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#412418 - 11/29/18 12:10 AM NFL Week 13
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New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have cobbled together three straight wins to alter the complexion of their season and vault into a share of first place in the mediocre NFC East. The Cowboys will encounter quite the litmus test on Thursday when they host the surging New Orleans Saints, who have won a staggering 10 in a row since their season-opening loss to Tampa Bay.

Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL with 1,074 rushing yards and has amassed 531 scrimmage yards (394 rushing, 137 receiving) and four touchdowns in his last three games, including 143 (121 rushing, 22 receiving) with a 16-yard scoring run in Dallas' 31-23 win over Washington on Thanksgiving Day. The 23-year-old Elliott likely would need a similar performance against New Orleans' top-ranked rush defense (73.2 yards) as a means to control the clock and keep NFL MVP candidate Drew Brees (league-best 76.4 completion percentage) on the sideline. With Brees under center, the high-octane Saints have scored an NFL-best 37.2 points per game and are fifth in yards (416.6). New Orleans had no issue continuing its frenetic pace last Thursday, as Brees tossed four touchdown passes in a 31-17 win over Atlanta and has 11 scoring strikes against one interception in his last four meetings with the Cowboys.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: Saints -7.5. O/U: 53

ABOUT THE SAINTS (10-1): The electric Alvin Kamara has shown no signs of slowing down with 575 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns (six rushing, three receiving) in his past six games. Fellow running back Mark Ingram has three scores in his last three outings and Michael Thomas has proven to be Brees' most trusted target with an NFL second-best 86 receptions. While the offense receives its fair share of headlines, the defense is getting plenty of press too, as it forced four turnovers, registered a season-high six sacks and held Falcons running backs Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith to just six rushing yards on 10 carries last week. "We all know what Dallas is gonna want to do -- hand it to Zeke as many times as they can and try to pound out a win," defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said. "So it's gonna be fun."

ABOUT THE COWBOYS (6-5): Louisiana native Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper look to exploit New Orleans' 30th-ranked pass defense after the pair hooked up for two long touchdown passes against the Redskins. Prescott has a rushing score in each of his last three games while Cooper joined Kansas City speedster Tyreek Hill in recording his second 180-yard, two-touchdown performance in the last two seasons with his sterling effort versus Washington. Cooper has seen eight-plus targets in three of four games since being acquired from Oakland, giving Dallas a new version of a familiar three-pronged attack made famous by "The Triplets" of Pro Football Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. "I think the sky's the limit," the 24-year-old Cooper said. "Obviously we'll have to wait and see, but Dak is a great player. Zeke is a great player. So who knows?"

EXTRA POINTS

1. New Orleans WR Tre'Quan Smith was limited in practice on Tuesday as he attempts to return from a one-game absence due to a foot injury.

2. Dallas DE Demarcus Lawrence has three of his team-leading 8.5 sacks in the last four games.

3. The Saints have a league low-tying nine turnovers, one fewer than the Cowboys.

PREDICTION: Saints 38, Cowboys 16
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#412698 - 12/01/18 12:10 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars are busy imploding, leaving the AFC South a two-team race between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans, with the Tennessee Titans lurking in the background. The Colts will try to take advantage of the sliding Jaguars and earn another division victory when they host the matchup on Sunday.

Indianapolis got off to a slow start but ripped off wins in each of the last five games to pull within two games of the Texans (8-3) with five to play, including a trip to Houston scheduled for Week 14. "We went through some things (earlier in the season)," Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters after a 27-24 win over Miami last week (as a -13 point favorite at intertops). "We didn't make some of those plays as a team. I just feel like we've come so far to all make the plays. Now, Andrew (Luck) is directing the ship, and he's the one pulling the trigger, but it was everybody in that. That's what you expect from Andrew and from our offense." The Jaguars are streaking in the opposite direction with seven consecutive losses following a 3-1 start and finally made the decision to bench quarterback Blake Bortles this week. "It's not a knee-jerk reaction," Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone told reporters. "I really feel like at the end of the day we've got to try to get better production out of our passing game or more consistent production in our passing game."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Colts -4 O/U: 47.5

ABOUT THE COLTS (6-5): Luck's re-emergence as a premier quarterback after several injury-marred seasons is the driving force behind Indianapolis' climb into the playoff race. The former No. 1 overall pick completed 30-of-37 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns against the Bills, leading the Colts back from a 10-point, fourth quarter deficit. "You've got to learn how to find a way when it's not easy and when it doesn't seem to be your night," Luck told reporters. "We certainly have things to clean up. I certainly have things to clean up. That won't get lost in the fact that we won. We're happy. We're excited. We'll never apologize for a win, but we've got to improve. That's the beauty of this game. We'll keep the same mindset, and we'll get back to work."

