WEEK 13 NFL PREDICTIONS

Ok so up to this point in the season, I still have a pretty decent record. I had a tough week last week but I’m still well over .500 on the season. Last week had some nice upsets, drama, and blowouts. Hopefully this week will be better for me as the late season playoff drama heats up. I hope you enjoy reading this!

DALLAS COWBOYS (6-5) VS NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-1)

A lot of people have this game pegged as a blowout. The Cowboys have been consistent lately but struggled to find that balance in the early part of the season. Dak isn’t looking like the same QB the analysts gushed over a year or two ago. This team’s saving grace is this hard-nosed defense and Zeke. The defense is ranked 9th in overall defense and are tied for 3rd in passing TDs allowed. They have been extremely stout and have shutdown most QBs they’ve faced lately. However, this week will be the toughest test as they face the league’s top offense in recent weeks and the favorite for MVP, Drew Brees. Zeke is currently 1st in rushing yards and is likely going to have to do a lot to help Dak in this game. He’s going to need to break off some bigger runs and catch some passes to help make the offense unpredictable. While the defense might slow Brees down a bit they certainly don’t quite have the defense to stop him. Zeke and Cooper will need a big week to help the offense keep up with this Saints offense. I don’t think they’ll fully be able to keep up, but the game will be closer than most think. SAINTS 34 COWBOYS 27

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-8) VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-5)

This game will be a blowout for sure. Ramsey and company haven’t been bad on defense, but they missed some key coverages on more than enough plays throughout games. In the NFL 1 or 2 missed coverages can cost your team the game and I saw more than 1 or 2 missed assignments against the Bills and the Steelers. They can’t afford to do that against Luck and the red hot Colts right now. They have the speedy T.Y. Hilton and the TD machine that is Eric Ebron. Andrew Luck is currently ranked 9th in passing yards and second in TDs, so the Jags can’t really afford to miss coverage assignments in this game. The Jaguars offense has been putrid of late also. Bortles was even playing so poorly, they’ve officially benched him for Cody Kessler. This game is going to be solely on the shoulders of Leonard Fournette and the defense. If Ramsey and the defense can’t disrupt Luck at all, then there’s no way they’ll even stand a chance. COLTS 31  JAGS 16

GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-6-1) VS ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-9)

This one won’t be too close either. The Packers might be struggling against the formidable opponents but Rodgers can certainly handle the last place Cardinals. The Packers are having a rough season and last week might’ve been the loss that causes the playoffs to slip through their fingertips and potentially gives McCarthy his walking papers in the offseason. This team just isn’t coming together like they used to. They don’t have many weapons on either side of the ball and are sort of wasting the talents of Rodgers. It’s not like they’re missing a lot either, they have just been losing a lot of close games. They are literally middle of the league in almost every single statistical category. They’re missing a few game changing pieces, but this just isn’t their season. this game is one of their easiest games yet, as the Cardinals are ranked last in passing offense by a lot, and they have a bottom 10 defense. They have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league as well, so look for Jones to have a big game. PACKERS 30  CARDS 10

CHICAGO BEARS (8-3) VS NEW YORK GIANTS (3-8)

This game is going to make pickem players nervous. The Giants are going to make this closer than most would think. Most people would think the Bears front 7 will pressure Manning all day and cause the most pocket panicking QB to throw the game away. However, I think the Giants will be expecting the pressure and will change things up. They are going to look to set Manning, Barkely, Shepard, and Bekcham up on a lot of screens, check downs, and quick slants. They’re going to get the ball out quick and try to be creative to slow down this dangerous defense. It won’t work all game long, but it will help them stay in it. There’s not much one can do against the freak that is Khalil Mack. Mack is an athletic bull and literally gets to the QB at will. If he gets double teamed on the line, then you just free up other guys to break free like Roquan Smith, Trevathan, and Hicks. There’s only so much trickery one offense can do to slow down this defensive juggernaut. Plus the Bears offense is also very talented and dangerous, especially if Trubisky is back this week. BEARS 24 GIANTS 20

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-7) VS CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-5)

