NFL Game Picks: Week 13
We’re entering the homestretch. With every bye now out of the way, all 32 teams will be in action for these final five weeks of the regular season. A complicated playoff picture is beginning to unfold, and in just over a month from now, we’ll know which 12 teams will have a chance to take home the Lombardi trophy. But for now, let’s live in the present and discuss what week 13 is offering.
New Orleans Saints (10-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
The Cowboys have gotten hot at just right the time, riding a three-game win streak into Thursday night. This is thanks in no small part to excellent offensive performances from the likes of Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. But New Orleans has had excellent offensive performances all season long. The Saints’ win streak should reach 11 against Dallas.
The pick: New Orleans 36, Dallas 20.
Baltimore Ravens (6-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
The Falcons haven’t been officially eliminated from playoff contention yet, but at 4-7, they’re right on the edge. Baltimore is now 2-0 with Lamar Jackson under center, but Atlanta is likely to be the toughest challenge so far. With the Ravens on the verge of their first playoff berth since 2014 and the Falcons looking to hang in the discussion, expect a close one in Atlanta.
The pick: Atlanta 24, Baltimore 20.
Buffalo Bills (4-7) @ Miami Dolphins (5-6)
Believe it or not, the Bills are actually pretty hot heading into this one with two straight victories. Granted, those victories were over the slumping Jets and Jaguars, but it’s a bright spot in a painful season nonetheless. Miami’s playoff hopes are slowly diminishing, but a win here would put the Fins back in the picture. The home team takes this round.
The pick: Miami 19, Buffalo 14.
Chicago Bears (8-3) @ New York Giants (3-8)
The Bears are riding high. After three straight divisional victories, Chicago is in total control for first place in the NFC North, thanks to a dominant defense and a much-improved offense. Although the Giants have had a nice little turnaround in recent weeks, that success shouldn’t be lasting too much longer when the bears come to town.
The pick: Chicago 30, NY Giants 17.
Denver Broncos (5-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
Give the Broncos credit. After looking dead in the water at 3-6, Denver has won two straight against likely playoff teams in the Chargers and Steelers. The Bengals, meanwhile, haven’t had a win since October. Momentum is everything in the NFL, and with all momentum on the Broncos’ side and none on the Bengals’, look for a road victory in Cincinnati.
The pick: Denver 22, Cincinnati 16.
Cleveland Browns (4-6-1) @ Houston Texans (8-3)
It looks like revamping the coaching staff has done wonders for Cleveland, as the Browns have won two in a row for the first time since November 2014. Still, it’s going to be difficult to stop the rolling Texans. After starting the season 0-3, Houston has won eight straight: the first team in NFL history to do just that. All things considered, that streak is likely to reach nine.
The pick: Houston 32, Cleveland 21.
Los Angeles Rams (10-1) @ Detroit Lions (4-7)
The Lions can’t catch a break. Their only victory in the past month is a 1-point win over Carolina thanks to a missed two-point conversion. It doesn’t look like that break will come this Sunday as the 10-1 Rams come into Detroit fresh off a bye week. The last time the Rams took the field, they put up 54 points. We should be seeing more of the same.
The pick: LA Rams 40, Detroit 26.
Arizona Cardinals (2-9) @ Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)
The season is quickly slipping away from the Packers, which entered 2018 with lofty expectations. At 4-6-1, the Packers are in dire need of wins. Fortunately, they might have their best chance all season this Sunday with Arizona coming to Green Bay. The Cardinals have been atrocious this year with their only wins coming against San Francisco. Green Bay should take care of business.
The pick: Green Bay 29, Arizona 16.
Indianapolis Colts (6-5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)
Talk about disappointing. Just a year ago, Jacksonville was a serious Super Bowl contender. Just a year later, the Jaguars are once again one of the worst teams in the NFL, and the loss to Buffalo solidifies that. Indianapolis has been just the opposite, winning its last five after a 1-5 start. Andrew Luck has been playing as well as he ever has, and it should translate into another win.
The pick: Indianapolis 33, Jacksonville 14.
Carolina Panthers (6-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
It’s not quite time to hit the panic button in Carolina, but it’s getting close. The Panthers have fallen from 6-2 and in prime playoff position to 6-5 and just outside the picture. They need a turnaround, and they might get it in Tampa Bay this week. The Buccaneers are coming off a win of their own but have been generally ineffective overall. Carolina gets a much-needed W.
The pick: Carolina 20, Tampa Bay 13.
New York Jets (3-8) @ Tennessee Titans (5-6)
Poor, poor Marcus Mariota. Just a day after Philip Rivers sets the single-game completion record in a 45-10 blowout victory, Mariota comes just short of matching that mark, as his team proceeds to lose by 17. Fortunately for the Titans, four of their last five games are at home, including Sunday’s bout against the plummeting Jets. Tennessee stays alive with a victory.
The pick: Tennessee 24, NY Jets 13.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) @ Oakland Raiders (2-9)
Here’s another seemingly lopsided game. Last week, Oakland was harassed by the Baltimore defense all day while the Chiefs enjoyed a day off. It’s never good to go into the bye week with a loss, especially one in which the team put up 51 points, but Patrick Mahomes and company should be just fine jumping back into action in week 13.
The pick: Kansas City 37, Oakland 6.
Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1) @ New England Patriots (8-3)
Major postseason implications are on the line in this one. Minnesota is caught in the crossfire of a wild playoff race in the NFC, and New England is fighting to keep its streak of eight straight first-round byes alive. With the division looking out of reach, the Vikings are likely to kick things up a notch in these final few weeks. Watch out for an upset in Foxborough.
The pick: Minnesota 28, New England 24.
San Francisco 49ers (2-9) @ Seattle Seahawks (6-5)
An ugly season gets uglier for the 49ers with last week’s blowout loss in Tampa. As the #1 pick draws closer for San Francisco, the playoffs draw closer for Seattle, which has come up big in the past two weeks with 3-point victories over Green Bay and Carolina. The postseason is within reaching distance for the Seahawks. Don’t expect them to disappoint in week 13.
The pick: Seattle 30, San Francisco 17.
Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1)
If not for a couple of guys named Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees, Philip Rivers would be the frontrunner for NFL MVP. Last week’s stomping of Arizona was impressive, but the Chargers will have a tough challenge in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are fresh off a loss to Denver, but they haven’t lost back-to-back games all year. Sunday night should be a highlight of the week.
The pick: Pittsburgh 35, LA Chargers 31.
Washington Redskins (6-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
A muddled NFC East has another important game in primetime this week. The Redskins just lost the division lead to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but with the Saints likely to care of business in Dallas, here’s another opportunity to take it right back. Philadelphia, meanwhile, is still clinging to life. Massive changes in the division will be made Monday night.
The pick: Washington 23, Philadelphia 21.
DJ Bauer is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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