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NFL Week 13 picks, schedule, odds, injuries, stats, fantasy tips

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The Week 13 NFL schedule for the 2022 season is stacked with great matchups, and we’ve got you covered heading into the weekend. Our NFL Nation reporters offer the biggest keys and bold predictions for each matchup.

Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a big stat to know and a betting nugget for each contest, and our Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with game projections. ESPN researcher Kyle Soppe hands out helpful fantasy football intel, as well. Finally, Seth Walder and Eric Moody give us final score picks for every game. Everything you want to know is here in one spot to help you get ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.

Let’s get into the full Week 13 slate, including Mike McDaniel facing his old team, a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game and the first two playoff clinching scenarios (Eagles with a win and losses by Washington, Seattle and San Francisco; and Vikings with a win and a Lions loss). It all culminates with a Monday Night Football matchup between the Saints and the Buccaneers on ESPN. (Game times are Sunday unless otherwise noted.)

Jump to a matchup:
TEN-PHI | GB-CHI | NYJ-MIN
WSH-NYG | DEN-BAL | PIT-ATL
CLE-HOU | JAX-DET | MIA-SF
SEA-LAR | KC-CIN | LAC-LV
IND-DAL | NO-TB

Thursday: BUF 24, NE 10
Bye: ARI, CAR

1 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: PHI -5 (44.5)

What to watch for: The Eagles rush defense has allowed 525 yards (131.5 per game) over the past four games, which ranks 23rd over that span. Now it will face its stiffest test in Derrick Henry, who ranks second in rushing yards (1,048). Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis (high ankle sprain) is eligible to come off injured reserve this week. His presence would certainly help a Philadelphia defense adjust to life without safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, out with a lacerated kidney. — Tim McManus

Bold prediction: Henry will rush for 100 yards and Treylon Burks will have over 100 yards receiving. Henry has struggled over the past three games, but he’ll benefit from the likely return of center Ben Jones. The Titans have only had two 100 yards or more receiving games, but rest assured they’ll give Burks every chance to shine when they go to Philadelphia to face A.J. Brown and the Eagles. — Turron Davenport

Stat to know: The Titans are 5-1 in their past six meetings vs. the Eagles (dating back to when the team moved from Houston to Tennessee in 1997).

Injuries: Titans | Eagles

What to know for fantasy: DeVonta Smith scored 15-plus points four times in a five-game stretch earlier this season, but since the Week 7 bye, he hasn’t hit 14 fantasy points once. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Tennessee is 8-1 against the spread (ATS) in its past nine games, including 4-1 ATS as an underdog in that span. Its eight-game cover streak was snapped last week against Cincinnati. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Eagles 27, Titans 21
Walder’s pick: Eagles 23, Titans 17
FPI prediction: PHI, 70.4% (by an average of 6.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Titans rookie WR Burks’ emergence is blossoming with Brown, Eagles up next … ‘I feel like I’ve won’: A.J. Brown on reflects on trade … How the Eagles could clinch a playoff spot this weekend


1 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: GB -4.5 (43.5)

What to watch for: The Bears say Justin Fields (shoulder) is day-to-day and believe their upcoming Week 14 bye won’t factor into whether he plays against Green Bay on Sunday. Fields was limited Wednesday, but upgraded to full participation in practice on Thursday, so it’s possible that he won’t carry an injury designation on the final report. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers, who sustained an injury to his ribs against Philadelphia, plans to play against Chicago, eyeing his eighth straight win over the Bears. The Packers playoff chances are slim, but a win at Soldier Field would keep them alive and a banged-up Rodgers under center instead of shutting it down for the remainder of the season. — Courtney Cronin

Bold prediction: The Bears won’t reach 400 yards of total offense. Maybe you think that’s not very bold considering the Bears only average 323.3 yards per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL. But they’re facing a Packers’ defense that has allowed at least 400 offensive yards in three straight games. A fourth straight would be the first time a Packers team has allowed that since 1983. Last Sunday, the Eagles rushed for 363 yards — 157 of those by quarterback Jalen Hurts. They’re potentially facing another running QB on Sunday depending on whether Fields is able to go. — Rob Demovsky

Stat to know: Seventeen combined losses between the Packers and Bears this season is tied for their most entering a meeting all time (also happened in 1973 and 1969). This will be the first Bears-Packers matchup where both teams enter with a losing record since 2003.

Injuries: Packers | Bears

What to know for fantasy: David Montgomery has reached double-digit fantasy points in consecutive games for the first time this season, a streak he looks to extend to three against a Packers team he gashed for a season-best 122 yards on the ground in Week 2. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Green Bay is 1-6 ATS as a favorite this season, with six straight ATS losses. Green Bay is 0-2 outright as a road favorite this season (0-5 ATS, 1-4 SU in the past five games as a road favorite). Read more.

Moody’s pick: Packers 24, Bears 14
Walder’s pick: Packers 30, Bears 17
FPI prediction: GB, 62.3% (by an average of 3.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Love’s progress ‘nice to watch,’ though Rodgers set to start Sunday … Inside Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields’ journey with epilepsy … Rodgers to consider idea of QB switch if Packers are eliminated with ‘open mind’ … Bears’ Eddie Jackson to miss rest of season with foot injury

play

1:11

Adam Schefter says as long as it’s mathematically possible for the Packers to make the playoffs, Aaron Rodgers will be the starting quarterback.


1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: MIN -3 (44.5)

What to watch for: Both teams are in rare territory with their recent history. The Vikings could clinch the NFC North with a win and a Lions’ loss or tie to the Jaguars, or a tie and a Lions loss. That would be just their third division title in the past 13 seasons. A Jets victory would be their eighth of the season and the most through 12 games since 2010. The game could hinge on whether Jets QB Mike White, an accurate short-range passer, can capitalize on the Vikings’ soft zone coverage. The Vikings rank No. 32 in allowing 8.25 yards per attempt. — Kevin Seifert

Bold prediction: White will throw for more than 275 yards against the Vikings’ zone-based defense. The Vikings lead the league in Cover 2 usage, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That frustrates some quarterbacks, but White’s strength is his patience and willingness to dink and dunk instead of trying to play “hero ball,” as he calls it. White passed for 315 yards last week against a porous Bears defense; the Vikings rank 30th in total yards allowed. — Rich Cimini

Stat to know: The Jets are 4-1 on the road this season, which is tied for second-best road record in the NFL (Eagles 5-0, Chiefs/Vikings 4-1). Their only loss was a 7-0 setback in Week 11 to the Patriots on a punt returned for a touchdown.

Injuries: Jets | Vikings

What to know for fantasy: Garrett Wilson has 319 yards and zero touchdowns in Zach Wilson’s seven starts this season. But Garrett has 309 yards and four touchdowns in the other four games. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Minnesota is 8-0 outright as a favorite this season, one of three undefeated teams as a favorite (Washington 4-0, New York Jets 2-0). Read more.

