NFL Week 13 Tidbits and Predictions
NFL Week 13 Tidbits and Predictions
The calendar is turning to December. We are officially entering crunch time for the 2012 NFL season. Week 13 is upon us. Here is a slideshow article with tidbits and predictions for all 16 games.
In week 13 we have eight inter-division games, plus four inter-conference games. We have six teams on losing streaks of at least three games, and we have four teams looking to add to (minimum) three game win streaks.
The NFC East takes center stage as they have the Sunday night game, and the Monday night game.
The Falcons and Ravens each host this weekend, and each are an impressive 5-0 at home. The Chiefs are looking for their first home win this weekend. The Texans look to remain undefeated on the road (5-0) and the Browns try to end their ugly 12-game road losing streak.
If you are like me then you follow the entire NFL, but in case you want to just flip to the page that talks about your team here is a list of the slideshow pages:
Page 1 - you are currently on page 1!...Page 2 is Saints at Falcons...Page 3 is Jaguars at Bills...Page 4 is Texans at Titans...Page 5 is Panthers at Chiefs...Page 6 is Patriots at Dolphins...Page 7 is Cardinals at Jets...Page 8 is Buccaneers at Broncos...Page 9 is Browns at Raiders...Page 10 is Bengals at Chargers...Page 11 is Steelers at Ravens...Page 12 is Seahawks at Bears...Page 13 is Colts at Lions...Page 14 is Vikings at Packers...Page 15 is 49ers at Rams...Page 16 is Eagles at Cowboys...Page 17 is Giants at Redskins.
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Saints at Falcons
(5-6) New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (10-1)
The Saints are 2-3 on the road, while the Falcons are 5-0 at home.
The QBs are the best place to start in this tilt.
Drew Brees is 11-3 vs the Falcons in his career and he has a whopping 30 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions. Brees tosses an average of 297 yards vs Hotlanta. Wow.
Matt Ryan is 2-6 vs the Saints with 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He averages 295 pass yards vs the Saints which is his most vs any team that he has faced more than once.
Mike Smith has dominated the NFL going 51-17 vs all non-Saints teams. Against the Saints though he is 2-7.
This Saints' defense is allowing opponents into the red zone twice as much as they did in 2011. On the road teams are getting into the red zone an amazing five times per game (worst in NFL) vs this porous Saints defense.
There are a few stats that outline why the Falcons have already won 10 games this season. They are (by far) the least penalized team in the NFL so their discipline is extremely sound.
Another big stat for ATL is that in 2011 they were the second-worst team for allowing opponents to score coming out of halftime, but in 2012 they do not even allow a field goal (on average) to their opponents in the third quarter (2nd best in NFL).
In their Week 10 meeting, New Orleans beat Atlanta 31-27 (only Falcons loss all season). This was a game where both tight ends went ballistic. Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham each had well over 100 yards, and they each caught two touchdown passes. Whichever defensive coordinator can address the coverage issues vs the tight ends has a sure advantage in this game.
The Falcons will see this as a massive opportunity to avenge their only 2012 loss, and to eliminate the rival Saints from the playoff picture. Falcons win this game.
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Jaguars at Bills
(2-9) Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills (4-7)
The Jaguars are 1-4 on the road, while the Bills are 2-2 at home.
The Bills allow an average of four touchdowns to their opponents when they are at home (worst in NFL).
The Bills yield touchdowns on 73% of opponents trips into the red zone at home (worst in NFL).
The Jags are allowing opponents into the red-zone 5 times per game when they are on the road (twice as bad as their 2011 stats).
The Jags are losing games in the fourth quarter this season. They are allowing 10 points per game in the 4th quarter (second-worst in the NFL) when last season they were a top-seven team for not allowing fourth-quarter points.
These two teams are the NFL's worst for allowing rushing first downs. The only team that may benefit here is the Bills as they have a superior run game.
The Bills are the worst team for third down defense, but the Jags offense is third-worst in the NFL on 3rd downs.
