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The Infirmary. Week 13 NFL Picks

Injuries have depleted a once intriguing week 13 slate, leaving four games between teams with winning records. With Kurt Warner’s status in doubt, a plethora of injuries in the PHI/ATL game, and a blonde woman chasing SUV’s with a 9-iron, this week could get uglier. Fear not, an NFC East battle won’t let us down.

OK, I’ll come clean. I needed a lead. The week isn’t as bad as I made it appear, so don’t ignore your television on Sunday afternoon just yet. While they don’t pair winning teams, the NE/MIA, TENN/IND, HOU/JAC, and SF/SEA matchups also have major playoff implications. Sunday will be an entertaining day in the NFL after all.

Last Week:  11 – 5 – 0
Season:       110 – 66 – 0

Thursday (8:20PM ET)

Jets at Bills
I can’t understand why the NFL would take a primetime game away from the good people in Buffalo and move it to Toronto. Toronto doesn’t care about the Bills. Anyone who watched the game in Toronto last year knows this. There are times when the NFL is misguided in their attempts to broaden the span of their game. This is one of those times. Ralph Wilson Stadium provides the Bills one of the better home field experiences in the league. Playing in Toronto is a real disadvantage to the Bills. However, with the recent play of Mark Sanchez, I can’t pick the Jets, regardless of where they’re playing. This past week, Jets Head Coach, Rex Ryan brought in Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi to teach his rookie quarterback how to slide properly. With how poorly Sanchez has played recently, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Jets to bring in Joe Montana or Dan Marino? BILLS

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Eagles at Falcons
The Eagles caught a huge break with the injuries to Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. DISCLAIMER: I’m not assuming that the Eagles will win. I’ve been an Eagles fan way too long and have seen them blow too many games to believe Sunday’s game is a guaranteed win. However, the Atlanta injuries do vastly improve the Eagles’ chances. It’s a game that Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb must win, especially if they hope to avoid New Orleans in the second round of the playoffs. If they manage to lose, I would suggest that Reid don an Allen Iverson jersey for his post game press conference to reflect attention from his team’s failure. It would also remind the city that there is a major sports team that is more maddening than the Eagles. Due to DeSean Jackson’s injury, we may see Michael Vick make his first appearance as an Eagle. What do you mean he’s played all season? EAGLES

Rams at Bears
On Wednesday, Lakers guard/forward, Ron Artest admitted that he used to drink alcohol during halftime of NBA games. I guarantee you; no one took a second look at that press release. Nothing is surprising when it comes to Artest. Why do I mention this? Well, whenever I watch Jay Cutler, he always appears drunk or hung-over. His movements are lethargic. His facial expressions (especially his eyes) are slow and distant. Perhaps he’s been drinking at halftime. If not, maybe he should try it. A little booze juice couldn’t possibly make his play any worse. Yes, both the Rams and Bears have reached such ineptitude that my thoughts on their matchup do not progress past what I’ve offered. On second thought, maybe I’m inept. I don’t even know anymore. BEARS

Lions at Bengals
The Lions are the Lions, the Bengals can’t score, and Ochocinco doesn’t get the ball enough for my liking. What’s there to watch? BENGALS

Raiders at Steelers
Since my college years at Penn State, I’ve hated the Steelers. Half of the Pittsburgh fans I met in State College couldn’t tell me who Greg Lloyd was while the other half thought Kordell Stewart was better than Randall Cunningham (not even close). What’s worse, they could all sing that awful “Here we go Steelers” song and would do so often. I was suffering. Today, current Steelers’ coach, Mike Tomlin, makes it hard for me to hate his team. Tomlin is one of my favorite NFL coaches. He’s blunt, intense, and fearless. Any coach that declares, “We will unleash hell here in December because we have to. We won’t go in a shell. We’ll go into attack mode, because that’s what’s required,” is fine by me. That attitude is why the Steelers will be in the playoffs and why they’ll upset whatever team they face in the first round. STEELERS

Titans at Colts
If Vince Young and the Titans hope to continue their win streak, they’ll need to deliver a heavy dose of Chris Johnson to the Indianapolis Colts. Tennessee is hoping the Colts’ continue their three week string of “we deserve to lose” caliber of play. Usually, when a team like Indianapolis struggles over consecutive weeks, it means one of two things. 1. They’re playing poorly because they’re eventually going to suffer a loss, or 2. They’ve gone through the portion of the regular season where they’re going to struggle and are now ready to roll. The 2007 New England Patriots are a perfect example. Over a two week stretch in late November/early December, the Patriots nearly lost to the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens. They rebounded and finished 17-0 en route to their Super Bowl defeat. Personally, I think the Colts are struggling because they’re flawed. Although the Colts are at home, a loss is imminent. TITANS

