NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 13

Lucky enjoyed another winning week going 9-7 against the spread and moved to 87-80-6 for the NFL season. Let us jump right in with the picks, which should prove lucky even in Week Thirteen!Bengals(+6.5) @ Ravens -The Bengals, of all teams, were the last straw for Butch Davis. After his team gave up 58 points to Carson Palmer and his Cincy squad, Butch called it quits. This makes the Bengals the first team this year to force a coach to quit, and they will respond in week 13. I guess giving up 58 points to the Bengals is pretty amazing. The Bengals D shouldn’t find life too difficult against a raw Baltimore offense that continues to hurt their defense with turnovers deep in their own territory. The stories all over the league before last Sunday stated that Kyle Boller was coming of age, and he’s not just a guy handing the ball off anymore, blah, blah, blah… Right! He didn’t just hand the ball off against the Cowboys, so what. Last week his coach wished handing the ball off was an option. Boller isn’t an impressive QB, don’t know if he ever will be. Jamal Lewis hasn’t been great this year, but the Ravens have been even worse without him. With Lewis being a game time decision, I have to give the nod to the Bengals and the 6 points they are getting. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Cardinals @ Lions(-6) -The Cardinals are an up and down team this year, unfortunately there have been too many downs. The Lions have the same symptoms, losing to Washington and then barely getting beat by a tough Jaguar team in OT. Then a tough Viking team barely snuck past them in week 11. Last week they gave up 6 touchdowns to Peyton Manning alone, in three quarters. To put that into perspective, Mike Vick has 11 TD’s and he hasn’t missed a snap in 11 games. But all stats aside, the Cards are starting an un-drafted rookie at running back, and John Navarre at QB. Combined they have 43 yards of career offense, all coming from Larry Croom. If you don’t recognize that name, it’s okay; he’s the aforementioned rookie running back. The Lions still have Joey Harrington, Roy Williams, Kevin Jones, and a defense that has done all right, except for last week. I expect a better performance from a turbulent Lion team in week 13. Winning by 6 should be doable. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Titans(+10.5) @ Colts – This one might get me medically tested by my employers, but first let me explain. The Colts kicked the Lions to the curb last week; getting 6 touchdown passes from their fearless leader Peyton Manning. The Titans let a good lead slip away against the Texans, losing against the team they use to be. (Oilers, Warren Moon, Run N Shoot… remember?) But that was without Chris Brown, and McNair is just getting healthy. Steve played pretty well, and I think he will dip into his old bag of MVP tricks against a good Colts team. The Tennessee defense is underrated. I don’t know if their corners can hang with the trio Manning tosses the pigskin to, but they aren’t a pushover like the Lions were on Thanks Giving. 10.5 is a ton, and at a huge underdog to pull the upset, (+450) I might even take the Titans to defeat pretty horses.
Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Vikings(-7) @ Bears – This game is a no-brainer, and I’ve already put big money down, just in case the odds makers come to their senses. I know the Bears just hired one of the best QB’s of all time, Joe Montana. But even with his amazing football skill and knowledge, the man is old, and he can’t win games on his own at his age. Wait. What am I saying? Just in… the Bears just signed Jeff George, not Montana. Jeff George hasn’t been a winner anywhere, and has been out of the league just about as long as Joe Namath. In fact, I’d rather have Namath. This is how bad it’s gotten in Chicago. What is going on? They aren’t going to the playoffs or anything, and I know damn well Jeff isn’t a long-term answer. So why not start a young fellow and try to teach him something? This is absurd. The Bears will get crushed by the Vikings who are back to full strength with Mr. Moss. Like I said, I’ve already taken a lot of action on this odds makers blunder, I advise you do the same. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Bills(-3.5) @ Dolphins – The Bills just destroyed the Hawks last week in Seattle. I’ve given Drew Bledsoe a lot of crap this year. I don’t see that “slowing down” any time soon. His methodical style only got him sacked one time last week, but in a 38-9 shellacking of the Hawks, Drew managed a 68 quarterback rating, with 3 interceptions to his one touchdown. What are the Bills doing? They are 5-6 and aren’t nearly as good as the playoff teams in the AFC. Drew Bledsoe has been terrible, yet JP Losman sits on the bench and watches. Maybe I should run a football team. I would know well enough to stick my future QB in when the season is lost for my team, and all that’s left is how good my draft pick will be. Sure, 9-7 is nice, but not when 7-9 moves you up 4 spots in the draft. Either way, with or without our world-class sprinter, Drew Bledsoe, the Bills should handle the most pathetic team in the NFL. The Dolphins only hope in winning is a court case against deserter Ricky Williams, and that’s not looking so good either. In a season that has forced the resignation of Dave Wandstedt, seen a top off-season pick up injured in the preseason, (David Boston, out for the year) and lost their only pro bowl offensive player (Williams), I can’t see a win coming even against the Bledsoe led Bills. And it hurts to say that. Drew might even pad his career rushing stats. Who knows? Let him loose!
Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Falcons(+1.5) @ Buccaneers – What has changed in three weeks that makes this game any different than it was in week 10? Oh I see, Atlanta has gone undefeated and the Bucs just lost to Carolina. That makes sense…. unbelievable. I want some of the stuff the odds makers were on this week. The game is in Tampa Bay, but does that really make anyone think the Bucs should be favored? Atlanta is a playoff team, in the weak NFC yes, but the Bucs aren’t a playoff team in any league. Their running game will be shut down again, and Griese won’t be able to beat the Falcons by himself. It’s games like this that make me think that somebody is playing a trick on me, like this week in Tampa the opposing center has to play QB for the first half. The way I see it, even then, Vick will play in the second half, still giving the upper hand to Atlanta. Tampa shouldn’t play with Atlanta, regardless of how erratic the Falcons are.
Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

