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So after the longest NFL week in history, we start week thirteen on Sunday with the games planned to roll to Tuesday night. I had a winning record in week twelve but Dan extended his lead to a whopping double digits so it would seems hard to predict that I will make a comeback at this point.

Still, I will run through our usual Competition Thursday bits as we prepare for the final week with teams on a bye, and eye up the run-in over the final quarter of the season.

Gee:Week 12:  9 – 7Overall:  83 – 95
Dan:Week 12:  10 – 6Overall:  93 – 85

Survivor Competition

Both Dan and I got back to scoring ways last week, with the Browns having to work a little harder than the Seahawks to get their win, but win both teams did. This leaves Dan a single point ahead of me going into week thirteen. It is getting harder to find teams now, but Dan has found a matchup he likes with the Broncos visiting the Chiefs, whilst I am nervously going to the well of picking against the Jets one more time to take the Raiders, but I don’t exactly feel great about it.

Current Score

Gee: 8
Dan: 9

Week 13 Selection:

Gee:    Raiders
Dan:    Chiefs

Bold Prediction of the Week

My bold prediction on the podcast this week is that the Detroit Lions will bounce back from the Matt Patricia firing and beat a struggling Chicago Bears team. Dan could not see it happening so allowed it, and I’m not exactly totally convinced but it certainly qualifies so let’s see how it goes.

Early Games:

When discussing the slate of games on the podcast Dan was not that excited about it but I found several contests that catch my eye.

I’ll start with the New Orleans Saints taking on the Atlanta Falcons, which I think could be interesting for several reasons. After an 0-5 start that saw head coach Dan Quinn fired, the Falcons have gone 4-2 under Raheem Morris and are coming off the demolition of the Raiders last week. I am particularly intrigued to see what the Falcons defense can do against Sean Payton working with Taysom Hill at quarterback. The Saints stuck to a simplified game plan last week with the Broncos not having a starting quarterback so this week’s divisional game will prove a sterner test. I can’t guarantee it will be competitive, but I have a feeling it will be.

The other game that catches my eye in the early slate is the Cleveland Browns’ visit to the Tennessee Titans. This is a meeting of two 8-3 teams who both like to run the ball a lot. I would give the advantage to the Titans given how they have played recently, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill is playing better than the Browns’ Baker Mayfield. It should be a really physical and competitive game so whilst they are not the biggest names in the NFL these days, they have been having very solid seasons and should put on a good game.

Points from the rest:

  • The Lions will be looking to bounce back from their last two poor performances after the firing of both their head coach and GM, whilst the Bears’ offence continues to struggle and though the defense maintained it’s top five ranking by DVOA, did not look that good last week. I’ve picked the Lions to win as my bold prediction of the week, but to be honest this is a hard game to read.
  • We don’t have word on whether Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa is going to start for the Dolphins but it also doesn’t feel to me like it matters that much. The line was too rich for me to back the Dolphins, but I fully expect them to win this one at home against the Bengals
  • The Texans lost receiver Will Fuller and corner Bradley Roby to PED suspensions and cut Kenny Still this week, whilst the Colts have activated Deforest Bucker from the Covid-19 list so whilst I’m curious about how competitive the Texans will be, I think the Colts should win this one
  • This week’s game has suddenly got a lot more important for the Las Vegas Raiders having lost two games in a row. That does make me nervous, but they should beat the Jets because at this point it feels like pretty much everyone should beat the Jets. That’s not to say that everyone will and after their demolition by the Falcons last week I’m not as trusting as the Raiders as I was two weeks ago.
  • The numbers suggest I should pick the Vikings, and I do expect them to win but there was more of a balance to the Jaguars offence last week with journeyman quarterback Mike Glennon starting and I think this could be a closer game than the number suggests.

