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NFL Pro Football 2010 Week 13 Picks

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 13 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | December 2-5

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, December 2

Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles (-8 1/2, 51) 8:20 pm - The Texans got an easy one last week, winning 20-0 over a disrupted Tennessee squad that was pretty much devoid of a quarterback. Houston played well enough to get to 5-6, but the Eagles, coming off a tough, 31-26 loss at Chicago will be a different kind of struggle altogether, the main task being containment of Michael Vick and defending against deep throws to game-breaker, DeSean Jackson, or equally dangerous Jeremy Maclin.

Houston QB Matt Schaub may find some holes in the Philly secondary, with Asante Samuel out, as the Bears did last week, and that could keep the Texans in the game. Statistically, the two teams are not that far apart, though the Eagles are better on both sides of the ball. with no big home-road advantage, the points favor the Texans, who keep finding new ways to lose close games, though if this one is not put away by the 4th quarter, Houston has a shot at a win.

Prediction: Eagles 28 Texans 24

Sunday, December 5

New Orleans Saints (-7, 47) at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm - The season can't end soon enough for the hapless Bengals, who by now must be considering picking up Ryan Mallett or Andrew Luck in the upcoming draft since Carson Palmer can't seem to command any kind of offense, even with quality receivers on his flanks.

The Bengals have lost eight straight while the Saints have rolled to four consecutive wins and are a solid 4-1 on the road. Making matters more untenable for Cincinnati is that New Orleans will be pretty much at full strength, though Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey are still listed as questionable. even if those two don't go, the Saints should find the Cincinnati defense to their liking. They are 27th in points allowed, at a miserable 26.2.

Prediction: Saints 34 Bengals 10

Chicago Bears (-3 1/2, 44 1/2) at Detroit Lions 1:00 pm - The Bears are on a serious roll, coming off a huge Sunday night win over the Eagles which gives them four wins in a row. Facing a divisional opponent with the luxury of playing indoors should suit the Bears just fine at this juncture. Detroit's season pretty much has gone by the wayside with the injury-departure of Matthew Stafford. Shaun Hill will be the likely starter for the Lions, who will also be without place-kicker Jason Hanson. The Bears' receivers are a little banged up, but should be fine, especially since Chicago seems to have relocated their running game of late.

This is a surprisingly short line, considering that Chicago is in the playoff hunt and the Lions' players may be looking at off-season vacation brochures more than watching tape. The one plus is that the Lions are 2-3 at home and still have quality receivers. The trick will be findng ways through the Bears' defense. They've limited seven different opponents to 17 or fewer points this season. Chicago won the first meeting, 19-14, on opening weekend.

Prediction: Bears 23 Lions 13

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (-9 1/2, 41 1/2) 1:00 pm - At first glance, this line seems a bit on the large side, though considering the 49ers have Troy Smith running the offense and said offense is ranked 31st in the league in scoring, at 17.0 points per game, maybe the generosity of the Vegas crowd is justified.

The Packers' 20-17 loss to the Falcons last week snapped a four-game win streak in which Green Bay outscored their foes by a combined 113-34, allowing only 10 points in the last three of those games. Only teams with exceptional defenses can put up those kinds of numbers, and the Packers are ranked #1 in scoring defense, allowing just 15.1 points per appearance. The 49ers aren't bad on that side of the ball, giving up 20.5 on average, but on offense, the Packers are miles ahead.

Aaron Rodgers hasn't had much trouble finding ways to score this season, and at home, Green Bay is 4-1. San Francisco is a feeble 1-4 on the road, and while everybody knows they need to keep winning if only to win the horrible NFC West, they still are a game behind both St. Louis and Seattle coming in. They also travel after a Monday night game, usually the kiss of death, even for good teams.

Prediction: Packers 27 49ers 14

Jacksonville Jaguars (na, na) at Tennessee Titans 1:00 pm - There's still a number of question marks surrounding this game, mostly centered on who or what will line up behind center for the Titans, whose season appears to be fading fast. Jacksonville can take control of the division with a win and a Colts loss, which may be in the cards against the impaired Titans.

