With all 32 NFL teams in action, there are sure to be some close games this Thanksgiving weekend.
Adding to the intensity, there are nine divisional matchups on the slate, and many of them have serious postseason implications. Let's take a look at the full schedule for Week 13 followed by some predictions of three road teams who could earn victories on the home turf of their division foes.
|NFL Week 13 Picks|
|Green Bay Packers||Detroit Lions||Lions|
|Oakland Raiders||Dallas Cowboys||Cowboys|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Baltimore Ravens||Ravens|
|Tennessee Titans||Indianapolis Colts||Titans|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Cleveland Browns||Browns|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Carolina Panthers||Panthers|
|Chicago Bears||Minnesota Vikings||Bears|
|New England Patriots||Houston Texans||Patriots|
|Arizona Cardinals||Philadelphia Eagles||Eagles|
|Miami Dolphins||New York Jets||Dolphins|
|Atlanta Falcons||Buffalo Bills||Bills|
|St. Louis Rams||San Francisco 49ers||49ers|
|Cincinnati Bengals||San Diego Chargers||Bengals|
|Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||Broncos|
|New York Giants||Washington Redskins||Giants|
|New Orleans Saints||Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks|
|Alex Espinoza's Picks|
Tennessee Titans (5-6) at Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
Don't look now, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the Titans into the AFC playoff pack. With their 23-19 road win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, the Titans became one of the six 5-6 teams in a tie for the second AFC wild-card spot.
The Colts, meanwhile, continued their run as one of this season's most enigmatic teams with last week's 40-11 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Indianapolis has marquee wins this year over high-profile teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, but consistency has eluded them all year.
The Titans looked poised for a victory when these two teams met a couple of weeks ago, but Andrew Luck engineered another second-half comeback, and the Colts pulled off a 30-27 victory. Once again, expect these two teams to have a close battle when they face off on Sunday.
Kendall Wright has emerged as Fitzpatrick's favorite target in recent weeks, while rookie receiver Justin Hunter and Delanie Walker have also been consistent options in the passing game.
Wright hauled in the game-winning touchdown in Oakland with 10 seconds left on the clock last week as part of his six-catch, 103-yard performance. In the past three weeks, Wright has 22 combined receptions for 261 yards and a touchdown while earning Fitzpatrick's trust.
But the running backs for both teams have struggled this year. Tennessee's Chris Johnson (705 yards, four TDs) has just one, 100-yard game this year and a 3.8 yards per carry average. Likewise, Trent Richardson hasn't been the impact player the Colts were hoping for when they acquired him via trade from the Cleveland Browns, carrying the ball 105 times for 287 yards (2.7 average) in nine contests with the team.
While Tennessee's offense appeared to turn a corner last week, the Colts are still battling themselves. With the development of the passing game under Fitzpatrick, the Titans are looking like a different team and could make the AFC South a whole lot more interesting.
Prediction: Titans win 24-20
Chicago Bears (6-5) at Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1)
On paper this may seem like a mismatch, but the clubs played to a 31-30 score in Week 2 with the Bears claiming a slim victory on a Jay Cutler touchdown pass.
But the quarterback has missed the past two contests with an ankle injury and isn't expected to play on Sunday, per Adam Schefter of ESPN:
As such, Josh McCown is expected to stay in at quarterback. As a starter, McCown is 2-1 with victories against the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens, while the team lost 42-21 against the St. Louis Rams last week. The Bears defense was gashed early by the Rams, with St. Louis claiming a 21-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the Vikings played to a 26-26 tie with the Green Bay Packers last week at Lambeau Field. Adrian Peterson led the way with a season-high 146 yards and his 10th score of the year, giving him 997 rushing yards, which ranks second only to LeSean McCoy (1,009).
The Bears offense has been hit or miss with McCown under center but should find room to move the ball against a porous Vikings defense that gives up a league-worst 31.5 points per game. Chicago had a tough time stopping anyone on the ground last week, though, allowing the Rams to rack up 258 rushing yards.
While Peterson is in line to have a big day on the ground, Chicago has a more well-rounded offense with weapons like Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett that will expose Minnesota in a victory.
Prediction: Bears win 28-24
New York Giants (4-7) at Washington Redskins (3-8)
Big Blue's defense has been the main reason behind the team's turnaround from an 0-6 start, but last week's 24-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys put a major damper on any playoff hopes for the Giants.
New York will have to win out to finish 9-7 and likely even have a chance at making the postseason, while the Redskins can't have a winning record no matter what they do.
After giving up 34.8 points per game in their first six losses of the year, the Giants have settled down on defense and allowed an average of 14.2 points in their past five. Offensively, quarterback Eli Manning has been pedestrian since Week 7 with five touchdowns and two interceptions, but that's a major improvement from when he threw nine touchdowns and 15 picks in the first six contests of the year.
In Washington, Robert Griffin III has been a lightning rod for conversation as he still seeks his first rushing touchdown of the year. Following a 27-6 win by his team on Monday night over RG3 and the Redskins, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks told JP Finlay of CSNWashington.com that he doesn't think Griffin should be playing after making a quick return from offseason knee surgery:
The Redskins have now lost three straight contests, and things are going south for Mike Shanahan's group. Even with their loss last week to Dallas, Tom Coughlin's Giants are in much better shape heading into the first meeting between these NFC East rivals.
Andre Brown has also come back from a preseason knee injury and added a big boost to the Giants offense with 308 rushing yards and a touchdown in the past three games. New York is poised for a solid offensive day against Washington's No. 31-ranked scoring defense (30.7 points allowed per game) in what should be a winning effort.
Prediction: Giants win 31-24
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