Moody’s pick: Vikings 27, Jets 23
Walder’s pick: Vikings 24, Jets 19
FPI prediction: MIN, 69.0% (by an average of 5.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: After DNP, Jets RB James Robinson ‘upset,’ wonders how he fits … Inside Justin Jefferson’s record-breaking, physics-defying rise with the Minnesota Vikings … Robert Saleh: Mike White’s huge game hasn’t altered Jets’ QB plan … Clinching NFC North would give Vikings chance to fulfill their ‘competitive rebuild’


1 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: WSH -2.5 (40.5)

What to watch for: The Giants have lost three of four and their lack of success can correlate directly to their running game. Saquon Barkley hasn’t topped 53 yards rushing in any of those losses. When he rushes for at least 70 yards this season, New York is 7-1. The Giants have said all week it’s imperative to get the run game back on track against the Commanders, who come into the contest with the NFL’s eighth-best run defense (averaging 108.4 yards per game). — Jordan Raanan

Bold prediction: While Washington will continue to emphasize the run game, it’ll be the Commanders’ passing attack that results in big plays. Receiver Terry McLaurin will surpass 100 yards and score twice and have at least a couple big plays off play-action. The Giants blitz more than any other team, but if Washington picks it up, it will relish its opportunities against a banged-up secondary. The Giants rank 29th in yards per pass attempt vs. play-action. In McLaurin’s past four games vs. New York, he has averaged 97.3 yards per game. — John Keim

Stat to know: The Commanders have won the possession battle in six straight games. They are tied with the Giants (Weeks 4-10) for the longest streak in the NFL this season.

Injuries: Commanders | Giants

What to know for fantasy: Barkley has been tasked with one of the greatest workloads in the NFL this season, but since notching 35 carries in Week 10 against the Texans, he’s picked up just 61 yards on 26 totes. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Commanders are 6-0-1 ATS in its past seven games, including 4-0 ATS on the road in that span. With Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, they are 5-0-1 ATS this season. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Commanders 20, Giants 17
Walder’s pick: Giants 23, Commanders 14
FPI prediction: WSH, 51.2% (by an average of 0.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Brian Robinson’s improvement, first 100-yard day powers Commanders run game … Giants, Cowboys or Bills: Where will Odell Beckham Jr. land? … Is NFC East the NFL’s best division? … Giants’ Xavier McKinney says he expects to return this season


1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: BAL -9 (38.5)

What to watch for: After losing late to Jacksonville last week, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens need to establish the run game early. Baltimore has the NFL’s No. 2 ground game and is 27-6 when gaining over 180 yards rushing, including 4-1 this season. Denver’s defense has been impressive this season but has struggled to stop the run. The Broncos rank 19th in run defense, giving up 185 yards last Sunday in Carolina. — Jamison Hensley

Bold prediction: In a season of one dismal performance after another for the Broncos, quarterback Russell Wilson will have his second game with two or more touchdown passes. The Ravens have surrendered five 300-yard passing games to opposing quarterbacks this season — one 400-yard game — but only three opposing passers have found a way to throw for more than one touchdown pass against Baltimore’s defense. If the Broncos can finally put aside their devotion to a three-wide receiver set as their primary, Wilson will find a way in this one. — Jeff Legwold

Stat to know: The Broncos are 0-5 in road games played in the U.S. this season (beat Jaguars in London in Week 8).

Injuries: Broncos | Ravens

What to know for fantasy: Jackson threw 10 touchdown passes and ran for two more in the first three weeks this season. Since then, he has six touchdown passes and one on the ground. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Denver games are 10-1 to the under, the best under percentage in the league. Denver is the first team to go under in 10 of its first 11 games since 2011 (Jacksonville and Miami). Read more.

Moody’s pick: Ravens 30, Broncos 9
Walder’s pick: Ravens 27, Broncos 13
FPI prediction: BAL, 84.1% (by an average of 11.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: Hackett dispels ‘gossip’ around Wilson … The Ravens’ pre-snap motion: Big-play tool, but more penalties … How did the Broncos get to rock bottom? … Ravens’ Lamar Jackson leaves practice with quadriceps injury


1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: PIT -1 (42)

What to watch for: One of this game’s most intriguing matchups will be Pittsburgh’s run defense against Atlanta’s rushing offense. The Steelers have held all but two of their opponents to under 125 rushing yards this season, while the Falcons have rushed for more than 125 yards in all but two games this year — and have a top-five unit in every rushing metric. How this battle shakes out should determine who wins Sunday considering the flaws both teams have in other areas of their offense and defense. — Michael Rothstein

Bold prediction: Falcons’ Cordarrelle Patterson will score a rushing and return touchdown. Mike Tomlin ripped his team’s kickoff coverage after it allowed an 89-yard return by the Indianapolis Colts to open the second half, jump-starting a near-Colts comeback. Patterson presents even more of a challenge after recording his ninth career kickoff return touchdown earlier this season, though the Steelers may get back Robert Spillane and Miles Boykin on special teams. And while the Steelers’ run defense is playing well, Patterson is a different challenge as a big back (6-foot-2, 220 pounds). — Brooke Pryor

Stat to know: The Steelers have won three straight meetings against the Falcons. Atlanta’s last win was in 2006 when Michael Vick threw four passing touchdowns in a 41-38 OT win.

Injuries: Steelers | Falcons

What to know for fantasy: George Pickens has seen at least six targets in consecutive games and in seven of his past nine. The value of those targets is one thing, but the talent is obvious and worth a gamble, if you’re stuck. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Pittsburgh is 3-0 ATS in its past three games against teams with losing records. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Steelers 27, Falcons 20
Walder’s pick: Falcons 19, Steelers 16
FPI prediction: ATL, 66.3% (by an average of 4.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: Pickett era blooming after quarterback’s full-circle win in Indianapolis … Falcons TE Pitts has knee surgery, out rest of season


1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: CLE -7 (47)

What to watch for: Deshaun Watson will make his regular-season debut as the Browns QB on Sunday after serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy for sexual assault, as defined by the NFL. He last played in an NFL game in January 2021 as a member of the Texans. But it will be Browns running back Nick Chubb who will be the key to success against the Texans. The Texans have given up the most rushes and the second-most rushing yards in the NFL. — DJ Bien-Aime

Bold prediction: Both Chubb (141 yards) and Houston RB Dameon Pierce (139) will rush for season highs. This season, Pierce is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and Chubb is averaging 5.2. — Jake Trotter

Stat to know: The Browns have won two straight against the Texans (2020, 2021). Cleveland has never won three straight in the series (5-7 all-time record).

Injuries: Browns | Texans

What to know for fantasy: Over the past two weeks, Pierce is averaging less than one foot per carry before contact. One foot, not one yard. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Quarterbacks who have not started a game in 500 or more days and are laying at least seven points in their first start after the layoff are 1-6 ATS in the past 25 seasons, including 1-3 outright and ATS in the past 15 seasons. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Browns 30, Texans 14
Walder’s pick: Browns 20, Texans 16
FPI prediction: CLE, 78.8% (by an average of 9.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Watson silent, but Browns teammates talk buzz of return … 2023 projected NFL draft order: Texans looking at the No. 1 pick? … Some women who settled lawsuits vs. Watson to attend game


1 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: JAX -1 (51.5)

What to watch for: After a Thanksgiving Day loss to Buffalo, the Lions, who have won three of their past four, return home to host the Jaguars. Jacksonville is looking to build off a come-from-behind victory against the Ravens last Sunday. The No. 1 (Jaguars’ LB Travon Walker) and No. 2 (Lions’ DE Aidan Hutchinson) overall picks from the 2022 draft will share the field for the first time. — Eric Woodyard

Bold prediction: The teams will combine for more than 900 yards of offense. The Lions have the league’s worst defense (414.5 yards and 28.2 points per game allowed) and Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence is on a roll. He has thrown six TDs, no interceptions and topped 100 in passer rating in his past three games. The Jaguars struggle to get pressure (17 sacks) on defense and Lions QB Jared Goff will post his third 300-yard passing game of the season. — Mike DiRocco

Stat to know: The Jaguars have lost 19 straight vs. NFC teams, and the Lions are winless in the past 11 games vs. AFC teams (0-10-1). These are two of the longest active winless streaks against teams in opposing conferences.

