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RJ’s NFL Picks – Week 13

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I went a lousy 8-8 last week. That puts me at 106-70 for the season, for a winning percentage of just over 60%.

This week offers football fans some superb matchups. Of the ten early games, three are between division rivals battling for playoff spots. One of the late games features division rivals with winning records as well.

Now, on to the picks:

Sunday, Dec. 4

Atlanta 7-4 at Carolina 8-3 1:00 p.m.

Atlanta had lost two in a row before thumping the Lions on Thanksgiving. Carolina narrowly beat Buffalo last Sunday. The Falcons have had a few extra days to rest, but Carolina has the home-field advantage. This is a tough pick. But I’ll go with Atlanta because Vick has always played well against Carolina, and Atlanta has a superior overall running game. (Memo to Atlanta’s secondary: Be sure to double-cover Steve Smith!) FALCONS BY 1

Buffalo 4-7 at Miami 4-7 1:00 p.m.

Blah. I’ll pick Miami, but only because they are playing at home and the Bills are winless on the road this season. DOLPHINS BY 6

Cincinnati 8-3 at Pittsburgh 7-4 1:00 p.m.

The Steelers need to win this game. If they lose, they fall two games behind Cincinnati in the battle to win the AFC North. But if they win, they are in control of their own playoff destiny, because they would hold the head-to-head tie-breaker over the Bengals. I think Pittsburgh will win this one because they know they have to, and they are playing at home. STEELERS BY 4

Dallas 7-4 at N.Y. Giants 7-4 1:00 p.m.

Both teams are coming off tough overtime losses. If the Giants lose, not only do they fall a game behind Dallas in the NFC East, but Dallas would hold the head-to-head tie-breaker as well. The Giants are an impressive 5-1 at home this season. I believe this will be a close one; maybe even another overtime game! GIANTS BY 3

Green Bay 2-9 at Chicago 8-3 1:00 p.m.

Chicago has won seven in a row, and are 5-1 at home this season. They also have an incredibly-potent defense that has given up just 22 points in the last three games combined. Green Bay will be lucky to get into the Red Zone, much less the end zone. BEARS BY 13

Houston 1-10 at Baltimore 3-8 1:00 p.m.

Yawn. Neither team has won a single game on the road this season. So, because Houston in the road team in this matchup, I’ll go with Baltimore. RAVENS BY 5

Jacksonville 8-3 at Cleveland 4-7 1:00 p.m.

With Leftwich injured, and Fred Taylor not at 100%, I’ll take the Browns in a close one. CLEVELAND BY 2

Minnesota 6-5 at Detroit 4-7 1:00 p.m.

As always, I’ll pick Detroit. What is my “reasoning” this week? Well, Garcia is starting, for one thing. And the team should be fired up, playing against a division rival at home under a new head coach. Uh, yeah, that’s the ticket! LIONS BY 9

Tampa Bay 7-4 at New Orleans 3-8 (Baton Rouge, LA) 1:00 p.m.

Tampa Bay lost a close one last week, but it was against a very good team. New Orleans won a close one last week, but it was against a very bad team. I don’t know what any of that is supposed to mean, so I’ll just pick the Bucs. TAMPA BAY BY 8

Tennessee 3-8 at Indianapolis 11-0 1:00 p.m.

Let me repeat: Indy will not go undefeated this season. But they ain’t gonna lose to the lowly Titans. COLTS BY 24

Arizona 3-8 at San Francisco 2-9 4:05 p.m.

San Fran is playing at home, and Arizona is 1-4 on the road. So, I figure the 49ers will win this one. SAN FRANCISCO BY 11

Washington 5-6 at St. Louis 5-6 4:05 p.m.

Both teams are just about out of playoff contention. The Rams are 3-2 at home, which is respectable. Washington is 1-4 on the road, which is horrible. RAMS BY 10

Denver 9-2 at Kansas City 7-4 4:15 p.m.

This is where Denver’s schedule gets tough. Three of their final five games are on the road, where they are only 3-2 this year. Two of those three road games are against division rivals with winning records. The other road game is in frigid Buffalo. Having said that, I think they will be able to handle the Chiefs, but just barely. DENVER BY 3

N.Y. Jets 2-9 at New England 6-5 4:15 p.m.

