Week 13 is here, can you believe it?
It feels like just yesterday we were getting used to watching preseason NFL games and here we are... with only five weeks left in the regular season.
Time flies when you're having fun, and that's what we're about to do. Buckle up and get ready for the ride of Week 13 Picks that I'm taking you on.
Flash photography is allowed. Say cheese!
Thursday Night Football: Green Bay Packers (7-4) At Detroit Lions (4-7)
One of the teams entering this game has lost four out of their last five contests and has looked like one of the bottom teams in the NFL in that span.
It's the Green Bay Packers! Don't tell Olivia Munn.
When the Pack lost to Denver and Carolina back-to-back people chalked it up to just how great those teams were. They then lost to division rivals Detroit and Chicago (while Brett Favre's number was retired at halftime in one of the coolest moments ever) at what Ron Wolfe once referred to as the holy cathedral of professional football... Lambeau Field.
The Packers are in trouble right now. A road trip to Detroit who just spanked the Eagles is not what the doctor ordered. These Lions are starting to look like those of East Dillon (10 cool points if you catch the reference) and are playing some good football! Matthew Stafford is feeling good and he will be after this game.
Prediction: Packers - 23, LIONS - 27
Atlanta Falcons (6-5) At Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)
After starting off 5-0 and getting way, way, WAY too much hype for it... the Atlanta Falcons are 1-5. That is not good.
This team is, and has been, one of the more overrated teams in the NFL. Matt Ryan has JULIO JONES on his team and still manages to have terrible offensive days. It would be difficult to be as bad as he's been even if you tried.
Consider that Brian Hoyer AND TJ Yates are able to effectively use DeAndre Hopkins down in Houston. Matty Ice? More like Matty Wet Towel.
The Buccaneers aren't exactly an elite team in the NFL, but they're better than the Falcons. If I could take over either of these two teams I'd take the Bucs, man. Jameis, Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Austin Seferian-However You Spell It... fire the cannons at Raymond James Stadium!
Prediction: Falcons - 17, BUCCANEERS - 27
Houston Texans (6-5) At Buffalo Bills (5-6)
I owe a lot of apologies to the Houston Texans. I did not believe, I'm sorry.
The Texans aren't setting the world on fire, but they're also not the mess I thought that they'd be. They play smart football: throw it to DeAndre Hopkins and get after the quarterback with your elite defense. That's a great recipe.
As much as I want to, I can't take the Texans this week. In the NFL the more desperate team usually finds a way to win games this time of year. The Bills have now lost two in a row and their wildcard hopes are slipping out of their fingers.
Hungry Bills? Hungry Rex? IN Buffalo? Circle the wagons.
Prediction: Texans - 20, BILLS - 24
San Francisco 49ers (3-8) At Chicago Bears (5-6)
Blaine Gabbert is a functional NFL quarterback. That is the world that we are living in.
The Niners have definitely fulfilled their whole "Who's left on that team? They're going to stink!" hype, but they've been in some games that most thought they wouldn't. Just last week they had a chance to beat the Cardinals, but then Super Blaine stepped in and saved the day.
I like Jay Cutler. That's not a real popular opinion across the NFL, but that dude can throw a football for something like 14 miles. He has a cannon!
Jay is going to have a great day against a 49er team that has been in a tailspin since Jim Harbaugh left. Da Bears!
Prediction: 49ers - 14, BEARS - 23
Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) At Cleveland Browns (2-9)
It's never a good time in Cleveland when they're playing a team in December with an inverse record of them.
But is it ever a good time in Cleveland for the Browns?
I've seen a ton of crazy finishes to football games in my life. I've seen many heartbreakers. The Browns suffered one of the most gut-wrenching losses that I've ever seen on Monday Night Football three days ago. Even if they weren't the Browns... there's no coming back from that.
The Bengals woke up from their little slumber with an authoritative win over the Rams last week. A date with the most cursed NFL franchise ever is going to make them feel even prettier than Jeff Fisher did last week.
Prediction: BENGALS - 30, Browns - 13
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) At Tennessee Titans (2-9)
Thank God we don't have to watch this game in those horrible uniforms.
Unfortunately we still have to watch this game. Ugh.
You have to wonder if either of these two franchises is ever going to find a way to be consistently relevant in the NFL again. I've said before that I believe the Jaguars have a bright future with all of their young offensive weapons, but it's hard to imagine that the future will ever get here for either of these teams.
Give me the Jaguars. Why? Because. That's why!
Prediction: JAGUARS - 27, Titans - 26
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) At St. Louis Rams (4-7)
How is Jeff Fisher still a head coach in the NFL? Seriously.
The guy hasn't had a winning record since 2008, with the Titans, and a few weeks ago he let a concussed player continue to play quarterback! What in the world?!
The Rams are doomed to mediocrity under Fisher's reign. In the wise words of Forest Gump... that's all I have to say about that.
Oh and the Cardinals are good. Really good. Like crush the Rams in their own stadium in front of their own fans by at least 30 points good.
But the Rams get up for these games. It's weird. As terrible as they are and as good as the Cardinals are... just watch. The Rams are going to make this a game. It's going to be one of those big defense, low-scoring NFC West games.
Prediction: Cardinals - 13, RAMS - 16
Baltimore Ravens (4-7) At Miami Dolphins (4-7)
The Ravens blocked off the field at Cleveland with one of the more dramatic finishes to a game that we've seen this season. They celebrated in their locker room, looked around, and wondered who the heck all of these guys were. Where are their franchise players?
