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The Oratory's NFL Picks for Week 13
by John Canton (NFL)
Posted on December 4, 2009, 4:19 PM

John: Welcome to week thirteen of the Oratory's NFL Picks. I am John Canton joined as always by my fellow prognosticators James Deaux and Matt Henry. I'm really exhausted today as I write this (the combination of being overworked and hungover), so my write-ups won't be as thorough as usual. I went 10-6 last week, which is okay, but I picked too many upsets in a week where only two of them.

Matt: Week 13 is here and so far Iím 1-0. I like to take pride in the small things. In a few weeks, we might all be doing playoff predictions with none of our teams in the playoffs. It is quite shocking to me to see that as the case since I figured that the returning veterans on the Steelers would pull together a solid season with the quality of teams they faced this year. The Steelers still have a respectable chance at the playoffs having one of the easiest end of season schedules in the league, but they canít afford to drop more than one game at this point in time and even that one loss might be too much. It could be worse I guess, I could be a Rams fan.

Last week's results:
James 12-4
Matt 11-5
John 10-6

The standings for the season:
James 126-50 (.716)
John 114-62 (.648)
Matt 111-65 (.631)

All game times are Eastern.

Philadelphia at Atlanta 1:00 PM
James: Maybe the hardest game of the week to predict, but Iím going with Philadelphia. Atlanta has so many injuries on both sides of the ball itís insane, and even with DeSean Jackson out, the Eagles should be able to take apart the Falconsí atrocious secondary. Chris Redman is great for a backup, but he wonít be able to keep up with McNabb and company. Notice I said Donovan McNabb and not that other so-called quarterback on their roster who will be in town. Eagles 28 Ė Falcons 21

Matt: Atlanta has been tough at home this season. Their only loss at the Georgia Dome came at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. On the road, this is a fairly easy pick for the Eagles. Philadelphia will most likely be playing without DeSean Jackson, a key weapon on this explosive offense due to a concussion. The man averages more than 15 yards each time he touches the ball. No wonder he returns punts and has run the ball 8 times this year. If he plays this game is a close win by the Eagles. If he sits, go with Atlanta. Yeah, heís that important. Falcons 28-24

John: Too many injuries for the Falcons make it tough for me to pick them. Plus, their weakness is their pass defense and the Eagles should be able to throw it on them. Not that I'm impressed by the Eagles. It's just that the Falcons aren't that much without Ryan and Turner. Eagles 23-13

St. Louis at Chicago 1:00 PM
James: This could finally be a game Chicago can win, but then again, the Rams do have Steven Jackson. And Chicagoís defense is almost as bad as the Ramsí is. Ultimately, this is a meaningless game to the Bears and Rams since they are both well out of playoff contention, but Iíll pick Chicago on home-field basis. Bears 20 Ė Rams 17

Matt: It is quite telling that the Bears are only favored by 9 at home against the Rams. That means they would only be favored by 3 on the road. Against the Rams. The Broncos are loving this season right now, and the Bears are making them look forward to next year too thanks to the terms of the Cutler trade. The Bears are officially out of contention for a playoff spot win or lose this week, especially with the Vikings, Packers and Ravens on tap for the remainder of the season. Iím shocked if they even get to 7-9. Such high expectations for this team that simply didnít pan out due to injuries and poor decision making. Bears 24-17

John: Kyle Boller is terrible. One of the worst QBs the Rams have ever had and thatís saying something considering some of the stiffs we had in the 90s. The Bears will win in spite of their problems. Poor Steven Jackson. Such a good year totally gone to waste. Bears 23-7

Detroit at Cincinnati 1:00 PM
James: Cincinnati got back on track last week against the pathetic Browns and this week they welcome the near-equally awful Lions to town. The Lions are fresh off a thrashing at the hands of Green Bay. This one should go like last week did for both teams. Bengals 34 Ė Lions 14

Matt: Not much to say about this one. The Lions are no longer the worst team in the league, but they are going to look like it when this one is underway. The Bengals outmatch this team in every aspect of the game. Not that Iíd mind a loss by the Bengals. Bengals 30-18

John: Detroit on the road? No thanks. The Bengals aren't as good as their record and I will gladly bet against them in their first playoff game. Not this week, though. Bengals 23-6

