NFL Week 13: Facts, Stats, Insights on all games

Nov 26, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws the ball in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws the ball in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at NFL Games This Week

Thursday Night: Dallas Cowboys 41, Seattle Seahawks 35

Broncos (6-5) at Texans (6-5)

1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: HOU -3.5 (47.5)

PLOT LINE: From Week 9-12, the Broncos have held opposing quarterbacks to a QBR of 31.9 (fourth-lowest) and are keeping opposing offenses to 18.0 points per game (13th-lowest). But Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud has a QBR of 68.3 (fifth-best) during that same span. This matchup will be the collision of one strength vs. another.

CRYSTAL BALL: The Broncos will do what only three other teams have done so far this season -- force Stroud into multiple turnovers. Stroud has only three games -- wins over Arizona and Cincinnati to go with a loss to Indianapolis in his second career start -- when he has turned the ball over more than once. The Broncos have 16 takeaways during their current five-game winning streak, with 15 of those occurring in the past four games (their most in a four-game span since 1989). Their 22 takeaways on the season lead the league.

STAT STUFF: Broncos QB Russell Wilson has five straight starts with a passing touchdown and no interceptions, the longest active streak in the NFL and third-longest streak of his career behind a six-game streak in 2020 and a seven-game run in 2019. Wilson has an NFL-best 20-4 touchdown-interception ratio this season.

X & O FACTOR: Texans left guard Juice Scruggs. When Tytus Howard suffered a knee injury last week Scruggs replaced him, and that looks like a long-term move now that Howard is out for the season. The second-round rookie put up a strong 96% pass block win rate in that game but is obviously unproven. Protecting Stroud will be critical, both on Sunday and going forward.

WANNA BET? The Texans are 0-7 against the spread (ATS) in their past seven games as favorites, including 0-4 ATS this season.

 Colts (6-5) at Titans (4-7)

1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: IND -1 (42.5)

PLOT LINE: The Titans will look to minimize the Colts' rushing attack after allowing 193 yards on the ground the last time they met. Tennessee will have defensive tackle Teair Tart this time around, which will boost the run defense. The Colts will be without Jonathan Taylor (thumb), but Zack Moss' 672 rushing yards place him 10th in the NFL. The Titans pride themselves on stopping the run and will have their hands full against the Colts' offense that is 11th in the league with 1,335 yards on the ground.

CRYSTAL BALL: Look for the Colts to give up more than 150 rushing yards given their recent struggles defending the run. Indianapolis has struggled since the loss of nose tackle Grover Stewart to a PEDs suspension. Since Stewart was sidelined in Week 7, the Colts have allowed 4.9 yards per attempt, up from 3.7 in Weeks 1-6. Titans running back Derrick Henry was limited to 43 yards and 3.3 yards per carry in the teams' first meeting with Stewart on the field.

STAT STUFF: Henry has 1,330 rushing yards in 15 career games against Indianapolis, the third most all-time vs. the Colts, trailing Curtis Martin (1,645 in 15 games) and Maurice Jones-Drew (1,451 in 15 games).

X & O FACTOR: Moss. Even after taking a backseat role to Taylor, Moss ranks second among all players in rush yards over expectation (per NFL Next Gen Stats) this season with plus-168. The only player he's behind is another running back who has had limited playing time, the Dolphins' De'Von Achane.

WANNA BET? The Titans are 4-1 outright and ATS at home this season. And the Colts are 4-1 outright and ATS on the road this season.

 Chargers (4-7) at Patriots (2-9)

1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: LAC -5.5 (40.5)

PLOT LINE: Backup quarterback Bailey Zappe is expected to make his first start of the season for the Patriots, replacing Mac Jones, who has been pulled from four games. Zappe said he hopes to follow a similar formula to last season when he started two games that the team won, and he was able to "limit turnovers." The Chargers have a plus-three turnover differential on the season (15 takeaways, 12 giveaways).

CRYSTAL BALL: The Chargers defense will force a season-high four turnovers. One of the few things this struggling Chargers defense has done well is beating up on inexperienced quarterbacks. Khalil Mack sacked Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell six times in Week 4. They forced five turnovers combined in wins over the Zach Wilson-led Jets and Tyson Bagent-led Bears. With Zappe taking first-team reps at practice this week for the Patriots, the Chargers' defense could be in for another big performance.

STAT STUFF: Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is 0-2 in his career against the Patriots with two touchdown passes, four interceptions and a 13 Total QBR, his lowest QBR vs. a single opponent.

X & O FACTOR: Chargers run defense. It's hard to imagine the Patriots passing a ton, and no team has allowed more EPA per designed carry over the past four weeks than the Chargers. Los Angeles should roll to an easy win ... unless the defense really lets the team down.

