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Brian Eller

My picks for Week 13 in the NFL

Houston at Philadelphia -- I won't count this game toward my overall record, but I promise I would've picked the Eagles. Honest.

New Orleans at Cincinnati -- This game features two teams heading in opposite directions. The Saints are hitting their stride as Drew Brees is making his play for MVP. Meanwhile, the Bengals, losers of nine straight games, can't seem to find any rhythm and coach Marvin Lewis' days appeared to be numbered. New Orleans shouldn't have any problems here.

Chicago at Detroit -- The Lions played tough on Thanksgiving against Tom Brady and company, at least for three quarters. When you break it down, Detroit is still major steps away from becoming a contender, while the Bears have continued to win despite many peoples' predictions that an early surge would soon fizzle away for the holidays. Jay Cutler has been effective under center and has done a good job of limiting his turnovers. Detroit's front four is a tough task, but Cutler has the hot hand right now.

San Francisco at Green Bay -- **Upset Special** I might be crazy for picking this game as my upset for the week, because it's a must-win situation for the Packers in order to keep pace with Chicago in the division. But, I like what I've seen from the 49ers recently, including making Derek Anderson look silly on Monday Night Football. I'll reward the 49ers with their play of late, and hope they don't drop this game by 40 points.

Jacksonville at Tennessee -- I had to do a double take the other day when I glanced at my fantasy football opponent for the week and saw he'll be starting good ole' Rusty Smith at quarterback. Smith and the Titans still haven't fixed all of their problems, but always play tough when a divisional home contest is on the line. Will it be enough to bring the Jaguars down from their first-place perch? Um, no.

Denver at Kansas City -- Matt Cassell continues to excel as the Chiefs continue to be the surprise team in the AFC. We should mention wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has had a monster season under the radar, including three touchdowns in last week's win. Kyle Orton has had one heck of a season, too, but Denver's defense can't stop anybody, especially Bowe.

Cleveland at Miami -- This one all depends on how LeBron James will respond to critics and, wait, this isn't the Heat and Cavs? I see. Well, in the other Miami/Cleveland battle, both teams have found success lately, but I like the Browns in this one. Peyton Hillis should be headed to his first Pro Bowl and the Dolphins haven't been great at home this season. That's a recipe for a Cleveland win in my book.

Buffalo at Minnesota -- This could qualify as an upset pick here, but I don't think so. Right now, the Bills are the better team and if not for a dropped touchdown pass in overtime against the Steelers, Buffalo would be in the midst of a three-game winning streak. It's amazing to see how long Favre continues to last through all of the pain, but I can't see him playing for too much longer.

Washington at New York Giants -- With Philadelphia's win on Thursday, both teams here can't afford a loss. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Eli Manning will be the one to deliver one. Manning's had a knack for turning the ball over in recent weeks, but I think the Giants are the better team here and, with home field advantage, I like their chances.

Oakland at San Diego -- Here we go again. It's December, which means the Chargers are unstoppable. Not even a fierce rival like Oakland can bring them down as Phillip Rivers has moved into elite company at the quarterback position. This one could get ugly in the stands, but on the field I'll stick with the hottest team in December.

Dallas at Indianapolis -- It feels weird not knowing whether the Colts are going to win every week. It used to be a formality with Peyton Manning under center, but now it's clear all of those injuries are catching up to the rest of the offense. Under new coach Jason Garrett, the Cowboys are playing better, but I can't pick against Manning, particularly at home.

St. Louis
at Arizona -- Fresh off an embarrassing loss on national television, the Cardinals return home looking to rebound. Meanwhile, the Rams have a chance to win the NFC West, which is an amazing accomplishment given where this team was just 12 months ago. I'll take Sam Bradford and the Rams in this one.

Carolina at Seattle -- Without a doubt, this is the worst game of the week. The Panthers are on their way toward gaining the top overall pick in next year's draft, but could mess that up with a win at Seattle. Pete Carroll's second stint in the NFL is going slightly better than his first, but that's not saying much. I'll take the Seahawks here, I guess.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay -- These final three games are easily the top three of the week, maybe of the entire season. I'm not quite ready to label the Bucs as a great team, but they're getting closer each week. This test will really be tough against the Falcons and Matt Ryan. Atlanta's on the road, but that won't slow them down.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore -- It's the best rivalry in football, or at least the nastiest. Ravens fans don't take too kindly to the Steelers and vice versa, so expect a low-scoring game. Ben Roethlisberger is back after missing their Week 4 showdown, but his health is limited. This one could go either way, but I think the Ravens get the better of the two great defenses.

New York Jets at New England -- I really don't know who to pick in this one, as I think both teams have a great shot at hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February. I took the Jets in the newspaper, believing Rex Ryan and that defense can slow down Danny Woodhead and Tom Brady. I'll stick with the pick here, and go with the Jets.

Last week: 12-4
Season: 63-36

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