There were a few upsets or surprises in week 13 of the 2016/17 NFL campaign and the winless Cleveland Browns didn’t lose because they didn’t play. In addition, the Dallas Cowboys won their 11th straight game and improved to 10-1 on the season. Week 14 kicks off this Thursday, December 8th as teams still fight for the coveted playoff spots down the final stretch. There’s also no more byes from here until the end of the season. Check out our weekly predictions below to see how each club will fare in week 14 of the season.
Thursday, December 8th
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
The Oakland Raiders are still red hot as the team won its fifth game in a row last Sunday by beating Buffalo 38-24 at home. They’re now 10-2 on the year and still in first place in the AFC West. The Raiders were trailing by 15 points to the Bills, but quarterback Derek Carr engineered the comeback. They also got a good defensive performance out of Khalil Mack. The Chiefs edged Atlanta 29-28 on the road in week 13 and are in second place in the AFC West at 9-3. They also beat Oakland earlier in the season, so should be confident. However, Kansas may not have enough offence to down Oakland for a second time this year.
Prediction: Oakland wins by four points, 28-24.
Sunday, December 11th
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills
The Steelers won their third straight outing on Sunday as they downed the New York Giants 24-14 at home. The win improves their record to 7-5 and they still share the lead in the AFC North with Baltimore. The Steelers did a good job against Eli Manning and Odell Beckham as they held the Giants to just 14 points. The Pittsburgh run defence will be tested by Buffalo’s rushing offence, but Big Ben and Le’Veon Bell and the rest of the squad should rack up enough points against the mediocre Buffalo defence. The Bills blew a 15-point lead on Sunday and fell 38-24 to Oakland out on the west coast. The Bills are 6-6 on the campaign and occupy third place in the AFC East.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins by seven points, 27-20.
Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans
The Broncos doubled Jacksonville 20-10 down in Florida last weekend to move to 8-4 on the season and remain in third spot in the AFC West. Denver showed they don’t need a high-scoring offence every week as they gained only 206 yards in the game. However, the defence came through as usual and forced Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles to turn the ball over three times. Denver also scored a touchdown on a returned pickoff. The Broncos are hoping quarterback Trevor Siemian will be back in the lineup against the Titans as rookie Paxton Lynch started last week and was average at best. Meanwhile, Tennessee took week 13 off with a bye. They enter week 14 in a first-place tie with Houston and Indianapolis in the AFC South with a 6-6 record.
Prediction: Denver wins by six points, 20-14.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Washington lost their second straight contest last week as they were beaten 31-23 on the road in Arizona. They’re 6-5-1 on the season and in third place in the NFC East. They’ve been competitive in those losses to Dallas and Arizona though and quarterback Kirk Cousins will hope to bounce back in Philadelphia as they beat the Eagles 27-20 back in October. In addition, Philly has lost three consecutive contests as they were beaten 32-14 in Cincinnati last week. All three of those defeats were by double-digits. The Eagles’ offence has dried up and the ground attack has gone south. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz is starting to turn the ball over too often with half a dozen interceptions in the three losses. The Eagles are 5-7 on the year and in last place in the NFC East.
Prediction: Washington wins by 10 points, 31-21.
Arizona Cardinals at Miami Dolphins
Miami’s six-game winning streak was snapped on Sunday as they were drilled to the tune of 38-6 on the road in Baltimore. The Dolphins are still in second place in the AFC East though with their mark of 7-5. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill struggled against the Ravens’ defence and the Cardinals may also put a lot of pressure on him this week as Arizona has a fine pass rush. Arizona may also take advantage of the Dolphins’ average run defence by giving the ball to David Johnson. Meanwhile, the Cardinals beat Washington 31-23 at home last week and sit in second place in the NFC West Division at 5-6-1.
Prediction: The Cardinals win by seven points, 31-24.
San Diego Chargers at Carolina Panthers
Carolina lost for the second straight week ad are in last place in the NFC South with their 4-8 record after being pounded 40-7 in Seattle last weekend. The offence is in a mess and their defence hasn’t been much better. However, quarterback Cam Newton has a lot of pride and will be looking to bounce back against San Diego this week. Last year’s NFC champions should be a lot better on Sunday as the face a Chargers’ squad which dropped a 28-21 decision at home to Tampa Bay on the weekend. San Diego is currently sitting in the basement of the AFC West at 5-7. They’ve been inconsistent this season and it looks like the postseason is likely out of their grasp.
