Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 13

Romo vs Favre 

Following last weeks 10-6 mark my 2007 mark is up to 88-83-2, which is the best I have been in this hard to predict 2007 season. We have one Thursday game and the rest on Sunday, so let’s start off with our big Thursday night game that most of the nation won’t see, and we’ll go from there.

Green Bay at Dallas (-7)

The best two teams in the NFC square off in a classic showdown in Dallas. The winner will hold the cards for hosting possibly two home playoff games, and the edge upstairs since they will likely see each other again. Dallas leads the NFC with 358 points, but the Packers defense will be tough to move on. I expect to see Dallas run early to try and open up the passing game. For the Packer offense, they need to protect Brett Favre, and also need to make some plays in the running game to open up things throwing the ball. While the Packers have a better defense, I think this game will come down to the Cowboys playmakers on offense making plays. Look for a good game, but another Cowboys win. Dallas 27 Green Bay 17

San Francisco at Carolina (-3)

The 49’ers probably wish they could play the Cardinals every week, as they have beaten them twice and gone 1-8 against the rest of the league. The Panthers have issues of their own, going a staggering 0-5 at home this year. Frank Gore came back to life last week for the 9’ers, and they will need that again this week. The Panthers have little to offer on offense, and have scored 26 points in their last three home games. Expect a low scoring, ugly game with little fanfare. Carolina 14 San Francisco 9

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-6.5)

Earlier this season the Colts sent a message to the Jags by winning in their home on a Monday night. Now the Jags are hoping to return the favor at the RCA Dome. I think the storyline here will be if Indy is back to form on offense. They looked good after trailing last week vs the Falcons, and got the help of having a few extra days rest. The Jags have been playing great football, and are dying to show the league they can hang with the big boys with a win here. The Jags D-line will have to pressure Peyton Manning and make sure they don’t give up the big play. No matter the odds, I think the Colts still have enough here. Indianapolis 23 Jacksonville 14

San Diego (-5.5) at Kansas City

Things have gotten so bad for the Chiefs that they even lost to the lowly Raiders last week at home. RB Kolby Smith did a great job for KC, rushing for 150 yards in the loss to Oakland. It won’t be that easy this week, as the Chargers have a better run D, and last week they played well at home vs the Ravens. Antonio Gates should be in for another solid game vs the Chiefs D, and L.T. should be able to run on them as well to open up that passing game. Overall the Chargers are looking to secure the division, and this should be an easy way to start that process. San Diego 31 Kansas City 20

New York Jets at Miami (-1.5)

How in the world can the Fins be laying points here?! They are 0-11, have no offense (27 points in their last four games) and are banged up at the running back spot. John Beck did show some poise last week vs the Steelers, but he’s having usual rookie growing pains. The Jets were whopped by the Cowboys on Turkey day 34-3. They have to get back to getting to the QB like they did vs the Steelers two weeks ago, and they have to get back to running the ball like they did that game as well. Sorry Fins looks like 0-12 with another setback. New York Jets 24 Miami 20

Detroit at Minnesota (-3.5)

A big NFC North game with the Lions having dropped three in a row at 6-5 vs the Vikings who have won two straight to get back in the race at 5-6. Versus the Giants the Vikings were able to make some huge plays on defense, and also didn’t make any big mistakes on offense to stall drives. They will have to do that here as well, as the Lions click when they can force turnovers. Detroit has slumped badly the last three weeks, and they have to find a way to get the offense back on track. That won’t be easy here, as the dome in Minneapolis is still a tough place to play. Minnesota 21 Detroit 17

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-3.5)

The injury to Bucs QB Jeff Garcia and his outlook for this week will be the key to this one. If he plays I think the Bucs win this game. If he doesn’t play, I think the Saints will come out with a victory. Plain and simple – the Bucs are better when Garcia plays, and their offense is much more in tune with his style. The Tampa defense held the Saints in check in a 31-14 win back in week two. Last week the Saints started to show signs of again coming around, as they put up 31 in Carolina. I am going to say that Garcia doesn’t play, or doesn’t play the whole game, and the Saints come out on top. New Orleans 26 Tampa Bay 13

Seattle at Philadelphia (-3)

