Digital Dads NFL Pre-Game 2012: Week 13

It is week 13 in the NFL which means that we know damn well who the winners and losers are and who has an outside chance of rising up and making the playoffs. There is one team that I’m looking at (even going so far as to backing their players in fantasy football) that is going to rise up and steal a playoff spot. More on that in a second. Speaking about fantasy though, it is week 13 which means for many, it is the last week before playoffs begin.

This year, I have clinched the playoffs in one league on the back of Phil Dawson, Matt Ryan and AJ Green. The other league I have AJ Green and Ryan in is a defense plays league, and I did not make the playoffs there and actually just traded Green for Jimmy Graham and Cecil Shorts. The third league, I’m in fourth at the moment, but really need a win this week to clinch a playoff spot. That team is also led by Matt Ryan (who has not done me so well the last two weeks), with Calvin Johnson as the primary receiver. Not a lot of TD’s, but a lot of yards.

This week though, in the league I’ve already clinched, I’m going with Andy Dalton over Ryan and the Bengals Defense. While the Saints give up the most fantasy points to opposing QB’s, I’m liking the way Cincinnati is playing right now and I suggest that you do what you can to grab any Cincinnati players before the trade deadline. Also, my primary RB in all leagues is Green-Ellis. I’ve found that synching all my teams makes more a better fantasy season all around.

So in real football news, that’s the team that I think is going to rise up and steal a playoff spot – the Bengals. They are playing fast and strong and their schedule over the next few weeks puts their fate strongly in their hands. The playoffs is theirs to lose. As for the losers, the Eagles top that list. What a shit shack. Next on that list are the Jets, also a supreme disappointment. I’d put the Browns, Rams, Cardinals, etc., on that list, but we expected them to lose. So after skipping last week (turkey hangover bitches) lets get to picking some games.

New Orleans at Atlanta -3.0
Big game for the Saints if they hope to make a run for the playoffs. To their advantage, outside of Atlanta, the NFC is wide freaking open. Those wild card spots will be highly contested and probably come down to the last game. Even the Rams have an outside chance. Of course, the Saints are going to have to win out, and I don’t think they do that. Their defense is giving up too many points, and the offense just isn’t keeping up. Defenses are aware of Graham now, and Brees doesn’t seem to have the weapons he used to have, especially in the running game. While Ivory has impressed, it hasn’t been enough. Speaking about running game, the Falcons have made it to 10-1 pretty much without using Turner that much, sticking to more swing routes and pitches to the faster running Rodgers. Keep in mind the Saints handed the Falcons their only loss this season. Regardless, back at home, I’m taking the Falcons.

Jacksonville at Buffalo -7.0 UPSET SPECIAL!!
The AFC picture is a little bit clearer when it comes to the playoffs, and neither of these teams are in it. Henne has been better for the Jags than Gabbert, but it’s too little too late. The highlight here is watching rising stars Sheets and Blackmon make names for themselves, in the hopes they get to play somewhere else next season. The Bills can score points, but they can also turn the ball over a lot. I’m going out on a limb here and taking the Jags to win. Even at 2-9, they still have a shot at not completely looking like jackasses. Jags on the road to upset.

Seattle at Chicago -3.0
One second the Hawks look playoff caliber, the next second they look weak. Doesn’t really matter. Chicago is playing some inspired football. Tough too. Last week was great when Cutler got pushed out of bounds, then flipped the ball at a Vikings player. That’s the chippy Cutler that we all know and love. He got flagged for 15 yards, but it was totally worth it. The Bears aren’t going to lay down at home for a team like the Seahawks, they are going to pummel them. Bears to win.

Indianapolis at Detroit -3.5
I bet you want to pick an upset here don’t you? Well, the Lions are still having trouble closing out games, and with Johnson unable to find open space to run, they are having trouble scoring with the long ball as well. Losing three in a row hasn’t helped them rebound this season at all. Stafford is getting shoved, hurried and sacked way too often. That line has got to protect. The Indy pass rush isn’t much of a threat, but Luck and TY Hilton might be. Close game here, but I think the Lions edge out at home. I could be wrong though, this is one I see could go either way.

Minnesota at Green Bay -9.0
The Vikings are down Harvin, and seem to forget they have the leagues #1 rusher on their team. Field goals from 4th and one against the division leading Bears? Are you shitting me? Peterson averages like four yards a carry and you are taking pussy points? The Vikings have given up, I’d say that makes them dangerous, and against the Packers non-existent rushing defense that’d be even more true, but the Packers have that Rodgers guy. Protect him and win the game. Packers at home.

Houston at Tennessee +5.5
The Titans are 0-3 in the division and welcome division leader Houston to town. Yeah, Arian Foster is gonna be like “hey Chris Johnson, this is how it’s done now.” The Titans are going to get shredded. They’ll put up a valiant fight, but the Houston D-Line will crush Locker. Texans to win.

