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The Packers Are Super Bowl Favorites & Other Things About NFL Week 13

Aaron Rodgers
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Week 13 of the 2014 NFL season was filled with important games. A potential Super Bowl preview didn’t disappoint, and the playoff picture began to take shape in both conferences. Here’s a recap of this week’s action:

C.J. Anderson Might Be A Game-Changer For Denver

C.J. Anderson
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C.J. Anderson carried 32 times for 168 yards, and the Broncos beat the Chiefs, 29-16, on Sunday night. Denver (9-3) scored 20 points in the first half and never allowed Kansas City (7-5) to seriously threaten in the second half.

Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning had a light night — just 179 passing yards and two scores — but the Chiefs defense was unable to contain Anderson, who caught a TD pass and helped set up five Connor Barth field goals. Anderson also ran for 167 yards in a win over Miami last week. Adding his running game to Manning’s aerial assault could make Denver an even bigger post-season threat. The victory put the Broncos one game up on San Diego — and two games up on KC — in the AFC West race.

The Packers Are Super Bowl Favorites

Jordy Nelson
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Aaron Rodgers threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns — including one to the un-defensible Jordy Nelson — and the Green Bay Packers edged the New England Patriots, 26-21, at Lambeau Field on Sunday in a duel of potential Super Bowl contenders. Winners of eight of nine games, Green Bay (9-3) remained undefeated at home this season and stayed a game ahead of the Lions in the NFC North.

The Packers went up 23-14 in the second quarter when Rodgers connected with Nelson on a 45-yard score with 14 seconds left before halftime. New England (9-3) pulled within 23-21 on Tom Brady’s second touchdown pass of the game early in the fourth quarter, but the Patriots could not complete the comeback. For all the talk of this game being a Super Bowl preview, the NFL would love a rematch of this contest in Arizona this February.

The Ravens Can Lose At Home In November

San Diego Chargers v Baltimore Ravens
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Aided by a controversial late pass interference call, the Chargers beat the Ravens, 34-33, giving Baltimore (7-5) its first home loss in November since 2009. San Diego (8-4) trailed the entire game before rallying with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including Philip Rivers 1-yard pass to Eddie Royal with 38 seconds to play.

Officials tagged Ravens’ defensive back Anthony Levine with a pass interference penalty with 46 seconds left, setting up Rivers’ game winning toss to Royal a play later. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh questioned the call, but his team’s defense had no answers for Rivers, who went 34 for 45 for 383 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday.

Both teams stayed in the middle of the muddled AFC playoff chase, but the Chargers moved in to second place in the AFC West after the Chiefs lost to the Broncos on Sunday night.

Johnny Manziel Couldn’t Save The Browns. (Yet.)

Johnny Manziel
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If you think that Week 13 seems like a bad time for a quarterback controversy, you don’t know (Johnny) Football. After Browns’ QB Brian Hoyer was ineffective for the third straight game, rookie Johnny Manziel stepped in and went 5-for-8 passing for 63 yards. He also scored on a 10-yard run. The Bills still beat the Browns, 26-10, but Manziel did enough to create uncertainty as to which QB should be under center for Cleveland (7-5) for the rest of the season. Given Manziel’s penchant for dramatic play, it could be perfect timing.

Buffalo (7-5) stayed alive in the AFC playoff mix, which includes the Browns and eight other teams within two games of each other. The Bills don’t have a QB quandry, but give Kyle Orton some time. He threw two interceptions before playing just well enough to not lose the game for his team (this time).

All The NFC South Teams Didn’t Stink For A Change

Julio Jones
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Just when the NFC South seemed like a lock to crown a champion with 10 losses, New Orleans and Atlanta stepped up and won on Sunday. Drew Brees threw five touchdowns as the Saints topped the Steelers, 35-32, and the Falcons beat the Cardinals, 29-18, behind Julio Jones’ 10 catches for 189 yards and a score.

New Orleans (5-7) ended its three-game losing streak and stayed tied for the NFC South lead. Despite QB Ben Roethlisberger’s 435 yards passing and two touchdowns, Pittsburgh (7-5) fell a game and-a-half behind Cincinnati in the AFC North.

Atlanta (5-7) knocked off fellow division leader Arizona (9-3), which is now ahead of Seattle by just one game in the NFC West. The Falcons’ offense has been very good at settling for field goals lately — Matt Bryant had five on Sunday — but it will need more than that with Green Bay, Pittsburgh and New Orleans on the schedule over the next three weeks.

Other Games

Thursday, Nov. 27
Detroit 34, Chicago 17
Philadelphia 33, Dallas 10
Seattle 19, San Francisco 3

Sunday, Nov. 30
Indianapolis 49, Washington 27
Houston 45, Tennessee 21
Jacksonville 25, N.Y. Giants 24
Cincinnati 14, Tampa Bay 13
St. Louis 52, Oakland 0
Minnesota 31, Carolina 13

Full Standings

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