Bet On It: Week 13 Predictions
After both starring in Week 10, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez will excel again
Dolphins will keep it close with the Patriots, helping Ryan Tannehill pad his stats
Arian Foster's success on the road will mean trouble vs. the Titans' weak rush D
Last week: 5-5; Season record: 44-66 (.400)
Tom Brady ruined my Thanksgiving by failing to throw one last pass against the Jets. The Patriots quarterback ended up with 323 passing yards, two short of my prognosticated 325, before the Pats brought in backup Ryan Mallett. What is New England doing? It was only 49-19. That's usually when they start getting serious, not pull their starters.
Hopefully, my picks go better this week, allowing me to inch ever closer back to .500.
1. Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez combine for at least 180 yards
The Saints have never been able to stop Gonzalez, and Graham torched the Falcons for 146 yards in their last meeting. You'd think these defenses would make it a priority to contain the opposing tight ends, but they don't seem to know how.
2. Andy Dalton has a rating over 90 against the Chargers
After throwing 11 picks in his first eight games, Dalton hasn't been intercepted at all over the last three. Two of those games, however, were against Kansas City and Oakland, so you can throw them out. But San Diego ranks 20th against the pass, and the red-hot redhead should have a big yardage day.
3. Wes Welker has at least seven catches against the Dolphins
Welker has been dealing with an ankle injury, but he owns his former team, averaging 109 yards per game in nine games against Miami. This could actually be a closer game than expected, meaning New England won't be able to just run out the clock on the ground. Tom Brady will be throwing often, and we know he'll find Welker.
4. Ryan Tannehill throws for over 250 yards against the Patriots
After two terrible games against Tennessee and Buffalo, Tannehill recovered with a strong fourth quarter against Seattle last week. He'll ride that momentum against a Patriots' secondary he should be able to exploit. If the Pats jump out to an early lead, coach Joe Philbin will try to throw his way back in, and Tannehill will hit this number easily.
5. Arian Foster goes over 100 yards against the Titans
Foster has had big games against Tennessee, and he's surpassed 100 yards in all five of his road games. The Titans rank 27th against the run and can't just stack men in the box because of the Texans' ability to attack them in the air.
6. Titans and Texans combine for over 50 points
The banged-up Texans defense has been reeling the last few weeks, so the Titans will score points. But that doesn't mean they'll win. As noted above, the Texans should have success on the ground. And receiver Andre Johnson is as hot as any offensive player in the NFL (461 receiving yards in his last two games) and will have at least one long touchdown.
7. Chad Henne throws for at least 200 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills
The Jags' offense is reinvigorated with Henne, and receivers Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon are actual threats. This could be a shoot-out, and Henne should be able to move the ball against the Bills' No. 18 pass defense.
8. Doug Martin rushes for over 100 yards against the Broncos
Everyone was focused on Jamaal Charles asking Peyton Manning for his autograph, they ignored how he knifed through the Broncos' defense repeatedly. The Bucs will try to replicate that with Martin to help control the ball and keep it out of Peyton Manning's hands.
9. Rams hold Colin Kaepernick to under 250 yards passing
St. Louis will have its second look against Kaepernick after he replaced Alex Smith in the teams' 24-24 tie three weeks ago, and that's usually when backup quarterbacks fall back to earth. Look for the Rams to figure out more ways to pressure Kaepernick and make the young quarterback uncomfortable.
10. Redskins beat the Giants
The Giants are supposedly back after demolishing the Packers last Sunday night. But we all know how they like to make life interesting at the end of the regular season. Robert Griffin III will continue his hot streak to keep the desperate Redskins alive in the playoff race.
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