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Against the Odds – Week 13

s begin with a review of how accurate Vinnie has been against the spread 12 weeks in:


Were it not for Buffalo
s resilient effort against the New York Jets, Vinnie
s picks would have gone without a hitch last week. Oh well, time to shoot for perfection in Week 13. Or better yet for your purposes, perhaps there
s analysis for a game or two here that helps catapult you back to the top of your favorite pigskin pick
em league.

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals (+4.5): With Kevin Kolb out of the lineup, Arizona has been winning on the legs of Chris
‘Beanie’ Wells and special teams magic of Patrick Peterson. The Cowboys are well prepared for Wells, though, boasting an underrated run defense and as focused as ever on the slim lead they currently have atop the NFC East standings. Tony Romo has been unstoppable here lately, helped quite a bit by the sensational rushing numbers DeMarco Murray is putting up as a rookie. Expect very good things from both against the Cardinals on Sunday.

Gimme the Cowboys minus the points.

Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears (-7.5): Chicago had won four consecutive games prior to losing at Oakland last week. Even with Caleb Hanie taking over at quarterback, this remains a formidable team. It shouldn
t surprise if Johnny Knox picks up another big gainer or two, but the real damage will come from Matt Forte and possibly Marion Barber because the Chiefs run defense is awful. Speaking of awful, Tyler Palko is back under center for Kansas City with recently signed Kyle Orton not yet acclimated to the offense. This hurts Dwayne Bowe
s chances of making any real contributions, of course, which in turns hurts the visiting team
s chances of keeping this game close.

Gimme the Bears minus the points.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5): Here we have a pair of basement dwellers which have each, at times this season, been a model of inconsistency. Considering this and how well yo
u’d think these teams know one another, not the safest pick either way, right? At this point, Tampa Bay has lost six of its last seven games, and Josh Freeman has fallen on hard times. Carolina, meanwhile, has been hit bitten by the injury bug on defense but is doing a lot of things the right way offensively. Expect Cam Newton to have quite a day against the hapless Buccaneers defense, alongside effective running on the part of DeAngelo Williams and/or Jonathan Stewart.

Gimme the Panthers plus the points.

Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (+2):  This game represents the colliding of two teams which have entered December riding a ton of momentum. Houston has won five consecutive games, while Atlanta has won five of its last six. Vinnie correctly predicted Matt Ryan would have a lot to do with the Falcons covering in Week 12, but you
ll do well to throw ice on your expectations for Ryan against the Texans. And judging from how stout each team
s run defense has been
Atlanta No. 2 and Houston No. 4, respectively
s rather difficult to forecast which running back will have the bigger day between Michael Turner and Arian Foster. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates, among the bigger stories of Week 13, will start for the Texans and take his lumps.

Gimme the Falcons minus the points.

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-21): You know a blowout is on the horizon when the favored team is by not 10, not 14, but 21 … yet Vinnie can only muster one star of confidence in his picking the underdog. Tom Brady versus Dan Orlovsky? Will it surprise anyone if, late in the fourth quarter, Bill Belichick shows signs of what we fans would describe as running up the score? But Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Donald Brown should have moderate enough success that the Colts lose by less than three touchdowns, surely.

Gimme the Colts plus the points.

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