Last week, 13 of 16 games were within seven points sometime in the fourth quarter. In the end, most of the favorites came through though, much to the delight of our BTB pick 'em panel and each panelist's win totals.
This week's games look like they could be nail-biters as well. Our panel is unanimous on only five games this week, one of the lowest figures we've seen all season. In the first 10 games of week 13, the Colts @ Patriots game is the only game where all seven of us have picked the same team to win.
Part of the reason for this is that for the Thursday and 1:00 pm ET Sunday games, there's at least one dissenting opinion among us picking against the trend. Most of the time that dissenting opinion is KD's, who has stubbornly picked the underdog in seven matchups. But even KD's mighty contrarianism isn't enough to pick Indy against the 20-point (!) favorite New England.
Of the remaining six games, our panel has picked four unanimously. See our full week 13 picks - and witness how the panel succumbs to Tebowmania - after the break.
The most tightly contested games according to our panel:
PHI @ SEA: Four of our panelists like the Dream Team over the Seahawks in Seattle, precisely because the Eagles are playing on the road. The Eagles are 1-5 at home, only the dreadful Colts have a worse home record. On the road, the Eagles are a 3-2 team. Three of our panelists believe the Eagles implosion will continue.
TEN @ BUF: Continuing the away-team theme, four of us hope the Titans can sustain their reinvigorated ground game, while three look for Buffalo to rediscover their early-season mojo en route to a home win. Plus, they have Tashard Choice now.
DEN @ MIN: Tebowmania has finally caught up with BTB. The following was found spraypainted across a wall in our virtual offices:
Don't doubt the Tebow.
I have my suspicions about who is responsible, but I'll keep quiet for now.
Five of our writers bow to the power of The Tebow and pick the Broncos over the Vikings. It'll be tough for the Vikings to get anything going without Adrian Peterson. Then again, it'll be even tougher for The Tebow to complete more than half of his passes. Little known fact: the Vikings have the fifth best run defense in the league, allowing only 3.7 yards per carry. Even lesser known fact: Sunday is the day Jared Allen pulls out in front of DeMarcus Ware with a big lead in his sack totals.
CAR @ TB: Three of our panelists believe that in the battle of some of the the worst defenses (CAR: 31st; TB: 29th) the better offense (CAR: 16th, TB: 25th) will come out on top. The other four panelists seem to believe Cam Newton is overrated. Especially on the road.
OAK @ MIA: Over the last five games, the Dolphins have outscored their opponents by 62 points, fourth in the league behind only the Texans, Saints and Packers. Over the same period, the Raiders have been outscored by 24 points and are ranked 23rd in points differential over the last five games. But the Raiders have an awesome kicker, and Michael Bush > Reggie Bush.
Here are the entire week 13, 2011 picks.