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NFL Week 13 preview capsules

Chiefs at Falcons, 1

Line: Falcons by 6; 50

The Falcons' Matt Ryan is the first player with 50 straight games of 200 or more passing yards, parlaying top numbers into great results this year. His offense leads the league with 31 points a game. The KC defense starts with CB Marcus Peters, who has five INTs and the best hope of matching strides with Atlanta's 1,140-yard receiver, Julio Jones. It ends with OLB Dee Ford, who might return from a hamstring injury that has kept him stuck at 10 sacks.

Dolphins at Ravens, 1

Line: Ravens by 3½; 41

The Dolphins have won six straight for the first time since '05, including five in a row by a TD or less. Their seven wins would put them atop five divisions. But they're looking up in the AFC East at the Pats. Ryan Tannehill has a 104.7 QB rating in the streak. The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing defense, so the Dolphins must rely heavily on Tannehill. Ravens LB Terrell Suggs has 8½ sacks and an INT return for a TD in his past six games against Miami.

49ers at Bears, 1

Line: 49ers by 2; 43

No one is going to take the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft from the winless Browns. That leaves these two basement-dwellers to battle for No. 2. The 49ers have lost 10 straight under Chip Kelly, who probably wouldn't get his old job back at Oregon even if he wanted it. (Kelly has denied interest.) Colin Kaepernick leads all QBs in rushing yards, but 0-6 as a starter is still 0-6. Bears QB Jay Cutler was set for season-ending surgery this weekend, but his replacement, Matt Barkley, threw for 316 yards and three TDs in his first Bears start last week. He faces the NFL's lowest-ranked defense today.

Eagles at Bengals, 1

Line: Bengals by 1½; 41½

These playoff dreamers have lost nine of their past 12 combined. After today, one of them can stop dreaming. Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz can do only so much when his top RB, a top WR and two O-linemen take medical leave from the starting lineup, as they did Monday vs. Green Bay. If Wentz, who has thrown seven INTs in his past six games, seems to be trying to do too much, it's because there's too much to do. Cincinnati is scoring 19.4 points a game, endangering a sixth straight playoff appearance.

Texans at Packers, 1

Line: Packers by 6; 44½

The Packers lost three straight when LB Clay Matthews rested an injured hamstring. No wonder Matthews wants to play through his current shoulder injury: Green Bay's playoff intentions won't survive without him. Even an unhealthy Matthews can make do against this Texans offense, which sits in the bottom five in total yards, passer rating and points scored. Yet that and two straight losses have failed to knock Houston out of first place. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers won't be dashing downfield with his newly acquired hamstring injury.

Broncos at Jaguars, 1

Line: Broncos by 3½; 38½

The Broncos had better enjoy this last mini vacation. Their defense will be working uphill from here, with their final four opponents combining for a 32-13 mark to date. The Jaguars lead the series 5-4 with a 3-1 record at home, but they haven't won any games in Jacksonville since last December. Jacksonville is health-deficient at RB. That could mean more chances for Broncos LB Von Miller to add at least one takedown of Jaguars QB Blake Bortles to his collection of 12½ sacks.

Rams at Patriots, 1

Line: Patriots by 13½; 44

The Patriots just lost TE Rob Gronkowski for the season to back surgery. It's as if they want to prove they can win with one All-Pro arm tied behind their back, just to make things interesting. New England started the season 3-1 when Gronkowski was slowed by a hamstring injury and QB Tom Brady was serving a suspension. They adapted. They always do. The Rams, losers of six of seven, have the problems of a genuinely troubled team. Their coach, Jeff Fisher, spent his week defending his job security and playing down a public feud with Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson over sideline access.

Lions at Saints, 1

Line: Saints by 6; 53

The Lions have taken the NFC North lead with three straight wins and no regard for the blood pressure of their fan base. All 11 of their games have been decided by seven or fewer points. That's a first in 97 years of the NFL. Credit QB Matthew Stafford for leading them on seven winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. Saints QB Drew Brees used to be the one called Captain Comeback. His team is on the playoff fringe because it has lost five by six or fewer points.

Bills at Raiders, 4

Line: Raiders by 3; 48½

The Raiders have won five straight. They lead the top-heavy AFC West. Their QB, Derek Carr, is so polite that he smiles and thanks reporters when they ask about his injured right pinkie. What's not to love about the team that used to be an emblem of deviltry and dysfunction? Well, Buffalo coach Rex Ryan might tell you. The Raiders did fire his twin, Rob, as defensive coordinator a few years back, and the Ryans love to keep all of their axes properly ground.

Redskins at Cardinals, 4:25

Line: Cardinals by 2½; 48½

Washington looked every bit the playoff contender in a close Thanksgiving loss to Dallas. The aging Vernon Davis seemed like a Pro Bowl TE again, and he gives the Redskins reason to think they can put 500 yards of offense on the board for a team-record third straight week — even against the NFL's top overall defense. Expect the Cardinals to target WR Larry Fitzgerald because why wouldn't they? With 1,096 career catches, he needs seven to move to No. 3 on the NFL career list.

Giants at Steelers, 4:25

Line: Steelers by 6; 48

The Giants have avoided a losing record for the first time since 2012, thanks to a six-game winning streak, against teams with a combined 20-46-1 record. Their opponents are 35-20-1 from here. A win at Heinz Field would give the Giants every reason to think it's not too late to catch the first-place Cowboys. WRs Antonio Brown of Pittsburgh and Odell Beckham of the Giants, both from the 2014 draft, are tied for the league lead in TD catches.

Panthers at S'hawks, 8:30

Line: Seahawks by 7½; 44

The Panthers and Seahawks are each 19-5 in regular-season games in December and January over the past five years. Good luck predicting which QB will come up short. The Panthers' Cam Newton had a 119.4 passer rating with 15 TD passes and just one INT in the final five games last year. The Seahawks lead the NFC West by three games and have Russell Wilson, who is 12-2 at home in games after Dec. 1.

Colts at Jets, 8:30 Monday

Line: Colts by 1½; 48½

Colts' Andrew Luck expected to play after sitting out last week with concussion. He has 120 TD passes in first five seasons, fifth most in NFL history. Frank Gore leads league's RBs with 91 consecutive games played and 87 straight starts. Jets sticking with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB after he went 22 of 32 for 269 yards and two TDs in return from sprained knee.

Times wires

NFL Week 13 preview capsules 12/03/16 [Last modified: Saturday, December 3, 2016 7:53pm]
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