WANNA BET? The Patriots are 2-9 ATS, the worst record in the league this season. They are 1-7 ATS in their past eight games and 0-4 ATS in their past four games. One more ATS loss will match the Patriots' most ATS losses in a season in the Bill Belichick era (6-10 ATS in 2010).

 Lions (8-3) at Saints (5-6)

1 p.m. ET | FOX | Spread: DET -4.5 (46.5)

PLOT LINE: The Saints could be down their top three receivers with Michael Thomas on injured reserve (knee), Rashid Shaheed nursing a thigh injury and Chris Olave in concussion protocol. That's bad news for an offense that failed to score a touchdown against the Falcons last week. The Saints' have struggled in the red zone, which will make it difficult to go score-for-score against a Lions offense that ranks second in yards per game.

CRYSTAL BALL: Lions QB Jared Goff won't turn the ball over this week and will throw for more than 300 passing yards. It's no secret that the veteran has struggled recently, with six turnovers over the past two games, but the Lions have placed a heavy emphasis on ball security during this week's practice as they will be looking to bounce back after a tough Thanksgiving loss at home to the Packers. Goff will get the offense back on track.

STAT STUFF: The Saints' Alvin Kamara leads all running backs with 54 receptions this season. With 355 receiving yards this season, he is seeking his seventh season with at least 400 receiving yards (would be tied for the fifth-most seasons by a running back in NFL history).

X & O FACTOR: Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond. He's coming off a 90-receiving yard game and is ranked in the top 10 in open score. Is it possible Raymond is having a late-season breakout into another target for Goff?

WANNA BET?: The Saints are 0-4 ATS at home this season. The Lions are 4-1 ATS on the road (3-0 ATS as road favorites).

 Falcons (5-6) at Jets (4-7)

1 p.m. ET | FOX | Spread: ATL -2 (33.5)

PLOT LINE: Desmond Ridder vs. Tim Boyle isn't exactly a marquee quarterback matchup. Ridder has 18 turnovers in nine starts (5-4), while Boyle, who began the season as the third string, threw two interceptions in his first start. The Jets are seeking to avoid their eighth straight game with fewer than two touchdowns, which would be the longest streak by any team since the 2011 Rams.

CRYSTAL BALL: The Falcons have three rushers -- Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson -- who will rush for more than 50 yards, and Robinson will have more than 100 yards from scrimmage for the third straight game. As good as New York is against the pass, it is ranked No. 31 entering the week in rushing yards allowed (1,543). With the Falcons having a top-five rushing offense, all three of their main backs will thrive.

STAT STUFF: Ridder has had five red zone turnovers this season (two more than any other player); a sixth would break the tie for the most by a Falcons player over the last 40 seasons.

X & O FACTOR: Boyle. There's no reason to believe he's up for this job based on his track record in college, in the pros and last week -- when he recorded a QBR of 4.6. He has the chance to prove folks wrong, I suppose. The Jets need him to.

WANNA BET?: The Falcons are 0-6 ATS in their last six games as favorites (1-6 ATS this season).

 Cardinals (2-10) at Steelers (7-4)

1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: PIT -5.5 (41.5)

PLOT LINE: After firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada, the Steelers gained more than 400 yards in a game for the first time in 58 regular season games. But the yards didn't translate into an explosion of points. That could change this week. The Cardinals' defense is second-to-last in the NFL in points allowed, giving up an average of 26.8 points per game. Arizona's rushing defense is also one of the worst in the league, giving up an average of 174 yards on the ground in its past three games.

CRYSTAL BALL: Cardinals running back James Conner will run for 125 yards. This will be a knock-down, drag-out fight between Arizona's rushing offense -- which is ranked 10th in the league in yards per game and third in yards per carry -- and the Steelers' rushing defense, which hasn't allowed more than 116 yards in its last five games, including back-to-back games of keeping its opponents under 100 yards. Conner will be ready to break out in his return to Pittsburgh, where he played his college ball and the first four years of his NFL career.

STAT STUFF: Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt has four consecutive games with one full sack, tied for the second longest streak of his career behind a six-game streak in 2019 and the second-longest active streak in the NFL behind Miami's Jaelan Phillips (five games).

X & O FACTOR: Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray's accuracy. His off-target rate (19%) is at a career-high since his return this season. Part of that is driven by him throwing the ball farther downfield on average than ever before, but even accounting for that his accuracy numbers are down. His adjusted completion percentage and completion percentage over expectation (per NFL Next Gen Stats) are also at career-lows.

WANNA BET?: The Steelers are 5-0 ATS against teams currently with losing records this season.