The Panthers have really been struggling lately. They have lost 3 in a row, the most recent to the Seahawks. This team just doesn’t look like they’re hungry for the playoffs or like they’re even fighting for their playoff lives. They have officially fallen out of the wildcard spot and are fighting with 5 or 6 other teams still for one of those spots. In the loss to the Lions they struggled to get McCaffrey going and the defense couldn’t prevent the Lions from making the big plays that mattered. They had 5 fumbles (0 lost) and they let Wilson control the game. They have been struggling to manage the games lately, especially on defense and they can’t afford to do that against Winston/Fitz. These mediocre QBs for TB can heat up here and there and if you let them they will hurt you badly when they get hot. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Winston string together 3 good games in a row though, so i look for this to be a struggle game for Winston and company that Fitzmagic won’t be able to save them from. PANTHERS 27 BUCS 21

HOUSTON TEXANS (8-3) VS CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-6-1)

I know this is the Browns coming into Houston against the 3 seed in the AFC, but I still see this as a very good, competitive game. Mayfield is going to continue his hot streak and make some good plays early on. Njoku and Callaway have been security blankets for him lately and he and Chubb seem to have found their rhythm. This defense isn’t bad either as they seem to finally be putting the pieces together. This game might not be a win for them as Mayfield is going to be seeing a lot of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, but they will play close. This Browns team is honestly one or two pieces away from playoff contention. They are going to surprise a lot of people next year. This game though will belong the Watson and the Texans. The Browns do give up a decent bit of yards on defense and that mostly comes from the running game. Lamar Miller just had a huge game and is going to provide the necessary balance for Watson to find his groove. TEXANS 23 BROWNS 20

ATLANTA FALCONS (4-7) VS BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-5)

The Lamar Jackson show continues this week and this one should be fun to watch. The Ravens have used Jackson in two various ways over the past two weeks. In his debut, he ran the ball more than he threw it and rushed for over 110 yards. This past week against the Raiders, he only ran 11 times and passed much more often this time. This week should be a balance and I would certainly urge him to run and use the balance and unpredictability to his advantage as this Falcons team is bad in both phases of defense and is one of the worst scoring defenses in the league. Jackson will need to find some success in both areas and keep Gus Edwards hot as they face one of the better defenses in the league. The Ravens have a strong defense, bu this Falcons offense is very dangerous and has a lot of weapons. I see them doing enough to keep Matt Ryan from going off and scoring enough to swipe another win. RAVENS 20 FALCONS 17

CINCINNATI BENGALS (5-6) VS DENVER BRONCOS (5-6)

This game should also be entertaining to watch. The Broncos are coming off a solid win against the Steelers and the Bengals have now lost 3 in a row, including a double digit loss to the Browns. The Bengals have been missing AJ Green though so that’ll certainly boost their offense a little bit. however, they’re missing They have been very bad on defense, being ranked last in overall defense and the next opponent has 300 total yards less than them. They’ve been putrid on defense this year and they just can’t seem to stop this downward spiral. The Broncos are coming off a huge win against Pittsburgh and are looking to keep the momentum in their favor going forward. They’ve pushed back into the playoff hunt for now, but they need to string some wins together going forward to have a shot. A loss in this game could definitely be the end of someone’s season and I say it’s the Bengals that’ll have to face that reality. BRONCOS 23  BENGALS 13

MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-6) VS BUFFALO BILLS (4-7)

This game would normally be considered a close divisional game. However, the return of Ryan Tannehill widens the gap between these two teams a bit. Tannehill adds a nice sense of security for this offense and they looked really good in his return from injury against a Colts team that is rolling right now. The Dolphins are going to improve a bit upon his return and the Bills are a good team to polish off the rust and start rolling. They’re on the outside of the playoff picture looking in so they need this one badly. Last week the Bills beat Jacksonville, and I’m sure they had plenty of motivation with Ramsey talking trash on the team. Josh Allen is doing just enough to keep them competitive, but mostly just against the mediocre teams. The Dolphins aren’t a dangerous playoff contender by any means, but they are good enough  with Tannehil at the helm. I look for the Dolphins to bring the Bills back down to earth in a double digit victory. DOLPHINS 24 BILLS 13

DETROIT LIONS (4-7) VS LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-1)

