Rap Sheet Rankings  


Saints-Falcons, Giants-Redskins, Steelers-Ravens head Week 13


Here is your Week 13 primer, with games ranked in order of intrigue:


    • Tampa Bay at Denver

      Sun 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 4:

      There is no traditional rivalry, no history, no stake in a divisional race that will play out on Sunday in Denver. Just two really good teams with contrasting styles attacking one another the way they do best. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, with a playoff berth just one win away, can go after one of the NFL's most giving secondaries -- a unit that won't have Eric Wright, as he begins his four-game suspension. Meanwhile, the run-heavy Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go old-school against the new-fangled Broncos, pounding it right at them with the "Muscle Hamster," Doug Martin. If Denver can limit the big plays, all should be well. But Tampa Bay has plenty to play for, with the final NFC playoff spot bouncing around like a pinball. At the least, this is a battle between two of the NFL's hottest teams, with the Broncos on a six-game winning streak and the Bucs having won four of five. #TBvsDEN
    • Watch: Game Preview


    • Philadelphia at Dallas

      Sun 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 8:

      The Sunday night game everyone pretends they won't be watching. The prime-time experience that fans are quick to discount will be the same one that no doubt produces soaring ratings a few days later. Schadenfreude is a powerful thing. Few fans feel sorry for the formerly brash Philadelphia Eagles, who have tumbled into the abyss in a car crash of a season that has the franchise headed for a house cleaning. On Sunday night, they'll face Tony Romo's Dallas Cowboys, who are similarly busy wasting another prime season with their core talent base. Fans in Philadelphia and Dallas will watch because they can't resist. Others will take part in rubbernecking, no doubt relishing in the high-profile failures of others. #PHIvsDAL
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Houston at Tennessee

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 9:

      Long regarded as the most well-rounded team in the NFL, the Houston Texans have cruised along, winning five in a row. While the defense has shown flashes of weakness during that span, receiver Andre Johnson has reminded the league that he is still one of its elite talents. But if the Tennessee Titans are looking for hope in this divisional game, there is some. Houston has allowed an average of 34 points over its last two games, thanks mostly to a leaky secondary. Tennessee debuts new offensive play-caller Dowell Loggains, who now has the task of taking over for fired coordinator Chris Palmer and harnessing talent that those in the Titans organization think is as good as they've had in years. Loggains' tryout begins now. #HOUvsTEN
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • New England at Miami

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 10:

      Just like in previous years, the New England Patriots face the prospect of finishing out the AFC East race early, leaving them primed to knock off wannabes and coast to the playoffs. It seems to happen every November and December. Entering Week 13, Bill Belichick's team has won five in a row, scoring more than 29 points in each game and showing signs of coming into its own. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins have crashed back to Earth after hinting at some promise and making a cameo in the playoff race. They lost three in a row before last week's win over Seattle. The Dolphins can completely right the ship against the Pats, whom they play again in Week 17. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has impressed, specifically under pressure, but this won't be easy. #NEvsMIA
    • Watch: Game Preview


    • Arizona at New York

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 12:

      The good news here is that one of these teams will win. Though with the way things have gone for the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals, maybe we should expect a tie. Outlooks are grim for both sides, with the Cards having lost seven in a row and the Jets falling victim to an amazing creation called "the Butt Fumble." The questions about Tim Tebow have quieted down in New York, replaced mostly by questions about the future of the team's brass and coaching staff. If the losing continues for Gang Green, it seems everything is on the table. #AZvsNYJ
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Jacksonville at Buffalo

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 13:

      This game should be last on my list, a matchup of two of the blandest products in today's NFL. The Buffalo Bills' failure to capitalize on an infusion of talent has led to predictable frustration, though it's not quite time for them to focus on 2013; with seven losses, the Bills still have a faint chance to make some noise. But this game avoids the basement of our rankings because of the unexpected emergence of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne. Under his stewardship, there was an overtime loss and an actual, real win. Can he solidify a role for himself as the 2013 starter over the next five games? #JACvsBUF
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Cleveland at Oakland

      Sun 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 14:

      Another bargain-basement matchup between two of the have-nots of 2012. The Oakland Raiders, it appears, are in a free-fall with no ground in sight. But the Cleveland Browns? Strange things are happening. They've competed in every game of late, but stunning the Steelers is the kind of thing that everyone notices. If Pat Shurmur and Co. are trying to prove to owner Jimmy Haslam that things are headed in the right direction, they'll earn this one, too. #CLEvsOAK
    • Watch: Game Preview

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.



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