Injuries: Jaguars | Lions

What to know for fantasy: Jamaal Williams hasn’t caught a pass (or averaged even 4.0 yards per carry) in four straight games, but he has masked a lack of versatility with five rushing scores over his past three games. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Jacksonville has failed to cover its past seven games as a favorite, including 0-3 ATS this season and 0-6 ATS since 2020. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Jaguars 31, Lions 27
Walder’s pick: Jaguars 28, Lions 22
FPI prediction: JAX, 59.0% (by an average of 2.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Jaguars QB Lawrence after comeback win: ‘I’ve always been this guy’ … How top picks Walker, Hutchinson are doing in the NFL


1:05 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: SF -4 (46.5)

What to watch for: Miami coach Mike McDaniel returns to San Francisco to face the Niners and coach Kyle Shanahan for the first time after the pair coached together for 14 years at various stops. These teams run the same offense but in vastly different ways. This matchup pits the Dolphins’ blazing speed against the Niners’ brute force. Both styles work well as Miami is third and San Francisco is sixth in the NFL in yards per play, which means this game could come down to which defense can create more opportunities for its offense. — Nick Wagoner

Bold prediction: A 49ers defense that has allowed a league-low 46 explosive plays will give up three to Miami, including a pair of long touchdowns to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Tua Tagovailoa will be unphased throwing in rainy weather, becoming the second player this season to throw for 300 yards against this San Francisco defense. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Stat to know: The Dolphins have won five straight and the 49ers have won four consecutive games. The home team has won nine of the past 10 meetings between teams entering on four-game winning streaks with the average point differential being plus-17.4.

Injuries: Dolphins | 49ers

What to know for fantasy: Brandon Aiyuk has at least seven targets or has scored a touchdown in six straight games. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Over the past five seasons, teams with at least a .700 winning percentage are 17-6 ATS when getting at least 3.5 points in games in November or later. They are 15-4 ATS when removing Week 17 games. Read more.

Moody’s pick: 49ers 34, Dolphins 21
Walder’s pick: Dolphins 26, 49ers 20
FPI prediction: SF, 65.2% (by an average of 4.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Dolphins confident Terron Armstead (pec) will return this season … How the Dolphins and 49ers run similar offenses in different ways … ‘Disappointed’ Mitchell out for 49ers with sprained MCL

play

2:08

Stephen A. Smith breaks down how the 49ers can stop Tua Tagovailoa and beat the Dolphins.


4:05 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: SEA -7.5 (41)

What to watch for: Although the Seahawks are 1-7 in road games against the Rams dating back to 2014, with a win on Sunday, Seattle has the chance to ensure Los Angeles finishes this season with a losing record. With one more loss, the Rams would be the first team since the 2003 Buccaneers (7-9) to have a losing record the season after winning the Super Bowl. — Sarah Barshop

Bold prediction: Tyler Lockett will top 100 yards receiving and score a touchdown. With DK Metcalf figuring to get plenty of attention from All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, in addition to his usual amount of double teams, Lockett should see some favorable matchups. And with no Aaron Donald there to collapse the pocket, Geno Smith should have the time he needs to find Lockett on a deep shot or two. — Brady Henderson

Stat to know: Smith has thrown multiple passing touchdowns in five straight games, which is the longest streak of his career and the longest active streak in the NFL.

Injuries: Seahawks | Rams

What to know for fantasy: Kenneth Walker III has been a scoring machine (nine rushing scores in his past seven games), but he’s been held to under 3.0 yards per carry in three of his past four, giving him a lower floor than other elite backs. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Los Angeles is a league-worst 2-8-1 ATS this season, including 0-4-1 ATS as an underdog, 1-5 ATS at home and 0-5 ATS against teams with winning records. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Seahawks 30, Rams 20
Walder’s pick: Seahawks 23, Rams 20
FPI prediction: SEA, 65.8% (by an average of 5.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Can Seahawks avoid rookie wall in crucial final six games? … Donald to miss first game due to injury … Seahawks’ defense threatens playoff hopes amid another slump … Rams identifying long-term contributors


4:25 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: KC -1.5 (52.5)

What to watch for: The rematch of the AFC Championship Game features two of the league’s top offenses. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Bengals QB Joe Burrow are first and second, respectively, in the NFL in passing touchdowns. And Kansas City leads the league in points per drive while the Bengals are fourth. — Ben Baby

Bold prediction: The Chiefs will sack Burrow four times. The Chiefs got him only once in last year’s AFC Championship Game, this in between the Bengals allowing nine sacks to the Titans and seven to the Rams. But the Chiefs’ pass rush is far more productive this season — they are fifth in the league with 35 sacks and have 21 sacks in the last five games. Cincinnati has allowed 35 sacks, fifth most in the league this season. — Adam Teicher

Stat to know: Mahomes is 1-2 in his career against the Bengals, including the playoffs, with both losses coming last season (he has never lost three games to the same opponent). His 85 career starts, including the playoffs, without losing three games vs. the same opponent is the furthest into a quarterback’s career since 1950.

Injuries: Chiefs | Bengals

What to know for fantasy: Tee Higgins has gone over 100 receiving yards in consecutive games (without Ja’Marr Chase active) after reaching triple figures just once in his first nine games this season. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Cincinnati has covered six straight games as an underdog dating back to last season, including the playoffs. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Chiefs 30, Bengals 27
Walder’s pick: Chiefs 27, Bengals 24
FPI prediction: KC, 56.7% (by an average of 2.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Chiefs QB Mahomes and wife welcome son … Chase says he didn’t play Bengals-Titans as precaution … Sources: DT Williams to sign with Chiefs’ practice squad … Gordon says he’s signing on to Chiefs’ practice squad

play

1:30

Domonique Foxworth, Dan Graziano and Mike Tannenbaum weigh in on whether Jalen Hurts is the most trustworthy quarterback in the NFC.


4:25 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: LV -1.5 (50.5)

What to watch for: The Chargers are giving up 5.4 yards per carry, the worst in a single season in the Super Bowl era. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs is coming off his tour de force in Seattle, where 229 of his 303 all-purpose yards and both of his TDs came on the ground. So, Las Vegas should run well against the Chargers, right? Well, Jacobs has averaged only 73.5 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry in six games against the Chargers, and he is nursing a strained left calf that had him a game-time decision before last week’s show. — Paul Gutierrez

Bold prediction: Jacobs will turn in a 100-yard performance against the Chargers — despite rushing for only 57 yards against the Bolts in Week 1. The Raiders ended the Chargers’ hope of a playoff appearance with an overtime victory in Week 18 last season, but Bolts coach Brandon Staley said that not-so-distant memory “will have zero impact on the game” on Sunday. What will have an impact? The Chargers’ porous run defense allows an average of 151.4 yards per game (which ranks 28th). — Lindsey Thiry

Stat to know: Justin Herbert has thrown 13 touchdowns and one interception in his career against the Raiders (3-2 record). He has thrown at least two passing TDs in five straight games against the Raiders, which is tied for the second-longest streak against the Raiders in team history (Dave Krieg had seven straight).

