Steve Believes: Week 13, 2018 NFL Season

  • New Orleans Saints Vs. Dallas Cowboys. Both these teams play for the second Thursday in a row, with the Saints beating the Atlanta Falcons for their league-high tenth win in a row, while the Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins to make it three in a row. The Cowboys are heavy underdogs in this one and almost always rise to the challenge while being in that role. However, I don’t think they have enough firepower to go score-for-score with the Saints. So with that being said, I like the Saints to make it 11 in a row.
  • Baltimore Ravens Vs. Atlanta Falcons. The Ravens are 2-0 coming out of their bye week, but both those wins were at home. This week, they travel to Atlanta to take on a Falcons team that’s mathematically still alive in the playoff hunt and is desperate to remain that way. The Falcons last played on Thanksgiving, so the extra rest will work to their advantage and will result in them pulling off the upset.
  • Denver Broncos Vs. Cincinnati Bengals. The Broncos beat two of the better teams coming out of their bye week, as they first beat the Los Angeles Chargers on the road with a 34-yard buzzer beating field goal by Brandon McManus and then ended any hopes of a Pittsburgh Steelers comeback, thanks to 290-pound Shelby Harris picking off Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone. Now they take on a Bengals team that has looked absolutely lousy coming out of their respective bye week, as they have lost three in a row. They’re minus Andy Dalton for the season and have lost three of their past four at Paul Brown Stadium. Make it four in a row and four of their past five, because Von Miller & Company will make life rough for Jeff Driskel and Phillip Lindsay will run wild against a porous Bengals run defense. Denver to make it three in a row.
  • Los Angeles Rams Vs. Detroit Lions. The last time we saw the Rams, they survived both a Patrick Mahomes touchdown barrage and a Chris Jones-led sack party to win 54-51 against the Kansas City Chiefs. As for the Lions, they almost beat the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving, but were done in by two back-breaking interceptions thrown by Matthew Stafford. This is a potential trap game for the Rams, as they play the Chicago Bears the following week. So because of that and the Lions’ ability to pull off upsets this season, I think the Rams get caught in the aforementioned trap. I like the Lions in an upset.
  • Arizona Cardinals Vs. Green Bay Packers. This game marks the first meeting between these two teams since that wild playoff game with the double Hail Mary and Larry Fitzgerald’s overtime heroics. However, there are no playoff implications in this one, as the Cardinals are 2-9 this season, while the Packers are in the crowded category of “In The Hunt”. Chandler Jones & Company will keep this game competitive in the early stages, but the Packers will slowly pull away to keep themselves mathematically alive in the playoff hunt for at least another week.
  • Buffalo Bills Vs. Miami Dolphins. This game marks a matchup of two teams going in opposite directions, with the Bills winning two in a row to get to a respectable record of 4-7, while the Dolphins are 2-6 following a 3-0 start this season. This game could make or break Miami’s season. And because of that factor, I like them in a close one.
  • Chicago Bears Vs. New York Giants. The Bears survived a bit of a rough patch in their schedule, as they were the first team in NFL history to play on Thanksgiving following a Sunday Night game. As for the Giants, their loss last week at Philadelphia makes their road to the playoffs even more difficult. Given how the Bears play the Rams next week in primetime, this could be a potential trap game for them. Will I double down on trap game upsets, as I picked the Lions over the Rams this week? I’m tempted to say yes, but I honestly don’t see the Giants offense lighting up Khalil Mack & Company. So with that being said, I like the Bears to squeak by.
  • Carolina Panthers Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Following a 6-2 start, the Panthers have lost three in a row and are currently not in the top six for the NFC playoff picture. As for the Buccaneers, they play well when no one expects them to and play bad when everyone expects them to play well. The unpredictability of the Super Bowl 37 champions could be reason enough for me to call an upset here. However, I expect the Panthers to use their three-game losing streak as a wake-up call to get back on track this week.
  • Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. Of all the Week 13 matchups, this one is features two teams that are total opposites, with the Colts winning five in a row following a 1-5 start, while the Jaguars have now lost seven in a row following a 3-1 start. I’m tempted to pick the Jaguars in an upset, but I just don’t see their inept offense matching Andrew Luck & Company score for score. So with that being said, I like the Colts to make it six in a row.
  • Cleveland Browns Vs. Houston Texans. For the first time since Week 5 of the 2015 season, the Browns won a game on the road, as they defeated the Bengals last week. As for the Texans, they continued their streaking ways, by beating the Tennessee Titans in their first game since the death of owner Bob McNair. The Browns ended one streak last week, so will they end another one this week? Well, they have shown considerable improvement, but I’m not ready to swim that channel. So with that being said, I like the Texans to make it nine in a row.
  • New York Jets Vs. Tennessee Titans. After a surprising 3-3 start this season, the Jets have lost five in a row, which is their longest losing streak in the Todd Bowles era. As for the Titans, they have lost two straight following their 34-10 beatdown of the New England Patriots. The Titans return to the friendly confines of Nissan Stadium, where they are 3-1 this season. Make it 4-1, because the Jets are too much of a mess right now.
  • Kansas City Chiefs Vs. Oakland Raiders. The latest chapter in one of the league’s best rivalries pits the AFC’s best team against one of the worst teams in all of football. The last time we saw the Chiefs, they were on the losing end of the season’s best game against the Rams. Last week was their bye and I expect them to take their frustration of that loss out on the Raiders.
  • Minnesota Vikings Vs. New England Patriots. The Vikings rebounded from a Week 11 loss against the Bears, with a 24-17 win last week against the Packers. As for the Patriots, they started out a bit slow against the Jets, but did just enough to beat their AFC East rival, 27-13. The Jets were mostly inept offensively, along with their defense not registering a sack against Tom Brady. That won’t be the case this week, as the Vikings are a better offense than the Jets and boast one of the best pass rushes in all of football. Look for Kirk Cousins to pick apart the over-rated Patriots defense and look for the Vikings defense to make Brady look his age. I like the Vikings to pull off the upset in a late-season must-win game.
  • San Francisco 49ers Vs. Seattle Seahawks. For the first time in his career, Richard Sherman takes on the Seahawks as an opposing player and nothing would mean more to him than playing spoiler against his former team. As for his former team, they are currently fifth in the NFC playoff standings and finish the season with this game and three of their last four at The Link. The Seahawks are 7-0 at home against the 49ers in the Russell Wilson era. And given how well the Seahawks have played all season, it’s going to be 8-0.
  • Los Angeles Chargers Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. The previous game was supposed to be the Sunday Night game, but we instead get this as the Al Michaels-Cris Collinsworth game. And what an excellent game that they get to broadcast, as both these teams boast two of the better records this season, along with each having impact players on both sides of the ball, headlined by Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. These teams are so evenly matched that it’s going to be hard to pick a winner for this one. But since I have to pick one for professional reasons, well then I’ll pick the Chargers. And I’m picking them based on the fact that I like Philip Rivers’ chances against the Steelers defense more than Ben Roethlisberger’s chances against the Chargers defense.
  • Washington Redskins Vs. Philadelphia Eagles. For most of the season, it’s either been these Redskins or the Cowboys leading the NFC East. But the division is not a runaway, as the Super Bowl champs are only a game away from being in a potential three-way tie for first. Should the Cowboys lose against the Saints this week, then the Redskins need to take advantage of that. However, I see the Eagles building off last week’s win against the Giants with another win this week.