It’s Thanksgiving weekend and there are a couple of delicious games to dig into including two dandy match-ups on Turkey Day between the Eagles and Cowboys and the Seahawks and 49ers. Also, the Patriots take on the Packers late Sunday afternoon in a potential Super Bowl Preview. I’ve got a feeling that Week 13 is going to include a ton of close contests and that always makes for exciting football. So without further adieu, let’s get rolling with my predictions.
Last Week: 11-4
Thursday, November 27th, 12:30 e.t.
Chicago Bears (5-6) @ Detroit Lions (7-4)
The Bears offense has been wildly inconsistent this year (not that Detroit’s hasn’t been). Chicago seems to have trouble scoring while in the red zone and the offensive line has taken a step back from last year. That does not bode well on the road in Detroit where the Lions will be looking to bounce back from two ugly losses where they managed to kick a combined five field goals. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate should be able to exploit the secondary of Chicago and that will help Jim Caldwell’s squad come away with the win. The final score follows in pattern with the last two Bears games, in case you were wondering.
Detroit 21, Chicago 13
Thursday, November 27th, 4:30 e.t.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) @ Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
This is probably the most important game of the season for either team, as the winner will be catapulted into the drivers seat in the NFC East. The victorious team will likely be the favorite to win the division even though these two will face off in two weeks. Right now I would say a win is more important for the Cowboys since they have already lost to the Redskins and falling to 2-2 in the division would not be optimal. However, the Eagles have the front-seven to do something that only Arizona has done this year and that is make Dallas one-dimensional. I see the birds slowing down DeMarco Murray and using that defense and special teams to create another score. As long as Mark Sanchez avoids a disastrous turnover, I can see Philly walking out of town with a win.
Philadelphia 30, Dallas 27
Thursday, November 27th, 8:30 e.t.
Seattle Seahawks (7-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
We’ve been waiting all season to see the Seahawks and 49ers renew their rivalry and the game is finally here. Prime-time on Thanksgiving night; you could not ask for a bigger stage. This one is shaping up to be a classic as the Niners have played a ton of close home games this season. Out of San Fran’s five home games, the average point spread is just five points with no contest being decided by more than eight points. Seattle and San Francisco tend to play close games in the Bay area and I’m expecting this one to be no different. After struggling to notch a win over the Redskins at home last week, I’m not sure I have the confidence that they will be able to top the Super Bowl Champs. The 49ers have struggled to score points lately, managing no more than 27 since Week 7. That will be a problem against a Seattle defense that just gained some traction at home over the Cardinals. ‘Hawks win this one.
Seattle 21, San Francisco 16
Sunday, November 30th, 1:00 e.t.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9)
After a poor outing against the Browns two weeks ago, the Bengals have gotten their act together and have pulled out two impressive road wins. They look to make it three in a row when they head down to Tampa to take on the Buccaneers, the only team in the league that has yet to record a home victory. Part of me smells an upset here, but with the way that Jeremy Hill has been running the ball lately (add that in with a healthy Gio Bernard) and Mohammad Sanu and A.J. Green on the outside, Cincy will be a tough out. I like the Bengals here, but not by much.
Cincinnati 24, Tampa Bay 21
Oakland Raiders (1-10) @ St. Louis Rams (4-7)
After riding the legs of Latavius Murray to their first victory of the season at home over the Chiefs a week ago, the Raiders look to make it two in a row on the road against the Rams. St. Louis, just two weeks ago, upset the Broncos at home 22-7 and nearly beat the Chargers in San Diego last week before Shaun Hill threw a late interception. Jeff Fisher’s team is usually ready to play and should be tough to beat in this contest. Murray is somewhat of an unknown commodity to this point. Even though it would not shock me to see Oakland win this game, I am going the other way. The Rams have gotten their running game churning as of late and their defense has played exceptional. That should be enough to get them the “W” at home over a one-win team.
