NFL Week 13 Picks: Gauging the Least Likely Upset ScenariosWednesday November 30th, 2011 - New England Patriots Tickets
In Week 13 of the NFL season, two upset scenarios—the Colts over Patriots and Rams over 49ers—look like the least likely:
Indianapolis Colts over New England Patriots
Unless No. 18 is suiting up on Sunday, there's almost zero chance that the Colts are going to go into New England and leave with their first win. Instead of Peyton Manning under center, Indianapolis is turning to Dan Orlovsky, whose most famous accomplishments are a YouTube video of him running out of the end zone for a safety and his part in the Lions' 0-16 season.
The Colts defense also has a tall task in front of them, as they'll face Tom Brady and Co. after the firing of defensive coordinator Larry Coyer earlier this week. Long-time linebackers coach Mike Murphy will replace Coyer for the rest of the season. Murphy's assignment will be to stop Brady, who's thrown eight touchdowns in his last three games and has the NFL's second highest passer rating. If that's not asking the impossible of a new defensive coordinator, I don't know what is.
So unless both Orlovsky and Murphy have a few tricks up their sleeve that the NFL isn't aware of, this game should be over early.
St. Louis Rams over San Francisco 49ers
Sunday will be a tale of two teams that went in completely opposite directions in 2011. A lot was expected out of Sam Bradford and the Rams going into this season, but injuries and a regression of the roster have caused this team to free fall.
The 49ers have seized the opportunity in the NFC West, winning nine of their first 11 games. With a win over the Rams on Sunday, the 49ers will have wrapped up the division. But why is an upset so unlikely in this matchup? San Francisco's defense is the place I'd start.
The 49ers are the NFL's No.1 ranked rushing defense, and without a big day from running back Steven Jackson, the Rams chances of beating the Niners in San Fran drop significantly. Sam Bradford simply lacks the weapons to make up for any deficiencies in the running game.
If the 49ers bottle up Jackson like they have against running backs all season, count on the 49ers to get to 10-2 on Sunday.