NFL Week 13 Picks: Projecting Biggest Upsets on Remaining Schedule

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Day fostered a trio of exciting NFL games, and with the majority of Week 13's games still to come, it's worth looking ahead to see which upsets to watch for.

One of these prospective shockers doesn't have the postseason implications of the other two divisional matchups, but how some of the lesser teams fare down the stretch will go a long way in determining positions for the 2014 draft.

The incoming class of pros looks to be loaded, so between that and the tight playoff races in each conference, pro football seems as exciting and unpredictable as ever.

Here is a look at the biggest upsets remaining on the Week 13 schedule, along with a complete list of picks for the other games.

Note: Spreads referenced in analysis are courtesy of Topbet.


Tennessee Titans over Indianapolis Colts

Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 22 of 28 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown when these two teams met earlier in the season in a 30-27 Colts victory at LP Field.

Fitzpatrick also led a sweet game-winning drive to claim a 23-19 victory in Oakland last week. He capped it off by hitting the exponentially progressing 2012 first-round pick Kendall Wright for a 10-yard touchdown.

Since Tennessee has only one double-digit win and one double-digit loss all season, this matchup in Indianapolis is bound to be another tightly contested AFC South battle.

The Colts are struggling as of late. Aside from a couple of Andrew Luck-willed comebacks against the Houston Texans and the Titans, it has been rather ugly for Indy. It culminated in a 40-11 loss in Arizona in Week 12, with Luck throwing for only 163 yards on 39 attempts and a pick-six.

Perhaps more concerning, resurgent running back Donald Brown had just three touches for minus-1 yards.

Colts owner Jim Irsay was concerned, as he professed in the beginning of an extensive Twitter rant:

Luck is feeling the impact of not having Reggie Wayne on the field anymore. Tennessee's aggressive defense will be able to pin its ears back and attack last year's No. 1 overall draft pick, since draft classmate Trent Richardson (No. 3 overall) has failed to provide a spark to the backfield since arriving in a trade.

Thanks to the parity—or, ahem, mediocrity?—in the AFC, the Titans are the No. 6 seed in the playoff picture, but they could be thinking about the division title after pulling off a win in Week 13.

Prediction: Titans 31, Colts 24


Jacksonville Jaguars over Cleveland Browns

First-year Jags head coach Gus Bradley has hung tough amid a trying maiden campaign at the helm in Jacksonville—the NFL franchise that needs the biggest jolt of energy.

A bit of a spark has come in the form of two wins in the past three games.

Even the 27-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals was by far the worst showing of the year for a secondary that is rather underrated given the league-low 17 sacks that the Jags have produced as a team.

Now it will be interesting to see how Jacksonville handles the success when it travels to Cleveland as a seven-point underdog.

What a brash bet by oddsmakers: The Browns are favored at home by seven points with Brandon Weeden—who has not won a game in 2013 as a starter—under center.

Hard pass. Weeden stares down his receivers and holds the ball too long, which will neutralize the Jags' inability to get to the quarterback. They can get to Weeden, who has an even worse QBR than Jacksonville QB Chad Henne's 29.2.

Plus, the Jags have racked up five of their 17 sacks in the past two weeks, so there is improvement in that regard.

Facing a statuesque, hesitant quarterback will help, as will the fact that the Browns' best running back is pseudo fullback Chris Ogbonnaya. That limits the amount of power run plays Cleveland can executive with effectiveness to exploit the Jags' leaky rush defense.

This game won't be pretty, but Jacksonville will edge it out and keep its late-season momentum going.

Prediction: Jaguars 17, Browns 13


Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Carolina Panthers

Just when it looks like Carolina will be in position to tie New Orleans for the NFC South lead, the division's newly resurgent team will foil the Panthers' plans.

The Bucs are on a three-game winning streak and are getting phenomenal quarterback play from Mike Glennon, who has the looks of a long-term answer with his massive frame, arm talent and precocious poise.

Both of these head coaches seemed to be on the way out at some point this season—Ron Rivera in Carolina after a 1-3 start and Greg Schiano after beginning 0-8 and enduring the Josh Freeman saga.

Yet here we are.

Glennon's counterpart Cam Newton has come through in the clutch for the Panthers as of late, but bear in mind that before and after his landmark win over the New England Patriots, he posted passer ratings of 52.7 in San Francisco and 60.6 last week in Miami.

Carolina is due for a letdown, and this eight-point spread seems a bit disrespectful considering how well the Bucs have been playing. Three of Tampa Bay's first four losses were by three points or less, and before this recent run, it pushed the Seattle Seahawks to overtime on the road.

Schiano's bunch is better than advertised. That will reveal itself on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Panthers 20

Remaining Week 13 NFL Picks
Away TeamHome TeamWinner
Jacksonville JaguarsCleveland BrownsJaguars
Chicago BearsMinnesota VikingsVikings
Miami DolphinsNew York JetsDolphins
Tennessee TitansIndianapolis ColtsTitans
Arizona CardinalsPhiladelphia EaglesEagles
Tampa Bay BuccaneersCarolina PanthersBuccaneers
New England PatriotsHouston TexansPatriots
Atlanta FalconsBuffalo BillsBills
St. Louis RamsSan Francisco 49ers49ers
Denver BroncosKansas City ChiefsBroncos
Cincinnati BengalsSan Diego ChargersChargers
New York GiantsWashington RedskinsGiants
New Orleans SaintsSeattle SeahawksSeahawks
Picks are strictly opinion


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