Injuries: Chargers | Raiders

What to know for fantasy: Austin Ekeler scored 25 fantasy points last week in Arizona, the sixth time he’s racked up at least 24 points in a game this season (tied for the most among all flex players). See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Las Vegas has covered three straight games as an underdog. The Raiders are 3-1 ATS as an underdog this season and 2-5 ATS as a favorite. This is their first game as a home underdog since last year’s Week 18 matchup against the Chargers (Raiders won by three as 3-point home underdogs). Read more.

Moody’s pick: Chargers 34, Raiders 27
Walder’s pick: Raiders 30, Chargers 27
FPI prediction: LV, 61.9% (by an average of 3.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Where Herbert lands on our Top 25 Under 25 … Raiders players maintaining faith in Josh McDaniels despite slow start


8:20 p.m. ET | NBC | Spread: DAL -11 (43.5)

What to watch for: Coming off a difficult three-game stretch in 12 days, it might look like the Cowboys can take a breather in their next three games against sub-.500 AFC South foes, starting Sunday with the Colts. But Mike McCarthy knows the importance of December football. McCarthy has a 42-18 record in December as a head coach. The Cowboys lead the NFL with 45 sacks, which might make life for Matt Ryan difficult since he has been sacked 32 times in 10 games. — Todd Archer

Bold prediction: Running back Jonathan Taylor will rush for 150 yards or more against a Dallas defense that twice this season has allowed teams to run for more than 200 yards. It might not be enough to score a win, but the Colts have an opportunity to exploit an inconsistent Cowboys run defense. Taylor has battled injuries this season, but he’s averaged five yards per carry in his past five games after posting a four-yard per-carry average in his first four. — Stephen Holder

Stat to know: The Colts have not won at Dallas since Week 3 in 1996. The Colts are winless in two games at Dallas since that 1996 victory; they join the Chiefs (0-2), Texans (0-2) and Bengals (0-4) as the only teams who have not beaten Dallas on its home field since 1997.

Injuries: Colts | Cowboys

What to know for fantasy: As good as Tony Pollard looks, fantasy is a game of production and having scored in each of his past four games, Ezekiel Elliott continues to hold value. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Dallas is an NFL-best 20-8 ATS since the start of last season, including 14-5 ATS as a favorite. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Cowboys 30, Colts 13
Walder’s pick: Cowboys 34, Colts 20
FPI prediction: DAL, 88.0% (by an average of 14.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Colts’ Jeff Saturday says he wishes he had used late timeout … Giants, Cowboys or Bills: Where will Odell Beckham Jr. land? … OBJ free agency: Cowboys, Bills, Giants stars entice WR … Is NFC East the NFL’s best division?


Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN | Spread: TB -4.0 (40.5)

What to watch for: The Bucs were expected to run away with the NFC South in 2022, but losing to the Browns in Week 12 opened the door for the Saints. This game has meaningful potential in the standing. Making matters worse for Tampa Bay, All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs is out with a high ankle sprain, and the Bucs’ defense is struggling to put together complete games while the offense can’t seem to clear the 17-point threshold recently. — Jenna Laine

Bold prediction: The Saints will win a low-scoring game like their 9-0 victory in Tampa Bay last season. The Saints’ offense has struggled a lot this year and was shut out last week, but there have been some positive signs from the defense lately, which has mostly had Tom Brady’s number in the past few years. If Marshon Lattimore returns, expect another solid performance against Brady, especially considering the Bucs have struggled on offense. — Katherine Terrell

Stat to know: Tom Brady is 1-4 against the Saints in the regular season since joining the Buccaneers in 2020, with the lone win coming this season. In four of those five games, Brady has posted his lowest total QBR against any single opponent since signing with Tampa Bay, and that includes the win this season which was a season low.

Injuries: Saints | Buccaneers

What to know for fantasy: Mike Evans has been held under 13 fantasy points in eight straight meetings with the Saints and enters this game having failed to score even 11 fantasy points in three straight. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: New Orleans is 0-5 ATS on the road this season. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Buccaneers 21, Saints 16
Walder’s pick: Buccaneers 23, Saints 13
FPI prediction: TB, 62.1% (by an average of 3.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Saints would throw NFC South into chaos with win at Buccaneers … Source: Bucs’ Wirfs (high ankle sprain) out weeks

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NFL Week 13 betting odds, picks, tips — Dolphins to cover; Points aplenty for Chiefs-Bengals

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Week 13’s Sunday slate brings us a plethora of solid matchups, including the upstart Miami Dolphins visiting the San Francisco 49ers and a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals.

What is worth looking at from a betting perspective? And what are the best plays to help you make smart wagering decisions?

Betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Tyler Fulghum, Joe Fortenbaugh, Anita Marks and Erin Dolan; fantasy and sports betting analysts Eric Moody and Andre Snellings; ESPN Stats & Information’s Seth Walder; and Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz offer their insight into the games with tips and picks.

Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise indicated.


The Dolphins head to Levi’s Stadium to face the 49ers (-4, 46.5) The Dolphins, tied for first in the AFC East, are 8-3 and riding a five-game winning streak entering Week 13, while the 49ers have won four straight games and are tied for first in the NFC West. What are your thoughts on the total and spread for this matchup and who are you taking?

Fortenbaugh: Dolphins +4. The San Francisco defense is overrated in my humble opinion. In 11 games, they’ve played just two teams that rank in the top 12 in scoring. Those two contests resulted in a win against the Seahawks and an embarrassing blowout loss at home to the Chiefs. This line should be San Francisco -3 (-120).

Schatz: I agree that this number is a little too strong in favor of the 49ers. The 49ers and Dolphins are right next to each other in DVOA, with San Francisco seventh and Miami eighth, but that includes the games where the Dolphins had to use Teddy Bridgewater and Skylar Thompson at quarterback. Take out Weeks 5-6 from the Miami offense and the Dolphins would rank sixth in DVOA with Cincinnati between them and the 49ers. Really, these teams are very close to each other, and home-field advantage isn’t worth four whole points, so give me Dolphins +4.

Fulghum: I will reiterate that it is the 49ers — and not the Eagles or Cowboys — that I believe is the best team in the NFC if all things are equal. They most certainly do not have the best quarterback, but they do have the best team. However, this particular number has me backing the Dolphins. Anything more than a field goal and I’ll be on the Miami side because that correlates more strongly with the type of game I expect to see relative to expectation. Despite the offensive playmakers on both sides of the ball, I’m handicapping this as an “under” environment. Catching four points in a game I expect to be lower scoring than market is quite valuable. Dolphins +4, under 46.5.

Marks: I’ll take the over out west. The Dolphins offense is third in scoring rate since week 7. Tua has been fantastic, getting the ball out in less than 2.5 seconds, and has a plethora of outstanding weapons to work with. Both teams are great in yards after the catch, and with Tyreek Hill playing 40% out of the slot, he should have a solid day against the 49ers’ biggest weakness. The 49ers have been great in the second half of their last four games, but that was against the Saints, Cards, Chargers and Rams — teams that can’t hold a candle to the Dolphins’ offense.

