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HomeSportsFootballNFL News: Week 13 NFL Capsules

NFL News: Week 13 NFL Capsules

Week 13 NFL capsules

Indianapolis Colts (6-5) at Tennessee Titans (4-7)
The Colts presently occupy the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC. That’s a big credit to the running game, including Zack Moss, who’ll start with Jonathan Taylor (thumb) on the shelf again. Moss has rushed for a team-high 672 yards and five touchdowns on 141 carries — all career highs. His best game came in a 23-16 win against Tennessee on Oct. 8, gashing the Titans for 165 yards and two scores on 23 attempts. The Titans are mathematically alive for a wild-card spot but probably need to win out. The Titans were able to snap a three-game skid last week, edging Carolina 17-10 as Derrick Henry ran for two touchdowns. He’s averaging 107.8 rushing yards in home games this season.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-7) at New England Patriots (2-9)
The Patriots have won the past six meetings with the Chargers, but that might be the only streak New England wants to discuss these days. Mac Jones is being benched in favor of Bailey Zappe (2-0 career as a starter), with the Patriots seeking a spark offensively. New England is putting up 13.5 points per game and has a turnover margin of minus-8. The Chargers’ situation isn’t nearly as dire, but Los Angeles is starting to see its playoff hopes fade. Since back-to-back wins over the Bears and Jets, the Chargers have dropped three straight games, including last Sunday’s 20-10 setback against the Baltimore Ravens.

Detroit Lions (8-3) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)
Quarterback Jared Goff spent part of Wednesday running through ball security drills, and he wasn’t alone. The Lions lost three fumbles with one takeaway in a 29-22 home loss to the Packers on Thanksgiving Day, four days after struggling to a 31-26 victory over Chicago, when Goff was picked off three times. The Saints are tied for fourth in the NFL with 20 takeaways. But New Orleans is trying to move past a 24-15 loss at Atlanta last week and has its own issues in the red zone. The Saints were stifled by the Falcons last week, reaching the red zone five times without scoring a touchdown. While the Saints netted five field goals, two of the possessions inside the 20 ended in turnovers, including a game-changing pick-6 thrown by Derek Carr.

Atlanta Falcons (5-6) at New York Jets (4-7)
All the Jets want for Christmas is their No. 1 QB, but Aaron Rodgers might be weeks — or months — away from taking his next snap. It’s up to Tim Boyle to move the Jets toward the playoffs to keep Rodgers’ return this season in play. Boyle hit RB Breece Hall for a career-high seven catches last week. Atlanta’s record may not look much better than that of the Jets, but the Falcons are leading the NFC South after beating the New Orleans Saints 24-15 last Sunday. Atlanta is 3-0 against division competition and 2-6 against all other teams. Desmond Ridder took back starting quarterback duties last week after a two-week benching and completed 13 of 21 passes for 168 yards, a touchdown and two picks — including one near the Saints’ goal line.

Arizona Cardinals (2-10) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)
Arizona arrives in full rebuilding mode, armed with the second-worst record in the NFL, and brings James Conner for a reunion with his old team after he missed more than a month with injuries. He has rushed for 526 yards on 104 attempts in eight games. The Cardinals were ripped by their own coach for their effort following last week’s 37-14 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. They’ll need extra effort to contain Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt, who is tied for the league lead in sacks with 13.5. The Steelers are leaning heavily on Watt and their defense to contend for a wild-card spot in the AFC and are currently second in the North division, 1 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Ravens.

Miami Dolphins (8-3) at Washington Commanders (4-8)
What in the world is Ron Rivera planning to do with the Miami Dolphins’ offensive machine after being blasted for an average of 38 points in the past two games? Dallas whipped Washington 45-10 last week, resulting in Rivera firing defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. The Dolphins average 30.8 points per game and the Commanders only hope might be matching Miami’s scoring output. Washington can move the ball. Sam Howell leads the NFL in completions (323) and passing yards (3,339) through the first 12 weeks of the season. The issue for the Commanders has been protecting Howell in the pocket. He’s on pace to shatter the NFL single-season record for times sacked.