Matt Hasslebeck has been awful in his career vs the Eagles, and I think that Jim Johnson will continue to have tricks up his sleeve to try and combat that west coast offense here in Philly. Shaun Alexander may play, but don’t expect much from him. For the Eagles, the offense was much better with A.J. Feeley last week, and they should seriously consider starting him again. 345 yards and three scores will not happen again, but with the defense playing better, the Eagles should not need that type of effort this time. Philadelphia 17 Seattle 10

Atlanta at St.Louis (-4)

Please don’t make me spend much time on this game. Thank you. The Rams are the better team, the Falcons are a total mess and can’t tie their own shoes. Look for a big day from Steven Jackson, as he and Rams should improve to 3-9 on the season, the same mark the ugly Falcons will have when they lose this one. St.Louis 31 Atlanta 23

Houston at Tennessee (-4)

The Titans are free falling, losing three in a row to put their playoff dreams on life support. Last week vs the Bengals the defense was awful, allowing 35 points and not stopping anyone all day. This week the rival Texans come to town, and Vince Young is always up for this one vs the team that passed on him on draft day. The last time these two met, it came down to a last second field goal in a Titans 38-36 wild win in Houston. The Texans need to stop turning the ball over, and need to stick with the run more. They won’t be able to do either this week. Tennessee 20 Houston 13

Buffalo at Washington (-5.5)

It will be an emotional and difficult day for the Redskins, who will play with heavy hearts at the passing Tuesday of safety Sean Taylor. Washington will no doubt want to play well for their fallen teammate, and with the better defense, the Skins should be able to shut down a returning J.P. Losman and the Bills here. The Bills have worn down with the numerous injuries they have been plagued with, and at 5-6 their playoff hopes are quickly fading. Washington 24 Buffalo 14

Cleveland at Arizona (-1.5)

Should be an entertaining game between two teams that can score. At home the Browns are better, and this will be a tough challenge in the desert against a Cardinal team that felt they should have won last week vs San Fran. The Cards will try to establish the run with Edgerrin James, and they should be able to do that. The Browns have to attack the Cards with downfield passes, and then use battering ram Jamal Lewis to soften up the Cards D-line. I think the Cards will find enough points with their passing game and James leading the way against the Browns D. Arizona 35 Cleveland 32

Denver (-3.5) at Oakland

The Raiders finally got on the winning side again last week in KC with a win over the Chiefs. They ran the ball well, and Daunte Culpepper was not the turnover machine that he normally is. Now a much stiffer test in Denver, who is none to happy about losing a critical game to the Bears last week when they had a two-score lead in the 4th quarter. Mike Shanahan is 20-5 vs the Raiders, and if Jay Cutler can get some time to throw, he and the offense should have more than enough to put this game away by midway through the third quarter. Denver 31 Oakland 17

New York Giants (-2) at Chicago

This should be a very hard fought, physical game between two teams that are both hoping for play in January. The Giants suffered a huge setback last week with losing to the Vikings, and right now you have no idea what to expect from Eli Manning. The QB threw four picks, three for scores last week in the loss. The Bears came back and stunned the Broncos at home, keeping their playoff hopes alive at 5-6. This one could come down to a last play, and I think the Bears showed some life last week enough to keep it going against a Giants team that has dropped two of three. Chicago 27 New York Giants 24

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-9)

What a disaster Heinz Field was Monday night for that Dolphins-Steelers nightmare. Hopefully the field will get somewhat back to normal this week, as the Bengals come to town for a big AFC North showdown. The road team has won the past seven meetings, and the Bengals are back to showing they can be dangerous after last weeks 35-6 win over the Titans. The Steelers use the same recipe everytime they beat Cincy, run the ball, confuse Carson Palmer, and make a few big plays in the passing game. I think with Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes back and the field in much better shape, the Steelers improve to 9-3. Pittsburgh 27 Cincinnati 14

New England (-18.5) at Baltimore

The Ravens are on a downward spiral right now, having lost five in a row. After Monday night, it will be six. There is no way the Ravens as they stand right now, have the type of effort that the Eagles had last week vs the Pats in order to pull off this major upset. If they are even going to be close, they need to run the ball with success, and find a way to hit a couple big plays. That won’t be easy against the Pats D. On the other side, the Pats should be able to get the offense going early and often against a Ravens defense that has allowed 32, 33, 21, and 38 points the last four games. This one won’t be nearly as entertaining as the Eagles slugfest last week. New England 41 Baltimore 17

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