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Insiders predict: NFL week 13 winners

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Jamie Sabau // Getty Images

Insiders predict: NFL week 13 winners

The Week 13 NFL slate consists of plenty of matchups carrying significance in terms of the playoff picture. With bye weeks behind us, all teams now have five games remaining to try and cement their place in the postseason, but the standings are crowded, and even one hiccup can mean the difference between playing well into January or starting the offseason a bit earlier than planned. These are a few of those games that can shake up the playoff picture this week.

Bills @ Cowboys: The Bills are still hoping to catch the Patriots in the AFC East, but New England holds a two-game lead so the top wild card seed may be the more likely path. The Cowboys are fresh off a loss to New England, but still sit in first place in the NFC East, as the Eagles also fell in Week 12. This Thanksgiving Day matchup is also a great test for Dallas’ top-ranked offense as they face yet another great defense for the second straight week.

49ers @ Ravens: The 49ers top-ranked defense will now be tasked with shutting down MVP candidate Lamar Jackson and the seemingly unstoppable Ravens offense. Both of these teams lead their respective divisions and look the part of a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Will offense or defense win out in this showdown of two of the NFL’s best?

Titans @ Colts: Both teams are 6-5, a game behind the Texans in the AFC South. But with the Texans facing the Patriots this week, getting to 7-5 could mean pulling even with Houston if the Pats take care of business. Meanwhile, a loss to fall to 6-6 would be tough to overcome with just four games remaining.

Raiders @ Chiefs: Kansas City leads the AFC West, but the Raiders are a game behind and cannot afford to lose to the Chiefs for the second time this season, as it would put them two games back with no shot at holding the tiebreaker. If Oakland is going to make a run, it has to start this weekend.

Patriots @ Texans: Two division leaders. Deshaun Watson against the Patriots' second-ranked defense. There’s plenty of intrigue to this meeting that caps off Thanksgiving weekend on Sunday Night Football.

Vikings @ Seahawks: The two current holders of both NFC Wild Card seeds will square off on Monday Night Football. Minnesota is 8-3, holding the same record as the Packers but Green Bay currently has the tiebreaker over them, meaning they can ill-afford to drop another game at present. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have a win over the NFC West-leading 49ers under their belt, so are very much alive in their quest to try and chase them down for the division crown. But first, they’ll need to survive an extremely tough home test that pits two of the most impressive quarterbacks this season against each other, as Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson have thrown a combined 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

Insiders predicts are based on the team that is favored to win, which is based on consensus betting odds and spread on MSN.com as of Nov. 26, 2019. Team stats were gathered from NFL.com. Check out the live odds at MSN.com.

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Nuccio DiNuzzo // Getty Images

Chicago Bears (5-6) @ Detroit Lions (3-7-1)

- Gametime: Thursday, Nov. 28, 12:30 p.m. EST

A Thanksgiving NFC North battle between two non-contenders in the division. The Chicago Bears are still technically in the playoff hunt, but would likely need to run the table over the next five games to even have a shot at sneaking in. A narrow 19-14 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday keeps those slim hopes alive, but their largely stagnant offense will need to find some semblance of rhythm if they want to remain in the conversation down the stretch.

Thankfully for Chicago, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky showed signs that might be possible—after a shaky start, Trubisky led Chicago to 19 unanswered points and threw for a season-high 278 yards. He also threw two interceptions, one in the red zone, but the Bears' defense didn’t allow either to amount in points for the Giants.

While the Lions aren’t yet officially eliminated from the postseason, their 19-16 loss to a horrendous Washington Redskins team sure felt like a nail in the coffin. Quarterback Matthew Stafford remains sidelined with a back injury and likely will miss his fourth-straight game, which means the Bears will see Jeff Driskel for the second time this season. Chicago defeated Detroit 20-13 when the two faced off earlier this month.

These two battled on Thanksgiving last season as well—Chicago eked out a 23-16 victory. Detroit, who has played on Turkey Day every season since 1934 (excluding a gap from 1939 to 1944), hopes to halt a four-game losing streak and capture its first Thanksgiving victory since 2016.

