NFL Picks: Things are a little different this seasonPublished 4:40pm Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Here are the picks:
Atlanta at New Orleans
If you ever wondered how quickly things can change in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons are prime example of what can happen. Last year the Falcons were headed towards the Super Bowl with a late drive when Matt Ryan couldn’t seal the deal and the 49ers got away with borderline pass interference to end the game.
This year the Falcons are in a battle for last place and they’re actually within one game of the worst record in the league. That’s what makes the NFL so exciting and it’s also what can make it so frustrating. One season you’re on top, and the next you’re not. It’s that simple.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Saints were well out of the postseason hunt as Sean Payton was suspended last season and now they’re in play for possibly earning the top seed in the NFC.
SAINTS 41, FALCONS 13
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
The Steelers looked like the old Steelers for three quarters against the Lions last week and they even closed out the game looking strong. Unfortunately in their bad quarter, the Steelers looked completely incompetent so I’m not ready to totally buy into them as a playoff contender yet.
STEELERS 27, BROWNS 16
Tampa Bay at Detroit
The Lions should cruise in this one.
LIONS 29, BUCS 17
Minnesota at Green Bay
The Packer defense has become about as useful as a brand new sports car in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Green Bay’s offense hasn’t been any better and anyone who thinks they can turn the season around is in full denial or they think Aaron Rodgers is going to pull off his street clothes to reveal that he’s wearing a uniform underneath like Super Man and come running onto the field and save the day.
I know the Vikings have struggled, but at least they’re no relying on Scott Tolzien to do anything for them, although he probably will do plenty for them on Sunday when he throws a few interceptions.
VIKINGS 31, PACKERS 21
San Diego at Kansas City
The Chiefs didn’t play a very good first quarter against the Broncos and they were still in the game on Sunday night. I’m not going to say they should be proud of that performance, but it was enough to say that I think they can beat Denver and take the No. 1 seed when the two teams meet next week in KC.
That’s assuming the Chiefs don’t fall asleep on the Chargers, who will be playing desperate this week.
CHIEFS 21, CHARGERS 20
Chicago at St. Louis
I’ve heard plenty of ravings about Josh McCown playing big for the Bears, and he has saved their season. But McCown hasn’t faced any real pressure in the last few weeks.
That’s about to change this week as the Rams’ have one of the best front fours in the league. They can also run the ball and make enough big plays to make this one interesting.
RAMS 24, BEARS 17
Carolina at Miami
The Panthers escaped with a win over New England, but I see this is a classic letdown game. They’re coming off of big wins over the 49ers and the Patriots, two of the best teams in the past three years. There’s no way they’ll be pumped up or even properly focused as they head to Miami.
DOLPHINS 17, PANTHERS 13
N.Y. Jets at Baltimore
I can’t get a read on either of these teams so I’ll go with the home squad.
RAVENS 21, JETS 17
Jacksonville at Houston
Andre Johnson walking out on the Texans after getting in an argument with Matt Schaub last week was another scar on what has been a devastating season for the Texans, who were thinking about the Super Bowl before this season began.
Now, if the Texans lose on Sunday, they’ll be tied for the worst record in the league.
TEXANS 17, JAGUARS 15
Tennessee at Oakland
The Raiders are on enough of a roll for me to pick them to win at home.
RAIDERS 26, TITANS 16
Indianapolis at Arizona
The Colts usually find a way to win the games they’re supposed to.
COLTS 27, CARDINALS 21
Dallas at N.Y. Giants
The Cowboys just have too many injuries and the Giants are doing their classic turnaround, having won four straight after losing their first six.
GIANTS 23, COWBOYS 21
Denver at New England
The Patriots will be playing mad after they feel they had a chance to win the game taken away from them in Carolina Monday.
PATRIOTS 27, BRONCOS 24
San Francisco at Washington
There’s not much left of the Redskins this season.
49ERS 27, REDKINS 14
Last week: 10-5; overall: 93-63