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NFL Week 13 Picks: Home Teams That Don't Stand a Chance

Nov 24, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers won 41-38. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Mike MoraitisAnalyst INovember 30, 2013

Being the home team in an NFL game is normally a huge advantage, but that isn't the case this week as some hosts will be unable to defend their home turf against their road-warrior foes.

A divisional matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears draws a terrible matchup problem for the Vikings this week.

The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs will do battle for what will decide supremacy in the AFC West and the conference as a whole with first place being up for grabs along with the No. 1 seed.

Week 13 is the latest game in what has been a nightmare season for the Houston Texans, whose struggles and astounding losing streak will continue against a New England Patriots team that is riding high after Week 12.

Let's break down each of these games and find out why the home teams will lose.

Week 13 NFL Picks
AwayHomePick w/ Score
DolphinsJetsDolphins 17-12
Rams49ers49ers 24-19
GiantsRedskinsRedskins 28-20
JaguarsBrownsBrowns 16-10
TitansColtsColts 27-24
BearsVikingsBears 27-13
CardinalsEaglesCardinals 24-14
BucsPanthersPanthers 21-14
PatriotsTexans31-17
FalconsBillsBills 23-20
BroncosChiefsBroncos 31-21
BengalsChargersChargers 28-27
SaintsSeahawksSeahawks 21-20
Mike Moraitis' Picks

 

Minnesota Vikings (vs. Chicago Bears)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings congratulates Christian Ponder #7 after a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers by Adrian Peterson #28 (not pictured) during the second quarter of the game on October 27, 2
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Bears' defense has a very favorable matchup with the Vikings this week, and the first thing that needs to be mentioned is Minnesota's propensity for turning the ball over. The Vikes rank No. 14 in the NFC in giveaways, which plays right into the hands of the Bears' defense that is tied for fifth in takeaways in the same conference.

The biggest weakness the Bears possess on the defensive side of things is their rushing attack that ranks dead last in the NFL. What is normally a major issue for teams going up against Minnesota's run-heavy offense led by superstar Adrian Peterson is negated because the Vikings don't have much of a passing attack to speak of (No. 25).

That will allow Chicago to focus extra defenders on stopping Peterson in his tracks and Chicago has more than enough to keep Minnesota's lackluster air attack grounded.

Offensively, it's take-your-pick for the Bears as they can attack both on the ground and in the air. Backup quarterback Josh McCown has been stellar in place of Jay Cutler, and the veteran QB has not only eclipsed the 200-yard mark in four of his five games this season, but he also has thrown for a score in each while compiling just a single pick.

Even if McCown is off, which is highly unlikely against a defense allowing the fourth-most yards per game through the air, the Bears will have no issue moving the ball on the ground against the No. 24 run defense.

Extra possessions for the Bears and the lack of critical plays by the Vikings' defense will create a myriad of problems for this lowly 2-8-1 squad.

 

Houston Texans (vs. New England Patriots)

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans gets knocked to the ground in the second half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

New England comes into this game on a momentum high after beating one of the best teams in the NFL last week, the Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, the Texans are likely as dejected as a team can get after dropping a game against a horrid Jacksonville Jaguars team, 13-6.

Quarterback Case Keenum was largely ineffective for his team and the Texans were only able to muster up 218 total yards against a Jags defense that is No. 18 versus the pass and second to last against the run.

If the Texans have a repeat of last week, it's going to be a long day for their offense. The Pats are stellar against the pass with a No. 9 ranking and if Houston can't get its air attack off the ground, it'll have a hard time exploiting New England's No. 31 run defense as head coach Bill Belichick will have his unit cheat against the run.

Houston has proven to be extremely tough against the pass with the best unit in football, but this is Tom Brady coming to town this week and the Hall of Fame quarterback will be a major step up from Chad Henne, who just so happens to have had some success against the Texans' pass defense after throwing for 239 yards last week.

Offensive success will start on the ground for the Pats, who feature numerous running backs to spread the wealth to and tire out the Texans' No. 22 run defense.

Once the ground game is established for New England, Brady will be able to take shots down field and burn what is a suspect Houston defense overall.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Denver Broncos)

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs watches from the sidelines during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Imag
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The weather forecast at Arrowhead Stadium is looking like a big positive for the Broncos in this game. Weather.com lists the temperature at around 50 degrees and partly cloudy with a zero percent chance of precipitation.

Denver leaned heavily on its rushing attack last week, which proved to be successful after Knowshon Moreno gained over 200 yards by himself, but don't expect the same to happen this week as weather conditions will be much more favorable to the passing game.

Peyton Manning will be a huge factor this week and judging from his 323-yard, one touchdown performance from a few weeks ago, Manning is no stranger to burning a Chiefs pass defense that ranks No. 15.

Furthermore, KC has already shown it can't get to Manning after not recording a single sack or even QB hit against Manning last time around. That is a recipe for disaster as the only way to slow down Manning is weather and putting pressure on him. Both of those keys to victory will escape Kansas City on Sunday.

The Chiefs need to be able to move the ball on the ground and get big plays from Jamaal Charles if they hope to emerge victorious, but that scenario isn't likely considering the Broncos own a top-five ground defense.

That will leave the game in the hands of game manager Alex Smith, who doesn't possess enough firepower in his arm to match what Manning will bring.

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