Week 13 viewer's guide


Around The NFL's Kevin Patra fills you in on the key storylines for each matchup. Here's your guide as you settle into your couch for all the NFL action.

Philip Rivers has gone five straight games with a passer rating below 100 and thrown just two touchdown passes in his last three games. Sunday's pivotal showdown with the Ravens will be on Rivers' shoulders once again, as the Chargers' running game has struggled. The Ravens' defense has held eight of 11 opponents under 100 rushing yards this season. If Rivers can get protection, he does have a good matchup against a nondescript Ravens secondary -- but that will be a challenge given his offensive line problems against a Ravens pass rush that has 24 sacks in its last six games.

The Ravens' running game has led to the team's playoff push. Justin Forsett's 903 yards are third in the NFL, his 12 rushes of 20-plus yards are the most in the NFL and he leads the NFL in yards per rush at 5.83. He'll face a Chargers defense that has allowed 100-plus rushing yards in five of the last six games and is giving up 119.5 rushing yards per game in that span.

Pregame reading material
Justin Forsett is poised to make noise
Should you start Philip Rivers on your fantasy team?
Breaking down the AFC playoff picture
Will Hill is becoming a star for the Ravens

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Ravens.

Last week, in his first game back from suspension, Josh Gordon accounted for 40 percent of the Browns' targets. His 16 targets and 120 receiving yards were the most by any Browns player in a game this season. Expect more of the same this week against a stingy Bills defense. With a pummeling pass rush, Cleveland will likely get the ball out quick on screens and slants to Gordon before pressure gets to signal-caller Brian Hoyer.

Kyle Orton has gone 156 consecutive passes without an interception, and he'll need to continue his streak against a Browns defense that has 15 takeaways in the last six games (the most in the NFL). Sammy Watkins' pace has slowed over the last three games, as he's averaging just 31.3 yards per game. His matchup with Browns corner Joe Haden will be a key as to which AFC playoff hopeful remains in the hunt.

Pregame reading material
Fred Jackson has no respect for Donte Whitner
Alleged late-night incident unlikely to affect Manziel's playing time (or lack thereof)
Jordan Cameron is day-to-day for Browns
Breaking down the Browns' rise

Who will win? Three of five Around The NFL writers pick the Bills.

In a lost season, Titans tight end Delanie Walker deserves some recognition. Last week, he earned five receptions for 155 yards -- the most yardage by a tight end this season and the most since Vernon Davis had 180 during Week 6 in 2013. Walker is the only tight end in the NFL with 140-plus receiving yards in two games this season. Zach Mettenberger should target Walker again this week. In the first meeting between the two teams, the tight end was slowed to just four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will rise once more -- which might not be thrilling for the Texans' offense. Fitzpatrick has 250 or fewer passing yards in six of nine games this season and does not have a 300-yard game. He'll face a Titans defense that has allowed 300-plus total yards in 10 straight games and 100-plus rush yards in nine of 11 games this season. Arian Foster dominated in the first meeting this season (151 yards, two touchdowns). If he returns from a groin injury, expect him to pick up where he left off.

Pregame reading material
O'Brien to check in with 'doctor' Clowney
Ryan Mallett is out for the season
Titans cut Shaun Phillps amid disappointing season
Battista: Looking ahead to Week 13's games

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the Texans.

Colt McCoy gets another shot to run the Redskins. The quarterback's last two appearances were also Washington's last two wins. McCoy made enough plays in Dallas to beat the Cowboys in Week 8. He completed 83.3 percent of his passes for 299 yards and an interception. He'll have to play better in his return to the lineup against a physical Colts secondary. Indy has seven takeaways in its last four games -- and multiple takeaways in 7 of 11 games this season. The Colts also hold opponents to 34.1 percent on third down this season, second-best in the NFL. McCoy will need to rely on Alfred Morris to make sure those are third-and-shorts he's trying to convert Sunday.

T.Y. Hilton has become a go-to receiver for Andrew Luck. His 1,083 receiving yards this season already ties his career high set last season. Hilton's 15 100-yard games are fifth-most of any receivers' first three seasons. He'll get a favorable matchup against a young Redskins secondary that has a tendency to get lost in coverage.

Pregame reading material
RGIII's benching shows the ineffectiveness of the 2012 draft
What's next for RGIII post-benching?
Redskins players surprised by RGIII's benching
Colts claim Shaun Phillips to bolster pass rush

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Colts.

Odell Beckham Jr. is on pace for 70 receptions, 1,044 yards and nine touchdowns -- which would break the Giants' rookie record of 74 receptions and 894 yards set by Jeremy Shockey in 2002. Beckham will get a favorable matchup to increase that pace against a Jacksonville secondary allowing 257.5 yards per game. Eli Manning's favorite target should see plenty of pigskin floating his way once again.

