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2017 SQ Insiders: Week 13

Austin Taliferro

Who do our insiders have in two key matchups between NFC playoff picture teams?

After a Thanksgiving slate of games that went chalk, the rest of Week 12 followed suit, for the most part. This week has interesting matchups between playoff hopefuls. 

The Minnesota Vikings travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons, where our writers expect the Falcons to win by a point in a split decision. Our insiders also have the New Orleans Saints triumphing at home over the Carolina Panthers by a score of 28 to 34. 

Matchup

Mitch B

Nick C

Adrian N

Minnesota at Atlanta
New England at Buffalo
San Francisco at Chicago
Tampa Bay at Green Bay
Houston at Tennessee
Denver at Miami
Kansas City at NY Jets
Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Detroit at Baltimore
Cleveland at LA Chargers
NY Giants at Oakland
Carolina at New Orleans
LA Rams at Arizona
Philadelphia at Seattle
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Total Record

90-5488-5691-53


Matchup

Avg Score

Winner

Why They’ll Win

Why They May Not

Minnesota at Atlanta24-25Atlanta is riding a three-game win streak, thanks to the monstrous game by Julio Jones last week, in which he put up quarterback-like numbers at the wide receiver position. Atlanta also has a much improved defense, ranking 10th in yards allowed.Minnesota is riding their own seven-game winning streak behind the emerging Case Keenum. Wide receiver Adam Thielen is a top-tier threat and the Vikings own one of the most suffocating defenses in the league.
New England at Buffalo32-18Tom Brady’s career record against Buffalo is 26-3 and the Patriots are riding a seven-game win streak. With New England’s defense playing its best ball all season, the Pats should handle their business on the road.The Bills have won three straight home games and their rushing attack has come on strong over the last month. Furthermore, Buffalo’s secondary has held opposing passers to under 200 yards in three of four games. History isn’t on the Bills’ side, but there have been far crazier upsets in the league recently.
San Francisco at Chicago18-19Chicago is playing at home and has been slightly more competent than San Francisco this year on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 15th in defensive points per game compared to San Fran ranked at 28th. Offensively these teams are even ranked 29th and 28th, respectively, meaning defense should be the difference here.While Chicago has given up fewer points, San Fran has forced more mistakes through the air. They have seven interceptions this season compared to Chicago. The Niners can force rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky into making a key error or two.
Tampa Bay at Green Bay24-18Since Aaron Rodgers got injured at the beginning of the Minnesota Vikings game, they are 1-5. Conversely, the Bucs are heating up having won two of their last three games. Jameis Winston is back, which should provide a nice boost the Tampa offense.Jameis has averaged 1.6 turnovers per game compared to Brett Hundley’s 1.4 per game. While neither number are great, it does demonstrate the Hundley is less apt to be responsible for a game turning play that could cost his team the game. To borrow from soccer, if Hundely can put up a clean sheet, the Pack can get a win at home.
Houston at Tennessee21-29Tom Savage has been a disaster. He pretty much single handedly lost the game for Houston last week with back to back turnovers on drives to close out the fourth quarter when the Texans had a chance to drive for a game winning or tying score. Savage is not an NFL starter and that will be on display again on the road in Tennessee.While skewed by the fact that the Texans no longer have Deshaun Watson but did at one point, Houston has actually outscored Tennessee this season. They are better by approximately two net points per game, and if they can lean on the run game and Deandre Hopkins, they’ll have a chance to win on Sunday.
Denver at Miami19-20The Broncos have lost seven straight games and eight of their last nine. They are in a complete and total downward spiral and will be without their top cornerback Aqib Talib after he was suspended one game for de-chaining Oakland Raiders WR Michael Crabtree and putting on his best Money Mayweather impression in the following scuffle.While Denver has lost seven straight, the Dolphins have lost five straight, so not much better. Jay Cutler is back as the starter after Matt Moore got banged up against the Pats. While this may stabilize the offense, it also takes away any downfield threat and allows Denver to overplay the run and all the short stuff on the route tree.
