Week 13 NFL preview

I’m off to a flying 0-3 start picking games this week (sarcasm). My big takeaways from the Thursday games: If the Eagles could play defense like that every week, they’d be almost unstoppable, the 49ers have major issues, and the Bears may have the worst defense I’ve ever seen. Here’s to bettering that 0-3 mark.

Patriots (9-2) at Packers (8-3)-Shockingly, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have never played against each other before. They will Sunday. They are piloting the two hottest teams in football. The Pats continue to impress. They predictably slaughtered a good but overmatched Lions team last week. The Packers got more than they bargained for in Minnesota last week, but prevailed. It has been a long time since either team lost. I love the Pats newfound running game, but winning in Lambeau is next to impossible when Green Bay is playing this well. GB 35 NE 31.

Arizona (9-2) at Atlanta (4-7)-Sadly, this is a huge game for both teams due to the futility of the NFC South. Arizona backup QB Drew Stanton looked totally overmatched against Seattle last week. Atlanta is by no means Seattle, but they are getting better. They just need to finish games. Carson Palmer isn’t walking through the door for Arizona. They also may be without star wideout Larry Fitzgerald. Upset of the week. The NFC South saves some face. Atl 31 Ari 21

Broncos (8-3) at Chiefs (7-4)-Ok folks, you know where my loyalties lie. So, take everything I say here with a grain of salt. The Chiefs play Denver as tough as anyone. Denver ran for almost 200 yards last week in a tight win. That’s certainly the exception not the rule. C.J. Anderson has done a whale of a job, but I don’t buy Denver’s run game becoming a consistent threat. No matter how much I wish. KC is coming off an inexplicable loss to the hapless Raiders. I really fear KC. They are really physical. Denver doesn’t like that. Honestly, I have no idea what to expect here. Denver 21 KC 17

Bengals (7-4) at Bucs (2-9)- Playing to my readers here. After 2 good showings in a row, it is about time the bad Bengals show up. The good news is the bad Bengals are still good enough to beat Tampa. The Bengals will drive their fans nuts, but win an ugly game. Cin 12 TB 10.