The Bills are getting penalized a ton lately. If they can avoid those discipline errors they should surely win this game. The Bills have issues, but I cannot see the Jags being able to take advantage of that. Bills win.
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Texans at Titans
(10-1) Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (4-7)
Texans are 5-0 on the road. Titans are 2-3 at home.
Matt Schaub has been good vs the Titans in his career. He has 15 touchdowns and just four interceptions, but the Texans are just 5-5 in those games.
The main threat for the Titans over the years (and in 2012) is RB Chris Johnson. In his career he averages 94 rush yards per game vs the Texans. He has just three rushing touchdowns vs the Texans in 9 career games (last week vs the Lions we saw the Texans yield their first and second rush touchdown of 2012).
The main issue for the Titans is they are yielding 10 points per game in the first quarter. That is by far the worst in the NFL so we see this team that has a great run game putting themselves behind the 8-ball (and into passing situations) early and often.
The Texans are solid and balanced on offense. They have a great run game and improving pass game (Schaub-to-Andre Johnson has caught fire). They also have a stellar defense. The NFL is all about third down conversions, and the Texans are #1 in the NFL for third down defense.
The Texans use their defense and run game to be the top team in the NFL for time of possession in the 2nd half. These guys are building leads, and then using their defense and run game to salt away their victories. This game will follow that same script. Texans win.
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Panthers at Chiefs
(3-8) Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs (1-10)
The Panthers are 2-3 on the road, while the Chiefs are a putrid 0-6 at home
When combing through the stats it is clear as to why the Chiefs have been a punchline in 2012. They are -21 for turnover ratio which is by far the worst in the NFL (not to mention a putrid stat for them).
The Chiefs are an equal opportunity team when it comes to turning the football over: 16 fumbles and 16 interceptions (both worst in NFL).
The Panthers have been much more solid with ball control as they have 18 giveaways and 18 takeaways.
The 2012 Panthers have failed to match expectations and a lot of that has been put on Cam Newton. He has clearly struggled, but he has not got any support in 2012. The Panthers run game should be excellent, but it has been pedestrian. Newton has 1/2 of the teams rushing touchdowns.
In the last two weeks Cam has 5 touchdowns (3 pass touchdowns and 2 rush touchdowns) and zero interceptions. He has a QB rating north of 95.0 in 3 of his last four games. He is thee most important player on this team, but at 23 he cannot carry the entire load.
In Carolina's 3 victories Newton has eight touchdowns (four pass touchdowns and four rush touchdowns) and has zero interceptions.
Newton had no month with more pass touchdowns than interceptions, but in November he threw 6 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. As the season has progressed and the pressure has lifted from Newton he has played better and better.
The Chiefs' best player is Jamaal Charles. He is averaging 98 yards per game in their last four games, but has just 1 rush touchdown in that span. He is a guy who needs to get to the house in order for KC to even be competitive in a game. Peyton Hillis has been a massive bust; he is giving KC a measly 22 yards per game, and in the last two games he has 14 total rushing yards and has lost a fumble (yikes). In 2012 Hillis has as many touchdowns as you or I have, which is to say zero.
One team has improved lately, while the other is limping to finish their horrid season. Panthers win this game.
Patriots at Dolphins
(8-3) New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (5-6)
The Pats are 4-2 on the road, while the 'Phins are 3-2 at home.
This game is a must-win for the 2012 Dolphins playoff hopes, while it is simply another day at the office for the surging Patriots.
Tom Brady is 14-6 vs Miami, with 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Ex-Dolphin Wes Welker has killed his former team. He averages 109 yards per game (by far his best vs any team he has played multiple times). He has four touchdowns, and in his nine games vs Miami the Pats are 7-2.
The Pats have an amazing 38 more first downs than any other team (wow). They have 113 more first downs than Miami (wow wow wow).
The Dolphins bend-don't-break defense has been stout in the red-zone. We know the Pats will be in the RZ multiple times (they average five red zone trips/game on the road which is by far the best in the NFL), but the Dolphins are allowing a touchdown just four out of every 10 red zone trips (the Pats average a touchdowns seven out of every 10 red zone trips).