Snellings: I’ll take the Dolphins +4 and the over. The Dolphins are undefeated in games that Tua Tagovailoa has played the entire game. In their four most recent wins, they’ve scored at least 30 points in all four games while averaging 33.8 PPG. Note that the total score increases as the competition level increases, on the road in particular. In the three road games that Tua has played to completion, the Dolphins have scored at least 31 points in each (average 36 PPG) and the total score has been at least 58 for all three games (average 68.3 combined PPG).

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0:36

Doug Kezirian expects the Chiefs to get revenge for last season’s AFC title game and cover against the Bengals in Week 13.

In a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship game, MVP betting favorite Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (-2, 52.5) face Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. Can Burrow and the Bengals upset the AFC-leading Chiefs or will Mahomes and the Chiefs continue their winning ways?

Schatz: I like the Chiefs as slight favorites in this game and think both the line and the total are right on without a lot of value available. Ja’Marr Chase’s return is definitely going to be interesting because the Chiefs rank 26th in DVOA against WR1s. And while the Chiefs bring pressure at a high rate (third in the NFL), Burrow is currently 10th in QBR when pressured. He’s even taking fewer sacks recently!

Fulghum: Burrow and the Bengals most certainly can upset the Chiefs. Of course, no one should be shocked if the Chiefs avenge the AFC title game loss. That’s why this is such a compelling game. It looks like the Bengals offense will benefit from the return of RB Joe Mixon and WR Ja’Marr Chase. Situationally, Cincinnati is coming off a very physical, hard-fought win on the road at Tennessee, while Kansas City got to sleep-walk to an easy win at home over the Rams. Might the Bengals be a little worn out? I’m not sure. That’s while I’ll just yield to betting that we see an entertaining offensive game. Over 52.5.

Snellings: I’ll take the Bengals +2 and the over. This game has so many layers and so much history for such a short rivalry, but if history is any indication, there are a few things to note. First, in both games last season, the Chiefs blitzed the Bengals in the first half and then the Bengals dominated the second. The scoring split by half was the Chiefs winning the first half by a combined 49-27 and the Bengals winning the second half 34-6 (total 17-3 in both games, including the overtime game). Might be worth considering first-half action on Sunday (Chiefs -0.5, over 26.5). Second, the Bengals got run-stopping nose tackle DJ Reader back last week and promptly shut down Derrick Henry and the powerful Titans run game, so I’m expecting Mahomes to have to air it out. Finally, Chiefs safety Justin Reid has already started a war of words with Ja’Marr Chase and the Bengals’ wide receivers by saying he would personally shut down Tee Higgins (later, when told the names of the players, said he meant he’d shut down Hayden Hurst); Reid and Chase have continued the verbal sparring on social media since. Of note, in two games against the Chiefs last season, Chase totalled 17 receptions, 320 receiving yards and five touchdowns, so any Chase over prop bet should be in play.

Marks: I love the over here as well. The Bengals are expected to get Mixon and Chase back, and their offense is scoring TDs on 71% of their offensive possessions in the red zone. Both teams are fantastic on third down, so I don’t expect many punts. KC’s revenge game should live up to the hype! The Chiefs have 855 more yards than their opponents since Week 7; marinate in that for a moment! KC’s defense is the worst in the league in the red zone, allowing opponents to score TDs on 70% of their trips inside the 20-yard line.

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0:45

Tyler Fulghum reveals his best bet for the Jets trip to the Vikings.

Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and the Minnesota Vikings (-3, 44.5) are favorites over the Mike White-led New York Jets in Week 13. The Jets are looking to win eight or more games in a season for the first time since 2015, while the Vikings look to continue their push to try and supplant the Eagles as the NFC’s top seed. Will the Mike White lightning strike again in Minnesota or will Cousins lead the Vikings to a win?

Fortenbaugh: Small lean to the Vikings at -3 or shorter. I’m in the camp that Minnesota is the most overrated team in football, but the Vikings have 10 days to prepare for a matchup against a Jets offense that is being overvalued after annihilating the lousy Bears defense at home. I see value at Vikings -3 or less.

Schatz: Yes, please give me the Jets and the points. Believe it or not, DVOA has these teams very close to each other on offense this year. That leaves the big gap on defense, where the Jets have just been much better. The Jets may be slightly overrated due to playing backup quarterbacks this year, but guess what, the biggest gap between a starter and backup for a Jets opponent belonged to Miami. And which was the other team that played Miami without Tua Tagovailoa? Minnesota! So if the Jets defense is a little overrated in our DVOA numbers because of the backup quarterback effect, so is the Vikings defense! I don’t think Mike White is as good as he showed against Chicago, but I think he’s going to play better than Zach Wilson would play and when combined with the Jets defense that makes New York and the points an easy pick.

Fulghum: I’m not sure if White will lead the Jets to a victory, but I do lean toward grabbing the 3 points in this matchup. I think this is a lower scoring game than market expectation. The Jets defense is legitimately very good. The Justin Jefferson vs. Sauce Gardner matchup is worth the price of admission alone. I’m also not quite ready to think the Jets solved all of their offensive woes. Playing the dreadful Bears defense at home is quite a different assignment than traveling to Minnesota to take on the Vikings and their raucous home crowd. Under 44.5.

Marks: I’ll take the Jets +3. I commend the Jets for making the switch last week to Mike White, who went 22-of-28 passing for 315 yards and three TDs. The Jets defense, which is allowing only 27 yards per drive, is too good to go to waste this season. The Vikings defense has struggled the last six weeks, allowing QBs to average a 70% completion rate while tossing multiple TD passes in five of their last six games.


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0:41

Tyler Fulghum says he’s laying the points with the Cowboys in a home matchup vs. the Colts.

What are the most important things our analytics say?

Walder: Here are three sides against the spread that our Football Power Index likes.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-1, 42) at Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta

FPI prediction: Falcons by 4.8

Did I miss the part when the Steelers became a good team? One win over the Colts in prime time is hardly enough to indicate quality. If we look strictly at overall team efficiency — which is EPA per play with garbage time downweighted – the Steelers rank 27th and the Falcons 22nd. Nothing about Atlanta is pretty, but getting points at home against a meh-at-best rookie quarterback? FPI will take it.

Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys (-10.5, 45.5)
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

FPI prediction: Cowboys by 14.1

That 40-3 victory by the Cowboys over the Vikings two weeks ago really sold FPI on Dallas. But there are pretty good reasons to believe in the Cowboys right now. Dak Prescott ranks sixth in QBR and the defense ranks fifth in EPA per play. That’s a pretty good recipe to be an elite team! The model isn’t buying into the Colts at all.

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-8.5, 39.5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore

FPI prediction: Ravens by 11.8

Have the Ravens blown leads? Yes. But it’s better to have loved led and lost than to never have led at all. Right?? This team is +48 in points differential, eighth in offensive EPA/P and 13th in defensive EPA/P. They’re good! At home, against a reeling Broncos team, FPI thinks this should be double digits.

What is your favorite bet for Sunday?

Fortenbaugh: Bears-Packers over 43.5. I’m betting Justin Fields plays in this game, and if I’m right, this total is going to surge north. For as bad as the Green Bay offense has been since Aaron Rodgers injured his thumb, the Packers did just hang 33 points at Philadelphia last week. Additionally, Chicago currently ranks 27th in scoring defense and 28th in opponent yards per play, so I see Rodgers and company hanging a healthy number here.

