Prisco's NFL Week 13 picks: Desperate Vikings will upset Cowboys on Thursday

Can you believe we've hit December games?

Where did the season go? If life moved as fast the NFL season, we'd all be in trouble.

As we enter December, there are still 30 teams mathematically alive in the playoff chase. The only two who aren't are the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers . That's what we expected.

What we didn't expect was to see teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins pushing for playoff spots as we enter the final month. Both teams face big road challenges this week with Tampa Bay at San Diego to play the San Diego Chargers and the Dolphins at Baltimore to play the Baltimore Ravens .

Those are tough games to pick, but I think Miami wins on the road while the Bucs will keep it close and stumble late. Even so, who thought they'd both be playing meaningful games in December?

Now for the picks:

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

Both teams played last Thursday, so they will be rested. The Vikings have lost five of six, while the Cowboys have won 10 straight. This will be a tough one to get 11. I think the Vikings, who are playoff desperate, slow the run game and pull off the upset.

Pick: Vikings 20, Cowboys 17

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Danielle Hunter and the Vikings defense will look to shut down Ezekiel Elliott. USATSI

Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons

This is a tough turnaround for the Chiefs after beating Denver on Sunday night. The Falcons looked good against Arizona last week, and that offense is tough to stop. Look for Matt Ryan to have a big day as the Falcons take it.

Pick: Falcons 27, Chiefs 20


Los Angeles Rams at New England Patriots

The Rams played at New Orleans on Sunday and now must go face the best team in the league at their place. That's tough duty for a young quarterback like Jared Goff . The Rams defense was shredded by Drew Brees and gets more of that from Tom Brady here. Pats big.

Pick: Patriots 28, Rams 13


Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Broncos lost late Sunday night to the Chiefs and now head out to play a Jaguars team playing out the string. Denver's pass rush will get all over Blake Bortles and that will lead to turnovers that decide this one.

Pick: Broncos 20, Jaguars 14


Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers

The Packers seemed to right things at Philadelphia on Monday night. The defense showed life and the Texans aren't good on offense right now. Aaron Rodgers keeps it going.

Pick: Packers 27, Texans 20


Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals

The Eagles have lost six of eight games and have pretty much fallen out of the playoff race. The same holds true for the Bengals, who are a big disappointment. But I think the Bengals show some life here for Marvin Lewis and win it.

Pick: Bengals 23, Eagles 17


Dolphins at Ravens

This is big game in terms of playoff importance. The Dolphins have ripped off six straight victories and they are playing well. Baltimore's defense will be a big challenge for the Miami offense. But I think the way Ryan Tannehill is playing, the Dolphins can pull off the upset.

Pick: Dolphins 21, Ravens 20


49ers at Chicago Bears

This is the dog game of the week. Even with the 49ers playing consecutive road games, the edge is to them because of the way Colin Kaepernick is playing. I think they can pull off the upset.

Pick: 49ers 23, Bears 17


Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders

This is a long road trip for the Bills to face a good team. The injury status for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr , who injured a finger against Carolina on Sunday, needs to be watched. I think he plays, and if he does, I think the Raiders win a shootout.

Pick: Raiders 33, Bills 28


New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Giants are playing consecutive road games, which is always tough. It's made tougher against a good team. The Steelers seemed to get the offense cranked up against the Indianapolis Colts and they will be rested here. Steelers take a close one.

Pick: Steelers 27, Giants 25


Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals

The Redskins are playing consecutive road games, but they will have had 10 days between them. The Cardinals are playing for their playoff lives -- whatever is left. I think the Arizona defense will be up to the challenge against the Redskins offense. Cardinals take it.

Pick: Cardinals 24, Redskins 20


Buccaneers at Chargers

This is a long trip for the Bucs, but they are playing well. San Diego won at Houston last week to keep their playoff hopes alive. This will be fun with Philip Rivers matching throws with Jameis Winston . In the end, Rivers gets the best of it.

Pick: Chargers 23, Bucs 20


Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints

The Lions have won a lot of close games, so we can expect another close one here. Only this time, I think the Saints will pull it out late with a touchdown pass from Drew Brees. The Saints stay alive.

Pick: Saints 27, Lions 24


Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

This is a second straight road game for the Panthers, and it's against a good team that is coming off a loss in a tough place to play. Carolina beat the Seahawks in Seattle last year, but not this time.

Pick: Seahawks 28, Panthers 20


Colts at New York Jets

The Colts get back Andrew Luck for this one, and they need him in the worst way. The Jets did a nice job on Tom Brady last week, but not on Luck. It's close, but he pulls it out.

Pick: Colts 28, Jets 20


Prisco's totals (through Week 12): Against the spread 73-95-9, Straight up 104-71-2

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

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