New England is almost certain to make the playoffs by winning the pathetic AFC East. A case could be made that they only need to go 7-9 to win their division. And, playing at home this week against the horrid Jets, who are winless on the road, should provide the champs with their seventh win of the season. PATRIOTS BY 14

Oakland 4-7 at San Diego 7-4 8:30 p.m.

Let me say again: San Diego will make the playoffs. They’ve won four in a row, after starting out 3-4. They have scored more points than anybody except the undefeated Colts. They are a force to be reckoned with. CHARGERS BY 12

Monday, Dec. 5

Seattle 9-2 at Philadelphia 5-6 9:00 p.m.

If Seattle wins, they clinch their division title. Of course, if the Rams lose on Sunday, Seattle will have clinched the NFC West already! But even if that occurs, they will still play hard in this one. First of all, it’s MNF in front of a national audience. And second, they need to keep winning in order to capture home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. So I feel they are motivated enough to beat the Eagles. SEATTLE BY 7

- – -

ESPN’s “expert” picks

- – -

Danny Sheridan’s odds

- – -

The Great Maxim Football Challenge

- – -

RJ’s results in previous weeks:

Week One – 8-8
Week Two – 6-10
Week Three – 10-4
Week Four – 7-7
Week Five – 9-5
Week Six – 11-3
Week Seven – 8-6
Week Eight – 9-5
Week Nine – 11-3
Week Ten – 10-4
Week Eleven – 9-7
Week Twelve – 8-8

About RJ

  • Bennett

    You’ll have a better week, RJ. Not as good as when I posted my picks early (was that your last really good week?), but still…

    The Magic 8-Ball sez:

    Carolina
    Miami
    Cincinatti
    NY Giants
    Chicago
    Baltimore
    Cleveland
    Minnesota
    Tampa Bay
    Indy
    Arizona
    St. Louis
    Denver
    New England
    San Diego
    Seattle

    Hey man, again my thanks for keeping up on this post each week. It’s something I look forward to, and it makes Sunday a lot more fun.

    Good luck!

  • Emerson

    Ok I went 11-5 last week… it seems like I always lose 5 games every week.

    In my picks this week I am not just featuring 1 upset special, but two upset specials.

    Carolina by 6
    Miami by 10
    Pittsburgh by 4
    N.Y. Giants by 7
    Green Bay by 3 (upset special) I don’t care what you people say, they are making history this year, they are going to have the worst record in NFL but still outscore their opponents. And the Bears only putting up 13 points in each of their last two games shows a lack of offense. They will be sloppy in this game thinking that it is a “gimme” or easy win.
    Baltimore by 7
    Jacksonville by 3
    Minnesota by 100 *typo i meant 10 ;)
    Tampa Bay by 14
    Tennessee by 4 (Upset Special) This is my theory… They came off a nice win last week, even though it was only the 49ers that they beat. I believe that this Titans team is going to come out very fired up. 1- They have nothing to lose. 2- They want to catch everyone offguard. 3- Watch out for Pacman and the refreshed Mcnair!!(Titan’s KR) And if they don’t beat Indy they will put up one hell of a fight because they are the visiting team and have NOTHING TO LOSE BUT SOMETHING TO PROVE. Enough said.
    San Fran by 7
    St. Louis by 17
    Kansas City by 7
    New England by 10
    San Diego by 9
    Seattle by 13

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Thanks for the kind words, Bennett! Good luck to you as well. :-)

  • The Theory

    Atlanta 7-4 at Carolina… Atlanta is not the team people want to think they are and they are in Panther country. Carolina will win a close one.

    Buffalo 4-7 at Miami 4-7… Miami. RAWK!

    Cincinnati 8-3 at Pittsburgh… I think that Pitts will win. Though, the way I picked last week I would advise people to jump off that bandwagon.

    Dallas 7-4 at N.Y. Giants… Giants. I just love rooting Giants and I’m not sure why.

    Green Bay 2-9 at Chicago 8-3… I was listening to sports radio a bit today on my way home from work (fkn FOX Sports Radio… which replaced our local Sporting News Radio and made me really mad because I love my SNR. sigh) and the bastard hosts were trying to convince us that Chicago doesn’t have a shot in hell of winning this game because history has proven GB to be better in this matchup. Well, last time I checked the season only counts in 2005… whatever happened in the past sure isn’t going through the heads of the Bears OR Green Bay. The Bears will score enough points to win… though like all of GB’s losses it will be close.