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Elsa // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Chicago Bears

- Favored to win: Chicago Bears
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -152

- Chicago Bears team stats:
- Offense: 269.3 yards per game (#29 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 190.7 ypg (#30)
--- Rushing offense: 78.5 ypg (#29)
- Defense: 315.6 yards per game (#4 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 218.8 ypg (#9)
--- Rushing defense: 96.8 ypg (#7)

- Detroit Lions team stats:
- Offense: 378.5 yards per game (#9 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 272.8 ypg (#6)
--- Rushing offense: 105.6 ypg (#18)
- Defense: 396.2 yards per game (#29 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 275.5 ypg (#30)
--- Rushing defense: 120.7 ypg (#24)

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Tom Szczerbowski // Getty Images

Buffalo Bills (8-3) @ Dallas Cowboys (6-5)

- Gametime: Thursday, Nov. 28, 4:30 p.m. EST

For decades, the Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas has meant a little more than the game in Detroit. That is no different this season when the Buffalo Bills, who currently hold a wildcard spot in the AFC, take on the NFC East-leading Cowboys. The Bills have a two-game lead over the closest teams giving chase in the wild card race, but it’s unlikely they’ll catch the New England Patriots who once again lead the AFC East. Dallas, who took on the Patriots last week and lost 13-9, benefitted from a Philadelphia Eagles loss and retained a one game lead in the division.

The Cowboys, who still lead the league in total offense despite a minimal output Week 12 against a defense that entered the game ranked #1, don’t catch much of a break this week; the Bills are #3 in total defense. Dak Prescott is coming off of a season-low 212 yards and will need to regain a rhythm with top receiver Amari Cooper who was held without a grab last week.

Josh Allen, who broke onto the scene as a dual-threat quarterback last season, has legitimized that appraisal in 2019. The second-year man out of Wyoming has 22 total touchdowns this season (15 passing, 7 rushing) which is tied for fifth in the NFL. Buffalo has played only two teams that currently have a winning record—Thursday will be three.

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Ronald Martinez // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Dallas Cowboys

- Favored to win: Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -291

- Buffalo Bills team stats:
- Offense: 352.7 yards per game (#18 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 213.5 ypg (#24)
--- Rushing offense: 139.2 ypg (#5)
- Defense: 288.6 yards per game (#3 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 184.3 ypg (#3)
--- Rushing defense: 104.4 ypg (#14)

- Dallas Cowboys team stats:
- Offense: 433.4 yards per game (#1 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 303.5 ypg (#1)
--- Rushing offense: 129.8 ypg (#8)
- Defense: 318.5 yards per game (#6 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 213.6 ypg (#6)
--- Rushing defense: 104.8 ypg (#15)

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Sean Gardner // Getty Images

New Orleans Saints (9-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-8)

- Gametime: Thursday, Nov. 28, 8:20 p.m. EST

The third and final Thanksgiving Day game of 2019 didn’t look too appealing a few weeks ago when Atlanta sat at 1-7, but the Falcons showed they weren’t ready to roll over on the season marching into New Orleans and dismantling the Saints 26-9. Now, New Orleans seeks revenge and looks to hold onto the second spot in the NFC. The Falcons will try for the improbable season sweep, and while their season is lost after a 35-22 loss last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they can play spoiler taking on their division rival.

Like the Bears and the Lions in the early game, the Saints and Falcons played on the holiday last season—New Orleans won that contest 31-17 en route to an NFC South title. New Orleans can officially lock up the NFC South again this year with a victory on Thursday night. It came down to a last-second Wil Lutz field goal, but the Saints squeaked out a 34-31 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Quarterback Drew Brees was excellent, tossing for 311 yards and three touchdowns. The Falcons’ Matt Ryan was quite the opposite of excellent—his sub-60 passer rating was his lowest of the season.

The Saints were 14 point favorites when they lost Week 10 at home to Atlanta. The spread is less than a touchdown this time around.

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Chris Graythen // Getty Images

Insiders predict: New Orleans Saints

- Favored to win: New Orleans Saints
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -303

- New Orleans Saints team stats:
- Offense: 368.9 yards per game (#12 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 260.5 ypg (#9)
--- Rushing offense: 108.5 ypg (#17)
- Defense: 321.3 yards per game (#10 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 232.7 ypg (#15)
--- Rushing defense: 88.5 ypg (#4)

- Atlanta Falcons team stats:
- Offense: 371.4 yards per game (#10 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 298.5 ypg (#3)
--- Rushing offense: 72.9 ypg (#31)
- Defense: 376.3 yards per game (#26 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 266.4 ypg (#27)
--- Rushing defense: 109.9 ypg (#18)

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Steven Ryan // Getty Images

New York Jets (4-7) @ Cincinnati Bengals (0-11)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. EST

Can the Cincinnati Bengals capture their first victory of the season? The New York Jets looked like they could be a good opponent to let that happen, but winners of three straight, most recently a 34-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders, they are maybe a tougher foe than anticipated. The Bengals were close last week, taking a lead against the Pittsburgh Steelers into halftime but eventually falling 16-10. They are the only NFL team officially eliminated from the playoffs and the clear front-runner for next year’s #1 pick in the draft.

