NFL Week 13 Predictions: Who's It Gonna Be?

Dustin McMahonContributor IDecember 3, 2010

NFL Week 13 Predictions: Who's It Gonna Be?

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    As Week 13 of the NFL kicked off with an Eagles win over the Texans, we find ourselves in anticipation of what I think may be the game of the year: the New England Patriots hosting the New York Jets.

    This, along with an AFC North matchup between the Ravens and the Steelers. Also on the plate, we have a couple of great AFC West rivalry matchups and powerhouse Atlanta visiting the surprising Tampa Bay Bucs.

    I will give the answer to the question that you are all asking:  Who's it gonna be?

Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

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    Chicago is a favorite in the NFC after beating the Eagles last week. I am not fully sold on the Bears yet, but they are growing on me. Matt Forte had a tough start to the season but has almost gotten back to what we expect from him. QB Jay Cutler has put up some solid numbers this season on their way to a Week 12 lead in the NFC North.

    These teams are division rivals and know each other well. Shaun Hill needs to get things going to WR Calvin Johnson in order for the 2-9 Lions to have a chance. With RB Jahvid Best having a less than stellar season and becoming one of the bigger busts of the 2010 draft, they will have to focus on the air attack.

    One of the best draft picks from 2010 is in this matchup, as well. Lions DT Ndamukong Suh has eight sacks this season. If he can get into the backfield, he could show Cutler what the turf tastes like.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    Chicago should get a pretty easy win and keep their one-game hold on the NFC North for at least one more week.

Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings

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    This game is interesting to me. On one hand, we have the 41-year-old QB Brett Favre leading his Vikings to an extremely disappointing season. On the other, we have the Buffalo Bills, who I believe are better than their record of 2-9.

    Coming off of one of his best seasons, many (including me) thought that Brett Favre and his Minnesota Vikings were going to be the team to beat this season in the NFC. What actually happened is that Brett has come back with one of his most poor (and most controversial) seasons.

    With a RB like Adrian Peterson, it is hard to believe that the Vikings are only ranked No. 20 in total offense. They have struggled to move the ball all season. Watching Brett Favre play used to be one of my favorite parts of Sunday afternoons. Now, I have to fight the urge to cover my eyes, every time he takes a snap.

    The Buffalo Bills have come into their own lately, but their record does not show it. Every week, Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to improve. Accented by Fred Jackson in the backfield, this team has given some defenses trouble as of late. With Steve “Why so serious?” Johnson at wideout, the Bills are not without weapons.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    Buffalo Bills.

    Last Week, Steve Johnson blamed God for his dropped pass and the subsequent loss. This week, he can thank Brett Favre for giving them the win.

Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants

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    Every couple of weeks, the NFL analyzers have to decide whether they think that the Giants are for real or not. I do not! They are playing good football on defense, but they turn the ball over more than any other team in the league. Yes, even more than Brett Favre and the Vikings. This will continue to make it a hard road down the stretch for the New York Giants.

    Washington has struggled on the ground all year. This is odd for a Mike Shanahan-coached football team. With the Broncos for over a decade, he never had a problem running the ball. Yet, they have yet to find their No. 1 back.

    This may be a reason why the 'Skins are having so much trouble this season. That, and poor play from their “savior” Donovan McNabb. McNabb has a poor 13 INT with only 11 TDs and is only completing 57 percent of his passes.

    The New York Giants can be a great team. They have a good running back tandem in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.  Together, they have over 1,300 rushing yards this season. If this rushing game gets started and Eli Manning can keep from throwing interceptions, this will be a long day for Washington.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    New York Giants.

    The Giants offense will be too much for the 'Skins to handle and McNabb will have too much trouble moving the ball.

Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers

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    On paper, the Chargers have this game. White-hot Philip Rivers has been completing passes like strikes of lightning to his receivers and Mike “Who?” Tolbert has had a couple of solid games.    

    If you are a fan of rivalries, you will know that these two teams hate each other. There will be pushing, shoving, spitting, biting and just about anything you can expect to see from teams that hate each other. One thing that I have learned from watching these teams for years is that no matter which team is “better,” they will play hard. There is no such thing as an easy win in the AFC West.

    For Oakland to win, they need to get Darren McFadden the ball early and often. Let him touch the ball 30-35 times. Get him out of the backfield and throw it to him. Get No. 20 into space and let him make plays.