 Dolphins (8-3) at Commanders (4-8)

1 p.m. ET | FOX | Spread: MIA -9.5 (49.5)

PLOT LINE: Washington coach Ron Rivera will take over as the defensive playcaller for the fired Jack Del Rio; it'll be Rivera's first time calling defensive signals since 2018, when he was Carolina's head coach. It won't be easy Sunday. Miami leads the NFL with 42 offensive touchdowns while Washington has allowed the second-most with 35. Also, Miami is second with 57 plays of 20 yards or more, and Washington has allowed the most with 59.

CRYSTAL BALL: In their first game since LB Jaelan Phillips suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, the Dolphins will record at least six sacks against a Commanders' offensive line that has allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL (55). Bradley Chubb will step up and secure three himself, as the league's third-ranked pass rush continues its hot streak.

STAT STUFF: The Dolphins are seeking their seventh 30-point game this season (would be their most since eight in 1985). They have scored 44 total touchdowns this season (four more than any other team), after scoring 46 all of last season (ninth in the NFL).

X & O FACTOR: Dolphins defensive back Jalen Ramsey. With him on the field this season, the Dolphins have allowed minus-0.16 EPA per dropback (equivalent to second-best in the NFL) compared to minus-0.02 without him (still good, but not elite). They haven't faced a killer row of offenses since his return, but the team's improved defensive performance has coincided with him being on the field.

WANNA BET?: The Commanders are 3-0-1 ATS and 2-2 outright as home underdogs of at least 7.5 points under Rivera.

 Panthers (1-10) at Buccaneers (4-7)

4:05 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: TB -5 (36.5)

PLOT LINE: At 4-7 and having dropped six out of the last seven games, the Bucs are miraculously just one game out of first place in the NFC South while the 1-10 Panthers are hoping a coaching change can galvanize the team. Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield, who spent seven games with the Panthers last season, certainly expects it. "Having been in that spot before, everybody rallies around it, honestly. It's one of those things that brings people together," said Mayfield, who is expected to play despite leaving last week's game briefly with an ankle injury.

CRYSTAL BALL: Rookie quarterback Bryce Young will pass for a career-high 300 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's 31st-ranked pass defense (268.7 yards allowed per game) to give Chris Tabor a win in his debut as Carolina's interim coach. It's bold because Young hasn't topped 200 yards passing in the last four games, and his career high is 247 against Detroit, but Tabor is going to turn him loose.

STAT STUFF: Young has been sacked at least four times in seven of his 11 games this season (the most by a rookie since Blake Bortles had nine in 2014). The Panthers have allowed 43 sacks this season and are on pace for 66, which would be the second-most in franchise history (69 in 2000).

X & O FACTOR: Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns. It hasn't translated to a huge sack total (6.0), but Burns has been disruptive this season, with a 27% pass rush win rate at edge -- which only trails Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett. A big defensive game from Burns could go a long way.

What to know for fantasy: This season, the Buccaneers have leveraged the running ability and receiving ability of Rachaad White. He's averaged 18.1 touches and 15.0 fantasy points per game. White will face a Panthers defense that allows the third-most fantasy points per game to running backs.

WANNA BET?: In the last 15 seasons, teams are 19-12 ATS in their first games under new head coaches after midseason coaching changes, including 7-2 ATS since 2020.

 Browns (7-4) at Rams (5-6)

4:25 p.m. ET | FOX | Spread: LAR -3.5 (40.5)

PLOT LINE: Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is coming off a game where he threw a season-high four passing touchdowns, which was as many as he had in his previous four games combined. The Browns have allowed just 10 passing touchdowns this season, which is tied with the Ravens for the fewest in the NFL, so Stafford and the Rams face a significant challenge.

CRYSTAL BALL: Former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco has not thrown a TD pass since facing the Browns in Week 2 last season while with the Jets. But the 38-year-old, who signed with the Browns on Nov. 19, will toss a pair of TDs at SoFi Stadium in his first start with the Browns.

STAT STUFF: Puka Nacua could become the sixth player since the 1970 merger to reach 1,000 receiving yards in his first 12 games (the last one to do it was Justin Jefferson in 2020). The receiver already holds Rams rookie records for receptions (passed 2017 Cooper Kupp) and receiving yards (924, tied with 1996 Eddie Kennison).

X & O FACTOR: Rams left tackle Alaric Jackson. The Broncos slowed down (an injured) Myles Garrett in Week 12 and won. Can Jackson do the same? It's a tall task for the Rams tackle, who ranks 62nd out of 70 tackles in pass block win rate.

WANNA BET?: The Browns have covered six straight games after a loss and are 8-0-1 ATS in their past nine games after a loss (3-0 ATS this season).