The Jets have no real chance in the AFC, but their winning streak gives Jets faithful a reason to have some excitement looking at 2020. Quarterback Sam Darnold was an efficient 20 of 29 for 215 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Oakland, and over the last three games, he has thrown seven touchdowns and just one interception.

With a great Week 13 slate of football to watch, there aren’t many reasons to tune in here. Andy Dalton, three weeks after being benched in favor of rookie fourth-round pick Ryan Finley, is back and starting at quarterback. Will the return of the three-time Pro Bowler be enough to help Cincinnati finally find the win column?

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Julio Aguilar // Getty Images

Insiders predict: New York Jets

- Favored to win: New York Jets
- Spread: -3.5
- Odds: -188

- New York Jets team stats:
- Offense: 262.1 yards per game (#31 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 188.5 ypg (#31)
--- Rushing offense: 73.5 ypg (#30)
- Defense: 321.1 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 243.0 ypg (#19)
--- Rushing defense: 78.1 ypg (#1)

- Cincinnati Bengals team stats:
- Offense: 303.2 yards per game (#26 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 222.1 ypg (#20)
--- Rushing offense: 81.1 ypg (#28)
- Defense: 417.3 yards per game (#32 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 250.9 ypg (#21)
--- Rushing defense: 166.4 ypg (#32)

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Joe Robbins // Getty Images

Tennessee Titans (6-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. EST

The Tennessee Titans used an impressive 42-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars to push firmly into the playoff race in the AFC. Tannehill was a surgical 14 of 18 for 259 yards and two touchdowns, mixed with a monster 19 rushes for 159 yards and two touchdowns from Derrick Henry, which allowed Tennessee to cruise past the Jags with ease. After making a switch at quarterback and moving to Ryan Tannehill, the Titans are 4-1 and averaging nearly 30 points per game.

The Indianapolis Colts weren’t as lucky last week, falling 20-17 to the AFC South-leading Houston Texans. It’s been tough sledding for the Colts who have dropped three of four games after starting the season 5-2. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett has slowed down as part of the team’s lull—he has tossed just one touchdown in his last four starts after throwing 14 through his first six.

With a Week 12 victory for the Titans and a loss for the Colts, the two are locked at 6-5 and looking up at the Texans, who happen to play the 10-1 New England Patriots this week. The winner of this matchup could very likely be sitting atop the division next to Houston. When Indy and Tennessee faced off earlier this season it was the Colts who came out on top 19-17, but Marcus Mariota was still quarterbacking the Titans back then.

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Andy Lyons // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Indianapolis Colts

- Favored to win: Indianapolis Colts
- Spread: -2.5
- Odds: -143

- Tennessee Titans team stats:
- Offense: 333.2 yards per game (#24 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 210.4 ypg (#25)
--- Rushing offense: 122.8 ypg (#11)
- Defense: 359.5 yards per game (#17 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 255.6 ypg (#24)
--- Rushing defense: 103.8 ypg (#12)

- Indianapolis Colts team stats:
- Offense: 339.5 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 195.3 ypg (#28)
--- Rushing offense: 144.2 ypg (#3)
- Defense: 332.0 yards per game (#13 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 235.0 ypg (#16)
--- Rushing defense: 97.0 ypg (#8)

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Mitchell Leff // Getty Images

Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) @ Miami Dolphins (2-9)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. EST

For the Philadelphia Eagles to remain in the playoff hunt, a win in Miami over the Dolphins is crucial. They couldn’t take care of business against the Seattle Seahawks last week falling 17-9 and losing a second-straight game. A wild card berth seems unlikely at this point as whoever finishes in second place in the NFC North and NFC West appear to have those two spots locked up, so the path of least resistance for Philly is an NFC East crown. The division-leading Dallas Cowboys were unable to further separate themselves from the Eagles after falling short against the Patriots.

The Dolphins have reverted back to the listless organization they looked like at season’s beginning. After stringing together two consecutive victories, the Phins have given up a combined 78 points in their last two contests, losses to the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns.

The Eagles’ season is on the line, which is a big reason why they are heavily favored over Miami. Philadelphia has been tough on defense—ranking #5 against the run and #12 overall—but the offense is #23 in the NFL. The Eagles’ Carson Wentz has decent passing numbers (17 touchdowns, six interceptions), but those numbers are a bit deceiving. He does not look like the MVP candidate from a few years back before injury.

