PFT’s Week 13 picks

AP

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m quite thankful for my three-game lead through 12 weeks of action.

The three-game lead survived Week 12, because we split the four games on which we disagreed last weekend (I was right on Bengals and Browns, MDS nailed it with the Bears and Seahawks).

This week, with all 32 teams playing for the first time since Week Three, we disagree on only one game.  For all picks for Week 13, scroll down.

For the week, we were both 11-4.  For the year, I’m at 116-60 (65.9 percent).  MDS stands at 113-63 (64.2 percent).

Bears at Lions

MDS’s take: The Lions have gone from first place to on the verge of collapse, just as they did around this time last year. But the difference is that the Lions’ two-game losing streak has gone against two of the best teams in the league. Against the Bears at home, the Lions should be able to get back to their winning ways.

MDS’s pick: Lions 14, Bears 10.

Florio’s take:  The Lions can’t afford to stumble again, at a time when they can’t find the end zone.  Fortunately, they’ll be facing an opponent far less potent than the Cardinals and Patriots.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 31, Bears 20.

Eagles at Cowboys

MDS’s take: First place in the NFC East is up for grabs, and I’m leaning toward the Cowboys mostly because I don’t trust Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez. Although Sanchez is putting up plenty of yardage in Chip Kelly’s offense — three straight 300-yard games — I expect him to throw a couple of interceptions and the Cowboys to capitalize on his mistakes.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Eagles 21.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles won’t be capable of keeping pace with a Cowboys offense that will present a pick-your-poison dilemma for Philly’s defense.  The Dallas offense continues to fire on all cylinders, and it’ll be enough to secure the first of two games between these teams in only 17 days.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 34, Eagles 27.

Seahawks at 49ers

MDS’s take: The way the NFC playoff race is shaping up, it’s very unlikely that both of these teams can make the playoffs. The loser of this game will be on the outside looking in, without much time left to make up ground. The Seahawks made a statement last week against the Cardinals, and I think they’ll make another one on Thanksgiving.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, 49ers 13.

Florio’s take:   The Seahawks held serve at home against the Cardinals to keep Seattle’s playoff hopes alive.  The Seahawks now have a chance to break serve in Santa Clara — and in turn to deliver a potential death blow to the 49ers’ playoff chances.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 20, 49ers 17.

Washington at Colts

MDS’s take: Remember when there was actually a debate about who was better, Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck?  That feels so long ago. Luck’s team will whip Griffin’s team on Sunday, while Griffin stands on the sideline watching.

MDS’s pick: Colts 31, Washington 10.

Florio’s take:  In April 2012, this would have been one of the most anticipated games for the entire 2014 regular season, pitting the first and second overall picks n the draft against each other.  The game now has far less cachet, with Andrew Luck clearly the better quarterback and Robert Griffin III taking a seat on the bench.  Again.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 34, Washington 20.

Titans at Texans

MDS’s take: The loss of Ryan Mallett is bad news for the Texans in the long term because it prevents them from knowing whether he’s the type of quarterback who could be the face of their franchise. But for this week, Ryan Fitzpatrick is just as capable of helping Houston beat a bad Tennessee team.

MDS’s pick: Texans 31, Titans 17.

Florio’s take:  Ryan Fitzpatrick gets another crack at a team that gave up on him, playing quarterback for another team that gave up on him.  The latest team that gave up on him is better than the prior team that gave up on him.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 27, Titans 13.

Browns at Bills

MDS’s take: The Bills have gone through a long, rough week, and they emerged looking great in a big win over the Jets. I think they’ll keep it going against the Browns.

MDS’s pick: Bills 23, Browns 20.

Florio’s take:  The Bills return home after a detour to Detroit, and the Browns roll in with a chance to move to 8-4.  Perhaps the toughest game to call given what Buffalo did to the Jets on Monday night and in light of the fact that the Browns are the better team, the Bills have an extra level of motivation in this one, given the snowstorm that turned the region on its head last week.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 24, Browns 20.

Chargers at Ravens

MDS’s take: I think we can officially write off the loser of this one. The AFC playoff pool is just too deep for the loser to remain in contention. I like the Ravens’ chances in a must-win game at home.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Chargers 17.

Florio’s take:  Baltimore has started to make a push to the postseason with a win at New Orleans; the Chargers have won a pair of home games that they easily could have lost.  Baltimore seems to have the better talent on both sides of the ball to get to eight wins before San Diego.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 27, Chargers 20.

