By Dan Durkin–
(CBS) We’ve entered the the final quarter of the 2015 NFL season. With less than half of the teams in the league having a winning record, there’s a logjam of mediocre playoff hopefuls playing crucial games this weekend.READ MORE: 8-Year-Old Boy Shot, Killed While Playing On Front Porch In Markham
Here’s my take on how Week 13 action plays out.
(Home team in all CAPS)
Bengals 34, BROWNS 17 — noon
With Josh McCown out for the season with a broken collarbone, the Browns will turn to … Austin Davis at quarterback. Nothing’s going right for Cleveland, while everything’s going right for Cincinnati. The Bengals offense will have their way with a hapless Browns defense and sweep the season series.
BEARS 27, 49ers 16 — noon
The Bears have a great chance to get back to .500 against a 49ers team that’s one of the league’s worst road teams. The 49ers offense is anemic, and their defense is vulnerable to both the pass and run. Look for the Bears to play one of their most complete games of the season on both sides of the ball and ignite playoff fever in Chicago.
Jaguars 23, TITANS 21— noon
As these two teams so frequently do, they’ll battle for the right to not be AFC South cellar dwellers. The Jaguars’ passing offense has been strong this season, but they stiffen up as they get closer to the end zone. The Titans are on an 11-game home winless streak, which the Jaguars will extend to 12.
Texans 24, BILLS 20— noon
The Texans are doing it with defense and have won four straight games. The Bills defense was expected to be one of the league’s best this season, yet it’s struggling of late. Now Buffalo’s dealing with a string of injuries along its defensive front. Houston will make it five straight.
DOLPHINS 23, Ravens 20 — noon
The Dolphins are rebooting for the second time this season. The most recent coaching pink slip had offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s name on it. Once again, the Dolphins are talking about creating a physical identity. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. Luckily, they’ll face a Ravens team that’s wings are clipped on offense.
Seahawks 27, VIKINGS 23 — noon
The Seahawks have rebounded from their 2-4 start and are looking like a team poised to make a playoff run down the stretch. They’ll face a stiff test from the Vikings defense, but their defense should be able to make Minnesota one-dimensional and best Teddy Bridgewater to pull off a huge road win to get to 7-5.
Cardinals 27, RAMS 13 — noon
The last time these two teams met in Week 4, the Rams stunned the Cardinals. Todd Gurley got his first extended action, and Nick Foles had his only multiple passing game of the season. The wheels have since fallen off for the Rams, while the Cardinals have emerged as one of the league’s best teams. This game will be over by the second quarter.READ MORE: Fraternity Chapter At Northwestern University Under Cease-And-Desist Order Amid Drugging Claims; Student Who Claims She Was Drugged Comes Forward In Op-Ed
BUCS 23, Falcons 20 — noon
Currently, the Falcons sit seventh in the NFL playoff race, and the Bucs sit eighth. However, of late, these teams are headed in opposite directions, primarily due to the play of their respective quarterbacks. The Falcons are on a four-game skid and have no offensive continuity. The Bucs — in particular Jameis Winston — are putting it together and will win a close one at home.
Jets 27, GIANTS 23 — noon
The Giants struggle to run the ball (89.4 yards per game, 28th in the league), and the Jets defend it better than any team in the league. The Jets offense will also be able to move the ball both via the ground and air. Thus, this game will come down to how well the Giants can protect Eli Manning. All signs point to a Jets “road” win.
Broncos 31, CHARGERS 20 — 3:05 p.m.
The Broncos pulled off a major, momentum-building comeback win last week against the Patriots at home. This week, they’ll travel to San Diego to face a Chargers team that barely resembles an NFL-caliber roster. The Broncos’ running game will get loose against a generous Chargers run defense, and their defense will stifle a depleted San Diego offense.
Chiefs 24, RAIDERS 20 — 3:05 p.m.
Winners of five straight, the Chiefs are the AFC’s hottest team. They’re getting it done with stingy defense and a resurgent deep passing game. They’re dealing with a slew of injuries in the trenches on both sides of the ball but still have enough to get by the Raiders on the road.
Panthers 31, SAINTS 21 — 3:25 p.m.
Carolina started its 15-game regular-season winning streak in a blowout victory last year in New Orleans. The Panthers will dominate the Saints on both sides of the ball and earn their third straight NFC South division title.
PATRIOTS 34, Eagles 24 — 3:25 p.m.
The Eagles have given up 90 points in their last two games. While the Patriots are severely depleted on offense, Tom Brady has plenty of motivation after last week’s bitter ending in Denver. The Patriots will rout the Eagles as Chip Kelly inches closer to going back to the collegiate ranks.
STEELERS 31, Colts 27 — 7:30 p.m.
Plenty of pigskins will be flying through the air in this game, as both teams will get vertical against poor secondaries. Ben Roethlisberger is playing at an elite level despite numerous injuries and will get the Steelers right back into the AFC wild-card race.
REDSKINS 24, Cowboys 17 — Monday night, 7:30 p.m.
For the second time this season, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo broke his left collarbone and is finally done for the season. I think. The Cowboys’ season has been done for a while, and the Redskins will notch another division win and end Week 13 as the NFC East’s tallest little people.
Season record through Week 12: 104-73 (Last week: 8-8)MORE NEWS: Demand For Truck Drivers 'Never Been Greater' Despite Supply Chain Issues
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @djdurkin.