Week 13; Super Sunday in the NFL

After a middling-to-average Week 12 of the NFL season we enter Week 13 with some cracking matches on the slate in what could be a pivotal week especially in the AFC with the Chiefs @ Bengals, and Dolphins @ 49ers in the late slate of games tonight. It’s a travesty that neither has been moved to prime-time, but god forbid the league shift their precious Dallas Cowboys out of the late, late slot. In all honesty that’s far better for us in the UK, but having both of these potentially brilliant matches at the same time could cause some issues.

Redzone will largely cover both games, and the Bengals hosting the Chiefs is on Sky, but still…

There’s some other matches too I suppose, Jets v Vikings is expected, and should be hard-fought, the Titans go to the Eagles to face AJ Brown, Deshaun Watson returns against his former team with a gaggle of his accusers in the crowd and the AFC West also-rans take part in the battle for 2nd spot.

It should be a hell of a weekend. – Obviously, the England game is 7pm as well, so for fans of good teams it’s worked out beautifully.

As always we’ll have our DraftKings contest running – https://www.draftkings.co.uk/draft/contest/137622023 – $5 to enter, top 3 get paid out – I’m sure it will be a true game of two halves this week with such offensive talent in the late window.

Titans +4.5 @ Eagles: 44

The early Sky game sees the Titans take on their former-stud wide out in need of a win to keep up their placing in the AFC playoff race after a defeat to the Bengals last weekend.

They’ll look to get Derrick Henry back to some form after a couple of poor weeks for him averaging under 3.1 yards per carry over his last 3 matches after 5 games in a row with over 100 yards. Maybe the Broncos showed how to stop him, or maybe he’s finally wearing down a little due to his gigantic workload? The Eagles can be run on, they’re 2nd against the pass but 24th vs. the run according to DVOA, so the Titoons might be able to exploit that tonight and we know that will be the game-plan. The lack on the ground has produced more receiving yards for Henry as he’s hit some big figures in that aspect recently including a huge 69 yard run and fumble last week.

The passing game has looked better though, as it has had to, with Treylon Burks looking more like a 1st round pick and Nick Westbrook-Ikhene stepping up as well as Austin Hooper getting more targets at tight end. Ryan Tannehill is who he is, and moves the ball well enough when asked to do so. A quick mention for Chig Okonkwo at TE, his line is just 11.5, if he has a reception it will likely be longer than that. No mention for Bobby Trees, ya stink.

The Titans defense has been beaten up but still manages to get pressure just sending 4 allowing coverage downfield but they’re facing one of the best OLs in the league this week, it could be a struggle for them.

The Eagles seem to have come out of their little slump and got back on track thanks to a dominant run game resulting in over 300 yards on the deck vs. the Packers last week, 157 of that coming from Jalen Hurts, it may well result in a strength v strength clash as the Titans rank 1st against the run, although did allow over 100 yards to Samaje Perine last week so maybe that’s a bit of a mirage. Hurts is playing at near MVP level this year thanks to the team building around his talents and is immensely fun to watch.

Miles Sanders nearly hit 150 on the ground last week too and found the endzone twice, a rare blow up for fantasy owners… He’s been the main back all year but is frequently sniped at the goal line by his QB, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott got a few carries between them as well as anyone can run behind this dominant OL.

The passing game runs mainly through former-Titan AJ Brown who was traded away during the draft after rejecting what he considered a paltry offer from the Titans, there may be a little bad blood between player and team and he’ll look to show them what they lost as the #1 target for the Eagles. Devonta Smith is a stud as well but criminally under-used for the main part this year, he’s usually good for 50 yards or so. Quez Watkins has had a little more since Dallas Godert went down but that’s basically it in the passing game now, it’s a little stilted.

The Eagles defense is up there with one of the best, they rank 2nd against the pass but are probably missing CJGJ who’s a prick but a damn good defensive player. It’s a hit but it shouldn’t hurt them too much in this matchup.

A tough one to call because Mike Vrabel is such a damn good coach. I can’t see the Titans losing twice in a row, but I love the Eagles this year and have a decent amount invested in them making the big dance at the end of the season. I think the Eagles win and cover. Derrick Herny o14.5 rec. yards.

