NFL Predictions | Week 13: NFL Football Picks, NFL Football Predictions

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NFL Predictions | Week 13: NFL Football Picks, NFL Football Predictions
By Massimo Russo: Co-Editor Silver and Blue Report & Hook’em Report

Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys Fan, Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys CheerleaderWho do you think will win? Check out our own expert NFL picks every week for NFL games: Pro Football Predictions. Our NFL Predictions are subject to change prior to games.

We provide the best and most educated National Football League picks based on relevant statistic and resources, along with: key injuries, Historical results, and accurate comparisons.

 

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL

Week 13
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 28
12:30 PM ET
Green Bay Packers 5-5-1 @ Detroit Lions 6-5 – TV: FOX

It’s just weird not seeing Aaron Rodgers (Collarbone) under center for the Packers, sort of like not seeing Kobe Bryant nailing jump-shots for the Los Angeles Lakers. Feel me? Would’ve loved to see Rodgers and Matthew Stafford airing things out in a pivotal divisional matchup on “Turkey Day”, but the “Motor City” and viewers in their living rooms across the nation will be watching Matt Flynn try to end the Rodgers-less Packers losing-skid against the first place Lions. The first time these two teams squared off in Week 5, Stafford was missing two key starters at receiver, Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson in a game Detroit lost 22-9. Stafford was sacked five times in that contest, and clearly, the offense lacked a vertical stretch to muster points on the board. Green Bay tallied 180-yards rushing on Detroit’s defense, Eddie Lacy with 99 of them that set up the deep-ball late in the game to deliver the knockout-punch. Lacy and the Packers offense needs a solid performance on the ground to control the tempo and keep Detroit’s high-powered offense off the field. Green Bay’s defense has taken a sudden downturn against the run, allowing 171.4-yards per game over its last four, and having to deal with Reggie Bush, a back that can stifle a defense both carrying and receiving out of the backfield, will be a handful for the struggling Packers. Detroit’s defense, like Green Bay is vulnerable, particularly in the secondary. Matt Flynn isn’t limited and makes Green Bay’s offense much more stable than Scott Tolzien to sustain drives. Flynn will take shots deep against Detroit’s porous pass-coverage, but Detroit’s offense has the upper-hand in having Nate Burleson back in the lineup, a vital part in giving Matthew Stafford another good route-runner and second or third look away from Calvin Johnson. Green Bay’s defense needs Clay Matthews to be full-throttle for four quarters, not just a few series if the Packers are going to stop Stafford from connecting big with Calvin Johnson. Not a favorable matchup for Green Bay’s defense. Unless Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers throws out a bag of tricks at Stafford with some blitzes, Green Bay’s defense will fall into an abyss.
Pick: Lions 34, Packers 24

4:30 PM ET
Oakland Raiders 4-7 @ Dallas Cowboys 6-5 – TV: CBS

Matt McGloin’s play over the last two weeks at quarterback has given Raiders coach Dennis Allen enough confidence to give him the start over the healthy Terrelle Pryor. However, I wonder if Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson has something up his sleeve. Will he try to catch Dallas’ defense off-guard by throwing Pryor in the game here and there to run a few read-option plays against a Dallas defense that’s capable of allowing big plays on the ground? The Raiders offense isn’t equipped to run numbers through the air and with receiver Denarius Moore (Shoulder) ruled out again this week, Rod Streater will once again be the prime target for the Raiders passing game. Running back Darren McFadden (Hamstring) is expected to be back this week, but he won’t get the start in the Raiders backfield as Rashad Jennings is playing well enough to possibly keep the starting job. Jennings has been an all-purpose back and bright spot for the Raiders’ offense, but they can use a little mixing and matching by having McFadden come in on certain packages. Their defense has been pretty good against the run, but subpar when defending the pass. Last week, Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 320-yards against them and they’re facing a Dallas offense that has much more weapons at receiver, featured by Dez Bryant, Tony Romo’s most dangerous threat and one of the more talented players at the position. The key for Oakland’s defense will be limiting Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray from gaining positive yardage on first and second downs. If they do that, they can put Romo in long distance passing downs and Dallas’ offense has proven to struggle when the offense is forced to be one dimensional. The Raiders defense has been decent at getting after the quarterback, but disappears at times. If there’s a plus or difference between these two clubs with certain deficiencies on defense, Dallas’ defense has been consistently creating turnovers, and I think they force a couple of them in this matchup against the inexperienced McGloin for the offense to capitalize off of.
Pick: Cowboys 30, Raiders 20

8:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh Steelers 5-6 @ Baltimore Ravens 5-6 – TV: NBC

Both squads will be in playoff-mode and view this as a make or break game in the wild-chase of the AFC wild-card race. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are two of the six teams standing at 5-6 heading into this weekend’s action. The other four, the Chargers, Jets, Dolphins and Titans are all battling for the same spot with in-conference and divisional games, just something for me to throw out there in case you didn’t know. As far as this matchup goes, Pittsburgh’s defense has come to life over their last three games, winning all of them. They’re creating turnovers, 8-takeaways and they’re not turning over the football on offense. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 7-touchdown passes and only 1-interception during Pittsburgh’s 3-game winning streak. What I like most is getting back to the fundamentals of what Steelers football really is, and that’s being physical by pounding the rock. Le’Veon Bell is averaging around 20-carries a game over the last three weeks, and I expect Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley to continue to feed Bell the ball, especially this week against Baltimore’s dangerous pass-rush, 37-sacks, tied for first in the league. Baltimore’s offense has struggled to get the running game going, an area of the team that’s been successful in years past with Ray Rice in the backfield. Joe Flacco stated his dislike of the coaching staff using the wildcat against the Jets, but coach Harbaugh sees things different. “We’re going to do everything we can do to move the ball offensively,” he said. “We’ve got guys that can play and that we’ll put on the field in different spots where we feel like we need to. And all our guys support that.” You can hint at the coaching staff looking for ways to open things up, but if Baltimore’s offense is going to get back to consistently making big plays like it did a year ago, Ray Rice, the teams most vital part and player the offense centralizes things around, needs to get into open space, rather having running lanes created from the offensive line or out of the backfield on screens, check-downs, etc. Both defenses will be committed to stopping the run and play press-coverage at the line of scrimmage. I’m not expecting lots of holes in the backend of both defenses for Roethlisberger or Flacco to exploit them with, but Baltimore’s defense has been much more consistent at providing pressure upfront, the difference-maker in a defensive battle that’ll come down to the wire.
Pick: Ravens 20, Steelers 17

(Rest of picks to follow this weekend)

Sunday, December 1
1:00 PM ET

Jacksonville Jaguars 2-9 @ Cleveland Browns 4-7 – TV: CBS
Tennessee Titans 5-6 @ Indianapolis Colts 7-4 – TV: CBS
Chicago Bears 6-5 @ Minnesota Vikings 2-8-1 – TV: FOX
Miami Dolphins 5-6 @ N.Y. Jets 5-6 – TV: CBS
Arizona Cardinals 7-4 @ Philadelphia Eagles 6-5 – TV: FOX
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-8 @ Carolina Panthers 8-3 – TV: FOX
New England Patriots 8-3 @ Houston Texans 2-9 – TV: CBS

4:05 PM ET
Atlanta Falcons 2-9 @ Buffalo Bills 4-7 – TV: FOX
St. Louis Rams 5-6 @ San Francisco 49ers 7-4 – TV: FOX

4:25 PM ET
Denver Broncos 9-2 @ Kansas City Chiefs 9-2 – TV: CBS
Cincinnati Bengals 7-4 @ San Diego Chargers 5-6 – TV: CBS

Sunday Night Football in America 8:30 PM ET – TV: NBC
N.Y. Giants 4-7 @ Washington Redskins 3-8

Monday Night Football, December 2 8:30 PM ET – TV: ESPN
New Orleans Saints 9-2 @ Seattle Seahawks 10-1

You can follow Massimo Russo on Twitter @NFLMassimo and SilverandBlueReport.com @SilverBlueRpt

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