Tennessee at Indianapolis 1:00 PM
James: This is a very hard game to predict because of how well the Titans are playing and how mediocre the Colts have been, even though theyíre winning. And the last time these two teams met, Chris Johnson was held to just 32 yards. Plus, itís in Indianapolis. I have to pick Indy here, and they will effectively end any minute hope the Titans have of making the playoffs. Colts 27 Ė Titans 20

Matt: A Titans win here is essential if they hope to have any chance to make the playoffs. The Titans have been on fire lately and the Colts have been looking ready to drop a game since week eight. Both teams seem overdue for a loss in this tough divisional matchup. The Colts are very close to having the bye week locked up in the AFC, and a loss here wonít have much chance of changing that. Colts come from behind again to get the win here, but based on the season since week 8, 6.5 points is too big of a spread. Also consider that a well coached defense is going to be able to eliminate many of the 3rd and 4th down Vince Young miracles. Colts 21-17

John: The first time they played the Colts killed them. Since then, Jeff Fisher put on the Peyton Manning jersey and Vince Young hasn't lost a game for the Titans. They're pesky now. Still, I don't like them to win in Indy. Colts win in convincing fashion in what is a statement game for them. Colts 27-17

Denver at Kansas City 1:00 PM
James: It doesnít matter how good or bad the Broncos areóthey simply cannot win at Arrowhead in December. They have won there exactly one time in 17 December meetings. Thatís just insanity. And I can easily see this Chiefs team beat the bipolar Broncos of 2009-10. Chiefs 27 Ė Broncos 21

Matt: I canít think of any case where the Chiefs would have a chance here. Denver has found their way again now, but even if they were still in their slump Iíd still pick them over the Chiefs. The only two big roadblocks I see for the Broncos are the Eagles and the Colts. The Broncos can still win the division but even if they donít, they are still in good shape for a wildcard as long as they keep playing the way they did on Thursday. Broncos 27-18

John: I came so close to picking the Chiefs because they're so tough at home even for a bad team. I like Denver more. The defense is too good for the Chiefs to put points up and I think they'll will the team to victory in this low scoring game. Broncos 17-14

New England at Miami 1:00 PM
James: New Englandís mediocre defense finally got exposed last week against New Orleans, and now they have to regroup in a place where they donít play particularly well. Miami completely mailed it in last week in a brutal loss to the Bills, though. New England is such a horrible road team that I guess I have to pick Miami here. Dolphins 28 Ė Patriots 24

Matt: Although still considered an ďon the bubbleĒ playoff team, the Dolphins have got almost no chance of getting to the playoffs this year if they lose this week. Not only do they have to face a recently embarrassed Patriots team, but they have the Steelers, the resurgent Titans, and the Jaguars to play yet. All of these games against other teams competing for the wildcard gives the Dolphins the advantage of being able to win their way to a playoff berth, but donít expect any of these teams to give up a win without a fight. As for the Patriots, the secondary is the weakness with this team. This game comes down to whether the Dolphins can capitalize on that weakness with a rookie QB. If they do, they give the Patriots reason to worry about the division. Iím betting that they donít. Patriots 28-17

John: Hear that sound? It's Pats fans saying "uh oh." Their defense is letting them down big time while the offense is playing good, but they're not exactly great. I don't see the Dolphins having the players to beat them, though. A first year starting QB is not going to pick them apart the way Drew Brees did and that's why I like the Pats to win. Patriots 31-23

Oakland at Pittsburgh 1:00 PM
James: Pittsburgh is reeling right now and they desperately need a win here against the Raiders to stay afloat in the playoff chase. They should be able to do it with Big Ben coming back from his 4,168th concussion. Steelers 28 Ė Raiders 10

Matt: The Steelers had what on paper was one of the easiest schedules that you could expect of a Superbowl winning team. Somehow they have managed to drop five games by a total of 18 points. Despite being the only team to beat the Vikings, they have inexplicably lost to below average or bad teams like the Bears and Chiefs. The Steelers used to be a strong team on the road, but they havenít done so this year. Last week they didnít give up a return TD, thatís a start right? I would be worried for this game if it were on the west coast, but I feel confident that the Steelers can rebound at home against the Ughland Raiders. As for the playoff race? The Steelers are at home for the rest of the season with the exception of a trip to Cleveland and a season wrap up at Miami. I only find the Packers game to be cause for concern. Steelers 27-12