Schatz: Let’s go with under 20 in the first half of the Commanders-Giants contest. Both of these offenses are better after halftime this season, in particular the Giants, who go from 24th in DVOA in the first half of games to seventh in the second half. Meanwhile, the Giants defense is better in the first half — average before halftime but worst in the league in the second half. And if you need that last little shove to get you on this bet, consider that division games tend to be slightly lower-scoring than other games.

Fulghum: I think we see another shootout at Ford Field. Detroit home games this season are averaging 62.2 combined points per game. The Jaguars visit the Lions fresh off perhaps the most impressive performance from Trevor Lawrence in his career. It shouldn’t be difficult for him to maintain that momentum against a Detroit defense allowing 426.4 yards per game (32nd in NFL) and 28.2 points per game (32nd in NFL). Jared Goff and the Lions offense should be able to match whatever the Jaguars provide on the scoreboard, as the Jags’ pass-funnel defense is allowing 5.9 yards per play over the last seven weeks. Only the Bears are allowing more. Jaguars-Lions over 51.5.

What is your favorite player prop for Sunday?

Fulghum: Patrick Mahomes over 309.5 passing yards (-117). This is obviously a very high number, but this is Patrick Mahomes we’re talking about. Mahomes has thrown for no less than 320 yards in any of his last six games and is averaging 325.9 passing yards per game this season. The total in this game is 52.5 (and climbing). No team throws at a higher rate above expectation than the Chiefs. With the Bengals offense getting two weapons back, the likelihood of explosive plays increases, which adds the potential for more play volume on Kansas City’s side. Few things in life are as comfortable as betting on Mahomes to throw for a lot of yards in a football game, and we have an environment here with a high total and close spread that should produce another typically Mahomes-ian box score.

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Texans, Seahawks top first round

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The 1-9-1 Houston Texans have the best chance to land the top pick in the 2023 NFL draft, according to the updated projections from the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI). The Texans have an 88.6% chance to get the top selection after losing 30-15 to the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. They’re followed in our draft order projections by the Seattle Seahawks, who received the additional first-round pick in an offseason trade with the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks have a 5.5% chance to land the No. 1 selection and are now 6-5 on the season.

There have already been six trades involving first-round picks for April’s draft, with the Texans, Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles in line to have two selections in Round 1. The Dolphins were stripped of their own pick because of violations of league policies relating to the integrity of the game, which means there are only 31 picks in the first round for 2023.

Every week during the season, the FPI projects the draft order by simulating the remainder of the season 10,000 times. Game probabilities are based largely on the model’s ratings for individual teams in addition to game locations. The order is based on the records the model believes the teams will have after 17 games, and the order is based on each team’s average draft position in the simulations. NFC/AFC playoff seeding is not taken into account right now; this is just a projection based on average draft position.

Check out the full 1-31 projection for the 2023 NFL draft (updated Nov. 29):

Average draft position: 1.2
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 86.6%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 99.7%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: Greater than 99.9%


Average draft position: 3.5
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 5.5%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 84.3%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 98.1%


Average draft position: 4.5
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 3.6%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 73.9%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 96.1%


Average draft position: 6.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.5%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 56%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 90%


Average draft position: 6.3
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 49.7%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 85.1%


Average draft position: 8.5
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 27.6%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 72.8%


Average draft position: 9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 23.4%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 64.1%


Average draft position: 9.2
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 17.8%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 66.6%


Average draft position: 9.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 15.1%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 55.5%


Average draft position: 11
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 11.9%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 47.4%


Average draft position: 11.2
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 11.2%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 45.7%


Average draft position: 11.8
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 9.6%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 48.2%


Average draft position: 12.1
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 6.3%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 34.6%


Average draft position: 12.6
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 6.7%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 36.7%


Average draft position: 12.7
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 4.9%
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 27.7%


Average draft position: 15.7
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 8.8%


Average draft position: 18.6
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 8.8%


Average draft position: 18.8
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 5.9%


Average draft position: 19
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 13.7%


Average draft position: 20
FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 0.2%


Average draft position: 20.1


Average draft position: 20.2


Average draft position: 22.5


Average draft position: 23.2


Average draft position: 24.7


Average draft position: 25.9


Average draft position: 26.1


Average draft position: 27


Average draft position: 27.8


Average draft position: 27.9


Average draft position: 28.8

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AJ Brown’s replacement Burks is emerging as Titans face Eagles – Tennessee Titans Blog

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — What seemed like the perfect marriage of player and team was broken up by a blockbuster draft-day trade when the Tennessee Titans sent wide receiver AJ Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 18th and 101st overall picks in late April.

The Titans didn’t want to lose Brown, but they reached a point where getting a deal done to keep him long term didn’t seem like a possibility. Tennessee contends that contract demands reached into the $29 million per year range with $80 million guaranteed, while Brown told ESPN he would have settled for $22 million annually.

Losing a player who led the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in each of the past three seasons since being drafted in 2019 in the second round was not easy to replace, and Brown has had similar results for the league-leading Eagles at 10-1, whom the Titans (7-4) travel to face Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX).

But that’s why Titans general manager Jon Robinson selected Treylon Burks out of Arkansas literally minutes after the trade with the No. 18 picks.

Burks had a similar kind of sturdy build that the Titans saw in Brown, along with the ability to get chunks of yards after the catch and make contested catches.

“He’s a heckuva player,” Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said of Burks. “He’s talented, got size, great strength, has hands, judges the ball well and can run. He has everything you’re looking for.”

At the combine, Burks said he studied and applied a lot of aspects of Brown’s game to his own. While there are plenty of similarities, the Titans and Burks have maintained all along that Burks’ job is to carve out his own role in the offense rather than be Brown’s replacement.

“I’ve looked up to him with me being in college and him being who he is,” Burks said. “But he’s AJ I’m Treylon. We’re two different people. I just play my game, and he plays his.”

Burks is starting to emerge as a playmaker after a shaky start that included missing minicamp because of asthma and conditioning issues along with a stint on injured reserve because of a turf toe injury.

“He has to be the best version of Treylon,” receivers coach Rob Moore said, “and we’re starting to see what that looks like.”

Burks posted his first 100-yard receiving game in Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers. Then he followed that up with a four-reception, 70-yard performance in which he scored his first NFL touchdown.

The touchdown was the result of hustling down the field on a long Derrick Henry catch and pouncing on the ball in the end zone after Henry fumbled.

“Coming in knowing my role” is what Burks said has led to his sudden improvement since coming back from IR.

“I come to the facility and attack everything they throw at me,” Burks said. “I never back down.”

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Burks’ biggest improvement was his attitude and the way he comes to work. Vrabel mentioned the short week the Titans had to prepare for Green Bay and how he watched Burks put in extra preparation with Moore to get some early mistakes corrected as an example.

“He’s not a guy who lacks confidence,” Moore said. “When you have a player with the traits that he has — amazing play strength and can catch the football, good top-end speed — when you put it all together, he has a chance to go out there each week and have a heckuva day.”

Moore commended Burks for the work and preparation he put in while on IR that helped keep him connected and immersed in what the team does philosophically. That kept Burks from having to start all over when he came back.