Broncos at Chiefs
Historically, Arrowhead Stadium has not been welcoming to the Denver Broncos (even Mike Shanahan went 3-11 there). Traveling to the Chiefs’ stadium in December has been even more of a nightmare as Denver is 1-17 all time. In order to make my pick, I must first determine if the Broncos are good enough to overcome such history. I still don’t think the Broncos are very good, so I’m going with no. However, I also believe the Chiefs are bad enough to make home field advantage irrelevant. I know Kansas City beat the defending champs at home two weeks ago. A win like that puts the league on notice. The Chiefs are unlikely to accomplish the feat twice. Therefore, the Broncos get the nod. BRONCOS

Patriots at Dolphins
I enjoy watching athletes perform well under pressure. Tom Brady has always delivered in this respect. Last Monday was different. Brady looked scared. His performance was very unsettling. Was it because he’s still not comfortable with his knee, or has he lost “it”? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and blame the knee, for now. After all, it took Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb and many others more than one season to fully recover from blowing out a knee. If I’m a Patriots fan, coach, or especially Tom Brady, I’m disgusted with Randy Moss. Does anyone in the NFL cheat his teammates more? His effort last Monday or lack thereof, was despicable. Earlier this year, I praised Brady for getting on one of his receivers (Joey Galloway) for playing poorly. I think it’s time Brady had one of those moments with Moss. We all know Moss won’t take it well, but I’m a firm believer in treating lazy superstars like practice squad members. Do it, Brady, just do it. Oh, and make sure you lambast Moss DURING the game so we can all watch. Thank you. PATRIOTS.

Saints at Redskins
All the makings of a letdown game for the Saints.
Ingredients:
-From biggest game of the year to “just another game.”
-Leave home field dome for outdoor confines and temperatures near freezing.
-Contented meets desperation.
It’s all there. If the Redskins weren’t walking wounded, this could actually happen. The Saints move one win closer to perfection. Meanwhile, I move one game closer to hoping a Saints player goes Keith Ballard on Drew Brees. (Don’t know who Keith Ballard is? Click here.) SAINTS

Buccaneers at Panthers
This could be the first time in NFL history that an injury requiring a team’s starting quarterback to sit actually increased the spread in their favor. Jake Delhomme everybody, Jake Delhomme. I’m so excited for Panther fans that I’m sending a copy of Sunday’s depth chart to my brother as an early present. I know he’ll be more thrilled with it than any present he’ll receive on Christmas too. That’s how desperate Panther fans are to see someone NOT throw the football to the opponent. Yes, I stated that correctly. The current state of quarterbacking has left fans begging, not that the quarterback complete passes to his receivers, but rather he not complete passes to the opposition. They understand you have to crawl before you can walk. Panther fans are smart. Sunday is my brother’s Super Bowl. We’re all excited for him. PANTHERS

Texans at Jaguars
Two desperate division rivals? I’m intrigued. Gus Johnson calling the game? Yep, I will be paying very close attention to this contest. Neither team has been officially eliminated from the playoff race. Even though both teams will probably miss the playoffs, I’m expecting a close and entertaining game similar to their meeting earlier in the season. Unfortunately, fans in Jacksonville don’t share my enthusiasm. The Jaguars have been blacked out yet again. Regardless of where the Jaguars pick in the 2010 draft, they HAVE to select Tim Tebow. It’s not a football decision, it’s a “necessary to survive in Jacksonville” decision. Tebow is bigger than the Twilight saga. TEXANS

Game I’ll Watch: Eagles at Falcons
Game I’ll DVR: Titans at Colts

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Chargers at Browns
Cleveland fans deserve some recognition. They’ve replaced Philadelphia as “sports” most tortured fan base.  The Indians haven’t won in ages, the Browns are the Browns, and LeBron James could be gone in eight months. Somehow, Cleveland fans still show up eight Sundays a year to support their Browns. Since their return to Cleveland in 1999, the Browns have not been blacked out, not even once. That impressive streak is in danger this week. Apparently Browns fans have seen enough. Good for them. They deserve better. CHARGERS

