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- Week 13 round-up and staff picks round-up

Ian Hetherington December 4, 2007
Ian Hetherington
NFL Columnist

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NFL Week 13 Thoughts

Patriots unbeaten but looking vulnerable: New England moved to 12-0 with a Monday Night Football win over the Baltimore Ravens, but for the second week on the spin the Patriots looked vulnerable and might even consider themselves a little lucky to escape still undefeated. After a rash Feeley decision both spoiling a solid evening and letting the Pats off the hook last week, Tom Brady had the sort of performance he’s grown unaccustomed to this year as he was sacked, picked off and no less than twenty of his passes were incomplete for a variety of reasons. With Kyle Boller having a game you could definitely argue as being better than Brady’s and Willis McGahee definitely the best running back on the field New England were there for the taking and Baltimore would have done just that if not for Mark Clayton falling agonisingly short as the clock ran out. New England have survived a couple of scares and all of a sudden look like a team who can be taken advantage of if all isn’t going their way. With the Steelers coming to town on Sunday the Patriots need to tighten things up again and resume their machine-like play if they’re going to run the board.

Dallas keep rolling, Green Bay stumble: The theory that Green Bay’s best chance of reaching the Super Bowl is securing home field advantage seem even more justified now given the nightmare they had in Dallas. The Pack only lost by ten but what we saw was much more significant than that. Before he went off injured Favre wasn’t having a good time (5/14 for two interceptions) and they relied on a suddenly-productive rushing unit. Rodgers had a perfectly respectable game under center when he stepped in for Favre but the Cowboys replied by just continuing to score which is as good a way to play as any if your defense isn’t holding up. With the home field advantage theirs to lose, things are looking good for Dallas right now and they have the look of a Super Bowl-bound team.

Miami to beat the Jets? Who said that? While I picked Miami, a Jets win wouldn’t ordinarily have surprised me. But a win by twenty-seven? Ouch. The musk of defeat is so thick around Miami that it might be too late to shake it off.

Jaguars striving to be a top team: Of the 8-4 teams, Jacksonville are possibly the most convincing and losing a close one to the Colts is nothing to panic about, but for a team who seem on the cusp of becoming a big-hitter they need to find a way to beat the biggest teams more consistently.

Saints left needing a miracle: With their hopes of recovering to spectacularly win the division all but dashed by Tampa on Sunday, New Orleans best chance is a Wild Card spot now, but with only one Wild Card spot within touching distance, the Saints (5-7) have to fend off Detroit, Minnesota, Arizona (all 6-6), Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago and Carolina (all 5-7, like the Saints) to do it. They face three of those teams in their last four games but surely it’s too late and too big an ask for them to win four in a row and other games finish the way they want them to?

Teams left wondering where it all went wrong: Six weeks ago Baltimore were 4-2 and Kansas City were 3-3 and both were in contention in their divisions. After combining for 11 defeats in the 12 games since then teams in that sort of position must hold their heads and wonder just where the heck it all fell apart.

PFC Staff Fantasy Picks for Week 13

If you’ve been following this column, you’ll have read the fantasy football game between a few of the PFC staff we’re running for a bit of fun and maybe a few fantasy football pointers. In this case the picks and results are being posted after the fact, so perhaps you can just use it to decide whether any of us have a clue what we’re talking about every week! So we’ll start off with a round-up of week 11.

Kevin Figg went for Ben Roethlisberger, Reggie Bush, Plaxico Burress and Kellen Winslow. These selections earned him (respectively) 2, 2, 8 and 10 for a score of 25 that might have been higher if the Steelers had lived up to expectation against Miami.

Chris Pokorny chose Matt Hasselbeck, Jamal Lewis, Andre Johnson and Ben Watson. Matt Hasselbeck starts him off with 9 ½, followed by 10, 0 and 0 for a shockingly low score of 19 ½ for the week.

Finally, I opted for Eli Manning, Willie Parker, Marques Colston and Antonio Gates. They got me 9, 2, 8 and a big 16 pointer from Antonio Gates. These sum up to a total of 35 to lead this week.

Thanks to the heroics of Antonio Gates (or him making the most of lax coverage, at least) I led the week by a decent margin to leave the standings looking a little like this going into week 13:

Chris Pokorny – 365
Ian Hetherington - 364 ½
Kevin Figg - 293 ½

With those scores as they are, I’m only half a point behind Chris now to make things tense at the top, while Kevin gained a little ground on Chris but still needs to smash through the 300-point mark if he’s going to catch up. He needs a couple of huge weeks… and speaking of which, here were the selections for week 13:

Kevin Figg
QB: Jon Kitna (Lions) vs. Vikings
RB: Willie Parker (Steelers) vs. Bengals
WR: Randy Moss (Patriots) vs. Ravens
TE: Tony Gonzalez (Chiefs) vs. Chargers

Chris Pokorny
QB: Jay Cutler (Broncos) vs. Raiders
RB: Willie Parker (Steelers) vs. Bengals –
WR: Steve Smith (Panthers) vs. 49ers
TE: Kellen Winslow (Browns) vs. Cardinals

Ian Hetherington
QB: Peyton Manning (Colts) vs. Jaguars
RB: Adrian Peterson (Vikings) vs. Lions
WR: Wes Welker (Patriots) vs. Ravens
TE: Chris Cooley (Redskins) vs. Bills

So, the scores for those picks are as follows:

Kevin’s picks of Kitna, Parker, Moss and Gonzalez got him 10, 3, 6 and 4 to get a total of 23.

Chris’ selections of Cutler, Parker, Smith and Winslow earned him 2 ½, 3, 2 and 0 for a bizarrely low sum of 7 ½ for the week.

And last but hopefully not least, I went for Manning, Peterson, Welker and Cooley for respective scores of 28 ½, 16, 0 and 2 for a week 13 score of 46 ½.

Thanks to Manning getting back to what he does best and Adrian Peterson making the most of shared carries, I led the week by quite a margin and Kevin clawed some back on Chris who had what I’m sure even he would admit is a disaster. At the conclusion of week 13, our scores look like this:

Ian Hetherington - 411
Chris Pokorny – 372 ½
Kevin Figg - 315 ½

And so that’s the fantasy picks catch-up after a couple of weeks of confusion. Hopefully business will be resumed as usual and next weeks picks will be posted with my game predictions in a day or two.

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