NFL Insiders predict: Week 13 upsets, flops, Vikings' 2018 QB, more

That said, I think the former first-round pick ends up under center in Week 1 with both Bradford and Keenum competing for starting gigs elsewhere. Stafford has an admirable history of toughing out injuries, but his performance has usually suffered when he has. The Falcons are the "hot" team in the division right now, but they face arguably the league's hardest schedule the rest of the season -- Vikings, Saints twice , at Buccaneers and Panthers. NFL Expert Picks - Week 2

Who will be the Vikings' starting quarterback in Week 1 of 2018?


I wouldn't be surprised if Bridgewater finishes this season as their quarterback. Coach Mike Zimmer loves Bridgewater the way a father loves his son and is itching to get him back into the lineup.

The Vikings are wisely riding Keenum's strong play, but as long as Zimmer is the coach, it's difficult to imagine them committing to him this offseason rather than reanointing Bridgewater. Joe Mixon , RB, Bengals. The Bengals rookie is coming off his best day as a pro, rushing for yards on 23 carries 5. With a matchup against a Steelers defense that ranks No. Sammy Watkins , WR, Rams. Watkins is coming off his best game with L.

With Robert Woods sidelined against the Saints, Watkins handled a season-high nine targets and caught four for 82 yards and a score. That would be enough to vault him into the WR2 discussion most weeks Woods is sidelined, but with shadow coverage via Patrick Peterson on tap in Week 13, Watkins should be on benches. Peterson shadowed Watkins roughly half the time when these teams met in Week 7. Watkins produced one catch for 12 yards against Peterson and two catches for 30 yards away from his coverage.

Cam Newton , QB, Panthers. Cam's running ability and red zone versatility normally makes him a pretty reliable fantasy player, with the possibility for huge games when the passing game clicks. But the Saints played him tough earlier in the year while holding him to his lowest fantasy total of the season.

The weakness of the Saints' defense is the injured secondary, but the Panthers' offensive weakness is their passing game and receivers. Matthew Stafford , QB, Lions. Stafford heads on the road against a Baltimore defense that ranks second in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks.

He's also dealing with an ankle injury suffered against Minnesota on Thanksgiving. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions. Stafford has an admirable history of toughing out injuries, but his performance has usually suffered when he has. We saw that with a shoulder injury, a finger injury and another finger injury in A leg injury would seem to affect his throwing less than the shoulder or finger, but it still impacts mobility and will allow the Ravens to focus their pass rush on the pocket.

The remaining schedule for New Orleans is pretty salty with a Week 13 game against the Panthers and two matchups with the Falcons. But I'm going with the physical, balanced offense under coach Sean Payton and a defense that can be ultra aggressive when cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley jump back into the mix.

All three teams in this mix face a tough schedule over the final month or so of the season, which makes this tricky, but I still project New Orleans to hang on for the title at The offense has been outstanding as usual, and their defense is much-improved. The Falcons are the "hot" team in the division right now, but they face arguably the league's hardest schedule the rest of the season -- Vikings, Saints twice , at Buccaneers and Panthers.

I believe that tough slate will cost them a playoff spot. Despite the Falcons' offensive reputation, the Saints lead the the division in almost all major offensive statistical categories and they have best quarterback and coach in the NFC South.

Their defense, which has been one of the worst in the league over the past few years, has improved and is continuing to get better. Carolina is my choice in a tough race. I trust the Panthers' defense more than the others.

Cam Newton has cut down on turnovers, which is a big key. It won't be easy and it might not be pretty.

Every NFC South team ranks among the NFL's top seven in hardest remaining schedules, mainly because these teams must play one another -- Atlanta's remaining schedule strength. I'll take Carolina emerging on top at They finally appear to have their offense in gear, having averaged 29 points per game over their current three-game winning streak.

And most important, they still have four division games remaining, including two against the Saints and the regular-season finale at home against the Panthers. They've gotten hot at the right time and have a schedule that will allow them to maximize it.

Josh Doctson , WR, Redskins. Doctson has seen a pretty good run of volume over the past four games 23 targets and he has caught 13 passes for yards Rex Burkhead , RB, Patriots.

The do-it-all offensive weapon registered a season-high 15 touches and scored two touchdowns against Miami on Sunday. He has worked his way into a significant role in New England's high-volume, high-scoring offense, averaging Same as in Week 12, Burkhead is a top running back option against the struggling Bills defense. Dontrelle Inman , WR, Bears.

Chicago takes on the 49ers, who are 26th in the league in passing yards given up per game. And Inman is coming off of two games when he was targeted 10 and nine times, respectively. He is clearly Mitchell Trubisky 's favorite target. Cordarrelle Patterson , WR, Raiders. Oakland will be without Michael Crabtree. If the Raiders are also without Amari Cooper , that would leave Patterson as one of the last men standing among Oakland's receivers.

Patterson caught three passes for 72 yards against Denver without being a big part of the game plan ahead of time. Oakland will presumably feature him more this week against the Giants. Alex Collins , RB, Ravens. Baltimore will face a Detroit run defense that has been gashed in recent weeks. Since losing defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in Week 5, the Lions have allowed rushing yards per game. In their past three games, opponents have hit them up for Collins will have a chance to feast.

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Browns likely to change PK after misses Cleveland Browns. Roughing passer flags 'out of control' Green Bay Packers. The Bills have managed to beat the Patriots twice in the last four seasons and five meetings That suspension is over. Two more bubble teams in their respective conferences. Would you be all that surprised if this was an NFC title game preview?

Even the Titans likely are surprised to see themselves in first place this late in the season; they struggled too much against the Colts last week, and Marcus Mariota has suddenly turned into a pick machine.

But their chance has arrived, and stumbling against a Texans team that misses Deshaun Watson desperately is not an option. Predicting how entertaining a game will be is harder and more foolhardy than picking who wins, but circumstances indicate that this is the most unwatchable game of the weekend.

The four quarterbacks likely in play: Their seasons are in the toilet for legit reasons. When the Jaguars and Colts last met, in October in Indy, the Jaguars got 10 sacks and pitched a shutout.

Yeldon ran for yards in his place in Indianapolis. Jameis Winston is scheduled to return to practice this week. The 49ers have played better than the Bears in the past month; the bottom has fallen out for the Bears since scoring two defensive touchdowns and beating the Panthers in October. The coaching staff's recent bungling of replay challenges has not helped. The Chargers are the only division team playing well and reasonably smart In a stunning acknowledgement of the passing of an era, none of the touchdowns has gone to Antonio Gates.

That was also the first loss for the Panthers. It took the Panthers longer than it should have to shake the Jets last week, and they had real problems stopping Robby Anderson.