December football is officially underway. It starts with an intriguing NFC battle on Thursday night between two teams on cold streaks. This Sunday, there are a few matchups between NFL franchises in the playoff race headed into Week 13. Sunday and Monday night’s games are both divisional matchups between clubs right in the thick of things. The key aspects of each matchup on the schedule for this week are highlighted below.
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints
Each team in this game has struggled over the last month. That being said, both teams are still a in position to play in the postseason. For the Cowboys, getting Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb back will be crucial. Defensively, the Cowboys must have a bounce-back performance. Alvin Kamara making his return to the Saints’ offense makes a huge difference. They will need him to create big plays. The Saints’ defense can give the Cowboys’ offense some problems. In the end, the Cowboys will win by a touchdown.
New York Giants at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins enter this one as winners of four straight. They have played well defensively. On offense, Tua Tagovailoa has been very good. Jaylen Waddle had arguably his best game last week. Expect their connection to continue this game. For the Giants, their defense will have to play similar to how they did a week ago. Without Daniel Jones, it will be tough for them to move the football and score. The Dolphins will win by a touchdown.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
The Colts could not ask for a better opportunity to get back to their winning ways. After a tough loss at home last week, expect an obvious bounce back here. Jonathan Taylor should have a big game. Defensively, they should essentially shut the Texans’ offense out. The Texans did not play well at all a week ago. The Colts will win by two touchdowns.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Expect the Lions to have another tough outing. The Vikings have everything to play for the rest of the season. They should win this one in convincing fashion. Led by Kirk Cousins, Alexander Mattison, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen a ton of points should be scored against the Lions’ defense. Without D’Andre Swift, moving the football will be a challenge. The Vikings will win this one by at least 10.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets
The Jets are coming off a solid win last week. How they respond in this one will be worth noting as they have a young roster. After a disappointing loss, the Eagles need a win to remain in the playoff hunt. Jalen Hurts will have to win with his legs in this one. The Jets offense against the Eagles defense should be a fascinating back and forth, particularly in the trenches. Hopefully, big plays are made by Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore. The Eagles will win this game by one score.
Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears
Fresh off a bye, hopefully, the Cardinals are fully healthy and ready to take care of business in this one as they look to make a run. On both sides of the football, they are by far the better team in this matchup. Big plays from Kyler Murray in this game should come. The Cardinals’ defensive front should control things on that side of the ball against the Bears’ offensive line. The Cardinals will win this one by 10.
Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
One of the week’s more interesting AFC battles. The Bengals are on an impressive two-game winning streak entering this one. The Chargers have been inconsistent. Offensively, the Bengals should attain success. Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd will be too much for the Chargers struggling defense to slow down. It will be critical for Justin Herbert to make big plays and take care of the football to have a chance. The Bengals will win by one possession.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
An intriguing NFC South game is scheduled here. The Falcons have done a good job of getting themselves back in the mix. This is the ultimate test for them to show if they are real contenders. Matt Ryan and Cordarrelle Patterson can lead this offense to a good outing. What will be challenging is the Falcons defense slowing down the Buccaneers’ talented offense. The Tom Brady-led attack has picked it up the last two weeks. Anticipate another game with a lot of points. The Buccaneers will win by a touchdown.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Rams
After a winless month, the Rams could not ask for a better start to December. Playing at home against a struggling Jaguars team should lead to getting back in the win column. Darrell Henderson controlling this game will be key for the Rams. Defensively, the Rams have talent and have to play up to it. Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and Jalen Ramsey have to make impact plays in this one. Not allowing James Robinson to get going will be important. The Rams will win this game by at least 10.
Washington Football Team at Las Vegas Raiders
A very intriguing matchup here. Each team has kept itself in the playoff race with recent victories. In this one, both offenses could score a lot of points. Derek Carr has done a tremendous job of leading the Raiders offensive attack. Hopefully, Josh Jacobs can build on an encouraging performance from a week ago. Hunter Renfrow, DeSean Jackson, and Foster Moreau could all have opportunities to make big plays. For Washington, Taylor Heinicke continues to play well. Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic could control this one. Terry McLaurin should make an impact. Ultimately, Washington has a defense more trustworthy in this one and will win by a field goal.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
A classic AFC North rivalry to start December. Both teams have struggled as of late despite the Ravens’ 8-3 record. The Steelers defense has had some recent problems. Lamar Jackson should bounce back against them. Anticipate big plays from Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews against the Steelers pass defense. For the Steelers’ offense, big plays will be needed from their four young skill players to have a chance. Blocking the Ravens front could be tough. The Ravens will win this one by a score.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
The 49ers have done an impressive job putting themselves back in it. After a tough stretch, they find themselves currently as the sixth seed in the playoffs. Expect them to continue their winning ways in this one. Without Deebo Samuel, Elijah Mitchell will have to dominate in this one. Defensively, as long as the 49ers limit big plays they will be good. The 49ers will win by a touchdown.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
A Sunday night matchup between two AFC West teams with everything to play for. The Chiefs had their bye a week ago. For the Broncos, they enter this one coming off a very encouraging win. The Chiefs have done an impressive job of getting back to their winning ways as of late. Their offense and the Broncos’ defense could be a fun battle back and forth. Patrick Mahomes should still make big plays in this one. Look for the Chiefs’ defense to continue to build on their recent play against an inconsistent Broncos offense. At home, the Chiefs will win by one possession.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Week 13 wraps up with a terrific AFC East matchup. The Patriots are as hot as any team in the league. For the Bills, they bounced back with a convincing win and got a few extra days of rest heading into this big game. Running the football with Matt Breida will be crucial for the Bills. Hopefully, it can make things easier on their offensive line. Big games from Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Cole Beasley will be needed. For the Patriots, anticipate another stellar performance from Mac Jones and Kendrick Bourne along with the running game. Matt Judon should make his impact upfront. This game will be a close one that comes down to a few things. Ultimately, the Bills will win at home by a field goal.
Follow Ryan Moran on Twitter @_Ryan_Moran_
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images