NFL Week 13 Predictions

         Alright, I hope everyone enjoyed week two! We made some nice coin last week, going 3-1 with our picks! That puts us at 6-2 on the year. Now some picks may be chalk and I have heard some haters say, “You only pick easy games.” Well, screw them, because while they sit and watch from the sidelines, the RahlReviews community is making money! 

            I really did like the Washington Football Team to cover and for a bonus pick, I like them to cover the -7 this week as well, but they can’t all be perfect. This week we have some high profile quarterbacks going at it. This year has a vibe to it like no other. With zero fans it’s hard to really give anyone a true home field advantage. With no fans, is the Superdome in New Orleans really that hard to play in? 

            We also have to talk about all of the injuries from last week. I mean, it seemed like any and every high profile player left Sunday with a soft tissue injury.  Sequan and the Giants can basically mail this season in. What about Carolina? This will be a great test for Teddy B to see if he can really lead a team. After seeing the offense not click after the next 4-6 weeks, do you consider looking in the draft for a future QB? Best believe it’s a tank for Lawrence kind of season if so. What really is wrong with Minnesota? The defense looks lost and with out their captain, Anthony Barr, I only see it getting worse. What about Devante Adams? He has a history of hamstring troubles and this doesn’t look good. I’m not saying this will be the best week of the season but, after what happened last week, this will for sure be a refresher. Plus have you seen these matchups?! Let’s jump into my favorites:

Atlanta Falcons (-3) 0-2 vs Chicago Bears 2-0

         Mitchell Trubisky is such a tough talent to judge. He will forever be shadowed by the fact that he was taken over Watson and Mahomes in 2017. Sad to say, but because those two have blossomed into superstars, so Mitch is on a limited window. The Bears showed us that when they brought in Nick Foles this offseason. He had solid play his rookie year and built off that in 2018 when he ran for almost 500 yards and compiled 27 total touchdowns. He went 11-3 as a starter and was largely assisted by a great defense. Now that defense has shown some holes and his play has taken a deep dive since then. The gimmick plays aren’t working like they used to and he is making very questionable decisions along the way. Look at week one against Detroit – Through the first three quarters he looked suspect and lost at times. With his team down 17 points and one hell of a speech from his coach, he rallied and went 8-10 for 89 yards and 3 touchdowns in the fourth to win the game. That fourth quarter was huge for his confidence and it rolled into week two. He goes out throws two TDs against the Giants and looks solid. Even completing passes to five different receivers on that second touchdown drive. But in true Mitchell form he goes and throws two interceptions in the second half and should of had a third if it wasn’t for a lucky bounce. Now Matt Nagy’s play calling isn’t always great so we can’t put it all on Trubisky, but there he has to shoulder responsibility. This defense is still legit with Quinn and Mack pressuring the quarterback. The secondary still has pro bowlers and looks good at times. This team has a chance to put them in prime position for the playoffs with a huge win against a good offense in Atlanta. With Detroit looking average and the huge dip in Minnesota, there’s an opportunity for the Bears this year compared to years past. 

           I’m almost confident that the people of Atlanta are embarrassed to say they are Falcons fans. No one will ever let them forget 28-3 and now they have to swallow last weeks complete blunder against Dallas. What more can Matt Ryan do for this team? He goes out and throws over 450 yards with zero turnovers and losses?! This defense should be ashamed. For years the offense has carried Atlanta and yet they still can’t put together an average defense. They rank bottom tier in every statistical category and should be looked at as the reason for this team’s failures. Now let’s add that their starting corner and safety will be out due to injury. Plus no one really knows if Julio can play through his lingering hamstring injury. That doesn’t mean that the offense will fail because Calvin Ridley is letting everyone know he is the real deal. In both games this year he went for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. This offseason he was the talk of being the most likely guy to take that next step into the elite tier at wide receiver. His routes look so clean, his hands are reliable, and his top end speed is enough to break off for that big play. I know Julio is the lead receiver, but Ridley looks better this year. Now things could be different if he gets the Kyle Fuller treatment. Both Marvin Jones and Darius Slayton were held in check respectively. They aren’t the player that Ridley is but it could be an awesome matchup. Todd Gurley looks like a shell of himself sadly and I honestly don’t know if it will change. He just looks slow. Only averaging 3.3 yards per carry this year won’t get it done. Look for Hurst to step up in that short game. This is Ryan’s team and their only chance to win games is if he can go nuts each and every game.

        This should be a higher scoring game to me. Both offenses have a decent ability to put up points. If Mitchell doesn’t take advantage of this bad Atlanta defense, I’m going to be really concerned. This is the type of game to give him the confidence to go out and ball. Since he was bad at the end of week two I expect a slower start from Chicago. Atlanta should win this game and cover the spread. I just can’t see Matt Ryan allow his team to go 0-3 to begin the year. 

