This NFL season is flying by faster than Ted Ginn Jr. streaking down the sideline toward the end zone. We're already at Week 13. The regular season will end quicker than we can blink. Teams are jockeying for playoff positions and a lot of these games can either nudge those squads towards the postseason or hasten offseason plans. On the other hand, the Cleveland Browns were probably booking their beach vacations after their first game.
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings, 12/1 6:25 pm - Don't let the fact that the Cowboys will be playing outdoors in Minnesota in December, a situation that's barely conducive to human life, deter you from picking them. Dak Prescott will gladly hand off the ball many, many times to Ezekiel Elliott, who will try to run through the Vikings defense. The Cowboys defense will do its utmost to contain Sam Bradford and ultimately further dim Minnesota's chances of catching Detroit in the NFC North while strengthening their own stranglehold on the NFC East.
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints, 12/4 at 11:00 am - Detroit is looking to continue its hold atop the NFC North while the Saints hope to even their home record at 3-3. It'll be a quarterback battle with Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford aiming to add to their touchdown totals. The Lions will have to hope Stafford has a great game since their rushing game ranks at the bottom of the league. Saints should win.
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars, 12/4 at 11:00 am - Although he's been putting up solid fantasy numbers, many people think that Blake Bortles is regressing. He did have a solid effort in Week 12 against Buffalo, throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions, but he couldn't lead the Jaguars past Buffalo. Denver's defense will be licking their chops at getting to face him. They will be extra eager to make a statement after their overtime loss to the Raiders. Go with the Broncos.
Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers, 12/4 at 11:00 am - Houston lost at home to the San Diego Chargers. That's pretty demoralizing, but don't forget that this Texans team has been limping along without J.J. Watt there to anchor their defense. Amazingly, they are still atop the AFC South division. This is due to every other team being below .500. They will leave the confines of their indoor stadium to go to Wisconsin, where the temperatures can feel like the surface of Pluto at times. Aaron Rodgers hadn't looked like the stud quarterback he is for a while, but he turned in a vintage performance in Week 12. He will build on that. Pick the Packers.
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens, 12/4 at 11:00 am - One of these teams is going to see a win streak snapped. Miami beat San Francisco in Week 12 and Baltimore beat the Bengals. It's hard to go against Joe Flacco at home, so pick the Ravens to win to try to keep their part of the AFC North lead.
Los Angeles Rams at New England Patriots, 12/4 at 11:00 am - The Rams got some good news in Week 12. They saw Jared Goff, their highly touted draft pick, throw three touchdowns against the Saints. The bad news was that their defense got torched by Drew Brees. Should Goff keep developing, they won't have to worry about defenses stacking against Todd Gurley. It's not going to get any better for them facing Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. Add that they will play in frigid conditions at Foxboro and it looks like an easy win for the home team.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears, 12/4 at 11:00 am - This might as well be called the Un-Super Bowl. The Bears didn't see a big change in their naming Matt Barkley the starting quarterback. They still lost to the Titans in Week 12. The 49ers fared no better, not being able to come back from an early deficit to the Dolphins. San Francisco should win. At least Colin Kaepernick's super-Afro will keep him warm in the frigid Chicago temperatures.
Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons, 12/4 at 11:00 am - Atlanta's coming off a blowout win over Arizona, a game that saw Matt Ryan throw two touchdowns and Devonta Freeman rush for two others. Kansas City started off like a powerhouse but saw themselves get eclipsed by the Raiders in their own division - though they have to feel confident after their amazing Week 12 comeback win in overtime against Denver. The Falcons will need to score every point they can against the Chiefs' stingy defense. It still looks like Ryan will pull out the home victory.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals, 12/4 at 11:00 am - The Bengals are looking to regroup after their stinging Week 12 defeat to Baltimore. Philadelphia has been great at home but a lousy road team. Guess what? They are on the road. Secondly, they just lost to the Green Bay Packers in a game where Carson Wentz looked like Fallout Boy's Peter Wentz replaced him - some of his throws were awful. Both of those factors should tilt the scales in Cincinnati's favor.
Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders, 12/4 at 2:05 pm - Buffalo has the misfortune to reside in the same division as New England and Miami. They did beat Jacksonville, but it's Jacksonville. There will be stiff competition as they go West to face a Raiders team who is doing its best to have the best sendoff possible should they go to Las Vegas. Derek Carr has been amazing for the Silver and Black and Rex Ryan's defense will have their hands full. Pick the home team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers, 12/4 at 2:05 pm - San Diego might be last in their division, but they are playing some darn spirited football. They beat the Texans on Sunday and Philip Rivers will look to throw a ton of touchdowns against a mediocre Buccaneers defense. The only hedge here: Tampa Bay has been markedly better on the road this year. They will also try to build on their win over the Seahawks the previous week. It's a toss-up, though it might be better to lean towards the Chargers.
New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers, 12/4 at 2:25 pm - Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. helped the Giants pull away from Cleveland late in their game. That's not exactly something to take pride in, especially since the Browns may end the year without a win. The Steelers clobbered the Colts in their Thanksgiving game, but they were also facing an Indianapolis team that was minus their starting quarterback, Andrew Luck, who was in concussion protocol. Big Blue needs to win to remain within striking distance of Dallas, so look for them to make Big Ben Roethlisberger's day a very long one. Take the Giants.
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Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals, 12/4 at 2:25 pm - The Cardinals will still be smarting over how badly Atlanta beat them in Week 12. Washington will have no mercy, given how angry they were to have lost to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. Josh Norman and his defensive cohorts will take try to make Arizona look like the turkeys in their likely win.
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks, 12/4 at 6:30 pm - This is a battle of the previous two losers of the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will be looking to bounce back after their shocking loss to the Buccaneers in Week 12, a game that saw them score all of five points. Cam Newton and his Carolina teammates will also want to return to their winning ways after a bitterly close defeat to Oakland the prior week. Look for the home crowd's deafening noise to help propel their team to a win.
Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets, 12/5 at 6:30 pm - The Colts will be hoping to get Luck-y and have their quarterback return from concussion protocol. The Jets are just hoping to play the role of spoilers, since their chances of making the playoffs are now dead. The only question is whether the Jets will hand the reins back to Bryce Petty or trot Ryan Fitzpatrick out again. If the medical staff deems Luck healthy and he looks effective during the week, pick Indy. If not, looks like Gang Green might add win No. 4 of their lost season.
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