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Timothy T Ludwig // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Philadelphia Eagles

- Favored to win: Philadelphia Eagles
- Spread: -9
- Odds: -440

- Philadelphia Eagles team stats:
- Offense: 338.4 yards per game (#23 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 217.2 ypg (#23)
--- Rushing offense: 121.2 ypg (#13)
- Defense: 325.7 yards per game (#12 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 231.7 ypg (#12)
--- Rushing defense: 94.0 ypg (#5)

- Miami Dolphins team stats:
- Offense: 264.9 yards per game (#30 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 201.7 ypg (#26)
--- Rushing offense: 63.2 ypg (#32)
- Defense: 400.9 yards per game (#30 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 252.7 ypg (#22)
--- Rushing defense: 148.2 ypg (#31)

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Stacy Revere // Getty Images

Green Bay Packers (8-3) @ New York Giants (2-9)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. EST

The Green Bay Packers need to prove they are still a force to be reckoned with in the NFC. They did not look like they deserve to be in that conversation after a 37-8 blowout loss distributed by the San Francisco 49ers. Green Bay’s offense was anemic on Sunday night—two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers threw for only 104 yards, was sacked five times, and failed to convert on third down while he was in the game. The defense, which has been prone to giving up the big play, allowed passing touchdowns of 61 yards and 42 yards by QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers dominated every phase of the game.

The only thing Green Bay can be excited about after its horrendous performance is the upcoming schedule. A stretch of two games against teams with 2-9 records begins in New York at the Giants. The G-Men haven’t won a game since September. Their seven-game losing streak is only better than that of the winless Cincinnati Bengals.

The Packers remain in great shape to make the postseason. Currently tied with the Minnesota Vikings at 8-3 atop the NFC North, four of their remaining five games are against teams with losing records. The one major hurdle left on the schedule: a Week 16 battle against the Vikings that very well could decide the division, with the loser dropping into a wild card spot.

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Harry How // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Green Bay Packers

- Favored to win: Green Bay Packers
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -293

- Green Bay Packers team stats:
- Offense: 341.6 yards per game (#21 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 238.2 ypg (#13)
--- Rushing offense: 103.5 ypg (#19)
- Defense: 380.5 yards per game (#28 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 255.0 ypg (#23)
--- Rushing defense: 125.5 ypg (#26)

- New York Giants team stats:
- Offense: 315.0 yards per game (#25 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 219.5 ypg (#22)
--- Rushing offense: 95.5 ypg (#21)
- Defense: 377.5 yards per game (#27 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 260.0 ypg (#26)
--- Rushing defense: 117.5 ypg (#22)

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Jamie Sabau // Getty Images

Cleveland Browns (5-6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. EST

A rematch of a game that included one of the most polarizing moments of the NFL season when three players were ejected after a brawl took place in the final seconds of play. Two of those three players will not suit up for this contest—Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey will serve the second portion of his two-game suspension, while the Browns’ Myles Garrett continues to remain sidelined after the indefinite suspension that will keep him out for all of 2019 at a minimum.

Despite disappointing seasons for both teams, Pittsburgh and Cleveland are still alive in the AFC playoff race. Neither will catch the surging Baltimore Ravens, but a wild card spot is still a possibility. If the season ended today, the Steelers would actually sneak into the postseason as the sixth and final team in the AFC. Five teams—Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Indianapolis, and Tennessee—are all ahead of Cleveland in the wildcard standings, meaning a loss for the Browns essentially knocks them out of contention.

The Steelers were bested by the Browns 21-7 when the two played a few weeks ago. Pittsburgh bounced back, but it wasn’t pretty as they eked out a 16-10 victory over the winless Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns have quietly put together a three-game winning streak after their season looked lost when the team sat at 2-6.

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Kirk Irwin // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Cleveland Browns

- Favored to win: Cleveland Browns
- Spread: -1.5
- Odds: -127

- Cleveland Browns team stats:
- Offense: 354.2 yards per game (#15 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 230.0 ypg (#17)
--- Rushing offense: 124.2 ypg (#10)
- Defense: 338.5 yards per game (#14 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 214.5 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing defense: 124.0 ypg (#25)

- Pittsburgh Steelers team stats:
- Offense: 288.5 yards per game (#28 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 200.6 ypg (#27)
--- Rushing offense: 87.9 ypg (#25)
- Defense: 320.6 yards per game (#7 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 217.2 ypg (#8)
--- Rushing defense: 103.5 ypg (#11)

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Will Newton // Getty Images

Washington Redskins (2-9) @ Carolina Panthers (5-6)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. EST

In early November, things looked good for the Panthers. They were coming off of a 30-20 win over the Titans in Week 9 with a 5-3 record despite losing quarterback Cam Newton and backup Kyle Allen seemed more than capable of keeping them in contention. But then came three straight losses to NFC opponents, including last Sunday’s 34-31 defeat at the hands of the Saints.

