NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 13

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

New Orleans @ Dallas (+7½)

The Saints beat the Falcons 31-17 on Thanksgiving night, as Drew Brees tossed 4 touchdown passes, all to players who entered the NFL as undrafted free agents. New Orleans' win streak reached 10 games, and their lead over the Panthers in the NFC South is 3½ games.

"That's right," Brees said, "we signed those guys right off the street. And taking people off the street and paying them to perform is huge business in New Orleans. We just do it legally.

"It's unfortunate that Dez Bryant can't play against his old team. But despite being unable to play, Dez has made a huge influence on some players on this team. Anytime they see Dez, they know they've treated their mothers like queens."

The Cowboys took over first place in the NFC East with a 31-23 win over the visiting Redskins. Amari Cooper had 8 receptions for 180 yards and 2 long touchdowns.

"Amari is a former Raider," Jason Garrett said, "and if you absolutely have to be a Raider, being a former one is what you want to be right now. Gosh, the two players that got the hell out of Oakland are glad they did. Cooper and Khalil Mack are killing it for their new teams. I even hear Kurt Russell has shown some interest in making an 'Escape From Oakland' movie.

"The Saints offense is a nightmare for defensive coordinators. Most wake up in cold sweats, or without jobs. Just ask Cincinnati's Tyrel Austin. Rod Marinelli has his work cut out for him. But we're confident he has a plan. And I'm confident I have a plan B."

Michael Thomas grabs a short touchdown pass from Brees in the third quarter, then sprints to the Dallas star at midfield, whips out his cell phone, and makes a call using his new wireless service carrier, formed in conjunction with Lil Wayne, called "Who Data?"

Saints win, 31-24.

Baltimore @ Atlanta (+1½)

In his second start at quarterback Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to a 34-17 win over the visiting Raiders. Jackson rushed for 71 yards and a score, and passed for 178 yards and a touchdown, with 2 interceptions.

"Lamar has all the tools," John Harbaugh said. "The arm, the legs, speed, agility, and athleticism. He's like the Swiss Army Knife of quarterbacks. Joe Flacco has an arm. He's like the dull blade of quarterbacks.

"Anyway, I have a decision to make. Do I tell Joe to simply take a seat, or take a back seat?

"We know it won't be easy to get the job done in Atlanta. They're coming off a loss and have had 10 days rest, so I know they'll be ready. So, we should probably pack a lunch, and according to Ray Lewis, we should bring a change of clothes, too."

Matt Ryan passed for 377 yards and 2 touchdowns, but 3 turnovers inside the Saints 20-yard line doomed Atlanta's upset bid on Thanksgiving night in New Orleans. Atlanta lost 31-17 and fell to 4-7, 1-4 on the road.

"The Saints have an insurmountable lead in the NFC South," Ryan said. "But they know no lead is insurmountable, especially when an Atlanta Falcon player says it is. Because we know.

"We can't win the NFC South, but even at 4-7, we're still alive in the playoff hunt. But our chances are slim. If our playoff hopes were hash browns at Waffle House, they'd be 'smothered, covered, and dicey.'"

Atlanta forces Jackson into a passing contest with Ryan, and the Falcons take advantage and secure a 30-20 win.

Denver @ Cincinnati (+4)

The Broncos upset the Steelers 24-17 at Mile High Stadium as the Denver defense forced 4 turnovers.

"We kept our slim playoff hopes alive," Vance Joseph said. "To make the playoffs, we'll probably need to win out, and have help. Lots of help. Thus the 'Help Wanted' signs throughout the facility. At least that's what John Elway tells me.

"We like our chances against the Marvin Lewis-Hue Jackson-coached Bengals. Obviously, Lewis thinks the solution to losing in the playoffs is to bring in an assistant coach whose expertise is losing in the regular season, thus making a trip to the playoffs impossible. And you can't lose in the playoffs if you don't play in the playoffs. No one ever said Marvin Lewis didn't understand logic."

The Bengals lost 35-20 to the visiting Browns and have now lost three in a row. Cincy fell down 28-0 late in the second quarter, and Andy Dalton injured his right thumb and left the game in the third quarter.

"We've basically played our way out of the playoffs," Marvin Lewis said. "That's usually something that doesn't happen until we're in the playoffs.

"Andy has been placed on injured reserve. But Jeff Driskel is ready to go. Jeff may not be a household name, but he's a household cleaner, because he's mostly used in mop-up duty."

