Here are my Week 13 NFL picks.
49ers vs. Rams: 49ers, 30-3. Did I say the Niners would win 30-3 last week? I meant this week. Sorry about that. Here’s why the Niners will crush the Rams: St. Louis ranks last in the league against the run. They give up 159 yards on the ground a game. That’s not a good baseline to work from against the Niners. Either St. Louis will let Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter beat them, or they’ll overload the box and Alex Smith will beat them. Smith proved against the Giants he could beat an overly stacked box, and the Rams D isn’t as good as the Giants D. The Niners D is built to stop a runner like Steven Jackson. The Niners flat out dominate this matchup.
Raiders @ Dolphins: Raiders. Oakland will prove they are for real with this win in Miami. The Dolphins are ranked 7th against the run, but the Raiders rushing offense is ranked 4th, and Michael Bush will get the best of the Dolphins. Matt Moore’s pocket will be constantly collapsing, and the Dolphins will struggle to move the ball on offense.
Broncos @ Vikings: Broncos: Adrian Peterson won’t play, so that means rookie quarterback Christian Ponder will have to throw lots of times, and that means he’s going to get sacked lots of times by Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Tim Tebow’s triple option offense will win another low-scoring game.
Bengals @ Steelers: Bengals: The Bengals lost to the Steelers by just seven points three weeks ago. I say the Bengals squeak this one out. Rookie wide receiver A.J. Green looks unstoppable and Andy Dalton knows how to get it to him. The Bengals also have a good running game with Cedric Benson. The Steelers run game has been ineffective for most of the year – they’re becoming increasingly one-dimensional on offense.
Falcons @ Texans: Texans: Everyone’s picking the Falcons in this one because the Texans have to start their rookie third-string quarterback, T.J. Yates. I think Yates will do fine – he’s going against the 23 ranked pass defense, he’s got one of the best wide receivers in the league in Andre Johnson, and one of the best rushing attacks in Arian Foster and Ben Tate. The Falcons defense is ranked second against the run, but they haven’t faced a duo like Foster and Tate yet. On the other side of the ball, Houston’s no. 1 ranked defense will shut down Matt Ryan and Michael Turner.
Panthers @ Buccaneers: Buccaneers. Josh Freeman is a game-time decision because of an injured throwing shoulder, but Tampa should win this game even if they have to start their backup quarterback, Josh Johnson. The Panthers are terrible on defense, especially against the run (ranked 28th), plus they’re ranked 26th in red zone defense, surrendering touchdowns 60 percent of the time. LeGarrette Blount should have a big game, rushing for 100 yards and a couple scores.
Titans @ Bills: Buffalo has lost four games in a row, and the Titans will make it five. Chris Johnson is scorching hot and the Bills are below average against the run – ranked 21st.
Chiefs @ Bears: Bears. I can’t see Tyler Palko leading these Chiefs to a road win any time soon, plus the Chiefs are ranked 26th against the run, and the Bears run offense is ranked 10th.
Colts @ Patriots: Patriots. New England scores 40 points for the first time this season.
Jets @ Redskins: Jets. LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene will both have big games against the Redskins subpar run defense. On the other side of the ball, Darrelle Revis will shut down Jabar Gaffney, and the Redskins offense will be out of options.
Cowboys @ Cardinals: Cowboys. It’s the 25th ranked pass defense against the 7th ranked pass offense. I’m taking the team with the 7th ranked pass offense.
Lions @ Saints: Saints. This will be a high scoring game, but the Saints will win it. Playing at home against a Suh-less Lions, the Saints should score 50 points. I wouldn’t be surprised if they scored 60.
Ravens @ Browns: Ravens. The Browns only hope is that Peyton Hillis has a big game. Hey, he’s had one against the Ravens before. On September 26, 2010, Hillis ran 22 times for 144 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore. But the Browns still lost by seven. They’ll lose this one, too.
Packers @ Giants: Packers. The only way Green Bay loses this one is if they take it easy on the Giants, and they won’t. That’s not how Aaron Rodgers plays. He always goes for the jugular, the kill-shot. And he’ll get it early in this one. The Packers will blow the Giants out, just like the Saints did on Monday.
San Diego @ Jacksonville: Jacksonville. From an outside observer it looks like the Chargers have quit on their head coach, Norv Turner. They’ve also lost six games in a row. I’m picking the other team.