A crowded NFC playoff picture leaves little room for moral victories, but Carolina did give the Saints all they could handle. While trailing for most of the game, the Panthers battled back to tie things at 31 with just under 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter after Allen connected with DJ Moore for a touchdown for the second time in the game. Then, later in the quarter, they would march down the field with a chance to take the lead with less than three minutes remaining. After winning a challenge that resulted in a pass interference call on the Saints, the Panthers were gifted with 1st-and-goal from the New Orleans 3-yard line. After a loss of a yard, an incompletion and then a sack, kicker Joey Slye missed a 28-yard field goal that would have given them the lead. Instead, the Saints would capitalize and set up their own kicker, Wil Lutz, for a 33-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired.

Now, the Panthers sit at 5-6 and on the outside looking in when it comes to the NFC Wild Card chase. But getting to host a 2-9 Washington squad may help turn things in the proper direction. Washington does enter this game off of a win, though, having beaten the Lions 19-16. It was a Dustin Hopkins 39-yard field goal with 16 seconds left that sealed their second win of the season and snapped a four-game losing streak.

The Panthers are still every bit the better team, and barring a letdown game, should win comfortably and keep their slim postseason hopes alive a bit longer.

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Quinn Harris // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Carolina Panthers

- Favored to win: Carolina Panthers
- Spread: -10
- Odds: -493

- Washington Redskins team stats:
- Offense: 253.4 yards per game (#32 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 167.5 ypg (#32)
--- Rushing offense: 85.9 ypg (#27)
- Defense: 369.0 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 231.4 ypg (#11)
--- Rushing defense: 137.6 ypg (#28)

- Carolina Panthers team stats:
- Offense: 347.0 yards per game (#19 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 221.5 ypg (#21)
--- Rushing offense: 125.5 ypg (#9)
- Defense: 367.1 yards per game (#19 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 239.6 ypg (#18)
--- Rushing defense: 127.5 ypg (#27)

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Mike Ehrmann // Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. EST

Beating up on the now-3-8 Falcons may not sound like much of an accomplishment, given the season Atlanta has endured, but considering that the Buccaneers went on the road and put 35 points up on a Falcons defense that held the Saints and Panthers to a combined 12 points in the two games prior, the 35-22 blowout we saw on Sunday was a bit of a shock.

Even as Jameis Winston’s interception problems continued (two INTs Sunday, 20 this season), the connection of Winston to Chris Godwin was lethal. Godwin finished with seven catches, 184 yards and two of Winston’s three touchdown passes in a 35-22 win that crushed some of the optimism that had been building in Atlanta.

The Jaguars themselves were crushed on Sunday, losing to the Titans 42-20 and getting torn up by Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. Tannehill threw two touchdowns and ran for two more, while Henry had 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard scoring scamper in the third quarter.

Nick Foles, back as the starting quarterback for Jacksonville, didn’t play poorly and amassed 272 passing yards while not turning the ball over. But it wasn’t enough, as Jacksonville’s defense gave them no chance.

Neither of these teams is very good, but the Buccaneers do have a high-powered offense that keeps them competitive in many games. Considering that the Jaguars are only a one-point favorite on their home turf to a fellow 4-7 team, the oddsmakers clearly think that Tampa Bay is more than capable of making the three-hour trek northeast and handing the Jaguars their eighth loss.

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Julio Aguilar // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Jacksonville Jaguars

- Favored to win: Jacksonville Jaguars
- Spread: -1
- Odds: -119

- Tampa Bay Buccaneers team stats:
- Offense: 386.4 yards per game (#4 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 288.1 ypg (#4)
--- Rushing offense: 98.3 ypg (#20)
- Defense: 368.6 yards per game (#21 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 289.9 ypg (#31)
--- Rushing defense: 78.7 ypg (#2)

- Jacksonville Jaguars team stats:
- Offense: 370.1 yards per game (#11 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 250.8 ypg (#10)
--- Rushing offense: 119.3 ypg (#14)
- Defense: 364.5 yards per game (#18 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 222.3 ypg (#10)
--- Rushing defense: 142.3 ypg (#29)

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Ezra Shaw // Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers (10-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-2)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. EST

After the performances that both of these teams put on in Week 12, this very well could be a Super Bowl preview. The Ravens offense seems impossible to stop, while the 49ers defense silenced the critics that argued that strength of schedule had a lot to do with their historically good defensive numbers by shutting down the Packers and holding Aaron Rodgers to just 104 yards passing in a blowout win.