Giants at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Giants’ season is a mess, but they’re still better than the Jaguars. This looks like it’s going to be a lousy, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Giants 15, Jaguars 7.

Florio’s take:  Tom Coughlin heads back to Jacksonville.  Some may want him to stay, if the Giants decide they want him to go.  On the field, always take a Manning against a Bortles.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 24, Jaguars 17.

Bengals at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Bucs have played competitive football at times, but on balance they’re a pretty terrible team. The Bengals remain the leaders in the AFC North, and they won’t lose their lead in Tampa Bay.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 27, Buccaneers 7.

Florio’s take:  Another game not on national TV, another appearance from the Dr. Jekyll version of Andy Dalton.  The good news for the Bucs is that they’ll likely still be only two games out of first place after this one ends.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 27, Buccaneers 17.

Raiders at Rams

MDS’s take: I’m impressed with the way the Rams are playing, even though they have no chance of getting to the playoffs in the tough NFC West. Put the Rams in the NFC South, and they’re in the playoffs. Those are the breaks. At least they’ll whip the Raiders in the battle of former Los Angeles teams.

MDS’s pick: Rams 28, Raiders 14.

Florio’s take:  The Raiders have their one win for the season.  The Rams have fewer than they should.  To make this one more interesting, the winner should get dibs on L.A.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 27, Raiders 14.

Saints at Steelers

MDS’s take: I have a simple philosophy: I’m not picking the Saints outside, in a cold-weather city, against anybody. The Steelers will take this one and remain in the AFC North race, while the Saints will lose and remain in the NFC South race because the NFC South is terrible.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 27, Saints 17.

Florio’s take:  The Saints have lost three games in a row at home.  So it would be fitting for them to win one in Pittsburgh.  But the Steelers are rested and ready and aware of the importance of getting an eighth win in a division of seven-win teams.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 24, Saints 20.

Panthers at Vikings

MDS’s take: I liked the way the Vikings’ defense played against the Packers last week, and if Teddy Bridgewater can just avoid making too many mistakes, Minnesota can win this one. Against a better defense I wouldn’t have a lot of faith in Bridgewater, but against the Panthers’ defense, the Vikings can win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 16, Panthers 10.

Florio’s take:  The Vikings win the games they should and lose the games they should.  They should beat the Panthers, swarming Cam Newton with a potent pass rush and methodically gaining yards with a running game and passing game that are good enough to move the ball against a struggling franchise.  Yes, the Panthers are still pushing for a playoff berth.  The Vikings, however, are trying to lay the foundation for long-term success.  Winning winnable games is part of the culture change over which Mike Zimmer is presiding.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Panthers 16.

Cardinals at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Cardinals aren’t as good a team with Drew Stanton as they were with Carson Palmer, but they’re still a whole lot better than the Falcons. Bruce Arians will have his guys ready to bounce back from last week’s loss in Seattle.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 24, Falcons 10.

Florio’s take:  Have two division leaders in late November ever had a gap this big in overall quality?  The gap will be obvious, with or without poor clock management.

Florio’s pick:   Cardinals 23, Falcons 13.

Patriots at Packers

MDS’s take: It’s the best game of the day and one of the best games of the season. The Packers have played excellent football at home, but the Patriots are the best team in the NFL and will show it in Green Bay.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Packers 28.

Florio’s take:  I’ve gone back and forth on this one, and I finally need to pick a horse.  Given the ability of Patriots coach Bill Belichick to construct a game plan perfectly suited to each and every game, look for the Pats to grind the clock, keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines, actually cover Jordy Nelson, and ultimately prevail on the only stat that matters — points scored vs. points allowed.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Packers 24.

Broncos at Chiefs

MDS’s take: If Denver takes this one, the AFC West race is all but over. Although the Broncos have been inconsistent of late, they haven’t had a loss as bad as the Chiefs losing in Oakland last week. I like the Broncos to complete the season sweep of the Chiefs and take control of the division.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 34, Chiefs 20.

Florio’s take:  The Broncos have looked vulnerable in recent weeks, and Chiefs continue to be one of the toughest teams to beat at home.  Eric Berry’s absence hurts them from a football standpoint, but it will further galvanize a franchise that has overcome plenty of adversity in recent years.

Florio’s pick:   Chiefs 27, Broncos 24.

Dolphins at Jets

MDS’s take: Losing to the Broncos on Sunday may have knocked the Dolphins out of realistic playoff contention, but they’re still a much better team than the Jets. Miami takes this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 34, Jets 17.