It’s no coincidence that Tannehill’s two best passing days this season came in games where Burks had his best games. Burks’ 111 receiving yards contributed to Tannehill’s passing game over 300 yards (333) this season. Tannehill finished with 291 passing yards last week against the Cincinnati Bengals — with Burks accounting for 70 yards.

The confidence Tannehill has developed in Burks showed in a 51-yard completion against the Bengals. Burks had 0.5 yards of separation, but Tannehill unleashed a 51-yard play-action bomb to him anyway. Burks skied over Bengals cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt to make the catch.

That was the third time that Tannehill and Burks connected for a gain of 40 or more yards — with Burks hauling in passes of 43 and 51 yards against Green Bay. Each of those passes traveled at least 30 yards in the air.

Up until the Packers game, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine’s 61-yard reception against the Washington Commanders in Week 5 was the only completion the Titans had in which the ball traveled at 30 yards in the air.

Simply put, Burks adds a different element to the passing game. His deep catching ability is critical to making teams pay for stacking the box to stop Henry, which offers one-on-one matchups on the outside.

Burks’ 51-yard catch against Green Bay is the perfect example. The Packers loaded the box late in the game expecting Henry to run the ball. Burks was one on one against Jaire Alexander, one of the league’s top cover cornerbacks. The rookie beat Alexander deep and caught the pass from Tannehill to get the first down and seal the game.

That success should open up the passing game and influence offensive coordinator Todd Downing to dial up more passing plays.

“It brings confidence to the passing game,” Titans receiver Robert Woods said of Burks’ recent success. “We have playmakers who can go out there and make plays. Treylon has shown that. Then to be a receiver on the other side of that, having him make plays down the field backs the defense up and allows guys to work underneath. It creates more space against these zones and opens up the passing game.”

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Patriots’ Mac Jones — ‘Let emotions get to me’ in loss to Bills

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones’ frustration boiled over on the sideline during Thursday night’s 24-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, but he said it wasn’t directed at anyone specifically.

The Prime Video broadcast showed Jones at one point as he appeared to be saying, “Throw the f—ing ball! The quick game sucks!”

The Patriots played from behind for the final three quarters, and Jones detailed afterwards that he was calling for deeper throws down the field.

“Obviously, I just kind of let my emotions get to me,” he said. “What I said was about throwing it deeper within the short game. I got to execute that part better. But it’s the short game that we kept going to, which is working. But I felt like we needed chunk plays. I shouted that out to kind of get everyone going. That’s emotional. That’s football. I’m passionate about this game.

“Obviously, you don’t want to let your emotions get the best of you. I think that’s pretty much it. It wasn’t directed at anybody. Just emotion coming out. We kind of needed a spark.”

Jones said he believed he was on the same page as the coaching staff, specifically with Matt Patricia, who calls in the plays to him.

“It was just [saying], ‘Let’s go for it, let’s be aggressive, let’s take those shots. Just go down fighting,'” Jones said. “Matty P was on the same page. We kind of did it there at the end and moved it a little bit more.”

Jones finished 22-of-36 for 195 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. He hasn’t looked like the same quarterback for most of his second season after a rookie year in which he was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

There have been significant changes around Jones. Coordinator Josh McDaniels left to become head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after the 2021 season, and head coach Bill Belichick tapped former NFL head coaches Patricia and Joe Judge as top replacements despite their primary backgrounds in the NFL coming on defense and special teams, respectively .

Belichick also oversaw a streamlining of the offense, with players saying a goal was to simplify it and allow them to play faster.

But the Patriots (6-6) have sunk to near the bottom of the league rankings in several key areas, including red zone (31st), third-down conversion (25th) and first downs gained per game (27th). Those areas proved problematic again Thursday night against the Bills, who held a time-of-possession edge of 38:08 to 21:52.

Jones pointed the finger at himself.

“When you’re playing from behind against a pretty good team and a good offense, you need to go out there and make better plays,” he said. “That starts with me. Definitely wasn’t good enough by me. I didn’t do a good enough job of getting ahead early, making it work. … It’s tough to watch the defense play a great game, not being able to give them anything back.”

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2022 NFL Week 13 playoff-clinching scenarios

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With just six weeks left in the 2022 NFL regular season, the playoff picture is shaping up. No team has locked its postseason spot just yet, but two have a chance to do so in Week 13.

The Minnesota Vikings could clinch the NFC North, while the Philadelphia Eagles could clinch their spot in the NFC field.

Here are the playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 13 as teams try to reach Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The playoffs begin Jan. 14, with 14 total teams making the field, seven from the NFC and seven from the AFC.

Opponent: New York Jets (7-4) | Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Minnesota clinches NFC North division title with:


Opponent: Tennessee Titans (7-4) | Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Philadelphia clinches playoff berth with:

  • PHI win + WAS loss + SF loss or tie + SEA loss or tie (as long as both SF and SEA each don’t tie) OR

  • PHI win + WAS tie + SF loss + SEA loss

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Lions’ Jamaal Williams gifts players and staff custom robes

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ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Christmas spirit of giving entered the Detroit Lions’ locker room early.

Running back Jamaal Williams, the NFL leader in rushing touchdowns, played the role of Santa Claus, gifting members of the offense — as well as the coaching staff — customized robes Thursday to show his appreciation for them as he’s enjoying the best season of his career.

“I like free stuff, so I know other people like free stuff,” Williams said.

The robes feature cartoon-style images of Williams flexing in a Lions uniform. He personalized the gifts by adding the individual name and number of each teammate on the back.

“I thought this was what you’re supposed to do as a vet. I’m just giving presents,” Williams said. “This is what I’ve learned growing up. I’m used to every year with [Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers] giving us Uggs or something. I’m just trying to do my best as a good vet.”

Williams, 27, has run for 734 yards and a league-high 13 rushing touchdowns in his second season in the Motor City. He spent his first four seasons in Green Bay.

Teammate Jonah Jackson was the first to sport the robe in the locker room. The Lions’ offensive tackle appreciated the gesture and ranked it in his top-three gifts he’s received from teammates over the years.

“It’s big. It just shows what kind of guy he is. He’s a selfless guy and he’s a giving guy,” Jackson said. “Something like this is awesome. You never really think to get yourself a robe and how comfortable it is, but now this might be worn to the game, walk around my house, doing duties around time like grocery shopping and I’ll put this on real quick.”

Jackson said his former teammate and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford once let them select items from the YETI website. He also recalled Lions guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai hooking the guys up with a Shinola watch and Bose speakers.

The Lions (4-7) will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday after winning three of their past four games. Williams has a chance to become the first Lions player to score a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games in a single season since Kevin Jones in 2004. His 13 rushing touchdowns are tied for the third most in a season in franchise history behind Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, who scored 16 in 1991 and 14 in 1989.



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Josh Allen leads the Bills to first AFC East win of the season over the Patriots

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — At 6-5, the New England Patriots entered Thursday Night Football two games behind the 8-3 Buffalo Bills. And while the Bills were tied with the Miami Dolphins atop the AFC East, they were 0-2 in the division.

The Bills handled the Patriots with ease Thursday, picking up a 24-10 division victory and pushing the Patriots further from playoff contention.


Buffalo Bills

For the first time since injuring his right elbow against the Jets in Week 9, quarterback Josh Allen stood near midfield and threw passes in pregame warmups. A step towards normalcy after a full week of practice.

