NFL Week 13 Predictions

           What a beautiful week one of football we had. Aaron Rodgers and Russel Wilson looked mint. The Lions gave the game away late and Phillip Rivers lost a close game. 2020 is starting to normalize and we should be so thankful. We got a small glimpse at what could be a great season.

           I hope everyone made some serious change on Sunday, as well. Washington covering against Philly was nice, but I’m sorry about the Chargers and the push. I felt super confident about that. Red flags will be around the Chargers this season going forward. A 3-2 Sunday on my picks isn’t bad, but we are gonna do better this week. There are some big lines out there that you can take advantage of. We also have a couple matchups of bad defenses so maybe some nice over bets. Let’s jump into week two!

Minnesota Vikings vs Indianapolis Colts (-3.0)

           Week one is already on the back burner for these two teams. Indianapolis having such a heartbreaking loss to what many believe is the worst team in the league, Jacksonville. If you didn’t watch the game and just checked the box score, you would be scratching your head as to how they lost. Rivers wasn’t sacked and threw for 363 yards. Sadly his lone touchdown wasn’t enough because of his two costly interceptions. You throw in some dumb penalties late and Minshew didn’t even need 180 yards to throw three touchdowns. The line looks decent and as the season progresses we should see them prove themself. Marlon Mack tearing his Achilles is tragic. This injury may be the hardest to come back from in football and I pray he has a healthy recovery. But this really gives this team clarity in the backfield. Rookie Johnathan Taylor should dominate a lot of the running work meanwhile Hines will have the passing downs. This should make the offense better honestly. Their success rides on Rivers. They won’t make it far if he keeps giving the ball over. I might also suggest passing to someone other than the running backs every once in awhile. This Minnesota defense was just roasted by Aaron Rodgers and if they can’t take advantage, I’m concerned for this team.

            If you were a fan in Minnesota, how would you feel your season will turn out? I mean they lost key veteran pieces all over the place. The loss of Diggs will take some time to see but the defense looks atrocious. All three corners look suspect as Rodgers killed them for 364 yards and 4 touchdowns. I know Adams is an Elite receiver but he looked like a man amongst boys out there. Ngakoue is supposed to fill the pass rushing void but he was almost absent all game. No pass rush and no coverage skills is a recipe for disaster. I have faith that Barr will get them turned around a little bit but this could be a long year for the Vikings. At least Kirk and the offense looked solid. Thielen looks comfortable in the lead role on this team. Cook is dealing and even Mattison got in on the action yesterday. I have total faith that the scheme and personal fit really well in Minnesota on the offensive end. This will be a big show me week. If they can’t get their defense under control, six games seems like a stretch.

         So after everything is all said and done, who wins? The Colts defense wasn’t terrible but just put in bad positions. Sadly though they couldn’t come up with the big stops when they needed it. Rivers looked old if I do say so myself and I’m hopeful that he can turn things around against what is another weak defense. The Vikings on the other hand give me no hope that they will even touch Phillip. I’m really liking the over on this game I feel. Indianapolis wins and covers the three points.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5) vs Denver Broncos 

             What a surprise, James Connor is down yet again with another injury. However this time Benny Snell looks primed to take this lead role. He was a thousand yard rusher all three years in college and also compiled double digit touchdowns all three years as well.  His play style is physical but yet has the ability to break off the big play. His vision was great, he broke tackles and managed over a hundred yards. He won’t be known for his receptions and that is ok. Pittsburgh could argue a solid case for having one of the best pass catching groups in the league. As long as he can pick up blitzes, I see no way he relinquishes this job even if Connor comes back. He didn’t look good at all. Juju is trying to show everyone that his short comings last year fell on horrendous quarterback play. Yes it was the Giants secondary but he looked really good. Ben took some time to warm up but once he did, you knew New York stood no chance. If Ben stays healthy this team will win thirteen games maybe? The defense looked just as unstoppable as last year and they will for sure have to pay Bud this offseason. Holding Barkley to under ten rushing yards could be the biggest accomplishment for this defense all year. That’s All-Pro level player that they made look average. Yes the line in New York has a lot to do with it but the pressure they can cause at any given moment makes this Pittsburgh team dangerous to beat anyone.

