The Week 13 NFL schedule is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score picks.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy‘s Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk‘s Dave Bearman hand out helpful nuggets as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.
Let’s get into the full Week 13 slate, including a huge NFC West matchup between two playoff contenders. (Game times are Sunday unless otherwise noted.)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 73.1 | Spread: NO -2.5 (45)
What to watch for: Hidden in the camouflage of the Broncos playing last Sunday against the Saints with no quarterbacks available for the game was the fact Denver used a variety of coverage looks and pressures to limit Saints quarterback Taysom Hill to 78 yards passing and sacked him three times. If the Falcons can keep the Saints in third-and-long, or even third-and-midrange, they could put it in Hill’s hands and try some of the same things. — Jeff Legwold
Bold prediction: Hill will throw the first two touchdown passes of his career, and wide receiver Michael Thomas will catch his first two of this season. Both of them are long overdue, and the breakthrough will come at Atlanta, even though the Falcons’ defense has shown great improvement lately and just decimated the Raiders last weekend. — Mike Triplett
Stat to know: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has six games this season with a Total QBR of at least 80, the third most in the NFL. And he needs just three passing touchdowns for his 12th consecutive season with at least 20, which would tie for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history.
What to know for fantasy: Saints running back Alvin Kamara‘s worst two career games against the Falcons on a per-touch basis have come in his past two meetings with the division rivals. The 0.81 points per touch he averaged in Week 11 was the 11th-worst game of his professional career. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: New Orleans has covered four straight games, including in Week 11 against Atlanta. Read more.
Triplett’s pick: Saints 27, Falcons 22
Legwold’s pick: Saints 23, Falcons 16
FPI prediction: NO, 62.6% (by an average of 4.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: Jordan, Saints defense surge to No. 1: “It’s a we thing” … As Falcons improve, Morris showing he’s a serious head-coaching candidate … Falcons’ defense “put it all together,” growing under Morris
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 50.4 | Spread: TEN -6 (53.5)
What to watch for: This game is a matchup of the league’s top two rushing attacks. If it is close into the fourth quarter, it will come down to which team is able to wear the other down. With both defenses committing to stopping the run, don’t be surprised if there is an explosive play off of play-action, too. — Turron Davenport
Stat to know: Henry and Chubb rank 1-2, respectively, in the NFL in rush yards per game and 100-yard rushing games since start of last season. The Browns rank No. 1 in the NFL in rushing percentage at 50%, while the Titans are third at 47%.
What to know for fantasy: Since 2018, Henry is averaging 37.1% more fantasy points per game over the Titans’ final seven games than their first nine of the season. See Week 13 rankings.
Trotter’s pick: Titans 38, Browns 30
Davenport’s pick: Titans 35, Browns 28
FPI prediction: TEN, 67.0% (by an average of 5.9 points)
Matchup must-reads: Browns looking to prove they’re way more than just good at beating bad teams … Browns’ Chubb, Hunt present biggest challenge yet to Titans’ defense … Titans firmly in driver’s seat in AFC South race with favorable schedule ahead
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 49.3 | Spread: IND -3.5 (50)
What to watch for: Can Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton continue to torch the Texans? In 16 career games against Houston, Hilton has 85 catches for 1,537 yards and 10 touchdowns, by far the most against an AFC South team. And despite a slow start, Hilton is coming off his best outing of the season and has a history of big games at NRG Stadium. — Sarah Barshop
Bold prediction: Houston do-everything defensive lineman J.J. Watt will have his second multisack game of the season. Yes, Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has been sacked only 10 times this season, but there’s a chance starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo will miss the game with a knee injury. It’s hard enough to stop Watt with a starting tackle. It’s really difficult to contain him with a backup. — Mike Wells
Stat to know: The Texans are averaging 83.9 rushing yards per game this season, 31st in the NFL.
What to know for fantasy: For the season, Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson averages 58.1% more fantasy points per throw to Will Fuller than to all other Texans players. On Monday, Fuller was suspended for six games. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: Houston is 1-5 against the spread (ATS) against teams with winning records this season, and 3-2 ATS against all others. Read more.