Florio’s take:  The Jets were a “zillion ways” better after the bye, and it wasn’t nearly enough to hand with the Bills.  The Dolphins are better than the Bills.  Not even Jumbo Elliott could make a difference in this one.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 27, Jets 13.

85 responses to “PFT’s Week 13 picks

  1. If Rex Ryan gets fired at the end of this season, we should then boycott and not buy any Johnsons & Johnsons products.

    Fire IDZICK now!!

  2. “and in light of the fact that the Browns are the better team, the Bills have an extra level of motivation in this one”…….Mike, please explain to me from top to bottom where the Browns are better than the Bills……you can’t because they aren’t. And your other statement that the Dolphins are better than the Bills (they did split), please tell me from top to bottom where they are better (maybe QB), but it ends there. How much football do you watch. The Bills have the best defense in the NFL……..Dolphins defense isn’t even close. I do give you credit though for picking the Bills this week, but again, the Browns don’t have a better football team.

  3. Browns vs. Bills is a dog fight and should be one of the most intense games of the week.

    Both teams need to win to stay in the playoff picture and the wild card slots are very much up for grabs/

    Cleveland wins a thriller because they have better receivers overall and an edge in the running game 24-21.

  4. 2difshoe – You have seen the Lions the past several weeks, right? That offense is terrible. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears came in and had a monster day on offense, because no one sees it coming.

    Either way, panic mode would be starting to set in for me if I were a Lions fan…Multiple bad showings by the offense.

  5. The visiting Patriots are a better bet to win the battle of the trenches. They are more likely to establish a running game and more likely to shut down Green Bay’s.
    .

  6. I can agrue all day that my Packers will beat the Patriots. But then again I can’t. Gonna be a helluva game.

  7. I have no idea who will win the Packer/Patriot game (and frankly neither do you). What I DO know is that this game will be awesome. Top teams from each conference…. two of the best QB’s in the NFL…. played at Lambeau.
    Three great games on Thanksgiving, and then this game on Sunday. Should be great week of NFL football.

  8. How are the Dolphins out of realistic playoff contention at 6-5?? They have the Vikings, Ravens at home and the Jets twice! Sure the Patriots game is probably not going to happen but the Fins can with a win at home against the Ravens are a realistic 10-6.. that’s a realistic playoff record… C’mon man!

  9. “Fortunately, they’ll be facing an opponent far less potent than the Cardinals and Patriots.”

    Didn’t Az play with Drew Stanton at QB? I mean, I agree with you that the Bears are the worse team, and fully expect them to lose. And unfortunately, I’m a Bears fan, but thankfully I’m working till 2pm, so I’ll miss it.

  10. Pats over GB (and getting points) is stealing money. If NE gets it going offensively early, they win by 10+.

  11. tunesmith173 says:
    Nov 26, 2014 10:29 AM
    Very surprised that you both picked Packers over Pats. While NE is invincible at home, they’re not as strong on the road

    I dare say the Pats second best performance this season in terms of strength of opponent was in Indianapolis (Denver being #1, but that was in Foxboro).

  12. The Dolphins are now better than the Bills becuase they won the last time they played? they did split the season series and also were swept in the series last year…but yeah they are better becuase they hung with an injured Denver team…this article should be called flavors of the week not picks.

  13. 19-13 Niners. 2 inept offense’s going at it. Both quartbacks with almost exact same stats, 1 everybody says sucks and 1 hawk fans think is an mvp god. – Niner fan.

  14. Patriots 35 Packers 21.

    Brady opens the scoring with an 84 yard bomb to Edelman. The Packers make it close in the 3rd quarter, then Danny Amendola returns the kickoff 99 yards for the back breaking score. The Packers for some bizarre reason put a 3rd string tackle up against the Patriots best pass rushers and Rodgers doesn’t have a chance the rest of the game.

    Then we find out after the game Parcells I mean McCarthy has already agreed to join the Jets.

  15. The Bears will not have a “monster” day, whoever posted that. The Lion’s D is still pretty good, despite last week. Hope you don’t get shut out.

    Whether the Lion’s can score points is another thing, but maybe the D can score a couple TD’s.

  16. The Broncos haven’t had a loss as bad as the Chiefs loss to the Raiders? Did we all forget last week? The Broncos loss to the Rams was more lopsided than any Chiefs loss this year.

