This week we're stepping out on a limb with several of our predictions. We have the Chiefs over the Bears. We have the Giants over the Packers. We have the Vikings over the Broncos. If we're right, we're geniuses. If we're wrong, well, we were just trying to be interesting. After all, it's easy to go with the flow. But given the topsy-turny nature of the NFL, we believe that each of our Week 13 picks could actually come true. So without further delay:
Oakland @ Miami
The Dolphins could play season spoiler for several teams this year, coming to life when they're out of realistic playoff contention. They already helped ruin the Chiefs, Redskins and Bills and the Raiders could also fall prey. However, Oakland has a solid defense going and Michael Bush hasn't seemed phase despite being overworked lately. If he can keep it up, the Raiders will simply execute too well on defense to allow Matt Moore to do what he has been doing.
Raiders 21, Dolphins 7
Tennessee @ Buffalo
Tennessee won a nice game against Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers last week, and they have a very winnable game here. That's also what the Bills could be thinking on their schedule as they try to right a ship gone horribly wrong. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked much better last week, but the Bills have lost Fred Jackson and their defense is now porous. They simply need another strong draft class before it will completely gel, and Chris Johnson is getting hot at the right time.
Titans 14, Bills 13
Kansas City @ Chicago
The Chiefs have lost four in a row and are in the middle of a murderous stretch in the league's most difficult remaining schedule. Yet they should now start (or play quite a bit) Kyle Orton at quarterback and the KC defense showed last week that the team can hang with anyone if given a chance. Orton will give them that chance, and Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali should give Caleb Hanie fits.
Chiefs 14, Bears 10
Denver @ Minnesota
Von Miller might have to sit this game with a thumb injury and all of the magical karma surrounding this winning streak of Denver's could meet the classic trap game here against the Vikings. Christian Ponder has some definite talent and here he gets a chance to show up one of the NFL's biggest personalities in Tim Tebow. If I had to pick an upset...
Vikings 14, Broncos 7
New York Jets @ Washington
Even when the Redskins were 3-0, I still believed they would finish 3-13. While they've won one game since then to stand at 4-7, they're still a shell of a team on offense. From the quarterback to the running game, there's just nothing here that will compete with the Jets on Sunday.
Jets 30, Redskins 10
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Andy Dalton gets another chance to show he's ready to lead the Bengals into the bigger conversation among playoff teams in the AFC, and if he can win on the road against the Steelers on Sunday, the NFL will be on notice. This is one of the best games on Sunday's slate and it's clear that the Chiefs gave every other team the defensive gameplan to use against the Steelers. Cincy's defense under Mike Zimmer has been great this year, so this should be very close.
Steelers 21, Bengals 20
Atlanta @ Houston
The Texans are on a roll this season overall, but now they have signed Jake Delhomme and start a rookie in T.J. Yates. Atlanta will be a lot more aggressive than normal in this game, and Yates is going to have to step up and take advantage. The Texans are second in the NFL in total sacks with 35, so Matt Ryan will feel the heat. But he has a savvy offense and a rookie starter is not a good sign against a competitive team like the Falcons.
Falcons 17, Texans 6
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
Two very promising young quarterbacks, yet one is losing all momentum while another seems dynamic despite similar records. Cam Newton leads the 16th ranked offense in football, but it's that 6th ranked rushing attack that will give a depleted Bucs line fits. Not sure what's happened to Tampa Bay after such a promising 10-6 year last season, but that momentum has been completely lost.
Panthers 20, Bucs 10
Indianapolis @ New England
What should have been one of the best games of the entire year will be over by the middle of the first quarter
Patriots 37, Colts 0
Baltimore @ Cleveland
While every quarterback struggles under pressure, Colt McCoy definitely doesn't handle it well and the Ravens lead the league in total sacks with 38. Joe Thomas can only do so much on the front line and whatever he doesn't pick up should do enough damage to force some mistakes. Cleveland has to hope Peyton Hillis can show off some more talent, but this one shouldn't be close.
Ravens 24, Browns 3
Dallas @ Arizona
The Cowboys continue to preach the process of Jason Garrett, which means this game won't be overlooked on the schedule. And they shouldn't since the Cardinals have quietly won two of their last three and have hopes to head toward .500. If the Cards can surge toward year's end, then the Kevin Kolb trade won't look so ridiculous. However, the defense led by DeMarcus Ware won't let one of those wins come this week.
Cowboys 27, Cardinals 7
Green Bay @ New York Giants
The Giants have the second toughest schedule left in the NFL, and this is the worst game of them all. The Packers are waltzing into the playoffs, yet it's clear they're still playing focused football. The Giants are also dealing with some injury concerns and are on a harsh losing streak. Their playoffs hopes are dim and Tom Coughlin is on the hot seat. Nothing like an unexpected win to turn around a team's fortunes. Shocker of the week.
Giants 27, Packers 24
St. Louis @ San Francisco
The 49ers finally played a team worthy of their record and the results were rather clear: they're not as good as their record says they are. What they are, however, is much better than the Rams and you'd better believe that Jim Harbaugh will have his players ready to bounce back well. Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith will have a field day against the sieve known as the Rams offensive line.
49ers 14, Rams 0
Detroit @ New Orleans
At one point, the Detroit Lions were 5-0. Now they're losing their best defensive player to a stupid suspension and playing as out of control as their star defensive tackle. They're on the verge of missing the playoffs after such a promising beginning and the efficient offense of Drew Brees will further tear apart that defense without Suh in the middle.
Saints 33, Lions 24
San Diego @ Jacksonville
San Diego has lost six games in a row. Jacksonville has fired the entire city and fan base and replaced it with senior citizens. This game will like be a blow out and snooze fest both, but at least Norv Turner and his Chargers will be glad to finally put a win on the board.
Chargers 30, Jags 3