Jets +3 @ Vikings: 44.5

An interesting game in Minnesota who have one of the better homefield advantages, this line basically has them as equal teams, and while I’m not convinced the Vikings are deserving of their 9-2 record, they can wrap up the NFC North with a win here providing the Lions lose.

The Jets replaced Zach Wilson last week and against the worst possible defending possible Mike White looked great. He did that last year though and quickly fell away with a little tape on him. He did find Elijah Moore for a score for the first time this season and Garrett Wilson looked like a stud with a couple of scores, if they can get the ball to him on time he can take it to the house.

Running back is interesting for the Jets, Michael Carter looks like he’ll miss out so it’s Zonovan “BAM” Knight looking like he’ll be the main man in the backfield with Ty Johnson as the change of pace. Odds on both are terrible unfortunately, a best of 8/5 for Zonovan (who had over 100 last week) and 10/3 for Ty.

The Vikings defense is susceptible but Kirk Cousins had his best game of the season last week and with extra time to prep for this one the core of the Vikings may well be enough to get them through this game. Sauce Gardner vs. Justin Jefferson will be incredible to watch as we get two players on top of their game against each other. Dalvin Cook will get his and Adam Thielen could be one to look for in the TD betting, over 2/1 is generous for him. TJ Hockenson had 5 receptions once more last week, I like him to top 4.5 again, of course.

His TD price stinks, but o39.5 rush yards for Zonovan Knight seems a smash spot.

I like the Vikings to win and cover here, the Jets are a good team but the Vikings just seem to have “it” this year.

Browns -7.5 @ Texans: 46.5

Deshaun Watson returns after 700 days in the wilderness due to injury and (probably) several sexual assaults had him miss nearly two full years of football. He played in pre-season and looked terrible. What chance is there of him coming in after a couple of weeks of training and looking good? Hopefully none, and I don’t think there is much hope of it. It’s a watch and learn game for anyone wanting anything on this (probable) pervert.

The Browns should just run it 30 times against the worst defense in the league who have utterly given up on the season. It should be 200+ and 3 TDs for Chubb. He will be in my DK line-up.

The passing game is probably going to stick to Cooper and DPJ, but with a new QB we just don’t know. David Njoku is out so might be worth a nibble on Harrison Bryant to find the endzone.

The Texans moved to Kyle Allen last week and still looked terrible. After a good start Dameon Pierce is unable to overcome the stink coming out of Texas and Brandin Cooks is out of this one too.

Browns win, the spread has ticked over 7 now, and due to the weird, unique nature of this game I don’t want to take them covering. They should… but there may be some freaky motivation here for the Texans against the cunt at QB.

Broncos +9 @ Ravens: 40

Carson Wentz hasn’t played since Week 6. He has more passing TDs than the man who got a Quarter Billion Dolllar contract when he moved to Denver. It’s safe to say things haven’t gone well for Russell Wilson and the offense in Denver.

Skimming over this one then, they lost to the Panthers last week. Latavius Murray got the majority of the work on the ground as the last man standing while the passing attack with Courtland Sutton and Kendall Hinton, they should have Jerry Jeudy back this week which in theory helps, but they can’t be trusted at all.

The Ravens can’t exactly be trusted either after giving up another big lead to lose to the Jaguars last week. It’s all on Lamar Jackson and he alone just can’t get games closed out. He had 32 pass attempts (completed a horrible 50%) and led the team on the ground with 89 yards from 14 rush attempts last week as they faltered, but when Josh Oliver and Desean Jackson are your yard-leaders in receiving you know it’s a tough sitch.

It should be run-heavy and they’ll want more from the Gus Bus in his second game back off a knee injury. The Broncos have the best defense in the league so the run-game will be pivotal.

I think the Ravens win, the Broncos are awful, but I can’t go near them covering 9 points, a BIG lean towards the Broncos +9 in what should be a low-scorer. The Broncos have gone under in their last 6 games despite the lines dropping every week, they went u36 last week…

Packers -4 @ Bears: 45

It could have been Jordan Love vs Trevor Siemian for some late-season pointless NFC North clash, but both starting QBs should play as Rodgers overcomes what sounded like the most severe thumb injury any human had ever suffered in record time while Justin Fields is medically cleared after separating his shoulder a couple of weeks back.