Wells’ pick: Colts 27, Texans 23
Barshop’s pick: Colts 24, Texans 21
FPI prediction: HOU, 55.2% (by an average of 1.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: No longer No. 1, Colts defense hindered by slow starts … WR Fuller, CB Roby suspended six games under NFL’s PED policy … Sanchez says surgery to remove tumor “went well” … What Fuller’s suspension means for his future with Texans … Colts activate sack leader Autry off reserve/COVID-19 list … Watson: “Very important” that Texans re-sign Fuller
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 36.7 | Spread: MIN -10.5 (50.5)
What to watch for: With 82 receiving yards against Jacksonville, Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson would become just the fifth rookie to reach 1,000 receiving yards in the first 12 games of his career during the Super Bowl era. Jefferson leads all rookies with 918 receiving yards and ranks second in receptions (52) and touchdown catches (six). — Courtney Cronin
Bold prediction: Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph will have two touchdown catches. The Jaguars, Jets and Chargers have all given up a league-high nine TD catches to tight ends. Rudolph has just one this season and is coming off season highs in catches (seven) and yards (68) against Carolina. — Mike DiRocco
Stat to know: The Jaguars have allowed 24-plus points in 10 straight games this season, their longest streak of allowing 24 points in franchise history. The Vikings have scored 24-plus points in eight of their 11 games this season, but they are just 4-4 in those games.
What to know for fantasy: Jefferson has surpassed 17.5 fantasy points in back-to-back-to-back games (26 last weekend against the Panthers). See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: All six Minnesota home games have gone over the total this season. Read more.
DiRocco’s pick: Vikings 30, Jaguars 21
Cronin’s pick: Vikings 31, Jaguars 20
FPI prediction: MIN, 83.1% (by an average of 12.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Jaguars go with QB Glennon, not Minshew … Vikings’ Jefferson proves he’s up for a starring role … Marrone still focused on team’s record after GM firing … Vikings activate WR Thielen from COVID-19 list … Why Jaguars have most attractive GM opening in NFL
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 31.1 | Spread: MIA -11.5 (42.5)
What to watch for: Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard leads the NFL with seven interceptions, all over the past nine games. The NFL’s best ball hawk might get a chance to add to his pick total this weekend while facing Brandon Allen, the injury replacement for Joe Burrow at quarterback who committed two turnovers vs. the Giants last weekend. — Cameron Wolfe
Bold prediction: The Bengals will have fewer than 250 yards of total offense. Between a strong pass defense and a Bengals team that is without its starting quarterback (Burrow) and starting running back (Joe Mixon), gaining yards will be a difficult task. — Ben Baby
Stat to know: The Dolphins average 0.06 expected points added per play with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on field this season, and minus-0.08 with Tua Tagovailoa. That is equivalent to the difference between the 18th- and 31st-ranked offenses.
What to know for fantasy: Miami wide receiver DeVante Parker racked up 14 targets and 119 yards in Fitzpatrick’s return to the starting lineup. In Tagovailoa’s four starts, Parker averaged 6.3 targets and 39.8 yards per game. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: Miami has covered in six of its past seven games, and Miami is 17-6 ATS since its Week 5 bye last season, the best mark in the league. Read more.
Baby’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bengals 10
Wolfe’s pick: Dolphins 27, Bengals 13
FPI prediction: MIA, 67.9% (by an average of 6.2 points)
Matchup must-reads: Allen: From COVID-proof emergency QB to Bengals starter … Why Dolphins’ playoff push is invaluable for Tagovailoa’s growth … No matter the QB, Dolphins’ defense shows it is key to playoff run
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 20.0 | Spread: CHI -3 (44.5)
What to watch for: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky‘s time in Chicago is nearing an end, but he does usually light up the hapless Lions. In six career appearances versus Detroit, Trubisky has passed for 1,601 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions (106.0 quarterback rating), including four consecutive games with at least three touchdowns and a passer rating over 100.0. Trubisky threw for three fourth-quarter scores to lead Chicago to that improbable comeback victory at Ford Field in Week 1. — Jeff Dickerson
Bold prediction: Darrell Bevell will win his debut as the interim Detroit Lions coach as the team gets a bump from a new, changed voice. In that victory, Matthew Stafford will look like the quarterback he was in 2019, throwing for over 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the team’s most complete offensive showing of the season. — Michael Rothstein
Stat to know: The Lions are one of four teams this season without a win in a divisional game (Chargers, Jets and Bengals). In fact, they have lost nine straight divisional games, currently tied for the longest active such losing streak in the NFL (Chargers).
What to know for fantasy: Desperate for a fantasy QB? The Bears have won each of the past four meetings with the Lions, and Trubisky has thrown three touchdown passes in each one of those games (26.0 fantasy points per game in those matchups). See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: Detroit is 1-11 outright and 3-9 ATS in its past 12 division games. Read more.
