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Kibbles and Picks 2018 - Week 13

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I don’t want to alarm anyone, but this week, I … won?

I WON.

Granted, it was only by two games. And yes, I had to go 12-3 to do it – Stella put up a rock-solid 10-5 herself. But still – I WON. For the first time in weeks, Stella’s lead actually went down. There’s still plenty of ground to make up - her lead right now is still 10 games – but I’m actually trending upward. Hooray!

But my job is far from over. I took some risks last week to start swinging the momentum. For me to keep it up, I had to take a few more. All the teams have had their byes, so we’re back to a 16-game weekly slate. Of those 16, Stella and I differ on six. Let’s see if I can’t slice a couple off that big lead.

First up is the Baltimore/Atlanta matchup. I’m taking the Falcons to win at home. Yes, they’ve had some big struggles with consistency this season. But I’m feeling like Matt Ryan is due for a big passing game, and with guys like Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu and Calvin Ridley catching the ball, Atlanta could put up some points. Stella thinks that the Ravens defense won’t give so easily and that the Falcons will run into some trouble moving the ball. She also really likes rookie QB Lamar Jackson to continue his winning ways under center for Baltimore. A couple of key turnovers and a big game from Jackson wins it for the Ravens.

Next, in a game that I can’t imagine anyone actually sitting down and watching, I’m picking the Bills to go into Miami and beat the Dolphins. This does not mean that I think Buffalo is good. I do not think that. The Bills are a mess on both sides of the ball. However, Miami’s no great shakes either and I need to take some chances. Stella doesn’t think the Dolphins will have any trouble dispatching the Bills; she thinks Ryan Tannehill will fit back into the offense with no problem. She also thinks it’s more that the Bills are bad than that the Dolphins are good. The one thing we agree on is that no one should watch this tire fire.

Another roll of the dice – I’m going with the Buccaneers over the Panthers. Yes, the Buccaneers are at home, which helps. Basically, I’m hoping that we get the good Bucs offense and not the turnover nightmare version. If that happens, the Panthers defense will struggle to keep them off the scoreboard. Stella’s comfortable predicting more bad than good from Tampa Bay. She thinks that Cam Newton will be the best player on the field and will have no problem imposing his will on the Bucs defense. Plus there’s the eye-popping production of Christian McCaffery. She’s pretty confident that I’ll regret this pick. So am I, for that matter.

More gambling – I’m actually picking the Jaguars to win a game, God help me. They’ve lost seven in a row. And it’s against the Colts, who have won their last five. I have no idea why I’m doing this. The Jags have benched QB Blake Bortles and star RB Leonard Fournette won’t play. The once-vaunted defense has slumped. But … maybe? As for Stella, well … ever have a dog laugh at you? She sees this for the desperate nonsense move that it is. She’s happy to take her chances with the resurgent Andrew Luck and the rest of this red-hot Indianapolis squad.

I’m also taking a risky shot with the Browns, picking them to win on the road in Houston. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Cleveland in the last few weeks. Baker Mayfield has looked awfully good at QB, while Nick Chubb is a budding star. They’ve got big talent on the defense as well. Sure, it’s another game where I’m betting on the end of a long winning streak, but I’ve got to take chances. Stella’s shaking her adorable head sadly at my poor choices. She thinks that the Texans defense will run roughshod over the Browns offensive attack and that QB Deshaun Watson is going to have his way against the Cleveland secondary. The nicest thing she can say about my pick is that at least the Browns aren’t the Jaguars.

Finally, I’ve got the Chargers going into Pittsburgh and taking down the Steelers. The Chargers have been a bit under the radar this season, but the Philip Rivers-led offense has been extremely production all year. The loss of running back Melvin Gordon certainly undercuts that offense, but backup Austin Ekeler looks ready. Stella’s a little concerned with some of the organizational turmoil in Pittsburgh, but ultimately, she feels confident in going with the Steelers; she expects a massive game out of receiver Antonio Brown and anticipates the team using James Connor to control the ball. She’d be more nervous if Gordon were there; in his absence, she likes Pittsburgh to win going away.

And there we have it. Those two games from last week were awfully sweet – let’s see if we can get a few more? Wish me luck!

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, November 29

NEW ORLEANS at Dallas

Sunday, December 2

Baltimore at ATLANTA

DENVER at Cincinnati

LA RAMS at Detroit

Arizona at GREEN BAY

BUFFALO at Miami

CHICAGO at NY Giants

Carolina at TAMPA BAY

Indianapolis at JACKSONVILLE

CLEVELAND at Houston

NY Jets at TENNESSEE

KANSAS CITY at Oakland

Minnesota at NEW ENGLAND

San Francisco at SEATTLE

LA CHARGERS at Pittsburgh

Monday, December 3

Washington at Philadelphia

Week 12 record: 12-3

Season record: 105-69-2

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, November 29

NEW ORLEANS at Dallas

Sunday, December 2

BALTIMORE at Atlanta

DENVER at Cincinnati

LA RAMS at Detroit

Arizona at GREEN BAY

Buffalo at MIAMI

CHICAGO at NY Giants

CAROLINA at Tampa Bay

INDIANAPOLIS at Jacksonville

Cleveland at HOUSTON

NY Jets at TENNESSEE

KANSAS CITY at Oakland

Minnesota at NEW ENGLAND

San Francisco at SEATTLE

LA Chargers at PITTSBURGH

Monday, December 3

Washington at PHILADELPHIA

Week 12 record: 10-5

Season record: 115-59-2

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