A grand total of seven games will be played between divisional foes in Week 13, and that sets this week up to have some games with major implications in divisional races.
The Chicago Bears are looking to keep pace with the Detroit Lions, who won on Thanksgiving, and the Bears will be looking to do so against the lowly Minnesota Vikings.
Another divisional matchup that will determine first place in the AFC West as well as the No. 1 seed for the time being will be the game between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
While the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles aren't in the same division, both teams are vying for the playoffs with the Eagles needing to keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys, who won on Thursday. The Cardinals can put some serious pressure on the San Francisco 49ers, who own the No. 6 seed and are tied with the Cardinals with a 7-4 record.
Let's go ahead and break down each of the important games and find out who will emerge victorious.
|Away||Home||Pick w/ Score|
|Miami||New York Jets||Miami 17-12|
|St. Louis||San Francisco||San Francisco 24-19|
|New York Giants||Washington||Redskins 28-20|
|Tampa Bay||Carolina||Carolina 21-14|
|New England||Houston||New England 31-17|
|Denver||Kansas City||Denver 31-21|
|Cincinnati||San Diego||San Diego 28-27|
|New Orleans||Seattle||Seattle 21-20|
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
For the second straight week, the Bears will be indoors and won't have to worry about weather against the Vikings, as was the case last week when the Bears offense compiled over 400 yards in total against the St. Louis Rams.
Quarterback Josh McCown was a stud in the Bears' Week 12 performance after throwing for 352 yards and a score. McCown will see a worse defense this week in Minnesota as the Vikings rank No. 29 against the pass.
To make matters worse for the Vikings, they can't even cheat against the air attack considering their run defense isn't much better as the No. 24 unit in football.
Who ya got?
There will be several ways for the Bears to attack the Vikings defense this week, and it remains to be seen if the Vikings have enough on offense to match their opponent.
Offensively, the Vikings have a golden opportunity to exploit a Bears run defense that ranks dead last in the NFL, although Adrian Peterson may not have as much success as one would imagine since the Bears can cheat against the ground game after not having to respect the No. 25 passing offense.
With little unpredictability in Minnesota's offense as a whole, Chicago should be able to do just enough to slow down the Vikings, which should lead to an easy victory for the Bears.
Prediction: Bears 27, Vikings 13
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles
Weather shouldn't be much of a factor in this game. Granted, it will be colder than what the team from Arizona is used to at home, but no snow is in the forecast and the temperature should be just a bit below 50 degrees.
Because of that, Arizona should be able to move the ball through the air, and quarterback Carson Palmer has been stellar the past two weeks with 733 yards through the air and four touchdowns to zero picks. Expect much of the same this week as the Eagles are allowing 300 yards per game against the pass, good enough for last in the NFL.
Who ya got?
With the passing game established, the Cardinals will be able to pound the rock with plenty of space to work with as Philadelphia tries its best to stop the pass by adding extra defenders in coverage.
Philly's bread and butter on offense, its rushing attack (No. 2 in NFL), will have plenty of issues getting anything going against Arizona's second-best run defense. That will leave the game on the back of quarterback Nick Foles, whose best receiver, DeSean Jackson, will have an unfavorable matchup down field against No. 1 cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Such a scenario will create a problem for the Eagles as they won't enjoy double coverage on their top receiver, which won't leave much room for anyone else in the receiving corps to have a big day, and Philly's offense will struggle as a result.
Prediction: Cardinals 24, Eagles 14
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
If the weather was set to be blistery on Sunday, it would be an easy pick to take the Chiefs after Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning struggled mightily against the New England Patriots in bad conditions last week.
But things are looking up for Denver on the road as the temperature should be above 50 degrees and favorable for the Broncos' top-flight air attack. In Week 11 against the Chiefs, Manning threw for 323 yards and a score.
Kansas City will be forced to send extra defenders into coverage, and that will open things up for the Broncos' ground game. Sure, KC does have a great pass rush, but it didn't work so well last time around as the Chiefs failed to record a single sack or even a QB hit in the game, which is the best way to rattle and beat Manning.
Who ya got?
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith can manage the game all he wants, but the bottom line is that he will need to do much more against the Broncos' top-ranked scoring offense. Also, Denver doesn't have to fear Kansas City through the air with the No. 26-ranked passing offense, so stopping the Chiefs' go-to guy, running back Jamaal Charles, should be easier as the Broncos own the No. 5 run defense in football.
Even if the Chiefs can break through and score some points vs. the Broncos, conditions are ideal for Manning and Co. in this game, and they should supply plenty of offense to top the Chiefs.
Prediction: Broncos 31, Chiefs 21