The Kansas City Chiefs are once again going to be the center of attention come Sunday afternoon.
Their game against the Denver Broncos will be the CBS national game, being a huge draw with a great venue hosting two top teams. Both are coming off of brutal losses, looking to rebound just in the nick of time.
This game is of the utmost importance. Should Denver win, the Chiefs would need to win out and hope the Broncos go 2-2 the rest of the way. In other words, here comes the wild card. Should Kansas City win, the Chiefs would likely need to win out themselves, not an impossible task by any means.
So, do our guys think Kansas City has it in them?
Denver Broncos (-5.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Verderame: Chiefs 35, Broncos 31
Many of you are probably stunned I picked the Chiefs to win after my column on Tuesday. However, that piece was about the Chargers game in a vacuum. While I don't believe Kansas City to be elite (yet), I do believe it will win Sunday if it plays its best game. The Broncos are very good but vulnerable, and their defense can be exploited. The key as always will be to limit Peyton Manning and hope Alex Smith plays well. I believe in Alex.
Joel Thorman: Broncos 27, Chiefs 23
Chiefs keep it competitive but can't pull away in the end.
MNChiefsFan: Chiefs 31, Broncos 27
Alex Smith has gone from Captain Checkdown to General Gunslinger over the last couple of weeks. The Broncos got lucky in their house as Chiefs receivers blew it for ol' General Gunslinger time and again. That's not happening this week, especially if Denver is stupid enough to have Champ Bailey's corpse covering Donnie Avery deep. Smith continues to chuck the ball, our defense (embarrassed by the SD game) manages to hold the line (barely) in the absence of Houston (you all know Hali and DeVito are playing if they aren't dead), and Jamaal Charles (with the opposing defense FINALLY, after all these years, forced to account for a passing game) goes off. It's happening.
Matt Conner: Broncos 31, Chiefs 17
Both teams need a rebound but the Broncos are in a better position.
Now, back to Matt Verderame and his Week 13 picks. All lines courtesy of Oddsshark.com:
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-6.5)
Packers guard Josh Sitton called out the Lions for being a dirty, filthy team. Detroit (6-5) shockingly denied these claims. This video seems to suggest not only are the Lions dirty, they have raging amnesia. Still, Green Bay (5-5-1) couldn't beat Minnesota at home, suggesting this is a tall order.
Pick: Detroit 27, Green Bay 20
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)
Nothing says great football on Thanksgiving quite like Matt McGloin. How did the NFL decide on this being a primetime game? Did Jerry Jones call in a favor and get complete cannon fodder for Turkey Day? Oakland (4-7) is no good, but will likely keep it relatively close for a bit because their the Cowboys (6-5), and they don't win easy.
Pick: Dallas 30, Oakland 17
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
This is a genuinely exciting game. Both teams are 5-6, but this is a great rivalry with two excellent coaches. The winner is in the driver's seat for the No. 6 seed and if you're Indianapolis or Cincinnati, do you want to see one of these groups? Despite being on the road, Pittsburgh is the better team and takes control.
Pick: Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 17
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-1)
What is the over/under on completed passes by Geno Smith? -6? I'm going with the under. He has quietly been brutal the last three weeks, murdering New York (5-6) every time he unloads. Ed Reed is actually calling for Fireman Ed to come back. What the hell does it matter to you Ed? You've been there for an hour. Take Miami (5-6).
Pick: Miami 19, New York 13
Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-3)
This game is being played in Toronto, clinching the notion that Canadians will never love American football. I thought we were friends with these people. Yet, we give them Buffalo (4-7) and Atlanta (2-9) to enjoy. Good Lord, this bad boy is going to force people to do this. Poor horse.
Pick: Buffalo 23, Atlanta 21
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-4)
Has anybody else noticed the Colts (7-4) are a raging four-alarm fire the last month? St. Louis and Arizona have beaten them like they stole something...expensive. Meanwhile, the Titans (5-6) are actually in the playoffs as we speak despite having Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the charge and this guy. Toss-up? Take the quarterback/coach.
Pick: Indianapolis 21, Tennessee 16
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (EVEN)
Josh McCown is actually playing very good football, and shockingly the Vikings (2-8-1) are not. At what point do the ticket-takers at the Metrodome stop greeting people with "Hello" and start saying "Thanks for your donation" or "I'm sorry." The ownership should have some respect for the fans and just barricade the doors. Chicago (6-5) rolls.
Pick: Chicago 28, Minnesota 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-9.5)
This game isn't the joke it appears on paper. Tampa Bay (3-8) is very talented and has won three straight games. Meanwhile, Carolina (8-3) is excellent but not above the occasional upset, especially from a division foe. Do we smell pick of the week time? What are you insane? It's still the Buccaneers.
Pick: Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 19
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-7.5)
The NFL should make this game interesting by doing the following: Mandate that the loser of this game has to sign its former first round quarterback (Blaine Gabbert/Brandon Weeden) to a three-year extension, while the loser gets to tear up his contract at midfield when time expires. You would never hear Cleveland (4-7) louder.
Pick: Cleveland 20, Jacksonville 16
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
This is going to be a fun game. Carson Palmer has no fear of a turnover and Nick Foles is aggressive as all hell. Both teams are quietly putting together very nice seasons and are legitimate contenders to be a playoff team. Even though Arizona (7-4) is coming across the country to play Philadelphia (6-5), I'll take the superior defense.
Pick: Arizona 23, Philadelphia 19 *PICK OF THE WEEK*
New England Patriots (-8.5) at Houston Texans
Look at this video (language, turn down volume at work) sum up the season in Houston. The damn Texans (2-9) fans are so mad they try to burn a jersey but can't do it correctly for about 90 seconds. The real shame is how J.J. Watt came out to watch it at about the 1:45 mark. He's no joke. I think New England (8-3) wins for some reason.
Pick: New England 34, Houston 10
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)
The Rams (5-6) have been playing some really good football lately. The question is whether they can play good enough to disguise Kellen Clemens from the San Francisco (7-4) defense. This should be a tough, well-played game but the edge has to go to the 49ers.
Pick: San Francisco 23, St. Louis 17
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (EVEN)
Since last week happened, I'm going to be completely biased and root blindly for the Bengals. Still, I respect Philip Rivers' ability while not respecting Andy Dalton's. San Diego (5-6) is an impossible team to figure, but at home I'll ride with them to pull out a nail-biter over Cincinnati (7-4).
Pick: San Diego 28, Cincinnati 27
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (EVEN)
Announcer's voice: Griffin, Manning, Giants, Redskins...a battle for last place in the NFL's worst division. Pray for a power outage. Washington (3-8) is flat as a pancake with all the turmoil going on over there and New York (4-7) is terrible on both sides of the ball. Where are the breakers in the house again?
Pick: New York 24, Washington 20
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-5)
Usually, ESPN has the worst game known to man on Monday night. Finally, they hit one out of the park with both teams needing this one badly for home field advantage in the playoffs. New Orleans (9-2) is going to put up a great fight against Seattle (10-1) and the Legion of Adderall in the second-loudest stadium in the league. How I feel.
Pick: Seattle 27, New Orleans 24 (OT)
Last week: 7-6 (7-7 ATS)