Denver wins, 31-28.

L.A. Rams @ Detroit (+10)

The Lions fell 23-16 to the Bears on Thanksgiving. The Bears scored the winning points on Eddie Jackson's 41-yard interception return of an errant Matthew Stafford pass in the fourth quarter.

"The loss all but ended our playoff hopes," Matt Patricia said. "But there's still plenty to play for. If we lose our remaining 5 games, we could set ourselves up for a great pick in the 2019 draft. Stafford says it could even be as good as 'pick-6.'

"We're the next team to face the vaunted Rams offense. I guess that makes Ford Field host to the 'Latest Show on Turf.' In any case, our ass in grass."

The Rams had a Week 12 bye following their Week 11 54-51 win over the Chiefs on November 19th.

"Our offense looked great," Sean McVay said. "They scored 54 points. But here's the scary part: they could play better. Our defense also played well, also, with 5 turnovers, 2 touchdowns, and 3 sacks. But here's the scary part: they gave up 51 points.

"Aaron Donald may not only be the best defensive player in football, but the best player, period. And he's strong as an ox. His feats of strength are legendary. He once carried 10 teammates for 60 minutes."

Rams win, 32-24.

Arizona @ Green Bay (-14)

The Packers lost 24-14 to the Vikings on Sunday night and now find their playoff hopes in even greater peril.

"We're not dead yet," Aaron Rodgers said. "But I have a plan: we're going to win all of our remaining games, and I suggest that our fans chill out. I call it 'Maxing and Relaxing.'

"To pull this off, Mike McCarthy and I will need to be on the same page. Ideally, that page would be page one of his letter of resignation. But everyone knows that won't happen. Mike is stubborn. In fact, he's stubborn as a mule, but I think even a mule could be a more creative play caller than Mike."

The Cardinals were crushed 45-10 to the Chargers at StubHub Center. The Los Angeles defense limited Arizona to only 149 yards of total offense.

"State Farm Stadium has a retractable field," Steve Wilks said. "StubHub Center has a retractable team. The Chargers are headed to the brand new Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in 2020. L.A. Stadium is a huge upgrade from StubHub Center; it has way more empty seats, before and during games."

Green Bay wins, 33-17.

Buffalo @ Miami (-5)

The Dolphins lost 27-24 to the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, losing on Adam Vinatieri's 32-yard field goal as time expired. Miami had a 24-14 lead early in the fourth quarter, but faded down the stretch.

"We've got to be able to close," Adam Gase said. "What we did is called 'blowing a lead.' Some in Miami know it as 'doing blow.' So it's not the first time as head coach here I've had to tell someone to 'stop doing blow.'"

The Bills beat the visiting Jaguars 24-21 for their fourth win this season. Josh Allen had a passing score and a rushing TD in his return to the lineup after missing four games with a sprained right elbow.

"We all wanted to beat the Jaguars pretty badly," Allen said. "So, when we did, we celebrated pretty hard. Tell Jalen Ramsey we 'trashed' the locker room."

Buffalo wins, 20-19.

Chicago @ N.Y. Giants (+4½)

The Bears beat the Lions 23-16 at Ford Field on Thanksgiving, winning on Eddie Jackson's 41-yard interception return late in the fourth quarter.

"Vic Fangio really has the defense in attack mode," Matt Nagy said. "I think if the legendary Buddy Ryan were alive today, he'd be proud of the defense Vic's built. Now, I'm not so sure Buddy would be so proud of his twin sons, Rex and Rob. Neither is coaching, and Rex gets excited when he sees feet, while Rob can't even see his own feet."

The Giants built an early 12-0 lead at Philadelphia but couldn't hold on for the win, losing 24-21.

"Our offense sputtered in the second half," Pat Shurmur said. "And I agree that Odell Beckham, Jr. should be more involved in the offense. Here's why: when you get the ball in Odell's hands, that means the microphone's out of his face. So, I'm not telling Odell to 'put up or shut up,' I'm telling him to 'put up and shut up.'"

Bears win, 27-20.

Carolina @ Tampa Bay (+3½)

The Panthers lost 30-27 at home to the Seahawks, Carolina's third consecutive loss. Graham Gano's missed a 52-yard field goal with 1:46 left that would have given the Panthers the lead. Seattle promptly marched down the field and won it on Sebastian Janikowski's field goal.

