Week 13 will feature a few of the biggest games of the 2013 NFL season, and the Denver Broncos are one of the teams that will win this weekend's most important matchups.
The past few weeks have had several key games with serious playoff implications. The top teams have gone head-to-head, but this week will be even more crucial. Home-field advantage is on the line in both conferences.
The Denver Broncos have played in big games each of the last two weeks. They will travel to Arrowhead Stadium to wrap up a difficult three-week stretch. The Seattle Seahawks will look to keep a 13-game home winning streak going as they host the New Orleans Saints.
After this week is over, the playoff picture will be a little bit clearer.
Below is a look at the Week 13 schedule and a preview of the weekend's biggest games.
|Nov. 28||12:30 p.m.||Green Bay Packers||Detroit Lions||Lions|
|Nov. 28||4:30 p.m.||Oakland Raiders||Dallas Cowboys||Cowboys|
|Nov. 28||8:30 p.m.||Pittsburgh Steelers||Baltimore Ravens||Ravens|
|Dec. 1||1 p.m.||Tennessee Titans||Indianapolis Colts||Colts|
|Dec. 1||1 p.m.||Jacksonville Jaguars||Cleveland Browns||Browns|
|Dec. 1||1 p.m.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Carolina Panthers||Panthers|
|Dec. 1||1 p.m.||Chicago Bears||Minnesota Vikings||Bears|
|Dec. 1||1 p.m.||New England Patriots||Houston Texans||Patriots|
|Dec. 1||1 p.m.||Arizona Cardinals||Philadelphia Eagles||Cardinals|
|Dec. 1||1 p.m.||Miami Dolphins||New York Jets||Dolphins|
|Dec. 1||4:05 p.m.||Atlanta Falcons||Buffalo Bills||Falcons|
|Dec. 1||4:05 p.m.||St. Louis Rams||San Francisco 49ers||49ers|
|Dec. 1||4:25 p.m.||Cincinnati Bengals||San Diego Chargers||Bengals|
|Dec. 1||4:25 p.m.||Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||Broncos|
|Dec. 1||8:30 p.m.||New York Giants||Washington Redskins||Giants|
|Dec. 2||8:40 p.m.||New Orleans Saints||Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks|
Arizona Cardinals (7-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-5)
In the preseason, both of these teams were overlooked by many. Now, the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles will be battling in Week 13 as they look to make the postseason.
Arizona has caught fire and is currently riding a four-game winning streak, which has put it in a tie for second in the NFC West. The Cardinals are averaging 30.3 points during their winning streak, and they have allowed more than 14 points only once during the streak.
Will either of these teams make the playoffs in 2013?
The biggest reason for the turnaround has been the play of quarterback Carson Palmer. He threw 13 interceptions in the first seven games, but he has settled into the offense now. He has eight touchdowns to only two interceptions in the last four games. In the last two games, he has thrown for 733 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are also playing good football. They are averaging 33.3 points per game during a three-game winning streak. Their bye week came as they were heating up, but it did give them an extra week to prepare.
There are a few troubling signs for Philadelphia. The Eagles rank 32nd against the pass by allowing 300 yards through the air. They have also lost 10 of their last 11 games in Philadelphia, but they did win their last one.
This could turn into a shootout. Arizona put a beating on the Indianapolis Colts last week, and it will carry the momentum over into this week. The Cardinals have a stronger defense and the better quarterback, so look for them to continue their surge.
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 31 - Philadelphia Eagles 21
Denver Broncos (9-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)
This meeting doesn't have the same hype as it did two weeks ago, as both teams now have two losses, but this AFC West showdown is more important this time around. The winner of this clash will control its own destiny and have the inside track for home-field advantage in the AFC.
In Week 11, everyone wanted to know if Denver's offense was good enough to score against Kansas City's defense. The Broncos answered that early by jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
Who wins this AFC West showdown?
Peyton Manning threw for 323 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He wasn't sacked, as the Chiefs had a hard time even getting to him.
Kansas City's defense struggled against Denver, but it could have an even tougher time if it has to play without some key players. Adam Teicher of ESPN.com reported that linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are uncertain for this weekend.
Denver leads the league in scoring with 39 points per game, and it has scored at least 27 points in every game. Kansas City's defense is tied for second in the NFL, allowing only 16.3 points per game, but it has allowed 68 points over the last two games. To put that in perspective, the Chiefs had allowed 70 points in their previous five games.
The Chiefs defense has been exposed against strong offenses the past two weeks, and injuries to key players won't help. Look for the Chiefs to struggle on defense again this week.
Prediction: Denver Broncos 31 - Kansas City Chiefs 17
New Orleans Saints (9-2) at Seattle Seahawks (10-1)
Seattle will host New Orleans on Monday Night Football in what could turn into the NFL's biggest game of the year. Whichever team wins this game will be able to control its own destiny in terms of home-field advantage. Given how dominant both teams are at home, it's going to be a huge game.
The Saints are 6-0 in the Superdome this season, but they are just 3-2 away from home. The Seahawks have won 13 straight, including five this season, in Seattle. Right away, it looks like the Seahawks have the edge.
Who will win this game?
New Orleans is simply a different team on the road. The Saints have averaged 33.2 points at home but only 21.2 points on the road. They haven't scored more than 20 points away from the Superdome since early October.
Quarterback Drew Brees has thrown nine touchdowns to five interceptions in five road games this season. He has 19 touchdowns to only three interceptions in six games at home in 2013.
Seattle has averaged 32.4 points per game at home this season. The Seahawks have won by an average of 17 points per game in Seattle, so they usually win with ease.
Like the Denver-Kansas City matchup, this showdown will be a clash of offense vs. defense. The offensive power will be on the road in a tough environment.
Seattle doesn't lose at home, and its scoring defense is tied with Kansas City for second at 16.3 points per game. This game should be tight, but the home team will find a way to win.
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 24 - New Orleans Saints 21
*All stats are via NFL.com