The Rams are coming in off a bye and the last game they played was that possibly greatest game ever against KC where they put up 54 points and just barely won. This offense proved it has what it takes to beat anyone and put up points at will, but they defense also proved they can be equally as deadly and game-changing. Goff, Gurley, and company look to ride that big win and the bye into a somewhat easy opponent in the Lions. I look for the Rams to keep the rhythm going and know that this could be a trap game. The Lions aren’t in a good place as their season is realistically almost over. They are a team that’s mediocre on both sides of the ball, give the ball away quite a bit, and does not get turnovers or stops on defense. This team also has a less than average offensive line. This is all a recipe for disaster against a team full of offensive weapons, a defensive that forces turnovers and gets to the QB. I look for this to be our biggest deficit win of the week. RAMS 38 LIONS 10

TENNESSEE TITANS (5-6) VS NEW YORK JETS (3-8)

This game is going to be an upset. Mariota is iffy in terms of being able to play and I can’t see them beating much of anyone without him. He controls the offensive tempo and manages the game very well. I also question how he’ll perform with that elbow injury getting worse and worse for him. Darnold coming back could be good or bad because so far he just hasn’t been very good this season. He throws lots of interceptions and is very careless with the ball. I’d like to see McCown or Webb in this one. McCown has necessarily lost the starter job so why bench him? Either way I see the Jets doing enough to slow them down and securing a win. JETS 16 TITANS 13

OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-9) VS KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-2)

This will also be a blowout game. Usually division games are close, heated, and competitive. This game will not follow that path because one team is a top 3 NFL team and the other is bottom 2. This game is going to get extremely out of hand fast and Mahommes is going to go off as he makes his case even stronger for MVP. Oakland lacks the defensive pass rush to slow Mahommes down and the Raiders have the worst ranked rush defense in the league so I see Hunt and Hill running wild on this defense. This is going to be a very lopsided win. CHIEFS 44 RAIDERS 17

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-3) VS MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-4-1)

This is another upset pick for me this week. Normally I’d think you were crazy for picking the opposing team coming into Foxborough, but this Vikings team has momentum and the talent to do it. Cousins is playing well this season, ranking 5th in pass yards and 9th in TDs. He’s got plenty of offensive weapons and that’ll certainly be enough for him to get into a rhythm 25th ranked pass defense of the Patriots. New England has to do what they can to pressure Cousins and keep them one dimensional. The Vikings have the 3rd worst rushing attack and the Pats need to keep the run game locked down so they can put their focus on Cousins and make them more predictable. Too bad Diggs, Thielen, and Rudolph, plus their vaunted defense will just be too much this week for New England. VIKINGS 30 PATS 24

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-5) VS SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-9)

This game should be a comfortable double digit win also. Wilson is a very good, smart QB and he’s in a rhythm right now as he’s fighting to make the playoffs. They tend to hang around with the good teams but play rough with the bad teams in the league. This week though they’re going to prove the bad teams aren’t their kryptonite and they’re also driven by the playoff hunt so I look for the 8th best scoring defense to suppress Nick Mullens and make them lean heavily on Breida. The 49ers have a mediocre pass defense and aren’t very good at keeping the opponent from scoring so I look for Wilson to have a pretty good game. SEAHAWKS 27 49ERS 13

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-3-1) VS LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (8-3)

This game was a rather tough choice. Normally I’d pick the Chargers as I honestly believe they’re better than Pittsburgh. I like the Chargers defense over Pittsburgh’s and I give Rivers/Gordon the nod over Ben/Conner. However with Gordon our this week, the nod should most definitely go to the Steelers. I don’t think so, I still have the Chargers in this one. I think their offense is clicking better right now, their defense is playing better with Bosa back, and I think Ekeler and the other backs can still get it done. Big Ben and that offense are dangerous but the Chargers have the defensive weapons to even it out and Ekeler isn’t Gordon by any means but he’s still very capable and dangerous. Here’s my other upset pick. CHARGERS 31 STEELERS 23

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-6) VS WASHINGTON REDSKINS (6-5)

This game will be very close and competitive. The Eagles have been battered beyond belief this season. They’ve struggled to find consistency as a whole with those injuries but especially on defense. The Redskins were doing what was necessary to make defensive stops and manage the tempo and game. They are battling the injury of Alex Smith and some key offensive linemen. They are expecting the return of Chris Thompson and the combo of Thompson and Peterson could really play out and create a lot of openings and success for Colt McCoy and his new favorite receiver Trey Quinn. I think the Redskins edge out the win here. REDSKINS 20 EAGLES 16

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