LockedIN On The NFL Week 13 Preview

The Good, The Bad and The NFL

Happy HOLIDAYS People! And the NFL has some FOOTBALL coming up to fill your plate! 

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS-BALTIMORE RAVENS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest pairs the teams from one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory, Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Ravens and head coach JOHN HARBAUGH built a 28-6 lead on his younger brother, 49ers head coach JIM HARBAUGH, when Baltimore’s JACOBY JONES returned the second-half-opening kickoff 108 yards, the longest play in Super Bowl annals. Soon after Jones’ return, the stadium lost power, causing a 34-minute delay. San Francisco responded with MICHAEL CRABTREE’s touchdown catch, and TD runs by FRANK GORE and COLIN KAEPERNICK to pull within 31-29 with just less than 10 minutes remaining. After a JUSTIN TUCKER field goal gave Baltimore a 34-29 advantage, the Ravens’ last-minute goal-line stand preserved their second Super Bowl victory. After using a safety to run out the clock, Baltimore won, 34-31.

HAVE ANOTHER SERVING OF HOPE: As the playoff races come into focus, the CLEVELAND BROWNS in the AFC and the CAROLINA PANTHERSCHICAGO BEARS and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES in the NFC are 5-6. In 13 of the past 15 seasons (2004-18), a team with a sub-.500 record through 11 games has made the playoff field. And since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was instituted, 21 such clubs in 29 seasons have steered their way to the postseason. Four of those clubs – the 1995 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS, the 1996 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, the 2008 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS and the 2014 CAROLINA PANTHERS – earned playoff berths after starting with four-or-fewer wins through 11 games. The Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship that season, and both the Chargers (2008) and Panthers (2014) advanced to their respective Divisional rounds.

Teams with a sub-.500 record through 11 games to qualify for the playoffs since 1990:

Philadelphia Eagles 2018 5 6 0 .455   Washington Redskins 2005 5 6 0 .455
Green Bay Packers 2016 5 6 0 .455   St. Louis Rams 2004 5 6 0 .455
Washington Redskins 2015 5 6 0 .455   Detroit Lions 1997 5 6 0 .455
Carolina Panthers 2014 3 7 1 .318   Jacksonville Jaguars 1996 4 7 0 .364
San Diego Chargers 2013 5 6 0 .455   Detroit Lions 1995 5 6 0 .455
Washington Redskins 2012 5 6 0 .455   San Diego Chargers 1995 4 7 0 .364
Seattle Seahawks 2010 5 6 0 .455   Detroit Lions 1994 5 6 0 .455
New York Jets 2009 5 6 0 .455   New England Patriots 1994 5 6 0 .455
San Diego Chargers 2008 4 7 0 .364   Minnesota Vikings 1993 5 6 0 .455
Washington Redskins 2007 5 6 0 .455   New Orleans Saints 1990 5 6 0 .455
Philadelphia Eagles 2006 5 6 0 .455              


MARQUEE GAMES: Two contests in Week 13 feature teams with three-or-fewer losses. The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-1) make the cross-country trek to meet the BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-2) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), and to close the week, the MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-3) travel to play the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-2) on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN).

Week 13 marks just the fourth time this decade that two-or-more games in the same week have featured teams with three-or-fewer losses this late in a season.

The three prior weeks featuring multiple matchups of teams with three-or-fewer losses in Week 13 or later:

2014 13 11/27/2014 Philadelphia (8-3) W, 33-10 Missed playoffs (10-6)
      at Dallas (8-3)   Advanced to divisional playoff
    11/30/2014 New England (9-2)   Won Super Bowl XLIX
      at Green Bay (8-3) W, 26-21 Advanced to conference championship
2013 13 12/1/2013 Denver (9-2) W, 35-28 Advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII
      at Kansas City (9-2)   Advanced to wild card playoff
    12/2/2013 New Orleans (9-2)   Advanced to divisional playoff
      at Seattle (10-1) W, 34-7 Won Super Bowl XLVIII
2010 13 12/5/2010 Pittsburgh (8-3) W, 13-10 Advanced to Super Bowl XLV
      at Baltimore (8-3)   Advanced to divisional playoff
    12/6/2010 N.Y. Jets (9-2)   Advanced to conference championship
      at New England (9-2) W, 45-3 Advanced to divisional playoff


AN NFC RARITY: The MINNESOTA VIKINGS-SEATTLE SEAHAWKS contest on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN) features one of three NFC clubs (Seattle, SAN FRANCISCO and NEW ORLEANS) with nine-or-more wins. This season marks the first time in 18 years that three NFC clubs are 9-2 or better through 11 games. Since the conference was formed during the league merger in 1970, it’s happened only four other times (1986, 1990, 1991 and 2001).

