NFL's Week 13 Late Game Previews


Courtesy of Robert Robinson

Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) vs. Oakland Raiders (2-9)


Preview

This AFC West divisional matchup features two teams on opposite ends of the NFL spectrum. The Chiefs sit atop the AFC while Oakland has an embarrassing two wins on the season and is looking to finish towards the bottom of the league. Oakland’s 26th ranked defense will have their hands full as they are facing a Chiefs offensive attack that has averaged 36.7 points this season. Things could get very ugly in this one.


Players to watch

For the Chiefs, running back Kareem Hunt looks to be due for a huge game this week (if he is not suspended for his recent misconduct). Hunt is currently fifth in the NFL in rushing yards with 824 and is going up against a Raiders defense that ranks dead last against the run, allowing 151.4 yards per game on the ground. Even if Hunt can’t go, backup Spencer Ware will still eat the Raiders alive. Oakland will be looking for cornerback Gareon Conley to step up on defense as he will be tasked with guarding the always dangerous Tyreek Hill. On offense, they must get something going on the ground with running back Doug Martin to try to take some pressure off of quarterback Derek Carr.


Keys to the game

Kansas City Chiefs

Feed Hunt

Put pressure on Carr

Capitalize on big play opportunities


Oakland Raiders

Stop the run

Create turnovers

Long drives on offense


Injury list

Kansas City Chiefs

Sammy Watkins, WR - Foot (Out)

Eric Berry, SS - Heel (Questionable)


Oakland Raiders

Martavis Bryant, WR - Knee (Questionable)

Leon Hall, DB - Back (Out)

Maurice Hurst, DT - Ankle (Questionable)

Arden Key, DE - Knee (Questionable)

Daryl Worley, CB - Shoulder (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Patrick Mahomes, QB (KC)

Tyreek Hill, WR (KC)

Kareem Hunt, RB (KC)

Derek Carr, QB (OAK)

Sammy Watkins, WR (KC)

Prediction

This game has a chance to get ugly and it will, very quickly. The Chiefs’ offensive attack is simply too powerful for Oakland’s defense. Along with that, the Raiders don’t have any weapons on offense to keep up on the scoreboard. Hunt will have a huge game this week as the Chiefs roll to a blowout victory.


Final Score: Chiefs 35, Raiders 10


Written by: Ryan Lippert



New York Jets (3-8) vs. Tennessee Titans (5-6)

Preview

The Jets and Titans find themselves in a matchup where both teams will be looking to end their current losing streak. New York is on a 5-game losing streak, and it’s likely that Todd Bowles’ tenure with the team will end with another loss. Tennessee is on a 2-game losing streak after beating up the Patriots, but they can keep themselves in the playoff picture with a win on Sunday. The Jets bright spot has been their young defense, if they want a shot at winning this game then they are going to have to give a dominating effort. The Titans need a complete game from both sides of the ball so they can beat a team that they should be able to.


Players to watch

Jamal Adams has been a stud this year for the Jets and he will be a big part of their game plan of attacking Tennessee’s offense. Isaiah Crowell has disappeared since having a solid start to his season. He will be depended on if the Jets want a chance to win this matchup. Marcus Mariota looked good on Monday night but it wasn’t enough as he has to find ways to extend drives and put up points. Wesley Woodyard has been a key part of the Titans defense and will need to bring his best so the Jets don’t find a way to get their run game going.


Keys to the game

New York Jets

No costly turnovers

Establish the run

Contain Mariota


Tennessee Titans

Fast start on offense

Pressure QB (Darnold/McCown) into mistakes

Get Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry going


Injury list

New York Jets

Marcus Maye, S - Shoulder/Thumb (Out)

Robby Anderson, WR - Ankle (Questionable)

Sam Darnold, QB - Foot (Questionable)


Tennessee Titans

Dane Cruikshank, DB - Knee (Out)

David Fluellen, RB - Knee (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Corey Davis, WR (TEN)

Isaiah Crowell, RB (NYJ)

Dion Lewis, RB (TEN)

Derrick Henry, RB (TEN)

Titans D/ST (TEN)

Prediction

The Jets have been awful over the past five weeks and they haven’t showed any signs of life to save their season in a long time. The Titans need this game to keep their playoff hopes alive plus they are playing at home. Tennessee should be able to come out and put on a dominating effort to climb back to a .500 record. Mariota and company find a way to get the job done to keep their hopes alive.


