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Week Thirteen Picks

November 27th, 2014

What am I thankful for? Well, lots. But for the purposes of this silly blog, let’s stick to the subject of picking football games. I’m grateful for having had yet another decent showing straight up in week twelve. I finished 11-4 on the week, which makes me 118-58 (.670) for the season. I’m also grateful for the wisdom not to gamble on football (or anything). Against the spread last week, I was sub-.500 yet again, 7-8, which gets me to 83-91-2 (.477) for the season. And now I’m grateful that we’re back to full, 16-game slates through the next five weeks. Here’s what not to expect in week thirteen.

Chicago (+7) at Detroit
I’m sure the Lions are thankful for the fact that after taking a pair of beatings at Arizona and New England — over the course of which Detroit scored a total of zero touchdowns — they get to return home to host the hapless Bears. Chicago’s defense may actually make it look like Detroit has an offense. Lions by nine.

Philadelphia (+3) at Dallas
With first place in the NFC East on the line, you can bet the Cowboys are thankful for the Eagles’ glaring deficiency at quarterback. Sanchez throws his customary two picks and the Cowboys capitalize, if just barely, to win by a point.

Seattle (+1) at San Francisco
The 49ers should be thankful to the schedule makers for giving them a chance to host the first of two games between these two wild card contenders over the course of 17 days. Because home field on the short week is what makes the difference here. San Francisco by a field goal.

Washington (+9.5) at Indianapolis
I’m thankful for the opportunity to watch racist douche Daniel Snyder‘s team crash and burn. Again. Colts by two touchdowns.

Tennessee (+6.5) at Houston
Considering their difficulties at quarterback, the Texans no doubt have to be thankful for the Titans’ complete lack of anything resembling a run defense. Houston by 10.

Cleveland (+2.5) at Buffalo
After a “home” game played on the road, the Bills must be thankful to be back in Buffalo, where they’ll get the win they need to keep their fantasy of snagging a wild card spot alive, even if it’s only for a week. Bills by a field goal.

San Diego (+5.5) at Baltimore
The Chargers should probably be thankful for having got the opportunity to win a pair of easy home games over the past two weeks. They put a little break between the midseason three-game skid that ended San Diego’s playoff hopes and the five-game losing streak that will bring their 2014 to a close. Ravens by a touchdown.

NY Giants (-2.5) at Jacksonville
The Giants have spent the last week feeling thankful for having drafted Odell Beckham. They’ll spend the next week feeling thankful for having, you know, actually won a game. New Jersey by 13.

Cincinnati (-4) at Tampa Bay
The Bengals ought to be thankful for the fact that this week pits them against a truly terrible opponent. As a result, they get to hang on to their illusion of a half-game lead in the AFC North for another week. Cincinnati by six.

Oakland (+7) at St. Louis
The Raiders ought to be thankful that they won’t finish the season 0-16. That said, 1-15 remains a distinct possibility. Rams by a field goal.

New Orleans (+3.5) at Pittsburgh
I suppose the Saints could possibly feel thankful for the fact that they’re in division no one wants to win. Because that’s the kind of thing you want to have going for you. Steelers by seven.

Carolina (+3) at Minnesota
The Saints and Falcons should be thankful for the fact that the Panthers can’t actually take advantage of the opportunity they’ve been presented with. Vikings by four.

Arizona (-2.5) at Atlanta
One has to imagine the Cardinals are thankful for the opportunity to add a game to the win column at the expense of the NFC South leading Falcons three days after one of their rivals for the NFC West title will have handed a loss to the other. Cardinals by six.

New England (+3) at Green Bay
I suspect that by the time all is said and done, the Patriots will be more thankful than ever to have developed a Hydra-style ground attack. Because for all the talk of #12 vs. #12, New England’s best chance to win this very tough road game is to exploit the Packers’ weak run D to pile up points while keeping the Green Bay offense on the sideline. The reality is that we should expect the Packers to win this game on their field, but I’m picking the Patriots every week from now through next September (and quite likely beyond) until they give me a reason not to. New England by a field goal.

Denver (-1) at Kansas City
If the Chiefs are going to even up the season series and emerge from this game with a chance to capture the AFC West title (it’s ultimately not going to work out given these two team’s remaining schedules, but hope is hope), they’re going to have to come away thankful to Jamaal Charles for putting the team on his back. I think that’s what we see here. Charles has a big night and the Chiefs finally get a win over the Peyton Manning-led Broncos. Kansas City by three.

Miami (-5.5) at NY Jets
I suppose I ought to be thankful for the opportunity to make it an early night. Dolphins by 17. Game over by halftime.

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