John: The Raiders suck on the road. The Steelers have their problems, but they can't lose a game like this. Right? I mean they just have to beat the Raiders. Right? Steelers 24-10

New Orleans at Washington 1:00 PM
James: New Orleans is coming off probably the most important win in their franchiseís history, and the risk is there of playing down to the level of the Redskins. I donít see it happening, though. They are for real. Saints 35 Ė Redskins 20

Matt: If the Saints lose in the regular season, it will be a road game. Not this one though. The Redskins are an improving team, but they still have a long way to go. It will be interesting to see how the Saints handle playing outside on a chilly December day. Saints 24-10

John: The Redskins have lost 6 of 7, but only one of those six losses would be considered a blowout. Their defense is good enough to keep them in games. It's just a shame that their offense is bad enough to keep them winning games. As for the Saints, they're too damn good right now and with the Vikes breathing down their necks they got this. Saints 24-17

Tampa Bay at Carolina 1:00 PM
James: Jake Delhomme has been ruled out for this game. That actually might be a good thing for the Panthers. Why do these guys keep abandoning their running game?? I actually kind of want to pick Tampa here, but they just canít seem to finish games offóas evidenced last week in Atlanta with 25 seconds left. Panthers 24 Ė Bucs 20

Matt: Bad Vs Worse or Worse @ Bad. Either way, you go with the less lousy team. The Panthers are back to their losing ways, but even they canít be bad enough to lose to this Bucs team. Then again, the Bucs now are a better team than the team the Panthers faced in week 6. Lousy, low scoring game. Weekly match up of the bottom feeders. Panthers 16-12

John: Yuck. Brutal game. I don't know much about Matt Moore starting for the Panthers. It's not like Delhomme could throw anymore. Panthers win the game by running the ball. I'm not picking Tampa on the road. Panthers 17-10

Houston at Jacksonville 1:00 PM
James: Both of these clubs suffered devastating losses last week that took a crowbar to the knees of both of their playoff chances. Houston shouldnít lose this game, but Jacksonville is really tough at home for some reason. Iíll pick Houston because they have the better personnel and they are in supreme desperation mode. Texans 30 Ė Jacksonville 27

Matt: Jacksonville is holding onto a wildcard slot going into this week. I donít think they keep it though. The Texans seem to be afraid to make the playoffs. Now that that worry is all but eliminated, the Houston should start rolling up teams on their way to another very average season. Jacksonville is going to be coming in very motivated, but I just donít think that their defense is going to be able to shut down the Texans through the air. This is one of two games this week with no point spread. Go Texans, Steeler fans around the nation (or at least in Pennsylvania) are rooting for you this week. Texans 32-28

John: The Texans continue to amaze me with their feats of choking. Whether it's missing a field goal late or blowing a 17 point lead at home, they can do it all. Having said that, I'm still picking them this week. I don't really know why. I guess it's because I feel like the Jags have overachieved and when they play a team in their division I don't think their average offense and pedestrian defense are going to get the job done. Texans 27-20

San Diego at Cleveland 4:05 PM
James: Philip Rivers is playing out of his mind right now and no one seems to be noticing. I think his awesome play will continue against the Browns. Just a hunch. Chargers 35 Ė Browns 10

Matt: The Chargers shouldnít have any reason to worry this week. There is something to be said when a team is considered to be by far the worst team in a league that also contains the Rams, Raiders, Lions and Bucs. How the Bills ever managed to lose to such a hapless bunch is beyond me. Chargers 38-17

John: The second best QB in the AFC this season (after Peyton Manning) is not Tom Brady, it's Phil Rivers. He's the leader of a very good San Diego team that is playing up to its potential because their defense has woken up from the slumber they were in. The easy schedule helps too. Chargers 31-7

Dallas at NY Giants 4:15 PM
James: Ah, this will be fun. Dallas is going to try and avoid their usual December meltdown, while the Giants are just trying to get water out of the sinking life raft. I honestly donít know who to pick here because they are equally uninspiring right now. Time for Mr. Coin Flip to decide! Hmm...interesting... Cowboys 20 Ė Giants 14