Final Score: Titans 24, Jets 10


Written by: Cody Manning



San Francisco 49ers (2-9) vs. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

Preview

This NFC West divisional showdown was originally set for Sunday Night Football, but got flexed to an afternoon start time as one of the two teams has failed to live up to the preseason hype. In games where Jimmy Garoppolo has been unavailable, the 49ers are 2-17 dating back to last season, with their only two wins coming at the feet of the Giants and Raiders. Since the emergence of Russell Wilson in 2012, they have reached the playoffs in 5 of the past 6 years, winning one Super Bowl in the process. Although they have lost pieces of their championship team throughout the past few years, the Seahawks are beginning to step on the gas pedal with their sights set on the playoffs.


Players to watch

Nick Mullens, who will make his fourth start of the year, is coming off his worst game as a pro throwing for a low of 221 yards and 2 interceptions in their loss to the Buccaneers. It will be up to Matt Breida to take pressure off of his quarterback and control the clock, keeping Russell Wilson off the field. Wilson has been a man on a mission throughout 2018, recording a passer rating of 112.0 and throwing 25 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. He will have a major impact on this game. Seattle has run the ball at a higher rate than any other team in the league, but against the 49ers’ 10th ranked run defense, it may be difficult for Chris Carson to get going. This game will mark the first time that Richard Sherman returns from Seattle after being released by the team in March. Having undergone an injury-plagued season, it will be interesting to see how he matchus up against the speedy Tyler Lockett and quick Doug Baldwin.


Keys to the game

San Francisco 49ers

Win the turnover battle

Pressure Russell Wilson

Keep Wilson in the pocket


Seattle Seahawks

Control the Ground game

Force turnovers

Stop Matt Breida

Protect the ball


Injury list

San Francisco 49ers

Pierre Garcon, WR - Knee (Out)

Joshua Garnett, OG - Thumb (Out)

Marquise Goodwin, WR - Not injury related (Out)

D.J. Reed Jr., DB - Heel/Chest (Out)


Seattle Seahawks

K.J. Wright, LB - Knee (Out)

C.J. Prosise, RB - Abdomen (Out)

Shalom Luani, SS - Quadriceps (Doubtful)

Tre Madden, FB - Chest (Doubtful)

Shamar Stephen, DT - Foot (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Russell Wilson, QB (SEA)

Tyler Lockett, WR (SEA)

Matt Breida, RB (SF)

Chris Carson, RB (SEA)

George Kittle, TE (SF)

Prediction

Seattle has won eight straight and ten of the past eleven contests against San Fran. This game may not have a drastically different outcome. Russell Wilson is playing lights out and their defense is ranked 8th in scoring holding opponents to 22 points per game. If the Hawks jump out to an early lead, their won’t be much chance for a comeback attempt on SF’s sideline. Expect the Hawks to force turnovers and win the time of possession battle. They will win this game handily.


Final Score: Seahawks 31, 49ers 20


Written by: Jason Feiner



Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1) vs. New England Patriots (8-3)

Preview

The Patriots and Vikings enter this matchup coming off of very satisfying divisional wins. New England thwarted the Jets early efforts in their Week 12 matchup to beat them by two touchdowns. The Vikings held the Packers off in a late game come-back to keep their wild-card playoff hopes alive. Each team put their offense on display, the Patriots on the ground and the Vikings through the air, to defeat their rivals. With serious playoff implications on the each team should treat this game like a Super Bowl. Every win counts from here on out. Can these team replicate their success they had last week in Foxboro this Sunday?