Buffalo Bills (-2) 2-0 vs LA Rams 2-0

           This will be my public apology to Josh Allen. I bought into the draft negativity about him and he has done nothing but improve each and every year. His rushing totals may be down but that’s because his rushes are more timely. His air yards this year are fitting with his “Air Allen” nickname. In two games, he has 803 total yards and 7 total touchdowns. Now this may of been against two very suspect defenses but you have to have some talent in you to put up those stats.  Honestly, I have no clue if he can keep this up. As a guy who was skeptical at first, I show some pause but that will probably bite me in the ass. Stefon Diggs has to feel at home with Allen. Finally he has a quarterback that can get him the ball deep. People dogged Buffalo for giving up a first for Diggs and it’s looking like an easy win for the franchise. If Diggs can help with Allen’s development, and take the leap needed to be a serious contender, this team can be very dangerous. The defense is top 10 with White shutting down opposing number one receivers and McDermott is a great coach with a team that really believes they are winners. All of that should tell us that maybe we need to take this Buffalo team a tad bit more seriously moving forward.

         LA on the other hand are trying to prove that they still are a team to be feared. Last year the offense couldn’t click – Jared Goff looked average at best and failed to deliver for his team when needed. Week one looked no different really. The opening drive touchdown was probably the best one they had all day. Granted, the Cowboys have one of the best rushes in the league but we expect more out of Goff. I mean no touchdowns and less than 300 yards? Then you look at week two against a weak secondary in Philly, he looked solid. He completed his first thirteen passes and led his team to an early lead. From there it was really just about playing mistake free football. The RBBC looks great for the team. They always have fresh legs back there and will even run Woods or Kupp back there on a trick play. Tyler Higbee caught all three touchdowns and looks to be a legit TE in this league. Maybe his emergence will allow Goff to have more confidence, but this will be a real test for this team. The Eagles were an easy win and the Cowboys should of been an L if it weren’t for a very questionable pass interference call. I understand one play doesn’t determine the entire out come of the game, but I don’t think the Rams would of won in OT. Donald will be a force as always. Rarely do teams have to plan around a DT, but Donald is a special talent. The offense has the ability to compete week in and week out. If Goff can show people he has the abilities we all thought out of college, and maybe the defense can be top 15, then there is no reason why they can’t win this game and the division.

            So who really is the best team? My heart wants to say the Rams, but my brain tells me that something is in the air in Buffalo. Josh Allen looks legit. The defense has the ability to stop good offenses and maybe, just maybe, they get a lucky bounce or two. But I can’t go against my gut. The Rams will be without Akers, but Brown/Henderson are more than capable. Kupp should eat and have his best game so far this season. Give me the Rams to cover and win this game.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) 2-0 vs Houston Texans 0-2

                  Well, Mr. Glass proved all the haters wrong last week with a huge game against Denver. It looked like another long, unhealthy season for Connor after week one. But after being limited all week at practice he took the lead role and never gave it up to Snell. Mike Tomlin is known for wanting his running back to be able to play all three downs. Benny hasn’t proven yet that he can handle passing down work. That is a huge disadvantage for the Steelers because the defense will pretty much always know it’s a run when Snell is in and if it is a pass, he isn’t catching that ball. So Connor provides a lot of balance and he has the talent to produce but that’s only when he is healthy. The team and coaching staff love James and he should get the work if he is healthy. His 4.4 YPC is legit and he did have double digit touchdowns in 2018. “But he looked so slow and bad week one, Matt.” “Connor is just a good story.” These are very common things people have heard so far this year and I can’t wait to see his development and him prove everyone wrong. Even with a line that is riddled with injuries, he is producing. Ben has time for days back in the pocket thanks to the protection job of Connor and that O-Line. Finding Johnson on those underneath routes seems to be key for this offense’s success. Johnson is also one of the best open field runners in the game, almost alway shaking the first defender. The defense is the best in the league thanks to that defensive front. With the completeness of this team I find it hard for them to get many losses this season.

              Maybe Houston will be a surprising team on Sunday. I mean they are led by Watson who has done more with less I feel. Yeah they are missing DHop but he wouldn’t fix the holes in that defense. -3 on the turnover margin is a bad start, but maybe I’m a little too negative about this team. They did hold Mahomes to under 250 yards passing and was able to get to Lamar four times. But those sacks could be more on Lamar holding the ball as opposed to getting pressure on the QB. J.J. Is doing his absolute best for this team, but it’s just not going to be enough. As the season progresses I see this team falling apart. Their run defense is abysmal ranking 27th in the league. I’m almost excited to see how Connor will take to the open holes they give up. But do you think Deshaun will be able to handle the pressure? Well, he is tied for being the most sacked in the league. We can’t forget how coach O’Brien traded multiple picks and made Tunsil a highly paid OT. They are also returning all the starters from last year and they still can’t protect him. If Watson wasn’t as athletic as is he, I really don’t know if he could stay healthy all year. He is their future and they tried to protect him, but it’s looking like a fail. 

            Call me biased all you want, but this Steelers team is something special. The defense looks even better this year and you can see how everyone on offense is having more fun with Ben. He looks good and if you look at others his age, he is up there with Rodgers. I feel like it’s been years since we have seen a compete team like this in Pittsburgh. The window is closing on this team and this could be the year. Give me the Lers to cover those points. DJ catches a TD and we even get a defensive touchdown this game. 