The Packers finally put up some points, and against a good defense last week as they leaned on the ground game, that should have been their plan all season, AJ Dillon FINALLY notched up his 2nd score (just another 4 needed…) and Aaron Jones looked as good as ever. Christian Watson again found the endzone and topped 100 yards, quite a month for the rookie and there’s some other people on the team who run around and distract the opponent.

The Bears were rinsed by Mike White and the Jets, the defense allowing Jets WRs to get WIIIIIDE open throughout the game. The offense was fine for a quarter with David Montgomery having to do most of the work for them. With Fields coming off an injury you’d expect him to be a little more limited in rushing the ball but things don’t work like that when the adrenaline gets going, I’d expect 10-15 rush attempts from him still, not bet-able at all, but I don’t think his workload will drop too much. Darnell Mooney done for the year is a big hit to anything the Bears wanted to do.

Should be a bump backup for Cole Kmet who’s had good production with the kid this year.

The Packers win and cover. They OWN the Bears. Christian Watson o46.5 rec. yards against a terrible defense.

Jaguars +1 @ Lions: 51.5

The line has flipped on this one since mid-week where the Lions were home underdogs. I like the Lions getting a point, I won’t be taking anything on this with two fun yet completely unpredictable teams.

Trevor Lawrence may have had his coming out party last week leading the comeback against the Ravens and looking like the stud that people thought he was coming out, but he may well go back to being poor against a far worse defense here. String a few games together and I’ll give him a bit more respect.

Travis Etienne is fine to go after leaving last weeks game early on, the run game remained pretty good with Jamycal Hasty getting more touches and a TD. The passing attack isn’t littered with studs but they’ve done well this year, the Jones bros’ Marvin and Zay showed up in a big spot, Zay Jones 145 yards while Marv got the game-winning TD for Zay to convert the 2-point attempt. Christian Kirk has been the main guy for most of the season so they’ll be happy they got to mix it about for once.

The Lions lost a close game to the Bills on Thanksgiving so come off extended rest. Will that mean more carries for D’Andre Swift or have they properly shut him down for the year with minimal touches for the rest of the season? 5 rushes and 4 receptions in that game as they seemingly manage his workload with Jamaal Williams getting the bulk of the work on the ground finding the endzone from 1 yard once again last week.

DJ Chark REVENGE GAME, the one we’ve all been waiting for. He found the endzone last week and I’m sure he’ll want to eclipse his 52-yard high for the season. He is definitely not the lede in the passing game though as Jameson Williams makes his debut after recovering from the ACL injury which killed his final year at college. He could be an absolute stud in his league and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how he does in a decent passing attack alongside Amon-Ra St. Brown who has been excellent this season, another 122 yards and 9 receptions for him last week.

Should be a weirdly fun game. Neither defense is great and both offenses have potential to put up points, so I’ve got to lean over on the total. Lions win. There must be a prop I like in here somewhere… Nope. If Jameson was 5s or so I’d be interested but can’t do it at around 3/1.

Steelers +1 @ Falcons: 43

I rarely say it, but the Steelers are the better team here. Kenny Pickett has looked better in the second half of his rookie year as you’d expect, he and the greatest ever, George Pickens have a good connection and move the ball well and those 3 TDs he’s got this year are really disrupting the league heirarchy. The run game probably looked better with Benny Snell over Najee Harris last week as the offensive line still struggles, Najee is expected to play but maybe they’ll spread the carries around a little more than usual.

The passing game is mainly Muth (Friermuth) and Pickens with Diontae Johnson’s hey-day long gone now Ben isn’t there. They’ve got a decent defense I guess, better against the rush than the pass which helps against this opposition.

The Falcons are a run-heavy team with Marcus Mariota clinging on at QB. They’re still technically in the running for the NFC South so are reluctant to make a change at QB despite it surely being the right move?