ABOUT THE JAGUARS (3-8): Jacksonville will start Cody Kessler at quarterback on Sunday and are giving him a new play caller in quarterback coach Scott Milanovich, who takes over after offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was fired on Monday. "I knew Doug had thought about it," Hackett told NFL Network. "I guess the football Gods had it out for me. We started off hot, had so many injuries, we were a completely different team. Guys busted their butts, but you can only do so much. I wish I could've figured something out." The Jaguars are 28th in the league in scoring offense (17.9 points) and 22nd in average passing yardage (232.3).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was suspended one game by the NFL for a fight with Bills DE Shaq Lawson last week.

2. The Colts placed TE Jack Doyle on IR Monday after he suffered a kidney injury in last week's win.

3. Luck threw for 285 yards and three TDs in a 29-26 home win over Jacksonville on Nov. 11.

PREDICTION: Colts 31, Jaguars 24
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#412699 - 12/01/18 12:10 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Los Angeles Chargers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger meet up again when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. The two members of the 2004 NFL Draft class are thriving in their 15th seasons with Rivers coming off a record-setting performance in last week's 45-10 rout of the Arizona Cardinals (as the Chargers were -14 point favorite at intertops).

Rivers set NFL single-game records for completion percentage (96.6) and consecutive completions (25) during a 28-of-29 performance in which he tossed three touchdown passes. "He is an MVP caliber player, playing at an MVP level now," Roethlisberger told reporters of Rivers. "What he did last week was pretty spectacular ... 25 in a row. It's easy because he is a quarterback to keep track of what he is doing. It's fun to watch a guy like that play." Rivers understands why he is linked with Roethlisberger - Eli Manning was also a member of the draft class - but says it will be more than quarterback play that decides Sunday's game. "He's been a heck of a player for them for a long time," Rivers told reporters. "Again, it's never about the other quarterback. You have to worry about that defense. But it's always awesome going against those teams led by those kind of guys."

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Steelers -3.5 O/U: 51.5

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (8-3): Rivers has thrown multiple touchdown passes in each game this season while passing for 3,119 yards and 26 scores against six interceptions. Standout running back Melvin Gordon (knee) will miss the contest so Austin Ekeler (409 yards, 5.8 average) will get the call and the club hopes he performs better than his previous start this season (42 yards on 12 carries against Tennessee). Standout defensive end Joey Bosa displayed he is fully recovered from the foot injury that caused him to miss the first nine games by recording two sacks against the Cardinals.

ABOUT THE STEELERS (7-3-1): Roethlisberger passed for a season-best 462 yards - his second time over 450 this season - in last Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos and has thrown for 3,664 yards and 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. Longtime star Antonio Brown (71 receptions, 874 yards) is tied for the NFL lead with 11 touchdown catches but currently trails teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster (77 for 1,055) for the Pittsburgh lead in receptions and yardage. Linebacker T.J. Watt (10 sacks) has emerged as a force in his second NFL season and has recorded three sacks in two different contests.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Chargers are 1-14 in the regular season at Pittsburgh but also won in the Steel City in the 1994 AFC Championship Game to reach their lone Super Bowl.

2. Steelers RB James Conner (849 yards) has only 143 over the past three games after compiling four straight 100-yard outings.

3. Los Angeles WR Keenan Allen (69 catches) has at least five receptions in each of the past five games.

PREDICTION: Steelers 28, Chargers 26
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#412700 - 12/01/18 12:11 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It was less than a month ago that the Carolina Panthers harbored hopes of overtaking the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South, owning a 6-2 record and riding a three-game winning streak. Things have since taken a dramatic turn for Carolina, which is trying to climb back into the playoff race entering Sunday's game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It will mark a rematch of a Nov. 4 clash between the division rivals, when the Panthers rolled to a 42-28 victory for their third win of the row, but they proceeded to drop their next three to dim their playoff chances. "Just stick together. We still have five games left to go," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said of what his team's mindset needs to be. "We control it. Go out and play. You have to play to win." Tampa Bay ended a four-game slide behind its finest defensive performance of the season in a 27-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers (as a -1.5 point favorite at intertops) last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for four touchdowns in the loss to the Panthers, but Jameis Winston will make his second straight start for the Buccaneers.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Panthers -3.5 O/U: 54.5

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (6-5): Cam Newton had six touchdowns passes and zero interceptions during the three-game winning streak but has been picked off in each of the past three losses and had only 12 rushing attempts during the skid. Running back Christian McCaffrey had a monster game in last week's 30-27 loss to Seattle, amassing a franchise record 237 yards from scrimmage to go with two touchdowns, and also piled up 157 yards and two scores in the win over Tampa Bay last month. Rookie wide receiver DJ Moore has bolstered the passing game with 15 catches for 256 yards and a score in the past two games. Carolina's defense has allowed an average of 34 points in the past three.

