NFL Week 13 Picks
March 31st NFL news ... NFL Week 13 Picks at nflweek13-picks.com
BOISE STATE BRONCOS (2-1) at FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (2-0)
Boise State finds itself as a rare underdog Friday in Bulldog Stadium against an uprising Fresno State team eager to end its long losing skid in this series.
Fresno State hasn't always been a household name on the football field, but was 7-1 in the Mountain West last season. However, the Broncos have dominated this series with seven straight victories (both SU and ATS) over Fresno by a combined score of 319 to 103, or an average score of 46 to 15. Since 2001, Boise is 11-1 ATS versus the Bulldogs, including 5-1 ATS at Fresno. The Bulldogs haven't fared well when being stamped as a moderate favorite, going 1-4 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 7 points in the past five such games. Fresno might not be great when favored, but has certainly been very strong against conference opponents, going 11-4 ATS (10-5 SU) over the past three seasons. On the flip side, Boise State has built a prestige over the years and is no longer the darling underdogs as they often once were. Being the underdog has treated the Broncos well, as they are 21-11 ATS as an underdog since 1993, including 4-1 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 7 points.
Boise State is looking to rack up some quality wins and reclaim itself in the Top 25. The Broncos have gotten better play out of their senior QB Joe Southwick recently, who is coming off an impressive effort where he completed 27-of-29 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown. Southwick struggled in an embarrassing 38-6, season-opening loss to Washington, completing 25-of-40 passes for a pedestrian 152 yards. Boise gave Air Force a dose of its own medicine last week by running all over the Falcons for 229 yards. Leading the rushing attack was Jay Ajayi, who racked up 125 yards on just 17 carries (7.4 YPC). Ajayi wasn't the only standout in last week's victory; Junior Matt Miller grabbed a whopping 10 passes for 112 yards. If Miller and Southwick can get a groove going again on Friday, it will really put the pressure on a Fresno defense that has had its problems this year, allowing 51 points against Rutgers and giving up 416 total yards to Cal Poly.
Under center for the Bulldogs is a senior with a familiar last name. Derek Carr, younger brother of the former number one draft pick, David Carr, has been terrific this year and is a big reason why Fresno has a great chance to win its conference. Carr has thrown for eight touchdowns in the young year with only one interception. Carr threw the ball a ridiculous 73 times against Rutgers week one in which he completed 52 of them for 456 yards (6.2 YPC) and also managed five scores with just one interception. Carr's favorite two targets have been sophomore Davante Adams and senior Isaiah Burse. The two wideouts have combined for 36 catches for 340 yards and 4 TD in just two games. Adams reeled in 14 catches for 148 yards and two scores in the overtime win over Rutgers to start the season.
Bengals trying to diversify running game
Cincinnati had trouble running the March Madness Contest ball for long stretches of last season. They failed to pick up 100 yards on the ground in 10 games, including a playoff loss at Houston.
They drafted tailback Giovani Bernard from North Carolina in the second round last week, signifying their determination to fix the problem. The Bengals hadn't taken a running back higher than the sixth round since 2007, when they took halfback Kenny Irons from Auburn in the second round.
The Bengals think Bernard will be a change of pace from starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who is more of a straight-ahead runner with limited receiving skills.