New Orleans Saints(-3) 1-1 vs Green Bay Packers 2-0

         I really don’t know what happened to Drew Brees, but he just looks off. I mean he is missing his best receiver, but normally he is able to make due. Thankfully Kamara is showing the Saints he is worth the money they spent. Last week he was the sole reason they even had a chance to compete in that game. He had over 150 total yards with two touchdowns against a young defense in LV. The 309 yards Brees threw should be taken with a grain of salt because he got 106 of those yards against a prevent style defense late in the game. I believe that if Drew doesn’t play better, this team won’t compete this season. How average would he have to play before you play Jameis? My guess is 1-5. We saw last year that Winston has the ability to move the ball and score touchdowns. His let loose nature does leave him susceptible to turnovers, but the offense is productive. I honestly can’t wait to see Winston get some action because I think he will prove he is worthy of a starting job. Michael Thomas won’t play again this week while he nurses that ankle sprain. However, Adams is doubtful for Sunday night as well. That means Lattimore will be shadowing Lazard or MVS. I like Marshon 10/10 times in those matchups. They will need to contain Rodgers the best they can and that to me will be their key to winning.

        So that means that Rodgers is the only way GB wins right? Hell no! If you haven’t heard of Aaron Jones you did last week. The dude went bananas last week having a career day with 168 yards rushing and showing some speed on a 75 yard TD. He paired that with three total touchdowns and silenced all the haters who said he wasn’t good enough for a full workload. He was even the leading receiver with Adams on the sideline. You know they want to run the ball first so that Rodgers can get one-on-one coverage and take apart that defense. That is a perfect recipe for this team honestly. We know that Aaron is good enough to win games on his own, but what if he didn’t have to? What if he could just pick his moments and have great efficiency. He doesn’t turn the ball over that often and arguably has some of the best deep ball throws in the game. I know last year they had won a lot of close games so people thought that regression was coming, but maybe they have finally figured out the formula to win. The defense is still good and the corners are a key piece forcing turnovers in each of their games this year. I honestly don’t know what to expect from this team, but you best believe they will compete till the end. 

        Initially I thought New Orleans was going to win this game. How could Drew let his team go down 1-2 when his division looks as competitive as ever. Plus being at home in the dome!? Yet, as I wrote about the Packers, I just can’t go against what they’re doing. The offense is clicking just as good as anyone else in the league. Rodgers played a couple games last year without Adams so he knows what he will need to do in order to win. Give me the Packers to win but I’m taking the over at 52.5. I know it’s a lot of points but if it’s a blowout, the opposing team will score and if it’s competitive I see both offenses doing well.

Baltimore Ravens(-3.5) 2-0 vs Kansas City Chiefs 2-0

Oh yeah, you read that right, KC is an underdog! I’m not gonna give my pick away yet, but doesn’t that sound like a steal? It’s the same KC team that dominated the NFL last year and continues to show people that they’re legit. Yeah, that first week against Houston was a little rusty at first but we got to see CEH prove his worth. His ability to play all three downs and his vision make him so lethal. Now I want you to tell me who is going to compete with the speed of that offense? No one is the correct answer. The answer will always be no one because the speed that KC has is unmatched. Hell, if you see what some teams are doing, you would think they developed a new blue print on how to win. Pat may not win the MVP this year, but he will be the guy that gives this team a real chance to win against anyone in the league. Last year the Chiefs beat the Ravens, during week 3, 33-28 largely to a 23 point second quarter. Pat threw for over 370 yards and as a team they had over 100 yards rushing. This year they have more of a connection, a better running back, and the confidence that they can beat this team. Plus they know what they need to do in order to contain Lamar.

          Now my question is – What could Vegas possibly know in order to put Baltimore as a favorite? The line hasn’t moved really either so the community also thinks the Ravens can win.  I mean Lamar is a cheat code. Just like how I said with KC’s speed, it’s hard to see someone in the Chiefs able to spy Lamar. Pair that with a great possession TE in Mark Andrew’s alongside Hollywood’s ability to take the safety out of the play with his speed and you have something special. Now with the offense being so good that means the defense has to be bad right? Well ask Houston and Cleveland if the defense is good. If it wasn’t for a blow out, both teams wouldn’t of gained over 300 yards total. They have solid corners, and I will always believe that Baltimore will have a top end pass rush. Now if you’re Baltimore, wouldn’t you have your eye on KC at all times? I would think they have seen hours of film. They have planned this offseason for this game. They know that if they want to win a super bowl, they have to go through Kansas City. Where as KC can think that someone else can beat Baltimore. Don’t you think Lamar is going to come out and have a chip on his shoulder? He doesn’t want people to put him in Pat’s shadow, so beating him is the first step in doing that. This can be the matchup that we see for 10+ years like Brady vs Manning. This is easily the most exciting game of the year.

             Man-O-Man this will be a great game!! A 55 point o/u tells me that even Vegas believes this will be a high scoring game. Baltimore has scored 30+ points in both games this year. We know KC can put up 50 points themselves! I’m telling you to sit back and enjoy this game, but it’ll be hard to not put some money on this game as well. If I’m gonna bet, give me the Chiefs. It’s hard to go against the champs and they’ve always shown up against top talent.

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