Rothstein’s pick: Lions 35, Bears 21
Dickerson’s pick: Bears 23, Lions 21
FPI prediction: CHI, 61.1% (by an average of 3.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: FAQ: How will the Lions’ GM and coaching search go? Whither Stafford? … Bears’ Smith takes place among league’s elite linebackers … Lions’ “Patriots Midwest” experiment with Patricia, Quinn a costly failure
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 18.4 | Spread: LV -9 (47)
What to watch for: The Raiders have dropped two straight, jeopardizing their playoff chances, but they now face the ideal opponent. The Jets are everybody’s favorite get-well matchup. They have faced five teams that entered the game on losing streaks, ranging from two to four games, and the Jets lost them all. So, yes, the Raiders might be reeling after last weekend’s ugly defeat to the Falcons, but have no fear … the Jets are here to make it all better. — Rich Cimini
Bold prediction: Ageless Jets running back Frank Gore will rush for 100 yards for the first time since September 2019. He is coming off a season-best 74 yards in a loss to the Dolphins, and the Raiders’ run defense — ranked 13th in the NFL in allowing an average of 113.4 yards on the ground — has been more than suspect. Gore turning back the clock and keeping the Las Vegas offense off the field will keep things interesting in the Meadowlands … for a while. — Paul Gutierrez
Stat to know: Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has no passing TDs in each of his past four starts, the longest active streak in the NFL. A fifth consecutive game without a touchdown pass would tie the longest such streak by a Jets QB in the past 40 seasons (Geno Smith was the most recent to do so, in 2013).
What to know for fantasy: Gore’s carry count increased for a third straight game, and he has multiple receptions in all three of those games. This weekend, he gets the fourth-worst defense in terms of defending fantasy running backs this season. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: The over is 8-3 in Las Vegas games this season, the second-highest over percentage in the NFL this season. Read more.
Gutierrez’s pick: Raiders 28, Jets 20
Cimini’s pick: Raiders 31, Jets 21
FPI prediction: LV, 70.2% (by an average of 7.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Ruggs growing as Raiders’ deep threat, with Agholor’s help … Jets’ Gase admits he hasn’t helped Darnold develop as NFL QB … Season on the brink? How do Raiders react to “trash” showing in Atlanta? … Why is Gase (7-20) still coaching the Jets? … Jets’ Gase says playcalling now “a collaborative effort”
4:05 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 79.4 | Spread: LAR -3 (48)
What to watch for: It’ll be known early in the game just how much Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray‘s right shoulder has improved. If he starts running early, then it’s better. If he doesn’t, then it’s still an issue. Coach Kliff Kingsbury won’t run Murray on designed calls if there’s a chance of him getting hit and hurt more. But whether Murray runs will have a distinct impact and could be the difference between Arizona winning — or losing for the fourth time in five games. — Josh Weinfuss
Bold prediction: Rookie Rams running back Cam Akers will tally his first 100-rushing-yard game. The Rams have not been able to get their run game going since Week 10, but against a Cardinals defense that is allowing an average of 123 yards per game, watch for coach Sean McVay to commit to it. Akers is coming off a nine-carry, 84-yard performance in Week 12. — Lindsey Thiry
Stat to know: The Cardinals lead NFL in yards per rush (5.0), rank fourth in rush yards per game (155.9) and sit at second in run block win rate (73%). But the Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest rush yards per game (93.5) this season.
What to know for fantasy: Cause for concern? The Rams have been the best defense against fantasy receivers this season, and three of DeAndre Hopkins‘ four worst games this season have come since Arizona’s Week 8 bye. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: Arizona is 12-6-1 ATS as an underdog under Kingsbury. And it’s 5-3 ATS as a home underdog under Kingsbury, with all five covers also going over the total. Read more.
Thiry’s pick: Rams 28, Cardinals 20
Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 24, Rams 21
FPI prediction: LAR, 53.7% (by an average of 1.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: Rams’ Goff vows to do better after loss, criticism … Have teams cracked the code on Cardinals’ Murray? … Rams coach McVay says Goff “has got to take better care of the football” … Cardinals first-round pick Simmons finding “the flow of it”
Mike Clay explains why he feels good about starting Robert Woods against the Cardinals’ defense.
4:05 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 46.8 | Spread: SEA -10 (47.5)
What to watch for: Keep an eye on Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf versus New York cornerback James Bradberry. The NFL’s leading WR has been getting lots of attention from opposing defenses’ top corners this season, with mostly good results. Metcalf set a career high with 177 yards on Monday night while doing most of his damage against Darius Slay. He figures to see plenty of Bradberry on Sunday. — Brady Henderson
Bold prediction: Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett will have double-digit receptions. The Giants’ defensive weaknesses include their CB2 and slot cornerback. That sets up perfectly for Lockett, who is 10th in the NFL with 33 catches out of the slot for 352 yards. — Jordan Raanan
Stat to know: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson ranks fifth in QBR (78.1) versus zone coverage this season with nine touchdowns, which trails only Patrick Mahomes’ 11. The Giants utilize zone coverage on 66.1% of opponent dropbacks, the second-highest rate this season (Panthers at 69.7%).