  17. I don’t know how the Browns are able to be matter of factly stated as a better team than the Bills, but I also wouldn’t matter of factly state the Bills are the better team.

    These are 2 very even, solid but not great teams, who are a year or so away. But you flat out cannot say that the Browns are the better team, or that the Bills are the better team. An argument can be made either way for each team.

    Bottom line, it’s going to be a good game, with 2 tough defenses.

  18. I don’t see the Patriots losing to Greenbay unless one (or more) of three things happen

    1. Revis or Brady oversleep the game
    2. Patriots turn the ball over possession after possession as they did in KC
    3. Patriots trade Vince Wilfork to Greenbay to shore up a bad run defense forcing the Patriots to be one dimensional on the road.

  19. It’s hard to believe the Eagles will win in Dallas on a short week, but the Cowboys seem to play worse at home than on the road. I wish Nick were starting and Ryans was healthy.

  20. mn1288 says:
    Nov 26, 2014 10:07 AM

    2difshoe – You have seen the Lions the past several weeks, right? That offense is terrible. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears came in and had a monster day on offense, because no one sees it coming.

    Either way, panic mode would be starting to set in for me if I were a Lions fan…Multiple bad showings by the offense

    ———————————————————————-

    Mn1…you have seen Chicago’s offense lately haven’t you !
    Trestman is in over his head, good guy but not NFL head coach ready….and I am a Bear fanatic !

  21. Two years ago on Thanksgiving night we got the buttfumble, last year on Thanksgiving night we got Mike Tomlin jumping in front of Jacoby Jones.

    What will we get on Thanksgiving night this year?

  22. Lol the seahawks sorry offense?! We would have put up 30 on AZ and there has been countless holding calls on offense that brought 30 or 40 yard scrambles by the beast. It will take everything for the 49ers to win… I doubt it though

  23. Pats are on the verge of taking the lead late in the 4th quarter vs the Pack….Edelman drops a clutch 4th down pass from Brady.

    Gisele goes off on how inept Edelman is (Welkeresque) and the Pats season implodes.

    Welcome to the Broncos in ’15 Mr. Edelman

  24. Yea because the almighty Jags defense is much better then the Dallas defense the Giants put up over 20 points on. Yea that for sure will be a low scoring game..

  25. The Dolphins still have a good chance to make the playoffs. Beat the Ravens, vikings and jets twice were in. All the other teams in the playoff contention have WAY harder scheduled and play against each other. Oh yeah we also have a good chance of beating the pats. Phinsup

  26. Ravens are going to beat down on the Chargers on Sunday.

    Ravens 30
    Chargers 10

    And Packers will upset the Patriots on Sunday in one of best games in years.

    Packers 37
    Patriots 33

  27. If the Pack play the way they did against the Eagles I think they win. If they play the way they did against the Vikes I think they lose.

  28. “On the field, always take a Manning against a Bortles.”

    That was pretty amusing. I don’t know, I’m a Giants fan and the way this current team has played inconsistently, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags pull one out. I’ll be watching while having a cold one regardless, nothing like football.

  29. Packers over Patriots is no “upset.” Watch Eddie Lacy rack up all-purpose yards, with nearly 100 yds each rushing and receiving. That is your x-factor. That secondary won’t like to tackle 27 and he will run over them. Make no mistake, no blowout either way but I like the Packers in a relatively high-scoring game. 37-34

  30. Some of the games where Players are not playing for Playoff births but pride will be the best games.
    Browns, chargers and Vikings will be playing for their Coaches..

  31. tundrastruck says:
    Nov 26, 2014 12:31 PM
    Packers over Patriots is no “upset.” Watch Eddie Lacy rack up all-purpose yards, with nearly 100 yds each rushing and receiving
    ————————————-
    Has that ever happened in any game in his career? I’m going to say no. I’d guess he will be closer to his average of 65 yards rushing and probably 30 yards receiving. But he will definitely clean up at the buffet table!

  32. jvibottomline says: Nov 26, 2014 10:59 AM

    Seattle has won in the Bay Area since 2008, won’t do it Thursday either, BOOK IT!

    ===================================
    No. Seahawks haven’t won at Candlestick since 2008. The field of jeans is an away game for the 9ers; neutral ground and the hawks roll.

  33. Chiefs will spank the Donkos at home.

    Last game the the Donkos were playing better, the Chiefs were playing worse, the weather was nice, and that game came down to the wire.

    35-17.

  34. If you look at the Browns combined opponents record in games they won, it’s pretty pour. Don’t base who’s a better team by records.