    Houston 1-10 at Baltimore 3-8… Baltimore can’t win a game… but they have a better team than the poor Texans. This is the “even the fans of the teams involved can’t get excited about this matchup” game of the week. Baltimore. Because that’ll be the city serving beer at the stadium.

    Jacksonville 8-3 at Cleveland 4-7… Jacksonville. Cleveland only wins when they accidently fart themselves into the endzone.

    Minnesota 6-5 at Detroit 4-7… Minnesota has been unstoppable without Culpepper, and that is why I like them in this matchup.

    Tampa Bay 7-4 at New Orleans 3-8… Look kiddies! No team has home field advantage, which automatically gives the advantage to the better team. TB.

    Tennessee 3-8 at Indianapolis 11-0 … No one in the know seems to think that Indy can go undefeated. However, I will be the one in the know because they will go undefeated. Through this week anyway (and beyond, I hope)… Indy.

    Arizona 3-8 at San Francisco 2-9… Arizona. Hey… it could happen! Maybe this game will go into overtime tied at zero and result in a tie! One can hope… but I like Arizona’s field-goal kicker.

    Washington 5-6 at St. Louis 5-6… I hate Washington and I’m always glad when I have a semi-valid reason to pick them to lose. Go ST LOUIS!

    Denver 9-2 at Kansas City 7-4… I haven’t seen either of these teams play much at all this year so I rather feel like I’m flying blind in this pick… but I’ll go with the whole record thing and chose Denver.

    N.Y. Jets 2-9 at New England 6-5… Patriots. I have a gut feeling.

    Oakland 4-7 at San Diego 7-4…. I’d love to upset San Diego. But I can’t pick Oakland over them. That would just be… wrong. Very very wrong.

    Seattle 9-2 at Philadelphia 5-6 … If I pick Seattle it’ll be a win-win situation for me. I mean, Philadelphia is my professional sports heartbeat… so I’m glad for any win until they are definitely eliminated. But I know that it’d be pretty ri-damn-diculously hard for them to beat the still-mediocre Seattle team. So I pick Seattle… BUT GO EAGLES!

  • Bennett

    Great stuff Theory. You articulated exactly what I was thinking when I made my picks The ones we have in common I mean, but the other’s? I don’t know WHERE your head is at!

    Picks.

    Temple? Matthew? Who else? David Mozzotta?

    The odd drive-by prognosticator?

  • http://damsite.blogspot.com david mazzotta

    RJ – This co-dependent relationship you have with the Lions is unhealthy. You need to accept that THE LIONS ARE EVIL.

    Although, I am looking forward to being asked “Do you want fries with that?” by Steve Mariucci.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Suss! Temple! We need your picks, ASAP! (Voluntarily, of course…) ;-)

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I should go out on top, but against my better judgment:

    Panthers
    Dolphins
    Bengals
    Giants
    Bears
    Texans
    Jags
    Lions
    Bucs
    Colts
    49ers
    Rams
    Broncos
    Patriots
    Chargers
    Seahawks

  • http://www.google.com rj

    Temple!!!

    :-/

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Let me start with this – home advantage – you all put way too much weight toward what usually means nothing. Occasionally, at certain games at certain stadiums, yes, but basing picks around home has become folly.

    With that:
    Denver @Chiefs
    ::: DENVER. I almost got sucked into picking the Chiefs, because Denver seems ripe for an upset. But as someone said up there – looks – The Theory – said 2005 is what counts.

    Seattle @ Philly
    SEATTLE ::: Damn. I listened to all the shows and people are DOWN on Seattle, like they’re the 49ers. Holy shit. Lots of talk about poor defense, poor offense. Poor. Poor. Poor. First – they have had some EXCITING games so eff that. Patriots? Boring games this year.

