Welcome to Week 13. We are entering the final quarter stretch. 3 of the AFC
Can Big Ben (pictured above) lead the Steelers to a huge victory over their divisional rival Baltimore on Sunday Night despite foot injuries?
Divisions have ties at the top. The NFC West leader has a record of under 500. Plus the Vikings and Cowboys, 2 of the preseason favorites have a combined 7 victories. Parity. The NFL has it. And you got to love it.
Here is a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.
TheSportsKraze: 103 CV3: 107
I still got a ways to go to catch Mr. CV3.
Saints at Bengals: The defending Champs head to Cincinnati to take on a struggling Bengal’s team. This team has self destructed, and all parties involved are already looking towards next year. The Saints are perhaps involved in the best divisional race that the NFC has to offer. Expect Drew Brees and the phenomenal Saint’s aerial attack to pick apart a depleted Bengal’s secondary. Saints by 10 on the road.
Bears at Lions: Da Bears head to Ford Field to take on the 2 and 9 Lions. These are two teams heading in very different directions. The Bears have won 4 straight games and appear to really be coming together both offensively and defensively, while the Lions have lost 4 straight. In addition, the Lions have not even really looked competitive the past couple of weeks. It may be freezing in Detroit, but the Bears are going to continue rolling behind their stellar defense. Bears by 7 on the road.
49ers at Packers: Green Bay is doing all they can to keep up with Chicago and remain in the playoff picture while the 49ers have vaulted themselves back into the NFC West race. After starting out 0 and 5, the 49ers are now 4 and 7, and just 1 game out of 1st place. The 49ers have not really wowed me any respect all season though. And with Frank Gore going down for the season, they will struggle in the tundra that will be Lambeau on Sunday. The Packers need a win in a big way to stay in the playoff hunt and they will do just that in front of the home crowd. Packers by 3 at home in a freeze bowl.
Jaguars at Titans: Who would have thought that the Jaguars would be sitting atop the AFC South come December? I know that I did not. Jacksonville has looked very sharp lately, despite coming off a tough 4 point loss in New York last weekend. The Titans on the other hand have dealt with much inner turmoil and are currently on a 4 game losing skid. Well that skid ends this week as Jeff Fisher gets his team hyped, and lights a fire under Chris Johnson, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt, and the entire Titan’s offense. The race in the AFC South could involve 3 teams down the stretch. Titans by 6 at home.
Broncos at Chiefs: Times have changed. And in a hurry. The Broncos are now the AFC West bottom dwellers while the Chiefs sit at the top. The Chiefs sport the best rushing attack in the League while the Broncos sport one of the worst. In a cold weather atmosphere, running the ball efficiently is the key to success. The Chiefs are able to do this while the Broncos cannot. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones will be the difference in this game. Chiefs by 7 at home.
Browns at Dolphins: The Browns are playing good football. Yes I said it. The Browns are actually a team that can go out and beat most teams in this League. Peyton Hillis, a former 3rd stringer at Arkansas (granted he was behind Darren McFadden and Felix Jones) is turning into one of the best backs in the League. The Dolphins on the other hand are coming off a big time victory over a tough Raider’s team. Conventional wisdom would point towards the Dolphins winning this game considering they are playing at home. Oddly enough the Dolphins are just 1 and 4 at home this season. Maybe the distraction of that South Beach Basketball All Stars has hindered their performance? Whatever it is, I am taking the Brownies on the road by 3 in a great game.
Bills at Vikings: The Bills have played very strong football lately and really should have beaten Pittsburgh last weekend. The Vikings played better than they have played in a month in Washington last Sunday. My gut is telling me to pick Buffalo in this one, but logically, I am thinking to go with the home team. Expect Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, or whomever the Vikings throw in the backfield to have a field day. Vikings by 3 at home.
Redskins at Giants: This is a good old-fashioned NFC East throwdown. In the division that sports the best rivalries in the NFL, there are no gimme games. Sadly this year, the Giants appear to be far superior in every facet of the game. I fully expect the Giant’s extremely balanced offensive attack to shred a Redskin’s defense that is lacking in all sorts of ways. I got the Giants by 9 at home.