St. Louis 19, Oakland 13
Tennessee Titans (2-9) @ Houston Texans (5-6)
The Titans were blown out a week ago by the Eagles, but Zach Mettenberger showed some great strides in that contest. He topped 300 yards for the first time in his career and tossed three touchdowns. Now he has to face the team that he started his first NFL game against in Houston. The Texans will be turning back to the ageless Ryan Fitzpatrick as Ryan Mallet will miss the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. This should be no matter though. I like the Texans to pull off the home win and get back to .500 again. Bishop Sankey might go nuts in this game, but I see the Zach attack regressing some against this Houston defense. He may get sacked six times and I am predicting him to turn the ball over three times. With those type of numbers, it will be tough for his team to score a road win.
Houston 25, Tennessee 20
San Diego Chargers (7-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (7-4)
I’m calling for some funky happenings in this game, just because I can. I say the Chargers block a punt for a touchdown, the Ravens return a kick for a touchdown, and the Baltimore defense records a safety in the closing minutes of this game to ice it away. Even though they are working on a short week, I think this game is the Ravens’ to lose. They really have things going for them on the ground now and Joe Flacco is playing pretty good football. For the Chargers, they just don’t seem the same after getting shut out by the Dolphins. I think they are still trying to build up confidence after that ugly loss and going into M&T Bank Stadium is not the best place to do it.
Baltimore 29, San Diego 21
Washington Redskins (3-8) @ Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
Ahh, this was the match-up everybody wanted to see… two years ago. RGIII versus Andrew Luck. The #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft versus the #2 overall pick in that same draft. It would have been quite the storyline to watch for, except it won’t happen. Jay Gruden and the Redskins have decided to give Colt McCoy a try again in hopes of providing this offense a little spark. Unfortunately the team has to take on the Colts on the road. Indy is the superior team and I don’t care if the Redskins bring back Joe Theismann, they aren’t winning this game. It could be a long day for Washington as I expect Andrew Luck to throw four touchdowns and another 330 yards.
Indianapolis 42, Washington 17
New Orleans Saints (4-7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)
The Steelers, who are coming off of their late BYE, host the sputtering New Orleans Saints, a team that has lost its last three home games. I’ve continued to show faith in Sean Peyton and Drew Brees to this point in the season, but it may be time to admit that these guys just aren’t that good. Their defense is really struggling to stop opponents and the offense is turning the ball over too much. Getting off the field on third down has been a real problem for them and that is why they have a 4-7 record. That said, the Steelers are a team that seems to be heading into a trap game. They lost at home already to Tampa Bay and could end up losing to the Saints as well. Pittsburgh gets the benefit of the doubt here, but don’t be shocked if New Orelans puts together one of its better outings this weekend.
Pittsburgh 28, New Orleans 27
Carolina Panthers (3-7-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-7)
The Vikings gave the Packers a nice fight last week before falling 24-21. Now they face a team that is a shell of its 2013 self in the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton has really struggled this season, as has the defense. However, going on the road I like their chances. Ron Rivera and Cam Newton have (historically) been very good at the back-end of a season, and I tend to consider Week 13 and on the final stretch. This is where the Panthers start putting a little run together, you heard it here first.
Carolina 32, Minnesota 22
New York Giants (3-8) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10)
After making one of the greatest catches in recent memory, Odell Beckham Jr. has given Giants fans a legitimate reason to watch their team, despite the fact that they are on a six-game losing skid. The rookie has rejuvenated the offense, and this is a squad that barely lost to the Cowboys at home last week. This time out I say they go on the road to Jacksonville and get the job done. This one will be on account of the defense. Blake Bortles has been prone to turning the ball over and the Giants’ secondary has made a habit of intercepting opposing quarterbacks. That combo doesn’t work well in the Jaguars’ favor. I’ll take the G-Men on the road in a defensive battle.