Cowboys at Giants *Game of the Week 1
Dallas will have an opportunity to silence their critics, at least for a week. With all the talk of their December collapses, the Cowboys have played pretty poorly for most of November. Lucky for them, the Giants have played poorly for the past two months. As bad as the Giants have been, don’t expect a blowout. New York’s season is on the line. Tom Coughlin and his team have too much pride to roll over, especially to a hated division rival like Dallas. I expect an inspired performance from the Giant defense and at least four more women to come forward alleging affairs with Tiger Woods. GIANTS

49ers at Seahawks
A huge opportunity for the 49ers. Mike Singletary’s boys have played solid football for the past three weeks. If they don’t choke in Seattle, they have a very realistic shot at taking over the NFC West next week…SERIOUSLY! Here’s how it works. San Fran. is currently 5-6, trailing the division leading 7-4 Arizona Cardinals. A 49er win on Sunday and a Cardinal defeat to Minnesota would create a week 14 showdown for the NFC West lead. The 49ers have already beaten the Cardinals this season. Another win next week would require the Cardinals to finish a game ahead in order to claim the division as all tiebreakers would go to San Francisco. Can a young 49er team prove they’re ready to turn the corner? Carpe diem baby! 49ERS

Game I’ll Watch: Cowboys at Giants
Game I’ll DVR:
Umm, no thank you

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Vikings at Cardinals
For my viewing pleasure, I’m hoping Kurt Warner is healthy enough to play. While Matt Leinart did a respectable job filling in last week, the Cardinal offense needs Warner behind center. Arizona’s defense ranks 29th in passing yards surrendered per game. Minnesota’s offense is 7th. Apparently Brett Favre is having a good year. Again, the Cardinals need Kurt Warner. If Warner does play, there’s the potential for an upset because the Arizona defense gets after the quarterback. It’ll take a mammoth effort but it’s a possibility, especially under the lights. If the game does get out of hand, here’s something to look for. With all the concussion talk surrounding the NFL recently, pay close attention to Arizona CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (#29). He’s a talented (yet overly confident) young player. Notice his helmet. He has about half an inch between his head and the padding of his helmet on either side. It jiggles like he’s wearing a lampshade. Perhaps the NFL should impose stricter protection policies on their players in addition to regulating the teams. VIKINGS

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Ravens at Packers *Game of the Week 2
I’m extremely excited for this game, even more so than last week’s Monday night showcase. Here are a number of reasons why. Two cold weather teams going head to head in the NFL’s coldest stadium. The Ravens and Packers are in the thick of their conference’s respective playoff races. Both need a win to hold onto their positioning. I love Ray Rice. I enjoy watching Aaron Rodgers, who is quietly becoming one of the league’s top seven quarterbacks. Donald Driver and Charles Woodson get better with age. We’ll see steam. In addition to those reasons, I have rooting interest as an Eagles’ fan. Monday I’ll become a Baltimore Ravens’ enthusiast for a few hours. If you don’t think I can emotionally invest myself in another team’s cause, you’re sadly mistaken. If Joe Flacco pulls his head out of the clouds, this game will be a classic. RAVENS

If I were Charles Barkley…

Weekly Reminder: I pick every game so I don’t look like a pansy and only pick the easy ones. I’m flirting with .500 yet again. This is the first year I’ve made my picks public. Needless to say, I’m ashamed. If I don’t win 10 games this week, I’ll flip a coin for my week 14 selections. My goal is to be around 60% at season’s end (very unlikely). As is the weekly custom, there is one over/under as well (because they’re too much fun not to have at least one).

Picks
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (+3)
Denver Broncos (-5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers (-15)
Houston Texans (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans (+7) at Indianapolis Colts
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) at Atlanta Falcons
Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals (-13)
New Orleans Saints at Washington Redskins (+10)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-6)
St. Louis Rams at Chicago Bears (-9)
New England Patriots (-4) at Miami Dolphins (According to YAHOO.com)

San Diego Chargers (-13.5) at Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers (-1) at Seattle Seahawks
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (+1.5)

Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) (According to ESPN.com)

Baltimore Ravens (+3) at Green Bay Packers

Last Week: 7 – 8 – 1
Season: 79 – 78 – 4

Over/Under
St. Louis Rams at Chicago Bears Over 41

Last Week: 0 – 1 – 0
Season: 6 – 6 – 0

(Lines as of 12/3, 7:45PM ET, from bodog)

2 Comments

  1. danielle

    Yes, I still read your posts, but Lydia doesn’t let me sleep enough to generate any comments worthy of posting. Just letting you know I’m still reading. =)

  2. Rick

    I am still reading. Will be watching for the lampshade in HD.

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