NFL Week 13 Predictions and Storylines

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Honolulu transplant from Nashville, Tennessee. Teaching high school English during the day, coaching Track & Field in the afternoon, then drinking enough to do it all over again.

Too competitive for an amateur, too amateur to be competitive.

COVID postponements, Thanksgiving, Jacksonville trying to NOT get the 1st overall draft pick: Week 12 in the NFL was interesting to say the least. But that’s just the life in the league. Last week, your boy went a record 13-3, though the scores were mostly overestimated. The only thing bringing me down was the Raiders’ inexplicable beatdown by the Falcons, ruining my can’t-miss parlay. My total is now 68-33, and here’s a guide to making money and looking like a genius with my NFL Week 13 predictions and storylines.

Saints (9-2) @ Falcons (4-7)
Spread: Saints -3
Prediction: Saints 21-7

The Saints are a good team. They are a very good team with a very good coach. That’s why they’re able to score 31 points with a QB throwing for 78 yards with under 60% completion percentage. The Broncos don’t have a great defense but they aren’t chumps for the most part. The Falcons are, though, and the Saints cruised to a 24-9 win two weeks ago. It’s not going to change just because they play in Atlanta this time.

Lions (4-7) @ Bears (5-6)
Spread: Bears -3
Prediction: Bears 17-14

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two bad teams could make for dramatic finishes. The Lions are -67 in point differential for the month of November while winning only one game and being shut out in another by the Panthers. The Bears aren’t doing much better, though. The defense is still excellent and if there was any competence on the offensive side of the ball, they would wreck Detroit. As it stands, though, Detroit is a mediocre hapless mess. What’s wrong with this team? It isn’t rocket science… ohhhhh.

Matt Patricia looks surprised at a press conference
Daniel Mears / Detroit News

Colts (7-4) @ Texans (4-7)
Spread: Colts -3
Prediction: Colts 24-14

A week ago I would have predicted the Texans to win this matchup. Then Brian Cushing got to Will Fuller and my head canon is that Kenny Still was the one who rat him out and that’s why he was released. Deshaun Watson is a top 5 QB with 4th string receivers and washed up running backs. As a Titans fan, I don’t feel bad. As a football fan, my heart goes out to Watson playing for this incompetent organization. But at the moment, Indianapolis’ stout defense is actually worsening (the beatdown of the Titans notwithstanding) or at least showing their true colors. Is the defense good? Most definitely. Is it the elite unit we saw against the Jets and Vikings? Most definitely not. The Colts still cover the spread and win easily.

Bengals (2-8-1) @ Dolphins (7-4)
Spread: Dolphins -11.5
Prediction: Dolphins 31-15

Brian Flores is a big jerk face. Don’t do this to my boy Tua. He doesn’t deserve it. Against the Jets, Miami only scored two touchdowns: one in the 2nd quarter and another in the 4th. The offense is competent but not elite and the Bengals defense played much better against the Giants in Week 12. That being said, the offense was atrocious, producing almost a -70% offensive DVOA. The Dolphins have been inconsistent defensively, but generally take care of business against weaker units. Cincinnati won’t be gifted a special teams touchdown this week and the Dolphins cruise to a win and a cover.

Jaguars (1-10) @ Vikings (5-6)
Spread: Vikings -10.5
Prediction: Vikings 24-17

Jacksonville has the worst defense by DVOA and allowing the 3rd most points per game. Their offense is almost as bad, sitting at 23rd offensively. Against bad defenses, they’re capable of scoring points but have only cracked 30 one time: in week 2 against the Tennessee junior varsity style defense. The Vikings are the far superior team and playing at home, I’m not going to overthink this one. I don’t think the Vikings cover, but they win this game because their offense is very effective. 

Dalvin Cook runs the ball
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders (6-5) @ Jets (0-11)
Spread: Raiders -7.5
Prediction: Raiders 27-14

The Jets have finally got Denzel Mims in action and football fans are better off for it. It’s just a shame that Adam Gase is still coaching and it looks more and more like Sam Darnold is not ever going to be the QB we hoped he would be. This is especially true after seeing how much more effective the “elite” Joe Flacco has been in this pitiful offense. The Raiders, on the other hand, can’t stop shooting themselves in the foot. Surely even they can’t mess this up? They aren’t getting into the playoffs with the crowded AFC hunt, but they can feel good about themselves beating up the lonely and lowly laughing stocks of New York.

