December 1, 2013 in Sports

NFL week 13 preview

Dan Caesar St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 
Associated Press photo

Quarterback Peyton Manning and his Broncos travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face Chiefs.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Titans at Colts

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Tennessee (5-6, 3-2 road), Indianapolis (7-4, 3-2 home)

Line: IND by 3 1/2; O/U: 45 1/2

Synopsis: Indy tries to get back on track after two blowout losses and gets a foe that has dropped five of its last seven, although Titans did win at Oakland last week. Colts’ defense has been wobbly (32.4 points allowed in last five), but look for a big effort at home.

Pick: Colts 27-20

Jaguars at Browns

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Jacksonville (2-9, 2-4 road), Cleveland (4-7, 3-3 home)

Line: CLE by 7; O/U: 40 1/2

Synopsis: Cleveland’s QB carousel spins out Brandon Weeden to start for the first time in more than a month because Jason Campbell is ailing. JAX has won two of three after its 0-8 start. Still, the Jags’ defense is terrible and conversely Cleveland has the NFL’s No. 4 “D.”

Pick: Browns 23-17

Bucs at Panthers

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Tampa Bay (3-8, 1-4 road), Carolina (8-3, 4-1 home)

Line: CAR by 7; O/U: 41 1/2

Synopsis: Carolina has reeled off seven wins in a row, and faces a foe that has won its last three after a 0-8 start. But Bucs face a stout “D” here (No. 3 vs. the run, No. 7 vs. the pass). Biggest danger for Carolina – it might be looking ahead to showdown with the Saints next week.

Pick: Panthers 26-17

Bears at Vikings

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Chicago (6-5, 1-4 road), Minnesota (2-8-1, 0-5-1 home)

Line: MIN by 1; O/U: 49 1/2

Synopsis: Josh McCown at QB again from CHI as Jay Cutler is still not healthy, but he had been decent – unlike Bears’ NFL-worst run defense (145.2 yards per game allowed). That’s bad news vs. Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, the league’s No. 2 rusher.

Pick: Vikings 30-24

Patriots at Texans

Kickoff: 10 a.m. (CBS)

Records: New England (8-3, 2-3 road), Houston (2-9, 1-5 home)

Line: NE by 7; O/U: 47 1/2

Synopsis: New England is flying high after its comeback from a 24-0 hole to beat Denver, now faces a foe that has lost nine in a row. Houston is No. 1 vs. the pass, but the Patriots like to go to the ground more than before and not rely on QB Tom Brady’s arm as much. Texans 20th vs. the run.

Pick: Patriots 30-20

Cards at Eagles

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Arizona (7-4, 2-3 road), Philadelphia (6-5, 1-4 home)

Line: PHI by 3; O/U: 48 1/2

Synopsis: Philly has won three in a row and Nick Foles finally has been named the lead QB. But he faces a “D” that is eighth overall and gives up just 20.3 points. Arizona QB Carson Palmer has been in a groove, too. But a long trip and chilly weather will be tough for the Cards.

Pick: Eagles 30-23

Dolphins at Jets

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Miami (5-6, 2-3 road), New York (5-6, 4-1 home)

Line: NYJ by 2; O/U: 40

Synopsis: NY is 31st in scoring and passing. But its defense is No. 1 vs. the run, and because Miami’s ground game is poor it will be able to concentrate on QB Ryan Tannehill. Conversely, Jets QB Geno Smith is in a bad funk. An ugly affair looms in the Meadowlands.

Pick: Jets 17-13

Falcons vs. Bills

Kickoff: At Toronto, 1 p.m.

Records: Atlanta (2-9, 0-5 road), Buffalo (4-7, 3-3 home)

Line: BUF by 3 1/2; O/U: 48

Synopsis: Lousy teams meet north of the border in a “home” game for Buffalo. The Bills will try to pound the ball (they’re No. 5 in rushing) against the NFL’s No. 29 defense against the run. Atlanta, despite its many woes, is No. 5 in passing. Flip a coin for this one.

Pick: Falcons 24-20

Rams at 49ers

Kickoff: 1:05 p.m. (Fox 28)

Records: St. Louis (5-6, 2-3 road), San Francisco (7-4, 3-2 home)

Line: SF by 8; O/U: 41 1/2

Synopsis: Rams come off two blowout wins, now face tough SF defense that stymied them in first meeting. STL has averaged nearly 190 yards on the ground in its past four outings, but faces the No. 12 run “D.” 49ers expect WR Michael Crabtree to make his season debut from a torn Achilles tendon.

Pick: 49ers 27-20.

Bengals at Chargers

Kickoff: 1:25 p.m.

Records: Cincinnati (7-4, 2-4 road), San Diego (5-6, 2-2 home)

Line: SD by 1; O/U: 48 1/2

Synopsis: Although Cincy leads the NFC North, there is nothing overwhelming about this team, which has lost its last two road games. QB Andy Daulton has thrown for 21 TDs, but has been intercepted 15 times. SD is hot and cold, too, and gives up 389.5 yards per game, more than all but three clubs.

Pick: Chargers 27-24

Broncos at Chiefs

Kickoff: 1:25 p.m. (CBS)

Records: Denver (9-2, 3-2 road), Kansas City (9-2, 5-1 home)

Line: DEN by 6; O/U: 49 1/2

Synopsis: KC has key injuries on defense – Justin Houston (11 sacks) is out because of an elbow injury, Tamba Hali (nine sacks) figures to be less than 100 percent (ankle). KC’s “D” collapsed after they left last week, a terrible sign vs. Denver’s Peyton Manning-led No. 1 pass attack.

Pick: Broncos 33-24

Giants at Redskins

Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. (NBC)

Records: New York (4-7, 1-4 road), Washington (3-8, 3-3 home)

Line: NYG by 1; O/U: 45 1/2

Synopsis: WASH’s defense is 27th or worse in total yards, passing yards and points allowed but Giants QB Eli Manning and rest of the offense are having a terrible year and might not cash in. Redskins QB Robert Griffin III and offense struggle, too. This game has no oomph.

Pick: Giants 24-20


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