Every Thursday, we’ll provide analysis and score predictions for every game on that week’s slate. In Week 13, we have six teams on byes, including headliners such as the Ravens and Bills.
Thursday Night Football
Cowboys vs. Seahawks
Spread: Cowboys -9
The Seattle Seahawks are a free-falling team that has lost three of its last four games, but Seattle has been struggling since Week 6. The Seahawks’ defense is more reliable than their offense in the past two months, which is bad news because the Dallas Cowboys are allowing the league's fourth-fewest points per game.
What’s worse news is that Geno Smith struggles in muddy pockets, which could be a major problem against the Cowboys’ top-five pass rush. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott is on an MVP-caliber tear over the last six games. Ultimately, Dallas can dominate this game in multiple phases, while Seattle needs to be a different team to keep this close.
Score Prediction: Cowboys 27, Seahawks 13
Sunday Afternoon Games
Commanders vs. Dolphins
Spread: Commanders +9.5
The Washington Commanders have the most beatable pass defense in football since the team traded its edge rush duo of Chase Young and Montez Sweat. So Tua Tagovailoa, along with speedsters Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, should have a field day in this matchup.
That means Washington’s clearest path to keeping things competitive is with its offense. Sam Howell is not consistent, but he’s thrown for more than 300 yards in five games — four of those outputs have come in his last five games. Unfortunately for Washington, the Miami Dolphins' defense has been gradually trending up for weeks. The Dolphins have multiple paths to victory.
Score Prediction: Dolphins 34, Commanders 23
Texans vs. Broncos
Spread: Texans -3.5
This contest has AFC Wild Card ramifications because both teams are on the outside looking in with 6-5 records. C.J. Stroud is the primary reason the Houston Texans are exceeding expectations. He’ll face a Denver Broncos defense that has driven the team's five-game winning streak.
During that span, the Broncos beat the Chiefs and Bills — while Russell Wilson has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in six of his last seven games. He’s also fifth in the league in touchdown passes, and he’s been dangerous late in recent weeks.
Score Prediction: Texans 24, Broncos 23
Saints vs. Lions
Spread: Saints +4
The New Orleans Saints have given away the NFC South lead, and they could enter this contest without any of their starting wide receivers. Derek Carr’s offense has struggled to finish drives all season, so if Chris Olave and Rasheed Shahid miss this matchup, the Saints’ offense could struggle — period.
The Detroit Lions are coming off two down games against NFC North rivals, including last week’s Thanksgiving loss to the Packers. The Lions are in a bounce-back spot here: coming off a long week against injury-riddled New Orleans. This is a good opportunity for Detroit’s defense to take a step forward after it has allowed 93 points in the last three weeks.
Score Prediction: Lions 24, Saints 20
Steelers vs. Cardinals
Spread: Steelers -5.5
Last week in Kenny Pickett's first game without Matt Canada calling plays, Pickett threw for 278 yards against the Bengals. That’s his highest single-game mark this season and the second-highest of his career.
The defense still drives the Pittsburgh Steelers’ success, but things appear to be trending up for their offense. Pickett gets a plus matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who were shredded by Matthew Stafford last week.
This will be Kyler Murray’s fourth game since returning from injury. He has been mobile and had some flashes, but Arizona has scored more than 20 points in just one of Murray’s starts. Ultimately, the Cardinals are reliant on Murray, and he hasn't had a ceiling game. We shouldn’t expect his first to come against the Steelers’ defense — in Pittsburgh.
Score Prediction: Steelers 24, Cardinals 17
Jets vs. Falcons
Spread: Jets +2.5
There are a few nonfunctional offenses in the league right now, and the New York Jets have one of them. The move from Zach Wilson to Tim Boyle looks more like a downgrade than a solution, and that’s hard to fathom. The bottom line is that no one should expect much from New York’s offense.
The Jets' defense, on the other hand, can outright win this game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have a talented roster on both sides of the ball, but Desmond Ridder is one of the league’s most unreliable starting quarterbacks. He’ll have his hands full against New York's defense.
