NFL Predictions for Week 13: Our Staff’s Best Bets for 5 Games, Including Titans vs Eagles
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Henry.
- For Week 13's eight-game slate at 1 p.m. ET, our staff has six best bets.
- Two of our analysts are backing the Titans, and we have four other games covered, as well.
- Check out our Week 13 best bets for Sunday's early slate.
Brandon Anderson: The Eagles haven’t looked the same since losing their unbeaten season. They’ve basically played the last three opponents even, and considering that was the Commanders, Colts, and Packers, that’s not great. Philadelphia ranks league average by DVOA during that stretch. The defense has slipped, and the run D has been one of the worst in the league lately. Jordan Davis is eligible to return from injured reserve but it would be a surprise to see him in a big role.
A bad run defense against Derrick Henry sets up for the perfect underdog script for Tennessee. Henry could run all over this bad run D, and the Titans are an even better first-half team than the Eagles and should come out strong and play on the front foot. The Titans are also the league’s best run defense and should limit Philly’s deadly rushing attack.
The Eagles are tremendous front runners but look surprisingly vulnerable when teams hang around. That’s exactly what Mike Vrabel’s teams tend to do as underdogs. Vrabel as a dog of three or more is 21-7 ATS, covering an impressive 75% of the time. The Titans are 19-9 straight up in those games, with a 98% ROI on the moneyline, including 8-3 SU since the start of last season.
This could go sideways. The Eagles have been great at home and the Titans won’t have a good second gear to play from behind if this starts out poorly. But if the Titans can start strong like they have all season, they have the perfect underdog script with Henry and a great defense.
I smell an upset. I’ll take the Titans, and I’m playing the moneyline too.
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Blake Krass: The Eagles have not been the same dominant Eagles the past few weeks. They were tied with the Texans at halftime, lost to the Commanders, needed a last-second score to beat Jeff Saturday’s Colts, and allowed the Packers’ struggling offense to score a season-high 33 points.
The best defense you can play against the Eagles is keeping the ball out of the offense’s hands. In the Eagles’ lone loss this year, the Commanders won the time of possession battle 40:24 to 19:36. That is how the Titans like to play. They will utilize the short pass game and let Derrick Henry do his thing against the 24th-ranked Eagles run defense (DVOA).
On the other side, the Titans have the No. 1 ranked run defense in football, per DVOA. They will attempt to make the Eagles’ offense one-dimensional, which is the best way to beat them. I think they will limit possessions in this game and make this come down to one score on either side.
I am taking the points with the Titans at +5.5 and would take them all the way down to +4. Mike Vrabel is 21-7 (75%) ATS as an underdog of 3 points or more and this is the perfect spot for his team.
John LanFranca: The Broncos have hit rock-bottom, which makes them a perfect buy in this spot. As awful as the Broncos’ offense has been this season, they would have only failed to cover this number twice. The Broncos’ defense still ranks eighth in defensive DVOA in 2022 and fourth in yards per play allowed (4.8). I am not particularly scared of a Ravens offense that has been league average (14th DVOA since Week 4, 15 DVOA since Week 9) after their hot start to open the year.
The Ravens have one the league’s least-explosive passing offenses and they very likely will find themselves in another grind of a game versus Denver. Six of the last eight Ravens games have gone under the total, while seven straight Broncos games have also fallen short of the total. Points will be a premium here, so grabbing more than a touchdown is quite the value. Over the last five seasons, games in which the total has closed under 40 points and the spread has been more than a full touchdown, the underdog has covered at a 60% rate.
Sam Farley: The Packers haven’t looked like the same team this year and Aaron Rodgers has taken a lot of flak for that. You can never discount the hold that Rodgers has had over the Bears and now he’s off the injury report he should start against Justin Fields.
We’ll be backing his new favorite target, Christian Watson, to find the end zone at a very generous +230. These past three games he’s exploded with his speed and big play ability. He leads rookie WRs in yards per route run with 2.45, leads in YAC per reception at 7.5 and despite having that bad drop at the start of the season he’s second in catch rate at 80%.
It won’t be long before the days of getting Watson at anything over +200 will be long gone, so enjoy it while you can.
Brandon Anderson: Thanksgiving gave us a trio of one-score games, and most of the attention focused on the five teams that look headed for the playoffs, but it was the one non-playoff team that caught my attention. The Lions were a trendy sleeper coming into the season before starting out 1-6, but they’re starting to look the part and are a late Buffalo comeback away from a four-game winning streak.
Detroit’s defense has quietly improved in a huge way since the bye, from one of the NFL’s worst to around average against both the run and the pass these last six games. The offense has also been great with a healthy Amon-Ra St. Brown. The attack sputtered with St. Brown injured Weeks 4-7, but the Lions rank eighth in Passing DVOA and sixth overall the rest of the season with a great top-five rushing attack.
St. Brown has become this team’s Cooper Kupp, and Jared Goff is quietly playing well too, especially on third downs. The Lions rank sixth on offense with St. Brown and 14th on defense since the bye — that’s a good football team! For comparison, the Bengals rank seventh and 12th respectively for the season, the No. 6 overall team in the DVOA rankings. Pretty good!
The Jaguars are getting all the buzz after their Ravens upset, and Trevor Lawrence was tremendous down the stretch, but Jacksonville needed 10 or 15 things to go exactly right to upset Baltimore. They did, and the Jaguars get credit! But this team’s defense has cratered after a good start, and don’t forget Jacksonville also trailed Baltimore by nine with six minutes left and by seven in the final minute, and those parts count too.
The Jaguars buzz has pushed the line in their direction, badly mispricing this game. I’d make the Lions at least a field goal favorite. Detroit is playing good football, and they’re just a better team than the Jags on both sides of the ball. The Jaguars are coming off an emotional win while the Lions had extra rest after Thanksgiving, and Jared Goff is 24-13 ATS (65%) in these early kickoffs at 1 p.m. ET or earlier, versus 26-29-2 ATS (47%) in all other games.
The wrong team is favored. Gimme the Lions and the moneyline.
Sam Farley: Deshaun Watson’s return to the field is one of the biggest storylines in the NFL this week, no less a return against the team that traded him to Cleveland.
A lot has been discussed about Watson and how he’ll play after so long out, and while I think he’ll back to his best before long, it won’t be this week as he works to shake off the rust of his suspension.
Watson’s rushing yards total sits at 26.5 and I’m taking the Under. Watson is rusty and he’s facing a Texans team that has only allowed 151 rushing yards to quarterbacks this season. They’re awful against the run in general, but, their record against QBs is good, averaging just 13.7 rushing yards allowed per game.