Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 13
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Pigskin picks and prognostications from the Post-Gazette's gridiron guru ...
Last week: 8-8 (.500)
Season record: 98-78 (.557)
Houston Texans (5-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-4), 8:20 p.m., Thursday
The Skinny: The Texans certainly packed a punch against the Titans to stay just a game behind Indy and Jacksonville in the AFC South. Conversely, the Eagles couldn't knock out the biggest Bear of all, Jay Cutler.
Prediction: Eagles, 28-16
Steelers (8-3) at Baltimore Ravens (8-3), 8:20 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Steelers are one first down against the Ravens from being 9-2 and in control of the division race. But they aren't, which is why they are glad to have Ben Roethlisberger, who has won his past five starts against the Ravens.
Prediction: Steelers, 16-13
New Orleans Saints (8-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-9), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The way it has been going in the NFL this season, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Bengals, who have lost eight in a row, beat the Saints. But, since that second-half implosion against the Bills, the Bengals are cooked.
Prediction: Saints, 30-17
Chicago Bears (8-3) at Detroit Lions (2-9), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Lions always stand a chance at home, where they have posted both their victories. And they nearly beat the Bears in the first meeting in Chicago. But Jay Cutler has never lost to the Lions (3-0), nor when he has a 100-plus passer rating.
Prediction: Bears, 28-24
San Francisco 49ers (4-7) at Green Bay Packers (7-4), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: It is one thing for the 49ers to go to Arizona, play indoor and face Derek Anderson. It is entirely another to go to Green Bay, play at Lambeau Field and try to stop Aaron Rodgers.
Prediction: Packers, 28-10
Denver Broncos (3-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Let me see if I got this straight: James Harrison gets fined $75,000 for a questionable tackle in a game. But the Broncos and their coach, Josh McDaniels, each get fined $50,000 for cheating, which is only the most egregious act in sports.
Prediction: Chiefs, 31-23
Cleveland Browns (4-7) at Miami Dolphins (6-5), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Only the New York Jets (5-0) have a better road record than the Dolphins (5-1). Problem is, the Fish don't play that well at home (1-4) and the Browns have shown they can beat anybody.
Prediction: Browns, 24-20
Buffalo Bills (2-9) at Minnesota Vikings (4-7), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: After what happened last week in Buffalo, Bills WR Stevie Johnson has decided to change his first name back to "Steve." The reason: He dropped the "i." Too many three-point losses for the Bills.
Prediction: Vikings, 22-19
Washington Redskins (5-6) at New York Giants (7-4), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Only a late rally against the Jaguars kept the Giants from losing three in a row. The Redskins should be good tonic for Eli Manning, who has won four in a row and seven of past eight starts against them.
Prediction: Giants, 23-16
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-6), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The AFC South is the only division where the leader and the cellar-dweller are separated by a game. The Titans know both spots well, having lost four in a row after a 5-1 start.
Prediction: Jaguars, 24-21
Oakland Raiders (5-6) at San Diego Chargers (6-5), 4:15 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Any designs the Raiders had on winning the AFC West went out the black hole when they followed a 32-point loss to the Steelers with a 16-point home loss to the Dolphins. Look out for the Chargers, who have won 18 in a row in December.
Prediction: Chargers, 34-14
St. Louis Rams (5-6) at Arizona Cardinals (3-8), 4:15 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: What is happening in Arizona is no laughing matter, especially to Coach Ken Whisenhunt. But QB Derek Anderson should be excused for his sideline chuckles because he is accustomed to being part of a joke in Cleveland.
Prediction: Rams, 33-23
Dallas Cowboys (3-8) at Indianapolis Colts (6-5), 4:15 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Anyone here who squawks about not running the ball should check out the Colts, who, if it wasn't for a horrid running game, would have no running game at all. If they were any more one dimensional, they'd be a piece of cardboard.
Prediction: Cowboys, 23-21
Carolina Panthers (1-10) at Seattle Seahawks (5-6), 4:15 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Only in the NFC West can a team lose two in a row, drop below .500 and still be in first place. Such is the case with the Seahawks, who wouldn't deserve to be tied for the division lead anyway if they lost to the Panthers.
Prediction: Seahawks, 27-19
Atlanta Falcons (9-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4), 4:15 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Falcons beat the Bucs near the start of their NFL-best five-game winning streak, but that was in the Georgia Dome, where the Falcons beat everybody. The Bucs need to beat a team with a winning record. The Upset Special.
Prediction: Buccaneers, 24-21
New York Jets (9-2) at New England Patriots (9-2), 8:30 p.m., Monday
The Skinny: You thought Steelers-Ravens was a good prime-time matchup? The Jets have won four in a row and already own a victory against the Patriots this season. Tom Brady has won his last 25 regular-season starts at home.
Prediction: Patriots, 24-20
First Published December 2, 2010 12:00 am