What to know for fantasy: Giants running back Wayne Gallman has rushed for a touchdown in five consecutive games, but more important for the sustainability of his status as a top-20 fantasy running back, he matched a season high with five targets in Week 12. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Giants have covered in eight of their past nine road games. Read more.
Raanan’s pick: Seahawks 27, Giants 16
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 27, Giants 14
FPI prediction: SEA, 86.2% (by an average of 14.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: McCoy, plunged into playoff race, brings grit to Giants’ offense … From anemic to awesome: Seahawks’ pass rush has done a 180 … Giants’ Barkley rehabs ACL, meniscus injuries … Seahawks WR Gordon reinstated for last two weeks
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 60.9 | Spread: GB -9 (47.5)
What to watch for: From the Aaron Rodgers never forgets file: The Eagles beat the Packers in Week 4 of last season when they picked off Rodgers at the goal line with 20 seconds left to seal the game. Since then, the Packers quarterback has thrown 53 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 23 regular-season games. He needs three touchdown passes to reach 400 for his career. Drew Brees currently owns the record for fastest to 400 touchdown passes (205 games); Rodgers has played in 192. — Rob Demovsky
Bold prediction: Packers running back Aaron Jones will find the end zone twice. He hasn’t had a multiple-touchdown game since Week 2 against the Lions, but with the Eagles focused on Rodgers and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox dealing with a neck injury, Jones will lead the scoring charge for the Packers. — Tim McManus
Stat to know: Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has an off-target rate of 23.3% this season, which ranks last in the NFL. The Eagles quarterback was ranked 11th out of 32 QBs in the category last season at 16.6%.
What to know for fantasy: Jones hasn’t been the fantasy superstar we had hoped for over the past two months, but he did average 5.3 yards per carry against a tough Bears defense last weekend and has hauled in 15 of 17 targets over his past four games. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: Philadelphia is 1-4 ATS on the road this season. Read more.
McManus’ pick: Packers 27, Eagles 17
Demovsky’s pick: Packers 30, Eagles 21
FPI prediction: GB, 72.8% (by an average of 8.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Eagles activate Ertz, add Johnson to IR … Rodgers for (his third) MVP? Packers QB squarely in the race now … Eagles coach Pederson given no assurance he’ll finish season … Gary, Savage start to make Packers’ 2019 draft look better … NFL execs predict Wentz’s future: Why his contract is such a burden for the Eagles … Happy 37th birthday, Rodgers, here’s a first-round WR for a change
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 38.7 | Spread: EVEN (47.5)
What to watch for: Can Justin Herbert outduel Cam Newton? He has six 300-yard passing games, tied for most by a rookie in NFL history (Andrew Luck in 2012). And with four more passing touchdowns, he’d tie Baker Mayfield for the rookie record of 27. — Shelley Smith
Bold prediction: After the Patriots’ Gunner Olszewski saw a punt-return TD nullified by a penalty last weekend, he will take one to the house against a Chargers special-teams unit that has had its struggles in 2020. — Mike Reiss
Stat to know: Newton has four passing touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. That 0.44 TD-INT rate is the second worst by a quarterback with 250 pass attempts in a season in the past decade out of 344 qualifying QB seasons (Jimmy Clausen was at 0.33 in 2010).
What to know for fantasy: Over the past four weeks, Chargers tight end Hunter Henry ranks top-five at the position in targets, catches and fantasy points. Over that stretch, his 1.3 end-zone targets per game ranks seventh in the league across all positions. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Chargers have failed to cover in five consecutive games. Read more.
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 27, Chargers 23
Smith’s pick: Patriots 24, Chargers 23
FPI prediction: NE, 51.4% (by an average of 0.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: How Patriots’ Belichick connected with an innovative Arkansas high school coach … Chargers’ Bosa more concerned with getting wins than setting records … Belichick sticking with Newton as Patriots’ offense eyes spark … Taylor won’t file grievance vs. Chargers, source says
8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 55.8 | Spread: KC -14 (51)
What to watch for: Can the Broncos generate enough offense to keep up with the Chiefs? The Chiefs have outscored the Broncos 96-25 in the past three games between the two teams, with the margins being 24, 20 and 27 points. So Denver has to figure out a way to move the ball and score some points. The Chiefs haven’t been playing well of late on defense, but the prospect still seems dim for the Broncos. Even discounting last weekend’s QB-less disaster against the Saints, they’re averaging fewer than 21 points per game. — Adam Teicher
Bold prediction: Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, a native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, will throw his first career touchdown pass against the team he watched growing up. In two career starts against the Chiefs, he has twice had at least 40 pass attempts, and none has gone for a TD. Lock needs some of his best work in this one, given he’s taking some heat for missing last weekend’s game after failing to abide by COVID-19 protocols and is still in a season-long audition for the future. Oh, and the Chiefs are going for their 11th win in a row in this long rivalry. — Jeff Legwold
Stat to know: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has won seven consecutive prime-time games, and his 36 passing touchdowns in his 14 career prime-time starts is already the most by a player through his first 15 prime-time starts in the Super Bowl era.
