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Week 13 NFL Picks: Robert Griffin III Trying to Make a Dent in NFC East

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Thanksgiving was not so kind to my picks record last week, as I went 8-8, moving my record to 102-73 on the season. Heading into Week 13, time is running out for several teams hoping to make the postseason. Let's look at the games on tap for this week.

Week 13 Games Explanation Pick
vs. Two Losses, Same Team: When these two teams met a couple of weeks ago, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez dominated, but it was Graham's team that came out on top. The Saints were Atlanta's only loss of the season, and ideally, they'd like to mix their gameplan up and get the ground game going a little bit better. Atlanta has been a "struggling" 10-1 team over the past few weeks, so I'll take the Saints to get the sweep. Saints 31, Falcons 28
vs. Defensive Meltdown for the Elite: Isn't it unusual that over the past two weeks, the Texans' defense has allowed a total of 68 points? Fortunately, their offense is dynamic enough to combat those struggles, especially against a Titans' defense that is generous in yielding points. The Titans allowed 38 points to Houston the last time these two teams met, and I think we'll see a similar result this time. Texans 38, Titans 21
vs. Too Tough for Miami: These AFC East rivals are meeting for the first time this season. The Dolphins play New England twice and San Francisco once over their final five games, making for a pretty brutal schedule. They'll need to win at least one of those games to have a shot at the playoffs, but I don't anticipate that happening. Patriots 28, Dolphins 17
vs. The Start of a Run: You might not think that Buffalo is a playoff contender with a 4-7 record, but I'd say they probably have the easiest schedule in the NFL over their final five games. They can make a legitimate run for a wildcard spot, but it'll have to start against a Jaguars team that looks rejuvenated under Chad Henne. C.J. Spiller has been given the keys as the featured back in Buffalo, and he'll help carry them to a win. Bills 24, Jaguars 14
vs. Upset of the Week: The Colts continue to surprise me with their solid play, but while they are a 5-1 team at home, they are just 2-3 on the road. The Lions have dropped three games in a row this season, and their postseason hopes are quickly slipping away. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what area needs to improve on Detroit, but all-in-all, they just aren't a complete enough of a team. Nonetheless, I will go with Calvin Johnson to have a big day en route to the Lions snapping their losing streak. Lions 23, Colts 20
vs. Lowest Viewership of the Week: Why couldn't they flex this exciting contest into prime time? I have a personal investment in this game for fantasy football reasons; I need Jamaal Charles to go off against a weak Panthers run defense. While Kansas City will jump out to a surprising early lead in this week, I think Cameron Newton will bring the Panthers back late to keep the Chiefs at just one win. Panthers 23, Chiefs 17
vs. Someone Has to Look Dominant: It's been a rough start for Ryan Lindley, who has thrown 0 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in what has basically amounted to two starts so far. He'll be on the road against a Jets team that was embarrassed by the Patriots on Thanksgiving. The Jets aren't a good team, but they've had several "rebound" games this year in which they come back and dominate; they did it against the Colts a few weeks back. They'll do it again against the Cardinals. Jets 24, Cardinals 7
vs. Not Predicting a Tie: Didn't these two teams just play to a tie? It would be awesome if this game could go into overtime. This time, there is a new element thrown into the equation: Colin Kaepernick has replaced Alex Smith as the starting quarterback. This matchup might have been close the last time, but San Francisco will show their supremacy this time around. 49ers 28, Rams 13
vs. Jennings Complicated WR Position: In an interesting storyline this week, Greg Jennings is finally expected to return to action for the Packers. While Jennings has always been an asset for Aaron Rodgers, how will it effect the play time distribution of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones? The Vikings suffered a huge letdown against the Bears last week, and their fall will continue this week. Packers 20, Vikings 17
vs. Seahawks Struggle on the Road: With suspensions looming for their cornerbacks, the Seahawks need every win they can get right now if they hope to make the playoffs. They won't get it done against a Bears team that is superb with Jay Cutler under center; believe it or not, this is the first season I've really started to actually like watching Cutler play quarterback. Go figure. Bears 27, Seahawks 17
vs. Shootout of the Week: Despite a valient effort against the Falcons last week, the Buccaneers' winning streak ended. Things remain tough for Tampa Bay this week as they face the red-hot Broncos, who have won six games in a row. Peyton Manning wasn't as sharp as he usually is in the first half against the Chiefs last week, but the fact that Denver's defense continues to excel makes this the scariest team in the AFC in my book. Broncos 34, Buccaneers 28
vs. Charging Forward for an Upset: I want whatever "happy drug" Marvin Lewis must have put the Bengals on. After a four game losing streak midway through the season, the Bengals have now won their past three games by an average of 21+ points per game. The Chargers' slump reached an all-time low last week when they had Baltimore beat, but couldn't tackle Ray Rice on a 4th-and-29 play. I admit to wishful thinking this week when I say I'm taking the upset here. Chargers 23, Bengals 20
vs. Headline: The Steelers might not get Ben Roethlisberger back, but it looks like they'll have the services of Troy Polamalu and Antonio Brown. The Steelers' defense will make this another close game, but unless Pittsburgh's running backs really go off, Charlie Batch isn't going to lead any meaningful drives through the air. Ravens 16, Steelers 13
vs. Hopeless vs. Hopeful: I understand why this game was not flexed out (for ratings), but for entertainment purposes, I wish another game would've been moved here. The Eagles are a lost team at head coach, quarterback, and on defense right now. Dallas certainly isn't the most consistent team in the world, but they should stick it to Philly this week. Cowboys 28, Eagles 17
vs. Game of the Week: This should be a heck of a Monday Nighter -- with Robert Griffin III playing at the peak of his rookie season and Eli Manning snapping out of a slump last week, this game could make things very interesting in the NFC East. While I'd like to see Washington win for long-term value, I think the Giants' defensive line will contain Griffin enough as New York wins another close affair between these two teams. Giants 27, Redskins 24
vs. Monsoon Time? They are projecting a monsoon for this week's game. Oh, boy. I'll have my full game preview and prediction for this game on Saturday, so stay tuned! TBD

Survivor Pick:
I am 8-4 in survivor, riding a five-game winning streak after the Broncos beat the Chiefs last week. The teams I've used are GB, HOU, PIT, NO, and DEN. This week, I'll go with the Jets over the Cardinals.