You know what they say about the number thirteen, right?
Well let’s just say that last week sucked for me. 1-4. That’s the worst week since Week Two.
If I want to get back to .500 for the season I need to nail 15 picks in a row. Tall task, so straight to the picks!
Washington Redskins -2 @ Philadelphia Eagles
When these two teams met up in October the Redskins handed the Eagles only their second loss of the season. They dominated a game that ended with a final score of 27-20. But it wasn’t even that close.
Washington had 493 yards of total offense. Philadelphia had 239.
Washington sacked Carson Wentz 5 times. Philadelphia didn’t get to Kirk Cousins once.
Since that game the Redskins are 2-3-1, the Eagles are 2-5.
The difference in this game is the fact that the Redskins need this win to bolster their chances of making the Playoffs in an increasingly competitive NFC. Because of their tie earlier in the season, the Redskins are a half game behind the Buccaneers. A win against the struggling Eagles would go a long way to propelling them to play into January.
Redskins 28 – Eagles 17
Pittsburgh Steelers -2 @ Buffalo Bills
This is one of the more interesting games of the week. The Steelers pretty much dismantled the Giants last week in Pittsburgh. The score board at the end of the game showed 24-14 but it felt much, much worse.
Pittsburgh is a team that is getting better every week, while a lot of teams around the league are getting worse.
Both of these teams are on the outside looking in when it comes to the Playoffs, but they are both hoping to make a late push to make the postseason.
When it is a close matchup I like to pick the better quarterback, and in this matchup, it isn’t even close. Expect Ben Roethlisberger to pick apart the talented secondary, especially with new weapon Ladarius Green finally healthy.
Steelers 31 – Bills 21
Dallas Cowboys -3 @ New York Giants
This is the game that the Cowboys have been waiting for since September 11th.
In that week one matchup, the Cowboys controlled the time of possession and had more total yards than the Giants. In the end, Eli Manning was the most established quarterback in the game and found a way to beat a Cowboys team that had yet to form their identity.
Thirteen weeks into the season, the Cowboys have an identity, that identity is as the best team in the league.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott are legitimate MVP candidates. The defense has developed a bend-but-don’t-break mentality good enough for 5th best in the league in points allowed, allowing only 19 per game. This is a team that is hungry to prove they belong.
Look for the Cowboys to control the clock, score early, and win the game to be crowned as NFC East Champs.
Cowboys 26 – Giants 21
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers +3
This is one that I have gone back and forth on but feel pretty comfortable about.
The high temperature on Sunday is supposed to be a balmy 29 degrees. That is not conducive to much, let alone football. But it sure seems like the Packers typically embrace the weather as an advantage.
Neither team loves taking the field in below freezing temperatures. The ball is hard. Your feet burn. Your muscles cool down much quicker. But it’s part of the game.
From the Seahawks perspective, they are going to miss have Earl Thomas roaming center field for them on the defensive side of the ball. He is their ironman and their captain; they don’t know what it will be like without him out there. This offense has had its ups and downs this season; can they follow up a huge performance last week against a tough run defense?
On the Packer’s side, this is a must-win. The Packers need to really run the table to get to the postseason. They need to find a way to exploit the back end of the Seahawks’ defense without Thomas playing the middle portion of the Cover 3. Jordy Nelson could have a big game on the seam route.
Packers 20 – Seahawks 18
Upset Special of the Week:
New Orleans Saints +3 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have won 4 in a row, the Saints have lost 3 out of the last 4. Why in the world would I pick the Saints to win on the road?
The sub-6’ quarterback continues to amaze. The Saints’ offense is the second highest scoring team in the league, scoring 28.9 points per game. Brees leads the league in passing yards (3913) and passing TDs (30). Brees also has the 4th best passer rating in the league. The future hall of famer is better than what his teams’ record indicates.
On the other side of the field, the Bucs are a prideful and enthusiastic bunch that enjoys playing together, it is apparent. My one real concern is the longevity of the momentum that they have. Their upcoming schedule is not easy for a young team trying to make the Playoffs.
Vs. Saints, @ Cowboys, @ Saints, vs. Panthers.
To make the Playoffs, they need to at least split those games. They likely won’t beat the Saints twice in three weeks, and the Cowboys are the best team in the league. This is an important game for the Bucs but they are going to fall short in the big spot.
Saints 38 – Bucs 35
*All betting lines provided by Bovada.LV on the Thursday preceding particular NFL week.