The pass game is hardily the only concern when taking on the Patriots. Their run game has been outstanding. NE averages 10 rushing 1st downs per game (tops in NFL) and on the road they average 11 rushing first downs (tops in NFL).
Miami's chance in this game is their discipline. They are a young team, but they are the third-fewest penalized team in the NFL. They need their discipline to help them control the football too. Any time you face the Pats you know you have to score in the 30's, if you turn the football over you are in massive trouble vs the Brady Bunch. The Pats are +24 for turnover ratio (by far the best in the League).
Miami will also have to play well on third down. The 'Phins are #7 for 3rd down defense, while the Pats are alllll the way down at #30.
The Pats are the only NFL team who has not allowed an opponent to score a touchdown on defense or special teams. Miami likely needs a touchdowns in each of those areas, but surely they need a touchdown in at least one of those areas.
Cardinals at Jets
(4-7) Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets (4-7)
Cardinals are 1-4 on the road, while the Jets are 2-4 at home.
In 2012 teams are scoring a touchdown on seven out of every 10 trips into the red zone vs the Jets. Yikes. The Cardinals have a rookie QB in Ryan Lindley who just does not seem good to me. The Cards are in four of every 10 red zone trips so they do not seem like a team that can take advantage of the Jets woes in the red zone.
The Jets are the second-worst defense on third down, but again we see a Cardinals team that is unlikely going to be able to take advantage of that as they are the worst third down offense in the NFL.
The Cardinals are not scoring second half points. In fact they are last in the NFL for second half scoring.
The Jets are struggling mightily. They have lost four of five overall, and have also lost four of their past five games at home. Yet again we see a Cardinals team that is unlikely going to be able to take advantage as they themselves have lost seven straight football games (yikes).
Lindley looks like he is the guy until Kevin Kolb can return to health. Kolb-to-Larry Fitzgerald was not exactly a killer combo, but under Lindley Fitz has been targeted 19 times but has just four catches (yikes II). The rookie has tried to force the issue to Fitz and it has actually led to points for the other team.
It is difficult for me to back the Jets, but the Cardinals are just so poor. Jets win.
Buccaneers at Broncos
(6-5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos (8-3)
The Buccs are 3-2 on the road, while the Broncos are 4-1 at home.
Greg Schiano has done a marvelous job turning the Buccs into playoff contenders in his rookie season. One thing that really impresses me is his ability to make the proper halftime adjustments. The Buccs yield just 2.2 points per third quarter (best in NFL).
Peyton Manning is 2-0 in his career vs Tampa Bay. He averages a whopping 320 yards vs Tampa Bay, and has four touchdowns vs two interceptions.
As remarkable as Manning has been in 2012, the Buccs QB Josh Freeman has also been excellent. Freeman followed up a nine-touchdown, one-interception October with a seven-touchdown, two-interception Novemeber. The emergence of Doug Martin has made the Buccs particularly dangerous on first down plays as they have the talent to run or pass on first down. The Buccs are doing a great job with balance on 1st down. Freeman has 13 touchdowns and just one interception on first down plays.
TB is a top-10 scoring team in the first half, while the Broncos are down at #20. Denver has been using second half adjustments to win games. They are the top scoring team in the second half, but the Buccs are #4 for second half scoring. The Broncos have lost all three games where they played a team that was capable of scoring with them in the second half.
Buccaneers win this game in an upset.
Browns at Raiders
(3-8) Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (3-8)
The Browns are 0-5 on the road, and the Raiders are 2-3 at home.
Traditionally the Raiders struggle committing penalties. In this game it is the Browns who have had those issues in 2012. Cleveland is the second-most penalized (yards) team in the NFL. Of all the road teams in Week 13 Cleveland is the one that has been the most penalized.
One area (of many) where Oakland has struggled is that the halftime adjustments the opposing coaches are making at halftime have been significantly better than the halftime adjustments that Dennis Allen is making. Oakland is allowing 11 points/third quarter (by far the worst in the NFL).
The Browns were doing better, but they have reverted to their poor play in the fourth quarter and are yielding late points.