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (4-7): Winston, who replaced Fitzpatrick earlier in the season only to be benched after his third start, threw for 312 yards with a pair of touchdowns and zero interceptions against the 49ers. "Jameis made good decisions with the football," Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said. "Played a clean game. We had a good result." Wide receiver Mike Evans was held to one catch for 10 yards in the first meeting but has back-to-back 100-yard games. The Buccaneers, who have surrendered at least 30 points seven times, could receive a lift on defense with the potential return to the lineup of linebacker Lavonte David after a two-game absence due to a sprained MCL.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Carolina has won the past three meetings against Tampa Bay.

2. Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul has five sacks and a forced fumble in his last five home games.

3. Newton has thrown for 1,429 yards with 12 TDs and four interceptions in his last five road games.

PREDICTION: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 27
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#412701 - 12/01/18 12:12 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons

A quarterback controversy is bubbling up for the Baltimore Ravens, who will try to continue their surge toward a playoff spot with a road game Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. The Ravens have won two straight with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson running the offense, but it's unclear whether Joe Flacco will return against the Falcons, who have lost three straight to fall to the far fringes of the playoff picture.

Flacco returned to practice Thursday for the first time since injuring his right hip Nov. 4 against Pittsburgh, but his status may remain uncertain up until Sunday. It might not matter, because Jackson has played well while leading the Ravens to wins over Cincinnati and Oakland the past two weeks, rushing for 190 yards and a touchdown and passing for 328 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions. "We have no control over who plays or doesn't, so we'll be prepared to play whichever way that we have to go," Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters. "I would say the styles are definitely different. ... These two styles are different from the way that the offense has featured Joe in a lot of ways and how they've featured Lamar." Despite a three-game skid, the Falcons aren't completely out of the playoff picture -- they trail a pack of potential wild-card teams by two games -- but another loss would likely dash their slim hopes.
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TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Atlanta -1.5 O/U: 48

ABOUT THE RAVENS (6-5): Baltimore boasts the league's best defense and has held its past two opponents to 255 and 249 total yards. Jackson's move to the starting role has sparked the ground game, which has rolled up 509 rushing yards the past two games, as fellow rookie Gus Edwards has posted consecutive 100-yard games. Jackson completed passes to seven different receivers in last week's 34-17 win over Oakland (as a -13 point favorite at intertops).


ABOUT THE FALCONS (4-7): Atlanta has one of the most prolific passing attacks in the league, but the absence of a running game has been detrimental. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are still putting up big numbers -- Jones has six straight 100-yard receiving games -- but the Falcons totaled only 26 rushing yards and lost three fumbles in last week's 31-17 loss at New Orleans. The secondary that was torched early in the season has played better of the late, but the Falcons have been unable to stop the run the past three games, which is problematic if Jackson starts.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Ravens' defense has not recorded an interception since Week 5, a string of 234 passes without a pick.

2. Falcons WR Calvin Ridley leads all rookies in receiving yards (625) and touchdown receptions (eight).

3. Baltimore OLB Terrell Suggs has notched a sack in each of his past three games against Atlanta.

PREDICTION: Ravens 27, Falcons 20
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#412702 - 12/01/18 12:13 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are enjoying the longest winning streak in the AFC at eight consecutive games and are trying to position themselves for an AFC South title and a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Cleveland Browns, who visit the Texans on Sunday, are on the upswing as well and are winners of two straight behind rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Houston is two games clear of the Indianapolis Colts (6-5) in the AFC South and only has one game remaining against an opponent with a winning record - at home against the Colts in Week 14 - as it sits tied with New England for the No. 2 spot in the AFC, though the Patriots own the head-to-head tiebreaker. "We just kind of started slow early on in the season," Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson told reporters. "We were just a couple of plays from being 3-0. It didn't fall our way, but we corrected those mistakes and made sure that we stayed on top of our game and kept grinding. And now we're sitting here at 8-3 and have an opportunity to do something special. ... And if we can do that, sky's the limit for us." Cleveland already matched the franchise's total of wins from the previous three seasons and continues to improve under interim coach Gregg Williams. "Our guys have done a very good job of realizing and capturing the moment, capturing the meeting and changing from walkthrough attitude to practice attitude and then from practice attitude to game attitude," Williams told reporters. "Then the execution, each and every space has to be faster and better. I have been pleased with them."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Texans -6 O/U: 47

ABOUT THE BROWNS (4-6-1): Mayfield was on fire in wins each of the last two weeks, combining to complete 36-of-46 passes for 474 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. "As the experience continues, the comfortability grows," Mayfield told reporters. "Really nothing else to that. As I see more looks and more things, I'm going to be more comfortable. I just got to go out there and do my job." Mayfield benefits from an offensive line that did not allow a sack in either of the last two contests and a running game that features rookie Nick Chubb, who totaled 337 yards from scrimmage and four TDs in the last two games.

