NFL Picks Week 13: NY Jets, Tampa Bay and Teams Poised to Pull Off an Upset
NFL Week 13 is officially under way with Thursday night's game, and now we turn our focus to Sunday's game along with an epic Monday night battle between the Jets and Patriots.
But what underdog teams have a legitimate shot at pulling off an upset? Can the Jets take down New England for the second time this season? Will Tampa Bay reaffirm itself as a playoff contender?
These are all pressing questions that will be answered on Sunday and Monday. With that being said, it's time to take a look at what upset-minded teams have a shot at coming away winners.
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The lowly Panthers were a John Kasay missed field goal a way from defeating the Cleveland Browns last week, and now they will head out to Seattle to take on a beatable Seahawk team.
There's no question the young Panthers are the worst team in the league, but John Fox still has his team playing hard and finally has the running game starting to click.
Carolina's lone win of the season came against NFC West opponent San Francisco as they have an eye toward improving to 2-1 against the West.
Seattle is one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL, and these past two weeks they've been more bad than good. Not to mention that three of their five wins have come against the NFL's worst division, in which they reside.
Look for Jimmy Clausen to play a smart, efficient game to give the Panthers a shot at win No. 2.
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The Browns will look to exact revenge on Miami on behalf of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were stomped by the Heat yesterday.
LeBron James may no longer be in Cleveland, but at least fans have the pleasure of watching Peyton Hillis plow over defenders on Sundays.
Jake Delhomme will once again be under center for the Browns as he looks to guide his team to back-to-back wins. The Dolphins rolled to a win over Oakland last weekend, and the offense showed signs of life with Chad Henne back as the 'Phins signal caller.
If the Browns want to take down Miami, they are going to have to pound the ball with Hillis and have Delhomme work off play-action. Limiting the erratic gunslinger from making mistakes will be a challenge for Eric Mangini throughout the day.
Delhomme allows Mangini to open up the playbook more than he can with rookie Colt McCoy, but trusting Delhomme to make smart decisions is always risky. Just ask the Panthers.
This should be a low-scoring game that comes down to turnovers. If Cleveland wins the turnover battle, it'll win the game.
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With the Indianapolis Colts having an off year, the door has been opened for Jacksonville to steal the division crown from Peyton Manning and co.
Taking down a Tennessee team that is on the brink of crumbling would be a huge step in cementing the Jaguars' chances as, dare I say, division favorites.
Despite the Titans' poor performances of late, they are favored by four points, which is mostly due to the return of Kerry Collins. With the return of Collins the Titans will also be getting a passing game back, as Rusty Smith has been holding it hostage since he's been under center.
Jacksonville was blasted at home 30-3 by Tennessee in Week 6, and if they don't win this one the Titans would hold a tiebreaker over the Jags.
Not only is this a chance for the Jags to prove they belong, it's also a chance for them to close the door on Tennessee.
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Carson Palmer's tenure in Cincinnati is at risk if he doesn't turn things around quickly.
The former No. 1 pick has been terrible thus far, and with a boatload of talented quarterback prospects that will be available in the 2011 NFL draft, it's no longer a certainty that Palmer is the future of the Bengals.
The Bengals have lost eight straight games and are taking on the red-hot New Orleans Saints. Everything is pointing towards a New Orleans blowout, especially considering how Cincy has lay down the past two games.
Call it a gut feeling, but the Bengals are due for a big game at home. They have the talent and pieces, as evidenced by last season's playoff run, but haven't been able to replicate the magic.
If the Bengals pound the ball with Cedric Benson to set up the downfield passing game, they'll have a chance at pulling off a big upset.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Tampa Bay very well could be playing for its playoff life on Sunday. The NFC is loaded this year, and 10 wins may not be enough to get in depending on tiebreakers. A win over Atlanta would give the Bucs a big division and conference win.
They are also catching the Falcons at a good time. Atlanta's coming off a huge home win over Green Bay and now has to travel outside the confines of the Georgia Dome to Tampa. The Bucs need this game more than Atlanta does right now.
Another factor working in the Bucs' favor is that three of the Falcons' last four games are against Carolina (twice) and Seattle. The urgency won't be there for the Falcons on Sunday like it will be for Raheem Morris' squad.
Look for Tampa Bay to hang in the playoff race with a big home win over the NFC's best team.
New York Jets
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Rex Ryan hasn't been bashful with his mouth in the week leading up to Monday Night Football's divisional matchup between the Patriots and Jets. New York took down the Pats earlier in the season 28-14 when Randy Moss was still around.
Things have changed for New England since then. They've gotten rid of Moss, and Tom Brady has thrived with a bunch of no-name players surrounding him. It seems the Pats have regained the swagger and arrogance they once possessed when they were winning Super Bowls.
Despite New England's newfound confidence, the Jets aren't going to be afraid to go into Foxborough. The winner of this game has the edge in winning the division, which will mean the loser is likely to be on the road in the playoffs and wouldn't get a first-round bye.
Simply put, this is a huge game for both teams, who share identical 9-2 records. It will be a terrific game regardless of who wins, but the Jets possess a far superior defense and an offense that will be able to move the ball on New England's defense.
Ryan's club has a chance to make a huge statement with a win over Bill Belichick and Brady.