 49ers (8-3) at Eagles (10-1)

4:25 p.m. ET | FOX | Spread: SF -3 (47.5)

PLOT LINE: Following their 31-7 NFC Championship Game loss to the Eagles last January, a sentiment out of the 49ers locker room was that the outcome of the game would have been much different if quarterback Brock Purdy didn't exit with an injury midway through the first quarter. They'll have a chance to back that up on Sunday. Purdy has completed over 70% of his passes this season and has a league-leading QBR of 75.6. The Eagles are 29th versus the pass (255.7 YPG) and have yielded the second-most passing touchdowns in the NFL (23).

CRYSTAL BALL: Running back Christian McCaffrey and the Niners will rush for 150-plus yards. The Eagles are allowing just 85.3 yards per game on the ground, which is third-best in the league. But they have struggled of late, yielding a combined 346 yards on the ground in the past two weeks. What's more, Philadelphia is coming off a game in which it played 92 defensive snaps and is giving up 6 yards per carry on run plays outside the tackles. The 49ers are coming in with a few extra days of rest after playing on Thanksgiving and an offense that's as healthy as it has been since early in the season.

STAT STUFF: The 49ers average 15.7 points per game in the first half, the fourth-highest mark in the NFL. The Eagles average 14.8 points in the second half, highest in the NFL. (The 49ers allow 6.6 PPG in the second half, fewest in the NFL).

X & O FACTOR: 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. It's flying a little under the radar because of Tyreek Hill's season, but Aiyuk's 3.44 yards per route run in 2023 would rank third by any player in a season since 2007, only behind Hill this season and Steve Smith in 2008. That's how good he's been, and he's one of many playmakers who could lift the 49ers over the Eagles.

WANNA BET?: The Eagles have covered three straight games and four of their last five games.

 Chiefs (8-3) at Packers (5-6)

8:20 p.m. ET | NBC | Spread: KC -6 (42.5)

PLOT LINE: The Packers are undefeated (15-0) in December since Matt LaFleur took over as coach in 2019, but they haven't played the Chiefs in the final month of the calendar year during that stretch. Jordan Love's first NFL start came at Kansas City in a 13-7 loss in November 2021. Meanwhile, this will be Patrick Mahomes' first-ever appearance at Lambeau Field.

CRYSTAL BALL: The Chiefs will sack Love four times. When defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo wants to bring pressure, the Chiefs have usually been successful this season, and they bring it from many different places. They have 14 players with at least a half sack. Love has been sacked only 22 times but hasn't faced a pass rush like this one.

STAT STUFF: The Chiefs defense uses DB blitzes on 20% of opponents dropbacks, the third-highest rate in the league. That may not be the best idea against Love on Sunday, as the Packers QB has played well against DB blitzes this season, ranking top-five in QBR, first down rate and sack percentage.

X & O FACTOR: The Packers' running game. The Chiefs defense is vulnerable against the run. Green Bay hasn't really been able to get its running game going this year -- it ranks 23rd in EPA per designed carry -- but needs its backs to step up in a big way Sunday.

WANNA BET?: Andy Reid is 0-6 ATS in his last six games against the Packers (including playoffs), and he is 0-3 ATS against them as the Chiefs coach.

 Bengals (5-6) at Jaguars (8-3)

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN | Spread: JAX -8.5 (38.5)

PLOT LINE: What should have been a marquee QB matchup between Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence is now Lawrence vs. Jake Browning. The Jaguars' pass rush is coming off one of its best games of the season (21 pressures, four sacks), and Browning has been sacked seven times in the last two games. Expect the Jaguars to bring extra rushers to try and rattle a QB making just his second career start.

CRYSTAL BALL: Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk and running back Travis Etienne Jr. will each cross the 100-yard mark. The Bengals are worst in the NFL in yards allowed per play (6.2) and have a young secondary still looking to learn the ropes. Kirk is 18th in the NFL in receiving yards, and Etienne is third in the league in scrimmage yards per game.

STAT STUFF: Cincinnati receiver Ja'Marr Chase needs 86 receiving yards for 1,000 this season. He would be the eighth player in NFL history and second Bengals player (A.J. Green) with 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons.

X & O FACTOR: Bengals edge rusher Trey Hendrickson. If the Bengals are going to win they're going to need their defense to come up big. Hendrickson can do that against backup Jaguars tackle Walker Little.

WANNA BET?: The Jaguars have covered five straight conference games. The Bengals are 1-6 ATS this season in conference games.

 --Compiled from wire, NFL, online sources. No artificial intelligence was used in the creation of this preview. In fact, one may wonder if any form of intelligence was involved. 

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