Welcome back to the only NFL picks on Associated Content that can eat Thanksgiving leftovers for five consecutive days. Turkey sandwiches just never get old. This is the week 13 edition of Zac’s Backs.
14-2 in week 12! My best week of the 2008 NFL regular season by far. I actually didn’t realize I was doing so well until a buddy informed me on Monday morning. By now, I think we all know the secret to my success.
Picking against the Cleveland Browns. I don’t care about team records or stats or anything like that. Right now, I refuse to believe there is an NFL franchise more of a mess than the Browns. You seriously can’t name one good thing about the organization as a whole at this moment. Completely pathetic.
Enough talking about what should be an Arena League team. Here are my picks for week 13 of the NFL.
Tennessee at Detroit
The J-E-T-S ruined my dream of an undefeated team playing a winless team on Thanksgiving afternoon. You have to admit that it would be nice for the Detroit fans if the Lions won their first game on Thanksgiving but they’re playing against a Tennessee team that was embarrassed at home on Sunday. If the Titans somehow lose this game, the Colts are winning the division. You heard it here first.
Seattle at Dallas
Thanks, NFL, for these two stellar (traditional) Thanksgiving games. I want to institute a rule regarding the rest of the regular season. You can’t suggest that the Cowboys are “back” when they beat up on the 49ers and then the Seahawks. Come talk to me when Dallas plays against a respectable team.
Arizona at Philadelphia
The best game on Thanksgiving and it starts at 8:15 at night and isn’t available to much of the population. That’s 0-3 this Thanksgiving for the NFL. This will be an interesting contest as the Cardinals will be playing in very cold weather after losing the most pivotal game of their season against the New York football Giants. Meanwhile, the Eagles are almost in as bad a shape as the Browns. Almost.
The Cards would win their division if they didn’t win another game this season. Still, beating the Eagles would be a big confidence boost after losing to the champs at home.
San Francisco at Buffalo
Oh Buffalo, how you’ve failed me. My belief in the Bills is about as dead as their playoff hopes. They should handle the 49ers at home but they’re not catching up to the Colts, Pats, Dolphins and Jets.
Baltimore at Cincinnati
The Bengals are only winning one more divisional game this season. I’ll let you guess which one.
Indianapolis at Cleveland
I’m thankful that I’ll be back in PA this weekend to watch the Browns get absolutely demolished with the old man. Every time I think this season can’t get worse for Cleveland, they go and prove me wrong. That performance against the Texans was one of the worst they’ve had since the franchise returned in ’99. Playing an injured Brady Quinn at this portion of the season makes as much as sense as, well, actually spending money to watch these Clowns in person.
I’ve been saying it for weeks and I’ll continue doing so. Here come the Colts. Indy is currently the third best team in the AFC behind the Jets and Titans. I don’t know what the spread is going to be this Sunday but (if I were a betting man) I’d pick the Colts to cover. They’re going to dominate.
Carolina at Green Bay
Green Bay seems to be going back and forth this season. Fortunately, they play in a division where a 9-7 record may be good enough to win it all. Carolina’s loss last week could cost them more than a shot at the number one playoff spot in the NFC. Tampa Bay is playing great football and should win again in week 13.
You gotta like the Packers at home here. After being embarrassed on Monday Night Football, Aaron Rodgers will carry his team to a win and keep them in the hunt.
Winner: Green Bay
Miami at St. Louis
The Dolphins are another AFC team that is talented but just not good enough to play in January. They should win this game but they’ll have to do plenty more to get into the playoffs, especially when you consider the way Indy is playing and the Colts’ upcoming schedule. Then there are those pesky Patriots. Yeah.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
The Saints played their best game of the year on Monday night…and the Packers may have played their worst. Meanwhile, the Bucs gave Detroit false hope last week before running away with the game. Don’t expect the Saints to put up 50 points on that Tampa Bay defense. The Bucs haven’t lost at home yet this season and I don’t see them losing this week.
Winner: Tampa Bay
New York football Giants at Washington
For at least one week, we can refer to the Giants as the best team in the NFL. Watching my Giants every Sunday is actually the most fun I’ve had watching sports since the 1995 Cleveland Indians. The Giants are just…ridiculously good right now. Even without Brandon Jacobs and Plaxico Burress, Big Blue took out the 2008 NFC West champions in Arizona last Sunday. It didn’t hurt that Eli Manning played the best game of the season. I went to bed Sunday night cuddling my Manning jersey.
Slept like a baby.
The Redskins have to win this game for a few reasons. A loss eliminates them from the NFC East race and, thanks to the soft Thanksgiving game, puts them behind the Cowboys for the Wild Card. Even so, I think the Giants will be just too much for Washington to handle. Go Big Blue.
Winner: New York football Giants
Atlanta at San Diego
Two teams going in complete opposite directions. I will admit that I was 100 percent wrong about the Falcons at the beginning of the year. Matt Ryan is the real deal and Michael Turner is playing out of his mind right now. Against a less-than-good San Diego run defense, Turner could go for 150 and three scores by the end of the game.
Pittsburgh at New England
I refuse to believe that the Steelers are anything other than a product of playing in a crappy, crappy division unless they win this game. And they’re not going to win this game.
New England is not the unstoppable force they were in 2007 and that may actually benefit the Pats. While everybody is drooling over Brett Favre and the Jets, New England is now 7-4 and Matt Cassel is one 400 yard performance away from making history. Cassel won’t go for 400 against Pittsburgh but he will definitely be able to pick apart an overrated Steelers pass defense. This will be a close game but I think New England will score a touchdown late in the fourth to put it away.
Winner: New England
Denver at New York J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets
West Side Eric and I have come up with a good luck charm for the Jets. Every time they get into the end zone or make a big defensive play, we play “Brass Bonanza.” That’s right. The old Hartford Whalers song. Why not? They sure aren’t using it anymore.
This is your classic “trap game” for the Jets. They’ve beaten New England and Tennessee in consecutive weeks and now they get to face a Denver team that is reeling after getting ca-rushed by the Raiders a week before. The game is also in the Meadowlands, where the Jets are 4-1 this season. Like I said. Trap.
I’ve gone against the Jets enough in 2008, though. They may be the second best football team in New York (They are. Get over it.) but this team should win the AFC East and make quite a loud noise in the playoffs. If the Jets dominate the Broncos like they did the Titans, there will be no denying which team is the best in the conference.
Winner: New York J-E-T-S
Kansas City at Oakland
The Raiders should win big for the second week in a row. The Chiefs want that first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft so badly but they’re gonna need some help from the Lions, first.
Chicago at Minnesota
I’m actually really excited for this Sunday night game. The NFC North is just fun right now as there are three legitimate teams that could win the division. Nobody wins the division on Sunday night but a win here and a Packers loss (if it happens) would help that team to breathe just a little easier.
Against my better judgment, I’m going with Chicago. The Bears just seem to show up for prime time games and I really think they’re going to win the division. Sounds like a jinx to me, Bears fans.
Jacksonville at Houston
Seriously? This is the Monday night game? Which NFL exec came up with this one? I guess I’ll go with the Jags. If the Texans can only put 16 points on the board against the Browns, I just can’t believe that they will beat a real NFL team. Man, the Browns are bad.
That’s all for me. You’ve been great as always. Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal(s) and, if you can, help out a local charity by donating some food this week. Remembering the less fortunate is something we all should do, especially at this time of the year.
Zac’s Note: Don’t forget to check out the re-broadcast of my articles at http://www.examiner.com/x-680-New-York-Giants-Examiner. You should also submit some questions to my Reader Mailbag. Do It.