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NFL

Five must watch games of Week 13 in the NFL

Here is our selection, recommendation, and preview of the top five National Football League games to follow in this week’s pairings.

Update:
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers tackles Zach Charbonnet #26 of the Seattle Seahawks
STEPH CHAMBERSAFP

Seahawks - Cowboys

The Seahawks face a tough game ahead against one of the strongest teams in the NFC. Despite criticism, the Cowboys are well-rounded. To win, the Seahawks need to pressure Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, improve their third-down conversion rate to at least 45%, and start strong to disrupt the Cowboys’ home-field advantage.

Lions - Saints

As the Detroit Lions prepare to face off against the struggling New Orleans Saints in an NFL showdown on Sunday, two distinct angles emerge, each favoring one side.

On one side, the Saints are in an exceptional position at home this season, boasting a perfect record. Despite two straight wins against Tennessee and Chicago, both victories lacked substantial margins. The Saints faltered against tougher opponents like Jacksonville and Tampa, losing by a touchdown or more in each contest.

Conversely, the Detroit Lions present a different picture, particularly on the road. With a remarkable 3-0 record, they have demonstrated their ability to perform well away from home. Two of their wins came with impressive two-touchdown margins.

Furthermore, the Lions have an advantage in terms of extended preparation time after playing last Thursday. This gives them a freshness factor over the Saints, who are coming off a critical divisional matchup loss on Sunday, leaving them with less recovery time.

49ers - Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers are set to face each other in the rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game. The game has generated a lot of hype due to notable statements from 49ers star Debo Samuel, who called out Eagles quarterback James Bradberry as “trash.” Despite the trash talk, both teams are preparing for what promises to be a classic encounter.

The Eagles currently hold the best record in football at 10-1, showing impressive resilience and continuation of good form. They’ve made key adjustments in the second half of several games, resulting in late-game heroics and securing victories even after facing deficits. Hurts and his team hauled through this season with the same confidence that brought them to last year’s Super Bowl.

On the other hand, the 49ers are determined to make a statement following a three-game skid earlier in the season, primarily attributed to several injuries. However, they are considered a formidable force when healthy. The outcome of this rematch could potentially impact the power dynamics in the NFC, with the Eagles currently holding the top spot.

Packers - Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites, and they come into this game with an impressive record of 8-3, highly motivated after a hard-fought win against the Raiders last week. On the other hand, the Green Bay Packers won the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions with a score of 29-22, thanks to Jordan Love’s best performance of the season. The Packers now hold a 5-6 season record.

Although Love could not continue his recent success in the Thanksgiving game, where his passing attempts were limited due to the Packers’ early lead, he has consistently thrown for 30 or more pass attempts in eight of his last nine games. The Chiefs have allowed many man-passing attempts this season, ranking third in the league with an average of 37.9 passing attempts per game.

Bengals - Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to host the Cincinnati Bengals for Monday Night Football. The Jaguars, led by Trevor Lawrence and coached by Doug Pederson, are a decent team but have a recurring problem of being inconsistent during games. They often fall behind, experience challenging periods, and allow opponents to make comebacks. Despite this, they remain competitive and have secured victories as underdogs and favorites, and they will be the favorites against the Bengals on Monday Night Football.

The Bengals recently played a hard game without their star quarterback, Joe Burrow, and faced difficulty with Jake Browning leading the team. Although they acknowledge their performance without Burrow dropped, the Bengals cannot afford to lose points. In their last game against Pittsburgh, they gave up over 400 yards but managed to keep it close and only lost by six points.

Despite the setback, the Bengals’ head coach, Zack Taylor, remains optimistic about their season, focusing on the team’s strengths and the need to secure wins.