NFL: Week 13 Picks

By: S. Davis

It’s extremely hard to get excited for my favorite holiday when the weather in Southern California rarely changes – and I’m used to, I don’t know, fall and winter temperatures for this time of year. (It’s going to be anywhere from 77-82 degrees as turkey…or tofu, in this state, browns in the oven. Does tofu get that majestic brown sheen when baking?) I’m going with Cornish hens, mashed potatoes, corn, Brussels sprouts, stuffing and wine for my personal menu.

Isn’t this supposed to be about football?

Every team is playing this weekend – no byes – and some nice division games will, hopefully, start to separate the contenders…unless you play in the NFC South. On that note I’m hoping that some team in that division wins it with five or six victories…and gets to host a home playoff game (because that would be fair).

Why is a seeded playoff format being ignored?

Last time I checked teams preach winning actual games. The 10-6 Arizona Cardinals of last season and the 11-5 New England Patriots of 2008 were on their couches during the knockout round. Both the 2008 New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who each finished 10-6, watched the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks host (and beat) the 11-5 New Orleans Saints. No team that earns double-digit victories – in a league where 16 regular season games are played – should ever miss the postseason tournament. Ever.

I’d even favor complete playoff seeding. Imagine a Patriots-Broncos Super Bowl (or Green Bay-San Francisco; Philadelphia-Dallas, etc). Just because a system is in place doesn’t mean it cannot be tweaked. Seed all teams by record and division winners can still get their precious banner but will not be guaranteed to host a game – or claim a playoff berth unless they have, at least, a .500 record.

Thanksgiving slate of games:

Chicago 27 @ Detroit 24: The Lions aren’t going to drop their third consecutive game, right?

Philadelphia 31 @ Dallas 34: Two 8-3 teams will battle it out for control of the NFC East, well, until they meet in two weeks. This one could go either way but since I feel these teams are evenly matched, the home team gets the nod.

Seattle 17 @ San Francisco 19: We have a Thanksgiving playoff game here because the loser could possibly miss the playoffs due to the NFC South and the tricky (re: putrid) wild-card structure the league refuses to alter.

The rest of Week 13:

Washington 17 @ Indianapolis 31: I could see Robert Griffin III looking across the field at Andrew Luck – and playing out of his mind. I could but Luck is in a different quarterback book when comparing the two of them; Griffin looks like he has no idea what’s going on once he snaps the ball. Update: Colt McCoy is starting this week, instead of Griffin, according to Sports Illustrated, ESPN and NFL.com.

Tennessee 13 @ Houston 20: Texans…or maybe another tie.

Cleveland 16 @ Buffalo 23: Just playing at home and the energy from the crowd could push the Bills all day long. They’ll be too much for the Browns to handle.

San Diego 27 @ Baltimore 31: Ravens.

NY Giants 21 @ Jacksonville 13: Giants.

Cincinnati 23 @ Tampa Bay 14: The Bengals, I guess.

Oakland 16 @ St. Louis 19: Rams?

New Orleans 20 @ Pittsburgh 24: The Steelers have a tendency to play to their opponents’ level – the Jets loss in Week 10 – so I always deliberate before selecting them to win. The Saints just aren’t a good team on either side of the ball right now so they should not win this game; a field-goal wins it late.

Carolina 17 @ Minnesota 23: Vikings.

Arizona 17 @ Atlanta 16: I want the NFC South teams to keep losing. Actually I would love for the Buccaneers to win their next three games to get back in the division race that’s taking place.

New England 24 @ Green Bay 27: The Patriots are taking away every top receiving threat they’ve faced, lately, but Aaron Rodgers is going to spread the ball everywhere. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will get their fair share of attention but I won’t be shocked if they’re limited and Rodgers still throws for over 300 yards and three or four TDs. This is a true Super Bowl preview, enjoy.

Denver 24 @ Kansas City 20: Broncos. Get well soon, Eric Berry, I am rooting for you to overcome the fight you have ahead.

Miami 20 @ NY Jets 10: The Dolphins impressed me by pushing a Broncos team that’s supposed to be improved on defense so I’m not going to pick the Jets to slow their offense. Don’t stink this up, Dolphins.

Last Week: 12-3
Season: 121-55

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