Raiders at Chargers: After a very slow start, the Chargers leapfrogged the Raiders last weekend in the suddenly very competitive race in the AFC West. Since a major victory in overtime over the Chiefs on November 7th, the Raiders have just looked abysmal. The Chargers on the other hand have looked awesome since Halloween in winning 4 straight games. And you better believe that the Chargers are looking for some payback from an October loss to the Oakland boys. The Chargers will exploit a weak Raider’s running defense which will open up the pass for one of the best QB’s in football, Philip Rivers. Chargers by 9 at home.
Panthers at Seahawks: The Panthers are probably the worst team in football. They are in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, and do not appear to be making improvement in any facet of the game. They can’t pass the ball. They struggle running the ball. And you better believe that they cannot stop the run. The Seahawks on the other hand have not been much better in getting blown out the past two weeks. Call me crazy but I am taking Carolina on the road. They are bound to win again sometime. Panthers by 1 in Seattle.
Falcons at Buccaneers: Two of the NFC’s best will link up in Tampa this weekend. The Bucs are coming off a tough loss to a very good Baltimore team and are looking to make a statement to the rest of the NFC. And I will admit that their chances to pull off the upset improve dramatically in getting to play at home, but the Falcons appear to be just too strong all around to drop this one. The Falcons are looking to remain atop the Saints in the NFC South and will put on a great performance in Tampa. Roddy White will have a huge day against a weak Buccaneers secondary. Falcons by 7 on the road.
Rams at Cardinals: The Cardinals have lost 6 straight games and in the words of Derek Anderson, “This isn’t funny.” Derek is right, but sadly for Arizona, they are playing a Rams team that continues to improve each week. Even with Arizona at home, I got the Rams behind rookie Sam Bradford to keep rolling. The NFC West is wide open folks. Rams by 3 on the road.
Cowboys at Colts: In September, this appeared to be a big time matchup where one of the NFC’s best would get to take on one of the AFC’s best. Sadly, the Cowboys did not pan out the way people expected. In addition, due to a plethora of injuries, the Colts have struggled more than people expected as well. Well expect those struggles to end. Peyton does not ever lose 3 games in a row. Though I think this will be a very close and high scoring affair, I got Indy by 3 at home.
Steelers at Ravens: What a matchup this will be. It is almost as good as the Monday Night Affair. The NFL got it right in scheduling the night games for this week. This is probably the best combo of Sunday Night/Monday Night games we will get all year. Both teams are rolling at the moment and are living large on their stellar defensive units. Earlier this year, Pittsburgh fell in a very close game against the divisional rival Ravens. You better believe that they still have that loss on their mind as they head into Sunday Night. Expect the Steelers to play inspired football behind a banged up Ben Roethlisberger. Steelers by 1 on the road.
Jets at Patriots: This may be the best matchup of the entire season thus far. These two teams realize the importance of this game in gaining a divisional title and possible home field advantage. Both squads are extremely familiar with each other and have been rolling. The Patriots have been winning behind an electric offense while the Jets have been relying on their great defensive unit and the timely big play offensively. The Jets beat the Patriots at home earlier this season by 2 TDs. Due to home field advantage and a chip on their shoulder from the earlier defeat, I got the Pats by 1 at home in a thriller.
Saints over Bungles by 16
Bears over Lions by 3
Pack over Niners by 10
Jags over Titans by 3
Chiefs over Broncos by 14
Dolphins over Browns by 1
Vikings over Bills by 17
Giants over Skins by 12
Chargers over Raiders by 2
Colts over Cowboys by 21
Rams over Cards by 7
Panthers over Seahawks by 8
Falcons over Bucs by 10
Steelers over Ravens by 10
Patriots over Jets by 14
This is just a great slate of games. The AFC will be much clearer after this weekend. The two night games are especially exciting though as both teams at the top of the AFC East and AFC North lock horns for divisional supremacy. Can Rex Ryan outsmart the ultimate coach in Bill Belichick? Who will survive the physical struggle that will ensue in Baltimore this weekend?
He could go all the way..or could he?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.