Jan’s NFL Week 13 Preview
So I went 2-1 in my Thanksgiving game predictions. The Bears totally let me down, but Matthew Stafford delivered to give the Lions their eighth win on the season and kept their playoff hopes alive. The Cowboys have started their yearly December choke-a-thon early, as the Eagles rolled into sole ownership of first place in the NFC East. The Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks dominated in San Francisco, holding the 49ers to just three points. It seems some 49er fans are upset about Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman joining Michelle Tafoya for turkey on the 49er logo.
Luckily for us, there’s a full slate of games on Sunday, as bye weeks are over and teams are playing with their seasons on the line. Let’s see what we’ve got on the docket.
Washington Redskins (3-8) at Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
Lucas Oil Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
It looks like RGIII’s days are numbered in Washington, as the decision was made this week to bench the struggling QB. Colt McCoy will start in Griffin’s place as the team heads to Indy to face Andrew Luck and the Colts. The Colts are in good position to win the AFC South and head back to the playoffs. Luck was sacked five times last week against Jacksonville, lost two of his four fumbles, and failed to pass for 300 yards for the first time in nine games. Washington’s defense isn’t too shabby, so if the Jags can rattle Luck, look for Washington to try to do the same. If McCoy can get the passing game going, this game could be a bit closer than some expect.
Jan’s pick: Redskins
Tennessee Titans (2-9) at Houston Texans (5-6)
NRG Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
Technically, the Texans could still make a push for a wild card spot in the playoffs, but their offense continues to struggle. Ryan Mallet tore his right pectoral muscle last week against Cincinnati and will sit out the rest of the season – Fitzpatrick time is back in Houston! Mallet took over the starting job a couple weeks ago after Fitzpatrick’s passing struggles only worsened. However, Fitzpatrick beat the Titans once already this season, so that’s a bit of good news. Arian Foster has missed the last two games with a groin injury (“Ow! My Finger!”) and may return to action this week. The Titans aren’t very good, so…
Jan’s pick: Texans
Cleveland Browns (7-4) at Buffalo Bills (6-5)
Ralph Wilson Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
After a dominating win in Detroit (thanks to six feet of snow) against the Jets, the Bills return to Buffalo in an important match-up against the Browns. The Browns are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002, while the Bills could make a last minute push. That’s the great thing about this time of year, if you’re over .500, you mathematically, probably still could make a last minute playoff push. The Bills defense is one of the best in the league, but Josh Gordon is back for the Browns and he picked up right where he left off last week. He had over 100 yards receiving, but failed to catch a touchdown. I think he’ll get one this week, unless Brian Hoyer throws all of the interceptions like he did last week. The Bills have the most sacks this year (46), so look for that vicious defense to pressure Hoyer all day.
Jan’s pick: Bills
San Diego Chargers (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (7-4)
M&T Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
I’m never going to forget when Chargers fans declared themselves Super Bowl 49 Champions after beating the Seahawks. Now they’ve sunk to 7-4, third place in the AFC West, and are still in the playoff hunt. Don’t look behind you, San Diego, but Baltimore is coming up quick. All four teams in the AFC North have seven wins. The only reason Cincinnati sits atop the throne is because they tied with the Panthers. Baltimore needs this win to leap frog the Chargers for that sixth seed in the AFC. Baltimore looked pretty dominant against the Saints last week, winning 34-27. If the Ravens can protect the football and get another big performance from running back Justin Forsett, they’ll soar to victory at home.
Jan’s pick: Ravens
New York Giants (3-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10)
EverBank Field, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
The Giants have one of the easiest remaining schedules, but their playoff hopes have flown the coop. I’m not sure why I’ve opted for bird puns today, but we’re going to fly with it. All the Giants are really good for at this point are fantasy match-ups. I’m streaming their defense in a few leagues in week and if you’re looking for a defense for the playoffs, they’re probably available in your league. The Jaguars are so hopeless and I feel so badly for them. Their colors are really cool. (I tried to find a funny Jags gif, but I couldn’t find anything even remotely funny. Eli is the best for gifs.)
