NFL Office Pool Picks Week 13
by Trevor Whenham - 11/25/2013
This is the definition of parity. We are at the point in this season where pretty much no result we see can really surprise us anymore. Bucs over the Lions? Sure. Chargers winning in Kansas City? Why not. Cards crushing the Colts? Broncos taking the second half off? I can’t be surprised anymore.
Parity is so rampant that, if the playoffs started today, the 5-6 Titans would be an AFC wild-card team. Parity certainly makes things interesting, and it keeps us tuning in each week to see what will happen next. For office pool players, though, parity just leads to headaches. You can put the same amount of effort and skill into your picks and have only one mistake one week and then get seemingly all of the games wrong the very next week. It’s a rollercoaster, and it’s time to buckle up for another ride. The good news is that the bye weeks are finished, so we have a full slate of games to choose:
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Green Bay at Detroit: The Packers needed a miraculous comeback just to earn a tie last week. They have real issues, and they would be easy to pick against. The Lions have lost two in a row, though, and they have looked progressively lousy as the season has progressed. As has been the case before, the winner of this showdown will be in first place in the division. That team will not be an impressive leader, though. Take the Lions.
Oakland at Dallas: The Raiders have just one win in their last four, and since it came against the Texans, it hardly counts. The Cowboys aren’t exactly dominant, but they have won four of six and are clearly the better team here — especially at home. Take the Cowboys.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore: This is supposed to be a guaranteed classic between two elite and hated rivals. This year, though, it’s not. The game matters only because the AFC is so weak this year. Baltimore has won two of five. The Steelers have won three straight, but they have done so in a way that inspires very little confidence. Take the Ravens. I guess.
Jacksonville at Cleveland: Jacksonville has won two of three — on the road, no less — but still can’t be mistaken for a good team. The Browns have lost five of six, and they just aren’t any good right now. They can play decent defense, though, and that will give them the edge here. Take the Browns.
Tennessee at Indianapolis: A couple of weeks ago this would have been an easy pick. After they beat the Broncos, the Colts looked like a truly elite team. Now they are a broken team, and they are perplexingly lousy in the first half of games. They are too hard to back right now. Take the Titans.
Chicago at Minnesota: The Bears are faltering on defense — especially against the run. The Vikings are faltering everywhere, and they will be reeling after losing a big lead against Green Bay. Ugly game. Take the Bears.
Miami at New York Jets: Miami isn’t a perfect team by any means. The Jets are just plain terrible right now, though, and Geno Smith is a shell of what he was in college. Take the Dolphins.
Arizona at Philadelphia: A month ago this wouldn’t have looked like one of the best games of the week. Nick Foles is playing great football, though, while the Cardinals have won four straight and are playing with great confidence. The Eagles finally won one at home, so the location should be an advantage — especially if the weather is lousy. Take the Eagles.
Tampa Bay at Carolina: Mike Glennon looks very much like an NFL QB, and this Tampa Bay team is very different than the one we saw for much of the season. They are facing a huge challenge against a very good Carolina team, though. Take the Panthers.
New England at Houston: This should have been a great game. It’s not. Take the Patriots. No question at all.
Atlanta vs. Buffalo: The Bills have some issues. The Falcons are just plain terrible, though, and they have quit. The people of Toronto deserve to see a better game than this one. Take the Bills.
St. Louis at San Francisco: The Rams have won two in a row and are playing reasonably sound football. Surprisingly. The Niners are the more talented team, though, and they are getting healthier in key spots. At home against an opponent that is a step weaker, they should be in good position here. Take the 49ers.
Denver at Kansas City: The Broncos won convincingly the last time the teams met. The next game out, though, both teams were very disappointing. There is no momentum coming into this one, and injuries are a concern on both sides. I’ll take the Chiefs, but I am lukewarm about the pick.
Cincinnati at San Diego: The Chargers finally showed the spark of life -- that I hadn’t seen in over a month -- last week against the Chiefs. That’s what I was waiting for. Against a Bengals team that is weak on the road, the Chargers are the pick.
New York Giants at Washington: I have no faith in the Redskins. None. I don’t have much faith in Eli Manning and his merry band, either, but in this one they are the clear choice. Take New York.
New Orleans at Seattle: Nice to see a Monday Night game actually worth watching. New Orleans isn’t great on the road. The Seahawks are very thin in the secondary right now, though, and New Orleans is as well positioned as any team to exploit that. Take the Saints.
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