Denver Broncos (6-5) at Houston Texans (6-5)
Don’t look now, but the Broncos are tied for the NFL’s longest winning streak at five games as they go head-to-head with potential wild-card competition in Houston. QB Russell Wilson’s next TD pass would push him past Dan Marino for second-most in his first 12 seasons (Marino had 328). The Texans are thrilled with the development of their own franchise quarterback, C.J. Stroud. He’s second in the NFL in passing yards and is the only rookie with four consecutive 300-yard games.

Carolina Panthers (1-10) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
For the second December in a row, the Buccaneers play the Panthers with an interim head coach at the helm in Carolina. Chris Tabor jumped into the head-coaching role Monday when Frank Reich was fired. The Buccaneers aren’t exactly in a groove, but they’re still squarely in the hunt for the division title behind a reclamation project well known to the Panthers, Baker Mayfield. The Buccaneers get two swings at the Panthers in the next five weeks, the second one being the Jan. 7 finale. Mayfield began last season with Carolina and lasted seven games, with the team posting a 1-6 record, before he was released.

Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Rams
If you had Joe Flacco starting for the Browns on your bingo card, we need visual evidence. That’s the potential reality for Cleveland with Dorian Thompson-Robinson (concussion) iffy, setting up a matchup of 38-year-old Flacco and 35-year-old Matthew Stafford in L.A. The Browns (7-4) hold the No. 6 seed in the AFC, one game clear of the seventh-seeded Indianapolis Colts. In last Sunday’s 37-14 win against the Arizona Cardinals, Stafford passed for 229 yards and a season-best four touchdowns — two each to Kyren Williams and tight end Tyler Higbee. Williams has been the team’s top playmaker as a rookie despite missing four games with an ankle injury.

San Francisco 49ers (8-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
The Eagles can clinch a playoff berth this weekend, a significant statement considering they are the sole team in position to secure a postseason spot with five weeks remaining in the regular season. In a return to the scene of last season’s NFC Championship Game, the 49ers are back to purring with Brock Purdy at quarterback, logging three consecutive wins to erase a three-game losing streak. Their last visit was marred by an elbow injury to Purdy as the Eagles cruised to the 31-7 win that elevated them into the Super Bowl. Come Sunday, Purdy is healthy and teammate Christian McCaffrey is flourishing, while Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is once again enjoying a solid season. Philadelphia owns the best record in the NFL after posting four straight comeback wins and recording five consecutive overall wins. San Francisco leads the NFC West after winning its past three games. Purdy was injured eight minutes into the playoff loss last season. He leads the NFL with a 70.2 completion percentage and benefits from McCaffrey, who leads the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns (16).

Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-6)
Kansas City has put plenty of pressure on opposing teams this season. The Chiefs, who lead the AFC West by two games over the Broncos, won Jordan Love’s debut NFL start in November 2021, 13-7. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Running back Isiah Pacheco scored twice on the ground, and Rashee Rice and Justin Watson notched one touchdown reception apiece. TE Travis Kelce has at least six catches in eight of his past nine games. The trip to northern Wisconsin will carry special meaning for Kansas City coach Andy Reid. He started his NFL coaching career in Green Bay, where he worked from 1992-98 as a tight ends coach, an assistant offensive line coach and eventually a quarterbacks coach. Brett Favre and the Packers won the Super Bowl during the 1996 season with Reid on the staff.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3)
It’s reunion week for Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor, who brings his Bengals into Jacksonville having lost three straight and falling into the cellar of the AFC North. Jacksonville is coached by Doug Pederson, and Taylor’s younger brother, Press, serves as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator of a unit that has star quarterback Trevor Lawrence. In addition to the losing streak, the Bengals lost QB Joe Burrow to a season-ending hand injury. Jake Browning gets the call for Cincinnati with the Jaguars playing their first Monday night game since Dec. 5, 2011. Jacksonville has won seven of its past eight games and sits atop the AFC South. The Jags have the NFL’s fourth-ranked run defense (87.4 yards allowed per game), while Lawrence leads the offense and is coming off a 364-yard passing performance in their 24-21 win at Houston.

–Field Level Media

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