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Week Thirteen, Post Thanksgiving, Picks

December 1st, 2013

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Tennessee (+3.5) at Indianapolis
If you can’t beat a team in your own building even after jumping out to a two-touchdown lead, you’re probably not going to bounce back 17 days later and beat them at their place. The Colts effectively wrap up the NFC South title by putting a three-game gap and the tie breaker between themselves and their only competition. Indianapolis by a touchdown.

Jacksonville (+7) at Cleveland
I suspect two wins in a single season is about all anyone can expect from the Jaguars. Browns by a field goal.

Tampa Bay (+7.5) at Carolina
Maybe it’s just that I still haven’t bought into the notion that the Pass Interferences are actually a good football team, but I suspect this game is going to be a good bit closer than expected. Carolina wins, but they do it with a late comeback and they only come out ahead by a point.

Chicago (+1) at Minnesota
On the road and with no hope of Jay Cutler leading them to a comeback victory, the Bears will be forced to sit back and watch Adrian Peterson run their already fading post-season hopes into the ground. Vikings by seven.

Arizona (+3) at Philadelphia
The winner of this game stays alive in the real NFC playoff hunt. The loser stays alive in the absurd race for first place in the horrible NFC East. Arizona by a field goal.

Miami (+2) at NY Jets
The loser of this game gets to start preparing for the NFL Draft. The winner has to keep pretending to be in the mix for the final AFC wild card spot. So, you know, that’s pretty exciting stuff. Here’s something real: The Jets not only have the worst giveaway/takeaway differential in the NFL (-16), but are tied with the other New Jersey squad for most interceptions surrendered (18). The Dolphins defense has logged the sixth most interceptions in the league, second most in the AFC (14). That should make for some interesting plays. Miami by four.

New England (-7.5) at Houston
The Patriots are pretty banged up. They’re also due for a letdown after last week’s huge comeback victory over the Broncos. So while they’re the better team by far in this matchup, don’t be shocked if the Pats need the full 60 minutes to win this thing and only come out ahead by a narrow margin. New England by four.

Atlanta (+3) vs Buffalo at the Rogers Centre, Toronto
OK, then. Um, Bills. By, oh, I don’t know, let’s go with six. That sound good?

St. Louis (+8) at San Francisco
Back in week four, when the Rams still had their starting quarterback, the 49ers traveled to St. Louis and came away with a 35-11 win. So what do you think happens here? I’m just going with Niners by 24 again, because that way I don’t have to think too much about it.

Cincinnati (+1) at San Diego
Heading into this game, the Chargers are in a tight race with the Ravens for the AFC’s final wild card spot. Coming out of it, the Bengals may find themselves in a tight race with the Ravens for the AFC North title. Chargers by a field goal.

Denver (-5.5) at Kansas City
The Broncos face a second straight road game against tough competition. The Chiefs have a chance to even the score against the Broncos, end a two-game skid, and retake the lead in the AFC West. The Chiefs also have to know that losing this game would effectively end their hopes of capturing the division and the conference one seed. And it’s beyond difficult to beat a talented division opponent twice in the same season. So, yeah, all signs point to a Kansas City victory. So, of course, I’m picking the Broncos to win this game. (Don’t worry, Chiefs fans. Your team will take the important one, when these teams meet again in the divisional round of the playoffs.) Denver by a field goal.

NY Giants (-1) at Washington
The Giants keep their fake post-season hopes alive for one more week before starting a three-game skid. New Jersey by six.

New Orleans (+5) at Seattle
Winner gets to host the rematch in seven weeks. And that winner is … Seattle, by a point.

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