What to know for fantasy: Don’t sleep on Denver receiver KJ Hamler. He saw 26 targets in the three games prior to the Week 12 mess, and nearly 72% of yards gained in the NFL this season when playing from behind have been gained through the air. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: This is the second straight game that Denver is a double-digit underdog. It hasn’t been a double-digit underdog twice in the same season since 1975. Read more.
Legwold’s pick: Chiefs 28, Broncos 20
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 30, Broncos 17
FPI prediction: KC, 88.6% (by an average of 16.0 points)
Matchup must-reads: Coaching disciples of Chiefs’ Reid have hard time replicating his success … Success, trust and burnt ends: Why everyone loves Chiefs coach Reid … Four Broncos QBs fined by team for not wearing masks … What did Chiefs receiver Hill first think of Mahomes? “Trash” … How lining up against his wife helped Broncos’ Bolles earn big payday
Monday, 5 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 61.5 | Spread: PIT -8.5 (42)
What to watch for: Coming off an ugly win against the Ravens, the Steelers are working on a short week and facing a Washington team that had extra time to get ready for the NFL’s lone undefeated team. The Steelers will likely still be without running back James Conner and center Maurkice Pouncey (COVID-19 list), meaning they’ll be short-handed against a sneaky good defensive team that has proved to be solid against the pass and the run. — Brooke Pryor
Bold prediction: The Steelers’ offense has not been about hitting downfield passes this season; its receivers average an NFL-low 10.23 yards per catch. But Pittsburgh will have one 50-plus-yard touchdown on Monday against a defense that has allowed an NFL-worst six catches of 50-plus yards. — John Keim
Stat to know: Washington quarterback Alex Smith is averaging 4.91 air yards per pass attempt, the shortest among 33 qualified passers. It is the lowest mark by any passer with at least 150 attempts in a season since it was first tracked in 2006. But 58.2% of Washington’s receiving yards have come after the catch, the highest rate in the NFL this season, and Terry McLaurin leads all wide receivers with 445 yards after the catch.
What to know for fantasy: Washington running back Antonio Gibson set or matched season highs in rush attempts (20), catches (five) and targets (seven) during the Thanksgiving win over the Cowboys. But it is worth noting that Gibson is averaging 27.7 fantasy points per game against the Cowboys this season and 14 against the rest of the NFL. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Steelers are 8-3 ATS, tied with the Dolphins for best ATS record in the league. Read more.
Keim’s pick: Steelers 24, Washington 17
Pryor’s pick: Steelers 17, Washington 14
FPI prediction: PIT, 74.0% (by an average of 8.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: Gibson still developing, but making big impact for Washington … Torn ACL confirmed for Steelers’ Dupree, source says … Bell “ringing” for Dupree’s replacement, and Steelers hope he responds
Adam Schefter reports the effect that Bud Dupree’s injury could have on the Steelers’ postseason chances.
What to watch for: This has been another wild week in the most unusual of seasons for the 49ers, who are coming off an emotional victory against the Rams and now must regroup while relocating to Arizona for at least the next three weeks. Bills quarterback Josh Allen‘s mobility presents a big challenge for San Francisco’s defense, but it’s also fair to wonder if the late-season move to the desert and its fallout will have an adverse effect on the Niners in a game they’ve got to have to stay in the NFC playoff race. — Nick Wagoner
Bold prediction: As Buffalo plays its second of at least three games without wideout John Brown, Gabriel Davis will register the first 100-yard game of his career, finishing as the Bills’ leading receiver for the second straight game. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Stat to know: Niners wide receiver Deebo Samuel‘s 1,293 career yards from scrimmage is the sixth most through two seasons by a 49ers WR, trailing Jerry Rice (2,595), Dave Parks (2,047), Gene Washington (1,807), Terrell Owens (1,456) and Michael Crabtree (1,366). And Samuel has missed time with an injury and still has five games to play this season.
What to know for fantasy: Bills wideout Stefon Diggs ranks third in the league in both catches and targets per game. That’s an elite résumé, and the elite receivers who have faced the 49ers this season have lit them up. Davante Adams, DK Metcalf and DeAndre Hopkins all surpassed 29 fantasy points in this spot, averaging 34.2 in the process. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: The over is 8-3 in Buffalo games this season, tied for the second-highest mark in the league. Read more.
