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Week 13 NFL Picks

Richard Rodgers ended Detroit’s season and probably saved the Packers season. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Last Week: 9 – 7 – 0
Season: 109 – 67 – 0

Thursday Recap

Packers 27 at Lions 23
The Lions were up 20-0 in the 3rd quarter. Here’s Calvin Johnson after the game’s final play. I’ll let you do the math.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Jets at Giants
Kirk Cousins was obviously the best performing QB from the NFC East last week. There was no 2nd place. In fact, Eli Manning may have played worse than Mark Sanchez and even Tony Romo. Manning’s 3 interceptions were a season high and his completion percentage of 51% was a season low. I’ve heard some downplay the 3 interceptions as two were due to drops. While that is true, Manning had at least 4 interceptions that were dropped by the Redskins. Manning was lucky to escape D.C. with only 3 picks, because it should have been 6 or 7. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants +2

Cardinals at Rams
St. Louis is 3-0 vs the NFC West and 1-7 against the rest of the NFL. I have no idea what that means. I just thought it was interesting. CARDINALS If I were Charles Barkley; Cardinals -6

Falcons at Buccaneers
Matt Ryan thinks he’s Aaron Rodgers. That’s the best way to explain why Ryan throws so many horrific interceptions. Ryan’s 6th red zone pick of the season (tops in the NFL) came when Ryan rolled to his left and threw 20 yards downfield across his body to an “open” receiver in the end zone. Unfortunately, there was no zip on the ball and the defensive back easily closed to grab the interception. Rodgers makes that throw because of the torque he gets on the football. Ryan doesn’t have that torque. Whenever he figures that out he’ll be better off. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; Falcons +1

Seahawks at Vikings
I’m going to be a little bold here, but this is a perfect game for the Seahawks. Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings aren’t the Steelers or Cardinals. Minnesota isn’t going to torch your defense for 300+ passing yards. The Vikings are a one-dimensional offense and I expect Seattle to romp the Vikings. Seattle is no longer a great defense, but give them an offense that can’t throw the football and they’ll shut it down completely. In five games against what I would call “limited offenses,” the Seahawks held their opponent to less than 13 points in each game. I’m expecting a similar outcome Sunday. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -1.5

Texans at Bills
Houston currently owns the AFC’s final playoff spot. There are 6 other teams either tied with the Texans or within a game. Buffalo is one of those teams. A Buffalo loss would be more devastating to their season than a Houston loss would be to theirs. The Texans still have the AFC South within reach. The Bills have only the Wildcard. A loss Sunday would end Buffalo’s season, as they’d then have head-to-head losses to both of the AFC’s current Wildcard teams. BILLS If I were Charles Barkley; Bills -3

Ravens at Dolphins
Had the NFL not screwed up the Jaguars/Ravens game three weeks ago, Baltimore would be riding a four game winning streak and sitting just a game out of the Wildcard. I like the Ravens more than most. They’re generally one of the league’s better teams in December. It would have been fun to see a feisty, desperate Ravens team with a healthy Joe Flacco close the season against Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Oh well. DOLPHINS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens +3.5

Bengals at Browns
At this point, the Browns aren’t punishing Johnny Manziel. They’re punishing themselves. I’m a father. When my son does something wrong, I’m not going to tell him we’re not celebrating Christmas this year. That punishes the whole family more than my son. The Browns need these last five games to see what Manziel can be as a starting QB. Benching him only makes that process more difficult and less certain. These are the things losing organizations do. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals -9.5

Jaguars at Titans
There’s a real possibility the Jacksonville Jaguars enter Week 14 just one game out of 1st place in the AFC South. If that were to happen, Jacksonville would control its playoff destiny. Imagine that, the Jaguars in control of their playoff destiny in December. (Obviously, the same would then be true of the Colts and Texans, but that’s not as fun to talk about.) JAGUARS If I were Charles Barkley; Jaguars +2.5

49ers at Bears
People love complaining about how poor the NFL product has been this season. I disagree completely. Yes, there are very few great teams this season, but that doesn’t diminish the product, at least in my opinion. Closer games are more exciting. Football isn’t basketball. Ugliness works in the NFL. I loved every second of that Bears/Packers game Thanksgiving night. BEARS If I were Charles Barkley; 49ers +7.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Broncos at Chargers
The Denver Broncos are a fascinating watch at this point of the season. There are so many questions. I want to know if the running game suffered all season because the line has been so bad or because Peyton Manning needed Gary Kubiak’s system customized to his needs. If it’s the latter, Denver can’t go back to Manning. BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Broncos -4

Chiefs at Raiders
Oakland has improved to the point where they can beat bad teams. They’re 4-2 against teams with losing records. Unfortunately, they’re not at the point where they can beat the good teams. The Raiders are 1-4 against winning teams. Given Oakland’s remaining schedule (@DEN, GB, SD, @KC), this is pretty much a must win to stay in the Wildcard hunt. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs -3

Panthers at Saints
Carolina isn’t going 16-0. It just isn’t going to happen. In 2013, the Panthers rode an eight game win streak into New Orleans and got beat down 31-13. I don’t think that will happen again, but I expect the Panthers to drop a game over their ATL, @NYG, @ATL stretch coming up. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers -7.5

Eagles at Patriots
Upset of the day. The Eagles are still only a game out of the NFC East lead and the Patriots are struggling due to injuries. I’m just kidding. The Eagles are the worst. I’d trade Chip Kelly and a 3rd round pick to the Titans for Eddie George without blinking an eye. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots -10

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Colts at Steelers
Matt Hasselbeck is a perfect 4-0 when starting in Luck’s place. The Colts haven’t really missed Andrew Luck all season. They may miss him Sunday night. This will likely be a shootout. Hasselbeck has paced Indy’s offense and protected the football, but until last week he hadn’t opened up the passing attack. In all likelihood the Colts will need big plays to keep up with Pittsburgh’s offense, which is averaging well over 30 points a game the last three weeks. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Steelers -7

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Cowboys at Redskins
The Redskins losing at home in prime time to the decrepit Cowboys would be the NFC East thing to do. Then again, Matt Cassel going into FedEx Field and beating the division leading Redskins wouldn’t be any crazier than Colt McCoy taking down the 6-1 Cowboys last year, would it? If the Cowboys had any pulse I’d be tempted to take them, but they’ve proven they have no backbone. Mentally speaking, Dallas is one of the weakest teams in the NFL. REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins -4.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley;
Last Week: 6 – 10 – 0
Season: 87 – 85 – 4

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