NFL Week 13 Picks, Predictions: Ravens, Redskins toughen up for edgy wins

Photo: Keith Allison via Flickr.com

Photo: Keith Allison via Flickr.com


Thursday, Dec. 1

Dallas Cowboys (10-1) at Minnesota Vikings (6-5)

The Cowboys are going to lose again at some point this season… right?

If they lean on Dak Prescott in this game too much, they might because Minnesota’s secondary is among the league’s best — but the Vikings run defense is not.

Ezekiel Elliott has a chance to rush for his sixth 100-yard game against Minnesota’s No. 14-ranked rush defense and the Vikings don’t have many offensive weapons to counter, having scored only 19.8 points per game to this point in the season.

Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 29-20


Sunday, Dec. 4

Denver Broncos (7-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

After falling to the Chiefs at home last weekend, the Broncos are in danger of missing their first postseason since 2010.

The Jaguars haven’t been particularly good this season, but Denver’s Trevor Siemian is questionable to play with a foot sprain.

Still, Denver’s defense ranks in the top-5 in most major categories while the Jaguars offense is in the league’s bottom-third in most offensive categories.

Q’s Pick: Broncos, 27-17


Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) at Atlanta Falcons (7-4)

The Chiefs offense stood tall in the Mile High City last weekend behind an outbreak performance by Tyreek Hill, who became the first person in half a century to record a rushing, receiving, and returned touchdown in the same game.

Now the Chiefs must visit Matt Ryan‘s high-flying pass offense which put up 38 points against the best secondary in the league last weekend and which remains one of only three in the league that averages more than 300 yards per game through the air.

Kansas City’s defense has been as mysterious as it has been brilliant. They allow the 28th-most yards per game but give up the 8th-fewest points.

Atlanta’s defense hasn’t been nearly as impressive. Expect a shootout.

Q’s Pick: Falcons, 30-28


Houston Texans (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (5-6)

The Packers defense finally got back on track last weekend, allowing 13 points, their fewest since Oct. 20.

They now get to face a struggling Brock Osweiler, who’s 195.9 passing yards per game are the second-fewest in the league.

Aaron Rodgers should continue to produce, especially in front of his home fans, which the Packers haven’t played in front of in a month.

Q’s Pick: Packers, 24-20


Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)

Carson Wentz and the Eagles were outplayed last weekend but they now face an offense that is not on the same level as the Packers.

Led by Andy Dalton, Cincinatti only scores 19.4 points per game and hasn’t topped 20 in a month.

Philly’s secondary is also just outside the top-1o in terms of yards allowed so they have the advantage in most categories in this one.

Q’s Pick: Eagles, 27-22


Detroit Lions (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)

The Lions have trailed in the fourth quarter in every game this season, but somehow turned the majority of those games into wins.

That could be viewed as a good or bad, but one really bad thing for the Lions is they will need to figure out how to contain Drew Brees‘ No. 1-ranked offense this weekend.

Detroit’s defense is relatively average and even though they have shutdown their last few opponents, they haven’t faced an offense like New Orleans’.

 Q’s Pick: Saints, 31-23


San Francisco 49ers (1-10) at Chicago Bears (2-9)

While the college football realm prepares for bowl season, these teams should give us a bowl game of their own — the Toilet Bowl.

Alright, that’s a little harsh and probably unfair. Actually both of these teams are better than their records indicate.

The 49ers have given the Cardinals and Dolphins good games and the Bears have played the Giants and Titans tough — but neither team has much to show for it.

I’ll go with the Bears in this one only because their defense is much better and they are at home. And that being said, the 49ers may make me regret it.

 Q’s Pick: Bears, 26-17


Los Angeles Rams (4-7) at New England Patriots (9-2)

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are still banged up, but the Patriots are a far superior team than most in the NFL and the Rams are no different.

Jared Goff looked really good last weekend against the Saints, but now he’s facing a much stiffer opponent and will need some real magic to lead an upset.

New England won’t take the Rams lightly, but they shouldn’t have too much issue in the win.

Q’s Pick: Patriots, 31-20


Miami Dolphins (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)

The Dolphins have now rattled off six-straight wins to earn a spot in the playoff race, but the Ravens represent a serious heat check in the Northeast.

Baltimore’s defense allows the second-fewest total yards per game and have allowed 14 points or fewer in three of their last four games.

The Ravens offense is fairly average but so is Miami’s defense so the game will be decided with the other units on the field.

Q’s Pick: Ravens, 23-17


Buffalo Bills (6-5) at Oakland Raiders (9-2)

The Raiders have joined the Cowboys in the “they’re for real” conversation.

Led by Derek Carr, Oakland has the fourth-best passing game in the league and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.

But the Bills can expose Oakland if they can get their No. 1-ranked run offense going. You read that right, LeSean McCoy is the reason Buffalo averages a yard more per game on the ground than Dallas does.

Oakland’s defense has been a little better lately but they still aren’t great, making an upset possible.

Q’s Pick: Raiders, 31-27


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (5-6)

The Buccaneers absolutely shut down the Seahawks last weekend, allowing only five points, but now their test is a Chargers offense averaging 28.5 points per game.

The Bucs have moved over .500 by beating Seattle and the Chiefs in consecutive weeks, so their resume looks good, but I’m not yet convinced they can do it three weeks in a row.

Philip Rivers and the offense are ready to score points and they do a lot of that at home.

 Q’s Pick: Chargers, 30-23


Washington Redskins (6-4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)

The Redskins have quietly developed one of the most efficient offenses in the league, led by Kirk Cousins and Jamison Crowder.

That makes things interesting against the league’s leading secondary who will be playing host to this game.

The Cardinals may be able to stop Washington on defense but they don’t have nearly as many offensive weapons to consistently keep up if the Redskins start posting major points.

Q’s Pick: Redskins, 27-22


New York Giants (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)

The Steelers are on the bubble for a playoff spot so they still have a lot to play for.

Ben Roethlisberger is continuing to have a great season and Antonio Brown is fresh off his first-career three-touchdown performance.

The Giants aren’t as good as their record indicates and Pittsburgh should be able to expose that on Sunday.

 Q’s Pick: Steelers, 30-24


Carolina Panthers (4-7) at Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)

The Panthers played really well last weekend and the Seahawks didn’t.

The problem for Carolina is that the Seahawks are really good in primetime games — in fact, they hold a 17-3-1 record in primetime games under Pete Carroll.

The Seahawks should win the NFC West and currently hold a comfortable lead, but they would like a more padded lead and avenging last year’s loss at home to the NFC champion Panthers should do the trick.

Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 24-20


Monday, Dec. 5

Indianapolis Colts (5-6) at New York Jets (3-8)

The Colts are getting Andrew Luck back this week after he missed a game with a concussion, and that should be more than enough for Indy to celebrate.

They are also more rested than the Jets after getting to play on Thanksgiving, and have more weapons than the Jets do.

New York can keep things close by utilizing the fourth-best run defense in the league, but the Colts don’t really run the ball.

The bigger question for the Jets is if they can stop Luck.

 Q’s Pick: Colts, 29-20


Last Week’s Record: 11-5

Season Record: 112-63-2


** Bye Week: Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans

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