Prediction: Carolina bounces back with a four-point win, 28-24.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
The Browns enjoyed a bye last weekend and enter week 14 as the league’s only winless team. They’re 0-12 on the campaign and firmly entrenched in the cellar of the AFC North. Cincinnati managed to beat Philadelphia 32-14 at home last weekend as they played well on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Andy Dalton passed for a pair of touchdowns and 332 yards and the defence forced the Eagles into three turnovers. Cleveland has no hope for the playoffs and will be looking forward to securing the first-overall draft pick next year. They’ve lost their past three divisional tilts by a minimum of 12 points and were downed 31-17 by Cincinnati in week 7. The Bengals enter the weekend in third spot in the AFC North at 4-7-1.
Prediction: Cincinnati wins by 17 points, 35-18.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Detroit is still proving they’re a good NFL team as they’re now 7-1 over their past eight contests. They managed to pummel the New Orleans Saints 28-13 in Louisiana last week for their fourth consecutive victory. The Lions continue to lead the NFC North at 8-4 and are looking like they’ll make the playoffs. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has had a fine season, but the team’s defence has certainly played its part. They conceded just 13 points to the Saints and forced a trio of turnovers. Meanwhile, Chicago managed to snap their losing skid by thumping San Francisco 26-6 at home. The Bears are now 3-9 on the year and still in last place in the NFC North.
Prediction: Detroit wins by 10 points, 31-21.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Houston lost 21-13 in Green Bay last weekend for their third straight defeat. They’re now 6-6 on the season, but still share first place in the AFC South with both Tennessee and Indianapolis. Quarterback Brock Osweiler is averaging just 209.1 yards in the air for a completion rate of 59.8-per cent. He’s tossed 12 touchdown passes, but has been picked off 13 times. Running back Lamar Miller has averaged 63.8 yards in the last six games and managed just 22 yards in 14 carries last week for 1.6 yards a run. Houston is 29th in league scoring at 17.3 points per game and 28th in total yards at 316 an outing. They did manage to beat Indianapolis in overtime in week 5, but are 3-6 against them in the past nine meetings. This is a huge divisional game since the Colts evened their record at 6-6 on the season after demolishing the New York Jets 41-10 on the road. This leaves the division in a three-way tie for first place. Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes and 278 yards by completing 22 of 28 passes. The Colts are just 3-3 at home this campaign.
Prediction: Indianapolis wins by six points, 30-24.
Minnesota Vikings at Jacksonville Jaguars
Minnesota played well for the second straight week, but lost back to back as the Dallas Cowboys edged them 17-15 in Minnesota last Thursday. The Vikings were on fire to start the season as they went 5-0, but have now lost five of their past six outings. They enter the game at 6-6 in are tied for second place in the NFC North with Green Bay. The Minnesota defence limited the Dallas offence to 264 yards last week and the Cowboys converted just one of their nine third-down chances. Meanwhile, Jacksonville were 20-10 losers at home to Denver last week and currently sit in last place in the AFC South at 2-10.
Prediciton: Minnesota wins by seven points, 20-13.
New York Jets at San Francisco 49ers
The Jets met Indianapolis on Monday and were hammered 41-10 at home, meaning there’s officially no way they can make the playoffs. It was their fourth consecutive loss and they’ve scored an average of 11 points in each of their past three games. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went just 5 for 12 in passing for 81 yards and was picked off once. He was then replaced by rookie Bryce Petty, who gained 135 yards in the air by completing 11 of his 25 pass attempts. He threw for a touchdown, but was picked off twice. On the ground, the Jets ran 14 times for only 36 yards. The Jets are 1-4 on the road both straight up and against the spread in their past five trips and still occupy the basement of the NFL East at 3-9. Meanwhile, San Francisco fell to a woeful 1-11 after being mauled 26-6 in Chicago by the Bears. The 49ers enter week 14 in the basement of the NFC West. They’ve lost a franchise-high 11 in a row and set a club record for just six passing yards net against the Bears as quarterback Colin Kaepernick was sacked five times. They did manage to rush for 141 yards and are top-five in the league in rushing. San Francisco has the league’s worst defence by allowing 31.8 points per game and 416 yards. However, they’ve beaten the Jets seven of the last eight encounters as well as three in a row at home.
