NFL Week 13: Today's games
BRONCOS (7-4) AT CHIEFS (3-8) When: Noon Line: Broncos by 5 Synopsis: Denver finally got back on track last week by beating the sliding Giants to end a four-game slide and now faces KC, which has been on a roller coaster lately -- beating Oakland...
BRONCOS (7-4) AT CHIEFS (3-8)
Line: Broncos by 5
Synopsis: Denver finally got back on track last week by beating the sliding Giants to end a four-game slide and now faces KC, which has been on a roller coaster lately -- beating Oakland and Pittsburgh before being blown out by San Diego. Look for Denver's stout defense to clamp down on the NFL's 30th-ranked offense and for Broncos QB Kyle Orton to snap his funk vs. KC, which has allowed at least 24 points in four of its last five outings.
Pick: Broncos 20, Chiefs 13
RAIDERS (3-8) AT STEELERS (6-5)
Line: Steelers by 14½
Synopsis: Pittsburgh hopes to have QB Ben Roethlisberger back from a concussion that KO'd him last week, but even if he can't play, Dennis Dixon and the running backs should be able to grind it out against the NFL's second-worst run defense (161.1 yards/game allowed). Although Oakland has pulled a couple of upsets (vs. Philly, Cincy) those were at home and the Raiders are 1-4 on the road -- with the losses by an average of 21.3 points.
Pick: Steelers 26, Raiders 9
TEXANS (5-6) AT JAGUARS (6-5)
Synopsis: Houston blew a big lead and lost at home to Indy last week after losing to Tennessee the week before and at 5-6 is just about done. Jacksonville (6-5) still is breathing, thanks to its solid Maurice Jones-Drew-led ground attack, which faces a mediocre run defense. Houston has struggled since losing TE Owen Daniels, a key cog in the pass attack, for the season a few weeks ago. But maybe QB Matt Schaub and company can exploit the NFL's 26th-rated pass defense. Houston's better on the road (3-2) than at home (2-4).
Pick: Texans 24, Jaguars 20
TITANS (5-6) AT COLTS (11-0)
Line: Colts by 6½
Synopsis: Indy goes for its NFL record-tying 21st consecutive regular-season win but faces surging Tennessee, which after a 0-6 start is 5-0 since Vince Young took over at QB. His primary weapon is NFL rushing leader Chris Johnson, who has gained 125 yards or more in six straight games and faces a middle-of-the-pack run defense. Indy already has wrapped up the AFC South title and Peyton Manning keys the league's top-ranked aerial attack and faces a mediocre pass defense.
Pick: Colts 27, Titans 20
EAGLES (7-4) AT FALCONS (6-5)
Line: Eagles by 5½
Synopsis: The injury bowl. Philly will be minus two key offensive cogs (RB Brian Westbrook, WR DeSean Jackson) because of concussions. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan already has been ruled out because of a toe injury and will be replaced by Chris Redman, in his seventh year from Louisville, who led a late winning drive last week after Ryan left. But Redman might not have lead RB Michael Turner to hand to, because Turner is nursing an ankle ailment. Tough call here.
Pick: Falcons 20, Eagles 17
LIONS (2-9) AT BENGALS (8-3)
Line: Bengals by 13
Synopsis: Cincy is expected to have RB Cedric Benson back from a hip injury that sidelined him for two games, and he'd be welcomed back as Cincy scored just 17 and 16 points in his absence. But the Bengals should improve on that, as Detroit has lost 17 road games in a row and has given up an average of 35.6 points in its 5 away outings this year. Lions QB Matthew Stafford was slowed last week by an injured left (non-
throwing) shoulder and hopes to be better now.
Pick: Bengals 30, Lions 13
SAINTS (11-0) AT REDSKINS (3-8)
Line: Saints by 9½
Synopsis: The key question -- will undefeated New Orleans have a letdown in this classic "sandwich" situation, after its rollicking victory Monday night over New England and a division game next up with Atlanta? Even if it does, it's hard to see Washington's pop-gun attack (15.5 points a game, 29th in the NFL) keeping pace with the high-scoring Saints even if they have an off day. Washington again is minus RB Clinton Portis (concussion).
Pick: Saints 27, Redskins 13
BUCCANEERS (1-10) AT PANTHERS (4-7)
Line: Panthers by 5½
Synopsis: Carolina QB Matt Moore, a third-year pro from Oregon State, is expected to get his first start since late in his rookie season -- because Jake Delhomme has a broken finger on his passing hand -- in the matchup of the NFC South's bottom teams. Moore would be advised to hand off a lot, because Tampa's run defense is No. 30. Tampa QB Josh Freeman makes his fourth NFL start (the same number as Moore) and faces the league's No. 3 defense.
Pick: Buccaneers 17, Panthers 16
RAMS (1-10) AT BEARS (4-7)
Line: Bears by 9
Synopsis: Ugh. The Rams are 1-10 and the Bears have lost six of seven, and QB Jay Cutler and the offense have struggled mightily. Maybe Chicago RB Matt Forte (just one 100-yard game this year, no more than 41 yards in his last four) will wake up vs. this atrocious run defense. 'Nuff said on this dog. Kyle Boller is back at QB for Rams with Marc Bulger still sidelined by a broken ankle.
Pick: Bears 20, Rams 13
PATRIOTS (7-4) AT DOLPHINS (5-6)
Line: Patriots by 4
Synopsis: New England tries to bounce back after being dominated by New Orleans, as its pass defense couldn't contain the Saints' onslaught. But Miami can't come close to matching that (it's No. 30 in passing) and Patriots QB Tom Brady will exploit the porous Miami secondary. The Pats will be hungry here.
Pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 17
CHARGERS (8-3) AT BROWNS (1-10)
When: 3:05 p.m.
Line: Chargers by 13½
Synopsis: San Diego tries for its seventh win in a row and faces lowly Cleveland, but makes its first trip to the cold climates this season. That could lead to an enhanced reliance on the Chargers' sputtering, 30th-rated ground game. If there ever is a spot for improvement, this is it because Cleveland is 29th vs. the run. Expect little from the Browns' offense, which produces just 11 points per outing.
Pick: Chargers 23, Browns 10
49ers (5-6) at SEAHAWKS (4-7)
When: 3:15 p.m.
Synopsis: Ho-hum matchup of below-.500 NFC West teams that are evenly matched. Both score about 20 points per game, are ranked in the low 20s in total defense and have mediocre offenses. Not much to like here.
Pick: Seahawks 20, 49ers 16
COWBOYS (8-3) AT GIANTS (6-5)
When: 3:15 p.m.
Line: Cowboys by 2
Synopsis: Dallas finally got some offense last week, but that was vs. lowly Oakland. Now it faces a Giants team that also struggles, having lost five of six and now QB Eli Manning has a "stress reaction" on his already balky foot that he plants with when he throws. NY has surpassed 20 points just once in its last 5, but the defense remains solid (No. 4 overall) and should give Dallas' inconsistent offense trouble.
Pick: Giants 22, Cowboys 17
VIKINGS (11-1) AT CARDINALS (7-4)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Line: Vikings by 3½
Synopsis: The NFL has moved this one to prime time to accommodate NBC. Vikings QB Brett Favre is having one of his best seasons, at 40, and works against the NFL's 29th-rated pass defense. The Cardinals hope to have QB Kurt Warner back from a concussion that sidelined him last week, and his presence is key because backup Matt Leinart has struggled and Arizona's meandering running game figures to do little vs. the Vikes' fierce run defense, rated No. 2 in the NFL.
Pick with Warner: Cardinals 24, Vikings 20
Pick without Warner: Vikings 24, Cardinals 16