Tom Brady is good, really good. But one has to wonder if he can continue to perform at a high level with his team crumbling around him. He has before, but this time it could be different. His offensive line faces injuries all the time, and they plug in others to perform like new. They will really need that because Brady is like most quarterbacks as where he struggles if pressured. The Patriots face a very daunting task with Houston Monday Night, and they come with a very good defense. This will be a very big test for New England, not only because the Texans are very good, but because the Patriots injuries might simply be too tall of a task to overcome.
As always, home team in CAPS.
Denver 10 OAKLAND
The Broncos continue to cruise through the AFC West. I can't think of a more insignificant team than the Raiders this year. I don't see much of a fight here.
Atlanta 3 1/2 CAROLINA
The Falcons are getting ready for the post season, while the Panthers are already looking forward to next season. The Panthers will be game but the Falcons will have too much in the end.
TAMPA BAY 7 Philadelphia
Many thought the Buccaneers were going to make a big move this year, but I guess they were talking about next year. The Eagles dreadful season can't end soon enough. Nick Foles has been named the starter for the rest of the year, so we might not see Michael Vick for a long time.
PITTSBURGH 5 1/2 San Diego
It is still not sure who will be starting under center for the Steelers, but it really doesn't matter. Charlie Batch is a capable backup, and the opponent is the Chargers. If Norv Turner is still the Head Coach next year, there needs to be an investigation.
WASHINGTON 2 1/2 Baltimore
Somehow, the Redskins are alive for a playoff berth, but they will fall short in the end. The Ravens really need to win here, as their first round bye hopes in the playoffs are fading away. I think they will win here. I believe in Robert Griffin III, but not his teammates.
CINCINNATI 3 Dallas
The Bengals have been very decent this year, and they have an outside shot at the playoffs. The Cowboys need some help, this year and in the offseason. They are going nowhere fast. The Bengals are at home, so I will take them here.
INDIANAPOLIS 5 Tennessee
Andrew Luck might be the best rookie quarterback ever, especially after last week's comeback win. The Colts dream season continues, and I don't think the Titans will put an end to it.
SAN FRANCISCO 10 Miami
It looks like Jim Harbaugh is sticking with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. He certainly didn't do much last week. I have a feeling the 49ers will be one and done in the playoffs. They can't really be trusted. They badly need to beat Miami, who is playing hard but really isn't very good.
CLEVELAND 6 1/2 Kansas City
Another tough game for the Chiefs after last week's awful tragedy. Their season has just been a terrible disappointment. The Browns have actually played hard all year. They should win this game as I just don't see the Chiefs being able to bring much to the table.
NEW YORK GIANTS 4 1/2 New Orleans
The Giants lead in the NFC West has suddenly disappeared, so they really need to win. The Saints playoff chances are gone, but I think we knew that when they started 0-4. The Giants badly need a win, and I still think they will be a very tough out in the postseason.
New York Jets 2 1/2 JACKSONVILLE
The Jets can still make the playoffs, if one can believe. Whether they deserve to is another story. Mark Sanchez is back at quarterback. The Jaguars might make him look pretty good. Jacksonville to their credit really hasn't lied down to anybody this year. I'll take the New Yorkers. Perhaps they will make things interesting down the stretch. Perhaps.
SEATTLE 9 1/2 Arizona
The Seahawks ride continues, and right now Seattle would be in the playoffs. Amazing. The Cardinals have totally fallen apart. If they only had an offense.
Chicago 3 MINNESOTA
The Bears have really hit the skids, though they are still in position to make the postseason. I don't think they will be doing any damage though if they do in fact make it. The Vikings are an nafterthought after a good start. The Bears desperately need a win. I'll take them here.
GREEN BAY 6 1/2 Detroit
The Packers are fighting for their playoff lives, and I have decided that Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz is one of the worst coaches in football. I will be very surprised if he is back next year. The Lions have been a terrible disappointment. The Packers need this game more than the Lions. They should be able to take care of business.
Game of the Week
NEW ENGLAND 3 1/2 Houston
This pick was pretty obvious. The Patriots are devastated with injuries, but they usually are great at adjusting. This week might be different though. Houston is very talented, and the AFC's top seed could be on the line here. The Patriots are usually really good at home, but Houston has not lost on the road this year. I am picking the Texans in a mild upset.
Stinker of the Week
BUFFALO 3 St. Louis
This is a Stinker all right.
Record For Week 13: 7-8-1 ( 10-6 without the spread )
Record Through Week 13: 82-95-4 ( 103-78 without spread )
Game of Week Record: 6-7
Stinker of Week Record: 5-8
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:
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