Carolina at Kansas City +2.5 CRAPFEST OF THE WEEK!!
Boy, here’s your who gives a shit game of the week. You’d think this would be on Monday Night Football the way those games have been. After beating the hapless Eagles, now the Panthers get the Chiefs. Too bad the Panthers are 3-8. Panthers to win. But no one will be watching.

San Francisco at St. Louis +6.5
The Niners have a rare QB problem. That is, both of them are winners. Alex Smith is probably the most dogged QB in the history of the franchise. My guess, he’s out at the end of the year, playing in KC or something. Which is a mistake. He’s got the arm and the game smarts to be great. Dunno why he can’t get his due in SF. Fuck ‘em. Kaepernik gives them just as much chance to win, though they could start Randy Moss at QB this week and win. Niners to win. Of course, keep in mind they did tie last time they played the Rams.

New England at Miami +9.0
Miami has an outside chance of getting to the playoffs, but this is the week to make that leap. This is a must win game, against a team that seems to just score and score and score but wait! No Gronk? Out with a broken arm thanks to an idiotic decision to keep him in the game, the Patriots are down their leading scorer. So, I suppose that’s a slight advantage for Miami. Tough game for the Fins, as they’ll fall behind quick and never seem to catch up. Patriots to win, but the Dolphins keep it close. Mostly cause the Pats secondary is non-existent.

Arizona at NY Jets -4.5
The Cardinals have Wells back, which should put some more depth in the running game, something the Jets can’t seem to stop. Sure the rookie QB in Arizona isn’t that great yet, and the Jets home crowd hates the Jets more than the visiting team, but the Cards have a chance here. The Jets are not going to even come close to the playoffs, and they are getting primed to clean house. Watch. Cards to win.

Tampa Bay at Denver -7.0
The Bucs are another NFC team that must win this week in order to make a run for the playoffs. Sadly, they travel to the thin air of Denver to face Peyton and the Broncos. While the Bucs gave the Falcons all they could handle, I don’t think they get that lucky against the Broncos, who are playing tighter and tighter every week. I’m sticking with the Denver Mannings to win this game and to continue into the playoffs.

Cleveland at Oakland -1.5
The Browns forced – get this – eight fucking turnovers against the Steelers. The Steelers! If the defense plays the same, they’ll win again this week easy, because Oakland doesn’t wait for forced turnovers, they just give the fucking ball away. Shurmer might be a shit coach, but even he can see that if he just keeps the pressure on Palmer, he’ll win. Browns to win.

Cincinnati at San Diego +2.0 GAME OF THE WEEK!!
This is it for both these teams. A win here and the Bengals will most likely pass the Steelers in the division, edging closer to a playoff spot. A loss for the Chargers likely means that at least Norv Turner is toast, as his poor decision making and clock management will have finally caught up to him. Additionally, Rivers is playing for his life right now, at 4-7, he’s not looking like the price they paid. Bengals to win.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore -0.0
The Steelers are hurting. Literally. charlie Batch was less than impressive against the Browns, the whole team looked like a mess. Without Big Ben, I’m writing them off. If he doesn’t slap on some Kevlar and come back, they are done. The Ravens are going to win this division, if they can beat the Steelers here and keep the Bengals at bay. The next few weeks should be interesting. Either way, Ravens win at home.

Philadelphia at Dallas -9.0
That sound is the sound of Eagles fans holding back the tears. Nick Foles is quickly cementing his place in the hall of perennial backups and he’s only a rookie. You gotta win son. You had your chance against the Panthers, now you are probably headed back to the bench so that Vick can come in and look just as shitty. Bryce Brown was impressive, but needs to learn how to carry the fucking ball. Did you see him swinging it out there? A good fantasy pick if you don’t get penalized for fumbles. Dallas isn’t that great of a team, but have a strong rushing attack going at times, and other times a coach who can’t seem to read the giant digital clock. Regardless, the Eagles aren’t going to win another game this year. Cowboys at home.

New York at Washington +2.5
And we come to the other half the NFC East. The surprisingly dominant Giants against the not to be underrated Redskins. The Skins keep showing that spark that winning teams have, which can mostly be attributed to RGIII. A win at home, against the Giants would be fucking huge for RGIII and the Redskins, who have won two in a row and have a good shot at the playoffs – if they can continue to win in the division. In consecutive weeks they’ve beaten the Eagles and Cowboys, yet lost to the Giants earlier this year. They have two more against the Eagles and Cowboys, so this game is huge for them. The Giants rolled Green Bay, and coming off that win are hard to discount or pick an upset against. Going with the numbers here and picking the Giants to win.

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Curtis Silver writes about sports here mostly. NFL, Golf, Baseball - whatever. Find him on Twitter @cebsilver, if you've got a bone to pick.

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