We're into December, which means that someway, somehow, we're already into Week 13 of the NFL season. There's a slew of pivotal games this weekend with major playoff implications. The Cowboys have to continue to win while they play lesser opponents, while the Giants take on the undefeated Packers.
As always, the staff here at SB Nation makes our weekly picks.
Eagles (4-7) at Seahawks (4-7) - This game obviously already happened, but as always, we're honest with our picks here. It truly is amazing how poorly the Eagles have played, and the man who dubbed Philly the Dream Team certainly isn't living up to his winning reputation while Mike Vick is out.
- Christopher Fittz: Eagles
- Liam Ponting: Seahawks - Hand to God I would've taken the Seahawks at home.
- Maurice London: Seahawks - I predict big things for Lynch, a disinterested Desean Jackson and 4 VY picks.
- Robbie Griffin: Eagles - I actually don't think this is as close as people probably want to make it. The Seahawks have a nice HFA and the Eagles have been struggling, sure, but I still think the difference in talent is just too huge.
- Brett Perryman: Eagles - I refuse to believe that they're this bad, but visiting Seattle is rarely fun.
- JP Starkey: Eagles - Surely the Eagles have to show something after New England embarrassed them, right?
Titans (6-5) at Bills (5-6) - Is Chris Johnson back? In two of his last three games, he's rushed for 130 and 190 yards...with a 13 yard game mixed in between. Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot, and the Bills are trying to avoid adding to their implosion.
- Fittz: Titans
- Ponting: Bills - Buffalo isn't this bad. They should beat the Titans at home, even without Fred Jackson.
- London: Titans - The Bills' tailspin continues.
- Griffin: Bills - Home team pick in a game that features two teams I've stopped paying attention to.
- Perryman: Bills - The Bills are coming off of a pretty devastating loss, but they can still move to within a game of a Wild Card with a win.
- Starkey: Titans - CJ2K is back, and I still like Matt Hasselbeck.
Chiefs (4-7) at Bears (7-4) - If you love watching the quarterback position played well, do not tune into this game. Chicago obviously holds the advantage in this game with Matt Forte, Devin Hester and a superior defense, but crazier things have happened than a Chiefs win.
- Fittz: Bears
- Ponting: Bears - Will be pretty soul-crushing for those KC fans to lose to Caleb Hanie.
- London: Bears - Palko vs Hanie. Can't wait for this one.
- Griffin: Bears - Home team pick in a game that features two teams I've stopped paying attention to.
- Perryman: Bears - "@KristinCav: This time its official..Jay and I are engaged again :)" So happy for those kiddos!
- Starkey: Bears - Matt Forte has himself a ballgame.
Raiders (7-4) at Dolphins (3-8) - Miami certainly doesn't feel like a 3-8 team, as the Dolphins have played extremely well for the past month -- and nearly upset the Cowboys on Thanksgiving day. Oakland will have to travel cross country, so this is a bit of a tricky game for the Raiders.
- Fittz: Raiders
- Ponting: Raiders - This'll be close, but Oakland probably edges it.
- London: Dolphins - The Raiders will still win the West but they slip up here.
- Griffin: Dolphins - West coast team in an early game. The talent differential has to be way bigger than it is here for me to take the road team.
- Perryman: Dolphins - These two teams are a lot more evenly matched than people probably realize.
- Starkey: Raiders - I just can't pick the Dolphins, even with them being at home here.
Broncos (6-5) at Vikings (2-9) - Tim Tebow. That's all that's happening in this game, right? Denver needs a win to keep themselves prominently position in the AFC West picture, while the Vikings are playing for pride.
- Fittz: Broncos
- Ponting: Broncos - Denver's defense is going to smash that Peterson-less Vikings team.
- London: Broncos - Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!
- Griffin: Vikings - If the Broncos win -- which they might -- it will be because of the improvements in their defense, and because the Vikings are bad. Not because of their worthless quarterback.
- Perryman: Broncos - Tebow delivers a thrilling 9-7 victory in the final seconds!
