Philadelphia (-3) at Seattle, Thursday 8:20 p.m.
Comments: A battle of two 4-7 teams isn't exactly ideal for the NFL Network, but that's what's on tap Thursday night. Tarvaris Jackson has a 3:6 TD:INT ratio over the past four games, and while the Eagles' defense has underperformed this season, and Nnamdi Asomugha is likely to remain limited with a knee injury, Seattle will be without Sidney Rice, who was placed on IR after suffering yet another concussion last week. Doug Baldwin figures to benefit from a fantasy perspective, and Marshawn Lynch has remarkably scored in seven straight games. He's also eclipsed 100 rushing yards in three of the past four contests and should again act as the team's focal point on offense Thursday. Even with a middling Seahawks team, Seattle remains a difficult place to play, especially to a team having to travel during a short week... The Eagles could win the rest of their games this season and still finish more than a game under their preseason over/under projection, and three of their next four games are on the road. The team will once again be without Michael Vick (ribs) and Jeremy Maclin (hamstring), and LeSean McCoy is banged up with a toe injury as well. Expect McCoy to play, but stashing Dion Lewis wouldn't be a bad idea for insurance down the stretch. McCoy has 13 touchdowns over 11 games this season and should bounce back after gaining just 31 rushing yards last week, but he gets a Seattle defense that has allowed 3.5 YPC this season, which is the second-lowest mark in the league. It hasn't always been pretty, but Vince Young has averaged 329.0 passing yards (with 45 rushing yards too) over his two starts this season. DeSean Jackson was benched last week after suffering a couple of devastating drops, but it wouldn't surprise if he were to have a productive game Thursday as the team's clear No. 1 option in the passing game.
Predictions: Tarvaris Jackson throws for 225 yards with a touchdown to Doug Baldwin, while Marshawn Lynch adds 90 total yards and another TD run. LeSean McCoy counters with 110 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown, while Vince Young adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek, as Philly wins it. Eagles 24-20.
Oakland (+3) at Miami, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Raiders enter riding a three-game winning streak, but remain in a tight battle in the AFC West thanks to the Broncos improved play. Despite playing with new teammates and a receiving corps that's been hampered badly by injuries, Carson Palmer has got 8.9 YPA since coming to Oakland. However, he gets a Miami defense this week that has allowed just 10.0 points per game over the past four contests. Denarius Moore (foot) and Rolando McClain (arrested) are questionable to play. Michael Bush will once again get a heavy workload, although the Dolphins have allowed the third fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season... Miami's three-game winning streak came to an end last week, but it occurred on the final play of the game against a favored Cowboys team in Dallas, as they continue to play far better than their record suggests. Home field hasn't been much of an advantage to this franchise in recent memory, but Matt Moore has got 8.7 YPA with a 7:1 TD:INT ratio over his past four games. Reggie Bush enters Week 13 just 14 yards shy of tying a career-high in rushing yards, and he faces a Raiders front seven that has allowed an NFL-high 5.3 YPC on the year.
Predictions: Carson Palmer throws for 250 yards with a touchdown to Chaz Schilens, while Michael Bush totals 90 yards with a TD run. Daniels Thomas and Reggie Bush combine for 150 yards from scrimmage, with a score from the latter. Matt Moore adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Brandon Marshall and Anthony Fasano, as Miami continues to impress. Dolphins 24-20.
Atlanta (-2) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Falcons are 5-1 over their past six games, although three of their next four tilts come on the road. They catch a break Sunday getting a Houston team that is forced to use its third string QB, who's a rookie making the first start of his career. Matt Ryan has played extremely well of late, getting 8.5 YPA with a 9:2 TD:INT ratio over the past four games. He's typically played worse outdoors throughout his career, and he gets a Texans defense that has allowed just 6.0 YPA with an 11:15 TD:INT ratio this season, allowing an NFL-low 62.1 QB rating to opposing passers. Michael Turner is questionable with a groin injury, and if he were to miss Sunday's game, Jason Snelling would become a flex option in deep fantasy leagues... The Texans have won five straight and are fighting to be the AFC's No. 1 seed, but they are a big unknown with T.J. Yates their new starting quarterback. Houston's playbook may open up some with Yates getting starter snaps in practice this week, but the game plan is likely to remain mostly conservative. Andre Johnson has been limited in practice with a knee injury, but his matchup greatly improved with Brent Grimes, who's been one of the three best cover corners in football this year, out after minor knee surgery. Expect a lot of rushing attempts, but it's worth noting Atlanta has allowed the second fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs this year. Houston's defense is legitimate, and they are at home, so this line looks like an overreaction to the QB situation.
Predictions: Matt Ryan throws for 230 yards with a touchdown to Tony Gonzalez, while Michael Turner fights through his injury and manages 60 rushing yards with a goal-line score. Arian Foster responds with 110 total yards and hits pay dirt, while T.J. Yates adds 200 passing yards with a TD toss to Andre Johnson, as Houston pulls off the mild upset. Texans 23-17.
Tennessee (+1) at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Tennessee remains in the playoff race, but they haven't won back-to-back games since Weeks 3 and 4, although they get a reeling Buffalo team Sunday. The Bills have allowed 21 passing touchdowns this season, but Matt Hasselbeck has thrown for multiple TDs in a game just once since Week 4. Chris Johnson appears to be back on track after erupting for 190 rushing yards last week, and he gets a Buffalo front seven that has yielded 12 rushing scores on the year... The Bills have lost four straight games, although at least the offense woke up last week, scoring 24 points after averaging just 8.7 ppg over their previous four contests. The loss of Fred Jackson (leg) clearly hurts, and while C.J. Spiller is a flex option in fantasy leagues thanks to his new role, he's a big downgrade in the backfield. Ryan Fitzpatrick has got just 5.8 YPA over the past four games, and the Titans' secondary has played well this season, but home field is the difference Sunday.
Predictions: Matt Hasselbeck throws for 225 yards with a TD strike to Nate Washington, while Chris Johnson adds 100 yards from scrimmage and reaches the end zone. C.J. Spiller totals 80 yards, while Ryan Fitzpatrick adds 230 passing yards with scoring strikes to Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson, as Buffalo wins on a late field goal. Bills 23-20.
Kansas City (+8.5) at Chicago, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Chiefs enter saddled by a four-game losing streak, although they did play competitively as big underdogs in primetime against the Steelers last week. Kyle Orton is still learning the system, so it appears Tyler Palko will get one more start under center Sunday. He's been nothing short of dreadful, with a 0:6 TD:INT ratio over two starts. In fact, Kansas City has scored just one touchdown over its past 45 offensive drives. The strong Chicago defense should be in store for a big fantasy day... The Bears' five-game winning streak came to an end in Oakland last week, with Caleb Hanie making the first start of his career. Hanie was inconsistent, although he did add 50 rushing yards, so he's someone to watch in fantasy leagues. He gets a plus matchup this week against a KC defense that has allowed 7.9 YPA while recording an NFL-low 13 sacks this season. Matt Forte has slowed down, failing to rush for 65 yards in any of the past three games, but he should bounce back with a nice game Sunday as the team's centerpiece on offense.
Predictions: Tyler Palko once again plays poorly, committing multiple turnovers before Kyle Orton eventually replaces him. Dwayne Bowe gets a touchdown, but the Chiefs' ground game is held in check. Matt Forte responds with 120 yards from scrimmage and a TD run, while Marion Barber adds a goal-line score of his own. Caleb Hanie adds 180 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Earl Bennett, as Chicago wins handily. Bears 24-13.
New York Jets (+3) at Washington, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Redskins won for the first time since Week 4 last Sunday, as it's clear the team never should have gone to John Beck at QB. Not that Rex Grossman is anything special, as he remains incredibly turnover-prone and has a long day ahead of him facing a Jets secondary that has allowed an 11:13 TD:INT ratio on the year. Roy Helu appears to finally have emerged as Washington's feature back, and despite the tough matchup, he's a fine flex play in fantasy leagues Sunday with a lot more upside than that down the stretch... The Jets come in 6-5 and every game is crucial from here on out, as the battle for the postseason is tight. Mark Sanchez is coming off one of the least impressive four-touchdown passing games you'll ever see, and for all the team's struggles, the Redskins' defense is solid. Shonn Greene hasn't scored since Week 5, but he's got 5.0 YPC over the past five games and should get a nice workload Sunday.
Predictions: Rex Grossman throws a couple of picks, adds 220 passing yards and finds Fred Davis in the end zone. Roy Helu totals 90 yards from scrimmage sans a score, while Shonn Greene answers with 70 rushing yards and a TD run. Mark Sanchez adds 230 passing yards with a scoring strike to Plaxico Burress, as the road team prevails. Jets 20-16.
