Look Ahead into NFL Week 13

By Michael LoCoco
PSDC NFL Beat Writer

Ton of stuff to cover this week ladies and gentlemen. It’s been two weeks since a normal week of posting and I’m a day behind as it is. So let’s get to the pick recaps, my Thursday night pick and then all the action this weekend.

Week 11-12 Against the Spread 8-6 and 10-6 (92-72 Overall)

Thanksgiving and the week before were both solid weeks for me and have officially turned this year into a winner barring some incredibly bad picking weeks. My best picks over this span were easily the Lions on Thanksgiving picking them to win big and for believing in Brock Osweiler who I have been a big fan of for a long time. Time to keep the streak alive.

MY THURSDAY NIGHT PICK

Green Bay 27 Detroit 23

It’s pretty hard to undersell what a phenomenal finish this game was. Green Bay came back from 20 points down to avoid being swept by the Lions. Aaron Rodgers threw, on the untimed game-winning Hail Mary, possibly the greatest throw of all time. Now there might be some other throws that equal it, but in terms of distance, accuracy and arc that throw is likely at the very limits of human capability. It came straight down to Richard Rodgers, the tight end and he snagged it like a rebound. You can watch football another 40 seasons and not see another pro game end like that. Preposterous.

MUST WATCH GAMES 

Minnesota v. Seattle (No Spread) 

Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/USA Today Sports

This is the absolute game of the week. Two dynamite rushing attacks. Two athletic quarterbacks and two talented defenses. Both teams are in the thick of the playoff race. For Minnesota the pressure is on after Green Bay’s Motown Miracle. With Seattle then Arizona on a short week, the Vikings surely don’t want to risk losing two straight and putting Green Bay a full game up. They also know that a win keeps them in the hunt for the second overall seed. Seattle on the other hand, desperately needs to keep momentum after losing Jimmy Graham for the rest of the season (and potentially most of next season as well). It’s definitely crunch time.

There’s a reason this game is a pick ‘em matchup. These teams appear fairly evenly matched. The Seahawks do have the more seasoned quarterback, but the Vikings are at home. Ultimately though, the Vikings cannot match the Steelers for sheer volume of offensive air power. I’m not in love with the pick, but I think Seattle gets the win here.

(Seattle Wins)

 Pittsburgh vs. Indianapolis (Pittsburgh -7.0)

Surprisingly, the AFC South has become very interesting. This is a division where the upstart Texans are defying all earlier ideas about them and actually playing really solid football. Locked in a virtual tie with Houston, Indy wants to keep the pressure on the Texans. It won’t be easy though. The Steelers aerial parade looks daunting. That’s the other side of this particular coin. The Steelers want to stay in the AFC picture. As long as Big Ben is out there they have a shot. The Steel curtain looked like a rusty sieve against the Seahawks though. Ben may need to keep raining bombs if the Steelers hope to have a chance at a postseason run.

My read is that this is a tough matchup for the Colts. Matt Hasselbeck has looked stalwart thus far, but does he have it in him to win a shootout? I’m not sure he does. The Steelers can and have though and this team has the look of a club that can score a lot of points. Indy needs to force a mistake to keep it close, but they won’t.

(Steelers Cover the Spread)

 COULD BE GOOD

 Buffalo vs. Houston (Buffalo -3.0)

Two more teams fighting for their lives (sensing a pattern in what makes good December football?) makes this a game that could be worth watching. Houston’s defense has finally become what we thought it could be and Buffalo is desperately fighting to avoid their season becoming a true disappointment. Hopkins continues to catch literally everything for Houston and has become a true weapon.

My view of this game is that fans are still betting on Houston’s residuals. Flatly, they are simply the better club than Buffalo. I see this as a big statement win for them.

(Houston Beats the Spread)

New York Jets vs. New York Giants (New York Jets -2.0)

Once every four years is too rare for this matchup. A technical home game for the Jets, it’s more of a neutral site game as the Giants share a stadium with the Green Machine. In the Jets we have a team that doesn’t really to have a good sense of what they want to do. The Giants are part of the hilarity that is the NFC East. Tough to get a handle on this one.