"We've reached a low point," Ron Rivera said. "Naturally, the inclination is to get high. But I don't condone the use of marijuana, recreational or otherwise. On that note, I can't explain why Eric Reid has been randomly drug tested five times in eight weeks. Is the NFL unfairly targeting Reid because of his grievance lawsuit? The answer is 'P' for 'probable.'"

The Bucs beat the visiting 49ers 27-9 as Jameis Winston passed for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"Jameis played great," Dirk Koetter said. "I was impressed by the way he responded to being the starter. As they say, 'He grabbed the bull by the horns,' if the 'bull' was an Uber driver and the 'horns' were her buttocks. I just thank the heavens there's not a water taxi service in Tampa called 'Glass-Bottomed Boat."

Carolina wins, 30-27.

Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (+4)

The Colts beat the Dolphins with a come-from-behind 27-24 win to post their fifth consecutive win. Andrew Luck passed for 3 touchdowns for the eighth straight game, tying Peyton Manning for the second longest in NFL history. Tom Brady holds the record with a streak of 10.

"I'd put Andrew on the short list of candidates for 'Comeback Player of the Year,'" Frank Reich said. "That's different that the 'Come Back Player of the Year,' which Le'Veon Bell could have easily won.

"We're 6-5, and are definitely gunning for the postseason. The optimist in me says, 'We're gonna make it.' The pessimist in me say, 'Shut up, Jim Mora, Sr.'"

The Jaguars lost 24-21 in Buffalo to drop their seventh straight game. Leonard Fournette was ejected in the third quarter for fighting with Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson.

"Leonard doesn't pull punches," Doug Marrone said, "but he does pull hamstrings. Now he's suspended for one game.

"We fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and benched Blake Bortles. Cody Kessler will start. That's what you call a 'shake-up' in this business. And speaking of 'shaking,' it's 'Doug Marrone Defective Bobblehead Day' on Sunday. The bobbleheads are defective because the heads don't shake, they roll."

Colts win, 26-17.

Cleveland @ Houston (-6)

The Browns smashed the Bengals 35-20 in Cincinnati led by Baker Mayfield, who passed for 258 yards and 4 touchdowns.

"Once again," Mayfield said, "I woke up feeling dangerous. It's like I wake up feeling like a caged animal. It happens a lot now; it only happened once in college.

"We're doing just fine without Hue Jackson. We're making do without him, as opposed to making doo-doo with him."

The Texans' spanked the Titans 34-17 on Monday night to extend their winning streak to 8 games. Lamar Miller rumbled for 162 yards on the ground, including a 97-yard TD run in the second quarter.

"Lamar broke a long one," Bill O'Brien said. "To those people who don't think we're one of the AFC's elite, they can suck a long one.

"Can you imagine if the Texans have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs? Especially when the AFC's top teams are outdoor teams? You heard it here first: the road to the Super Bowl runs through Houston. In other words, the Chiefs, Patriots, or Steelers view this indoor team as the 'in' door to Atlanta and Super Bowl LIII, while showing us the 'out' door."

Houston wins, 29-25.

N.Y. Jets @ Tennessee (-9½)

The Jets lost 27-13 at home to the Patriots and fell to 3-8, last in the AFC East. New York hung tough, and the game was tied late in the fourth quarter.

"I was pleased with our effort," Todd Bowles said. "We always seem to play well against the Patriots, especially at home. If we played the Patriots 16 times at home every season, I think Jets fans would feel much better about my 0-16 team."

Titans win, 22-17.

Kansas City @ Oakland (+15)

The Chiefs had a Week 12 bye following their 54-51 loss to the Rams. Kansas City is 9-2, one game ahead of the 8-3 Chargers.

"Patrick Mahomes had 6 touchdowns in that game," Andy Reid said, "but also had 5 turnovers. That's called 'give and take,' something we practiced in the offseason with the Redskins, when we said to them, 'We'll give you Alex Smith in a trade; please take him.'

"Our goals for the rest of the year are to first, clinch the AFC West, and second, secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and third, win the Super Bowl. That's our 'goal-ed' standard."

The Raiders were hammered 34-17 at Baltimore as the Ravens trampled Oakland with 242 yards on the ground.

"That's the kind of rush defense that would make a grown man cry," Jon Gruden said. "Or so says Derek Carr.