Cincinnati (+7) at Pittsburgh, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: This is a huge game in the AFC North, and if the Bengals were somehow able to pull off the upset, they would be right in the playoff picture, especially since three of their final four games are at home (with the lone road tilt coming in St. Louis). These teams will be meeting for the second time over the past month, with the Steelers winning by a touchdown in Cincy last time. Andy Dalton gets a Pittsburgh secondary that has ceded an NFL-low 5.8 YPA, although it remains to be seen how close to 100 percent Troy Polamalu (concussion) will be. Cedric Benson is expected to play through a foot injury... The Steelers come in 8-3 and with three of their final four games coming against the Browns (twice) and the Rams, so 12-13 wins aren't out of the question. They didn't play very well last week in Kansas City, but they can ill afford to overlook a division rival Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for multiple touchdowns in just eight of 11 games this season, although the Bengals' secondary has taken a step back since Leon Hall went out for the season. Rashard Mendenhall has got just 3.5 YPC over the past five games, but although Cincinnati has given up the second fewest YPC on the year, they have also allowed 10 rushing scores.
Predictions: Andy Dalton throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to A.J. Green, while Cedric Benson is held in check. Rashard Mendenhall counters with 70 rushing yards and a touchdown run, while Ben Roethlisberger adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, as the home team comes out on top. Steelers 21-16.
Denver (pick 'em) at Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Vikings are 1-5 over their past six games, although an extremely difficult schedule has surely contributed to the slide. Christian Ponder has had mixed results during his rookie campaign, and he gets a Denver defense that has played extremely well of late, although Von Miller (thumb) may have to sit out Sunday's contest. Percy Harvin has suddenly become a valuable fantasy WR, which is better late than never. Adrian Peterson (ankle) has been ruled out... The Broncos are 5-1 over their past six games, all since Tim Tebow took over quarterback duties. The defense has allowed 15 points or fewer in four of those six contests, so this has hardly been a fluke. Since installing the read/option offense four games ago, Tebow has produced six touchdowns with zero turnovers while taking just three sacks. He gets a Vikings' defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, although it's not clear how is unconventional method can take full advantage of the vulnerable secondary.
Predictions: Christian Ponder throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe, while Toby Gerhart gets the start but is held in check. Willis McGahee responds with 90 rushing yards, while Tim Tebow throws for 180 yards with a TD strike to Eric Decker. Tebow also adds 50 rushing yards and a touchdown run, as Denver's hot streak continues. Broncos 20-16.
Carolina (+3.5) at Tampa Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Carolina will be playing its third straight road game Sunday, and Cam Newton enters with a 1:5 TD:INT ratio over the past three contests. In fairness, he's added three rushing scores over that span, and his 7.9 YPA mark on the year is highly impressive for a rookie. He faces a Tampa Bay secondary this week that has allowed 8.1 YPA this season, which is the third highest mark in the league. The Bucs have also given up 4.8 YPC and 13 rushing scores, so it's a favorable matchup for the entire Panthers' offense... The Bucs come in losers of five straight, as their 3-1 start to the season is now a distant memory. Josh Freeman is dealing with a shoulder injury, and while he's expected to play Sunday, it may be at less than 100 percent. Mike Williams is coming off back-to-back nice games, and LeGarrette Blount has broken 100 rushing yards in each of the past two contests as well. The Panthers' defense has allowed an NFL-high 8.4 YPA and an NFL-high 15 rushing touchdowns this season, so it should be a shootout Sunday.
Predictions: Cam Newton throws for 250 yards with a TD strike to Steve Smith, while the QB also adds 40 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combine for 125 yards from scrimmage, with a goal-line score from the latter. LeGarrette Blount answers with 140 rushing yards and reaches the end zone, while Josh Freeman adds 210 passing yards with scoring strikes to Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow, while Tampa Bay wins by a field goal. Buccaneers 27-24.
Indianapolis (+20.5) at Patriots, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Colts enter 0-11 and as one of the biggest underdogs in recent memory. The team is turning from Curtis Painter to Dan Orlovsky at quarterback, and while Orlovksy is likely to struggle, he also has his work cut out for him to be a downgrade. Every Indy wide receiver is a shaky fantasy start, regardless of the play matchup. Donald Brown has emerged as the team's top running back, but the Colts may not be able to run much Sunday playing mostly from behind... The Pats have won three straight following back-to-back losses, including a 38-20 victory in Philadelphia last week. Tom Brady has a 12:2 TD:INT ratio over the past five games and should shred a Colts' secondary that has allowed an NFL-high 108.6 QB rating to opposing passers this season. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is highly dependent on game situations, but Sunday's matchup projects favorably as New England enters as nearly three-touchdown favorites.