Score Prediction: Jets 13, Falcons 10
Buccaneers vs. Panthers
Spread: Buccaneers -5.5
The Carolina Panthers fired coach Frank Reich and a number of assistants earlier this week, and a change like this can lead to a surge like it has for Antonio Pierce’s Raiders.
In this situation against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though, Bryce Young is a struggling rookie quarterback with one of the league’s worst supporting casts. Carolina will have to deal with a lot of volatility against Todd Bowles’ defense. The question is, can Baker Mayfield’s offense do enough to win this matchup?
Score Prediction: Buccaneers 17, Panthers 13
Patriots vs. Chargers
Spread: Patriots +6
The New England Patriots’ defense is a solid unit, but the team's passing attack is one of the league’s worst. Last week’s collective performance between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe was as bad as it gets.
The Los Angeles Chargers are the league’s most underperforming team and sit at 4-7. The Chargers' defense played surprisingly well against Baltimore last week, but their offense was limited.
Los Angeles has a talented roster, but it has put together just a few complete games. We shouldn’t count on one here, either. Ultimately, Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ pass rush should be the difference.
Score Prediction: Chargers 20, Patriots 10
Titans vs. Colts
Spread: Titans +1
The Indianapolis Colts would make the playoffs if the season ended today, which is remarkable. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, Jonathan Taylor will miss multiple games. That puts Zack Moss back on top of the Colts’ backfield. Through Week 5, Moss was third in the league in rushing yards despite only playing four games. Moss is not the same caliber player as Taylor, but we’ve seen him hold down the fort in this offense.
The Tennessee Titans have a volatile offense led by rookie QB Will Levis, and there’s little reason to expect a breakthrough performance for Tennessee’s offense this weekend. The strength of the Titans' defense is its front four, which Indianapolis’s offensive line can mitigate. If the Colts succeed in that phase, Gardner Minshew has a plus matchup against the Titans' secondary.
Score Prediction: Colts 20, Titans 17
Eagles vs. 49ers
Spread: Eagles +3
This game is a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game between, arguably, the league’s two best rosters.
The Philadelphia Eagles have two core concerns heading into this matchup. The first is that they are coming off an overtime game against Buffalo and now have to face one of the league’s most physical teams in the San Francisco 49ers. The second is stud RT Lane Johnson is in danger of missing this contest.
Johnson’s absence has negatively affected the Eagles for years, but it would be an even bigger problem against the 49ers’ elite pass rush.
The trench matchup could be the difference between these two NFC juggernauts. How well Brock Purdy plays against a high-quality pass rush on the road is another major factor.
Score Prediction: 49ers 24, Eagles 20
Rams vs. Browns
Spread: Rams -3.5
Matthew Stafford’s offense ransacked the Cardinals last week in a decisive 37-14 win, but the Los Angeles Rams will face a much different animal in the Cleveland Browns' defense. Unfortunately for the Browns, their quarterback situation is putting them in the same position as the Jets.
Cleveland has a high-performing defense, but its offense is so limited the team has narrow paths to victory. Stafford might not have to do much to steal a win.
Score Prediction: Rams 16, Browns 13
Sunday Night Football
Packers vs. Chiefs
Spread: Packers +6
The Green Bay Packers have won three of their last four games behind good defense and consistent play from Jordan Love — a run that has put the Packers back in the NFC Wild Card picture.
You can pin at least two of the Kansas City Chiefs' three losses on poor wide receiver play, the team's weakness all season. The Chiefs' defense continues to perform at a top-five level, while Patrick Mahomes is still the best player in the league.
Kansas City is in the driver’s seat, but the surging Packers could give them a scare Sunday night.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 21, Packers 17
Monday Night Football
Jaguars vs. Bengals
Spread: Jaguars -8.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars have won seven of their last eight games — with their lone loss coming against San Francisco. The Jaguars have the 12th-ranked scoring offense and defense this season; while neither group has performed at an elite level, they’ve been rock solid.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a limited team with Jake Browning at quarterback. It’s hard to see how they can give the Jaguars a scare on the road.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 27, Bengals 10