San Francisco put on a defensive display for the ages in their 37-8 victory against Green Bay on Sunday Night Football. They held the Packers to just 198 total yards and forced a fumble by sacking Aaron Rodgers on the first possession, which Nick Bosa recovered on the Packers 2-yard line, putting them in control of the game from the onset.

24 hours later, in a Monday Night Football meeting between the Ravens and Rams, Baltimore put on a dominant display of their own, making quick work of Los Angeles in a 45-6 beatdown. MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson continued to dazzle, throwing five touchdown passes and rushing for 98 yards on eight carries. While Jackson and the offense have been the catalyst for the Ravens most of this season, their defense creating a pair of turnovers and holding the struggling Sean McVay offense to just six points on their home turf is more reason to believe that Baltimore is every bit a Super Bowl contender.

This will be the ultimate “the unstoppable force meets the immovable object” matchup of the remainder of the season. The same could have been said earlier this year when the Ravens hosted the Patriots and Baltimore passed that test with flying colors, beating New England 37-20.

With the 49ers having to travel across the country to play an early game, it’s easy to understand why the Ravens open as more than a field goal favorite. Either way, this will be a must-watch game.

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Scott Taetsch // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Baltimore Ravens

- Favored to win: Baltimore Ravens
- Spread: -5.5
- Odds: -246

- San Francisco 49ers team stats:
- Offense: 382.3 yards per game (#6 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 236.6 ypg (#14)
--- Rushing offense: 145.6 ypg (#2)
- Defense: 248.0 yards per game (#1 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 136.9 ypg (#1)
--- Rushing defense: 111.1 ypg (#19)

- Baltimore Ravens team stats:
- Offense: 433.3 yards per game (#2 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 222.7 ypg (#19)
--- Rushing offense: 210.5 ypg (#1)
- Defense: 322.7 yards per game (#11 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 235.0 ypg (#16)
--- Rushing defense: 87.7 ypg (#3)

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Christian Petersen // Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams (6-5) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 4:05 p.m. EST

The Rams desperately needed a home victory on Monday night to keep pace in the NFC Wild Card hunt and to have any hope of contending in the loaded NFC West division. Unfortunately, their opponent was the Ravens and MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson. There was no stopping Jackson, who threw five touchdown passes and added 98 rushing yards on the ground. But perhaps just as concerning was the continued struggles to find a rhythm on offense, as quarterback Jared Goff was intercepted twice and held without a touchdown in the 45-6 blowout.

Now, the Rams are currently two games back of the 8-3 Vikings for the final wild-card berth in the NFC playoff picture, with the 9-2 Seahawks currently holding the other wild card seed.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals are coming off a bye week and had a lot of self-scouting to do after losing four straight games before the much-needed break. They have had trouble stopping anyone this season, despite the fact that star outside linebacker Chandler Jones is tied for the league lead in sacks (12.5) and his five forced fumbles are the best in the NFL.

While the Rams have a nice opportunity to get their offense back on track by facing the league’s 31st-ranked defense, Goff will still see plenty of pressure if Jones has anything to say about it. This is the first meeting between these two divisional foes this season, and though they’re on the road, the Rams are still the favorite and likely winner of this contest unless we see a much different Arizona team following their week off.

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Alex Davidson // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Los Angeles Rams

- Favored to win: Los Angeles Rams
- Spread: -3.5
- Odds: -184

- Los Angeles Rams team stats:
- Offense: 353.3 yards per game (#16 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 262.5 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing offense: 90.7 ypg (#24)
- Defense: 338.7 yards per game (#16 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 231.8 ypg (#13)
--- Rushing defense: 106.9 ypg (#16)

- Arizona Cardinals team stats:
- Offense: 343.9 yards per game (#20 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 226.2 ypg (#18)
--- Rushing offense: 117.7 ypg (#15)
- Defense: 415.2 yards per game (#31 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 297.5 ypg (#32)
--- Rushing defense: 117.6 ypg (#23)

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Harry How // Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers (4-7) @ Denver Broncos (3-8)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 4:25 p.m. EST

While the Raiders and Chiefs will be meeting at the same time in a battle for control of the AFC West, these two division foes are essentially playing for pride at this point. For the Broncos, this game could be intriguing in the sense that according to head coach Vic Fangio, it could be a first glimpse at rookie second-round pick Drew Lock. Fangio said that Lock could be on the active roster come Sunday, and he did not stop short of saying that it is possible that he could start.