Predictions: Dan Orlovsky throws for 190 yards with a touchdown to Jacob Tamme, while Indy's ground game is stymied. BenJarvus Green-Ellis answers with 75 rushing yards and hits pay dirt, while Tom Brady adds 325 passing yards and three touchdowns, with Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker the recipients, as the home team rolls. Patriots 34-16.
Baltimore (-7) at Cleveland, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: Cleveland is just 1-4 over its past five games, but their defense hasn't been terrible, and the return of Peyton Hillis helps the offense. Colt McCoy has taken multiple sacks in each of his past eight games, but at least he hasn't been picked off more than one time in any game this season. He gets a touch matchup against a Baltimore secondary that has ceded the second fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on the year... The Ravens are 4-1 over their past five games, but they have shown vulnerability on the road at times this season, with losses in Jacksonville and Seattle. Joe Flacco has got only 5.9 YPA away from home this year, and the Browns have actually allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing passers in 2011. Expect a heavy dose of Ray Rice, who should have a big game Sunday.
Predictions: Colt McCoy throws for 170 yards with no touchdowns, while Peyton Hillis adds 75 yards from scrimmage and a goal-line TD. Ray Rice counters with 130 combined yards and a touchdown run, while Joe Flacco adds 220 passing yards with a scoring strike to Ed Dickson, as Baltimore wins it. Ravens 20-16.
Dallas (-4.5) at Arizona, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: Arizona is quietly 3-1 over its past four games, and they will be playing their first home game Sunday in nearly a month. After being on the road for three straight games, the Cardinals now have three straight home tilts, and Kevin Kolb is expected to return to the lineup in Week 13. Kolb has been a disappointment during his first year in the desert, but he's no doubt an upgrade over John Skelton. Beanie Wells is coming off a career game in which he set a franchise record rushing for 228 yards, but his knee continues to be a problem, and his matchup is much more difficult this week... Dallas has won four straight, although it came down to a field goal at the buzzer at home against the Dolphins last week. They enter having an extra few days of rest and preparation having last played on Thanksgiving, and Tony Romo has a 10:2 TD:INT ratio over his past four games. Miles Austin (hamstring) is expected to sit out another game, but DeMarco Murray has averaged 147.5 yards from scrimmage over the past four contests. The Cowboys look better on paper, but don't be surprised if this game is closer than expected.
Predictions: Kevin Kolb throws for 225 yards in his return, connecting with Larry Fitzgerald for a score. Beanie Wells adds 75 rushing yards with a TD run, while DeMarco Murray counters with 125 total yards. Tony Romo adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, as Dallas pulls off the victory. Cowboys 23-20.
Green Bay (-8) at New York Giants, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: Following a three-game winning streak, the Giants have dropped each of their past three contests and look like long shots to make the playoffs with such a difficult upcoming schedule. It's possible this team has given up, but don't forget this same squad was the first team to beat Tom Brady in New England in more than 30 regular season games earlier this year, so while they often disappointment, they still have upside when they play their "A" game. Eli Manning should be able to move the ball against a Green Bay defense that has allowed 7.6 YPA on the year, but he needs to protect the ball, as the Packers have recorded an NFL-high 22 interceptions. Mario Manningham (knee) is out, but the team may get back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), albeit in a limited role. Victor Cruz is obviously a must-start in fantasy leagues, and Hakeem Nicks (ribs, concussion) is expected to be available too... The Packers remain undefeated and are clearly considered the league's best team. They have something of a test Sunday in New York, but after that, they will easily be double-digit favorites in the rest of their games, so assuming they don't rest their starters, there's a legitimate chance of an undefeated season. Aaron Rodgers had got 9.6 YPA with a 35:4 TD:turnover ratio in 2011, and after watching what Drew Brees did to this Giants' secondary Monday night, another huge game should be in store. It's possible no player has ever played at this level for such an extended period of time in NFL history. Still, don't be surprised if this game comes down to the very end, as a desperate New York team is capable of putting points on the board, assuming Tom Coughlin doesn't overuse the league's worst rushing attack. This is a pretty massive point spread for a team playing the Giants in New York.