"Derek said he doesn't want us to get the No. 1 pick. If he really feels that way, then he's not looking out for No. 1."

Chiefs win, 37-28.

Minnesota @ New England (-6)

The Vikings beat the Packers 24-17 on Sunday night to remain 1½ games behind the Bears in the NFC North. Kirk Cousins passed for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"Aaron Rodgers is often recognized for his greatness," Cousins said. "I like to tell myself that my skills are quite similar to his. In other words, 'I'm like that. I'm like that.'

"I hear Tom Brady wants Mark Wahlburg to play him in a movie about Tom's life. Who really wants to see that? I'd much rather see the life story of Rob Gronkowski, starring Liam Neeson, Jr. That movie would be rated 'R' for 'restricted,' as well as either 'Q' for ''questionable' or 'D' for 'doubtful.'

"Heck, why stop with the movies. How about some television? Like 'Dr. Alex Guerrero: Alternative Medicine Man.' Or 'C.S.I.: Visiting Team's Locker Room.' Or 'Mysteries of the Unexplained: The Origin of the Tuck Rule.'"

The Patriots pulled away late in the fourth quarter to take a tough 27-13 over the Jets at MetLife Stadium. Brady passed for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns, and became the NFL's career leader in regular season and playoff passing yardage.

"Records mean very little to me," Brady said. "This is New England — 'record' is a word that's rarely mentioned around here, unless there's a Jets practice we're secretly taping."

Patriots win, 31-28.

San Francisco @ Seattle (-10)

The Seahawks boosted their playoff chances with a crucial 30-27 win over the Panthers in Charlotte. Sebastian Janikowski kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired, just minutes after Graham Gano pushed a 52-yard attempt wide right.

"We're a dangerous team," Pete Carroll said. "My advice to our opponents is: 'Don't sleep on this team.' My advice to cute female acquaintances of Sebastian: 'Don't sleep on his couch.'"

The 49ers lost 27-9 at Tampa Bay and fell to 2-9, tied with the Cardinals for last in the NFC West.

"It's been a tough season," Kyle Shanahan. "Since Jimmy Garoppolo went down in Week 3 with a knee injury, things have just snowballed. So, to answer Dirty Harry's age old question, 'No, I do not feel lucky.'"

Seahawks win, 31-16.

L.A. Chargers @ Pittsburgh (-3½)

The Steelers went down 24-17 at Denver despite 462 yards passing from Ben Roethlisberger. Four turnovers, including an interception in the end zone with 1:07 left in the game, doomed Pittsburgh.

"I won't apologize for throwing interceptions," Roethlisberger said. "In fact, there's very little for which I'll apologize, unless legally mandated to do so."

The Chargers slammed the visiting Cardinals 45-10. Philip Rivers completed his first 25 passes, tying Ryan Tannehill's mark for most consecutive completions.

"I honestly can't believe it," Rivers said. "Not necessarily tying the record, but the fact that Tannehill set it.

"Pittsburgh has the 'Immaculate Reception.' That's a play on the 'Immaculate Conception.' I'm well-schooled on that concept. My near-perfect game tells you I know about what it's like to be 'immaculate'; my 8 children say I know all about 'conception.'"

Steelers win, 27-24.

Washington @ Philadelphia (-6½)

The Redskins lost 31-23 at Dallas on Thanksgiving and saw their lead in the NFC East totally disappear.

"Adrian Peterson admitted he still disciplines his son with a belt," Jay Gruden said. "That's a pretty incriminating admission in an of itself, but it could have been worse. At least he didn't say he was 'fully strapped.'

"No one likes a child abuser, so I expect the Eagles to come after Adrian with extreme prejudice. And if former Eagle Riley Cooper comes after him, I expect it to be extremely prejudiced.

"On the heels of that, we signed Reuben Foster off waivers, just days after he was arrested on domestic violence chargers and released by the 49ers. When I told Daniel Snyder we 'need more players like Adrian Peterson,' this is not what I expected."

The Eagles snapped a two-game losing streak with a 24-21 win over the visiting Giants. The win kept Philly one game behind the Cowboys and Redskins in the NFC East.

"If the Saints beat the Cowboys," Doug Pederson said, "and we beat the Redskins, then there will be three teams at 6-6 tied for the NFC East lead. That's is the very definition of 'average, at best.'"

Eagles win, 26-21.

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