Kansas City at NY Jets25-23Kansas City will look to bounce back against the Jets after going 1-5 in their last six games. Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt are still among the best quarterback-running back duos, and Tyreek Hill continues to wreak havoc in the passing game.The Jets have won more games at this point in the season than many had predicted they would win all season. Josh McCown is playing like a competent starter, and wide receiver Robby Anderson has emerged as a top wideout in the league.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville13-24Despite technically being behind the Tennessee Titans due to their number of road wins, the Jaguars are by far the best team in the AFC South. Their defense is outstanding and ranks first in both defensive yards and points per game given up. They can stifle the best offense and Indy should be no difference.Jacksonville lost to the Cardinals last week because they turned the ball over three times, although surprising Blake Bortles was only responsible for a third of them. Indy will need to replicate this formula to have a chance on the road against an overwhelming physical Jacksonville team.
Detroit at Baltimore22-21The Lions are a top-five offensive team in the league, thanks in large part to their aerial attack. Quarterback Matthew Stafford continues to put up dazzling numbers and receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. rank among the top receivers in the league.Baltimore has the perfect defense to combat Detroit’s passing game, with ballhawking secondary players including Eric Weddle, Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith. The Ravens lead the league with a whopping 18 interceptions in 11 games, and could prove troublesome to Stafford.
Cleveland at LA Chargers17-27The Chargers are hitting their stride at the perfect time and have been explosive on offense the past two games. On the other hand, Cleveland is still winless and just allowed the Bengals’ last-place offense to look competent. Philip Rivers and co. will likely have a cakewalk this Sunday.Despite their 0-11 record, the Browns are surprisingly ninth in total defense this year. If they can force the mistake-prone Rivers into some turnovers and slow down red-hot Keenan Allen, they may be able to steal a win in Josh Gordon’s first game back from suspension.
NY Giants at Oakland14-23Oakland has been unspectacular all year, but it’ll face a Giants team with Eli Manning on the bench and Geno Smith under center. The move is inexplicable, especially considering Smith’s 28-to-36 touchdown-to-interception ratio over his career. Even with a suspended Michael Crabtree, the Raiders should win this one.The Raiders have plenty of issues on their end, including a 24th-ranked defense and a rush offense averaging just 78 yards per game over the past three weeks. Those numbers show Oakland is beatable even if you’ve got Geno Smith at the helm.
Carolina at New Orleans28-34The Saints are enjoying their best season since their Super Bowl victory almost a decade ago. Rookie Alvin Kamara has emerged as one of the toughest running backs in the game. He and Mark Ingram form the third-best rushing attack in the league, taking some of the pressure off quarterback Drew Brees.The Panthers are riding a four-game winning streak into the Superdome, and look as good as ever. Quarterback Cam Newton has finally cut down on his mistakes, throwing zero interceptions in his last three games, as opposed to six in the previous three games.
LA Rams at Arizona31-20The Rams are coming off their most impressive win of the season and absolutely demolished the Cardinals the last time these teams met. Wade Phillips has the defense playing at a high level, while the offense is shining like it has all season. It’s hard to envision Blaine Gabbert upsetting the Rams in this one.The Cardinals haven’t been swept by the Rams since 2012 and just upset the previously-hot Jaguars. Arizona’s defense is allowing just 187 passing yards per game the past three weeks and need that type of performance to take down the high-flying Rams.
Philadelphia at Seattle30-24Philadelphia is surprisingly the first team to ten wins, sitting atop the NFC at 10-1. They are first in points for and third in points against, boasting top groups on offense and defense. If Carson Wentz keeps playing like an MVP candidate, nobody can stop these EaglesSeattle has been a dangerous team this season, never losing a game by more than eight points. The receiving group of Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett has been outstanding and tight end Jimmy Graham has reemerged as a top threat at his position.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati26-19Andy Dalton has the 25th best QBR in the NFL. That’s not good. His counterpart Ben Roethlisberger is ranked a respectable 12th and with weapons such as LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown, this seventh ranked offense should have no trouble.Cincy has won two straight games and may be starting to build some momentum. They surprisingly find themselves at 5-6 and completely in the AFC playoff picture. They’ll be playing at home and have everything to play for in a virtual must win game as they still have upcoming games against Minnesota, Baltimore, and Detroit.


Edited by Brian Kang.

SQuiz
How many career seasons does Drew Brees have of over 5000 yards passing?
Created 11/30/17
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