ABOUT THE TEXANS (8-3): Houston set a franchise record with 281 rushing yards in Monday's 34-17 drubbing of the Tennessee Titans (as the Texans were -3.5 point favorite at intertops), led by Lamar Miller's 162 yards on 12 carries. "(The running game) just opened up the whole offense," Watson told reporters. "The safeties get aggressive. The defense has to show what their hand is. That was the challenge tonight for our offensive line and the running backs to kind of set the run game and open up the pass game. That's what we did, and if the run game is clicking, we're going to make sure we're going to stay rolling with that momentum." Watson added 70 yards and a score on the ground to go with a pair of passing TDs and did not turn the ball over after tossing a pair of interceptions in the previous game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Texans activated LB Dylan Cole (wrist) off IR and waived LB Josh Keyes.

2. Cleveland DE Myles Garrett recorded at least one sack in four of the last five games.

3. Houston took the last four in the series, including a 33-17 home win last season.

PREDICTION: Texans 28, Browns 24
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#412703 - 12/01/18 12:13 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins' fast start to the season has slowed to a crawl, answering a promising 3-0 start with losses in six of their past eight games. The Dolphins will look to reverse their current fortunes and avenge last season's sweep at the hands of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday when they welcome their AFC East rivals to Hard Rock Stadium.

"Finishing, man. As an offense, we got to finish. As a team, we got to finish," said running back Frank Gore, who watched Miami squander a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 27-24 setback in Indianapolis (as a +9 point underdog at intertops). The Dolphins hope the familiar surroundings of home will get them back on track, as they are 4-1 this season in South Florida and 15-6 in their last 21 contests. Buffalo returned from its bye week to win two in a row to keep afloat the pipe dream of back-to-back playoff berths, with rookie Josh Allen using his legs for a franchise-best 99 yards rushing by a quarterback and a team-leading fourth touchdown run in Sunday's 24-21 victory over Jacksonville. The seventh overall pick hasn't done much with his arm this season, throwing for over 200 yards on one occasion in seven outings heading into a tilt with a Miami defense that is 21st against the pass (258.2 yards).

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Dolphins -4.5 O/U: 40

ABOUT THE BILLS (4-7): LeSean McCoy has made himself at home in the end zone against Miami, scoring seven touchdowns (five rushing, two receiving) in seven career encounters. While the Bills are averaging a pedestrian 3.95 yards per carry this season, the Dolphins have yielded an NFL fourth-worst 139.8 yards on the ground per game. Undrafted rookie Robert Foster reeled in a 75-yard touchdown reception versus the Jaguars and has five catches for 199 yards in the last two weeks. Fellow wideout Zay Jones, who leads the team in receptions (37), receiving yards (392) and receiving touchdowns (two), wasn't even targeted last week.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (5-6): Ryan Tannehill returned from a five-game absence due to a shoulder injury to throw for 204 yards and two touchdowns last week in Indianapolis, but he has fared far better at home. The 30-year-old has won each of his last seven starts and has thrown three-plus touchdowns in three of his past four games in Miami. The ageless Gore provides a potent punch out of the backfield, as the then-Colt gashed the Bills in his last meeting for 130 yards in December and faces a club that permitted a season-worst 226 yards rushing to Jacksonville on Sunday. Fellow running back Kenyan Drake scored twice last week (one rushing, one receiving) to give him five touchdowns in the past five games overall heading into a tilt with Buffalo, against which he found the end zone in a 24-16 setback on Dec. 17.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Buffalo S Jordan Poyer, who had an interception last week, sealed the team's first playoff berth since the 1999 season with a pick against Miami on New Year's Eve.

2. Dolphins CB Xavien Howard picked off Andrew Luck twice last week to boost his total to an NFL second-best five interceptions on the season.

3. The Bills signed Matt Darr and waived fellow P Colton Schmidt on Tuesday.

PREDICTION: Dolphins 20, Bills 17
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#412704 - 12/01/18 12:14 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants

The Chicago Bears won three division games in a span of 12 days and can take another step toward their first NFC North crown in eight years when they visit the New York Giants on Sunday. A 23-16 victory at Detroit on Thanksgiving was the Bears' fifth straight win overall, their longest streak since a six-game run in 2012.

They got by in Week 12 with backup Chase Daniel at quarterback and are playing a waiting game on starter Mitchell Trubisky, who was out with a shoulder injury and is considered day-to-day. "It's going to continue to be one of those day-to-day things with him," coach Matt Nagy told reporters Wednesday. "I don't know his exact pain tolerance or level right now. But I definitely think his arrow's up right now and we'll just have to kind of keep communicating with him on a day-to-day basis as to where he's at, how he feels." The Giants appear to be sticking with veteran Eli Manning under center after he threw for 297 yards and a touchdown in a 25-22 loss at Philadelphia (as a +5 point underdog at intertops) on Sunday. Under fire much of the season as New York careens toward its fifth losing season in the last six, Manning has the best completion percentage of his career (69.1) and is on pace for 4,499 yards, which would represent the second-highest total of his career.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bears -4 O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE BEARS (8-3): Daniel completed 27-of-37 passes for 230 yards and two TDs against the Lions after taking limited reps in practice, a scenario the team would be able to avoid this week with the veteran out of Missouri working with the first team all week. "I think that it could definitely help him out," Nagy told reporters of Daniel having a full week of practice. "If that's the route we end up going, he's going to get more reps versus what he went through (last week). That was hard. That was all mental. You go into the game and now we're expecting guys to be throwing great accurate passes all over the field, and I don't know if that's necessarily realistic." Tarik Cohen tied for the team lead with seven catches and had one TD reception from Daniels, but he was also part of a rushing attack that gained a season-low 38 yards on 15 carries.

ABOUT THE GIANTS (3-8): New York's game plan has revolved around an effort to limit the damage done by Bears linebacker Kahlil Mack, who made his presence felt against the Giants last year while still a member of the Oakland Raiders, recording a sack, a forced fumble and a recovery. "He's as good as advertised," rookie running back Saquon Barkley told the media of Mack. "The only thing I can say is he's good as advertised. He's probably the best defensive player in the league. He's an active player, he's big, fast, strong. He's everything you want in an outside linebacker." Barkley has 294 total yards and five TDs over the last two weeks and enters the week ranked fourth in the NFL with 829 yards on the ground.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. had 85 receiving yards last week to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth time in his five year career.

2. Trubisky was still not throwing in practice as of Thursday.

3. The Giants have won three of the last four meetings, including a pair at home.

PREDICTION: Bears 22, Giants 20
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#412705 - 12/01/18 12:14 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Denver Broncos have remained on the outer fringe of the postseason bubble with back-to-back wins over potential playoff teams while the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in the same location after dropping three straight games. The Broncos and Bengals bid to improve their standing at the other's expense on Sunday when they meet at Paul Brown Stadium.

"Right now we're 5-6. That's where we are," Denver coach Vance Joseph said. "... Most teams would lose their minds and not work hard, but we haven't done that so the reward for sticking together and having great chemistry is coming now." Joseph saw his bend-but-don't-break defense overcome 462 passing yards to Ben Roethlisberger in Sunday's 24-17 victory over Pittsburgh (as the Broncos were +3 point underdog at intertops), improving the Broncos to 2-1 in a dizzying three-game stretch that involved teams that had faced the Broncos with at least a five-game winning streak. While Denver emerged from its bye with promise, Cincinnati returned from its off week by surrendering 110 points with lopsided losses against New Orleans and Cleveland sandwiching a three-point setback at Baltimore. Adding injury to insult, backup Jeff Driskel will receive his first NFL start against the Broncos after fellow quarterback Andy Dalton sustained a season-ending thumb issue in Sunday's 35-20 setback to the Browns.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Broncos -4.5 O/U: 44

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (5-6): Case Keenum could pick up the pace after throwing for just 402 yards over his last two contests when he tests his mettle versus a Cincinnati defense that is hemorrhaging league-worst totals in points per game (31.5) and total yards (439.6). Trusted target Emmanuel Sanders found the end zone last week and has four touchdowns in his last two trips to the Queen City while speedy rookie Phillip Lindsay has five of his six rushing touchdowns in his last five outings. While the offense has shown signs of improvement, the generous defense has been gashed for 479 total yards in a 23-22 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 18 and 527 versus the Steelers. "The yardage, you have to kind of ignore it, and that's tough for us to do," Joseph said. "A thousand yards in two weeks for our defense, that's tough, but 19.5 (points allowed per game) and seven takeaways, you've got to take it and be happy about it, I guess, right?"

ABOUT THE BENGALS (5-6): Driskel, who is faster and more athletic than Dalton, passed for 155 yards and a touchdown as well as ran for a score after entering Sunday's game in the third quarter. The 25-year-old tossed a 28-yard scoring strike to Tyler Boyd in that stanza and likely will see the return on Sunday of seven-time Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Green, who has missed the last three games with a toe injury. "With this injury it just took time to heal," the 30-year-old Green said. "(And) me getting mentally ready to where I could go out there and play at a high level and not just be out there limping around." Joe Mixon erupted for 155 scrimmage yards (89 rushing, 66 receiving) versus the Browns and has totaled 664 and four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving) in six home games this season.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Cincinnati DE Carlos Dunlap, whose seven sacks are tied with DT Geno Atkins for the team lead, has seven sacks in his past four encounters with Denver.

2. Broncos LB Von Miller has collected 6.5 of his team-leading 11 sacks in his past six contests.

3. Cincinnati S Shawn Williams has recorded three of his club-best four interceptions in his last five games.

PREDICTION: Broncos 24, Bengals 20
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#412706 - 12/01/18 12:15 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Los Angeles Rams vs. Detroit Lions

The Los Angeles Rams can wrap up their second straight NFC West Division title and stay in the hunt for the top overall seed in the conference when they visit the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles, which won its first eight games behind a high-powered offense, is coming off a bye that followed a pulsating 54-51 win over Kansas City in Week 11.

With back-to-back road games at Detroit and Chicago on deck, the Rams are trying not to get too preoccupied with potential seeding for the postseason. "We've got to find a way to get better. Those good teams really do that," coach Sean McVay said. "You've got to continue to get better if you expect to compete, but for us, that focus is on the Detroit Lions this week." Detroit has seen its playoff hopes fizzle over the past five weeks, falling to 1-4 in that span after a 23-16 loss to the Bears (as a +3 point underdog at intertops) on Thanksgiving Day. "Certainly the Rams are not going to feel sorry for us," Lions coach Matt Patricia said. "We just have to make sure we do a good job of doing everything we can to try to stop them."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Rams -10 O/U: 54.5

ABOUT THE RAMS (10-1): Todd Gurley, who fell to second in the league in rushing during the bye week, was hindered by an ankle injury and had a season-low 12 carries against Kansas City but McVay said he had a great practice Wednesday. Jared Goff threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns in the shootout against the Chiefs and has 14 scoring passes against one interception over his past five games. Brandin Cooks has bounced back from a quiet three-game stretch with three consecutive 100-yard games, hauling in 24 receptions in that span. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh returns to the city where he began his career but Aaron Donald is a bigger threat with an NFL-high 14.5 sacks.

ABOUT THE LIONS (4-7): After years of having one of the league's worst rushing attacks, Detroit finally had established a solid ground game before rookie Kerryon Johnson suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for a second straight game. LeGarrette Blount was brought out of mothballs to fill in for Johnson on Thanksgiving and responded by rushing for a season-high 88 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Stafford has only three touchdown passes versus four interceptions over the past four games and is working with a depleted receiving corps led by Kenny Golladay. Nose tackle Damon Harrison has solidified a run defense that has yielded 148 yards in the last three games.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Cooks needs 36 yards to become the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards for three different teams in three straight seasons.

2. Stafford has 12 touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last four games games versus NFL West foes.

3. Gurley, who has an NFL-best 17 TDs, has scored in his last seven road games.

PREDICTION: Rams 34, Lions 20
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#412707 - 12/01/18 12:15 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers are hoping to take a big step forward by traveling the same path of the past. After running the table with six contests remaining in 2016, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and the rest of the Packers look to take the first step on a five-game journey when they host the sputtering Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

"I feel like we've been down this road before," Adams said. "In '16, when we had to win them and we made that happen. A lot of the same players in here, a lot of the guys who were here when that whole run-the-table thing was brought to the table." Rodgers has 20 touchdowns against one interception this season and Adams has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career and is on pace to break several franchise season records. Green Bay takes a 4-0-1 home mark into Sunday's meeting with Arizona, which hasn't defeated a team other than San Francisco this season and sustained its second 45-10 drubbing in five contests with last week's lackluster effort versus the Los Angeles Chargers (as a +14 point underdog at intertops). "Definitely was embarrassing, definitely not what we want," Cardinals coach Steve Wilks said. "This organization, that team in that locker room, those players and coaches, we got to do better."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Packers -14 O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE CARDINALS (2-9): Rookie Josh Rosen's growing pains continued on Sunday, as he threw for his fewest yards (105) in a start while tossing an interception for the 10th time in his last six outings. Rosen, who was the 10th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, fired a touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald for the fifth time in five games before the Chargers scored 45 straight points to send Arizona to its third straight loss. Fitzgerald has scored six times in five career encounters versus the Packers (including one postseason game) and resides one touchdown shy of Antonio Gates (116) for the most among active players and sixth place all-time. While those numbers are favorable, the Cardinals rank last in the NFL in total offense (232.5), passing yards (155.2), rushing yards (77.3) and points (14.1).

ABOUT THE PACKERS (4-6-1): Green Bay essentially has failed to play after halftime in each of its last two games, mustering just one field goal by Mason Crosby in a 27-24 setback versus Seattle on Nov. 15 and a 24-17 loss at Minnesota on Sunday night. "We've just been a one-half team this year," the 34-year-old Rodgers said. "We haven't put it together for four quarters. We've had a couple stretches where we had back-to-back good quarters in the first or second half and haven't done it in the other two. So it's execution; it's the little details." The little details include a 23.1 percent conversion rate on third down, seven sacks allowed and just eight first downs recorded in the second half. Tight end Jimmy Graham, who has been hampered by a broken thumb, has been limited to just four catches for 61 yards over his last three games.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Arizona LB Chandler Jones has recorded 4.5 of his team-leading 11 sacks in his last three games while DT Robert Nkemdiche collected a career-high 2.5 sacks last week.

2. Green Bay RB Aaron Jones has stepped up with 539 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving) in his past five games.

3. The Cardinals have won the last two encounters with the Packers overall, but have lost nine in a row at Green Bay (playoffs included).