New York 17, Jacksonville 10
Cleveland Browns (7-4) @ Buffalo Bills (6-5)
The Bills are 2-0 at Ford Field this season with wins over the Lions and Jets. This week, however, they will be back at home to host the Browns. Cleveland continues to defy the odds and make a playoff push behind Hoyer the Destroyer. But, will he be able to stand in the pocket long enough to deliver catch-able balls to his wide-outs? I say no. The Buffalo defensive line is superior this season; they lead the league in sacks by a mile with 46 of them. That unit should pressure Hoyer enough to cause him to be off his spot. The line should also have no problem slowing down the Browns’ rushing attack. Simply put, I like Buffalo’s match-up better in this game. Their offense won’t have to be great, they will just have to be careful with the ball. I think Kyle Orton will be up to the task.
Buffalo 24, Cleveland 10
Sunday, November 30th, 4:05 e.t.
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
The Cardinals were flat out embarrassed last week in Seattle and now hope to rebound in Atlanta against a Falcon team that just lost a close one to Cleveland. Atlanta has been involved in some thrilling contests over the past couple of weeks and this one should be no different. Arizona’s offense has been hit or miss over the course of this season, but their defense has been pretty darn consistent. However, I see Matt Ryan playing a strong game on this afternoon leading his Falcons to victory. The time to get the Cards is right now, coming off of a shocking loss. Had this game been played two weeks ago, I would have no problem rolling with Arizona. But since it is Week 13, I have a funky feeling about this one.
Atlanta 23, Arizona 21
Sunday, November 30th, 4:25 e.t.
New England Patriots (9-2) @ Green Bay Packers (8-3)
This here is probably the best match-up between two teams all season. Both squads are red-hot and are the cream of the crop in their respective conferences. It will serve as a potential Super Bowl preview and should feature a lot of offense. The Patriots have been riding a seven game winning streak and boast back-to-back-to-back 20+ point wins against division leaders. Green Bay is another division leader, but I guarantee that they won’t lose at home by 20 points; not while Aaron Rodgers is quarterbacking. The Packers are an offensive juggernaut at Lambeau and Rodgers has not been intercepted there all year. He might be victimized once by New England’s secondary in this game, but it won’t be enough for the Pats. If this game were being played in Foxboro, I might feel a bit different, but seeing as how it is going to be played in “The Frozen Tundra” I really like the Packers’ chances. The defense has been coming around lately and that offense has been nearly unstoppable at home.
Green Bay 34, New England 28
Sunday, November 30th, 8:30 e.t.
Denver Broncos (8-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
This game serves as a last chance for the Chiefs to get back in the division race. With a loss, they will have been swept by the AFC West leading Broncos and will fall two full games behind them with only four games left. Denver doesn’t have too difficult of a schedule coming up either so the chances that Andy Reid and company will be able to catch them after this contest is slim. That said, the Chiefs just lost to the Raiders and they were gashed on the ground in the process. I think the Broncos will follow up and feed the rock to C.J. Anderson 24 times in this game. He will score twice; once through the air and once on the ground. Peyton Manning hooks up with Emanuel Sanders for two scores as well, and these touchdowns will help Denver defeat Kansas City on the road and take firm control of the division.
Denver 35, Kansas City 20
Monday, December 1st, 8:30 e.t.
Miami Dolphins (6-5) @ New York Jets (2-9)
The Dolphins played admirably on the road in Denver last week before falling 39-36. The defense just could not contain the high-octane Bronco attack for four full quarters. This week, they will play the Jets, a team that managed only a field goal on the road in Detroit against the Bills. Ryan Tannehill and company will probably put up some points in this game as the young QB has looked pretty sharp this season. I don’t think Geno Smith (that’s right, they are back with him again) will be able to trade points with Miami. Furthermore, the ‘Phins have the fifth ranked defense overall and are second against the pass. Buckle up Jets fans, this is a bad match-up.
Miami 33, New York 13
Week 13 Bonus Predictions
Upset of the Week: Atlanta over Arizona
Sure Bet of the Week: Miami over New York Jets
Rookie of the Week: Bishop Sankey
Offensive Player of the Week: Le’Veon Bell
Defensive Player of the Week: Richard Sherman
Best Overall Offense: Indianapolis Colts
Best Overall Defense: Buffalo Bills
Feel free to leave a comment stating what you think will happen in this weekend’s games!