    At least this week I heard nothing about Alexander, and more importantly (well, maybe not MORE…) is Matt Hasselback. This is his coming of age year. Er …. saying that, the Hawks are damn lucky to have won last week’s game and an element of luck slipped into the week before (that 49ers game was too close). And all Seattle fans, even though they have much more reason to be blindly believing, all Seattle fans are crossing fingers and toes and arm hairs just hoping their team don’t screw it up and actually win a playoff game for the first time since, I think 1986. OH AND SEATTLE SUCKS ON MNF (except for #37)

    Bengals @ Steelers
    ::: BENGALS. It’s a gut feeling. Cinncy has most of its elements firing strong and the Steelers are starting to rust, with parts that need tuning up (QB Ben R.). I’m a big proponent of anger and/or humiliation fueling the next week’s effort. And after the Steelers got spanked by the Colts, you’d think that would happen. But they won’t be able to put enough together.

    Oakland @ San Diego
    ::: OAKLAND … San Diego – as has been said by many – is probably the best team that won’t make the playoffs. The damage starts today. This is a rivalry game.

    Titans @ Colts
    ::: COLTS. I’m a big one for upsets but my brain doesn’t go there against the Titans. Prediction extra. As of this writing, the Colts will lose Dec. 18 and Dec. 24 against San Diego and Seattle.

    NY Jets @ New England
    ::: JETS. New England has sucked the wind out of themselves. I guess they may squeak in the back door of the playoffs. But they don’t deserve it. I still like them, don’t get me wrong and Tom Brady is “dreamy” LOL, but they aren’t very good this year.

    NY Giants @ Dallas
    ::: GIANTS. I’ve been big on Dallas all year, but here’s where that anger fuels effort comes in for the next game. The Giants are PISSED after last week’s loss which they should have won. Of course, if it comes down to field goals – all bets are off.

    Minnesota @ Detroit
    ::: Sorry RJ, but Detroit has a long way up. They started out strong but they got lost along the way. VIKINGS

    Tampa Bay @ NO Saints
    ::: TAMPA BAY. I want to pick an upset,; it’s ripe for an upset, but it’s not going to happen like that.

    Packers @ Bears
    ::: BEARS Ifiny’all look back I’ve been an early supporter of the Bears. Sure my confidence stumbled as they stumbled mid-season. But the Bears defense against the most sacked man in football? (well, right up there). The crowd will be UP for this game because they need to keep warm for a start.

    OOPS, running out of time. Got a wee bit distracted offline. …

    Jacksonville @ Cleveland
    ::: CLEVELAND

    Atlanta @ Carolina
    ::: ATLANTS

    Houston @ Baltimore
    ::: TEXANS

    Redskins @ Rams
    ::: RAMS oooh. Both teams have had flashes of brilliance this season, inc. Rams inspired win last week.

    Buffalo @ Miami
    ::: BILLS. Every time Miami wins they don’t for a while afterwards. How’s Ricky?

    Oh and

    Cardinals @ 49ers
    ::: CARDINALS

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Ya called?

    SORRY

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    LOL.

    It’s been fun over here. A wee football party. Whew.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Indy 35, Titans 3 – RJ 1-0

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Jacksonville 20, Browns 14 – RJ 1-1

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Tampa Bay 10, New Orleans 3 – RJ 2-1

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Carolina 24, Atlanta 6 – RJ 2-2

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Vikings 21, Lions 16 – RJ 2-3

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Chicago 19, Packers 7 – RJ 3-3

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Giants 17, Dallas 10 – RJ 4-3

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Bengals 38, Steelers 31 – RJ 4-4

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Baltimore 16, Houston 15 – RJ 5-4

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Miami 24, Bills 23 – RJ 6-4

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Here is where the six BC.org pickers stand so far:

    RJ – 6-4
    Temple – 6-4
    Suss – 8-2
    Theory – 9-1
    Emerson – 7-3
    Bennett – 9-1

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Here is where ESPN’s “experts” stand thus far:

    Theismann 7-3
    Salisbury 8-2
    Hoge 9-1
    Jaworski 9-1
    Schlereth 9-1
    Allen 9-1
    Mortensen 9-1
    Golic 7-3

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Redskins 24, Rams 9 – RJ 6-5

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Arizona 17, San Fran 10 – RJ 6-6

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    New England 16, Jets 3 – RJ 7-6

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Kansas City 31, Denver 27 – RJ 7-7

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Here is how the BC.org pickers are doing, with two games left:

