Week 13 of the 2016 NFL schedule gets underway this Thursday night when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Minnesota Vikings from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This game is huge for both of these NFC contenders, especially the Vikings, who are hoping to stay in the NFL playoff picture for Week 13.
This game is just one of the many on the Week 13 schedule that will have a direct effect on the NFL playoff picture. If you had to pick one word to describe the 2016 NFL season it may be “parity.”
Almost every team, besides the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers, are mathematically still in the postseason hunt – with several teams log jammed for the Wild Card spot from both conferences.
Interestingly enough, as of today, the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and the NFC champion Carolina Panthers would both be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started this weekend. The good news for both teams is that there are still five games left in the season. The bad news is they both most likely need to win at least four out of five of those games, and get help from other teams if they are going to be making a return trip to the playoffs and Super Bowl.
According to a CBS Sports report, the Miami Dolphins leaped into the No. 6 slot in the AFC playoff standings Sunday after they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-24. The Dolphins win, combined with the Broncos loss to the Chiefs on Monday night, has Miami back in the driver’s seat in chasing down a possible playoff berth.
If the Dolphins hope to make it to the promised land of the NFL playoffs, they will need to continue to win games down the stretch. This week they have to face another tough opponent on the road when they take on the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore is currently tied for the lead in the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 6-5. Miami will need to win this game, along with a few others if they hope to return to the postseason for the first time since 2008.
The Week 13 schedule is a great one in terms of the head-to-head matchups that involve teams battling for a playoff spot. One of the big matchups in the NFC will feature the Detroit Lions taking on the New Orleans Saints. While the Lions are sitting alone atop the NFC North due mostly to the great play of MVP candidate Matt Stafford, the Saints could be one of the best comeback stories of the year.
After starting the season 0-3, New Orleans could be right back in the thick of things with a win against Detroit this Sunday. The Saints have climbed to 5-6, and a win coupled with an Atlanta loss could put the Saints just one game back in the NFC South.
Other big games of interest include Buffalo vs. Oakland, Houston traveling to Green Bay to face the Packers and the New York Giants will square-off against the Pittsburgh Steelers from the Steel City.
Below is a look at the entire Week 13 NFL schedule, TV start times, current odds and predictions against the Las Vegas spread. Also is a list on the up-to-date playoff matchups.
Last week was a good one as the NFL picks finished at 2-0-1 on Thanksgiving Day. Hopefully this week brings the same results.
Thursday, December 1
- Dallas (-3.5) at Minnesota — 8:25 p.m. – NBC — (Over/Under 43)
Sunday, December 4
- Miami at Baltimore (-3.5) — 1 p.m. – CBS — (Over/Under 41)
- San Francisco at Chicago (-3) — 1 p.m. – FOX — (Over/Under 43.5)
- Houston at Green Bay (-4) — 1 p.m. – CBS — (Over/Under 46.5)
- Kansas City at Atlanta (-4) — 1 p.m. – CBS — (Over/Under 49)
- L.A. Rams at New England (-13) — 1 p.m. — FOX — (Over/Under 44)
- Detroit at New Orleans (-5.5) — 1 p.m. – FOX — (Over/Under 53.5)
- Philadelphia (-2) at Cincinnati — 1 p.m. – FOX — (Over/Under 41.5)
- Denver (-5) at Jacksonville — 1 p.m. – CBS — (Over/Under 42)
- Buffalo at Oakland (-3) — 4:05 p.m. – CBS — (Over/Under 49.5)
- Tampa Bay at San Diego (-4) — 4:25 p.m. – FOX — (Over/Under 47)
- Washington at Arizona (-2.5) — 4:25 p.m. — FOX — (Over/Under 49.5)
- N.Y. Giants at Pittsburgh (-6) — 4:25 p.m. – FOX — (Over/Under 49)
- Carolina at Seattle (-7) — 8:30 p.m. – NBC — (Over/Under 44.5)
Monday, December 5
- Indianapolis (-1) at N.Y. Jets — 8:30 p.m. – ESPN — (Over/Under 49.5)
Predictions – Green Bay -4, Baltimore -3.5, NY Giants +6, Seattle -7
AFC and NFC Playoff seedings and matchups as of November 29.
- New England
- Kansas City
The New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders would have a first round bye.
AFC Wild Card Matchups
Miami at Baltimore
Kansas City at Texas
- NY Giants
The Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks would have a first round bye.
NFC Wild Card Matchups
Washington at Detroit
NY Giants at Atlanta
[Featured Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]