The Kansas City Chiefs are back in business after their bye week, and the Oakland Raiders are not likely to put up much resistance.
Actually, if there were any game in which the Raiders were likely to come with their maximum effort, it's this one. The rivalry between the teams goes back to the 1960s and the American Football League, when they went after each other with a viciousness that equaled anything seen at the professional level.
Oakland head coach Jon Gruden has not seen many things go his way during his return to the Raiders and the NFL, but he should be able to motivate his players for this game.
However, Kansas City head coach Andy Reid will find a way to get his team to play at an equally emotional level, and there is little doubt that Kansas City has superior personnel and will find a way to assert itself at several points during this game.
Patrick Mahomes is an MVP candidate who is completing 67.5 percent of his passes while averaging nearly 330 yards per game. Mahomes leads the league with 37 touchdown passes, and while he has thrown 10 interceptions, his ability to buy time makes him perhaps the most dangerous quarterback in the league.
Kareem Hunt is one of the elite running backs in the league, and he will do as much damage as a receiver as he does as a runner. He has run for 824 yards and seven touchdowns, and he also has seven TDs as a receiver. Tyreek Hill is the fastest receiver in the league, and he is likely to get the ball when Mahomes starts scrambling.
If that weren't enough, the Chiefs have the best tight end in the league in Travis Kelce. He is hungry, powerful and loves to make highlight-reel plays.
Derek Carr was one of the brightest quarterbacks in the league two years ago, but that is no longer the case, and Gruden may want to go in a different direction in the offseason. The running game has been disappointing, with Doug Martin getting most of the carries.
Jared Cook is a solid contributor at tight end, and running back Jalen Richard can catch the ball out of the backfield. However, former Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson leads the wideouts with 353 receiving yards, and that's pitiful at this point in the year.
The Chiefs are 15-point favorites, per OddsShark, and they should be able to win and cover. The Raiders could score early and get a late touchdown to make the score closer, but the rest of the game belongs to Kansas City.
Week 13 Matchups, Point Spreads and Predictions
New Orleans (-7.5) at Dallas; New Orleans 32, Dallas 17
Arizona at Green Bay (-14); Green Bay 31, Arizona 10
Cleveland at Houston (-6); Houston 27, Cleveland 17
Baltimore at Atlanta (-1); Atlanta 28, Baltimore 27
Carolina (-3.5) at Tampa Bay; Carolina 31, Tampa Bay 23
Chicago (NL) at N.Y. Giants; Chicago 24, N.Y. Giants 10
Buffalo at Miami (-4.5); Buffalo 17, Miami 13
Denver (-5) at Cincinnati; Denver 20, Cincinnati 17
L.A. Rams (-10) at Detroit; L.A. Rams 33, Detroit 16
Indianapolis (-4) at Jacksonville; Jacksonville 23, Indianapolis 20
Kansas City (-15) at Oakland; Kansas City 38, Oakland 20
N.Y. Jets at Tennessee (-7.5); N.Y. Jets 20, Tennessee 14
Minnesota at New England (-5); New England 23, Minnesota 20
San Francisco at Seattle (-10); Seattle 28, San Francisco 14
L.A. Chargers at Pittsburgh (-3.5); L.A. Chargers 35, Pittsburgh 33
Washington at Philadelphia (-6.5); Philadelphia 23, Washington 20
Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
While the Chiefs have been the top team in the AFC since the start of the year, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Pittsburgh Steelers were putting pressure on them as they both surged in October and November after less-than-stellar starts.
However, both have teams hit deep potholes in recent weeks, as they suffered shocking losses in back-to-back weeks to the Denver Broncos.
The Chargers suffered their loss to Denver in Week 11 and bounced back with a 45-10 demolition of the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12, while the Steelers suffered their defeat in Denver in Week 12.
Both of these teams have explosive offensive talent, and Philip Rivers of the Chargers is coming off a record-setting performance in which he completed 28 of 29 passes for 259 yards with three touchdowns. He is completing 69.5 percent of his passes and has a 26-6 TD-interception ratio.
Melvin Gordon (knee) is one of the top running backs in the league, but he is not likely to play. As a result, Austin Ekeler becomes the main main in the running game. Ekeler has gained 409 yards and has a 5.8 yards per carry average.
Keenan Allen is one of the best receivers in the league, and he has caught 69 passes for 848 yards and four TDs. Tyrell Williams, meanwhile, is also doing a superb job as the No. 2 receiver.
While the Chargers come with a dangerous attack, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers don't have to take a back seat.
They struggled against the Broncos, but they return home here and have the best receiver in the game in Antonio Brown. He has had better numbers in previous seasons, but he still has 71 receptions for 874 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is most dangerous when the game is on the line.
JuJu Smith-Schuster leads the Steelers with 77 catches for 1,055 yards and four TDs, and running back James Conner has gained 849 yards.
While the Steelers should play a better game than they did against the Broncos, there may be no stopping Rivers.
We like the underdog Chargers to come into Heinz Field and get the win.
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have fallen badly, and they are showing no signs of being able to get up.
They dropped a 35-20 decision at home to the Cleveland Browns, and that does not happen unless a team has major problems.
Cincinnati was a 1.5-point favorite when the Week 13 point spreads were announced, but the line has soared in the opposite direction, with the Broncos now five-point favorites—and that could go even higher.
We've already discussed Denver's back-to-back victories over the Chargers and Steelers, and quarterback Case Keenum deserves credit and quite a bit of respect. Prior to helping the Broncos turn things around after a slow start, he led the Minnesota Vikings to a playoff win and the NFC title game last year.
The Broncos are in contention for a playoff spot and they are surging under head coach Vance Joseph. Denver has an explosive running back in Phillip Lindsay, with 780 yards and a 5.8 yards per carry mark, and Emmanuel Sanders is still a solid contributor at wide receiver.
Still, the Broncos are dependent on their pass rush. The combination of outside linebackers Von Miller (11.0 sacks) and rookie Bradley Chubb (9.0 sacks) makes them dangerous and should allow them to dominate in this game.
Denver wins and covers with ease.