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NEWS | Dec. 4, 2009

National Football League: Week 13 Predictions

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna Capital Flyer sports writer

Each week I'll give a brief preview of every game. I'll make my picks and keep a running tally as the season progresses to see how well (or terrible) I'm doing. Anyone who would like to email me their picks is more than welcome. For all those interested in submitting their picks, please email patrick.mckenna@afncr.af.mil by Sunday at noon.

Philadelphia @ Atlanta
- Neither of these teams are 100 percent healthy, but that's to be expected at this point in the season. The Eagles will most likely be without starting running back Brian Westbrook, as well as wide receiver DeSean Jackson, while the Falcons will be missing starting quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner. The Eagles should take this one on the road.
Pick: Eagles

St. Louis @ Chicago
- The Bears have certainly been a disappointment this season as evidenced by their 1-6 record against teams above .500. Thankfully for Chicago, St. Louis is terrible and the Bears should win by double digits.
Pick: Bears

Detroit @ Cincinnati - Cedric Benson fantasy football owners can breathe a sigh of relief. All signs point to Benson's return this week against the Lions who surrender 112 rushing yards a game. The Bengals need this victory to stay on pace with the Chargers, who are their main competition for a two seed in the playoffs.
Pick: Bengals

Tennessee @ Indianapolis - A month ago, this game looked like it might pit two teams heading for polar opposite seasons. The Colts were, and still are, the class of not only the AFC South, but the entire conference and the Titans were, well, a mess. These last few weeks the Titans have been on an improbable run and a victory will put them right back in the playoff picture. This has the makings of a great game, but the Colts get the edge thanks to the Titans 31st ranked pass defense and the fact this game will be played in Indy.
Pick: Colts

Denver @ Kansas City - As long as the Broncos stay balanced on offense they'll be able to move the ball against the Chiefs. By focusing on the run, the Broncos will open up big plays down the field for Brandon Marshall. With the Chiefs best offensive weapon Dwayne Bowe still suspended, Chris Chambers will have the pleasure of being covered by Champ Bailey. The Chiefs will struggle to reach 10 points.
Pick: Broncos

New England @ Miami
- The Patriots should come out angry after being embarrassed during Monday Night Football by the Saints. Look for a heavy dose of Randy Moss and Wes Welker this week and for the Patriots to get back on track with a victory.
Pick: Patriots

Oakland @ Pittsburgh - The Raiders have been better on offense since benching JaMarcus Russell and actually have a decent defense. The bad news for Raider fans is that the Steelers will most likely have Ben Roethlisberger back from injury. It's going to be a long day for Oakland.
Pick: Steelers

New Orleans @ Washington
- The game features the explosive Saints passing attack and the Redskins #1 ranked pass defense. This game comes down to how well Washington can match up with the Saints receivers and also how well the Saints can run the ball against Washington.
Pick: Saints

Tampa Bay @ Carolina - Both of these teams have been horrible this season and while Tampa has a legitimate excuse (rebuilding mode) the Carolina Panthers were thought of preseason as being a real threat to win the NFC South division. The Jake Delhomme era in Carolina might be over after last week's nightmare performance. If Carolina has success rushing the ball with DeAngelo Williams, they should win.
Pick: Panthers

Houston @ Jacksonville - This has the potential to be a high scoring game as both offenses have elite weapons, Andre Johnson and Maurice Jones Drew, and both defenses are below average. So which defense has the better chance to shut the opposing team's weapon down? My hunch goes to Houston which has enough playmakers on defense to slow down Jones Drew.
Pick: Texans

San Diego @ Cleveland - This game is the biggest mismatch of the week and will more than likely be over by halftime.
Pick: Chargers

Dallas @ New York Giants
- The Giants have shown no consistency on offense in recent weeks and most of that can be attributed to Eli Manning's foot injury. As long as he's dinged up, it's tough to pick the Giants, especially against a ferocious pass rush like Dallas.
Pick: Cowboys

San Francisco @ Seattle - This should be a tight game as these teams are very similar. Both offenses need a solid running game to take pressure off of their average passing attacks. The key factor is going to be which running back, Frank Gore or Justin Forsett, has the better game. Gore is the better bet to do that.
Pick: 49ers

Minnesota @ Arizona - Thank goodness for the Sunday night flex schedule. If Kurt Warner is healthy enough to play at his usual level the Cardinals have a shot at the upset. If he's not 100 percent, look for Minnesota to blitz him into oblivion. The latter is more likely.
Pick: Vikings

Baltimore @ Green Bay
- If the Packers offensive line can keep Aaron Rodgers upright, he'll be able to hit Donald Driver and Greg Jennings for big plays down the field. The key to that is getting Ryan Grant and the rushing attack going. If Green Bay can do that, they'll beat the Ravens.
Pick: Packers

Last week's record: 12-4
Season record to date: 118-55