Tyler Allegier, Cordarrelle Patterson and Caleb Huntley all had flashes running the ball last week while they threw just 25 attempts, 8 of those targeting Olamide Zaccheaus in the passing game (never realised he had an ‘a’ in there) with Drake London and C Patt filling out most of the rest of the work. The Steelers D should hold down this lack of talent. Mycole Pruitt and Firkser are now the TEs with Pitts out for the season, Pruitt found himself wide open in the endzone for a score.

Steelers win and cover. I don’t mind a little on Benny Snell at 6/1 (Unibet) Pruitt is 11s at the same book, I doubt he’ll hit two-in-a-row but he’s going to be targeted. Have to lean under on the total, it’s low but this could be a 20-13 type affair.

Commanders -2 @ Giants: 40.5

Closing out the early games is an NFC clash which is mildly important in that division. All teams have a winning record and are looking for the playoffs, but these two have had wildly varying season, the Giants started 6-1, now find themselves 7-4 after 3 losses in 4 games while the Commies have come the other way 1-4 start, now at 7-5 after 6 from 7 mainly with Taylor Heinicke at QB.

So obviously I’m liking the Commies to continue their run against a team who used up all their luck early in the season. They’ve gone run-heavy in recent weeks with Brian Robinson looking back to health after being shot in the arse and knee in pre-season, he and Antonio Gibson are a good 1-2 punch and Gibson should play here after picking up a knock.

The passing game should be mainly Terry McLaurin but he had a rare down game last week as they leant on the run and shifted the ball around their targets. Curtis Samuel had a few, while tight end John Bates found the endzone for the first time this year as Logan Thomas had a quiet performance.

The Giants look to go run-heavy as well which won’t be easy against a good Washington defense, they seem to have killed Saquon a bit after a 30+ carry game a month ago, he had started the season looking like his old self but has dropped off recently, his line is down to 72.5 now after hitting triple figures not too long ago.

The Giants passing attack has been decimated this year, Darius Slayton the one bright spot for them in an otherwise toothless-looking attack, Richie James found the endzone, Isaiah Hodgins was a sleeper pick last week, and there’s not much else because Kenny Golladay is a money-grabbing sack of crap. Brian Robinson o62.5 rush yards.

Dolphins +4.5 @ 49ers: 45.5

Ok, now we’re talking, the good games finally get started.

Mike McDaniel returns to face his protogé, Kyle Shanahan in what should be a thoroughly bloody good game of football. The Dolphins have won every game in which Tua Tagovailoa has started and finished while the 49ers are unbeaten since Christian McCaffrey became the proper starter for them (he’d been there a number of days vs. the Chiefs) Both are good on defense, both are capable of putting up points. So who is this going to play out?

Unfortunately for the Dolphins is could be their offensive line issues which are the main factor in this game, without (probably) Teron Armstead at LT and Austin Jackson on the other side against maybe the best defensive front in the league is going to cause big issues for them.

I’m not a huge Tua fan, but he’s looked fantastic this year finding his stud WRs in time, and in space and they’ve been able to do the rest, I’m still not convinced about him down the field, but maybe it looks like there’s under-throws because Tyreek is too damn quick? Either way it hasn’t mattered too much to them as he’s been balling this year. He leads the league on 3rd-downs and has impressed in 4th quarters and the red zone, his decision-making has been great and getting the ball out quickly after making reads has been essential for them, and will be tonight under pressure.

Of course, having two of the quickest wide r’s in the league helps things, Hill and Waddle can get separation so quickly that all it takes is an accurate 10 yard pass and they’re going for 20+ down the field, it obviously helps numbers but that’s how they’ve designed the offense and it’s been working with both on target for over 1,500 yards this year. Hill was on target for 2,000 at one point, it looks out of reach now, but it’s safe to say trading for him was a brilliant move by the Dolphins brass. Outside of the speedsters they’ve been using Trent Sherfield more recently with 5 targets in each of their last two games and Mike Gesicki still gets endzone targets as a mobile tight end.

The run game has been good all year and bringing in Jeff Wilson from the 49ers looks like a shrewd move as he’s scored in every game since joining the team, although 3 yards per carry against the Texans wasn’t his best showing. He and Raheem Mostert are a good 1-2 punch that the home side will know everything about, will that slow them this week? Probably.