They're all hurt. The Ravens have suffered more injuries than even the Cowboys this season with Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith Sr., Justin Forsett, and Joe Flacco among those sidelined for the season. Ouchie.
The Dolphins have had a weird season. They've fired their coach and played good football... then really bad football.
I'm just playing odds here. Dan Campbell's Dolphins (that sounds cool, by the way) have been really hot and cold. I think they're hot this week. Plain and simple. (insert dolphin noise here).
Prediction: Ravens - 17, DOLPHINS - 21
Seattle Seahawks (6-5) At Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
I really want to pick the Vikings here.
Mike Zimmer's group is feeling really good now that they're back in first place in the NFC North. They're going to the playoffs this season... you can count on that.
They are not winning this game.
The Seahawks know how to get hot at the right time. We've seen this scene from them over and over again. They're starting to gel, finally, and are playing their style of football. After a big win over the Steelers there's no way they're losing to a far less potent offense.
Prediction: SEAHAWKS - 30, Vikings - 26
New York Jets (6-5) At New York Giants (5-6)
Start spreading the news! I'm leaving today! I want to be a part of it... New York! New York!
The battle for the Big Apple is on as the Jets and Giants meet in their once every four years clash. How weird is it for the Jets to dress in the visiting locker room this game? These are the things that keep me up at night.
Ryan Fitzmagic is on fire this season. Eli Manning is on whatever the opposite of fire is. He just threw three interceptions... against the Redskins. That Jets defense? Good luck, Elisha.
Offensively the Jets are more dangerous than people fully realize. Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Chris Ivory... fire up the Jet Fuel!
Also the Jets Cheerleaders official name is the "Jets Flight Crew". Why are they not the Flight Attendants? Wouldn't that make 1,000 times more sense?
Prediction: JETS - 33, Giants - 17
Denver Broncos (9-2) At San Diego Chargers (3-8)
I would feel badly for Peyton Manning if he didn't have another career as a full-time commercial actor.
How poetically sad is it that Peyton Manning is getting Tom Brady'd and that it happened against the one person that Peyton could never beat... Tom Brady?
"Getting Tom Brady'd" refers to how Brady took the reigns from Drew Bledsoe and never gave them back. It's a sick set of cards that Peyton Manning has been dealt.
Brock Osweiler looks great, though. He's going to keep pouring salt in Peyton's wounds this week against these non-electric Chargers.
Prediction: BRONCOS - 20, Chargers, 14
Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) At Oakland Raiders (5-6)
The Raiders teased us all by looking like a real football team early in the season. Alas, the Raiders we have all known for a long time are back!
So are the resurgent Chiefs. Alex Smith has gone something like 53,238 attempts without throwing an interception while his Chiefs dominate opponents.
There's no way the Raiders are going to be able to hang with KC in this game, but get ready for this:
Alex Smith's streak will end in the hands of Charles Woodson. Yahtzee!
Prediction: CHIEFS - 22, Raiders - 13
Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) At New England Patriots (10-1)
The Eagles are about to go into New England after the Patriots just lost, embarrassingly lost to be clear, for the first time this season at the home of one of their bigger rivals of the last few years.
Stock up on the smoothies, Captain Chip.
Philadelphia is going to be lucky to get a first down in this game. It's going to be a skunk-fest for Eagles fans (or what they call Sundays usually).
Prediction: Eagles - 6, PATRIOTS - 34
Carolina Panthers (11-0) At New Orleans Saints (4-7)
The Panthers are undefeated. They have one of the best offenses in the league. They are going up against one of the worst defenses in the league. The recipe is there.
There is a cold hard truth about the NFL and all of the statistical grandeur that comes with it. It does not matter against division opponents.
The Saints are winning this game. That's right. My gut says so.
Prediction: Panthers - 27, SAINTS - 30
Sunday Night Football: Indianapolis Colts (6-5) At Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
It was pretty shocking that Big Ben and the Steelers couldn't get the job done in Seattle. Their offense is as good as it gets right now.
The Colts are riding the wave of a nice little story about how Matt Hasselbeck is undefeated and quarterbacking them to victories while Andrew Luck heals.
That all ends Sunday night, Colts fans.
If you don't remember... last year Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and 6 touchdowns last year against the Colts.
You know where I'm going.
Prediction: Colts - 13, STEELERS - 31
Monday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys (3-8) At Washington Redskins (5-6)
If you've read my Anything Can Happen post here on Inside The Star then you know how much I still believe in these Dallas Cowboys.
The Redskins are playing good football, yes. But remember how I said that the more desperate team in the NFL tends to win? That's us.
The Cowboys aren't done yet, folks. They're going to keep things interesting. And the last complete game they played was Week 17 in Washington last year. They own that joint.
Cowboys. Redskins. With so much on the line... this feels like football.
Prediction: COWBOYS - 23, Redskins - 17
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
5 Realistic Free Agents Cowboys Should Sign Before the Draft
NFL Draft1 week ago
Hypothetical La’el Collins Trade Could Recoup Cowboys a 2019 1st-Round Pick
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Cowboys Show Interest in Browns DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Player News1 week ago
Chiefs Release Eric Berry, Should Cowboys Be Interested?
NFL Draft1 day ago
Cowboys Draft Target: Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr.
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
REPORT: Cowboys Keeping OL Joe Looney, WR Tavon Austin, WR Allen Hurns in 2019
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign DL Christian Covington
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Should Take a Run at EDGE Justin Houston