NFL Predictions Week 13: Surprisingly Close Games You Can't Miss

Zach GillilandFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2013

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Although there are plenty of big games this Thanksgiving weekend, such as the Denver Broncos vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, there are other games you might not want to overlook just yet.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings will all bring close games to their opponents this weekend.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers

The Buccaneers were winless a few weeks ago, but they have now won three in a row. This week, they'll face off with the Carolina Panthers, a team that has put itself in the race for the NFC South and hopes to make a playoff run. 

This will be a close game because of the way Tampa Bay has played lately, led by quarterback Mike Glennon. Glennon has 13 touchdowns to just four interceptions this season. He has played beyond his years so far, and I expect him to build on his consistency this weekend.

The three wins the Bucs have were against pretty decent teams: the Dolphins, Falcons and Lions.

The Panthers will still get the win here, but they should be well aware of the Bucs. I see this game coming down to the final possession. No fan should be surprised to see an upset here if the Panthers aren't focused, though.




New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans

The Texans, who are 2-9 this season, will pull off the upset of the weekend against the New England Patriots

The Patriots are coming off an emotional win against the Broncos, so there is always the possibility of a hangover from that win Sunday night. 

Statistically speaking, the Patriots are 31st in rush defense.The inability to stop the run game will be a very important aspect of this game. The Texans have the opportunity to get a solid run game going with Ben Tate, which will later help set up some play-action passes. I look for the run game to be effective against an injury-depleted Patriots defense.

Also, at 2-9 the Texans have nothing to lose. Teams that have nothing to play for can be dangerous, and the Patriots will find that out this weekend.




Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings face off with the Chicago Bears this weekend in an important division game, and this will be another upset.

The Vikings will beat the Bears because of the run game. The Bears defense hasn't been good against the run this season, ranking last in rushing yards per game defensively. 

Adrian Peterson has to be smiling at that stat, and I expect the combination of Peterson and Toby Gerhart to be very effective. Gerhart provides a change of pace and will see a few carries, but I look for Peterson to carry the Vikes to victory Sunday.

With a run game established early, the Vikings will also be able to throw the ball down the field.



While many fans may overlook these games, Sunday will see two major upsets and a scare with the Carolina Panthers.