Jan’s pick: Giants
Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9)
Raymond James Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
The NFC South is really bad, just in case I haven’t made that clear over the last few weeks and you’ve been living under a rock. The NFC South has only beaten the AFC North once this year, when the Bucs beat the Steelers in September. So AJ Green is pretty much back to form, Andy Dalton is still untrustworthy, Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill are becoming quite the backfield duo, and the Bucs aren’t good. Unless Andy Dalton completely collapses again, Bengals strengthen their AFC North lead.
Jan’s pick: Bengals
Oakland Raiders (1-10) at St. Louis Rams (4-7)
Edward Jones Dome, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
The Raiders won a game! It took them over a year, but they won a game! The Rams are playing really, really good defense right now though, but with 1:03 left in the game against San Diego last week, Shaun Hill threw a goal line interception. Look for this to be a close contest between two teams fighting for their pride.
Jan’s pick: Rams
New Orleans Saints (4-7) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)
Heinz Field, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
The Saints have lost three in a row, but still share first place in the NFC South with Atlanta. The Steelers have won seven games, but thanks to an entire division of seven-win teams, they’re in last place in their division. The Steelers will need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the Saints could more than likely lose a fourth straight game and still have a chance to win their division. The NFL is weird. Ben Roethlisberger is having arguably his best year of his career, but it’ll be Pittsburgh’s top ranked defense that’ll lead them to an eighth win.
Jan’s pick: Steelers
Carolina Panthers (3-7-1) at Minnesota Vikings (4-7)
TCF Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
Quarterback Cam Newton has undoubtedly struggled this season, but once again because they’re in the NFC South, they’re still in the hunt for a division title. Because the Panthers tied the Bengals, if they win in Minnesota this week, they could take the top spot over Atlanta and New Orleans. Minnesota hung around with Green Bay last week, only losing by 3. Teddy Bridgewater is going to need to play like a boss if they’re going to win their fifth game.
Jan’s pick: Vikings
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
Georgia Dome, 4:05 PM ET – FOX
The Cardinals were given a wake up call last week against the Seahawks. Seattle’s defense held Arizona to three points, proving that the rumors that Arizona’s offense wasn’t good enough to take them to the Super Bowl were true. Luckily for Arizona, they’ll face the league’s worst defense this week. Atlanta is pretty terrible, but stop me if you’ve heard this, they’re in the NFC South so they share first place with New Orleans. Cardinals are going to need to win this game to extend their NFC West lead, as the Seahawks are creeping up quickly after two huge wins in a row.
Jan’s pick: Cardinals
New England Patriots (9-2) at Green Bay Packers (8-3)
Lambeau Field, 4:25 PM ET – CBS
For some reason, people are calling this game the Super Bowl preview. I picked the Patriots to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl and I’m sticking with that. The Patriots should count their blessings that they play in the AFC though, because I’m not sure they’d make it to the big dance if they were in the NFC. The Packers and the Patriots have pretty mediocre defenses and two of the best offenses in the league, so if you like offense, this is probably the game you’ll want to watch Sunday afternoon. It’s going to come down to which Super Bowl winning QB will have the better day and my heart is telling me it’s going to be this guy…
Jan’s pick: Packers
Denver Broncos (8-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
Arrowhead Stadium, 8:30 PM ET – NBC
Denver’s three losses have all come on the road and with first place in the AFC West on the line, Sunday Night Football is likely not to disappoint. The Chiefs are coming off a loss to the Raiders (lol), but have all the reason in the world to be playing with purpose as Eric Berry was placed on the non-football injury list after a mass expected to be lymphoma was found in his chest. The Chiefs will miss Berry’s defensive leadership on the field against Manning, who has won five straight against the Chiefs. Peyton Manning could be without tight-end Julius Thomas again this week, which could prove to be a problem against the league’s best passing defense. The key to victory for Denver could be taking advantage of KC’s vulnerable run defense, even though their running game hasn’t been the best on the road.
Jan’s pick: Broncos
Miami Dolphins (6-5) at New York Jets (2-9)
MetLife Stadium, 8:30 PM ET – ESPN
The Dolphins are fighting for their playoff lives on Monday Night against a Jets team that’s resorting back to starting Geno Smith at quarterback. The Jets are a mess and Ryan Tannehill is playing some of his best football right now. I’m kind of glad I’ll be busy Monday night so I have an excuse not to watch this game, to be quite honest. There are a lot of weird Miami Dolphins logo gifs out there on the Internet.
And then there’s this…
He is already so done with Geno Smith.
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