- Starkey: Broncos - Tebow completes nine passes, scores only one touchdown, but somehow gets me 18 fantasy points. Hey, I'll take it.
Colts (0-11) at Patriots (8-3) - Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Wait, what? Oh. Dan Orlovsky vs. Tom Brady -- it doesn't quite have the same ring to it. This could get ugly in a hurry.
- Fittz: Patriots
- Ponting: Patriots - Remember when this used to be a must-watch game? Like...last year?
- London: Patriots - Ugly.
- Griffin: Patriots - How far this rivalry game has fallen in one year, huh? That spread is outrageous, but the Colts have lost seven straight times against it.
- Perryman: Patriots - Oh my, this is going to be really ugly.
- Starkey: Patriots - Can Brady throw for 1,000 yards in a game?
Bengals (7-4) at Steelers (8-3) - Another week, another tough game for Andy Dalton and the Bengals. If they're going to make the playoffs this year, they have to start beating the Ravens and the Steelers.
- Fittz: Steelers
- Ponting: Steelers - I don't think the Bengals are quite at the point where they can be expected to win this game.
- London: Bengals - Upset special.
- Griffin: Steelers - I would love for Cincinnati to firmly entrench itself in the divisional race at Pittsburgh's expense, but I don't think their entertaining offense is disciplined enough to handle the Steelers' D.
- Perryman: Steelers - Looking at their remaining schedule, this game feels like the key to the Bengals making the playoffs.
- Starkey: Bengals - Maybe I just hate the Steelers too much.
Panthers (3-8) at Buccaneers (4-7) - Cam Newton vs. Josh Freeman -- actually a matchup that should be enticing for years to come. Both teams, unfortunately, stink this year. Tampa Bay has played well below expectations this season, while Carolina has played slightly above them.
- Fittz: Bucs
- Ponting: Bucs - Both teams are poor, so I'll take the slightly less bad home team.
- London: Panthers - Cam > Freeman.
- Griffin: Bucs - If you want to watch athletic young QBs go wild, these are the defenses you want them to play. This game might not be overall well played, but it should be extremely fun to watch.
- Perryman: Panthers - We have two of the three worst defenses in the NFL here. On paper, Carolina is the better team.
- Starkey: Panthers - It should be entertaining, at least.
Jets (6-5) at Redskins (4-7) - It's December, so the Redskins are back to simply playing spoiler and nothing else. At least something is right with the world. The Jets are desperate for a win, as they can't afford to further fall behind in the AFC Wild Card race.
- Fittz: Jets
- Ponting: Jets - One thing's for sure: This game will be boring as hell.
- London: Jets - The NFL is awful sometimes.
- Griffin: Jets - Rex Grossman is a cure for what ails this defense.
- Perryman: Jets - Get ready for some dreadful QB play.
- Starkey: Jets - The Jets live to see another week of contention.
Falcons (7-4) at Texans (8-3) - This game would be a lot more interesting if Matt Schaub were healthy. Instead, we're subject to T.J. Yates, and his first starting assignment isn't an easy one, as the Falcons have been playing much better football lately.
- Fittz; Falcons
- Ponting: Falcons - Regardless of who's playing QB for Houston, they're going to be insanely one-dimensional on offense. Against a fairly decent squad, that might pose problems.
- London: Falcons - Okay, I feel a little bit sorry for the Texans. Just a little bit.
- Griffin: Falcons - This is the hardest game to pick, because I just don't know what to expect out of Yates. If he can at least be a typical back-up, Houston is probably solid enough all-around to win a home game. But his inexperience could result in a melt down against a team good enough to win without much help.
- Perryman: Falcons - Atlanta seems to have their act together finally and is facing a mess at QB.
- Starkey: Falcons - And suddenly the Patriots are the No. 1 seed in the AFC...again.
Ravens (8-3) at Browns (4-7) - Well, the Browns played the Bengals pretty tough last week, but the Ravens are still a cut above the Bengals. The Browns do one thing exceptionally well, as they hold opponents passing to 174 yards per game. This one could be on Ray Rice.
