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Week 13 Preview

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We are entering the home stretch of the NFL season as the calendar flips over to December. This is the time of year when the playoff picture gets cloudier as teams that are in the hunt make that final push to get hot at the right time and go streaking into the playoffs. That method has done wonders for the past two Super Bowl champions (Green Bay and NYG) as both squeaked into the playoffs during December and rode their hot play all the way to a title. Can another team do that this year?

Divisional Rivalries

With the bye weeks and teams coming off their week of rest officially done for another year, it is time to look more closely at the divisional games that will flood every Sunday from here on out. Week 13 has eight such games on the card, beginning with New Orleans/Atlanta on Thursday night and finishing with the Giants/Redskins on MNF.

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What's interesting about these games is that six of them are rematches from prior games this year and teams that lost previously are going to be hungry to even up the season series. That method of thinking can't really apply to the 49ers/Rams given their tie, but Atlanta, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Philly and Washington are all out for blood.

Another thing to keep in mind with these revenge games is the idea of totals flip-flopping. That means that if the first game between these two went over, look for an under and vice-versa. So far this year there have been 13 teams that have played division rivals twice with varied results. When the first meeting stays below the total (7 times) the rematch has cashed "over" tickets five times. Teams in that spot this week are:

Baltimore/Pittsburgh and NYG/Washington.

Of the other six times when the first game went "over" the number, five of the six rematches sailed over the total again. That applies to all the other teams involved in rematches this week.

Non-Division Games

There are some good non-division games on the card this week too but the most important one has got to be Cincinnati (-1.5) @ San Diego (+1.5). A win by the Bengals here would put them to 7-4 SU and give them a gap in terms of chasing down the current wildcard teams from Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Cincinnati currently sits in 7th at 6-5 SU, but hold a one game lead over Miami at 5-6 SU and two over SD and Tennessee at 4-7 SU. Depending on what those teams do this weekend, Cincinnati would position themselves to make a run in what is shaping up to be a three-horse race for those two spots.

On the other side, it is desperation time for the Chargers in this one to simply stay in the hunt with a win. With their coach on the extremely hot "hot seat," San Diego has to find a way to get the win here at home if they have any hopes of playing in January this year. A loss would effectively end their season and that means the cleaning crew is on its way to clean house in that organization.

  
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