The Dolphins defense has the pieces to cause issues for opponents but it’s very studs and duds and DVOA doesn’t rank them too well.

The 49ers looks like they’re making their way to the NFC West total after a slow start they’ve settled into things and won in differing ways in recent weeks whether it’s relying on offense or defense, one of the best-coached teams in the league tends to find ways of getting things done.

They weren’t expecting Jimmy Garoppolo to be the QB this year but they kept him there for this very reason and he’s performed as you’d expect from him, a 7-3 record, 17th in QBR for the year, smack bang in the middle of things, just where you’d think.

The 49ers put Elijah Mitchell on IR this week after he suffered another injury and Christian McCaffery was on the report this week too with a knock but he’ll be fine to play. He’s added even more flexibility in a backfield which can feature a whole host of players carrying the ball on any play. They are expecting to have to use rookie Jordan Mason who’s picked up carries in games recently, one to look for, although at under 4/1 it seems he’s not as under the radar as I’d have hoped (one of the downsides to legalised betting in the states).

The passing attack has been effective on the whole with Brandon Aiyuk doing the best of the players there this season, Deebo Samuel has been in and out with injury and reliability and George Kittle seems to have stepped up in recent weeks, getting closer to what we’d have expected from him, Jauan Jennings found the endzone for their sole score last week, and Ross Dwelley gets the odd target as well as the second tight end.

The 49ers defense got themselves a shut-out last week and look pretty much healthy coming into this one, Nick Bosa should have fun up front against backup tackles and the safety duo for them looks like one of the best in the league, quick slants from Hill and Waddle in the middle might be a little more difficult than it has been.

As you might have guessed from the preview I think the 49ers win and cover, but it’s not a game I’ll be betting on. The Dolphins have had such a soft schedule recently it’s tough for me to fully buy in to them although they have destroyed the shit teams. I think this is a step too far and the injuries up front may well hurt them too much. Brandon Aiyuk o57.5 rec. yards

Seahawks -6.5 @ Rams: 41

This is another game which is taking place this weekend.

The Seahawks should win and cover, I’m a little surprised it’s crept under 7 now, I’m not sure that John Wolford (despite a fantastic surname) is a reason for the line dropping, but here we are.

Kenneth Walker is still scoring TDs but hasn’t put up numbers in recent weeks, the Seahawks offense as a whole has dropped off a bit, but this Rams team is done.

Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson are done for the year. Aaron Donald misses this one, Jalen Ramsey is phoning it in. It’s a shambles, and they don’t have their first rounder.

Seahawks win, Seahawks cover, no-one sees anything of this game.

Chiefs -2.5 @ Bengals: 53

1984. Not even Bengals punter Kevin Huber was alive the last time the Chiefs won in Cincinnati. 0-6 over the last nearly 40 years, and 2-4 against the spread. Obviously it’s a little mis-leading only having played 6 times, but 4 of those were recent and of course Joey Burrow was 2-0 against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs last season.

The Chiefs have been imperious this year, Patrick Mahomes rightfully the favourite for MVP putting up points with whomever is at WR for them, as long as Travis Kelce is on the field they’ll move the ball and put up points. You don’t need me to wax lyrical about the QB who I think is the greatest of his generation, last week he found 10 different players in the passing game, and it’s not the first time he’s done that this year, he’ll pick the open man and more oft than not find them, and it’s safe to say this is a game he’ll have had circled after two second half capitulations against them last year.

The run game looks to have some form now that it’s only really Isiah Pacheco there, the 7th round rookie looked good in pre-season and with CEH on IR now it’s largely him on the ground with a smidgen of Jerrick McKinnon, he’s not been great but they’ve been moving the ball better with him at least. Mahomes is obviously very mobile especially in big games, although the Bengals mitigated that well last year with a spy on him.

