Poupart's picks: Week 13

This is a weekend for divisional showdowns, with the Atlanta-Carolina, Dallas-New York Giants, Cincinnati-Pittsburgh and Denver-Kansas City matchups all standing out among the 16 games. Here are this week's predictions.

Sunday, December 4

Houston (1-10) at Baltimore (3-8): Someone has to win, right? This is just a bad, bad matchup. The Texans really should have won last weekend, so maybe their luck changes here. Houston, 20-16.

Atlanta (7-4) at Carolina (8-3): The Panthers have not fared well against Atlanta in recent years, but Carolina clearly has the better team this time, even though their running game isn't performing. Close one. Carolina, 21-20.

Green Bay (2-9) at Chicago (8-3): The Packers have perfected the art of losing close ones this season, while the Bears always find a way to get it done thanks to their defense. It's the same this week. Chicago, 17-13.

Jacksonville (8-3) at Cleveland (4-7): The Jaguars will be just fine with David Garrard at quarterback instead of Byron Leftwich, particularly when they're facing mediocre competition like the Browns. Jacksonville, 20-10.

Minnesota (6-5) at Detroit (4-7): Interim coach Dick Jauron is going back to Jeff Garcia at quarterback, and it just might get the Lions back on track. The Vikings' four-game winning streak ends. Detroit, 24-21.

Tennessee (3-8) at Indianapolis (11-0): The Colts could get caught looking ahead to tougher matchups against San Diego and Jacksonville, plus they're coming off an emotional Monday night victory. Who are we kidding? Indianapolis, 34-14.

Buffalo (4-7) at Miami (4-7): Who can figure out the Dolphins? We can't. Will it be the Cleveland crew or the Oakland gang that shows up Sunday. This would be a good time to start their first winning streak of the season, but ... Buffalo, 20-17.

Tampa Bay (7-4) at New Orleans (3-8): The Saints showed some spunk in beating the Jets last Sunday night, but we're thinking the Bucs defense will be too much in this one. Tampa Bay, 23-16.

Dallas (7-4) at N.Y. Giants (7-4): Both teams are coming off disappointing overtime losses and it's a battle between a great offense (Giants) and a great defense (Dallas). Home-field advantage makes a big difference. N.Y. Giants, 23-20.

Cincinnati (8-3) at Pittsburgh (7-4): The Bengals could just about slam the door shut on the division with a victory here, but they have yet to prove they can deliver against the big boys. The Steelers, however, have injury concerns on the offensive line and they might not be able to dominate with their running game like they did in the first meeting. Cincinnati, 24-23.

Washington (5-6) at St. Louis (5-6): Ryan Fitzpatrick likely will get his first career start after his heroic NFL debut last week. We're thinking reality might hit, and hit hard, this time. Washington, 20-16.

Arizona (3-8) at San Francisco (2-9): Two very bad teams, but at least the Cardinals have a quarterback. Arizona, 28-17.

Denver (9-2) at Kansas City (7-4): We keep waiting for the Broncos to falter a little, but they keep finding ways to win. The Chiefs can't afford too many losses in the ultra-tough AFC playoff race. Kansas City, 27-20.

N.Y. Jets (2-9) at New England (6-5): It really is a shame that the AFC East is so bad this year because the Pats are going to win the division (again) by default. New England, 24-13.

Oakland (4-7) at San Diego (7-4): The Raiders showed last week just how bad they can be. The only concern here from a San Diego standpoint is the Chargers looking past this matchup. San Diego, 31-13.

Monday, December 5

Seattle (9-2) at Philadelphia (5-6): The Seahawks got real lucky last Sunday against the Giants, but the bottom line is they have the inside track for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. And the Eagles won't slow them down with Mike McMahon at quarterback. Seattle, 26-14.

Last week's record: 10-6

Season record: 120-56


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