What once looked like a showdown in the NFC East now is a matter of survival for Dallas and Washington.
A Redskins victory or tie clinches the division for what has been the league’s team of the year, the Eagles. Yes, not even into December and folks in Philly could be celebrating — even if that means rooting for the despised team from the nation’s capital.
Dallas still is without suspended running back Zeke Elliott, and the offense has stagnated in his absence. The Cowboys really need a healthy Sean Lee at linebacker, too.
Yes, with suspensions and injuries, these teams barely resemble how they began the schedule.
“Sometimes we have to trust it,” Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins says of playing while surrounded by fill-ins. “We have to go and just play and believe that, however new this player is, he’s got to make the play and he’s got a jersey and a number, and he can do it.”
Dallas, ranked 18th in the AP Pro32, is a 1-point favorite over No. 17 Washington. All those missing players for the visitors make them impossible to select.
KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP
Time to go back to the Cleveland’s opponent theory. That would be the CHARGERS this week.
No. 23 Houston (plus 7 1-2) at No. 11 Tennessee
Too many points to give Texans, who could spring surprise.
BEST BET: TITANS, 22-17
No. 12 Detroit (plus 3) at No. 14 Baltimore
Lions keep wild-card hopes going, hurt Baltimore’s chances.
UPSET SPECIAL: LIONS, 23-13
No. 7 Carolina (plus 4) at No. 6 New Orleans
Looked at this for upset special.
No. 32 Cleveland (plus 13 1-2) at No. 13 Los Angeles Chargers
Didn’t even remotely consider this for upset.
No. 1 Philadelphia (minus 5 1-2) at No. 9 Seattle
It must be a special year for Eagles if they are favored so strongly at Seattle.
No. 3 (tie) Minnesota (plus 3) at No. 8 Atlanta
Another terrific matchup for Week 13.
No. 2 New England (minus 8) at No. 16 Buffalo
Patriots closing in on another AFC East crown even with Brady taking physical beatings.
No. 20 Cincinnati (plus 5 1-2) at No. 3 (tie) Pittsburgh, Monday night
Steelers aren’t blowing out anyone right now.
No. 27 Denver (pick-em) at No. 16 Miami
Shield your eyes for this one — and not from the Florida sun.
No. 28 Indianapolis (plus 9 1-2) at No. 10 Jacksonville
After last week’s stumble, Jaguars will have mean edge vs. Indy.
No. 15 Kansas City (minus 3) at No. 24 New York Jets
Really worried about Chiefs, but they squeeze by here.
No. 21 (tie) Arizona (plus 7) at No. 5 Los Angeles Rams
Breather in difficult stretch for NFC West leaders.
No. 30 New York Giants (plus 5 1-2) at No. 19 Oakland
Long trip for Giants to get whipped, though Raiders are undermanned, too.
No. 31 San Francisco (plus 4 1-2) at No. 29 Chicago
Joe Cool vs. Monsters of Midway? Not quite.
No. 25 Tampa Bay (OFF) at No. 21 Green Bay
Packers could have won at Pittsburgh, will do so here.
Last week: Against spread (10-4-2). Straight up (14-2)
Season Totals: Against spread (83-81-5). Straight up: (110-65)
Best Bet: 7-5 against spread, 9-3 straight up.
Upset special: 8-4 against spread, 8-4 straight up
Source: Associated Press