NFL Preview Plenty of playo≠ implications in Week 13
Week 13’s schedule is full of competitive games, many with playoff implications. There are eight games Sunday where both teams are in the thick of a playoff race. December football means weather issues, injuries and tiebreakers will all come into play. Although the primetime matchups lack the spunk they’ve had in recent weeks, the early games give fans an early taste of playoff football. Detroit at New Orleans, 11 a.m. The Lions are in the driver’s seat to win the NFC North, and quarterback Matthew Stafford oddly looks better without having to force the ball to wide receiver Calvin Johnson. L.A. Rams at New England, 11 a.m., KDVR-31. It’ll be a first glance at the Patriots’ offense this season without all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, a preview of what they’ll have to manage the rest of the season. Houston at Green Bay, 11 a.m. The Packers avoided virtual elimination last week, but they’re in near must-win games for the rest of the season to make the playoffs. Philadelphia at Cincinnati, 11 a.m. The Eagles are slipping out of the playoff mix and a loss to the Bengals would cement that, but a win keeps hope alive for another week. Miami at Baltimore, 11 a.m. The Dolphins are penciled into the playoffs, but they have a tough road matchup with a gritty Ravens squad still competing for an AFC North title. San Francisco at Chicago, 11 a.m. Family members and friends, and those interested in where top draft picks might land, will likely be the only ones interested in this matchup. Buffalo at Oakland, 2 p.m. The Bills are on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in, but their physicality up front presents an interesting challenge for the Raiders. N.Y. Giants at Pittsburgh, 2:25 p.m., KDVR-31. The Steelers always seem to be the AFC’s dark horse. They have enough talent to scare anyone. Their maddening inconsistency has them in a fight to get into the playoffs. Washington at Arizona, 2:25 p.m. If Kirk Cousins can continue his strong play Washington will have found itself a franchise quarterback that it’ll have to pay. Tampa Bay at San Diego, 2:25 p.m. The Buccaneers are making a late playoff push. They’ve won their last three games, including wins at Kansas City and against Seattle. Carolina at Seattle, 6:30 p.m., KUSA-9. Cam Newton vs. Russell Wilson was once a game of the year contender, but the Panthers’ sudden drop has made this a run-of-themill Week 13 matchup. Indianapolis at N.Y. Jets, Monday, 6:30 p.m., ESPN. The Colts are one of the NFL’s most frustrating teams because they’re failing to take advantage of the talent of their star quarterback, Andrew Luck.