The passing game is obviously mainly Travis Kelce who’s had games with 4 and 3 TDs this year as he leads the league in rec. TDs with 12. Outside of him you’re looking at Juju Smith-Schuster who the Bengals, especially Von Bell have good knowledge of, Marquez Valdes-Scantling who has been fine this year, and then a mix of everyone else on the roster. Skyy Moore finally had a few catches last week with Kadarius Toney missing out through injury (who coulda seen that coming) – Jody Fortson has been on my radar for most of the year, can pop up with TDs while Jerrick McKinnon has seen increased passing work recently.

They are able to get pressure up front with Chris Jones having a cracking season, that is usually the key for beating the Bengals and another important matchup here, the Chiefs secondary is fine, not much else to say on their defense from my point here.

The Bengals have hit a little form recently, beating the Titans last week with a solid performance, and they’ve won their last few games without Joe Mixon or Ja’Marr Chase. It looks like Mixon may still not be medically cleared from concussion protocol which is a little concerning after two weeks, but Chase will be returning here after his hip injury.

Samaje Perine has filled in very well for Mixon in the running game with a hat-trick against the Steelers and a score against the best run defense in the league last weekend, he’s been heavily involved in the passing game as well, as they’ve continued to move the ball well without their main back.

Joe Burrow has looked fantastic in recent weeks too, the offensive line has been much improved as it’s settled into the season and given him the time to sit in the pocket or scramble, something he’s done to great effect. His accuracy has always been his main trait and he’s putting balls where no-one else can get them to mainly Tee Higgins who has stepped up in Chases’ absence another 100+ yards and a TD for him last weekend. The arrival of Trenton Irwin on the scene will help the Bengals down the line as they add a 4th receiver that Burrow trusts and Hayden Hurst has had a very good 1st season with the team so far, and while Tyler Boyd has had a quiet year he’s had some blow-up games as well as this team can attack in so many differing ways.

The return of Chase of course adds the spark to this very good offense and he can take the ball to the hosue from anywhere as he showed in this matchup last season.

The Bengals defense doesn’t stat as one of the best in the league but has been outstanding and the half time adjustments shown in the matches between these two last year won the games for the home side. They have had a fairly easy run of passing opponents since losing Chidobe Awuzie so it will be interesting to see how a weakened secondary fares against the best there is. They should be able to shut down the run game with DJ Reader performing very well since returning but slowing Mahomes is quite obviously the key.

A HUGE game near the top of the AFC. A Chiefs win pretty much cements their #1 seed while a Bengals win goes a long way towards them making the post-season. I am not going near the spread here, I have to lean to the Chiefs under 3 points, but I’ve seen the Bengals step up against them so I can’t take either side. Should be points but it’s the highest total of the week. Should be a cracker.

Chargers +2.5 @ Raiders: 49.5

If I was backing one game on the over this week it would be this one. The Chargers are once against without Mike Williams through injury but Keenan Allen has now made it through a few games and Justin Herbert has been finding Deandre Carters, Josh Palmer and Gerald Everett easily enough in the passing game. Austin Ekeler has been brilliant this year with the increased workload caused by the injuries and they can put up points on anyone. Herbert having the worst record of QBs from his class is quite something.

The Raiders won in overtime with 300+ yards from Josh Jacobs, he’s been questionable with a calf injury but will surely play and should have a big game against a poor run defense. Derek Carr and Devante Adams are everything you’d have expected in the passing game and they might have Waller and/or Renfrow back from injury although I’m not expecting both, or either to be honest.

Should be a lot of points. The Chargers are the better team in my eyes so I’ll take them getting the points.

Colts +10.5 @ Cowboys: 44.5

And we close out the weekend with this.

The Colts aren’t good. Matt Ryan is not good. Jonathan Taylor should be but hasn’t been reliable and their defense isn’t great either.

The Cowboys in fairness have been very good on offense since Dak Prescott returned at QB, Ceedee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, Michael Gallup have all had better figures in recent weeks and with Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott at RB they’ve got one of the best partnerships in the league.

Add to that offense, a defense led by probably DPOY Micah Parsons getting pressure constantly up front and you’ve got the makings of a potential Super Bowl challenge, although they’ll likely be on the road throughout.

Cowboys win and cover in a game not many in the UK will worry about missing.

Long one this week with some HUUGE games. Should be a cracking weekend off football.

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