Lock being given a chance would come after ineffective quarterback play from Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen, who have combined for just nine touchdown passes and seven interceptions through 11 games. It was Allen who struggled in Week 12, throwing for just 82 yards with an interception and a 32.4 quarterback rating against the potent Bills defense. Buffalo won the game 20-3.

The Chargers enjoyed a bye week in Week 12, but prior to the week off had dropped consecutive AFC West games to the Raiders and Chiefs. Quarterback Philip Rivers has a clear interception problem, which has hurt Los Angeles frequently this season. He’s been picked off 14 times while throwing 15 touchdowns.

In their first meeting this season, the Broncos got the better of Rivers and the Chargers, intercepting him twice, and riding a 114-yard, one-touchdown day from running back Phillip Lindsay to a victory. Still, the quarterback woes and uncertainty over who will start for Denver has the Chargers as road favorites, despite there being little to inspire confidence in them this season otherwise.

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Sean M. Haffey // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Los Angeles Chargers

- Favored to win: Los Angeles Chargers
- Spread: -2.5
- Odds: -138

- Los Angeles Chargers team stats:
- Offense: 363.6 yards per game (#13 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 276.9 ypg (#5)
--- Rushing offense: 86.7 ypg (#26)
- Defense: 317.5 yards per game (#5 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 205.3 ypg (#4)
--- Rushing defense: 112.3 ypg (#20)

- Denver Broncos team stats:
- Offense: 302.8 yards per game (#27 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 192.3 ypg (#29)
--- Rushing offense: 110.5 ypg (#16)
- Defense: 321.1 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 207.5 ypg (#5)
--- Rushing defense: 113.5 ypg (#21)

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Thearon W. Henderson // Getty Images

Oakland Raiders (6-5) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Raiders fell victim to the prototypical “trap game” on Sunday, turning in a shockingly bad performance against the Jets in a 34-3 loss. West Coast teams traveling east for a 1 p.m. EST game typically is a tough task, and the fact that it fell just a week before an important AFC West showdown with the Chiefs might have meant that the focus may not have been entirely on the Jets by all involved.

Oakland’s offense was stifled by the Jets, with Derek Carr being held to just 127 yards and an interception before he was pulled from the game in the third quarter as coach Jon Gruden opted to let Mike Glennon finish off the game at quarterback, with the result inevitable at that point.

Now, the Raiders are a full game behind the Chiefs for the AFC West lead. Kansas City just enjoyed a late-season bye week. That’s welcome news on the injury front. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill suffered a hamstring injury in their Monday night win over the Chargers in Week 11, but coach Andy Reid opened the week by sharing some optimism about the prospects of Hill returning to the lineup this week.

In their first meeting back in Week 2, reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes II tore the Raiders defense apart for 443 yards and four touchdowns. All of those touchdowns came in the second quarter, which was the only time the Chiefs got on the board, but it was enough for a 28-10 victory. All 10 of Oakland’s points came in the first quarter, as they did well to limit the Chiefs early on.

These teams know each other well and division wins don’t typically come easy. But the Chiefs now get to enjoy the comforts of home and are rested. The Raiders are in a mode of self-reflection, having been torn up by Sam Darnold. They also have struggled on the road under Jon Gruden, going 1-7 away from home last season and they have been outscored on the road 161-96 this season.

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Jamie Squire // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Kansas City Chiefs

- Favored to win: Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: -9.5
- Odds: -432

- Oakland Raiders team stats:
- Offense: 356.8 yards per game (#14 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 234.1 ypg (#16)
--- Rushing offense: 122.7 ypg (#12)
- Defense: 371.1 yards per game (#24 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 266.8 ypg (#28)
--- Rushing defense: 104.3 ypg (#13)

- Kansas City Chiefs team stats:
- Offense: 396.1 yards per game (#3 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 301.7 ypg (#2)
--- Rushing offense: 94.4 ypg (#22)
- Defense: 375.7 yards per game (#25 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 232.6 ypg (#14)
--- Rushing defense: 143.1 ypg (#30)

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Maddie Meyer // Getty Images

New England Patriots (10-1) @ Houston Texans (7-4)

- Gametime: Sunday, Dec. 1, 8:20 p.m. EST

The Texans enter their primetime showdown with the Patriots sitting in first place in the AFC South, thanks to a pivotal 20-17 win over the Colts last Sunday. Houston did well to rebound from their offense being shut down by the Ravens in a 41-7 blowout loss in Week 11. Deshaun Watson was back on form, racking up 298 passing yards with a pair of touchdowns to his top target DeAndre Hopkins. Unfortunately for Houston, this coming week has a chance to be a bit more like the game against the Ravens than the win over the Colts.

