NFL Picks: Week 13

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst INovember 29, 2008

I'm 40-19 in my NFL picks this season, including 11-5 last week.  Without further ado...


San Francisco 49ers (3-8) at Buffalo Bills (6-5)

Both these teams suck, despite the fact that the Bills are over .500.  But Buffalo's defense is slightly better, so I'll go with them.

Pick: Bills 


Baltimore Ravens (7-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-9-1)

Ray Rice and Willis McGahee should have a field day, and Baltimore's defense will be more than enough.

Pick: Ravens


New Orleans Saints (6-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)

Drew Brees lit up the Packers' supposedly-stingy pass defense last week.  While a similar performance this week could do the trick, NFC South teams are 21-2 at home this season.  Along those lines, the Bucs are 5-0 at Raymond James Stadium. 

If Reggie Bush plays, that could be the shot in the arm the Saints need to get over the top.  However, he's questionable, so I'm not going to invest in him yet.

Pick: Buccaneers


New York Giants (10-1) at Washington Redskins (7-4)

The Giants have been firing on all cylinders for a long time.  If it hadn't been for that slip-up in Cleveland, the Giants would have a legitimate shot to be the only unbeaten team of 2008.  More than half of Washington's front seven is hurt, and so is Clinton Portis.

Pick: Giants

Miami Dolphins (6-5) at St. Louis Rams (2-9)

Look for Ronnie Brown to tear up the Rams' 30th-ranked run defense.  St. Louis's offense doesn't stand a chance of keeping up.

Pick: Dolphins


Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at Cleveland Browns (4-7)

Indy's offense looks to be its old self again, and it's doubtful that Cleveland's lowly pass defense will be able to change that trend.  Brady Quinn is out for the season (great, more Derek Anderson, Browns fans!), and Kellen Winslow is questionable. 

Pick: Colts


Carolina Panthers (8-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-6)

The Packers can't stop the run (the Panthers are best when they run the ball well), and their pass offense has been far more consistent and better than their running game this year, but the Panthers have a top-ten pass defense.

Pick: Panthers


Atlanta Falcons (7-4) at San Diego Chargers (4-7)

The Chargers are decent at stopping the run, but the Falcons' run offense is one of the best in the league.  And Atlanta's defense is getting better every week.  However, it still probably won't be enough to slow Philip Rivers, who is quietly having a solid season.  This one is going to be a shootout, and the Falcons generally win those.

Pick: Falcons 

Denver Broncos (6-5) at New York Jets (8-3)

The Jets are coming off a blowout win over the Titans, whose defense is as stout as it gets, in which they barraged the Titans with 34 points.  Even if the Jets pull off a similar performance against the Broncos, Denver has the offensive firepower to keep up with them.  This game should be a shootout, and Brett Favre's leadership is invaluable to keep a team that hasn't tasted this kind of success before composed.

Pick: Jets 


Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) at New England Patriots (7-4)

Both defenses are excellent, although the Steelers' is a good deal better.  But the Patriots have the league's seventh-best offense, while the Steelers' offense is 26th in the NFL.

Pick: Patriots 


Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) at Oakland Raiders (3-8)

Tyler Thingpen has eight touchdowns and three interceptions in the Chiefs' last three games (all against inferior pass defenses).  However, expect the Raiders' No.10 pass defense to slow him down.  Kansas City TE Tony Gonzalez will need to contribute in the passing game, and RB Larry Johnson will need to do the same in the running game.  Darren McFadden should have a field day against the Chiefs' pathetic run defense.

Pick: Chiefs


Chicago Bears (6-5) at Minnesota Vikings (5-6)

Both teams have great run defenses.  I side with the Bears because Kyle Orton beats Gus Frerotte.

Pick: Bears 


Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) at Houston Texans (4-7)

Steve Slaton is having a respectable year, as is Andre Johnson—and then some.  Jacksonville's defense is a little better than the Texans'.

Pick: Texans


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