  35. I called Browner on Megatron and i’m doing it again with Jordy. The Patriots can cover Cobb and Jordy and truly frustrate Rodgers. Not only that, but they’re actually better suited for the elements. If GB actually instituted some power football (draws with a 230 lb boulder aren’t the way to get it done) I’d give them more of a chance. I think the Patriots run it down their throat and show everyone that Gronk is truly the best non-QB offensive player in football. Rodgers ability to run the ball is the only thing that scares me, but the Patriots play with bad intentions right now and it might not be wise for him to them often.

  36. Aww crap, they both picked my Rams. The way things are going for them, means the Raiders’ll have a two-game win streak…

  37. gottaplan says:
    Nov 26, 2014 10:36 AM
    How are the Dolphins out of realistic playoff contention at 6-5?? They have the Vikings, Ravens at home and the Jets twice! Sure the Patriots game is probably not going to happen but the Fins can with a win at home against the Ravens are a realistic 10-6.. that’s a realistic playoff record… C’mon man!
    =================

    Have you looked at the AFC standings recently? 10-6 looks like a good way to be the Cardinals last year – losing out of the playoffs in a tiebreaker scenario.

  38. I’m an Eagles fan, and if I was picking this game as an analyst I’d have to pick the Romos, too. One statement I don’t understand is how we “can’t keep up” with the Dallas offense. I don’t know about that. If Sanchize takes care of the ball, I think the Eagles can and will. What worries me is our secondary. If Bryant and Witten make plays over human turnstyles Fletcher and Williams, it’ll cost us points and open up Murray on the ground. That’s the key.

  39. “Not only that, but they’re actually better suited for the elements. If GB actually instituted some power football (draws with a 230 lb boulder aren’t the way to get it done) I’d give them more of a chance.”
    —————————–

    I would take the power run game of Eddie Lacy, James Starks and the Packers over Jonas Gray, LeGarrette “Smokin'” Blount and Ben Vereen Jr. anyday of the week.

    The Packers always get this rep from the uninformed that says they are a soft team that throws it 60 times a game and can’t play D. Heard it all through the 2010 Super Bowl run (James Starks had 350+ rushing yards in the postseason that year), heard it in 2007 (Ryan Grant (RYAN GRANT!!!) led the league in rushing from Week 8 on that year, and I hear it from Viking fans every week…and they are 1-9-1 against the Packers in the last half decade and just had Lacy pound them for 125 and a TD on the ground and another TD on a screen.

    Don’t be like a Viking fan.

  40. I don’t like the Patriots, and I hate the Packers, but damn straight I’ll be watching that game. If both of those teams play up to their ability it should easily be the best football that has been played this season and potentially one for the ages.

  41. Game of the day. Game of the week. Game of the year.

    I’m afraid to make a pick. I pick the Pats and they lose. I don’t pick the Pats and they lose. I just have a bad feeling about this one.

  42. slipperpimp says:
    Nov 26, 2014 2:15 PM

    Have you looked at the AFC standings recently? 10-6 looks like a good way to be the Cardinals last year – losing out of the playoffs in a tiebreaker scenario.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    True, but the Fins have the easier schedule going forward and they also own some tie breakers. My argument is that 10-6 or 6-5 is not out of “Realistic” playoff contention. They could end up on the outside looking in… but there is a realistic chance they make it with a 10-6 record.

  43. Ironically enough, the last time the Pack and Pats played was the game that propelled the Pack to winning the Super Bowl,, even though it was a loss.
    It’s not too often that a player is exactly what you thought he was when you drafted him. I think the Pack has kept Lacy’s carries down by design and they’re starting to use him accordingly.

    As a Jeep owner, you don’t buy one for the gas mileage. You don’t buy one for Sunny and 70. You buy one to run in the mud and snow in Four-wheel Drive. Lacy’s a Jeep.If Lacy keeps the Pats , or anyone for that matter, honest, they’re going to be tough to beat in Lambeau.

    Can’t wait for Sunday!! It could be the best game of the year. Aint gonna make a prediction, but GO PACK!!!!

  44. Here in Raleigh, we’re stuck with Panthers- Vikings as the only game at 1pm.

    What contest in Hell did we win? Who picks these games, Helen Keller?

    Hello Overtime Sports Bar.

  45. “Why do you use every team’s nickname but the REDSKINS’?

    Because they are “Enlightened” and you are a stupid American.

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