There’s just no arguing with the fact that the Patriots defense is the best in the league and capable of slowing, if not completely shutting down any offense they face. While their strength of schedule was favorable, New England faced a great test in terms of a capable offense as they welcomed the Cowboys to Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Dak Prescott leads the NFL in passing yards (3,433) and is among the league leaders with 21 touchdown passes. The Patriots defense held him to 212 yards without a touchdown and forced an interception, which has been their specialty this season. They have an astounding plus-19 turnover differential, which is by far the best in the league. That’s due to the league-high 19 interceptions they have tallied so far, coupled with the fact that Tom Brady is able to protect the ball.

While it may not be fair to expect Brady and the offense to be explosive, even in the controlled environment of a dome, it’s hard to imagine the Texans controlling the game simply because most offenses fail to establish any type of rhythm when facing the New England defense this season.

Unless Watson can provide one of his best performances of his young career, the Texans may lose the game they picked up in the standings by beating the Colts, meaning the AFC South picture may be even more crowded than it already is by the end of Week 13.

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Billie Weiss // Getty Images

Insiders predict: New England Patriots

- Favored to win: New England Patriots
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -167

- New England Patriots team stats:
- Offense: 352.8 yards per game (#17 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 260.9 ypg (#8)
--- Rushing offense: 91.9 ypg (#23)
- Defense: 256.4 yards per game (#2 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 158.0 ypg (#2)
--- Rushing defense: 98.4 ypg (#9)

- Houston Texans team stats:
- Offense: 381.6 yards per game (#7 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 244.7 ypg (#12)
--- Rushing offense: 136.9 ypg (#6)
- Defense: 367.3 yards per game (#20 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 259.3 ypg (#25)
--- Rushing defense: 108.0 ypg (#17)

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Adam Bettcher // Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings (8-3) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-2)

- Gametime: Monday, Dec. 2, 8:15 p.m. EST

This coming Monday will provide one of the better, if not the best Monday Night Football matchup of the season. Both the Vikings and Seahawks were likely watching last Sunday night’s meeting between the Packers and the 49ers with a close eye, as both of these teams sat in second place behind their respective division rivals. Minnesota was the team that got the needed result (a Packers loss) in order to pull into a first-place tie in the NFC North.

While the Packers currently hold the tiebreaker having beaten the Vikings head to head, Minnesota can go a long way in its hunt for the division title by surviving this difficult test. Along with Seattle, the Vikings are one of the league’s hottest teams, having won seven of their last eight. That hot streak has been fueled by an incredible season from quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is boasting a 114.8 quarterback rating entering this game, having thrown 21 touchdowns and just three interceptions all season.

With Minnesota coming off of a bye week, the point spread is less than a field goal in favor of Seattle to start out. That being said, the line may continue to move in the Seahawks favor as the week goes on. Seattle does not have the additional rest, but they are coming off of a convincing defensive performance in a 17-9 road win over the Eagles. Since Kirk Cousins took over as the starting quarterback, the Vikings have not beaten a team with a winning record in an outdoor road game. They’ll be in the elements and facing an MVP candidate in Russell Wilson, who understands that a third loss will put them in a difficult position in their efforts to chase down the 10-1 49ers for a shot at the NFC West crown.

The fans are winners either way. After a long holiday weekend, they have a great Monday night matchup to look forward to.

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Todd Kirkland // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Seattle Seahawks

- Favored to win: Seattle Seahawks
- Spread: -2.5
- Odds: -154

- Minnesota Vikings team stats:
- Offense: 378.6 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 236.2 ypg (#15)
--- Rushing offense: 142.5 ypg (#4)
- Defense: 338.6 yards per game (#15 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 244.5 ypg (#20)
--- Rushing defense: 94.2 ypg (#6)

- Seattle Seahawks team stats:
- Offense: 385.4 yards per game (#5 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 248.5 ypg (#11)
--- Rushing offense: 136.9 ypg (#6)
- Defense: 370.3 yards per game (#23 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 268.7 ypg (#29)
--- Rushing defense: 101.5 ypg (#10)

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