As the college football season winds down, the NFL becomes the focal point of the weekend. There are playoff implications aplenty as we begin the final five weeks of action. Let’s take a closer look at the key matchups for Week 13:
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Odds: New England -9
The Bills snapped their slide with a crucial 16-10 win over the Chiefs on the road in Week 12. It won’t get any easier for the Bills this week, though, as they host the Patriots. New England has won each of its last three games by 18 points or more while extending its win streak to seven in a row overall.
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Odds: Jacksonville -9.5
After stringing together four straight wins, the Jaguars finally slipped on the road in a 27-24 setback at Arizona. Now Jacksonville will attempt to bounce back at home but they can’t afford to take a date with Indianapolis for granted. The Colts have kept it close with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans in their last two losses, so they could be a threat for the upset on the road.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets
Odds: Kansas City -3.5
Kansas City’s situation went from bad to worse with a 16-10 loss to the Bills on Sunday. The Chiefs have lost three in a row and five of their last six overall. The Chiefs are favored to bounce back this week but nothing is going to come easy for them anymore. Alex Smith is struggling, Kareem Hunt is ineffective and the defense is barely hanging on. A loss here could cost Smith his starting job.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
Odds: New Orleans -4
The most highly anticipated game of the week has the NFC South on the line when the Panthers visit New Orleans. The Saints’ winning streak came to an end last week and to avoid a losing streak, they’ll have to find a way to run the ball. The Saints won the first meeting between the teams but Cam Newton threw three interceptions in that game. With a better showing, the Panthers can get the win.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks
Odds: Philadelphia -4
The Eagles took care of business with a 31-3 win over the Chicago Bears last week and now they go on the road for what was expected to be one of the most difficult matchups remaining on their schedule. However, with Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor out for Seattle, Philadelphia will be a 4-point favorite on the road. It’s not often that the Seahawks are a home dog but they have covered 17 of their last 26 as a home dog of 3.5 to 7 points.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Odds: Pittsburgh -6.5
The Steelers survived a tougher-than-expected test with a 31-28 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. Now they will travel for a rivalry game against Cincinnati. The Bengals improved to 5-3 in their last eight games, so this won’t be easy. They are a win outside of a wild-card playoff spot. If the Steelers play like they did against Green Bay, they’ll probably lose.