Matt: The Giants are in a must win game here against the Cowboys. Iím betting that the NFC wildcard teams will have to have 10 wins, and less than that will not have a prayer in the NFC East. Next week, the Giants face the Eagles. If I thought they were good enough to win both games I could make a case for them in the playoffs. As it stands, the season is all but over for the Giants. Romo gets a ton of flack for falling apart in December, and if that is the case in this game, then Iíll be happy to jump on the bandwagon. That is the only way New York wins this week. Cowboys 30-24

John: I am a firm believer in the "Tony Romo sucks in December" theory. I also think the Giants will win this game with their backs against the wall. They need to run the damn ball and play some defense. That's what they're good at. Giants 20-17

San Francisco at Seattle 4:15 PM
James: San Francisco has to pretty much win out to have any prayer of making the playoffs, and this week seems like as good as any to continue the momentum from destroying Jacksonville last week. Seattle is just awful. 49ers 28 Ė Seahawks 14

Matt: I just canít figure out the 49ers. Are they an above average team underperforming, or a bad team overachieving? Losses to the Colts, Vikings and Packers are to be expected, even losing to the Titans can be explained away. Iím going to stick with the 49ers here even though they havenít traveled well. Iíll attribute that number to the teams that they have faced on the road. Seattle should be a tough team to play against since their roster rotates so often due to injury that teams should have difficulty preparing for them. 49ers 24-6

John: Normally I pick the Seahawks at home, but when you look at these teams it's clear that the Niners have the better players. Whether it's because of injury or not, they are simply the better team. If the defense shows up, the Seahawks will have a tough time. I think they will carry the game for San Fran in the victory. Niners 20-14

Minnesota at Arizona 8:20 PM
James: On paper, you might think Minnesota would run away with this one, but their secondary is not good at all and Arizona has several deep threat weapons that can make that secondary look as bad as they are. Iím still taking Minnesota, though, because they just have a better all-around team than Arizona. This should be a close one, though. Vikings 34 Ė Arizona 31

Matt: The Vikings continue to roll and the Cardinals continue to lose at home. Could be a fun game to watch as two veteran QBs attempt to lead their teams to the playoffs. Of course there is still a chance that Warner sits out. If that is the case, then 4 points isnít a big enough spread here. Vikings 28-20

John: I think the Vikings are the best team in the NFL. I know there are two undefeated teams. That's fine. Minnesota can beat you in so many ways whether it's by running Peterson, Favre throwing or having their defense carry them they find ways to win. Even if Warner plays, I don't like him that much against the Minnesota defense. It's not going to be easy. Vikings 31-17

Baltimore at Green Bay 8:30 PM (Mon)
James: Green Bay is clinging to the 6th seed right now and Baltimore is doing the same thing in the AFC. The Packersí offensive line could be shredded against the Ravensí old, but still effective enough, defense. Iíll pick Green Bay because of home tundra advantage and because Joe Flacco has been a virtual non-factor for most of the year. Packers 31 Ė Ravens 20

Matt: Go Packers!! Sorry, that was the Steeler fan in me. I worry a bit that this pick could be influenced by my personal desire to see the Ravens lose this week. I think that the Packers do have a good chance at a victory here as long as they keep up with the quick passes. Their pass blocking is still awful, but sticking to the play action passes and run game should cover this up well enough to keep things manageable. Last week was a Monday night shootout. This week will look more like a Monday night stalemate. Packers 14-10

John: The Packers have the kind of offense that can score on pretty much anybody while the Ravens aren't as impressive defensively as they once were. That secondary can be thrown on if you stay away from Ed Reed. I think the Pack, with all their offensive, will be able to put the points up on the board and do enough to slow down the Ravens offense to get the win. Packers 27-20

JC's Money Picks
Every week I'll pick four games against the spread or using the over/under. I was 3-1 last week. These odds come from pinnaclesports.com as always.

Season: 30-21-1 (.588)

Chargers -13 over BROWNS. Going against the Browns rather than for the Chargers.
Bears/Rams UNDER 41. It's a low number, but Kyle Boller sucks enough at QB to stall enough drives for the Rams.
Vikings -3 over CARDINALS. I like the Vikes too much to go against them.
Patriots -4 over DOLPHINS. Gut feeling more than anything. Three road favorites this week. Could be a recipe for disaster!

Thanks for reading. We'll see you next week for week fourteen.

Enjoy the games.

Contact James at xenomaster_17@yahoo.com
Contact Matt at Kane_matthews@hotmail.com
Contact John at oratoryjohn@gmail.com




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