For Week 13, the NFL is hosting its first My Cleats My Cause campaign. This campaign allows players to disregard the NFL’s uniform policy for one week and allow them to wear cleats that advocate for specific foundations and causes.
More than 500 NFL players are participating, including Cardinals running back David Johnson, who is standing up against bullying. This campaign is one of the greatest ideas the NFL has come up with. There are many causes that need to be advocated and not all will get their due this weekend. One that I wished gained attention and advocacy is for players to stand against LGBT violence and bullying. The NFL told Outsports that none of the causes being promoted this weekend seem LGBT-related.
As a gay teenager, I have seen how bad homophobia can get, especially among youth. I attended a memorial a few weeks ago for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and I heard the names of hundreds of transgender people across the world who have either been killed or committed suicide in the past year. Homophobia still exists, hate crimes still exist, and suicide among LGBT youth still exist.
If Michael Sam or allies such as Chris Kluwe or Brendon Ayanbadejo were in today’s NFL, they would be wearing cleats advocating for this. We need a gay player to come out in today’s NFL because it would mean so much for today’s youth. It would give many the strength and courage to be themselves and come out. It would give youth the chance to look up to someone and realize that there is hope. Let’s hope someone takes up this cause for the next My Cleats My Cause campaign.
Here is everything else you need to know for Week 13:
Game of the Week
Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens
It is not the most star-studded matchup this week, but it could be the game that holds the most importance. Miami and Baltimore are two teams fighting for playoff spots and this game will mean a lot when the end of the season comes.
Miami is riding a six-game winning streak and the Dolphins have not won this many in a row since 2005. This team looked lost against Seattle and New England, but have brought it together and have beaten some good teams in their winning streak. Miami is a legitimate contender in the AFC, but they have to win this game in order to stay in the race.
The Ravens have recovered from their disastrous 2015 and are in the thick of things again in 2016. The schedule at the end of the season is rough for the Ravens, and it is safe to say that a win this week is also necessary for them if they want to see the playoffs this year. This game is also their seventh home game, and they are 4-2 at home this season. They are also favored to win this game in Vegas.
I’m going to agree with Vegas and pick Baltimore. The defense has been very strong lately and have won three of four since their bye. The Ravens are the better overall team and they are more experienced than Miami. There is no team hotter than the Dolphins, but I wonder how they will fare in a cold-weather game in Maryland. If they can overcome it, they have a great chance to win. However, they won’t overcome the weather and the tough road environment and will drop their first game since Week 5.
Baltimore 19, Miami 13
Upset of the Week
Kansas City Chiefs over Atlanta Falcons
The Chiefs are coming off their biggest win of the season in Denver and Atlanta is coming off of an explosive win against the Cardinals. Atlanta has the league’s best offense, but Kansas City is going to win this game in Atlanta.
Atlanta has a great offense but it is not an unstoppable one. Just three weeks ago, the offense was held to 15 points against Philadelphia. They made up for it last week by dropping 38 against Arizona, but this offense can be stopped. Justin Houston is somebody that can help lead the charge against Atlanta. Houston is back from injury and had three sacks against Denver last week.
If Kansas City is going to win this game, it will be because of its defense. This is an experienced defense and they can single-handedly affect games. Even though their secondary is towards the bottom of their league, their front seven ranks among the league’s best. The Chiefs have an average offense, but their defense is good enough to get them to win this game.
Kansas City 27, Atlanta 23
Fantasy Start of the Week
Bears RB Jordan Howard
The Chicago offense is depleted but Howard remains as one of the healthy key pieces. Alshon Jeffery is suspended, Zach Miller is out, and so is Jay Cutler. Although QB Matt Barkley played well in a loss last week, Howard is the only Bear that is still a reliable fantasy option, and against a horrendous San Francisco defense, Howard is set to go off.
Fantasy Sit of the Week
Patriots TE Martellus Bennett
Bennett is fool’s gold this week. Rob Gronkowski won’t play on Sunday, which would give Bennett a chance to startl. However, Tom Brady has seemed to be using all of his other weapons at the receiver and running back positions. Gronkowski being out has not done much for Bennett in the last two weeks when he hasn’t played. He only has four catches for 36 yards in the last two games against the 49ers and Jets. The Patriots have so many weapons that Bennett has gone into the shadow of the offense, so this is not the week to start Bennett.
Fantasy Pick-up of the Week
Falcons WR Taylor Gabriel
Gabriel has four touchdowns in his last four games, and last week was his best effort yet. He had four catches, 76 yards, and two touchdowns. The Falcons have been on another level in terms of offense this season, and Gabriel’s added production has elevated them even more. They also are playing the Chiefs, one of the worst secondaries in the league. Kansas City allows the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and they should be giving a lot of attention to Julio Jones, which allows Gabriel to have a better opportunity to score. Gabriel should continue his hot streak this week and you should take advantage of him being on waivers before your fantasy playoffs.
Lock of the Week
Oakland Raiders over Buffalo Bills
The Bills have won both of their games since their bye, but this week I have them losing to the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders have their first winning season since 2002 and are one of this year’s Super Bowl contenders. However, the last two weeks, they have struggled against the Texans and Panthers, two teams they should have beaten easily.
Oakland is by no means perfect, but should win this week against a Bills team that has been struggling with injuries on their offensive line.
Buffalo is trending up but I don’t have faith that this team can win this week. They have struggled against two of the AFC’s weakest teams in Cincinnati and Jacksonville, and now they have to travel across the country to play one of the AFC’s best. Buffalo has had struggles on defense and the offensive line, and if they challenge Oakland to shootout, the Raiders will win.
Oakland 37, Buffalo 31
Buzzer’s Best Bet
Jim Buzinski’s picks of the week
Giants plus 6 at Steelers
The Steelers are 1-2 at home against teams with winning records, and the 8-3 Giants are hot, having won six in a row. Not sure who will win, but it will be a close one and the Giants have enough firepower to score against a suspect Steelers defense.
Last week: 1-0. Season: 6-5-1
Hot Player of the Week
Dolphins WR Kenny Stills
Stills caught his fifth touchdown of the season last week and is having his best season yet. He is Miami’s hottest receiver football-wise and looks-wise.