Two teams that come into Week 13 reeling, meet in a game of survival on Thursday Night Football. The Dallas Cowboys, have lost three straight since the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott and as they have scored under ten points in three straight games for the first time in franchise history. The Washington Redskins are not doing well themselves as they have been ravaged by injuries. The Cowboys facing desperation will get just enough out of Dak Prescott to get back to 6-6, while the Redskins season fades away.
Last season it was after Thanksgiving that the Atlanta Falcons hit their stride on the way to Super Bowl LI. The Minnesota Vikings come in as the hotter team, winning seven straight. The Falcons meanwhile, have won their last three games and appear to be finding their groove on offense, scoring 34 points in their last two games. Look for Julio Jones to have another big day as the Falcons stay in the hunt for the tightly bunched NFC South.
It’s been an up and down season for both teams who enter the game with identical records of 6-5. The Detroit Lions have more at stake since the NFC is more stacked at the top, with at least ten wins is needed to have a shot at the playoffs, while the mediocre AFC will get a 9-7 team in. The Lions have played better football overall with Matthew Stafford having a far better year than Joe Flacco, who even in most Ravens wins has been far from impressive.
The Buffalo Bills have had nearly as much success against the New England Patriots that the Washington Generals have against the Harlem Globetrotters. Since 2000, New England is 29-5 against the Buffalo, with wins in 24 of their last 27 games. Taking a closer look two of the Bills three wins came in games without Tom Brady as one was a Week 17 rest up game and last year when Brady was suspended. In terms of rivalry it’s like the hammer and the nail, look of the Bills to get hammered again as the Patriots continue their rampage through the meek AFC.
Jimmy Garoppolo is finally getting his first start with the San Francisco 49ers. When given limited time to play last week against the Seahawks he took the 49ers up the field for a late score, after they were bogged down all game with C.J. Beathahrd under center. The Chicago Bears meanwhile have struggled with their own first-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky who was acquired in trade up on draft day with the Niners. The Bears have shown flashes on defense at home, while the 49ers have struggled badly away from Levi’s Stadium. With neither team in the race, look for the Bears to get a home win.
After missing the last three games, Jameis Winston is back in the starting lineup for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Green Bay Packers played well last week as they battled the Steelers to the bitter end on Sunday Night in Heinz Field. Both teams are long shots for the playoffs, with the Packers at 5-6 and the Buccaneers at 4-7. Winston gives Tampa a slightly better chance to win even though the game is in Lambeau Field as Brett Hundley has yet to figure out himself how to play on the Frozen Tundra.
Coming home off a letdown in Arizona, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to bounce back as they face the Indianapolis Colts. This game is extra important for the Jaguars who are in a battle with the Titans for first place in the AFC South, as a divisional win is the second tiebreaker. The Jaguars defense should pose problems for Jacoby Brissett who is the most sacked quarterback in the league. The Jaguars defense meanwhile leads the NFL in sacks, this one should be easy win for Jacksonville even with Blake Bortles as their handicap.
This game is going to be one of the worst games in the NFL this season, as neither team won a game in November and both feature inept, incompetent, horrendous, awful, hideous, horrendous, pathetic, putrid quarterbacks, playing in what will likely be an empty Hard Rock Stadium. Tis the season to go shopping because watching this game will be akin to torture. The Dolphins are home they will win somehow as the Broncos have already gotten their stamps to mail it in as the nightmare QB carousel continues.
At one time the Kansas City Chiefs looked like a Super Bowl contender, winning their first five games. However, after five losses in their last six games, they are reeling and barely hanging on to their first-place perch in the AFC West. The main problem is the wheels have fallen off the offense, as Alex Smith can’t get out of his own way, while Kareem Hunt who looked like a rookie of the year lock has completely disappeared. The New York Jets at 4-7 have played hard every week, and with a hard-nosed defense will drop the Chiefs to .500.
The Tennessee Titans are atop the AFC South after earning their first win in Indianapolis in a decade. They now face another divisional foe at home, as the Houston Texans limp in, with major injuries on both sides of the ball. The Texans played well in a losing effort in Baltimore on Monday Night. The Titans offense is better than the Ravens with a healthy Marcus Mariota. The Titans often play down to their level of their opponent, but they usually find a way to win in the end.
The Cleveland Browns at 0-11 are in the middle of one of the worst stretches in NFL history, winning just one of their last 30 games. Their only win in that stretch came last year in Week 16 against the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers now play in Los Angeles and are the hottest team in the AFC West, winning five of seven games, since a 0-4 start. The Chargers are playing well on both sides of the ball with Joey Bosa, becoming one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Look for the Chargers in special color rush uniforms to get back to .500 and make a move on first place.
When last these teams met in Week 7 in London, the Los Angeles Rams flattened the Arizona Cardinals 33-0. In that game, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was lost for the season with a broken arm. The Cardinals are not on their third quarterback with Blaine Gabbert, as the Rams are riding high at 8-3. With win, the Rams will clinch their first winning season since 2003. Look for the Rams to roll in the desert.
First place in the NFC South is on the line, as both the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints enter the game with identical 8-3 records. When the teams met in Week 3, the Saints got their season on track, winning 34-13 in Carolina. The Saints would go on an eight-game winning streak that ended last week in Los Angeles. The Saints overall have played better football and will get complete the sweep of the Panthers at the Superdome as Alvin Kamara continues his monster rookie year.
The New York Giants season has become an outright disaster as Eli Manning was benched in favor of Geno Smith. At 2-9 the Giants were a massive disappointment, but to blame Eli when the offensive line has been terrible when there has been no running game, and when the receiving corps has been ravaged by injury. The Oakland Raiders have been disappointing in their own right, but with a win, they can get back to .500 and could make a move at the division championship.
At 10-1, the Philadelphia Eagles have the best record in the NFL with Carson Wentz putting up MVP numbers in his second season. The Eagles are now embarking on a three-game road swing that could boost them from division champion to home field throughout the playoffs. The Seattle Seahawks are usually a tough road game for even the best teams, but with the Legion of Boom ravaged by injuries, it is hard to imagine they can slow down the Eagles freight train. Look for dancing, posing and partying as the Eagles soar in Seattle.
The Pittsburgh Steelers may be 9-2, but they have had their ups and downs week to week as they often play down to their opponent like they did last week against the Packers and against the Colts a few weeks earlier. The Cincinnati Bengals typically bring out the best in the Steelers as the hatred between the two teams has been a good motivator. Look for that trend to continue as the Steelers in their third straight prime-time game get another big night from Antonio Brown in Cincinnati.