49ers @ Rams(-10.5) – The Rams have been terrible. Recently they have only beaten the Hawks, who gave the Rams the game. Bulger has racked up the most passing yards in the league, but then again blind deep passes have to be completed sometimes. When will Mike Martz realize that he has to run the ball to be successful. He’s been doing this stuff since he won his first Super Bowl with the Rams. He has a great tandem with Faulk and rookie Stephen Jackson at his disposal, yet he continues to let his quarterback launch the ball aimlessly down field. Fortunately for the Rams, they are playing the 49ers this week, which can’t even slow down a Bledsoe to Bledsoe air attack. I take back that the Dolphins are the most pathetic team in the league. At least they have an excuse, if not a few. The Niners decided to start the season with Ken Dorsey as their backup. They also lost to Miami last week. Enough said. Even the Rams should beat the Niners by a couple touchdowns. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Panthers @ Saints(-1) – The Saints have played a couple halves of decent ball of late. They hung with the Falcons a week ago, and three weeks ago, they beat Kansas City. But, the Broncos did kill them in week 11. Who knows what the Saints will play like in week 13. Not Jim Haslett, that’s for sure. That’s the thing though; a Sunday couch warrior like me has the same shot as God does in a New Orleans prediction. The Panthers managed to beat Tampa Bay last week behind another good game from Nick Goings. These defenses suck, and both the offenses come and go like Oprah”s cheeks. Honestly, I think the Saints will jump all over the Panthers this week, finish the season strong, but not strong enough to earn a playoff spot. The end of the season will show promise for a team that has been “young” for the last 5 years, and all the sports geniuses will pick them to win more games in 2005. But that’s just my prediction. Either way, I see a Saints win in New Orleans on Sunday. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Broncos @ Chargers(-3) – The Chargers fought off a tough effort from a never say die Kansas City team in week 12. The Broncos lost to a dead Raiders team. I’ll take the Chargers giving only 3 at home. The Broncos have been bad on the road, and San Diego has been good everywhere. The sensational Antonio Gates should have another big week. Also look for my main man Ladainian Tomlinson to reel off a big game. Lets not forget the crucial ingredient in this game, Drew Brees. Yeah, it took me a while to actually believe he was for real, but I have to trust his game now. He hasn’t had the benefit of an awesome season everyone expected from LT. He has had to make throws to win games, and he has done that. He’ll do it again against Denver who let Kerry Collins throw for 339 yards and 4 touchdowns, in the snow, in Denver. Not Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins. Game Date: 12/05/04 16:05 ET