- Fittz: Ravens
- Ponting: Ravens - Shouldn't be close, but you never know with Baltimore.
- London: Ravens - A team the Ravens should handle so they're probably going to lose.
- Griffin: Ravens - I want to stop thinking about Browns games.
- Perryman: Ravens - This is the kind of game that has given the Ravens trouble, but it's December now.
- Starkey: Ravens - Will the Browns try extra hard to beat the team that used to be the Browns? Will it matter? Does anybody care?
Packers (11-0) at Giants (6-5) - If you're just taking last week performances into account, this game will be a laugher. Green Bay has nothing to play for in the regular season except history, while the Giants can't afford to continue to drop games -- NFC games, no less.
- Fittz: Packers
- Ponting: Packers - Rodgers should decimate that secondary.
- London: Giants - Does FIGJAM have an unstoppable Citizen Eco drive? Didn't think so.
- Griffin: Packers - This is the first half of a nerve-wracking set of late games. I have this sneaking feeling that this will be the game the Packers finally manage to lose.
- Perryman: Packers - The Giants are in a free-fall, but they will be desperate at home. This could be close.
- Starkey: Giants - The Giants owe it to Patriots fans to win this game.
Cowboys (7-4) at Cardinals (4-7) - Trap game for Dallas. It's the end of Dallas' easy portion of their schedule, and the Giants loom large next week. Kevin Kolb will be back for Arizona, and while he's been awful this year, he still constitutes an upgrade at quarterback.
- Fittz: Cowboys
- Ponting: Cardinals - Patrick Peterson returns another one, shows why losing games in a lost season is a good thing.
- London: Cowboys - Kevin Kolb is back! Guaranteed suck.
- Griffin: Cowboys - This is the other half. My memory as a Cowboys fan is haunted by a lot of shocking Cardinals losses. This would be intensely damaging if they can't handle it.
- Perryman: Cowboys - This is actually a huge game for the Cowboys. I hope they realize that.
- Starkey: Cardinals - Yep, it's a trap!
Rams (2-9) at 49ers (9-2) - Ah, the NFC West at its finest.
- Fittz: 49ers
- Ponting: 49ers - Yawn.
- London: 49ers - That Rams run defense is awesome. Gore's going to rush for 420.
- Griffin: 49ers - This was a rivalry once. Remember?
- Perryman: 49ers - In a normal year the Rams would be a clear choice for worst team in the league. Thanks Colts!
- Starkey: 49ers - San Francisco's march towards a bye week continues.
Lions (7-4) at Saints (8-3) - If you're the Lions, you certainly can't feel good about going into New Orleans after what the Saints did to the Giants last Monday night, right? Detroit's defense, which is of course without Ndamukang Suh, will have to play a flawless game.
- Fittz: Saints
- Ponting: Saints - Suh will be a big loss, especially since Detroit will want to pressure Brees with a 4 man rush.
- London: Saints - I can't wait for the Saints/Packers rematch.
- Griffin: Saints - Oh, that Detroit secondary is going to have absolutely no fun whatsoever.
- Perryman: Saints - This should be a lot of fun as both teams have a lot to play for. Detroit will have to fight to stay in it early.
- Starkey: Saints - A win for Detroit would do so much for that team's psyche, but it just won't happen.
Chargers (4-7) at Jaguars (3-8) - Raise your hand if you had San Diego only having one more win than Jacksonville at this point in the season. That's what I thought. ESPN certainly has had some turds for Monday Night Football this year -- and it looks like we're adding to the list this week.
- Fittz: Chargers
- Ponting: Chargers - Typical terrible Monday night game.
- London: Chargers - Monday Night Football, everybody.
- Griffin: Chargers - I actually think this is a toss-up. That's how far San Diego has fallen.
- Perryman: Chargers - Norvell is going to be back on the street in a few weeks.
- Starkey: Chargers - They just aren't that bad to lose to Jacksonville.