NFL Week 13 Picks: Teams That Will Squeak out Much-Needed Wins

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 29, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 11:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints quiets down the crowd during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 11, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Falcons 31-27(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints will pretend the Georgia Dome is the Superdome this weekend when they get set to take on the NFC-leading Atlanta Falcons for the second time this season.

In the two teams' first meeting, Drew Brees and the Saints delivered the Falcons their first loss of 2012, and kept their own playoff hopes alive in the process. Expect New Orleans to do the same this weekend, when they squeak out a much-needed win on the road to improve to .500 on the year. 

But the Saints are not alone in Week 13. 

Here are my picks for teams set to squeak out key victories this weekend. 


Green Bay Packers

At 7-4, it may not seem like the Green Bay Packers are in desperate need of a win this weekend, but if the Pack are to avoid a two-game losing streak and falling further behind the Chicago Bears in the NFC North race, they will need to take down the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau in Week 13.

With three division games left to play after this weekend's showdown with Minnesota, it's imperative that Green Bay win its rivalry matchups at home.

Plus, after a devastating 28-point loss to the New York Giants in front of the entire nation last week on Sunday Night Football, Mike McCarthy's Packers need to right the ship before things spiral out of control and the defense returns to 2011 form.

I wouldn't expect Green Bay to struggle too much with Minnesota this weekend, however. The Vikings are just 1-4 on the road while the Packers are 4-1 at home in 2012, winning their last four there. Aaron Rodgers will be back to his normal self, and the Packers' offense should be much more productive after a week of practice and fixing its mistakes. 


Dallas Cowboys

After coming out flat on Thanksgiving Day and coming up short against the Washington Redskins in Week 12, the Dallas Cowboys are in need of a W in order to get back to .500.

The 'Boys will host division rival Philadelphia this Sunday. The Eagles are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak and have not won a game since September. Therefore, Dallas shouldn't have too many issues completing the season sweep of Andy Reid's reeling Birds.

Philly has won just one road game all season and will be without at least one of its top playmakers in DeSean Jackson on Sunday.

The Cowboys may have given up 38 points last week, but their defense is much better than that, and will no doubt rebound this weekend. Offensively, Dallas still boasts the NFL's third-best passing attack behind Tony Romo and will be given ample opportunity to shred Philly's discombobulated secondary this Sunday. 


Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have lost two games in a row coming into Week 13 and even worse, their two losses have come against division foes. 

On Sunday afternoon, Pittsburgh will visit Baltimore to attempt to avenge its Week 11 loss to the Ravens at Heinz Field. Although the Ravens are strong at home, 5-0 this season, there's too much on the line for the Steelers to come up short again.

A win for the Steelers would pull them within two games of the Ravens in the division, while a loss would put them four games back with four games to play. That sort of motivation is what will give Pittsburgh a huge advantage on the road this weekend. 

Regardless of what the Steelers' quarterback situation is, they have a top five defense, a strong running game and are capable of beating anyone, anywhere, as evidenced by their win over the New York Giants at MetLife in early November. 


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