Giants(+2) @ Redskins – The Giants shouldn’t be able to win many games while starting Eli Manning at QB. But this week will be the exception. The Redskins are terrible. Their best player, by far, had 6 carries for 17 yards last week. Clinton Portis was on the bench for a good part of the game because the Redskins were behind so early, that running was out of the question. Tiki Barbar will get his share of carries, and should break the 100-yard mark against a good Washington defense. I’m foreseeing 2 or 3 turnovers from the Redskins, and that’s wishful thinking for Joe Gibbs. Patrick Ramsey doesn’t have NFL talent, and will soon be written off as just another screw up by Steve Spurrier. For a team costing their owner a pretty penny, the Redskins are downright horrid. Odds makers must know something I don’t.
Game Date: 12/05/04 16:15 ET

Packers(+6) @ Eagles – The Eagles look really good lately. But, they played Eli Manning last week, and took advantage of his rookie mistakes. That won’t happen with Brett Favre playing the way he is. Brett has been playing like the champion he is since his slow start. Javon Walker has shown off the talent that made him a high pick in the first place. Ahman Green should be back, but if he isn’t Nejah Davenport can obviously get things done. Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb has been a lethal combo, but will slip this week. McNabb has been too accurate lately, so I expect a drop off. I’d love to take the Packers to win in this one for a big pay off, but the 6 points are a nice diaper in case this is a nail biter, which I imagine it will be.
Game Date: 12/05/04 16:15 ET

Steelers(-3) @ Jaguars – The Steelers continue to be snubbed by the odds makers. The Jaguars are a tough team, but they just lost to the Vikings by 11 and I think the Steelers are better than Minnesota. That’s bad thinking for betting, but this isn’t. The Jaguars haven’t been as stout against the run this year, and the Steelers have the best rushing attack in the league. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t had to make plays to win, but I believe he can. He’s got a rocket arm, and is poised enough to make it happen against a Jacksonville secondary that can be picked on. Duce Staley is back this week, and with Bettis backing him up and getting a bunch of carries, the Steelers should always have fresh legs on the field. Pittsburgh also has a D that is just too good to bet against. Game Date: 12/05/04 20:35 ET

Cowboys @ Seahawks(-7) – Where have all the Seahawks gone? In a season that was destined for greatness the Hawks managed to lose by 29 points to the Bills, and my favorite, Drew Bledsoe. Matt Hasselbeck looks horrible, and even the walrus look alike on the sideline has been huffing and puffing. Something is wrong in Seattle. There’s no doubt in my mind that this goes deeper than everyone thinks. I’ve been burned by the Hawks since my 3-0 start with them. This week should be different. Hasselbeck has to realize at some point that he is way better than he is playing. Holmgren should decide to just let Matt play ball, without any dumbing down, and without giving an absurd amount of carries to Shaun Alexander. The Cowboys are just flat out bad on both sides of the ball. Julius Jones won’t find as much yardage as he did against Chicago. The Hawks have a lot of injuries, but they will come to play against Dallas. With everything that has blown up in their faces since they lost to the Rams in week 4, the Hawks still have a good bunch of players that could just come together in adversity, and realize they still control their own playoff destiny. The Hawks will beat Dallas, and if they all come to play, they should really shut them down in Seattle. Game Date: 12/06/04 21:05 ET

Houston @ Jets (-7 ) – Chad Pennington is back, and his team is still headed for the playoffs. Houston is a mere roadblock in New York’s plans. With Chad back behind center, defenses won’t be able to load up on the run, making life easier for Curtis Martin to do what he was doing earlier in the season. Since Pennington’s injury something good has happened in Jetland, Santana Moss has come alive. If this continues, the Jets become a favorite to move on. Moss has been disappointing for the most part, but might pull a presto chango like he did last year. Either way the Jets should win easily at home against Houston. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET


Good Luck with your NFL Football Wagering!
Lucky Lester

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