NFL Game Picks: Week 13
Host Eric Fenstermaker and analysts Austin Groft, Jon Draeger and Alex Rocco make their picks for each game in Week 13 of the NFL season.
After many schedule changes during the Week 12 slate of games, Week 13 is on the horizon.
As the playoff race heightens, certain teams are fighting for division crowns, first round bye weeks, or a wild card spot. Week 13 can prove who is ready for the run towards the Lombardi Trophy.
New Orleans Saints (9-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
New Orleans is coming off a blowout victory against the Denver Broncos, who started a wide receiver at quarterback. Taysom Hill and the Saints’ offense are still trying to find their footing after losing future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, while the defense is still producing big plays for the team.
The Falcons enter this upcoming week after a dominant performance against the Las Vegas Raiders. The key for them was the ground game, with the team racking up 125 yards and one touchdown.
The New Orleans offense may seem too flat, but the defense can hold down the fort and get a win in Atlanta.
Prediction: Saints 24, Falcons 10
Detroit Lions (4-7) vs. Chicago Bears (5-6)
Detroit is moving on from head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn following a 41-25 beatdown by the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving. The turnovers were costly for the Lions, with three total fumbles and a pick six thrown by Matthew Stafford.
Chicago continues its five-game losing streak, as the Bears lost to their division rival in the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky reclaimed the starting role from Nick Foles, but struggled to hold on to the football as he committed five total turnovers.
As Detroit looks to find a new system, the Bears will take advantage of a weak Lions team and get back into the win column, but the game will still be close.
Prediction: Bears 30, Lions 27
Cleveland Browns (8-3) vs. Tennessee Titans (8-3)
Cleveland continues to have a season to remember, but the Browns kept it too close for comfort against a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars team. The Browns used their talent to balance out their offensive strategy, with the rushing attack still leading the charge.
Tennessee took care of business against a high-flying Indianapolis Colts team, as they regained the lead in the AFC South. Running back Derrick Henry led the team to victory on the ground, totaling 178 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
This is a game that everybody looks at as a potential future playoff matchup, but Tennessee’s offense will prove to be too potent for Cleveland’s injury riddled defense to contain.
Prediction: Titans 38, Browns 21
Cincinnati Bengals (2-8-1) vs. Miami Dolphins (7-4)
Cincinnati is trying to find its footing after losing rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, and they did not do so last Sunday as the New York Giants gained the win. The rush game failed to produce, as the running backs combined for only 40 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Miami continues its magical season as the Dolphins beat their divisional foe in the New York Jets. The quarterback carousel continued for Brian Flores’ team, as Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed for 257 yards and two touchdowns.
Miami continues its winning ways against a Bengals team riddled with injuries.
Prediction: Dolphins 23, Bengals 10
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) vs. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
Jacksonville put up an impressive performance against Cleveland, as quarterback Mike Glennon had a game to remember. Glennon threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, as running back James Robinson rushed for 128 yards and one touchdown.
The Vikings defeated the Carolina Panthers by a measly one point, but Kirk Cousins distributed the ball well amongst his receivers, racking up 307 yards through the air. Dalvin Cook had a quiet game, but expected him to bounce back this week.
The Vikings will keep the momentum going as they keep the Jaguars in contention for the first overall draft pick.
Prediction: Vikings 41, Jaguars 17
Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) vs. New York Jets (0-11)
Las Vegas is on a two-game skid, but last week’s performance was atrocious compared to the Raiders’ game against the Chiefs two weeks ago. The Raiders need to rely on their defense to make big plays and quarterback Derek Carr needs to return to his 2016 form.
As for the New York Jets, their struggles continue to flourish consistently. Their problems continue to hold them back as they are the favorite to get the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Las Vegas wins big in East Rutherford, all in part to Carr’s performance.
Prediction: Raiders 42, Jets 7
Indianapolis Colts (7-4) vs. Houston Texans (4-7)
The Colts are coming off a bad loss to the Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have looked hot at times, but tend to fall at some point in the game. The defense still looks as good as advertised.
Houston is coming off an impressive win against the Lions, all in part to quarterback Deshaun Watson’s performance. The Texans lost a valued asset in Will Fuller for the rest of the season, thus taking another hit to the receiving corps of the Texans.
Indianapolis bounces back and takes care of business against a Texans team moving on from former head coach Bill O’Brien.