PREDICTION: Packers 38, Cardinals 14
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#412708 - 12/01/18 12:16 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid is notoriously tough to beat following a bye week, and the Chiefs hope that trend holds true when they travel to face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Chiefs have won six of the past seven meetings with their longtime AFC West rivals, but they lost at Oakland last season.

Kansas City is coming off a bye following a wild 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11, which snapped the Chiefs' four-game winning streak. Reid's teams are 16-3 in games following a bye, and the Chiefs are a heavy favorite against an Oakland team that has struggled in the first season of coach Jon Gruden's comeback. After snapping a five-game skid with a 23-21 win at Arizona in Week 11, the Raiders' offense sputtered in a 34-17 loss at Baltimore last week (as the Raiders were +13 point underdog at intertops). It's the first of two meetings in a five-week span, as the teams will face off again in the regular-season finale Dec. 30 in Kansas City.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Kansas City -14.5 O/U: 55.5

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (9-2): Kansas City boasts one of the NFL's most exciting offenses thanks to second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has passed for 3,628 yards, leads the NFL in touchdown passes (37) and ranks second with a 117.9 quarterback rating. Mahomes is surrounded with weapons, including versatile running back Kareem Hunt and speedster Tyreek Hill, who had a career-high 215 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Rams. Kansas City's defense ranks 30th in the league, and the secondary is suspect, but the Chiefs have forced 17 turnovers, including at least one in eight straight games.

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (2-9): Oakland's offense has been abysmal of late, averaging only 279.1 total yards in the past seven games. The ground game that had started to come to life was limited to 67 rushing yards last week against the Ravens, and Derek Carr has not topped 300 yards passing since Week 4 against Cleveland -- and hasn't surpassed 250 yards since Week 5. The defense has been awful against the run, ranking last in the league and allowing 140 rushing yards or more eight times in 11 games and 200 or more three times.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Mahomes has averaged 348.5 passing yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in six road games this season.

2. Raiders DT Maurice Hurst, who has a team-high four sacks, is questionable with an ankle injury.

3. Chiefs DT Chris Jones has recorded a sack in seven straight games and has at least two sacks in the past two contests.

PREDICTION: Chiefs 34, Raiders 20
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#412709 - 12/01/18 12:16 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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New York Jets vs. Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans are going to have to take advantage of a stretch run filled with home games if they're to remain in the AFC playoff picture. Coming off damaging back-to-back road losses, the Titans begin that stretch Sunday when they host the sliding New York Jets.

Tennessee is 3-1 at home, including an impressive 34-10 triumph over New England on Nov. 11 that put the team at 5-4, and it plays four of its final five in downtown Nashville. "We get to go back to Nissan Stadium," cornerback Logan Ryan told reporters. "We have the pieces, and we know we are going back home and have to execute. Our season is on the line in a sense. We need to win this game. That's all that matters. You're going to see how much we care based on how we play. That's my mentality." The Jets have lost five straight by a combined score of 142-56, including last Sunday's 27-13 loss to the Patriots (as the Jets were +13 point underdog at intertops). Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold (foot) has practiced for the first time in weeks and could return for this one.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans -8 O/U: 40.5

ABOUT THE JETS (3-8): Josh McCown has completed just 54.4 percent of his passes with one touchdown and three interceptions in two games filling in for Darnold, and the veteran is also hampered by back and hand injuries. "I mean, yeah," Darnold told the media when asked if he's pushing to start this week. "I want to play really bad. But at the same time, I understand it's a process." The Jets lead the AFC with 17 interceptions -- including four by Darnold in his last game Nov. 4 at Miami -- and the passers get little support from a running game that has averaged 77.5 yards per game since its out-of-nowhere 323-yard effort in a win over Denver on Oct. 7.

ABOUT THE TITANS (5-6): With two home games in a span of five days (Jacksonville pays a visit Thursday night), Tennessee is eager to set a tone in front of the home fans. "The goal is you don't get down against the Jets," said coach Mike Vrabel, who saw his team start strong and never look back in the rout of the Patriots. "If we start fast, which I hope we do and continue on that path with a lead and try to keep it so we can control the game. We will try to start fast and execute early and play complementary. We have to play hard and give our fans something to cheer about." Of course, that didn't pay dividends when the Titans lost an early 10-0 lead in last week's 34-17 loss to Houston, a result that came in spite of Marcus Mariota completing 22-of-23 passes for 303 yards and two scores.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Mariota, who has been limited in practice due to a neck issue, was sacked 29 times over the last six games.

2. New York is 29th in the league with 199 passing yards per game. Tennessee is 30th (191).

3. The Jets have won seven of 10 meetings since the Tennessee franchise moved from Houston to Nashville prior to the 1997 season.

PREDICTION: Titans 27, Jets 16
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#412710 - 12/01/18 12:17 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Minnesota Vikings vs. New England Patriots


The New England Patriots are coasting to another division title but will be banking that a return to Gillette Stadium will help raise their game as they jockey for seeding in the AFC postseason race. The Patriots are a perfect 5-0 at home but will play in Foxborough, Mass., for the first time since Nov. 4 when they host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon.