Players to watch

The Patriots cannot lean on what won them their game last week. Sony Michel will try to emulate his performance from last week, but a tough run defense lead by Linval Joseph will try to stop the rookie in his tracks. Tom Brady will always be under the microscope in every single Patriots game, and this one is no different. He will look to take advantage of a gimpy or absent Xavier Rhodes by utilizing Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman constantly. Brady may look Gronk’s way, but Harrison Smith should make that a tough go-to. Kirk Cousin will likely feast against a Patriots secondary that does not have much past Stephon Gilmore. With Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen out there, it should be a long day. Kyle Rudolph has been relatively quite this season, but the Patriots and Patrick Chung have had their issues with tight ends this year. Look out for the Vikings to utilize him.


Keys to the game

Minnesota Vikings

Protect Cousins

Keep the Patriots off the field

Control with the run game

Attack Brady up the middle


New England Patriots

Protect Brady

Establish the run

Eliminate Thielen

Get Gronk involved


Injury list

Minnesota Vikings

Chad Beebe, WR - Hamstring (Out)

David Morgan, TE - Knee (Out)

Mackensie Alexander, CB - Knee (Questionable)

Stefon Diggs, WR - Knee (Questionable)

Xavier Rhodes, CB - Hamstring (Questionable)

Brandon Zylstra, WR - Foot (Questionable)


New England Patriots

Dwayne Allen, TE - Knee (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Tom Brady, QB (NE)

Kirk Cousins, QB (MIN)

Adam Thielen, WR (MIN)

Rob Gronkowski, TE (NE)

Kyle Rudolph, TE (MIN)

Prediction

This should be one of the more enjoyable games of the NFL season. These are two of the league’s best teams, even if their records don’t show it. Kirk Cousins should be able to flourish against a shaky group of Pats DBs, and Brady should dice up a Xavier Rhodes-less secondary. On a neutral field, I’m not exactly sure how this game plays out. Since this is in Gillette, I’m going to give this one to the Patriots. Belichick at home is just too much to handle, and the Patriots always seem to find a way to win there.


Final Score: Patriots 27, Vikings 17


Written by: George Haraktsis



Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1)

Preview

This Sunday Night Football matchup features two of the top teams in the AFC. The AFC North leading Steelers are coming into this one following a very close loss to the Denver Broncos. On the opposite side, the Chargers are coming off a blowout victory over the Arizona Cardinals. With two of the best quarterbacks in the league squaring off and playoff seeding on the line, this should be a very exciting game to watch.


Players to watch

Unfortunately for the Chargers, starting running back Melvin Gordon looks to miss at least a few weeks with an MCL injury. With that being said, they will be relying heavily on their passing game. Quarterback Philip Rivers and his receiving duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will be looking to air it out against an improving Steelers secondary that now ranks sixth in the league against the pass. For the Steelers, eyes will be on running back James Conner. Conner has had a frustrating past two weeks as he struggled against the Jaguars then was only handed the ball 13 times in the loss at Denver. Hopefully he can get back on track in what has been an otherwise impressive first season as the Steelers’ feature back.


Keys to the game

Los Angeles Chargers

Protect Rivers

Create turnovers

Attack the secondary


Pittsburgh Steelers

Put pressure on Rivers

Limit turnovers

Finish drives


Injury list

Los Angeles Chargers

Brandon Mebane, DT - Personal (Out)

Melvin Gordon, RB - MCL (Out)

Joe Barksdale, OT - Not injury related (Out)

Tyrell Williams, WR - Quad (Questionable)


Pittsburgh Steelers

Xavier Grimble, TE - Concussion (Questionable)

Morgan Burnett, S - Back (Doubtful)

Bud Dupree, OLB - Pectoral (Questionable)

Marcus Gilbert, T - Knee (Out)

Cameron Sutton, CB - Personal (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Antonio Brown, WR (PIT)

James Conner, RB (PIT)

Keenan Allen, WR (LAC)

Philip Rivers, QB (LAC)

Ben Roethlisberger, QB (PIT)

Prediction

I strongly believe that this will be one of the best games of the year so far. Roethlisberger and Rivers will battle back and forth in this one. Whoever has the better performance in the secondary should come out victorious in this one. I have the Steelers winning in a very close contest due to the fact that the Chargers will be missing much-needed production from the run game. However, it could easily go the other way as I believe this game could come down to the very final possession.


Final Score: Steelers 28, Chargers 24


Written by: Ryan Lippert

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