Saints @ Falcons (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Lions @ Bears (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Lions
Dan’s Pick:      Bears

Bengals @ Dolphins (-11.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Browns @ Titans (-5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Browns
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Colts @ Texans (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Colts

Raiders @ Jets (+8.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Jets
Dan’s Pick:      Raiders

Jaguars @ Vikings (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Late Games:

The game that leaps out of the late games is the LA Rams coming off a tough loss taking on an Arizona Cardinals team with struggles of their own. The concern for the Rams is the play of Jared Goff, who did not look at all good against the 49ers last week and the usually ultra-positive Sean McVay criticized Goff publicly, although McVay did say he did it because he though Goff could take the challenge. The Cardinals meanwhile come into this game having lost three of their last four games with Kyler Murray nursing an injury and not running the ball as well as he was earlier in the season. This is the first time these two division rivals face off and so I expect a good contest, but I think the Rams are the most likely to win out.

Points on the Rest:

  • The New York Giants need every win they can get with them in the race for the NFC East lead, but with quarterback Daniel Jones injured it will be tough for them to win on the road. The numbers are very clear about the Seahawks being the right pick against the spread, but there’s something about the Giants where I wouldn’t be surprised if they did do something in this game, even if they are starting Colt McCoy at quarterback.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles continue to struggle and so I don’t see anything other than another difficult game for them against the Packers in Green Bay. I would  love to be proved wrong but I’m not sure where you can find hope as an Eagles fan this season and much like I was saying about the Lions earlier in the season, it is beginning to feel like there will inevitably be changes in the off-season in Philadelphia.
  • The LA Chargers have struck gold with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and with the talent on their roster they should be doing better, but this is genuinely a tough spot for them. Bill Belichick has an excellent record against rookie quarterbacks and the Chargers run defense ranks thirty-first in the league by DVOA, and the Pats are not going to miss the chance to exploit that.

Rams @ Cardinals (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

Giants @ Seahawks (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Giants

Eagles @ Packers (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Packers
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Patriots @ Chargers (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Sunday Night Football:

Broncos @ Chiefs (-13.5)

It has been a touch couple of weeks for the Broncos as having had to play without a recognised quarterback last week thanks to their quarterbacks breaking Covid-19 protocols, they travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs. The reverse matchup finished 43-16 in week seven and so whilst the Chiefs have won their last three games by close margins, they are still 10-1 and I expect the Chiefs to do well again in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Monday Night Football

Washington @ Steelers (-8.5)

We get two Monday night games this week and the first sees the Washington Football Team take on the Pittsburgh Steelers who are coming off a short week having played Wednesday. The Steelers are a good team, but having had an awkward week of preparation and game moves in week twelve, they have a short week to face Washington and whilst I think the Steelers should win, it would not be surprising to see the Football Team make this game more competitive than this line suggests given how they have been playing recently.

Gee’s Pick:      Washington
Dan’s Pick:      Steelers

Bills @ 49ers (+2.5)

The San Francisco 49ers are hosting the Buffalo Bills in Arizona thanks to not being able to train or play at their own facilities. The 49ers beat the Rams last week and starting to get some players back from injury and might have a chance to drag themselves into playoff contention. The Bills beat the Chargers solidly last week having been unlucky to lose to the Cardinals in week ten, but I think this will be a tough game for them and I would not like to predict a winner, but I do like the 49ers getting the points even if home is not actually home this week or for the rest of the season.

Gee’s Pick:      Bills
Dan’s Pick:      49ers

Tuesday Night Football

Cowboys @ Ravens (-9.5)

The Baltimore Ravens host the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday night, somehow getting the better end of the schedule this week than the Steelers despite being the cause of their game being postponed until Wednesday. Dan has picked the Ravens depending on the status of Lamar Jackson, but the problems the Ravens are having this season are more than just those caused by Covid-19 last week. The Ravens have lost four of their last five games and the offence has not looked right for the majority of this season. I don’t exactly trust this Cowboys team and particularly as Washington absolutely battered them on Thanksgiving after the Cowyboys had even more problems on the o-line, which leaves me in a conundrum. I think that Dan will likely get to stick with the Ravens as it is thought that Jackson should come off the Covid-19 list by Tuesday, but despite all my concerns about the Cowboys the numbers strongly indicate the Cowboys and given how seldom I have won going against the numbers I’m going to reluctantly back the Cowboys, but I also reserve the right to change my mind nearer the game.

Gee’s Pick:      Cowboys
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.