NFL Game Picks: Week 13
We’ve entered the heart of the 2017 NFL season. With just five weeks to go, three teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention. This week, Philadelphia can be the first team to secure a playoff spot. As some teams to fade to dust and others prepare for the postseason fight, there’s bound to be tons of exciting action down the stretch.
Let’s look at what’s in store for Week 13:
Washington Redskins (5-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
Neither of these teams looked very convincing on Thanksgiving. Dallas was completely shut down by the Chargers, and Washington snuck by the terrible Giants with a late-game surge. Still, the Redskins look like they’re leaps and bounds ahead of the Cowboys right now. The loss of Ezekiel Elliott has been brutal, and it looks like it’s not going to get better any time soon.
The pick: Washington, 26-17.
Minnesota Vikings (9-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
Major playoff implications are at stake here. Minnesota has a stronghold on the NFC North and would like to continue that. Atlanta is in the thick of the wild card race and needs wins to stay afloat. With a game against Carolina and two against New Orleans still on the schedule, the road to the playoffs for the Falcons isn’t easy. A win here is crucial.
The pick: Atlanta, 31-28.
New England Patriots (9-2) @ Buffalo Bills (6-5)
It’s business as usual for the Patriots, who are riding high near the top of the AFC following a seven-game win streak. Buffalo was able to keep their season from completely falling out of focus with a quality win in Kansas City, but with four division games to go, it’s not going to get any easier. Between these two, New England is clearly the better-looking team.
The pick: New England, 34-20.
San Francisco 49ers (1-10) @ Chicago Bears (3-8)
No playoff implications here, as San Francisco is officially out and Chicago is pretty much done as well. If there’s anything to be watching for, it’s to see how two of the most hyped young quarterbacks, Jimmy Garoppolo and Mitchell Trubisky, will do on Sunday. Garoppolo looked pretty good last week against Seattle, so perhaps there is a reason for Niners fans to be hopeful.
The pick: San Francisco, 22-14.
Denver Broncos (3-8) @ Miami Dolphins (4-7)
Both of these teams are currently on a losing streak of at least five games. On the positive side, one of them will finally stop the skid with a win. But which one? There isn’t a lot to love from either team. Perhaps Miami has the advantage because their quarterback situation is slightly better than Denver’s? I guess we’ll find out on Sunday.
The pick: Miami, 19-12.
Detroit Lions (6-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
Detroit’s playoff hopes took a hard hit with their loss on Thanksgiving, but with a somewhat easy schedule down the stretch, they should be able to rebound and keep them themselves in contention. Baltimore currently has the No. 6 seed, but they’ll need to keep winning to hang onto it. There’s a lot on the line in this game.
The pick: Detroit, 25-18.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) @ Green Bay Packers (5-6)
There is a sign of hope for Packers fans. Although last Sunday night’s game ended in disappointment with a three-point loss to Pittsburgh, Brett Hundley put out his first great game of the season. It’s probably too late to make a playoff push now, but at least there is a ray of sunshine. Maybe the sun will shine a little brighter in Green Bay with a win over the Bucs.
The pick: Green Bay, 21-14.
Houston Texans (4-7) @ Tennessee Titans (7-4)
Time changes everything. Houston’s dominating 57-14 victory over Tennessee in Week 4 feels like a distant memory of the past. With the Texans continuing to struggle without Deshaun Watson at quarterback, there’s no reason to expect an upset in Tennessee, especially when the Titans are trying to hold onto that slim AFC South lead over Jacksonville.
The pick: Tennessee, 35-19.
Indianapolis Colts (3-8) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4)
Terrible football rolls on for the Colts after a disheartening loss to Tennessee. It’s not going to get better, as the Colts have to head to Jacksonville next week. Then again, you can never tell with the Jaguars (they couldn’t beat the Cardinals?!), but with the mismatch occurring between their dominant defensive line and Indy’s atrocious offensive line, the result shouldn’t be pretty.
The pick: Jacksonville, 29-16.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) @ New York Jets (4-7)
Will history repeat itself? In 2015, the Falcons started 5-0, then finished 8-8 to miss the playoffs. In 2016, the Vikings did the exact same thing. Kansas City has entered the same slide. With Oakland and Los Angeles breathing down their neck, the Chiefs are in dire need of wins to hold onto the AFC West. Perhaps they can rebound with a victory over the Jets.
The pick: Kansas City, 33-17.
Cleveland Browns (0-11) @ Los Angeles Chargers (5-6)
The 2016 Browns looked absolutely terrible. Somehow, the 2017 Browns have done the impossible by looking even worse. There’s no reason to pick Cleveland to win this game. Sure, their only win last year came against the Chargers, but the scenario is much different this time. Los Angeles should absolutely devour the ever-terrible Browns.
The pick: Los Angeles, 45-10.
New York Giants (2-9) @ Oakland Raiders (5-6)
If Ben McAdoo hadn’t already lost the Giants’ fan base, he’s surely done it now by benching Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith. It shouldn’t matter anyway. There’s no saving the Giants, who’s season has already sunk. Oakland is still in the playoff race, and they’d love to grab a win to inch closer to stealing the AFC West from Kansas City.
The pick: Oakland, 29-10.
Los Angeles Rams (8-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (5-6)
Ex-head coach Jeff Fisher’s 7-9 curse has been broken. With a big win over New Orleans, the Rams are in great position to win the NFC West. Arizona has surprisingly clung to life in the playoff race, but their hopes are dwindling with a bruised roster. Los Angeles can likely end Arizona’s postseason bid once and for all with a win in the desert.
The pick: Los Angeles, 41-17.
Carolina Panthers (8-3) @ New Orleans Saints (8-3)
Here’s a strong contender for game of the week. The top two teams of the incredibly competitive NFC South face off in what could be the division-deciding matchup. Although Carolina’s record makes the team look better than they actually are, there’s no doubt that they’re certainly a playoff contender. Still, stopping the dynamic Saints in New Orleans will be a tough task.
The pick: New Orleans, 36-33.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
As the Eagles’ season rolls on triumphantly, Seattle is sitting at 7-4: outside of the playoff picture. The odds are stacked against the Seahawks, who have a relatively difficult rest of the season, but, even with injuries piling up, Russell Wilson has proven that he can lead his team to victory when it matters most. This may be one of those instances.
The pick: Seattle, 27-24.
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
The Steelers survived a scare last Sunday night by defeating the Packers on a last-second field goal, showing that the trend of Pittsburgh playing down to teams that they should have no trouble beating continues through 2017. Week 13’s Monday night matchup could be more of the same. The Steelers will probably win, but don’t sleep on Cincinnati.
The pick: Pittsburgh, 28-23.
DJ Bauer is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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