This has been a very fun NFL season to watch. It isn’t often that we have so many new teams in the mix for the playoffs. Young quarterbacks are taking over the league, and each week there seems to be a massive upset. The playoff hunt is neck-and-neck in both conferences and there are many deserving teams still vying for spots. The next few weeks will be make or break for several teams, but let’s examine the top three matchups in NFL Week 13.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals
Justin Herbert vs Joe Burrow. Two of the best QBs in the 2020 Draft are getting the chance to go head-to-head in what could be a new Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady rivalry. These are just two of the new young QBs taking over the league, alongside guys like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, and Mac Jones. Every time I buy stock in the Chargers, it’s like the stock market crashes. The Bengals are kind of the same way, but they have pulled off some tremendous wins as well this season. I like this Cincy defense a lot and I love the swagger that the Bengals display on offense. If this game was being played in LA, maybe I would feel differently, but it’s too hard for me to overlook the home-field advantage and how hot this Bengals team is right now. Prediction: Cincinnati
Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The end of Ben Roethlisberger’s career is near, and it is evident in how the Steelers offense is currently performing. It begs the question of where the Steelers would be if they had let Ben walk this past offseason and traded up for a guy like Mac Jones or Justin Fields. Now they are facing a Ravens team that has looked a bit out of whack in recent weeks but have found ways to win games. Last week against the Browns was one of the sloppier games of the 2021 season as Lamar Jackson was intercepted four times. This is a great rivalry, and maybe the last one at home for Big Ben. This is feeling like a do-or-die for the Steelers season and if they can’t come away with a win this week, it might be time to close the book. The Ravens defense is top-notch and they will force the Steelers to pass the ball as they boast a top-ranked run defense. Prediction: Ravens
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
This is the first of two matchups in a four-week span for these teams. This will be the first time that Mac Jones takes on Josh Allen in what is expected to be a long and fun rivalry between these two in the AFC East. The Pats are the hottest team in football as they are on a six-game winning streak and don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. The Bills got a must-win game last week against the Saints after some seriously sloppy play in the few weeks before that. This Pats defense is legit, and it feels like their offense is beginning to hit a nice rhythm. I’m not sure if I trust Buffalo to break up a streak like this, even if they are playing at home. Belichick has owned this rivalry and I don’t see that ending this week. Prediction: Patriots