What followed in the Bills’ 24-10 win over the Patriots was similar. Buffalo looked more in sync and closer to the team that put up dominating performances before the Week 7 bye, albeit against a struggling New England offense, and became the first team to beat the Belichick-era Patriots by double digits in three straight games.

The Bills more than doubled the Patriots’ time of possession (38:08 to 21:52) and held on to a second quarter double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. Allen looked more in control, completing 22 of 33 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with one fumble, while becoming the first player in NFL history with three seasons of 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns.

The key moment for the Bills’ offense and Allen in achieving the team’s first AFC East win of the season was a 15-play, 94-yard drive in the second half that took almost nine minutes off the clock. Buffalo proved in a crucial moment that Allen & Co. could lead a drive and put a team away.

Promising trend: The Bills got the running game going early with rookie James Cook leading the way. The ground attack helped establish two drives of seven-plus minutes — including a 15-play drive that was the longest of the season — after coming into the night with three such drives all season.

The offense had three straight scoring drives to start the game, and that went a long way when the offense fell into a lull towards the end of the second quarter and into the third. Cook also showed how dynamic he can be with significant opportunities over an entire game even with the offensive line not at its best.

Describe the game in two words: Necessary win. The Bills are in the midst of one of the team’s biggest stretches of the season with three straight games against AFC East opponents, and starting with a convincing win on the road versus the Patriots was significant for the team’s hopes for home-field advantage.

Under the radar stat that matters: Cornerback Tre’Davious White played more than 80% of the defensive snaps. For White — as he makes his way back from a torn ACL sustained last Thanksgiving — and this defense, it’s a significant step in the right direction. White played 15 snaps last week against the Lions, and the Bills clearly felt comfortable enough for him to play almost every series. After Von Miller was placed on injured reserve earlier Thursday, that’s significant news for this defense going forward.

Eye-popping NFL Next Gen Stats stat: Allen was 0.3 yards away from the sideline on his passing touchdown to wide receiver Gabe Davis in the second quarter. It was tied for the closest to the sideline on any completion since NFL Next Gen Stats began tracking players in 2016. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts also had a touchdown thrown 0.3 yards from the sideline last season against the Dallas Cowboys.

Next game: vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


New England Patriots

The New England Patriots’ offense, already ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in several key categories, sank even lower in Thursday night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.

No juice. Not a chance to win.

The Bills completely controlled the game, with a time-of-possession edge of 38:08 to 21:52.

There was such promise in quarterback Mac Jones’ rookie season in 2021, but now there are more questions than answers.

Coach Bill Belichick has said repeatedly that the buck stops with him when it comes to the offense. He made the unconventional decision to replace departed offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, two coaches whose primary backgrounds have been on defense and special teams, respectively.

Belichick also oversaw a streamlining of the offense, with players saying the goal was to hopefully allow them to play faster.

It hasn’t worked.

Entering Thursday night, the Patriots were 31st in the red zone, 30th in interception percentage, 26th in sacks taken per pass play, 27th in first downs and 25th in third-down conversions.

It only got worse Thursday night.

Describe the game in two words: Offensively offensive. This was tough to watch.

QB breakdown: Jones continues to struggle, as the offense doesn’t seem to have anything that defines itself. He finished 22-of-36 for 195 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. When opponents have pressured Jones, the results have been particularly poor. He entered Thursday with no touchdowns and five interceptions when pressured this season, with a 1.5 Total QBR. The Jets’ Zach Wilson (1.3) was the only qualified quarterback with a lower QBR in those situations. On Thursday, Jones was 5-of-13 for 25 yards on passes when pressured.

Troubling trend: Bills quarterback Josh Allen deserves credit for making a remarkable play on an 8-yard touchdown pass to receiver Gabe Davis in the second quarter, but why did the Patriots defensive backs seem to stop playing as Allen neared the sideline? That was one of several costly mistakes that continued to show up for the Patriots, which also included a delay-of-game penalty on a punt and a botched handoff on third-and-1 on the team’s initial offensive drive.

Silver lining: Third-year defensive end Josh Uche was one of the best players on the field. He had two first-half sacks, one of which forced a fumble. In the first half alone, he was credited with five quarterback pressures, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That was a career high.

Eye-popping NFL Next Gen Stats Stats: Rookie defensive back Marcus Jones, playing wide receiver, reached a high speed of 20.88 miles per hour on his 48-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the first quarter.

Next game: at Cardinals (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday)

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Patrick Mahomes reveals Matt Nagy helped him during the Chiefs pre-draft visit

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before they picked him in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs found a lot to like about then-Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Among the factors in Mahomes’ favor was how he dissected plays flawlessly on a whiteboard for coach Andy Reid and others on the offensive staff during his pre-draft visit to Kansas City.

Now, Mahomes revealed he had the answers to the test, so to speak. Speaking on the latest episode of the “New Heights” podcast hosted by teammate Travis Kelce and Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce that premiered on Thursday, Mahomes said then-Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy tipped him to the plays Reid would ask him to go through.

Nagy is now the Chiefs’ quarterback coach.

“Of course,” Mahomes said, “I crushed the meeting.”

That year, the Chiefs invited other quarterbacks to Kansas City for pre-draft visits, including then-Clemson Tigers signal-caller Deshaun Watson. But that was more for show. They had a clear favorite in Mahomes.

“I think it was very safe to say that there was a major consensus in our building of who we liked,” Nagy said Thursday. “You put the [Mahomes] tape on, you started watching and you can’t put the clicker down and you just watched more and more and more.”

As for whether he tipped plays to Mahomes so he could ace the whiteboard test for Reid, Nagy said, “Maybe a little bit.”

“Patrick did a hell of a job on the test,” he said. “The coach was giving him some good questions on the plays. And Patrick, he knew what he was doing. He was impressive.”

The Chiefs traded with the Buffalo Bills to go from the 27th spot to the 10th to draft Mahomes. John Dorsey, the Chiefs’ general manager at the time, said afterwards he felt 10 was the sweet spot for Mahomes since it put the Chiefs ahead of other interested teams, including the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals.

Mahomes said after the draft he wasn’t certain where he would be selected and thought it might be as late as the second or third round. But he said on the podcast he wanted to go to the Chiefs and told them other teams had said they were interested in drafting him in the first round as well.



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Josh Allen works magic, connects with Gabe Davis for Bill’s TD

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Josh Allen is known for making some amazing throws, and he added another wild one to his collection Thursday to stretch the Buffalo Bills’ lead over the New England Patriots in the second quarter.

On third down from the New England 8-yard line, Allen stepped back in the pocket and quickly scrambled to his right with pressure coming. Allen kept moving as linebacker Mack Wilson Sr. pulled on the back of his jersey, with the quarterback shaking him off to make a throw from the sideline as Wilson fell towards Allen’s feet. The pass into the end zone was a TD for wide receiver Gabe Davis and stretched the Bills’ lead to 17-7. It was Davis’ first catch of the game.

Allen’s time to throw on the touchdown was 6.34 seconds, per NFL Next Gen Stats. It was Allen’s fifth career passing touchdown taking at least six seconds to throw, tied for second most in the NFL with Russell Wilson over the past five seasons. The only quarterback with more during that span is Patrick Mahomes (9).

On the throw, Allen was 0.3 yards away from the sideline, tied for the closest to the sideline on any completion since NFL Next Gen Stats began tracking players in 2016.



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