Prediction: Jaguars 24 Titans 17

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-9, 48 1/2) 1:00 pm - Here's another big, fat line that begs one to take the points, because these two met just three weeks ago and the Broncos destroyed the Chiefs 49-29 in a game that wasn't even that close.

Since then, Denver has lost two in a row, while the Chiefs have won back-to-back dates, both by identical 18-point margins. The Broncos are hopelessly out of the playoff picture, even with a win, so, since they have nothing to gain, they might as well throw caution to the wind, play loose and put some hurting on one of their main rivals in the division. Kansas City is good and getting better, but that doesn't mean they'll necessarily play their best game of the season right here, though they will likely reverse the outcome of that disastrous first meeting.

Prediction: Chiefs 27 Broncos 20

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Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins (-4 1/2, 42 1/2) 1:00 pm - With two of the most unpredictable teams in the league squaring off, this game may be one to avoid. That said, it's interesting to note that the Browns are actually 8-7 since week 14 of last season, when they won their last four, and five of their losses this season have been by seven points or less.

Miami seems to just keep hanging on, overcoming adversity and playing as best they can, though now that Chad Henne is back at QB, they may be able to find some consistency, a quality that has eluded them of late. Since their bye in week five, the Dolphins have alternated between winning and losing, so, after beating Oakland last week, they're on course for another loss, which would make them 6-6, and consistently mediocre. The Browns are equally inept, at 4-7, and both teams have problems with the locale. Miami is 1-4 at home; the Browns are 1-4 on the road. Jake Delhomme will start at QB in place of Colt McCoy, and he was a winner last week against his old team, Carolina, in a 24-23 squeaker.

The teams are evenly matched, so taking the points would be advisable.

Prediction: Browns 23 Dolphins 21

Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings (-5 1/2, 45) 1:00 pm - Buffalo has proven to be one of the best teams ATS in the league over the past six weeks, while the Brett Favre melodrama extends beyond the point at which anybody cares. Minnesota has faint hopes of making the playoffs, while the Bills will take on anybody they can, usually losing, but always playing right up until the final seconds tick off.

Buffalo nearly beat the Steelers at home last week, losing in overtime, but these Bills have proven resilient, going 2-4 since their bye week, with all four losses being by exactly a field goal.

The 4-7 Vikings have to win their last five games in order to even have a thought of making the playoffs, though it remains a long shot. There are seven teams with records of 7-4 or better, and the Vikings have already lost to three of them - Chicago, New orleans and the Packers, twice. They may beat the Bills, but it's likely to be another struggle for them. Three of their four wins have been by four points or less.


Prediction: Bills 31 Vikings 24

Washington Redskins at NY Giants (-7, 43 1/2) 1:00 pm - After losing to the Vikings last week, Washington is on the ropes as far as playoff chances are concerned, though that's not the case with the G-Men, who slipped past Jacksonville last week and have caught the Eagles atop the NFC East.

This is the first of two meetings between these foes, so there isn't any record to go on, since the Redskins are a vastly different team than the one the Giants beat twice last season. The ATS line reads like this: The Redskins are 6-2-1 in their last 9 road games; the Giants are 1-4 over their last 5 home games. The points, boss, the points!

Prediction: Giants 27 Redskins 23

Atlanta Falcons (-3, 44 1/2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 pm - When these two met on November 7 in Atlanta, the game was a close one, with the Falcons coming out on top, 27-21, so it bears notice that the Falcons are again favored, but by a minimal amount. The Bucs need a win, lest they fall three games off the pace, putting their playoff hopes on hold.

Atlanta is a study in consistency, having won five straight and eight of their last nine, and while they are unbeaten at home, they are merely 3-2 on the road. Tampa Bay is 3-2 at home, and, at 7-4, a win here would put them squarely in the playoff picture, though still a game behind the Falcons and probably the Saints.

It's week 13, and this is where teams begin to make separation. If Tampa can somehow find a way through the increasingly-resisitant Atlanta defense, they may keep this close, though even at home, the odds are well against them springing the upset.

Prediction: Falcons 24 Buccaneers 14

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2010, 2011, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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