be able to pull away and beat the Bills.
Washington Redskins (5-6) at New York Giants (7-4)
Every time you think the Redskins are going to lose, they win, and every time you think they are going to win, they lose. I'm going to go with the Redskins on this one although the Giants need this win badly in their quest to make the playoffs.
The G-Men beat the Jags in week 12 thanks to Eli Manning's 226 yards and two touchdowns. 7-4 New York gets the division win over Washington who fell to the 4-7 Vikings last week.
The Skins are no match for the defensively dominant Giants. Even though the Giants' win last week was close and New York was down for most of the game, they should be able to step it up this week and beat the ‘Skins in order to ensure they make the playoffs.
Oakland Raiders (5-6) at San Diego Chargers (6-5)
The Chargers are on a four game winning streak and are one of the elite teams in the AFC. I think they will crush the Raiders at home this week.
The 6-5 Chargers got a huge 36-14 road victory over the Colts last week. Mike Tolbert rushed for 103 yards and a score while San Diego's defense intercepted four Manning passes. Bolts win big over the 5-6 Raiders.
I'm still shocked that the Chargers beat the Colts as solidly as they did, especially away from their home field. Now the ‘Bolts take on the division rival Raiders at home who are unstoppable at home and possess a defense that is ranked number one in the league. Chargers win big.
Dallas Cowboys (3-8) at Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
Indianapolis seems to be struggling this year but I have to take them at home against the mediocre-yet-improving Cowboys.
Suddenly, Peyton Manning doesn't look so invincible. He threw four picks against the Chargers last week as his team lost 36-14 at home. But there's no way that Manning has two terrible weeks in a row – so I'm going with Indy at home against the putrid Cowboys.
Indy has to redeem itself this week if the Colts want to make the playoffs, especially with tough AFC opponents ahead of them. I won't deny that the Cowboys have been playing well as they are trying to prove that their coaching change has affected them deeply. But Indianapolis, with Peyton Manning at quarterback, is one of the best teams when it comes to redeeming themselves. And this time, they have no chance. If Indy doesn't win, they hit .500 and fall to the middle of the pack in the AFC.
St. Louis Rams (5-6) at Arizona Cardinals (3-8)
St. Louis, with a 5-6 record, sits atop the NFC west. In the worst division in the NFL, its hard to believe they could still make playoffs. A win here for the Rams would be huge for their quest for the play-offs. I'll go with the Rams on the road.
St. Louis is atop the NFC West with a losing record at 5-6. They'll take care of the 3-8 Cardinals thanks to a big game out of Steven Jackson.
The Rams played an absolutely stunning game last week, in which they scored 26 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarter. On the other side, Derek Anderson has been taking all the blame for the Cards' terrible performance this year. Anderson basically had a meltdown this week after the Cards loss to the ‘Niners and his ineffectiveness will probably continue this week. The frustration continues in Arizona as the Rams easily beat the Cards.
Carolina Panthers (1-10) at Seattle Seahawks (5-6)
Seattle is always seems tough at home, especially to a team that has to travel all the way across the country. Seattle will win at home this week.
The Panthers are just really, really, really bad.
Carolina is terrible and Seattle is mediocre. In this scenario, Seattle > Carolina. Seahawks win.
Atlanta Falcons (9-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)
This should be one of the best games of the week. I predict the Bucs will upset the Falcons here, mainly because they need the win more.
Atlanta is certainly one of the best teams in football, if not the best. They're extremely well-balanced – Matt Ryan and Roddy White are superb in the passing game while Michael Turner gets in done week in and week out on the ground. The Falcons beat a tough Packer team last week to move them to 9-2. They'll continue their winning ways when they face the Bucs on Sunday afternoon.
The Falcons are officially the best team in the NFC and maybe even the NFL. Sitting at 9-2, their win over Green Bay last week established them as the team to beat. Atlanta takes on Tampa Bay, a team that has struggled against stronger teams this year. Although the Bucs have proven themselves this year, they won't be able to handle Atlanta's throttling offensive front, led by quarterback Matt Ryan.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) at Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
This is the game that everyone has been talking about all week. The Ravens beat Pittsburgh earlier this season but that was when the Steelers were without Ben Roethlisberger. I'm looking for the Ravens to win at home in a close, low-scoring game.
This one's tough. These division rivals are similar in many ways – great defense and a good but inconsistent offense. I give the edge to Baltimore because they've already beaten the Steelers once, and their offense is slightly better.
Yes, the Steelers are a very good and defensively strong team. But the Steelers are showing signs of weakness as the season continue and the Ravens are 8-0 at home. I'll take Baltimore to win a tough one due to their home field advantage.
Monday, Dec. 6
New York Jets (9-2) at New England Patriots (9-2)
With both teams at 9-2 sitting atop the AFC East, this should be a great Monday Night Football match-up. I feel that the Jets will upset the Patriots, even though they will face the challenge of playing on the road.
Here's another great division match-up. The Jets and Pats are both 9-2 and sit atop their division. Tom Brady is having a stellar season – he's thrown for 2703 yards and 23 touchdowns on the year. As good as the Jets defense is, I still think Brady will have his way on Monday night.
This is a perfect Monday night game and definitely the game of the week. The Jets and Pats are tied for the top of their division at 9-2 and this intense rivalry doesn't stop there. There's also a coach's battle between Rex Ryan of the Jets and Bill Belichick of the Patriots. The Patriots have more than proven themselves this season and have already beaten the Jets once. Although Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been able to lead his team to victory several teams and the Jets' defense has been impressive, I'll stick with my statement that the Jets are the luckiest team in the NFL. To be honest, they should probably be at 8-3 right now. Patriots win in an intense battle for first place in the AFC—but only if their defense can step it up this week and stop any fourth quarter miracles by the Jets.
Melissa Haniff. Melissa loves music, One Tree Hill, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She is also a diehard Patriots, Red Wings, Pistons and University of Michigan fan...Go Blue! More »
Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »
Blake Morgan-Gamber. Blake Morgan-Gamber is a rare specimen with two last names; she woos women and men alike with her fanciful features writing and sumptuous sports editing. But do not be lulled by this siren, though BMG is a creature of beauty, there's many amazing talents inside … More »