Prediction: Colts 30, Texans 17
Los Angeles Rams (7-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (6-5)
The Rams have impressive wins to keep them in the playoff contention, but a bad loss the San Francisco 49ers keeps them grounded. The defense for Los Angeles steps up in big situations, as Robert Woods keeps the offense chugging along.
The Cardinals lost their last two games close. Kliff Kingsbury needs to readjust the offense to allow quarterback Kyler Murray return to his production level from earlier this year.
This game will be like the race for first place in the NFC West: extremely close for both teams, but the Rams come out on top of the Cardinals.
Prediction: Rams 31, Cardinals 28
New York Giants (4-7) vs. Seattle Seahawks (8-3)
The Giants have recently been on a hot streak, winning their last 3 games and putting them at the top of a weak NFC East Division. Quarterback Daniel Jones may be out for this game with a hamstring injury, thus putting up a tough test for New York.
The Seattle Seahawks have had their highs and lows this season; most notably their defense being at the lowest of lows this season. Pete Carroll’s defense seems to lack the secondary to prevent the air raid.
Seattle wins, but in an ugly fashion.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Giants 14
Philadelphia Eagles (3-8-1) vs. Green Bay Packers (8-3)
The Eagles have had a season to forget, but they still are in contention to take the NFC East crown. However, Carson Wentz leads the league in turnovers, interceptions and sacks allowed.
The Packers, coming off a blowout win against the Bears, look to keep their winning ways going as they strive to gain the first-round bye. The offense has been productive as usual, but their defense does not get enough credit for what they have done for Matt LaFleur’s team.
Green Bay takes this game away from Philadelphia immediately.
Prediction: Packers 45, Eagles 13
New England Patriots (5-6) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (3-8)
New England is having a bad season compared to the previous two decades of dominance they instilled on the NFL. They tend to have a high ceiling, but a low floor to counteract that.
The Chargers have a solid team, but they cannot seem to finish off their opponents. In their eight losses this season, the margin was 10 points or less as some of those losses were heartbreakers due to last-second scores.
Bill Belichick will find ways to confuse rookie quarterback Justin Herbert as the offense does just enough to win.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Chargers 17
Denver Broncos (4-7) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (10-1)
The Broncos, who played wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback last week and put up only three points, still struggle on offense. Drew Lock has not been up to par with his rookie self, but flashes have shown, just not this year.
Kansas City is still the high-flying offense we all remember from last year. The monstrous week quarterback Patrick Mahomes and wide receiver Tyreek Hill had against the Buccaneers proved to the fans that they are here to cause trouble.
The Chiefs will continue their dominant ways, even if the quarterback situation in Denver is resolved.
Prediction: Chiefs 42, Broncos 17
Washington Football Team (4-7) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-0)
Washington has found a rhythm with Alex Smith at the quarterback position. The running game produces well for them, and their secondary ranks first in passing defense.
The Steelers are having a season to remember, as they sit undefeated at the top of the AFC. Ben Roethlisberger has come back to bring this Pittsburgh team to glory once again, with the help of one of the best defenses in the league.
This game has Mike Tomlin trap game written all over it, but the Steelers pull out the victory to remain undefeated.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Washington 14
Buffalo Bills (8-3) vs. San Francisco 49ers (5-6)
Buffalo sits atop of the AFC East, and it’s all thanks to quarterback Josh Allen. Allen is having an MVP caliber year, and the Bills could be a team to watch out for come playoff time.
The 49ers have had many problems staying healthy. Although, they did pull out an emotional win over the Rams last week, but can they continue to ride the wave?
Expect Buffalo to run away with this.
Prediction: Bills 28, 49ers 10
Dallas Cowboys (3-8) vs. Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
Dallas has had its struggles all season, considering the injuries on the offense and how terrible the defense has played this year. The talent has not produced enough to keep them going towards a playoff spot.
The Ravens have had an outbreak of COVID-19, causing most of their offensive starters to be placed on the COVID list. Even if Baltimore has an outbreak, some starters will be taken off the list once their game time has arrived for Tuesday.
Baltimore will take advantage of Dallas’ struggles and walk out with a win.
Prediction: Ravens 27, Cowboys 10
Jonathan Draeger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
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Senior / Broadcast Journalist
Eric Fenstermaker is a senior from Northampton, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism. He is also minoring in business and sports studies and pursuing a certificate in sports journalism.
Eric is involved in After the Whistle and Penn State Sports Night (PSSN). For COMM Radio, Eric contributes to a variety of different podcasts and co-hosts the Hail Mary radio show, which is dedicated to analyzing NFL games.
Senior / Broadcast Journalism