No disrespect to Christmas, since it deserves its poinsettias, but I am a Thanksgiving guy. Last week was one of my favorite weeks of the year. Think about what you get on Thanksgiving: bounties of food, drink, time with friends and family, and non-stop NFL and NCAA football. What could be better?
The answer is not much, especially with the way the Chiefs capped off the weekend. Kansas City's 31-17 drubbing of the Las Vegas Raiders stirred hope in a Kingdom that was in desperate need of it, and appeared to ignite a flame in the Chiefs increasingly criticized 2023 offense. While the defense stumbled slightly out of the gate, allowing 14 unanswered points in the first quarter and a half, they tightened up while the offense outpaced Vegas 31-3 in the game's final 2.5 quarters.
That means the Chiefs are completely back, right? Not so fast. The inconsistencies we've seen so far this season are likely to appear again, but at least we are reminded (as we were after the Bears and Chargers games earlier this season) that the offense does have the ability to pop. Will the rest of the season be perfect? Probably not. But it certainly helps that K.C. has zero remaining opponents on their 2023 schedule with a winning record.
The inconsistency we've seen from the Chiefs offense so far this season is parallel to the inconsistent performance I've posted in the last few weeks of these picks. Some upsets have snuck up on me, but I'm still standing tall at 117-64 on the season. This week's slate looks like one that I can have a second Thanksgiving feast on, but that just means I'm about to fall flat on my face. On to the predictions for the NFL's Week 13.
Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers
Sunday night games are honestly the worst. You wait around nervously all day waiting for the Chiefs to come on, trying to act like you care about the rest of the games, but you're just pacing (literally or figuratively) back and forth waiting for kickoff. An idle mind is the devil's workshop, so every football thought imaginable can race through your brain in these 6-7 hours between when football starts and when Sunday Night Football kicks off. But then, like an angel choir coming down from the heavens, Carrie Underwood empathizes enough with us to welcome us to the show.
The Chiefs travel to Green Bay for the first time since 2015 looking to keep their offensive fire lit against a Packers team that has hovered around the middle of the pack (no pun intended) all season long on offense and defense. Jaire Alexander and Aaron Jones are both questionable for Green Bay, but in all reality that should not matter. This is a game with not much rivalry history (outside of the Super Bowl 1 rematch), so let's manufacture a storyline. If only there were a previously and recently maligned player from one team that used to play for the other that has the potential to break out in a big way. Hmmmm...
Yes, I'm calling my shot. This is the MVS revenge game. Marquez Valdes-Scantling will turn the skeptics into believers in Chiefs Kingdom this weekend with a big performance as Kansas City's offense marches forward with another sturdy performance. Chiefs 35, Packer 14
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
This is a somewhat compelling Thursday night matchup record-wise, but when you look at the Seahawks' last four results, it makes you think that perhaps a Dallas blowout is in order. They're 1-3 in their last 4 games with the only win being a narrow 29-26 victory over the 4-6 Commanders, who just got their defensive coordinator fired after allowing 45 to Dallas last week. These teams appear to be heading in opposite directions, and I think that trend continues. Cowboys 31, Seahawks 20
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
I've tried to come up with something that makes this matchup compelling, and the only thing I've got is that Minshew Mania somehow still has the Colts in the AFC playoff picture. If the season ended today, the Colts would travel to Arrowhead for a Wild Card matchup with the Chiefs. I don't see them getting there, but I do see them getting past the Titans in Nashville. Colts 24, Titans 19
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots
If the Chargers lose this game, they're officially dead. They might already be. The good news for them? The Patriots are certainly already deceased. Does that make them more dangerous? Who knows, but I don't see Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe outdueling Justin Herbert. Chargers 23, Patriots 14
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
Detroit has to bounce back after that ugly Thanksgiving performance against Green Bay, right? If the Lions want to keep pace with the Niners and Eagles for playoff positioning in the NFC, they need this game. New Orleans is tough at home, but they've been so inconsistent this year. I believe Detroit will win an ugly game in the Superdome. Lions 20, Saints 18
Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets
The Jets defense is one of the only good aspects of this game, so I'll go with that. Jets 10, Falcons 6
Arizona Cardinals at Pittsburgh Steelers
I said this last week: Kyler Murray makes everything more interesting for Arizona. The only problem is Pittsburgh's defense is smothering and I'm not sure he has enough around him on offense to make anything substantial happen on Sunday. It's going to be chilly and rainy on Sunday in Pittsburgh, not a great recipe for a dome team. Steelers 17, Cardinals 10
Miami Dolphins at Washington Commanders
Ok, I started to type this up like it was going to be a Miami blowout, and it might be. It might just be. The Commanders' defense has been a joke, but Riverboat Ron is taking over the play calling. Do we see some life out of the unit this week? Alright, I'm grasping for straws here. The Commanders are last in the league in points allowed and 29th in yards allowed per game. Miami will take this one. Dolphins 27, Commanders 20
Denver Broncos at Houston Texans
If I told you this game would have AFC Playoff implications before the season you would have laughed in my face. But here we staring down a pivotal Week 13 AFC clash between Russell Wilson and CJ Stroud. The Broncos' defense in recent weeks has been playing lights out, but the Texans look like they're ready to contend for a playoff spot now and in the future. I like Houston to bounce back here. Texans 28, Broncos 24
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I hate to be insensitive to those in Tampa and Charlotte, but does this game really matter? I guess in the grand scheme of things Tampa will be in the playoff picture because of how bad this division is, but ultimately this game will kind of just happen because it has to. Bucs 21, Panthers 13
Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Rams
Dorian Thompson-Robinson is still in concussion protocol, and Joe Flacco might just be taking the field Sunday for the Browns against the Rams. When Chiefs fans talk about the K.C. offense wasting a great season from the defense, I challenge you to look toward Cleveland. The Rams are a different team with Mathew Stafford healthy, obviously, and I think they'll notch another win to get themselves back to .500 and stay in the playoff hunt. Rams 20, Browns 14
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
Obviously, this is a Chiefs site, and we're all excited for the Chiefs/Packers Sunday Night tilt, but everyone in America is looking forward to what is almost certainly an NFC Championship Game preview. The Eagles—the 10-1, defending NFC Champion Eagles—are 3-point underdogs at home to the 49ers. That tells you nothing more than how loaded the Niners are. Will the big moments and fierce Philadelphia pass rush be too much for Brock Purdy to handle? Can Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense tush push their way to a victory against a stacked 49ers defense? I like the Eagles' grit and run game in this one. Eagles 34, 49ers 31
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
I'm so fired up to watch Jake Browning vs. Trevor Lawrence. The fact that we're missing out on the 49ers vs Eagles and Burrow vs. Lawrence in the same weekend is a crime against football. The Jags are back on their game and the Bengals I just hope don't lose enough games to have a high draft pick. Jaguars 24, Bengals 13
Bye weeks: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Las Vegas, Minneasota Vikings, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens