When an NFL team loses at home, it's like getting kicked in the stomach by your mother. Even if you are a bad team, holding your home turf is something that everyone takes pride in.
Unfortunately, the NFL is not a fair and just game. The best teams in the league are capable of taking care of business wherever they go, but everyone else is left to scratch and claw for anything they can.
Week 13 of this particular NFL season is going to provide a lot of high drama, particularly with the playoffs just a month away, but it is going to be these home favorites who are left kicking and screaming to figure out what went wrong.
Odds courtesy of Bovada
Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions (-4.5)
When history looks back at the 2012 Detroit Lions, odds are good the epitaph will read something along the lines of "Incredibly talented but extraordinarily undisciplined."
The Lions should, at the very least, be competing for a playoff spot. They have the No. 1 passing offense in the NFL, a quarterback who might have the strongest arm in the league, the best receiver in the sport and loads of talent on the defensive line.
Yet, for reasons that scream of immature and poor coaching, the Lions find themselves at 4-7 heading into a showdown against the surprising 7-4 Indianapolis Colts.
This is the kind of game the Lions should dominate. The Colts are a team built on speed, while the Lions have more power. The Colts have struggled away from home, while the Lions just scored 31 points against one of the top defenses in the league last week.
Nothing about this Lions team has been conventional. Matthew Stafford has no idea where he is putting his arm when he winds up to throw. Ndamukong Suh's legs flail about as if independent from his body as he goes to the ground. The running game leaves a lot to be desired.
The Colts, meanwhile, just keep taking care of business. It may not always be pretty, but there is something to be said about a team that just goes out, does what needs to be done and goes home.
Colts 27, Lions 23
Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills (-6)
This is going to be one of those bowling-shoe ugly kinda games. The Jaguars may have found something with Chad Henne at quarterback. His performance against Houston was great, though the fact he completed less than 50 percent of his passes in that game had me nervous.
Then Henne goes out and throws for 261 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against Tennessee to keep the momentum going.
The Bills are a lost ship right now. They have lost six of their last eight games, but at least they have C.J. Spiller, who at least makes them watchable.
Even if you take the Jaguars out of their comfort zone and into the ice-cold temperatures of Buffalo, I have a hard time not thinking they are a better team than the Bills right now. The Bills' lack of size and strength on the defensive line will help the Jaguars' stagnant running game get going.
Jaguars 23, Bills 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos (-7)
In many ways, these two teams mirror each other a lot more than it might appear. While the Buccaneers had to start over with a new head coach, the Broncos had to start over with a new quarterback.
It took a few weeks for things to click—the Broncos did reach their peak faster, but both seem likely to make the playoffs, based on their current trajectory—and now that it has, they are incredibly fun to watch.
The Buccaneers are at a distinct disadvantage in this game because of their pass defense, which ranks last in the NFL at nearly 316 yards per game. However, the resurgence of Josh Freeman, who has thrown 14 touchdowns against just two interceptions in the last six weeks, gives them more than enough offense to offset what they lack on defense.
The Broncos are in search of a running game with Willis McGahee done for the season, which doesn't bode well going up against Tampa Bay's top-ranked run defense.
Obviously, the Buccaneers need to win this game more than Denver does. The Broncos need to save face after a very lackluster showing against Kansas City last week.
In the duel of the quarterbacks, Peyton Manning would normally get the nod, but right now, it is hard not to love what Josh Freeman is doing. Either way, this game will be close to the end.
Bucs 30, Broncos 27