If you like upsets in the NFL, then Week 13's slate of games is for you. There are multiple opportunities for lesser teams to surprise some of the NFL's playoff contenders.
On Thanksgiving day, it appeared as if the Oakland Raiders would kick off Week 13 with an upset of their own against the Dallas Cowboys. The second half was all Cowboys, however, and Oakland eventually fell by a score of 31-24.
Some would consider the Baltimore Ravens defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers an upset, though both teams entered the game at 5-6. The Steelers were riding a winning streak entering play, and they appeared to have the advantage heading in. Even still, Baltimore was able to win 22-20.
Week 13 still has plenty of other upset opportunities left, and these games will likely be some of the most exciting of the weekend.
The 7-4 Cincinnati Bengals will travel to the West Coast to take on the 5-6 San Diego Chargers on Sunday, and this game really could go either way. Sure, Cincinnati is on its way to establishing itself as a top AFC contender, but the Chargers have been playing great football lately.
They defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 41-38 just a week ago, and putting up 41 points against the NFL's top defense is very impressive. Philip Rivers and Danny Woodhead picked apart the Chiefs, and I expect them to do the same against the Bengals.
This game really comes down to how well the Chargers defense can stack up against the Bengals offense. The Chargers may have put up 41 points on K.C., but they also allowed 38 to an offense that hasn't put up big numbers this season.
Cincinnati's offense is a bit more explosive, and San Diego will need to throw two defenders on A.J. Green at all times. If the Chargers can contain him, then they'll be on their way to victory.
The Bengals can't afford to lose while in the thick of a playoff race, but the Chargers will give them a real challenge. San Diego will win, 31-21.
San Francisco 49ers
The 7-4 San Francisco 49ers host the 5-6 St. Louis Rams in Week 13, and the Rams are in a great position to pull off the upset. They are on a mini two-game winning streak, with the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears falling victim to them.
The Rams were deemed dead in the water when Sam Bradford went down for the season, but Kellen Clemons has stepped up big time in his absence. The emergence of Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham in the backfield has also helped.
San Francisco is coming off a decisive 27-6 victory over the lowly Washington Redskins, and Colin Kaepernick is hitting his stride under center after starting the season out slowly. The Rams have a ton of momentum heading into this one, though, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they shocked the Niners.
Defensively, San Francisco will have to focus on the running game, but be prepared for Clemens to go over the top of the defense to Tavon Austin. This formula has worked for the Rams recently, and they'll enact the same strategy against the Niners.
St. Louis will win, 24-20, but it won't be easy against the tough San Francisco defense.
The Colts are not playing good football right now. Their season has been as up and down as that of any other team in the league, but they're unfortunately on the "down" right now.
They've lost two of their last three games, one of which was a 40-11 beatdown at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12. Two weeks prior, they lost to the Rams 38-8. Sandwiched in between was a 30-27 win over the Tennessee Titans, the same team they face on Sunday.
Both the offense and the defense are struggling for Indy, and the Titans put up a good fight against them in Week 11. This adds up to danger for the Colts, and they simply cannot afford another loss this late in the season.
Such a young team needs to learn how to play in pressure-filled games, and this week's game qualifies as such. If the Titans come out of the gate strong, I wouldn't be surprised if the Colts look deflated on both sides of the football.
It will be another close game between these two teams, but with the opposite result of Week 11. Tennessee will win, 27-23.