Blake Bortles must turn his nose-diving season around against a Giants defense ranked 31st in total defense, allowing 396.5 yards per game. Bortles has thrown an interception in every home game this season. Among 35 qualifying quarterbacks, Bortles at home ranks 33rd in completion percentage (57.4), 30th in yards per attempt (6.69), last in interceptions (10) and last in passer rating (60.3).

Pregame reading material
Beckham's keys to making amazing catches
Beckham's high-light reel catch nothing new to Les Miles
Jaguars expect more out of Blake Bortles
NFL Media's Adam Rank picks 11 fantasy sleepers for Week 13

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Giants.

Cam Newton's struggles have been in the spotlight as the Panthers have sunk to a 1-7-1 record in their past nine games. However the running game -- thanks in part to a woeful offensive line -- hasn't given the quarterback any aid. Carolina has rushed for 125-plus yards in one of 11 games this season after going over that mark 11 times last season. Facing a Vikings defense giving up 118.9 yards per game (21st in the NFL), the Panthers' ground attack must make hay to slow down Mike Zimmer's pass rush.

Teddy Bridgewater should have opportunities to pick apart a Panthers secondary that has given up chunk yardage this season. Carolina has allowed 55.4 percent of 15-plus air yard passes to be completed (third-highest in the NFL). Bridgewater, however, has completed just 40.7 percent of 20-plus air yard passes (19th out of 34 qualifying quarterbacks).

Pregame reading material
What to be thankful for this fantasy season
Benjamin rates Beckham's catch a 9 out of 10
Beckham part of a special rookie receiver class
Week 13 fantasy like/dislike

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Vikings.

The battle of the missed tacklers!

Drew Brees leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.3) and is the only player in the NFL with a completion percentage over 70. However, his 11 interceptions are tied for fourth-most in the NFL this season. He has a good matchup against a Steelers defense that has allowed 52 percent of 20-plus air passes to be completed (highest in the NFL). Mark Ingram should get back on track, after failing to reach 70 yards in either of the past two weeks, against a Pittsburgh defense that has been gashed up the gut.

New Orleans' defense is allowing opponents to score on 43.9 percent of drives, good for 31st in the NFL. The Saints' inability to tackle anyone with a football should mean that Le'Veon Bell feasts on Sunday. The running back should add to his second-place 1,435 yards from scrimmage. He'll also break the 1,000-yard rushing barrier (he needs just 49 yards). When Bell isn't busting up the Saints' front seven, Big Ben should be able to pick apart a secondary that has struggled with Keenan Lewis less than 100 percent.

Pregame reading material
Start 'em, sit 'em: Wide receivers
Are the Saints the favorites to win the NFC South?
Le'Veon Bell is poised to break out against New Orleans
Martavis Bryant is a fantasy sleeper for Sunday

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Steelers.

The world needs more Latavius Murray. Assuming he returns from a concussion, we should get our wish this week. Murray has 155 yards on his last eight rushes. In contrast, Darren McFadden has 155 yards on his last 54 rushes, and Maurice Jones-Drew has 155 yards on his last 63 rushes. It won't be easy against a Rams defense allowing opponents to rush for four or more yards on just 38.5 percent of rushing attempts (third-lowest in NFL). However, not giving the young back a chance to show out the rest of the season would be an exercise in folly.

We also need to see more of Tre Mason out of the Rams' backfield. The rookie has 445 rushing yards and one touchdown. He's averaged just 3.7 yards per carry in the last four games after going for 5.2 yards per in his first three contests. Part of it could be the workload wearing him down. But with a lack of playmakers on offense, the Rams need to find Mason's limit this season.

Pregame reading material
Justin Tuck saved the Raiders from an embarrassing penalty
Breaking down the Raiders- Rams matchup from NFL Films
Should we pump the breaks on the Latavius Murray hype train?
Evaluating Tony Sparano's future coaching options

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Rams.

A.J. Green went off last week for a career-high 12 receptions and has 120-plus yards in back-to-back games. The combo of Green and Mohamed Sanu should provide Andy Dalton plenty of opportunities to stretch the field against a Bucs secondary that allows 252.1 yards per game (22nd in the league). Couple in Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in the backfield, and the Bengals could put on a show against a weak Tampa defense.

Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are essentially the entire Bucs offense. Tampa has next to no running game, and McCown isn't getting protected well at all. Cincy's defense has allowed a league-low 11 pass touchdowns this season. However, they are 30th in the NFL in sacks (14), so McCown should have more time to find Evans and Jackson downfield. Tampa must make big plays to keep up with the Bengals high-octane offense.