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 31, 49ers 18
Wagoner’s pick: Bills 23, 49ers 20
FPI prediction: SF, 55.4% (by an average of 1.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Keeping Fromm isolated as emergency QB hasn’t been easy for Bills … 49ers to play Weeks 13-14 home games in Arizona … Daboll makes trick plays part of Bills’ creative attack … 49ers’ Shanahan says Arizona “best scenario for us”
Tuesday, 8:05 p.m. ET | Fox/NFL Network
Matchup rating: 42.2 | Spread: N/A
What to watch for: On Saturday, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson will complete his 10-day quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, but it’s unknown how effective the reigning NFL MVP will be with one expected practice. Jackson gets a favorable matchup with the Cowboys, the only team in the NFL that is allowing more than 30 points per game. — Jamison Hensley
Bold prediction: Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant will catch a touchdown pass against his former team. He set the Cowboys’ franchise record with 73 touchdown receptions from 2010 through 2017, but his most recent touchdown came on Dec. 10, 2017. There will be nothing better for Bryant than to “throw up the X” against the Cowboys. — Todd Archer
Stat to know: The Cowboys are scoring on just 50% (17 of 34) of their drives that reach the red zone, the fourth-worst mark in the league this season. And they have scored just three touchdowns on 12 red zone drives since Week 7 (that 25% mark is the worst over that span), with all three coming in the victory over the Vikings.
What to know for fantasy: Earlier this season with Dak Prescott at QB, Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott caught at least six passes in three straight games. Elliott had six catches in all of November. See Week 13 rankings.
Betting nugget: Dallas is 2-9 ATS this season, the worst cover percentage in the NFL. Read more.
Archer’s pick: Ravens 30, Cowboys 17
Hensley’s pick: Ravens 30, Cowboys 10
FPI prediction: BAL, 81.6% (by an average of 12.0 points)
Matchup must-reads: Cowboys continue to work through grief after death of Paul … Inside the outbreak: The latest in the Ravens’ COVID-19 saga … Cowboys to get live look at next opponent as Ravens play Wednesday … From Griffin to Dez: Meet the Ravens’ outbreak replacements … Jones has no sympathy for Broncos’ QB issues, given Cowboys’ own woes
Cleveland Browns’ Jarvis Landry says Odell Beckham Jr. looks ‘amazing’ after knee surgery
EASTLAKE, Ohio — Odell Beckham Jr.’s knee looks fine for football. His softball swing still needs work.
The Browns wide receiver, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last season, took part Saturday in teammate Jarvis Landry‘s charity softball event, which drew 7,000 fans and included Cleveland stars Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield as well as Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.
Beckham struggled in the home run hitting contest, popping up several pitches and completely missing a few, but Landry reported that his speedy teammate looked fully recovered when they worked out together this past week in Austin, Texas.
“Man, he looked amazing,” Landry told reporters. “I can’t wait for you guys to see him. I can’t wait for him to get back out there. He’s in fantastic shape and he’s ready to go. He’s only what, 6½ months [beyond surgery], and he’s already doing some things that will blow your mind away.”
OBJ with a couple swing and misses here pic.twitter.com/nqFcwIyBUg
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) June 12, 2021
The Browns are counting on Beckham as they look to build off a playoff appearance and postseason win last season. Beckham missed out on the fun after suffering a torn right anterior cruciate ligament in the opening minutes of Cleveland’s Oct. 25 game in Cincinnati.
Beckham underwent surgery a few weeks later and was unable to contribute as the Browns ended their long playoff drought, then beat rival Pittsburgh in the wild-card game.
He has been periodically posting social media videos of his rehab progress, and Landry isn’t surprised his good friend appears to be ahead of schedule.
“I don’t expect nothing less from Odell,” Landry said. “That’s his character and that’s who he is. He’s a guy who’s always going to train hard and be prepared.”
During the workouts in Texas, which were hosted by Mayfield, Beckham showed Landry he’s where he needs to be.
“He ran a post route, sticking off the same injured leg and exploding out of it, then going up, jumping off that same leg and making a catch, doing his thing — what he does with one hand,” Landry said. “You sit back and you’re like, ‘Wait. He’s even better than he was last year.'”
Beckham is expected to be at mandatory minicamp this week with the Browns.
Kelce, a proud Clevelander, showed love to his hometown by wearing an Indians jersey and cap. He wasn’t taking any chances.
“I’m at home, but it’s still enemy territory,” Kelce said. “It’s so weird. It’s a weird feeling.”
He has watched the Browns upgrade their roster over the past few months. And while he’s not ready to call them a rival, he’s seen enough to consider them a threat.
“I would say they’re definitely a contender, without a doubt,” he said. “It’s definitely there. Baker and the gang have upped the ante, made this team an unbelievable team and a team you have to prepare for and take serious. I think that moving forward without a doubt I can see a lot more playoff games between us.
“I think the Browns and Chiefs are definitely neck and neck for sure.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Stephon Gilmore’s contract status in spotlight at New England Patriots camp – New England Patriots Blog
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts/notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:
1. Gilmore’s mindset: Linebacker Dont’a Hightower‘s return to the practice field Thursday after opting out of the 2020 season represented a key piece falling into place for the Patriots, and this week could provide clarity on another big one — cornerback Stephon Gilmore‘s mindset on playing for the team at his current salary.
Gilmore is required to report for the start of the three-day mandatory minicamp Monday or will be subject to fines that could total $93,085 — which breaks down to $15,515 for the first missed day, $31,030 for the second missed day and $46,540 for the third missed day.
For players seeking a sweetened contract, or who might be displeased with the pace of negotiations or with their situation with a team, staying away from mandatory minicamp is often a first leverage point of sorts — a way to let the team know there is an intention to dig in with negotiations.
Gilmore is entering the final year of his five-year, $65 million pact and is scheduled to earn a base salary of $7 million — well below market value for a player of his caliber.
But part of the reason for the low figure is the club previously moved $4.5 million of his 2021 base salary into 2020. That was an acknowledgment from the Patriots that Gilmore’s original 2020 salary ($10.5 million) was worthy of an adjustment after he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Gilmore hasn’t been attending voluntary organized team activities this year (he has in the past), although it’s unclear how much of that is tied to the contract.
Now, will Gilmore show up to mandatory minicamp? And if he doesn’t, could an excused absence be a consideration from the team?
Answers should help fill in the all-important context of how both sides view the situation.
2. Cam’s return: When the Patriots return to the field Monday, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Cam Newton is back under center, which reflects that his right hand injury isn’t serious. Teammates welcomed Newton at Friday’s voluntary OTA, and word is the QB1 threw the ball around a bit.
3. No ‘Love’ for ‘Mac’: In the Green Bay Packers‘ final practice of their mandatory minicamp last week, quarterback Jordan Love took 26 of the 31 total repetitions in 11-on-11 drills, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. Contrast that to the Patriots’ practice Thursday and Mac Jones getting 8 of 34 repetitions in what might be viewed as “competitive” 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills.
It highlights differing philosophies of the coaching staffs, with Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur saying he wants to get Love as many reps as possible in case he is needed in place of Aaron Rodgers. In New England, coach Bill Belichick has stressed the spring is a time for teaching all players, which sets them up best to compete for jobs in July’s training camp.
4. Uche in the nickel: Linebacker Josh Uche seemed to be practicing at an elevated tempo from the linemen across from him in practice the past two weeks, which might be a reflection of his excitement to be on the field after a rookie season in which he usually wasn’t.
The 2020 second-round draft pick from Michigan doesn’t necessarily fit in the traditional box for a Patriots inside linebacker in the base 3-4 defense, nor does he carry the weight (255 to 260 pounds) that former Patriots outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich says is critical to setting the edge at that position. But after watching three spring practices, the best way to view the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Uche might be more through the lens of the nickel defense, which the Patriots play 85% (or more) of the time anyway.
Uche’s knack for bending the edge as a rusher, and his athleticism to play more in space are assets to tap in a six-man box. Seems as if it has been a solid spring for Uche.
5. Where’s Wino? While Uche rises, 2019 third-round pick Chase Winovich seems to be falling into a different category. Not seeing as much of him. The free-agent signings of linebackers Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy, paired with Uche coming on and Hightower returning Thursday, have Winovich looking at a different picture than this time last year.
6. Mills’ versatility: The past two practices provided a nice snapshot of why assistant coach Brian Belichick said of free-agent signee Jalen Mills: “If anyone is a pure DB, it’s him, because he’s played everywhere.” Mills had been working at safety alongside 2020 top pick Kyle Dugger early in spring practices, but with veteran safeties Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips returning last week, he moved to cornerback. Mills did get twisted around on one long sideline catch by wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson on Thursday.
7. Asiasi’s growth: Second-year tight end Devin Asiasi looks like a different player, and he is one of several Patriots who stand out when considering the benefits of spring practices for younger players. Wide receiver Isaiah Zuber and Uche are among the others who fall into that category.
