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Week 13 NFL Live: Late Afternoon Games

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Two division matchups are on offer this afternoon, along with two additional games. Let’s chat while we watch.

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
The quarterbacks of the afternoon.
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Browns @ Chargers

Clevelanders have watched their hapless team lose 11 games this season. Today, barring a complete disaster from the Chargers, they should watch them lose an even dozen. At this point, Browns fans deserve to be honored by the NFL every single season for supporting a team this pathetic. Year in and year out, these people come to games, buy merchandise, and root for their guys. Year in and year out, they are presented with offal. Hue Jackson gets Josh Gordon this week. The WR has missed over a season due to falling afoul of the league’s banned substances regulations, so he’s a redemption story most people can get behind. Philip Rivers and the Chargers have gone 5-6 in a transitional season, but they’re just a game behind the faltering Chiefs for first in their division. They should go even today, while the Chiefs face the Jets. If you’re in Southern California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, or Michigan, this game is on CBS for you. Otherwise, resort to Sunday Ticket (should you choose to abuse your vision that way).

Panthers @ Saints

Cam Newton versus Drew Brees. This should be the game of the afternoon, since it pits two 8-3 teams and division rivals. Newton and Brees are two of the league’s superstars, and both are capable of carrying their respective teams to glory, though solid performances across all three phases has meant neither has had to. This game, in New Orleans, is impossible to call. The Rams managed to handle Brees’ offensive onslaught last week, and it’s hard to argue that the Panthers defense isn’t as talented, but Sean Payton doesn’t make the same mistakes twice, and Cam will be missing his safety blanket Greg Olsen. Something like 80 percent of the country gets this game on Fox. If you live on the west coast, St. Louis, Vermont or New York, use Sunday Ticket.

Rams @ Cardinals

The Cards just announced that Carson Palmer and David Johnson are out for the season, and Adrian Peterson is a long shot for the game. That should help the surging Rams, led by Sean McVay and Jared Goff. At 8-3, the Rams have to count as one of the surprises of the 2017 NFL Season, given the ineptitude exhibited by the franchise for so long under their not-at-all-lamented former head coach. The Rams offense, paired with an already-respected offense, has made this a team that can challenge any squad in the league. It’s hard to predict anything other than a victory for them, though Larry Fitzgerald will be his usual great self and the Cardinals defense will attempt to slow them down. The west coast, St. Louis, Arizona, Idaho, and western Montana will have this game on Fox. Everyone else, use Sunday Ticket.

Giants @ Raiders

This game has been in the headlines all week due to Ben McAdoo’s decision to start Geno Smith over Eli Manning and to get Davis Webb some playing time. Of course, the owner is now saying that McAdoo’s job isn’t guaranteed, and players have come out in opposition of their coach’s decision. So on a 2-9 team that’s already reeling, the head coach has just introduced some rather unnecessary (IMO) drama. That’s good news for the stumbling Raiders, who will be without Michael Crabtree as he serves his suspension. Derek Carr’s men haven’t been playing well this season, so a game against the 2-9 Giants might be just what they need right now. The additional absence of Amari Cooper may help the defense of any other team, but it’s hard to see the Giants, in their current frame of mind, taking advantage of any chances right now. New York, the Bay Area, and Nevada have this game on Fox. The rest of us have Sunday Ticket.

Four games. Some should be good. Some should be terrible. Discuss them here.