After three lackluster Thanksgiving games, 13 more games remain in Week 13 without a single team favored by double-digits. Many of this week's matchups have major playoff implications, highlighted by two of the league’s best offenses tangling at Lambeau Field.
Based off odds compiled by VegasInsider.com, let’s delve into each matchup and reach a prediction.
Washington Redskins at Indianapolis Colts (-9.5)
This was supposed to be the matchup that decided which team made the better choice in the 2012 NFL Draft, but right now there’s no doubt it’s the Colts. Colt McCoy will start over No. 2 overall selection Robert Griffin III at quarterback, while Indy’s Andrew Luck leads the league in passing yardage and is second in touchdown passes. The Colts own the NFL’s fourth-highest scoring offense with 30.3 points per game, and the Redskins are 1-5 on the road. Though one of those wins belongs to McCoy at Dallas, which could mean this game will be closer than Vegas odds makers think.
Over/Under: 51 points
Prediction: Indianapolis over Washington, 27-20
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-7)
Based off their 30-16 win at Tennessee in Week 8 and holding home-field advantage, the Texans are favored by a touchdown even with very little faith in quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back Arian Foster injured. The Titans send out rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger who threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns last week versus Philadelphia and tossed two more TDs against Houston in his first career NFL start. The Titans No. 10-ranked pass defense could give Fitzpatrick fits, and the Texans are only 2-3 at home this year, but they should pull it out.
Over/Under: 43 points
Prediction: Tennessee over Houston, 24-14
Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills (-3)
With Josh Gordon back the Browns picked up their third road win of the year last week, tripling their output from a year ago. Meanwhile Buffalo shellacked the AFC East rival Jets 38-3, equaling their win total from last season and is vying for one of the AFC’s Wild Card slots. How Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer recovers from his three-interception performance a week ago against a Bills defense that’s notched 13 picks on the year will be the key matchup.
Over/Under: 42 points
Prediction: Buffalo over Cleveland, 27-17
San Diego Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (-6)
A win for either team gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker for one of the last AFC Wild spots, which San Diego currently holds, though Baltimore can still claim the AFC North, where every team has seven wins so far. Both teams have won two straight, but the Ravens are 4-1 at home compared to a 2-3 road record for the Chargers. Baltimore also has the advantage of running back Justin Forsett, who’s racked up 300 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the last two games.
Over/Under: 46 points
Prediction: Baltimore over San Diego, 24-20
New York Giants (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The 1-10 Jaguars are in the midst of their second five-game losing streak of the season. The Giants have dropped six straight, but can recover against the Jags' Blake Bortles, who leads the NFL with 15 interceptions. New York’s secondary has 13 picks on the year.
Over/Under: 45 points
Prediction: New York over Jacksonville, 20-10
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Even with a 2-9 record the Buccaneers are only two games back of the NFC South lead, so they still have plenty to play for against a Bengals squad trying to keep pace in the crowded AFC North. The Bengals are at the tail end of a three-game road trip, having already dropped New Orleans and Houston by an average of 13 points, while Tampa Bay hasn’t won a game at home all season. Tampa Bay has a chance if it can establish the run early against Cincy’s No. 27 rush defense.
Over/Under: 44 points
Prediction: Cincinnati over Tampa Bay, 27-17
Oakland Raiders at St. Louis Rams (-6.5)
The Raiders are coming off their first victory of the year -- a 24-20 home upset against rival Kansas City. But the Rams have played very well of late under new starting quarterback Shaun Hill, toppling Denver and nearly besting San Diego on the road.
Over/Under: 42 points
Prediction: St. Louis over Oakland, 17-14
New Orleans Saints at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5)
A matchup that could be the highest-scoring of the week, New Orleans could move into first in the NFC South even with a losing record while Pittsburgh needs to stay afloat in the AFC North and the Wild Card race. The Saints are 1-4 on the road this year, while Pittsburgh is 4-1 at Heinz Field and is rested after the final bye week of the season.
Over/Under: 54 points
Prediction: Pittsburgh over New Orleans, 34-30
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)
If not for their tie at Cincinnati in Week 6, the Panthers would be riding a six-game losing streak. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has tossed an interception in seven straight, including five in the last two games. He likely won’t fair better against a Vikings defense that found a way to contain Green Bay’s seemingly unstoppable attack a week ago.
Over/Under: 42.5 points
Prediction: Minnesota over Carolina, 23-20
Arizona Cardinals (-2) at Atlanta Falcons
Despite scoring only three points on the rough trip to Seattle, the Cards are still the No. 1 seed in the NFC and face a Falcons secondary that’s ranked last in the league allowing 284.2 yards per game. First in the NFC South with a 4-7 record, Atlanta does have plenty to play for, but ultimately doesn’t have the defensive prowess to hang with Arizona.
Over/Under: 44.5 points
Prediction: Atlanta over Arizona, 24-23
New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers (-3)
The Packers could find themselves as the NFC’s No. 1 seed by the end of the day, while the Pats could have a two-game buffer as the top seed in the AFC depending on how Denver vs. Kansas City plays out. This figures to be a touchdown-fest for both sides. The Packers have won seven of their last eight, outscoring opponents 300-167. New England’s won seven straight and outscored opponents, 277-137, including a 34-9 victory against the NFL’s best defense in Detroit in Week 12. The game will come down to the final possession, and though Green Bay’s 5-0 at home, give New England the slight edge due to its better defense.
Over/Under: 58 points
Prediction: New England over Green Bay, 34-27
Denver Broncos (-1.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
One game separates these two squads, and the Chiefs may take first place in the AFC West while getting some revenge for Denver snapping their nine-game win streak to start last season. It’s a pivotal matchup for both teams, with Denver trying to catch New England and Kansas City the highest seeded Wild Card team so far. The Chiefs own the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL, and will have their hands full against Peyton Manning, but defense should prevail, albeit by a narrow margin.
Over/Under: 49.5 points
Prediction: Kansas City over Denver, 24-20
Miami Dolphins (-6.5) at New York Jets
Geno Smith returns to face a Miami defense that’s No. 4 against the pass and tied for fourth in the league with 31 sacks on the year. Smith threw 37 times in two games versus Miami last season and failed to throw a single touchdown. But the Jets could make it more competitive by sticking to the run, where they’re ranked No. 5 in the NFL.
Over/Under: 42 points
Prediction: Miami over New York, 30-10