Surviving Week 13
Last week, I nearly bit it with the Jets, but all's well that ends well. Almost nobody else lost as every sizeable favorite handled its business fairly easily, with the exception of the Steelers who held off the Chiefs. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
|Team ||Opponent ||% Picked* ||Vegas ML** ||Vegas Odds
|49ERS ||Rams ||32.60% ||600 ||86%
|BEARS ||Chiefs ||23.30% ||310 ||76%
|PATRIOTS ||Colts ||20.00% ||2000 ||95%
|Ravens ||BROWNS ||6.30% ||260 ||72%
|SAINTS ||Lions ||5.60% ||370 ||79%
|STEELERS ||Bengals ||1.90% ||260 ||72%
|Jets ||REDSKINS ||1.90% ||150 ||60%
|BUCCANEERS ||Panthers ||1.70% ||175 ||64%
|Cowboys ||CARDINALS ||1.70% ||200 ||67%
|Broncos ||VIKINGS ||0.90% ||+120 ||45%
|Chargers ||JAGUARS ||0.80% ||135 ||57%
Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com
** average of the two moneylines
1. New England Patriots
This pick needs no explanation, though most of us have already used the Pats. The Colts are whopping 21:1 dogs, giving them just a five percent chance for the upset. Of course, this doesn't pass the "airplane test," i.e., if a plane had a five percent chance of crashing you would not get on it, but for the NFL this is as close as it gets. I'd give the Pats a 93 percent chance of winning this game (slightly less than Vegas does).
2. San Francisco 49ers (My Pick)
The Niners have handled weaker teams easily this year, and they're at home with 10 days to stew over a tough road loss on Thanksgiving. The Rams did pull off a huge upset win over the Saints, and that was with A.J. Feeley
at quarterback, so anything's possible, but the Niners defense and running game should be a big problem for St. Louis. I give the Niners an 84 percent chance to win this game.
3. Chicago Bears
didn't play that terribly under the circumstances last week, and the Chiefs have their own problems at quarterback. But Kyle Orton
could start against his former team this week, and the Chiefs played well against Pittsburgh, albeit at Arrowhead. I give the Bears a 76 percent chance to win this game.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers beat the Bengals in Cincinnati a few weeks ago, and now Cincy is without top cover corner Leon Hall
. But the Bengals have not lost any game this year by more than seven and were competitive against the Steelers and Ravens. I give the Steelers a 74 percent chance to win this game.
5. New Orleans Saints
The Saints looked awfully good on offense Monday night, and the Lions could be without Ndamukong Suh
. But Detroit plays far better pass defense than the Giants, and the Saints defense has struggled against the run and is just average against the pass. I give the Saints a 74 percent chance to win this game.
6. Green Bay Packers
As terrible as the Giants looked on Monday night, they'll likely be up for a home game against the undefeated defending Super Bowl champs. Green Bay's pass defense is exploitable, and the Giants have the weapons to exploit it. But the Giants will have to stop Aaron Rodgers
, and given their performance against the Saints, that seems like a long shot. I give the Packers a 72 percent chance to win this game.
7. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have not fared well on the road this year, losing in Seattle and in Jacksonville, and this game isn't all that different. Of course, Cleveland's offense is one of the worst in the league, so if Baltimore's offense does anything, they should be able to pull this one out. I give the Ravens a 72 percent chance to win this game.
- Arizona nearly took down the Ravens in Baltimore, before beating the Eagles in Philly and sweeping the Rams. I don't trust Dallas on the road, and if the game is close, Patrick Peterson
is a dangerous difference maker.
New York Jets
- The Jets offense is inconsistent right now, and the Redskins defense could give them some problems. Moreover, Washington might have found a reliable and explosive running back in Roy Helu.