NFL Picks Week 13: Pinpointing Week's Best Upset Specials

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent INovember 30, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 03:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins talks with Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants after a game at FedExField on December 3, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. The Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants 17-16. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The NFL has turned into a league ripe for upsets. It is a parity-driven climate, and with teams so close in talent, any game can quickly turn into an upset. This week will be no exception.

There will undoubtedly be an outcome or two this week that would be nearly impossible to foresee. In the three games I've highlighted below, however, the wrong team is definitely favored.

Check out all of my winners for the week, and then I'll point out the three teams I feel have the best chance of pulling off an upset.  

Langford's Week 13 Picks
Away TeamHome TeamSpreadPredicted Winner
Tennessee TitansIndianapolis ColtsIND -4Colts
Denver BroncosKansas City ChiefsDEN -3.5Broncos
Jacksonville JaguarsCleveland BrownsCLE -7Browns
Tampa Bay BuccaneersCarolina PanthersCAR -8Panthers
Chicago BearsMinnesota VikingsMIN -1Bears
Arizona CardinalsPhiladelphia EaglesPHI -3.5Cardinals
Miami DolphinsNew York JetsNYJ -1.5Dolphins
Atlanta FalconsBuffalo BillsBUF -3.5Bills
St. Louis RamsSan Francisco 49ersSF -9.549ers
New England PatriotsHouston TexansNE -5.5Patriots
Cincinnati BengalsSan Diego ChargersSD -1.5Bengals
New York GiantsWashington RedskinsWAS -1.5Giants
New Orleans SaintsSeattle SeahawksSEA -5Seahawks

No. 3: Miami Dolphins

Opponent: at New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 28:   Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins drops back to pass as  Bryan Thomas #58 of the New York Jets defends on October 28, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

I hesitate to pick against the New York Jets because at 5-6 this team already has more wins than I thought they'd get all season. 

That said, in the last two games, the Jets have resembled the team I thought they'd be all along. 

The Jets have made solid strides on defense this year, and they are the NFL's best against the run. However, the offense remains a serious liability. 

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Rookie quarterback Geno Smith has not thrown a touchdown in his last four games. In his last two, he's combined to throw five interceptions. That almost equals a third of his 17 completions in the last two weeks. 

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have been playing sound football. They are 2-2 in their last four in a stretch that includes solid wins over the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals and a close loss to the Carolina Panthers last week. 

What really gets me leaning toward this pick is that the Dolphins don't rely on the run game to score points. With the Jets' fierce run defense, they can be extremely dangerous against teams that rely on the run. 

The Dolphins are 30th in the NFL with 33.8 percent of their plays being rushing plays. 

Also, with the speedy Mike Wallace and strong-armed Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins will be able to exploit the Jets' inability to stop the long pass. 

No. 2: Chicago Bears

Opponent: at Minnesota Vikings

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 15:  Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears moves past Matt Kalil #75 of the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on September 15, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 31-30.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Ima
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The two-win Vikings earned a tie with the Green Bay Packers last week, and all of a sudden this makes them good enough to be a one-point favorite over the 6-5 Bears? I'm not buying that for a second. 

To be fair, there is more going into this spread than last week's tie. The Bears beat the Vikings by just one in Week 2, and that was in Chicago. Also, at 4.9 yards allowed per carry, the Bears are 31st in the NFL. That is not a good area in which to be struggling against a team that features Adrian Peterson in the backfield. 

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 15: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against the Chicago Bears during the second quarter on September 15, 2013 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

Still, the Vikings have been awful this season, despite Peterson's presence, for a plethora of reasons. Most notably, those reasons come in the passing game. The Vikings struggle to move the ball through the air or stop other teams from throwing. 

Josh McCown has done a wonderful job filling in for injured Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. He's thrown seven touchdowns against one interception this year and is hitting for an average of 7.47 yards per pass. That is actually better than Chicago's season average of 7.1 yards per pass, which ranks it eighth in the NFL. 

With the Vikings featuring a defense that is 29th in passing yards allowed per game, 26th in completion percentage allowed and 21st in yards allowed per pass, the Bears will find few problems moving the ball. 

This will be more than the rushing of Adrian Peterson can keep up with. 

No. 1: New York Giants

Opponent: at Washington Redskins

I don't understand how the Redskins are favored against anyone this week. This franchise is a mess. 

The Redskins have dropped three straight, and the offense is getting worse. Last week, against the 49ers, Washington mustered just six points. 

During all of this, there have been fair reasons for the public to question the chemistry of this team. The biggest evidence of a potential rift in the locker room can be found here:

And all of these struggles have gone on with a defense that has been awful all year. Washington is 28th in yards allowed per game and 31st in points allowed per game. 

As for the Giants, New York is coming off a painful 24-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but this surging team had won four straight prior to that.

With Andre Brown giving the Giants a legitimate running game and some offensive balance, New York will not find it difficult to score. Also, the Giants are seventh in the NFL in rush defense, and if they can slow down the Redskins' No. 1 rushing attack, the Redskins will be doomed. 

In other words, the Redskins are doomed.  

Team's season stats and rankings via