Poupart's Picks: Week 13

Here are the fearless predictions for Week 13 of the 2006 NFL season, courtesy of Dolphin Digest Associate Editor Alain Poupart.

Thursday, Nov. 30

Baltimore (9-2) at Cincinnati (6-5) — The Ravens, believe it or not, will clinch the AFC North title with a victory in this one. They already beat Cincinnati at home this season, but the Bengals have been hot on offense in recent weeks and their defense is coming off a shutout of the Browns. Baltimore still will win the division, but not just yet. Prediction: Cincinnati, 24-16.

Sunday, Dec. 3

San Diego (9-2) at Buffalo (5-6) — The Bills upset Jacksonville at home last week and will try to do the same against San Diego. But Buffalo gave up 207 yards rushing to the Jags and LT is coming to town. That's not good. Prediction: San Diego, 31-17.

Minnesota (5-6) at Chicago (9-2) — The Bears badly need Rex Grossman to start playing well again or their Super Bowl aspirations are going to fall by the wayside. Thing is, he probably won't need to do much in this game because the Bears defense will win this game to clinch the division title. Prediction: Chicago, 20-10.

Kansas City (7-4) at Cleveland (3-8) — The way the Browns got embarrassed at home by Cincinnati last week, is there really any reason to think they can even keep it close against Larry Johnson and the Chiefs? Hmm, not really. Prediction: Kansas City, 29-14.

N.Y. Jets (6-5) at Green Bay (4-7) — The Jets suddenly and surprisingly find themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff race, while Green Bay is playing out the string. But we have the feeling Brett Favre and Ahman Green will have a big day against a Jets team that truthfully just isn't that good. Prediction: Green Bay, 24-20.

Detroit (2-9) at New England (8-3) — This is a cake game for the Patriots, who just don't lose against poor teams. A big day for Brady and Co. Prediction: New England, 33-14.

San Francisco (5-6) at New Orleans (7-4) — The 49ers have become a pretty good team, even though they really blew a big game at St. Louis last week. Frank Gore should have a big day running the ball here, but the Saints passing game will make the difference. Prediction: New Orleans, 27-24.

Arizona (2-9) at St. Louis (5-6) — Matt Leinart has started playing a little better the last couple of weeks and the Cardinals should be able to put up some points in this game. But they won't stop Steven Jackson or Marc Bulger or Torry Holt. Prediction: St. Louis, 33-24.

Indianapolis (10-1) at Tennessee (4-7) — Tennessee is another team playing much better football lately, but they won't duplicate what they did a few weeks ago when they shut down Peyton Manning and the Colts offense. Indy will be out to make a statement in this one. Prediction: Indianapolis, 30-16.

Atlanta (5-6) at Washington (4-7) — Things are getting pretty ugly in Atlanta, between Michael Vick, a leaky defense and a group of receivers that can't hang on to the ball. The Redskins, meanwhile, are coming off an impressive victory over Carolina and would love nothing more than to go 2-0 with Jason Campbell at quarterback. But it ain't going to happen. Prediction: Atlanta, 23-13.

Houston (3-8) at Oakland (2-9) — Wow, this is a great matchup. The Raiders actually have been playing decent defense recently, but their offense is a joke. Still, in this matchup, who knows? Prediction: Houston, 24-21.

Jacksonville (6-5) at Miami (5-6) — Hard to believe the Dolphins actually have a chance to get to .500 with a victory in this one. The Jags have the better team, but their defense is really banged up and we're not convinced David Garrard can make enough plays against the improving Dolphins defense. Prediction, Miami, 17-14.

Dallas (7-4) at N.Y. Giants (6-5) — It will be interesting to see how the Giants respond after their collapse last weekend and the whole Michael Strahan/Plaxico Burress saga of this week. The Cowboys have really played well under Tony Romo, but it might be time for a dose of reality here. The guy might be good, he's not THAT good. Prediction: N.Y. Giants, 20-17.

Tampa Bay (3-8) at Pittsburgh (4-7) — Can someone please explain why this was moved from 1 p.m. when FOX already has a great doubleheader game with Cowboys-Giants. The Steelers have been very disappointing, but they'll let out a lot of frustrations in this one. Prediction: Pittsburgh, 34-10.

Seattle (7-4) at Denver (7-4) — The Jay Cutler era begins in Denver. He's going to need help from his running game and his defense to beat a Seahawks team bolstered by the recent returns of Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck. Denver wins a close, low-scoring affair. Prediction: Denver, 19-16.

Monday, Dec. 4

Carolina (6-5) at Philadelphia (5-6) — Two of the most disappointing teams in the league meet in what should have been a great Monday night matchup but no longer is. Jeff Garcia actually played well for the Eagles last Sunday at Indy, but Philly is not going to beat anybody with the kind of defense it played last weekend. The Carolina offense isn't the Indy offense, but this time is the offense that lets the Eagles down. Prediction: Carolina, 17-13.

Last week's record: 10-6

Season record: 109-67

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