            Denver on the other hand is looking at a totally different season. They have been been by the injury bug really early this year. Losing their best player Vonn Miller on the very last play of training camp sucks. Courtland Sutton is fighting off shoulder issues but has returned to practice. Lindsay has a turf toe injury and I wouldn’t expect him to be a factor on Sunday. Now will Lock be able to do anything against the Steelers? He really didn’t face any pressure from Tennessee and was able to do somethings with the football. Who knows really what kind of quarterback he really is though. He wasn’t the most heavily sought after QB in the draft class. His college numbers are really good and he has had a great camp this offseason. A lot of experts even have him as their preseason pick for MIP. Melvin Gordon should handle the workload fine and looked sharp in his first game. Sad to say but as the season goes on, I see Gordon eventually dominating all the touches. The offense should be ok but the defense will need to really step up. They held what is considered a good offense in check week one. But was that just a good game over the course of a long season or what we should expect. I doubt it’s the latter but I’m excited to see what happens. This team may be younger but they still have the talent to win games people think they shouldn’t. 

               Now after this game is all said and done, I highly doubt the Steelers cover the 7.5 points. That’s a lot of points in football and they didn’t even beat the Giants by that (6). This should be a solid game for the defense once again as I see them forcing multiple turnovers. If the Steelers can disrupt the timing of Drew and his receivers, it’ll be along one for Denver. Pit to win but Denver covers the points

Baltimore Ravens (-7.0) vs Houston Texans

        Last year when these teams played, Baltimore asserted their dominance and whooped the Texans 41-7. Will this repeat again this year? Probably not exactly but it’ll be pretty damn close. Houston comes in with a defense that no one fears. A wide receiving core that is full of “go route” guys and Randall Cobb. David Johnson looked spry in his first game back but that will eventually fade and we will probably see the DJ that looked like it lost a couple steps. The offensive line is ok but they gave up two first round picks to get Tunsil so, if he gives up sacks at even an ok clip, he didn’t live up to the trade. His ceiling is very high and he could be the best tackle in the league. However I think those picks could of been better suited to help out the glaring holes in that defense. Pat had all day to throw most of his passes and the had zero ability to stop the run. J.J. Watt should be asking for a trade because I think this Houston team is a large dumpster fire waiting for the season to just end.

           Now when you look at Baltimore, they have the reigning MVP, a formidable defense and a scheme in place that looks ready to sweep the league again. Lamar to Andrews is looking like a connection that few will stop. As Kelce ages you have to think that Mark Andrews will step into that elite tier for tight ends. Dobbins looked really good in his first game and could be the passing down back for this team. They really don’t use the running back in that way often but i don’t know if they had a guy with his skill set recently. He loves to run out of the shotgun/pistol formation, decent at blitz pickups and later in the year should take the lead role from Mark Ingram. Not saying that Ingram will be phased out but he is at a stage in his career that maybe not being the lead guy is better for him. Defensively they have few holes and yes losing Earl will hurt but the franchise has always been good at putting out quality talent on the defensive end.

           I know I said earlier that this won’t be a repeat of last year but it’s hard to not think that. I see no one in Houston having the speed to catch Lamar. No Linebackers will have the tight ends covered and I know Hollywood Brown is going to catch at least one long touchdown. Deshaun Watson will probably have to put the team on his back and fight to keep them in it. Give me the Ravens to win and cover that giant spread.

Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) vs New England Patriots

            Cam Newton might have found his new forever home in New England. Tom Brady has always been looked at as a game manager. He never really makes mistakes and doesn’t force the ball when it’s not necessary. By the end of the game your team will more than likely have a decent shot to win the game if you don’t turn the ball over. Newton has that rare ability to tuck that ball when times are tough and get hard fought yards. I don’t think we will be seeing games of 300+ passing yards but we should expect him to be efficient. He only threw four incompletions and paired that with his highest rushing total in his entire career (15 rushes). The 42 rush attempts to 15 pass attempts tell a story for what this Patriots is hoping to be this year. This defense is top tier even with all of the people opting out. Play responsible football and lean on the defense. Sounds like a winning recipe right?