Last year, Seattle’s RUSSELL WILSON became the first quarterback in NFL history to win at least nine games in each of his first seven seasons. Wilson, now in his eighth NFL season, led the Seahawks to their ninth win last week at Philadelphia.

DECEMBERS TO REMEMBER: The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS and BALTIMORE RAVENS, who meet on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), are two of the NFL’s best teams in December since 2017, when the 49ers acquired quarterback JIMMY GAROPPOLO from New England. Garoppolo is 5-0 in December since coming to San Francisco.

The NFL teams with highest winning percentages in December since 2017:

Los Angeles Chargers 8 2 0 .800
Dallas Cowboys 6 2 0 .750
Baltimore Ravens 7 3 0 .700
Kansas City Chiefs 7 3 0 .700
New England Patriots 7 3 0 .700
Philadelphia Eagles 7 3 0 .700
San Francisco 49ers 7 3 0 .700
New Orleans Saints 6 3 0 .667


PLETHORA OF EIGHT-WIN TEAMS…: The GREEN BAY PACKERS, who head east to play the NEW YORK GIANTS Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), are one of eight NFL teams with eight-or-more wins in 2019, tying a single-season record through 11 games. This marks the first time in 16 years – and only the fifth time in history – that eight clubs have reached eight wins through 11 games. It also happened in 1968, 1975, 1997 and 2003.

…AND NINE-WIN TEAMS: The Sunday Night Football contest (8:20 PM ET, NBC) pairs the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-1) on the road against the HOUSTON TEXANS (7-4). New England is one of five NFL teams with at least nine wins through 11 games, also tying a single-season league record. This marks just the second time in the past 28 seasons that five teams have nine-or-more wins through 11 games. It also happened in 1968, 1975, 1976, 1986, 1990, 1991 and 2015.​

Houston quarterback DESHAUN WATSON ranks third in the NFL among quarterbacks with five rushing touchdowns. Only Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN (seven) and Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON (six) have more. Overall this season, NFL quarterbacks have rushed for 58 touchdowns. That’s on pace for 84, which would be 11 more than the most in a single season since the 1970 merger, 73, in 2002.

ROOKIES NOT ONLY PLAYING, THEY’RE WINNING: The CLEVELAND BROWNS make the two-hour bus ride to play the PITTSBURGH STEELERS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS) in a game that features Cleveland’s BAKER MAYFIELD, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 draft, against an undrafted rookie, DEVLIN HODGES. The 2018 and 2019 seasons are two of only four in NFL history that have had five-or-more quarterbacks win at least one start (Hodges won his first career start earlier this year). The league-record is seven, in 1987. Five rookie quarterbacks also started and won at least one game in 2012.

MAHOMES, JACKSON HAVE HISTORY IN THEIR SIGHTS: The OAKLAND RAIDERS meet the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS). Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES (age 24) enters the week ranked fifth in the NFL with a 110 passer rating. Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON (age 22) enters the week ranked third with a 111.4 mark. Prior to 2019, only twice in 99 NFL seasons has a player under the age of 25 finished a season with a passer rating of 110 or higher: Mahomes in 2018 (113.8) and NICK FOLES in 2013 (119.2).


(All times Eastern)​

Thanksgiving Day       Sunday (cont.)    
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions 12:30 PM FOX   Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 PM CBS
Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys 4:30 PM CBS   Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins 1:00 PM FOX
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons 8:20 PM NBC   Green Bay Packers at New York Giants 1:00 PM FOX
Sunday       Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals 4:05 PM FOX
San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens 1:00 PM FOX   Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos 4:25 PM CBS
Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM CBS   Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs 4:25 PM CBS
New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM CBS   New England Patriots at Houston Texans 8:20 PM NBC
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts 1:00 PM CBS   Monday    
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 PM FOX   Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks 8:15 PM ESPN

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