    RJ 7-7
    Temple 7-7
    Suss 9-5
    Theory 11-3
    Emerson 9-5
    Bennett 11-3

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Here’s how ESPN’s “experts” are doing with two games to go:

    Theismann 10-4
    Salisbury 12-2
    Hoge 13-1
    Jaworski 13-1
    Schlereth 13-1
    Allen 11-3
    Mortensen 13-1
    Golic 10-4

    So…we are pretty much getting kicked in the teeth by the guys at ESPN this week…

  • The Theory

    Wow, the experts are having a good week for them. Usually they’re fairly mediocre. (Probably because they ignore home field advantage *coughtemplecough*)

    :-P

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    San Diego 34, Oakland 10 – RJ 8-7

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Seriously, what’s so big about home field advantage?

    I ignored it last week 15-1.
    I ignored it all season, XX-XX (don’t know).

    I ignored it this week – which is officially humility spirit week in the Stark household :-) – 7-8.

    Iah willa bea redeemeda (in other words I won’t care) as long as Seattle wins tonight.

  • Bennett

    I only pay minimum attention to home field advantage. Everyone gets beat at home, well except Indy this year, and the Pats for a rather good run in 03-04.

  • The Theory

    Well, I pretty much agree with you that teams get beat at home. But on the other hand, it does seem like a lot of teams have a better home record than away record.

    This generally is a mental difference… when you’re at home it’s a familiar surrounding and the crowd cheers for you.

    I’m not going to pick San Fransico to upset Indy (or any other team for that matter) in SanFran… but when it’s a couple of mediocre teams playing I feel like the home field can be just enough of an edge to bump the one team over the other. Or, if it’s a teams especially known for playing really really well at home (historically the eagles have been really tough to beat in Philly).

    THAT SAID!
    I use home field advantage as a reason for picking a team a lot because I’m lazy and only follow whatever football is on tv (I don’t have cable… just whatever networks are local) and The Sports Machine highlights.

    So my picks are a combination of record, memories of seeing them play during the year, gut feeling (or instinct, or whatever you want to call it), and if all of the above fails to provide a satisfactory pick, then home field comes into play.

    AKA, it’s a wonder that I’m not sub-.500 every week.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    FYI:

    Home records of NFL teams this season (aggregate): 115-76 [60.2% winning percentage]

    Road records of NFL teams this season (aggregate): 76-115 [39.8% winning percentage]

    Clearly, home-field advantage is of some benefit…

  • Bennett

    RJ – Oh I don’t doubt the aggregate on this at all! I just know from experience that using it as a deciding factor has caused me to pick the wrong team many times.

    So I now think back a bit, check my gut (yep, it’s there), and if it’s a close call I do the 8-Ball thing.

    What, we all sitting around waiting for MNF?

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    That aggregate can be broken down quite a bit I think. But thanks. I just wanted someone to do the math for me. :-)

    And yell heah – MNF and the Hawks. (Gawd I hope they win, to push some of those detractors of their backs).

    I just keep hearing – via media – that there’s a totally different feeling in the locker room this time around. A good thing. And Hasselback has said, it’s great but we know we need playoff wins to get respect.

    YES PLEASE

    lol.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Oh muhhafuhin brrrrrrrrrrrr.

    I thought it was cold in Arizona.

    That’s SNOW. how quickly one forgets. ber ba ber da f—

  • Bennett

    Man o mano, a whuppin is what! Although the champ of the week (13-3), I still fall short of the 15-1 Temple Standard.

    Oh, it’s only the third quarter but my right nut’s bet on Seattle at this point.

  • The Theory

    Wow, 42-0… Douglas Adams would have been proud.

    I ended up 13-3. Oi vey. I feel a bit like the blindfolded guy who somehow hits the middle circle on a dartboard most of the time.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    You guys kicked ass. Good on ya. Last week Suss and I broke through the 12 mark for the first time of anone all season (here).

    Now everyone’s doing it.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Oh and the win?

    Yeah just like that. …

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    this week

    home 9

    away 7

  • Bennett

    Heh! Co-Champ that it…

    I like the dartboard analogy.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Seattle 42, Philly 0 – RJ 9-7…

  • Bennett

    See!?! You did do better than last week

    :-]

    c’mon c’mon! Let’s pick!