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AFC North Week 13 Predictions

AFC North Week 13 Predictions
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Welcome to the AFC North predictions page!

Each week, one of our AFC North feature writers will list their picks for that week and be forced to explain why they voted as they did. Keep in mind that these picks are for entertainment purposes only, and in no way should be used to influence gambling or illegal activity, unless you’re smart enough to recognize that we know more than you because we publish things.

San Diego Chargers (7-4) @ Baltimore Ravens(7-4)
November 30, 2014 1:00pm

In a showdown of two teams fighting for a playoff spot, the San Diego Chargers travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens. In the Chargers’ last two road games, they’ve been outscored 72-21.

What to watch:

San Diego’s offensive line vs Ravens defensive line: The Chargers are starting their fifth center, Trevor Robinson, this season, in what will be his second game of the season. The Ravens’ front four have generated immense pressure lately, with Haloti Ngata’s resurgence leading younger playmakers. The defensive line will have to get to San Diego quarterback, Philip Rivers, early and often to cover for a patchwork secondary.

Rivers vs Ravens secondary: Look for Rivers to get the ball out quickly, much like he did against St. Louis and their talented defensive line last week. If Rivers can get into a rhythm, he has plenty of weapons who can exploit the Ravens’ weakness in coverage. Asa Jackson’s return comes at a good time, but he’s sure to be a bit rusty.

Bottom line:

This is the time of the season where the contenders and pretenders separate themselves. The Ravens must hold serve at home, and will lean on their punishing run game, led by Justin Forsett. The Ravens’ defense will be too much for an inconsistent Chargers team. Ravens 31-23

“Cincinnatie” Bengals (7-3-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9)
November 30, 2014 1:00pm

The Bengals travel to Tampa Bay in should be a one-sided game.

What to watch:

Mike Evans: There’s little to praise about the 2-9 Buccaneers, who are shockingly still in contention to host a playoff game. Head coach Lovie Smith’s quarterback carousel continues, and an inconsistent group of running backs won’t be able to overcome the Bengals, who look to be missing linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Sunday. Mike Evans is having a stellar year, but should be contained with the defense focussed on him.

Dalton to AJ Green: It’s no surprise that wide receiver AJ Green’s return to form coincides with the Bengals getting back on track. Look for quarterback Andy Dalton to target his favorite receiver plenty on Sunday.

Bottom line:

The Bengals, led by Green and running back, Jeremy Hill, will lead this game from the start. The NFC South, collectively, has won only one game against non-division opponents. Don’t look for that to change this weekend. Bengals 27-13

Cleveland Browns (7-4) @ Buffalo Bills (6-5)
November 30, 2014 1:00pm

After digging out Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills will host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon. In September, few predicted that a Week 13 game between the Browns and Bills would carry any meaning, but here we are.

What to watch:

Browns’ inconsistencies: Which Browns team shows up? The one that manhandled the Bengals with a solid run game and attacking defense, or the team that struggled to find itself against the Texans and Falcons? These Kardiac Kids have proven they can overcome their flaws at times, but on the road, agains a good defense, mistakes will cost you.

Browns offensive line vs Bills defensive line: The Browns play their best football when they establish the run early, and let quarterback Brian Hoyer manage the game. Buffalo has a talented defensive line, which could leave the Browns, and Hoyer, in trouble.

Bottom line:

Both teams are similar: standout wide receivers in Josh Gordon and Sammy Watkins, up and down performances this year, and in contention for the playoffs. I’ll take the more reliable defense at home. Bills 24-20

New Orleans Saints (4-7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)
November 30, 2014 1:00pm

These are two teams headed in different directions. The Steelers are coming off of their bye, getting healthy, and hitting their stride. The Saints, on the other hand, are coming off of a three game home stretch in which they lost all three games. To add insult to injury, the Saints pack up and head  on the road, where they traditionally struggle.

What to watch:

Saints’ mentality: At 4-7 following a three game losing streak, the Saints are still tied for the NFC South division lead. They have nothing to lose, and realize their approach isn’t working, so they may make drastic changes that could pay off. Conversely, they may start to quit on a team that looks to be going nowhere, even if they make the playoffs.

Steelers’ defense: The Steelers weathered the storm, and return four, possibly five defensive starters this week, with Ike Taylor, Ryan Shazier, Jarvis Jones, Troy Polamalu and, potentially,  Steve McClendon all eager to take the field and shake off some rust. New Orleans has the talent on offense to test the Steelers’ up and down defense. Will the players returning from injury be fresh or a step behind after being out a few weeks?

Bottom line:

After the Saints gave up over 200 yards on the ground to the awesome Ravens last week, expect the Steelers to center their offensive game plan on running back Le’Veon Bell. This has the potential to be a competitive game, but, after a short week, and on the road, don’t expect New Orleans to solve all of their problems. The Steelers wear down the Saints late. Steelers 27-20

Author’s picks:

Writer Game Score
Ravenous128

 

Chargers @ Ravens Ravens 28-20
Bengals @ Buccaneers Bengals 31-14
Browns @ Bills Bills 24-17
Saints @ Steelers Steelers 27-16
Peatwo

 

Chargers @ Ravens Ravens 34-24
Bengals @ Buccaneers Bengals 24-21
Browns @ Bills Bills 27-20
Saints @ Steelers Steelers 27-23
DOOOMMEEEEDD

 

Chargers @ Ravens Ravens 31-23
Bengals @ Buccaneers Bengals 27-13
Browns @ Bills Bills 24-20
Saints @ Steelers Steelers 27-20

 

 

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