Nostr-Thomas Predicts: Week 13 In the NFL

Now that we’re two days past Thanksgiving everyone can begin emerging from their tryptophan coma’s and look forward stuffing ourselves on another weekend of NFL football.

In the interests of full disclosure I’ll admit I only picked one correct Thursday outcome. I underestimated just how inept the Packers have become without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Also, the fact that the Lions usually figure a way to crap themselves when playing the Packers had me picking them. Instead, Detroit slaughtered the Green Bay 40-10.

I figured the Dallas Cowboys to have an easy time of things at home with the Oakland Raiders. While the prediction was correct the game turned into a nail-biter for Dallas fans before the Cowboys pulled through with a 31-24 win.

Finally, in a coin flip of a pick I took the Pittsburgh Steelers to beat the Baltimore Ravens on the road. The Steelers fell one minute and a two-point conversion short at the end, 22-20.

Enough with looking back to the past. Time to charge into the future to see how Sunday’s games stack-up.

Early Games

Chicago Bears @Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson’s mouth has to be watering after seeing what the Rams’ running game was able to do to the Bears’ defense last week but he’s all the Vikings have going for them on offense.

For the Bears, Josh McCown will continue doing a competent job at quarterback for the offense. On defense Jay Ratliff, recently acquired from the Cowboys, is expected to start at one defensive tackle spot while Stephen Paea returns from injury to start next to him.

If those two even nominally improve the run defense for the Bears that’s all they should need to beat a team that’s beyond the point of even saving their head coach’s job.

Arizona Cardinals @Philadelphia Eagles

One of the premier games of the weekend. The Eagles need the win to keep pace with the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East. The Cardinals need it to stay in the middle of the wild card hunt.

The Eagles are 1-5 at home this season. The Cardinals are 1-5 in their last six games played outside on the road. Carson Palmer has Arizona’s offense playing like they expected when the Cardinals acquired him.

Still, the Eagles are coming off their bye week and move the ball better than Arizona. Look for them to win at home.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Carolina Panthers

Head coach Ron Rivera has gone from being out the door one second after the last game of the season ends to garnering votes for Coach of the Year. The Panthers are currently fifth seed in the NFC and won’t be wasting their time letting the lowly Buccaneers think they can play with them.

New England Patriots @Houston Texans

Prior to the season this game was seen as a rematch of last year’s Division Round playoff game. Now it’s a tune-up for the Patriots on their way to the postseason since the Texans have hit rock bottom after losing to the Jaguars last week.

Miami Dolphins @New York Jets

Without doubt the Dolphins will be the better team on Sunday but the Jets are 4-1 at home with two of those wins being over the Patriots and Saints.

The Dolphins have lost three straight on the road and don’t travel well to the cold weather AFC East destinations. The Jets win a tight game this week.

Tennessee Titans @Indianapolis Colts

The Titans are the Colts closest pursuer for the AFC South crown. Two weeks ago Indianapolis came back from 14-0 and 17-3 deficits to defeat the Titans in Tennessee. Sandwiching that game for the Colts is two blowout losses to the Rams and Cardinals.

Given the troubles the Colts had has of late they should be ripe for the picking but the Titans are still stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. The Colts have also been called out publicly by team owner Jim Irsay.

It’s a stretch to expect the Colts to lose at home this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars @Cleveland Browns

The stinker of the early slate of games. The Browns are back to starting Brandon Weeden after Jason Campbell was concussed by William Gay of the Steelers last week. That should still be enough to get them past the pathetic Jaguars at home.

Late Games

Atlanta Falcons @Buffalo Bills

The Falcons have gone from contenders as the NFC representative in Super Bowl XLVIII to joining the Texans as competitors for the top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. They are also 0-5 on the road this season.

The Bills are playing the first of three straight games that could be called the “dog” run. After finishing with the Falcons they take to the road against the Tampa Bay and Jacksonville. That’s a great recipe of game to regain health.

The Bills have E.J. Manuel healthy and will be behind center for the third straight game on Sunday, have a strong defense and are coming off their bye week. This week they kick the Falcons while they’re down.

St. Louis Rams @San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are having a more difficult time as defending NFC Champions than was expected heading into this season. They are currently the conference’s sixth seed in a crowded playoff race.

The Rams have beat the Colts and Bears in consecutive weeks but haven’t won in San Francisco since 2007 (they tied last season 24-24).

Expect their run of good fortune to end Sunday afternoon.

Cincinnati Bengals @San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have been a dangerous team at home this season and they’re playing a team that has lost its last two road games in overtime. The Bengals also see the Baltimore Ravens creeping up on them in their rearview mirror and know that the Ravens can be closer than they appear.

In the battle of two explosive offenses this one goes to the home team.

Denver Broncos @Kansas City Chiefs

Another premier game, this one for the late afternoon crowd. The Broncos won game one in Denver 27-17 and both teams lost heart-breakers last week. Both are tied at the top of the AFC West division with the Broncos holding the tiebreak edge.

Kansas City is still the second best team in the NFL in points allowed, even after surrendering 41 points, including the final touchdown with 31 seconds left, to San Diego last week.

Peyton Manning is still having an elite 2013, even if he played the worst game of his season last week.

The Chiefs have one of the best rushing offenses in the league going against one of the best run defenses in the league. The Broncos are still the better team through the air though and that should be enough to win in a stadium that’s one of the toughest in the league on road teams.

Sunday Night Football

New York Giants @Washington Redskins

It’s Sunday night sedative time as NBC serves up two teams contending to be the worst in the NFL. as their prime-time game (see The Terrible Ten Week 12). Why this game wasn’t flexed out for the Broncos vs the Chiefs is a mystery to nearly all.