Pregame reading material
The impact of 'Leah Strong' on the Bengals
Previewing Bengals vs. Bucs, here
What grade did Bucs get for the loss to the Bears?
Elliot Harrison predicts who wins this Week 13 tilt

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Bengals.

Drew Stanton must protect the football better. The quarterback had zero interceptions in his first 104 pass attempts this season, but three interceptions in his last 47 attempts. Under Stanton, the Cards are averaging 8.8 fewer points per game and 84.8 fewer yards, and the team's third-down rate drops from 47.8 to 39.7. However, against a punchless Falcons defense, Arizona's weapons on the outside should be able to win at the point of attack. Expect several of Stanton's big shots to connect Sunday.

The Cardinals have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 21 straight games (Frank Gore in Week 6 of 2013 for 101 rushing yards). The Falcons haven't had a 100-yard rusher in 25 straight games (Michael Turner, Week 9, 2012 vs Dallas, 102 yards). At what point does Mike Smith give Devonta Freeman a legit shot as an every-down back? Otherwise, just give up on the ground game and air it out every play, because Steven Jackson isn't getting it done.

Pregame reading material
Cardinals sign Michael Bush to bolster run game
How does the Niners' loss to the Seahawks affect the NFC West race?
Mike Smith explains shaky clock management in loss to Browns
Start 'em, sit 'em: Wide receivers

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Cardinals.

Which style will Bill Belichick unleash this week? The grinding, six-offensive linemen attack or the spread with two pass-catching tight ends he employed last week? Bet for the former against a Packers defense that has been gashed by the run -- 136.7 yards per game. Packers opponents have rushed for four or more yards on 51.9 percent of their rushing attempts (the highest in NFL). Keeping Aaron Rodgers on the sideline is paramount, so Brady and the Pats could control the ball, utilizing their heavy run packages with Jonas Gray and LeGarrette Blount coupled with a short, tactical passing attack.

These are the two highest-scoring teams in the NFL this season. The Patriots are first with 32.5 points per game. The Packers are second with 32.2. This season, Aaron Rodgers has completed a league-leading 51.4 percent of 20 yard-plus passes through the air. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson winning on the outside will be huge against Darrelle Revis and the Pats' corners. New England has held opponents to 25 or fewer points in seven straight games. That streak won't be easily extended against Rodgers, who is on an absolute roll.

Pregame reading material
Green Bay is emerging as the team to beat in the NFC
Rodgers calls out idiot trolls over that grape soda picture
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers will finally square off
Bill Belichick talks similarities between the two quarterbacks

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the Packers.

The Broncos attempted 35 running plays last week, led by C.J. Anderson's 27 for 167 yards. We'll see if Denver employs the same strategy against a Chiefs defense allowing 129.4 yards per game (26th). K.C. boasts the best pass defense in the NFL, but how will the secondary cope with the loss of safety Eric Berry? With an overwhelming amount of targets in Peyton Manning's arsenal, Berry's absence will be magnified in a pivotal battle in the AFC West.

The Chiefs' offense sometimes seems like it is Jamaal Charles or bust. The running back has 152 carries, 772 yards, eight touchdowns and 5.1 yards per carry. He'll face a Broncos run defense that is holding teams to 75.5 yards per game (second-best in the league). Expect Alex Smith to employ the quick passing game with dump-offs to Charles, Knile Davis, De'Anthony Thomas and Travis Kelce to thwart the Broncos' dominating pass rush.

Pregame reading material
The Around The NFL Podcast previews the AFC West clash
Broncos sign veteran kicker Connor Barth for the stretch run
NFL family shows support for Eric Berry
Check out the latest Playoff Picture

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Broncos.

It's all about Ryan Tannehill. Since Week 4, the quarterback has completed 70.6 percent of his passes and holds a 16-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 102.4 passer rating. In his career he has played poorly against the Jets (187.3 yards passing per game and 3-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio). If he can pick apart a weak Jets secondary with outside targets in Jarvis Landry and Mike Wallace, the Dolphins' playoff hopes will remain alive.

Geno Smith will get another shot at redemption, but it will come against one of the stingiest defenses. Miami gets after the quarterback and is allowing just 19.1 percent of 20-plus air yard passes to be completed (the lowest in the NFL). Expect the Jets to employ a quick passing attack with Percy Harvin on the edges. The matchup of corner Brent Grimes on Harvin should be fun to watch. If Harvin can't win the one-on-ones, however, Smith and the Jets' offense will struggle to move the ball.

Pregame reading material
The Jets went back to Geno Smith at QB
Rank: Looking for one true fantasy QB
NFL Films previews Dolphins vs. Jets
The Dolphins are stuck in a murky AFC playoff picture

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Dolphins.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the Week 13 games and reacts to the news of RGIII's benching in D.C. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.