New England came off its bye week and avoided a second straight loss by pulling away in the second half for a 27-13 victory at the New York Jets (as the Patriots were -13 point favorite at intertops), but the team expects a much stiffer challenge from Minnesota. "This has really been an impressive team to watch," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of the Vikings. "Looks like to me they're even better than they were last year. Really well coached defensively, as good as we'll face all year." Minnesota, which holds down the No. 5 seed in the NFC, shut down Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers last week and will look to do the same against another multiple MVP-winning quarterback in New England's Tom Brady. "You've got to give respect where respect's due," Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen said. "Five Super Bowl rings, they're in the playoffs every year and he's a large part in the team winning. He's the GOAT. We've got to go out there and play our best game to beat one of the best."

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Patriots -5 O/U: 49

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (6-4-1): Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs form one of the more lethal pass-catching tandems in the NFL, but Diggs did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, although he insisted he will play against the Patriots. Thielen is the NFL leader with 93 receptions and notched his ninth 100-yard game of the season after hauling in eight catches for 125 yards and a score against the Packers. Quarterback Kirk Cousins ranks fifth in the league with 3,289 yards to go with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but expect Minnesota to try to get its dormant running game untracked Sunday. The Vikings had four sacks last week but star cornerback Xavier Rhodes (hamstring) is questionable.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (8-3): New England slowly is getting healthy -- rookie running back Sony Michel returned in the week before the bye, tight end Rob Gronkowski was back last week and running back Rex Burkhead is expected to rejoin the lineup Sunday for the first time since Week 3. Brady posted his highest passer rating (115.4) of the season against the Jets, throwing for 283 yards with a pair of touchdowns and zero interceptions. Michel rushed for a season-high 133 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries while Gronkowski had three catches for 56 yards and scored for the first time since Week 1. The Patriots are vulnerable to the pass, ranking 25th with an average of 269.7 yards allowed.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Thielen needs seven catches to join Rod Smith and Wes Welker as the only undrafted players with 100 receptions.

2. Brady needs two TD passes to eclipse Peyton Manning (579) for the most in league history (playoffs included).

3. Diggs has 31 catches for 322 yards and three TDs in his last three games.

PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Vikings 23
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#412711 - 12/01/18 12:17 AM Re: NFL Week 13 [Re: FREAK]
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Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off what may have been a season-saving victory while the Washington Redskins are trying to shake off back-to-back losses that cost them the lead in the NFC East. As the division rivals prepare to clash on Monday night in Philadelphia, the Redskins will hold a one-game edge on the Eagles for the conference's sixth and final playoff slot.

Reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia appeared on the verge of absorbing a knockout blow last weekend before erasing an early 16-point deficit and rallying for a 25-22 victory over the New York Giants. "This was a big game for us," Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz said. "Obviously in terms of the division standings and all that fun stuff, but really mentally to show the resilience that we did. To get down early like we did, then to battle back, just really builds a lot of confidence." Washington is trying to maintain its confidence and a victory over Philadelphia could provide a huge boost in that department, particularly with the teams squaring off in the regular-season finale. "I think there should be a sense of urgency without a doubt," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "Anytime you can go on the road and get a key victory is very, very critical. It is also important for our confidence and our psyche down the stretch."

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Eagles -6.5. O/U: 45

ABOUT THE REDSKINS (6-5): Washington is hoping the additional time off will pay dividends for Colt McCoy, who had only three days to get ready for his first career start in four years after Alex Smith suffered a season-ending leg injury. McCoy, who was picked off three times in a 31-23 loss to division-leading Dallas on Thanksgiving, and the offense could receive a boost with the return of running back Chris Thompson, who practiced fully for the first time Friday since suffering broken ribs on Oct. 28. Thompson also would alleviate the workload on Adrian Peterson, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury. The Redskins were burned for a pair of long touchdown passes against the Cowboys.

ABOUT THE EAGLES (5-6): Wentz bounced back from a three-interception performance in a debacle at New Orleans by throwing for 238 yards and a touchdown in the comeback win over New York. Once again his favorite target was tight end Zach Ertz, who had seven catches for 91 yards and a score to boost his season totals to a career-best 84 receptions and 895 yards. Running back Josh Adams provided much needed balance to the offense and lifted a running game in dire need of a spark with 84 yards rushing on 22 carries -- both season highs -- while scoring for the second week in a row. Philadelphia held New York to three second-half points last week but ranks 28th against the pass (276.5 yards).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Wentz has six TD passes and two interceptions in a sweep of the Redskins last season.

2. Peterson needs two rushing touchdowns to move past Jim Brown (106) for fifth place on the all-time list.

3. Ertz has 59 receptions for 620 yards in 10 games against Washington.

PREDICTION: Eagles 25, Redskins 20
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