    Philip Rivers did not have an outstanding game on Sunday night against the Colts, but he did what was needed to win. He did not turn it over and he moved the ball. Look for him to play much better this weekend and score at least two through the air.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    San Diego will come away with a hard-fought win in this one. This will be an exciting, high-scoring game, look for both teams to come away with 20+ points.

St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals

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    In an “intense” NFC West matchup, the St. Louis Rams visit University of Phoenix Stadium and the Arizona Cardinals. I would love to say that after that press-conference meltdown, Derek Anderson could come back and have a great game, but I can’t.

    Watching the Cardinals on Monday night was one of the most unpleasant experiences of this NFL season. The Cardinals did not have anything close to a drive in that game and only scored on field goals that the San Francisco defense gave them.

    On the other side, rookie QB Sam Bradford has been hit-or-miss this season, largely because he does not have a receiving core to throw to. RB Stephen Jackson will pull Cardinals DB Adrian Wilson up to the line, look for Bradford to be able to open up over the top.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    The St. Louis Rams will continue to be tied for the lead in the NFC West at 6-6.

Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

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    This one is the “Who cares?” game of the week. Seattle only has one win in the last five games. One of the few things that can make that look good is the fact that the Carolina Panthers only have one win all season. It will be too hard for the “tearful-to-watch” Panthers to win at Quest Field.

    I don’t say this very often, but it will not be hard for Seattle to put points on the board. Look for Carolina to practically give the game to the Seahawks by halftime.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    The Seattle Seahawks will win this game and keep a tie for the lead in the horrid NFC West

Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    I’m sorry Tampa Bay fans, but I am not a believer. The best team that the Bucs have beaten this year is the Cleveland Browns. I see Michael Turner having a good day against a poor Tampa rushing defense. Couple this with a near unstoppable-as-of-late passing game from Matt Ryan and it should be a field day. 

    For Tampa Bay to have a chance, Josh Freeman is going to have to get some confidence early.  Give him a few slants or screens to get the offense rolling and accent that with some dives from RB LaGerrette Blount. Also, GET MIKE WILLIAMS THE BALL. This kid has the skill to become an elite receiver. I like where this combo of Freeman to Williams is going, but it is not there yet.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    Atlanta will go on to a 10-2 record.

San Francicso 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

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    Don’t take the loss last week to heart, Packers fans. Aaron Rodgers will throw the ball all over the field in this one. I’d like to say how the 49ers could win this game, but my words would be wasted.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    Green Bay wins by a mile.

Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs

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    This AFC West rivalry has been steaming since the formation of the AFL. These teams HATE each other. The Denver Broncos head to Kansas City and try to sweep the Chiefs this season. The Chiefs look to dominate the Broncos like they were dominated by the Broncos in Week 9.

    Denver has not had a whole lot to be excited about this year. Aside from a top-5 ranked passing attack, the team has been very poor. They have an mountain to climb if they want to beat the Chiefs at home. Look for the Broncos to try to get a running game started early and punch holes in the Kansas City line, then open it up deep on the arm of Kyle Orton.

    Kansas City has had good season thus far and want to continue to not lose at home. The tandem of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones at running back will do well against the low-ranked Denver defense and Dwayne Bowe will have a nice time through the air. Look for Matt Cassel to be effecient in his throws and to use a lot of check-down passes.


    Who's it gonna be?

    Kansas City Chiefs wins by 10.

    At home, the Chiefs have looked great. The Broncos offense will have too tough of a time to fight the defense and the 12th man of Arrowhead. Look for the Matt Cassel/D-Bowe show to continue with two more TDs this weekend.

Cleveland Browns vs. Miami Dolphins

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    In order to win on the road in the NFL, you need to have a running game. This is Cleveland's specialty. Peyton Hillis has the strength of a train coming out of the backfield and it takes more than a couple guys to bring him down.

    Miami looked alright last week. After getting Chad Henne back, they went on to beat Oakland. When the Dolphins are a complete offense, through the air and on the ground, they are successful. They need a good run/pass mix to soften the defense up for some offensive drives agianst the Browns D.

    Cleveland will do what they do best, run the football. Expect Peyton Hillis to move this offense down the field. With the Dolphins No. 4 ranked passing defense, it will be hard for any Browns QB to get in a good rhythm in this game.