Prediction: The Jets win by seven points, 21-14.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be for real as they’ve just recorded their fourth straight victory with a 28-21 win on the west coast over the San Diego Chargers. Tampa Bay is tied with Atlanta for the lead in the AFC South at 7-5 for the year. Quarterback Jameis Winston has improved from week to week and the defence has been doing a fine job lately by forcing the opposition into 11 turnovers in the past four games. Meanwhile, New Orleans fell to 5-7 in the AFC South following their 28-13 home loss to Detroit last week, making this game with Tampa a crucial divisional clash. Quarterback Drew Brees hasn’t been at his best lately and was picked off three times by Detroit. Brees has now been intercepted six times in the past four contests. New Orleans has been erratic lately while Tampa is playing well.
Prediction: Tampa wins by three points, 28-25.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams
Atlanta was edged 29-28 at home by Kansas City last week shortly after taking the lead. They should bounce back in Los Angeles this week against the Rams’ rookie quarterback Jared Goff. The Falcons enter the game in a first-place tie on top of the NFC South with Tampa Bay at 7-5. Goff has lost his first two starts as Los Angeles was smoked 26-10 in New England last weekend. The Rams defence has been solid for most of the campaign, but will be facing the top-scoring team in the NFL as Atlanta posts 32.5 points upon the scoreboard on average per week. Los Angeles currently sits in third place in the NFC West at 4-8.
Prediction: Atlanta doubles Los Angeles by 14 points, 28-14.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Seattle handed Carolina a 40-7 beat down at home last week to improve to 8-3-1 on the season and remain in first place in the NFC West. However, the win may have been costly since Earl Thomas was injured and could be out of the lineup for an extended period of time. They’ll definitely miss Thomas if he can’t play against Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Offensively, Seattle blew things open last week as quarterback Russell Wilson is healthy and the passing game is benefiting. Thomas Rawls ran for 106 yards on 15 carries last week and scored a pair of touchdowns. Green Bay also won in week 13 as they beat Houston 21-13 at home. However, the Green Bay pass defence still isn’t up to par and pass rusher Michael Bennett will be back in the Seattle squad to put added pressure on Rodgers and the Packers’ offensive line. Green Bay shares second place in the NFC North with Minnesota at 6-6.
Prediction: Seattle wins by eight points, 31-23.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Dallas may be slowly running out of gas, but they’re still 11-1 on the season and on top of the NFC East. They managed to sneak past Minnesota 17-15 last Thursday on the road and are 0-2 against the spread in their last two outings against the Vikings and Washington. Dallas went 9-1-1 against the spread in their first 11 contests. They’ll be facing a Giants team that handed Dallas their only loss of the season, which came back in week 1 and was by a single point. The Cowboys will be looking to avenge that defeat and a victory should be good enough to clinch their division. Four of the past five encounters between the Cowboys and Giants have been decided by a maximum of just three points. The Giants’ defensive line is injured and the offence is struggling, so they’re in for a tough game. The Giants were beaten 24-14 in Pittsburgh last week and sit in second place in the NFC East at 8-4. The loss snapped their six-game winning streak.
Prediction: Dallas wins by seven points, 28-21.
Monday, December 12th
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Both teams were big winners last week as Baltimore pounded Miami 38-6 at home and New England took care of Los Angeles 26-10 at home. The Ravens still co-lead the AFC North with Pittsburgh at 7-5 while New England sits on top of the AFC East at 10-2. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was at his best last week as he passed for 381 yards and had four touchdowns tosses. He’ll be facing a New England pass defence which is one of the league’s worst. The Ravens’ defence has been good most of the year, and they’ll be up against a Patriots’ offence that will be missing Rob Gronkowski.
Prediction: New England wins by three points, 27-24.