Browns (8-3) @ Titans (8-3)
Spread: Titans -5.5
Prediction: Titans 33-24

If the Browns are smart, they’ll just throw short passes to Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb the whole game because the Titans cannot stop guys like Nyheim Hines most of the time. The problem is the Titans offense is nearly unstoppable when they heat up, which they certainly have the last few weeks. It also doesn’t work in the Browns’ favor that we have officially entered the month of DHember and that means the defense is going to get absolutely worked by Derrick Henry. The Titans continue heating up against the only winning team with a negative point differential

Derrick Henry scores a touchdown carrying a Colts defender
AJ Mast / AP Photo

Rams (7-4) @ Cardinals (6-5)
Spread: Rams -3
Prediction: Cardinals 24-21

The Cardinals and Rams are going to make for an interesting matchup. The NFC West is the best division in football, though I’m sure the fans of AFC North teams would like to say otherwise. Regardless, the Rams have the greatest defensive player in Aaron Donald while the Cardinals have phenomenal name-brand offensive firepower with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals had a bit of an offensive dud last week so I think they bounce back with a good win against their division rivals. Cardinals win at home.

Giants (4-7) @ Seahawks (8-3)
Spread: Seahawks -10
Prediction: Seahawks 30-17

Daniel Jones might not be as bad as I used to think, but he is far from elite. Russell Wilson, to put it simply, is. The defense has improved over the past few weeks, no longer giving up close to 30 points every game. The improved defense plus the powerful offense will cover the spread and keep this team in the lead. That is, unless Pete Carroll suddenly remembers his very strange and very obsolete math lesson and only runs the ball, allowing the Giants to stay close. I don’t think they do, though, and win by a fair amount.

Eagles (3-7-1) @ Packers (8-3)
Spread: Packers -9
Prediction: Packers 27-21

The Packers have been good on offense, not so much on defense. The Eagles are struggling across the board but generally manage to get some points especially in the second half of games. I think that holds true this week as well, with Aaron Rodgers lighting up the scoreboard as usual. They’ll cover the spread until the last quarter when Wentz gets bailed out by some broken coverage and suddenly the Eagles cover. Have you seen his balls lately? Wobbly… Phrasing.

Patriots (5-6) @ Chargers (3-8)
Spread: Patriots -1
Prediction: Chargers 20-17

I don’t like picking against the Patriots because they somehow manage to win despite the low level of talent on the team. I think that’s a testament to good coaching and some above average play at the most valuable positions, namely quarterback and cornerback. The team obviously struggles the most when Cam Newton and JC Jackson are not playing at their best. Relying heavily on elite play from only two or three players is not a proven recipe for success and I think the Chargers get a surprise win here. 

Broncos (4-7) @ Chiefs (10-1)
Spread: Chiefs -14
Prediction: Chiefs 33-14

Drew Lock has the swagger of a high school varsity QB who asks his date to prom by reminding her he’s captain of the football team. While the girl probably goes to prom with him, the wins definitely don’t come the same way in the NFL. His inconsistent QB play is a big reason why the team hasn’t lived up to its offensive potential. The Chiefs have Mahomes and after breaking records with Tyreek Hill last week, if anyone says they slow down it’s only because they were already playing at breakneck speed. I think they continue to embarrass opponents and the Broncos are due their spanking.

Tyreek Hill scores a touchdown and gives a high five to a teammate
USA Today

Washington (4-7) @ Steelers (11-0)
Spread: Steelers -10.5
Prediction: Steelers 21-14

If any Washington Football Team fans want to jump ship now, I think it’d be understandable with the Ravens so close. Jets fans have already reverted to their own Plan B and the ones that haven’t are either lying or delusional. Jacksonville has no fans so they don’t count. The Steelers are undefeated and unless Alex Smith pulls off another miracle, the Football Team is just outclassed.

Bills (8-3) @ 49ers (5-6)

Spread: Bills -2.5

Prediction: Bills 27-21

The Bills have Josh Allen playing at a high level even against defenses like the Los Angeles Rams. They continue to beat up on NFC West opponents this Sunday night because the 49ers are throwing negative air yards to their best receiver. Kyle Shanahan is a great offensive mind, especially in the running game, but this team is held back by the QB. They can’t score enough points and while the defense is still good, the injuries they’ve sustained mean they struggle against the elite offenses. The Bills might not be considered elite, but they’re proficient enough to light up a scoreboard when they need to.

Cowboys (3-8) @ Ravens (6-5)
Spread: Ravens -7
Prediction: Ravens 21-13

Lamar Jackson should be back in time for the matchup this week and the Cowboys’ terrible defense will probably give up 2 or 3 rushing touchdowns. Andy Dalton is back to playing the epitome of league average. Unfortunately for him, the Ravens defense is still above league average and will make Dalton force a few errant throws. The offense for Baltimore, though, has been a little suspect recently, which is why I don’t expect a huge scoring output for them even though they play the Cowboys. 

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Episode 84