    Who's it gonna be?

    These teams are going to play tough for pride.

    I think Miami wins at home.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Indianapolis Colts

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    It's been a long time since we have seen this kind of poor play out of Indy. Many people are asking what is wrong with Peyton? I will answer: Nothing.

    This team has 11 major injurys. Peyton Manning is playing with half of his offense out. Dallas Clark, Joseph Addia, Austin Collie, these are all big hitters for his offense. 

    You were also asking what was wrong with Dallas? They got rid of Wade Phillips, had a couple wins and a loss, and are not much better of a team than they were. They have the weapons, but without any sort of legs coming out of the backfield, it will be too much to ask Jon Kitna to carry this team to a decent record.


    Who's it gonna be?

    Its been a long, long time since the Colts have played so poorly. They will rebound this week with a win at home against dem Cowboys.

New Orleans Saints vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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    I'm sorry, Cincinnati fans, but I am not going to waste my time on the T.Ocho show. I can't see any way that the boys of the orange and black will pull this one off. Drew Brees is playing well with his multi-wideout threats. Offseason prediction: Carson Palmer will be looking for a new job.


    Who's it gonna be?

    Drew Brees and his Saints.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans

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    CJ2K looked more like CJdoesntbreakdoubledigits last week, with a whole six yards rushing. Yes, that's 18 feet last game. That wont happen again, so dont be too worried, Titans fans, what I would really be worried about is standing behind the center...or what isn't.

    With Vince Young out for the season with a thumb injury and a bad attitude. Kerry Collins should take the helm in this one.

    I want to give props to David Garrard. He has not emassed an abundence of yards this season, but he is accurate, and he wins ball games with his arm and legs. RB Maurice Jones-Drew is having a fair year, almost to the 1,000-yard mark, and will be a factor in this game. The Titans give up 111 yards a game on the ground, look for at least 100 to Jones-Drew and 50 to Garrard.


    Who's it gonna be?

    Jacksonville will win this game and remain tied for the lead in AFC South.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

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    Looking at the stats, I have been trying to figure out if either team has a bigger edge. The thing that stands out to me is the Pittsburgh running defense. The Steelers only allow 64 yards on the ground a game. With Ray Rice being such a big part of the offense, this could be a problem for the Ravens. Look for Ravens QB Joe Flacco to look for Anquan Boldin a lot during this game.           

    The defense for the Ravens has an advantage going into this game. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going to be playing with a broken foot. This will be a problem because Big Ben loves to make plays outside of the pocket. With his mobility out, look for the Ravens to create some blitzing schemes to beat the Steelers at the line.

    If the Pittsburgh Steelers want to win this game, they will need to balance the offense with Rashard Mendenhall and a passing attack from Big Ben.  The Steelers may go from shotgun a good part of this game because of the limited mobility of Roethlisberger and his gimp.


    Who’s it gonna be?

    The Baltimore Ravens.

    This will not be a high-scoring game. The defense of both teams will dominate. I see a similar score to the previous game this season. Neither team will score 20 points.

Game of the Week: New York Jets vs. New England Patriots

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    In what might just be the best game of the year (besides the Super Bowl), the 9-2 New England Patriots play host to the 9-2 New York Jets.

    Let’s look at the teams by position. First, quarterback: Tom Brady vs. Marc Sanchez. This year, Tom Brady has 2,700 yards with 23 TDs and only four INTs. He leads the NFL with a +19 TD/INT ratio and is looking like the leading candidate for MVP.

    On the other end, Mark Sanchez is having a good year himself with almost 2,500 yards and has already thrown 16 TDs. That’s four more than last year (his rookie season). Brady, obviously, still has the edge over Sanchez.

    That being said, a quarterback alone cannot win the game. Peyton Manning is proof of this. My focus is on the defense in this game. Look for the Jets defensive backfield to matchup well against the Patriots wide receivers.

    Darrelle Revis has the speed to keep up with Wes Welker and Antonio Cromartie will have no problem covering Deion Branch man-to-man. On the other side, the Patriots have the worst secondary in the league. Look for LaDainian Tomlinson to have a big day setting up the passing attack, led by wide receiver Santonio Holmes.


    Who’s it gonna be?


    This game will be close, but Sanchez will pull off another miracle win in the last two minutes of the game.