Predictions: Eli Manning throws for 300 yards with scoring strikes to Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard, while Brandon Jacobs is held in check. The Packers' RBBC isn't much more productive, but Aaron Rodgers answers with 320 passing yards and three TD tosses, with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley the recipients, as Green Bay stays undefeated in a shootout. Packers 27-24.
St. Louis (+13.5) at San Francisco, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Rams enter 2-9 and with the league's second worst point differential. Sam Bradford suffered a setback with his ankle injury and is questionable to play Sunday. However, it's also questionable if A.J. Feeley is even a downgrade at this point. Brandon Lloyd has been a must-start in fantasy leagues since getting traded to St. Louis, but Steven Jackson has a tough matchup in Week 13, as the 49ers continue to allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs... San Francisco's eight-game winning streak came to an end last week, as the team allowed a whopping nine sacks (while recording zero) to the Ravens during a 10-point loss on Thanksgiving. The 49ers' need to get their offensive line fixed, especially on the right side. It would be tough to bench Vernon Davis, but it's worth noting the Rams have allowed just 3.3 ppg against tight ends this season, which is easily the lowest in the NFL. Frank Gore, on the other hand, has a dream matchup against a St. Louis run defense that has allowed 5.1 YPC on the year, including getting gashed for 268 rushing yards last week against the Cardinals.
Predictions: A.J. Feeley throws for 175 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Lloyd, while Steven Jackson fights for 70 total yards sans a score. Frank Gore responds with 130 yards from scrimmage and hits pay dirt, while Kendall hunter also adds a score on the ground. Alex Smith adds 240 passing yards with a TD toss to Michael Crabtree, as San Francisco wins handily. 49ers 27-10.
Detroit (+9.5) at New Orleans, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Comments: The Lions are just 2-4 over their past six games after a 5-0 start to the season, and they have a battle on their hands to make the playoffs, especially looking at their remaining schedule. Matthew Stafford has thrown nine interceptions over the past three games after getting picked off just four times over the season's first eight contests, and it's unclear just how much his finger injury is affecting his accuracy. The Saints have allowed an 18:6 TD:INT ratio this year, so it's not necessarily a mad matchup Sunday. Kevin Smith is questionable with an ankle injury, and he's likely to be limited if he does suit up... The Saints are coming off a dominating offensive performance, having scored 49 points Monday night against the Giants. Drew Brees didn't take a sack and would have approached 500 passing yards had New Orleans not stepped off the gas pedal up 35-10 entering the fourth quarter. He's on pace to finish the season with 5,366 passing yards, which would break the NFL record by 282 yards. Sunday night is strength against strength, as Detroit's defense has allowed just 6.2 YPA with a 12:15 TD:INT ratio on the season, although they will be without DT Ndamukong Suh (suspension).
Predictions: Matthew Stafford throws for 275 yards with TD tosses to Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew, while Detroit's ground game isn't productive. New Orleans' RBBC answers with 120 total yards and a TD run by Mark Ingram, while Drew Brees adds 280 passing yards with scoring strikes to Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham, as New Orleans wins it. Saints 27-23.
San Diego (-2.5) at Jacksonville, Monday 8:30 p.m.
Comments: The Jaguars enter just 3-8, having just fired coach Jack Del Rio, although they have been mostly competitive in their losses, especially of late. The defense is solid, and a home game on Monday night should have them focused. Still, Blaine Gabbert has been dreadful, getting 4.6 YPA with a 2:5 TD:INT ratio over the past five games. San Diego's defense hasn't been any good this season, but Gabbert could struggle to take advantage of a leaky secondary. Maurice Jones-Drew easily leads the NFL with 230 carries, as he remains the team's offensive focal point... The Chargers enter with the second longest losing streak in the NFL, only behind the 0-11 Colts. Coaching remains a major problem, and Philip Rivers might be the most disappointing player in football this season. Vincent Jackson has been as inconsistent as it gets, as he's racked up 586 receiving yards with seven touchdowns over four games. In the other seven contests, Jackson has managed 239 receiving yards with zero scores. Ryan Mathews remains risky because of durability, but he's also quite impressive when on the field. It wouldn't surprise at all if San Diego lost yet again to an inferior team on paper, but their season is most definitely on the line come Monday night.
Predictions: Blaine Gabbert throws for 150 yards with a touchdown to Marcedes Lewis, while Maurice Jones-Drew adds 90 total yards and hits pay dirt. Ryan Mathews counters with a similar line, while Philip Rivers adds 260 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Vincent Jackson, as San Diego gets back into the win column. Chargers 20-17.
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