Ultimately, in situations where there doesn’t seem to be a real clear advantage you fall back on the basics. Here the Giants have the better coach and the better quarterback. That’s enough to get it done.

(Giants Beat the Spread)

COULD BE GOOD

New Orleans vs. Carolina (New Orleans +7.0)

The best quarterback in the NFC South right now heads to New Orleans to take on the Saints. Cam Newton and the Panthers are all alone in the NFL as the lone unbeaten club. From here on out they get everyone’s best shot. This might be their trickiest matchup left, but they are leaps and bounds ahead of the Saints.

(Carolina Covers the Spread)

 St. Louis vs. Arizona (St. Louis +6.0)

This is an intriguing little matchup. The Rams have talent all over, but once again they underachieve and quarterback is an issue. Nick Foles is who we thought he was (worse actually). Still the Rams have consistently made a game of divisional contests over the last few years no matter the talent gulf.

(St. Louis Beats the Spread)

Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta (Tampa Bay -1.5)

It’s hard to believe how far the Falcons have fallen. They were the darlings of the NFL after their much better than anticipated start. They’ve absolutely cratered since then and Matt Ryan looks awful. However, look for them to get a little therapy session against the Bucs. I think Tampa is overplaying their talent level lately.

(Atlanta Beats the Spread)

Oakland vs. Kansas City (Oakland +3.0)

A matchup of two teams trying to squeak into the playoffs. Both have challenging matchups left and could use a win here. Overall though, Kansas City is a really hot team. Gotta like that despite all the injuries.

(Kansas City Covers the Spread)

Washington vs. Dallas (Washington -4.5)

Poor Dallas. This season just won’t end for them. It’s too bad as well. This matchup should be classic. Dallas plays two straight road games in six days against Washington and then in Green Bay who will have had nearly 10 days of rest. Unfair. Dallas knows what’s coming, but it won’t help. They’re beaten already.

(Washington Covers the Spread)

San Diego vs. Denver (San Diego +4.5)

No one really wants to lay serious money on Brock Osweiler yet despite his impressive victory over the Patriots and gritty win against a better than advertised Bears squad. If he does well again, as I expect him to, look for the “controversy” calls to get louder in Denver.

(Denver Covers the Spread)

Tennessee vs. Jacksonville (Tennessee -2.5)

Getting into the sticks here. There isn’t much compelling here. Both teams are basically just playing for next year. However, this is the time of year when coaches want to see grit and fire from young guys. Overall, I do see Jacksonville as the better club, even on the road.

(Jacksonville Beats the Spread)

Chicago vs. San Francisco (Chicago -7.0)

Two teams traveling in opposite directions. Chicago’s arrow is pointed straight up after the most potent win in recent years for them over the Packers. San Francisco is merely trying to get through this nightmare season so they can figure out how to run Kaepernick out of town. Chicago wins and wins big.

(Chicago Covers the Spread)

Cleveland vs. Cincinnati (Cleveland +9.5)

A traditionally competitive matchup and by that I mean 20 years ago when both teams were terrible. Since then the Bengals have learned to manage their cap and have a QB and don’t pass the time by firing them over and over and over. The Browns are starting something like their 24th quarterback in 20 years on Sunday. That’s insane. They deserve nothing.

(Cincy Covers the Spread)

New England vs. Philadelphia (New England -9.5)

If New England had Gronk I might pick them to win by 100, but they don’t. Whatever the obituaries might say, the Eagles have some talent. I don’t think this game is very close, but I do think it’s better than recent weeks for Philly.

(New England Covers the Spread)

Miami vs. Baltimore (Miami -3.5)

Blech. Baltimore I guess.

(Baltimore Beats the Spread)

Follow Mike on Twitter: @MichaelLoCocoWI

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