Mac's NFL Picks - Week 13

Is Tom Coughlin a genius? Will Jay Cutler need to keep his head on a swivel to guard against an attack from Peter King? Seahawks.Net's Brian McIntyre discusses those issues and more in his weekly NFL picks.

New York Giants (-3) at Washington - I'll admit it: I have no idea how the New York Giants are doing it.

They lose Michael Strahan to FOX's pre-game show and Osi "5 Hour Energy" Umenyiora to a torn ACL, yet their defense improves from 11th to 5th in the NFL.

Last week, they deactivate their leading rusher (Brandon Jacobs) and lose Plaxico Burress after just one series, yet still manage to hang 37 points on the road against the soon-to-be NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals.

Are Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin geniuses? I suppose we'll have to wait until Steve Spagnuolo is an NFL head coach to find out the answer to that question. Pick: Giants -3

San Francisco at Buffalo (-6 ½) – West Coast teams are 0-15 on the East Coast this season and I seriously question Shaun Hill's ability to handle the wintry late November weather Buffalo is famous for. Pick: Bills -6 ½

Baltimore (-7) at Cincinnati – The Ravens need to take advantage of this opportunity to fatten up their record this week, because their schedule in December gets harder. They'll host Washington next Sunday night and Pittsburgh the week after that, before traveling to Dallas in Week 16. Pick: Ravens -7

Indianapolis (-4 ½) at Cleveland – It's time to give credit where credit is due. When the Colts were 3-4 and had New England and road games against Pittsburgh and San Diego on the schedule, it wasn't looking good for Indy. They've rallied off 4 straight and have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way. As long as they stay healthy, they could easily run the table. Pick: Colts -4 ½

Miami (-9) at St. LouisSteven Jackson expects to play, but Jim Haslett isn't quite as sure. Until Jackson returns, I don't think the Rams can beat anyone or cover the spread. Pick: Dolphins -9

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-4) – The NFL's 1st-ranked pass offense goes up against the NFL's 2nd-ranked pass defense. Should be a good one, but after what he did to a very good Packers secondary on Monday night, how can I go against Drew Brees this week? Pick: Saints +4

Carolina at Green Bay (-3) – What happened to the Packers last Monday night was nothing short of shocking. To give up 51 points on national television was embarrassing, so I expect the Packers to try to pound Ryan Grant at a Panthers' run defense that surrendered four rushing touchdowns to Michael Turner a week ago. Pick: Packers -3

Atlanta at San Diego (-5) – Thanks to the weak AFC West, even if the Chargers lose on Sunday and drop to 4-8, they'll still be in the hunt for a playoff spot. Pick: Falcons +5

Denver at NY Jets (7 ½) – Earlier this season, Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler suggested that he had a stronger arm than Mr. Ed impersonator and Denver deity John Elway. This week, Cutler says he has a stronger arm than Brett Favre. Uh-oh, Jay. Peter King won't forgive such blasphemy. Pick: Jets -7 ½

Pittsburgh at New England (-1) – Even with Tom Brady healing from ACL surgery, Steelers safety Anthony Smith won't be making any guarantees about this year's Steelers-Patriots game. Then again, with Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu, Smith won't have to play very much. Pick: Patriots -1

Kansas City at Oakland (-3) – Kansas City turned the ball over 5 times a week ago, and they wound up giving up 54 points. This week, Tyler Thigpen makes his maiden voyage into the Black Hole to face the Oakland Raiders and their opportunistic secondary. I doubt the Raiders will hang 50 on KC, but they'll definitely put up some points. Pick: Raiders -3

Chicago at Minnesota (-3 ½) – NBC's Al Michaels' acting chops will be on display, as he'll have to sound excited about calling a game where Gus Frerotte and Kyle Orton will do battle for NFC North supremacy. Nothing against those quarterbacks, but this game will be decided on the ground, so "Advantage: Minnesota". The NFL still hasn't suspended Vikings' "Williams Wall" and Purple Jesus has 423 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns in three career games against the Bears. Pick: Vikings -3 ½

Jacksonville at Houston (-3 ½) – The Jaguars are one of the few teams the Houston Texans historically haven't struggled against and the Texans may be catching them at the right time. The Jags are falling apart, with Fred Taylor calling the team the worst he's been on. Pick: Texans -3 ½

This week: 2-1
Last week: 8-7-1
2008 Season: 85-89-2

Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.


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