             Seattle on the other hand looks at Russel Wilson as one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he should be the one we weigh heavily on. He threw 35 times Sunday and only had four incompletions. One of those was also a dropped pass by D.K. Metcalf so almost a perfect day at the office for Russ. One thing I try to remind myself is, this isn’t new for Wilson. Year in and year out we see him do so much with so little around him. They have never had a highly rated offensive line, this is probably his best receiving options he has ever had, and more responsibility is on his shoulders then any other year in his career. Everyone who plays Seattle knows that they will have to stop Wilson if they want any chance of winning. They were up for most of last weeks game and still the ball was in Wilson’s hands to ice the clock. Carson only ran the ball six times and as a team only rushed 20 times. I think we are seeing a franchise look at their talent and trust that the talent will win out. Wilson has done so many marvelous things in the past that this shouldn’t surprise us. If these things keep up, Wilson could be the front runner for MVP.

           Now I’m most excited for how Wilson will be able to deal with this Patriots defense. Bill will be throwing everything he can at Russ and he honestly needs to. This will be a complete 180 from the Miami Dolphins from last week and we should think those adjustments are going to be made. Russ also won’t be as efficient I bet and that can cause some of those longer drives to stop so Cam can take advantage. All in all I think this will be a great game to watch and maybe my favorite on the slate. I kind of like the under a little bit here. Russ throws two touchdowns and leads them on a late drive to win the game but not cover the 3.5. If it dips to three I’ll take it but just enjoy this one.

Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) vs The Washington Football Team

            I cant lie, it’s so weird to just right that team name for Washington. Nevertheless they showed week one that they have zero plans of rolling over. That’s pass rush is legit, hell the whole front seven looked great. Sacking Wentz eight times and holding them to under 60 yards rushing were keys to their success. Especially with the offense needing time to warm up and get the ball rolling. Haskins especially with a horrendous 3-12 start, it looked bleak. Peyton Barber surprisingly got a lot of the rushing work and was actually serviceable with it. Now do I see them being in a plus game script often? No, so we will see the explosion of Antonio Gibson soon enough. The secondary wasn’t all that great but came up with timely interceptions. Overall they surprised everyone with their play. Ron Rivera is used to winning and they should be competitive week in and week out. Now this pass rush should have a real test with Kyler. We all know how mobile he is but with the addition of Hopkins his game is taking serious strides. 

              Arizona was another team who wanted to prove to everyone that this is an new year. Kliff and the staff have had a full year to get everyone accustomed to the system. Players understand the culture now and nailing draft picks like they did this year will be key. Last year they were the worst at covering the tight end but yet Kittle was held relatively in check. Yes an injury had a lot to do with it but maybe Simmons and his speed will solve that issue. They also had horrible issues with protection last year. Kyler was tied for the league lead in getting sacked last year. Yet the extremely talented front seven of San Francisco only got to him twice. His release seems quicker and smoother. You can see how much more comfortable he is with everything. Kenyan Drake is a big x-factor for this team. Down the stretch last year, he was one of the most productive backs in the league. The system has a lot to do with it but he has always been productive in his career. He averages 4.7 yards per carry while also have back to back years with 50+ catches. He fits really well with the system and I’m excited to see a full year of Drake. Lastly we have to talk about the dominate performance by D-Hop. 16 targets turned into 14 catches and 151 yards and should of had a touchdown but the play was reviewed and placed at the one. If he gets this kind of love every week? Good lord this could be his best year yet.

           I am excited to see if Haskins is the real deal but my real focus on this game will come when Arizona is on offense. The pass rush of Washington against a suspect offensive line in Arizona could be fun to watch. Plus that offense is just plain fun to watch. Gibson will have his big game today because we all hoped it would come last week. Terry Mclaurin could also have a big game for Washington. Arizona wins this game but Washington covers that giant spread. 

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