Asiasi (6-foot-3, 257 pounds) had one of the best plays of practice Thursday, hauling in a deep pass from Brian Hoyer, with Dugger in coverage. The play sparked a thought: For all the possibilities a two-tight-end set of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry presents, there’s also intriguing potential with a three-tight-end package that includes Asiasi, the 2020 third-round pick.
8. Adams a sleeper? At one point in Thursday’s practice, fifth-year defensive tackle Montravius Adams was on the field with Judon, Hightower, Van Noy and Uche, which could be an early sign he is a player to watch in the competition for a roster spot. The 6-foot-4, 304-pound player was a 2017 third-round draft pick by the Packers out of Auburn, and he has made an early impression on D-line coach DeMarcus Covington with his work ethic and by buying into the team’s culture. Adams dealt with a painful toe injury last season and recently said: “Since I’ve been here, they’ve helped me with the injury. My toe is starting to get a lot better.”
9. Weather helps: Bill Belichick pointed out how some “good Boston weather” helped the team in spring practices from a conditioning standpoint. He might have had practices on Monday and Tuesday of last week in mind, as they were held in uncharacteristically humid 90-degree conditions for this time of year. Over 10 sessions, the average temperature was right around 80 degrees, and practices would sometimes end with players running the hill.
10. Did You Know? In overall circumference, footballs used in college can be up to 1 1/4 inches smaller than in the NFL, which was a point highlighted by undrafted rookie Patriots kicker Quinn Nordin of Michigan when he said: “You’re hitting a different ball now. I’m still learning, trying to figure out the new balls. The college balls are skinnier.”
For Ravens’ Patrick Queen, full offseason means full speed ahead – Baltimore Ravens Blog
Queen’s score against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5 last season represented more than his first career touchdown. It was surprisingly the first time he felt like he was up to speed physically.
“It’s insane. Last year, I didn’t go into the season in shape at all,” Queen said. “I came in like 240-something, couldn’t catch my breath when we were running.”
One of the top rookies in the league last year, Queen made this startling statement to explain the biggest difference between last year and this one. The pandemic led to the cancellation of all in-person workouts last spring and an abbreviated training camp, all of which put Queen and a lot of first-year players behind.
This year, Queen already had three weeks of workouts prior to Baltimore’s mandatory minicamp. He’s been taking rep after rep in the heat while wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
“It’s just so hard when you’re not doing any football activity outside of working out, so that last offseason was terrible,” Queen said. “I came into [last] season, and I was like, ‘Bro, this is going to be a long season for me to get in shape.’ So, it took me like five games to get in shape, finally.”
Queen’s first season was filled with plenty of splash plays and some stumbles. He finished third in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting — behind Washington’s Chase Young and Carolina’s Jeremy Chinn — which irked him. “Top 3 my a–,” Queen tweeted immediately afterward.
The 28th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Queen led the NFL’s No. 7 defense with 105 tackles. To put that in perspective, that’s five fewer tackles than what Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Lewis had as a rookie.
Queen’s most memorable hit was when he met a leaping Washington running back Peyton Barber at the goal line with his right forearm, knocking Barber backwards off the pile. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he became the first rookie in more than two decades to record at least 100 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and one defensive touchdown.
But Queen struggled at times when covering running backs and tight ends in coverage, and shedding blocks. He was briefly taken off the field after being beaten in coverage by Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and whiffing on him in the open field.
“For me, during the offseason, I already have thinking problems — I like to think too much about stuff,” Queen said. “Stuff is always on my mind, 24/7. Once something happens, it’s always on my mind. So, you think about that the whole offseason, and that’s a long time. That’s like four or five months before you come back and you can communicate with your teammates, so you really take that personally.”
Queen likes to sit down with coaches to go over his mistakes and talk about what he could have done differently. The change this year is his position coach is now Rob Ryan (the brother of Rex), who won a couple of Super Bowls with the New England Patriots as their inside linebackers coach and spent 12 seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator.
Ryan is constantly telling stories about past players, and shows that he cares about his players like a father, Queen said.
“The inside linebackers will play better than what they have in the last two years because [Ryan is] that good of a coach, and he’s going to make that big of a difference,” Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said.
The Ravens certainly know how to find premier players at that position. Before Queen, the last two middle linebackers drafted by the Ravens in the first round — Ray Lewis and C.J. Mosley — combined for 16 Pro Bowls.
Could Patrick Queen follow that same path?
“I’m proud of myself. It’s hard to make it to this level — let alone be in the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year,” Queen said. “So, I’m proud of myself, and I’m still hard on myself. As I look back, pass coverage, stuff is so easy that I’m getting now, that last year I was just messing up time and time and time again. Now, it’s just simplifying everything. I really can’t wait for the season to start, so everybody could see how much work I’ve put in to be better.”
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