The 2023 NFL season has reached the home stretch, with Week 13 kicking off a pivotal December slate loaded with games carrying major playoff implications. Several division races and wild card spots remain up for grabs, setting the stage for critical matchups across the league this week.
Top Games Feature Powerhouse Teams Battling For Positioning
Some of the NFL’s best squaring off in games that could decide division titles and first-round byes. The schedule is headlined by a heavyweight NFC showdown between the 10-1 Eagles and 8-3 49ers on Sunday. San Francisco has won five of six, while Philadelphia had its perfect season ended in a tough loss to Indianapolis. This game will go a long way in determining who finishes atop the NFC for playoff seeding.
Another feature matchup pits Patrick Mahomes and the 9-2 Chiefs against Aaron Rodgers and the 4-8 Packers at Lambeau Field. Kansas City has already clinched the AFC West, while Green Bay is fighting to stay in the wild card mix after dropping six of their last seven. Still, the Chiefs know this game carries weight towards claiming the AFC’s lone first-round playoff bye.
|Chiefs at Packers
|Sunday 4:25 PM ET
|Eagles at Titans
|Sunday 4:25 PM ET
Surging Cowboys Put Streak On Line Against Struggling Seahawks
One team trending up meets another headed the opposite direction this Sunday, as the red-hot Dallas Cowboys bring their 6-game winning streak into Seattle seeking their third road win in four weeks. The suddenly surging Cowboys have averaged nearly 35 points during their 6-0 run since backup QB Cooper Rush relieved the injured Dak Prescott. Now that Prescott has retaken the helm fully healthy, Dallas appears poised to challenge the banged up Giants for control of the NFC East down the stretch.
Meanwhile, the free-falling Seahawks have dropped their last two games being outscored 48-20 since their bye week. Struggling to replace injured RB Kenneth Walker III, Seattle now clings to the NFC’s final wild card spot as several teams lurk right behind them in a tight playoff picture. Dallas enters as road favorites, but Seattle is desperate to stop the bleeding in front of their notoriously loud home crowd.
|Points Per Game
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|Last 3 Games
Several Other Key Games With Major Playoff Ramifications
While much attention centers around the premier matchups, the outcome of several other Week 13 contests will also have a lasting impact on the playoff picture:
The 7-4 Vikings host the surging 4-7 Lions who have clawed their way back into contention by winning three straight. A Minnesota win would keep them atop the NFC North, while Detroit could pull even with their division rivals with an upset victory.
In an AFC South clash, the 7-4 Titans battle the 4-7-1 Colts. Tennessee took the first meeting 19-10 and another win over Indianapolis would put them firmly in the division’s driver seat.
Out west, the 6-5 Chargers look to hold off the 4-7 Raiders in an AFC West rivalry game. Los Angeles needs a win to keep pace with the Chiefs and Bengals in the race for AFC playoff spots and potential home field advantage.
The 8-3 Ravens head to Pittsburgh to take on the struggling 4-7 Steelers. Baltimore smashed Pittsburgh 28-16 in Week 14 and will look to complete the regular season sweep of their chief division rivals.
Week 13 Also Critical For Teams Battling On Playoff Bubble
While the Eagles, Cowboys and several other likely playoff teams take center stage, almost equally important games in Week 13 feature teams currently on the postseason bubble who could badly use wins to strengthen their positioning:
|Week 13 Opponent
Teams like the Commanders, Jets and Patriots have scrapped their way right into the mix for AFC wild card spots, but any loss down the stretch could burst their fragile playoff hopes. The Jaguars and Falcons still have an outside shot as well if they can string together wins in the season’s final month. How these bubble teams fare this week could determine whether they remain squarely in the postseason hunt or drop back towards irrelevance.
Playoff Ambitions At Stake Across Numerous Week 13 Matchups
As the calendar flips to December, the stakes heighten for those with championship aspirations. For squads like the 49ers, Eagles and Chiefs, seizing control of the NFC’s top seed could be vital for reaching Super Bowl LVIII. On the other side, teams battling for wild card position like the Cowboys, Giants and Jets cannot afford slip ups that would derail their playoff hopes after exceeding expectations to this point.
While plenty remains up in the air, the outcome of many Week 13 contests will bring more clarity to which 12 franchises will still have dreams of playing into February. Every matchup now carries amplified importance, certain to deliver intensity and drama befitting the most exciting time on the NFL calendar.
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