By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
It’s hard to believe, but the NFL season has already reached Week 13. Every game is crucial now, and we’re beginning to see which teams are positioning themselves for a deep postseason run. It’s also time for me to really step up with my picks. Aiming for .600 by season’s end.
This week’s feature game has to be New England vs Buffalo. Which team will come out on top in the AFC East?
On to this week’s picks:
♦ L.A. CHARGERS @ CINCINNATI: This is a tough one to call. Both teams are in the thick of their division races and need to win. Unfortunately for the Chargers, they seem to have hit a mid season wall, losing four of their last six games. The Chargers are also 2-3 against playoff teams this year. The Bengals, meanwhile, have bounced back after a two-game skid including a loss to the Jets. Pick: BENGALS
♦ N.Y. GIANTS @ MIAMI: Suddenly, Tua Tagovailoa is receiving praise rather than doubts. That’s kind of what winning can do. The Dolphins have won four straight and are favored to run that streak to five (Miami is a five-point favorite on Sunday). While the Giants still have playoff hopes, right now they’re at the bottom of the NFC East. They have a middling defense and a bottom-tier offense. Pick: DOLPHINS
♦ INDIANAPOLIS @ HOUSTON: The Texans are 2-9, but it feels like their season is much worse than that. It started, of course, with the Deshaun Watson fiasco, but the team has also battled injuries, discipline issues and other problems. Today, the team canceled practice due to health concerns. The Colts are coming off a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they are a legitimate playoff team. DeForest Buckner is having an All-Pro season. Pick: COLTS
♦ BALTIMORE @ PITTSBURGH: Man, what has happened to the once-mighty Steelers? It’s quite apparent that the days of the “Steel Curtain” are long gone. Ben Roethlisberger is clearly no longer what he once was, and receiver Chase Claypool, when asked what can be done to improve the team’s practices, said, “We have music in the warm ups and that, so it’s fun. People are dancing, having fun. So I think maybe music would make practice more fun and little more uptempo.” Pathetic. Pick: RAVENS
♦ DENVER @ KANSAS CITY: Denver has the league’s third-best scoring defense, surrendering just 17.8 points per game, but the Chiefs are starting to look like the team that has appeared in the last two Super Bowls. KC is a heavy favorite in this one (-10), and I expect Patrick Mahomes to have a big game here. Pick: CHIEFS
♦ NEW ENGLAND @ BUFFALO: After leading the AFC East for most of the season, Buffalo has given way to the Patriots, the NFL’s hottest team (six straight wins). The Bills are slight favorites this week, and now is the time for them to make a statement win. Sorry, Bills Mafia, but I don’t think it will happen. PATRIOTS
Last Week: 3-3 | 2021 Record: 37-35 (.514)