Of these two equally inept division rivals take the home team. It’s as good a choice as any.

Monday Night Football

New Orleans Saints @Seattle Seahawks

Now this is a prime-time match-up NFL fans can sink their teeth into. These two teams are playing for the inside track to be the top seed in the NFC in January.

Both teams are virtually even in Points Scored this season while the Saints have allowed just 17 more points on defense. Drew Brees and Russell Wilson both lead strong passing games and are rarely intercepted.

This game will likely come down to the Seahawks drawing energy from their 12th Man fan base like Popeye draws strength from spinach. That will likely make the difference between two elite NFL teams.

The Terrible Ten Week 12: The Race for the No. 1 Pick

The Terrible Ten Week 12: The Race for the No. 1 Pick

Heading into Week 13 up is down, left is right and dogs and cats are living together. Is it the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? No, it’s the NFL.

 

10 Greatest Thanksgiving Day Games Of All-Time

10 Greatest Thanksgiving Day Games Of All-Time

Nothing is more uniquely American having Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends while enjoying NFL football on television. Here are 10 games that have been as special as the day.

 

The Top 10 Biggest Bullies In NFL History

The Top 10 Biggest Bullies In NFL History

Football is a physical game played by tough, athletic men but at times those men cross the line into intimidation and violence. These are the 10 best examples of that behavior.

 

The Bears Splash Past the Ravens 23-20: Five Things We Learned

The Bears Splash Past the Ravens 23-20: Five Things We Learned

On a dark and stormy afternoon at Soldier Field the Chicago Bears beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in overtime.

 

The Terrible Ten Week 10: The Race for the No. 1 Pick

The Terrible Ten Week 10: The Race for the No. 1 Pick

The NFL’s lower class rose last weekend and forced the league to take notice. Can the Empire respond and stop this rebellion in its tracks?

 

Nostr-Thomas Predicts: The NFL Week 10

The week began with a surprise victory by the Minnesota Vikings over the Washington Redskins on Thursday Night Football. The rest of the league is heading down the backstretch of the season as the postseason scenarios begin to sort themselves out.

It’s time to pick the remainder of the Week 10 NFL slate.

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears -1

Jay Cutler returns this week after recovering from his groin injury suffered Week 7 against the Redskins. The Bears have won seven of the last eight games against the Lions played at Soldier Field. Look for at least one turnover by the Lions against one of the top turnover creating defenses in the league.

Bears cover in a tightly played game.

Seattle Seahawks -5 @ Atlanta Falcons

This one’s not going to be nearly as exciting as last year’s divisional round playoff game. The Falcons have struggled to a 2-6 record and are facing a Seahawks team that may not be winning as dominantly as they did in 2012 but is still 8-1.

Seattle throws a blanket over Matt Ryan’s targets and cover on the road.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers -1

Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone puts an entirely different spin on this game. Still, the Eagles aren’t playing the Raiders’ defense this week and the Packers are running the ball with Eddie Lacy better than they have in years. Along with what Seneca Wallace can give them after a full week of practice should be enough.

Packers cover at home.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans -12

The Titans get to feel like one of the big boys this season as they take a 12 point advantage at home in their game against one of the worst teams in NFL history. The Titans can play defense. The Jaguars can’t play anything.

Titans cover and feel good about themselves for a week.

St. Louis Rams @ Indianapolis Colts -9.5

Kellen Clemens has kept the Rams in the two games he has started so far but he’s facing one of the hottest teams in the NFL this week.

Colts win but the Rams keep it closer than 9.5.

Cincinnati Bengals -1.5 @ Baltimore Ravens

The Bengals are taking control of the AFC North. The Ravens have lost 4 of 5.

The Bengals win and cover on the road.

Buffalo Bills @ Pittsburgh Steelers -3

The Bills are playing tough and get E.J. Manuel back as their starting quarterback this week. The Steelers have earned their 2-6 record this season. The question is how low can they go.

The Bills win as underdogs on the road.

Oakland Raiders @ New York Giants -7

The Raiders are 3-5 but not playing as well as their record. The Giants are 2-6 but playing better and coming off their bye week.

The Giants win and cover at home.

Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers -6

The Panthers are playing some of the best defense in the NFL but they’re stepping up in competition against the 49ers and playing them on their home turf.

The 49ers win but the Panthers keep the game within 6.

Houston Texans @ Arizona Cardinals -2.5

Case Keenum has played very well at quarterback against a team that’s strong defensively but has trouble moving the ball on offense. The Texans win and cover.

Denver Broncos -7 @ San Diego Chargers

San Diego keeps this closer than the touchdown spread at home but don’t have the guns to defeat the Broncos.

Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints -6.5

Saints are world-beaters at home but 6.5 is more than they’ll be able to cover against the Cowboys.

Miami Dolphins -2.5 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This might be the Buccaneers best shot at winning a game this season but home has not been a friendly place for them this season.

Miami keeps Tampa Bay winless plus covers.

 

The 10 Greatest Clutch Moments In NFL History

The 10 Greatest Clutch Moments In NFL History

When it comes to do or die situations here are the 10 best instances in NFL history of players that rose to the occasion.

Bears Beat Packers In Lambeau, 27-20: Five Things We Learned

Bears Beat Packers In Lambeau, 27-20: Five Things We Learned

The Chicago Bears improved their record to 5-3 and pulled into a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers with their 27-20 victory on Monday Night Football.