Despite the promising play of Trent Richardson the Browns average just 3.5 rushing 1st downs/game (worst in NFL). With Darren McFadden once again likely to miss this game we see that T-Rich has a chance to be the best RB in this game. Marcel Reece has been very good for Oakland, but advantage Browns.
The Raiders have got some yards, but not necessarily production from their run game lately. They were in the top six in 2011 for rushing 1st downs, but they are in the bottom 6 this season. The last time a Raiders RB rushed for a touchdown was way back in Week 6 (yikes).
The Browns have 25 takeaways which puts them in the top five for that category.
The Browns won their first road game of the 2011 season, but have lost all 12 road games that have followed. That streak ends in this game. Browns win.
Bengals at Chargers
(6-5) Cincinatti Bengals at San Diego Chargers (4-7)
The Bengals are 3-2 on the road, while the Chargers are 2-3 at home.
This game should get off to a slow start. Both teams are in the top three for scoring defense in the first quarter. Neither team is even allowing three points per 1st Q.
This game features two very long standing head coaches. Norv Turner has been at the helm in SD since 2007, while Marvin Lewis has been running the show in Cincy since 2003.
Andy Dalton has been superb in Bengals wins. He has 17 touchdowns and just three interceptions in their wins. In their current three-game winning streak, Dalton has nine touchdowns and no interceptions, plus has a QB rating north of 108 in all three games (wow...very impressive).
AJ Green had no touchdowns last week which was the first time in over two months where he did not take a catch to the house. He is awesome.
The Chargers are creating new ways to lose. They have two wins in the past nine weeks, and both wins were vs the putrid Chiefs. SD has lost seven straight games to non-KC teams.
Ryan Mathews has been decent (4.1 yards per carry in 2012) but he is getting just 3.4 yards per carry in the past three games.
The Bengals are currently the #7 seed, and with the injuries mounting for the #6 Steelers they have to feel like they have a legit shot at the sixth and final playoff spot. Bengals win.
Steelers at Ravens
(6-5) Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (9-2)
The Steelers are 2-4 on the road, while the Ravens are 5-0 at home.
The Ravens have won three straight in this series.
It does look like it will be Charlie Batch again this week for the Steelers. In his career he is 1-4 vs the Ravens with two touchdowns and four interceptions. His 54.7 QB rating is his worst vs any team that he has faced more than once.
The Ravens are 4-0 vs the AFC North, and 8-1 in the AFC so they are in the drivers seat to get a great seed in the playoffs.
The Steelers have allowed fewer 1st downs than any other team in the NFL.
Pitt has struggled mightily on offense since Ben Roethlisberger went down to injury. In their past three games the Steelers are getting just over two rushing first downs per game (yikes).
Mike Adams is OUT as this Steelers o-line continues to be banged up.
The Ravens are an impressive +12 (third-best in AFC) while the Steelers are a bad -10 (third-worst in AFC).
Joe Flacco is 5-4 vs the Steel Curtain with 10 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Ray Rice averages just 59 yards on the ground vs Pitt, and gets one touchdown every four games vs Pitt (that is his worst touchdown/game average vs any team).
Way too many injuries on offense to keep the Steelers competitive in this game. I think the Ravens win this game easily. Most games are close between these teams, but Pitt is missing too many key cogs to win this game.
Seahawks at Bears
(6-5) Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (8-3)
The Seahawks are 1-5 on the road, while the Bears are 5-1 at home.
The Bears yield an average of just 2.5 points per 1st quarter (best in NFL).
The Bears are tied for second-best with a turnover +/- of +13.
Pete Carroll expects CBs Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman to play in this game. Both are facing suspensions, but both are likely to go through the appeals process which would likely mean they both play in this game.
The Bears are winning with their defense. Jay Cutler had just 188 pass yards last week in his return from injury. He has a whopping five games this season where he has not even thrown for 200 yards.
Matt Forte is likely out, but that may not be a big issue as he has just 144 yards and no touchdowns combined in his last three games.
Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson has been night-and-day. At home he has been marvelous with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions, but on the road he has struggled with six touchdowns vs eight interceptions. In November he threw seven touchdowns and was not picked off all month. He has three straight games with a QB rating north of 125.0.
Marshawn Lynch had four straight games of 100+ rushing yards, but last week vs Miami he was held to just 46 yards (2.4 yards per carry). On the season he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the road.
Seattle should have their CBs, plus should have an advantage in the running game. Seahawks win this game.
Colts at Lions
(7-4) Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions (4-7)
The Colts are 2-3 on the road, while the Lions are 2-3 at home.
The Colts are a nice surprise in 2012, but they have not been nearly as good as some think. This team is getting just two touchdowns per game (poor).
At home Andrew Luck has been awesome, but on the road he has been terrible. Nine touchdowns and just three interceptions at home, but just four touchdowns and a whopping 10 interceptions on the road (yikes).
Matthew Stafford has just seven touchdowns at home, and he has been picked off six times at home. The Lions in general have struggled at home where they have lost three of their last four in Detroit.
The Lions issue all season has been their 4th quarter defense. Only the Bills and Cardinals allow more points in the fourth quarter than the Lions.
The Colts secondary can be had. Neither team has any run game to speak of, but I think Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson will have a huge game and the Lions will win this game. This Colts team is likely the worst 7-4 team I have ever seen.
The Lions are putrid (horrible coaching) but the Colts are flat out bad on the road. Any good team that Indy has played on the road has blown out the Colts. The Lions are hardily a good team, but as I mentioned earlier I can see Stafford-to-Megatron being the difference in this game.
Vikings at Packers
(6-5) Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (7-4)
The Vikings are 1-4 on the road, while the Packers are 4-1 at home.
Aaron Rodgers has owned the Vikings. He is 6-3 and has 19 touchdowns vs just three interceptions. His numbers vs the Vikes are his best vs any NFL team.
In 2012 Rodgers has a QB rating of 105.6 (best in NFL).
Adrian Peterson is the #1 rusher in the NFL currently. He averages 103 rush yards vs the Pack, and has seven touchdowns in 10 games vs them. However All Day has not contributed to wins vs the Packers as the Vikes are 3-7 vs GB when Peterson is their RB.
The Vikings have the third best run game in the NFL, but they also have the third-worst pass game.
This Packers team lost their home opener, but have reeled off four straight home wins since then. Rodgers has already been sacked more in 2012 than 2011, and he was dropped eight times in GB's first two home games. Lately though that has really improved. In their last three home games Rodgers has only been sacked a total of three times. The Vikings have just 10 sacks on the road this season.
Green Bay had fought all the way back to the top of the NFC North, but they are now a game behind the Bears so we know they will have emphasis on this game. A win would put them at 3-0 in the division with a game vs the Bears in two weeks.
Packers win this game.
49ers at Rams
(8-2-1) San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (4-6-1)
The 49ers are 4-1 at home, while the Rams are 3-3 at home.
The (apparently) new QB for the Niners is Colin Kaepernick. As a starter he has a 108.3 QB rating so he is off to a nice start. Any QB would be fortunate to be led by Jim Harbaugh, and have a running game as great as the one they have in San Francisco.
The defense is stout too. SF allows a mere 278 total yards per game. Only the Bears also allow less than 300 yards per game.
SF is the #2 defense for third down conversions as opponents are converting a mere 32% of third downs.
The 49ers are one of 4 teams not allowing even two touchdowns per game.
Aldon Smith is on fire. In his past five games he has a whopping 12 sacks (wow).
Both teams are coming off of a 10-penalty game so both teams are looking for significantly better discipline in this game.
These 2 teams tied a few weeks back. I think the 49ers are anxious to show that they are clearly better than the Rams. San Fran is right behind the Falcons for the #1 seed in the NFC, and just barely ahead of the Bears for the #2 seed (any top 2 seed position means you are off Week 1 of the playoffs, and you will host a minimum of one playoff game).
The only team the Rams have defeated in the last two months is the putrid Cardinals. This will be a dominating win for the Niners.
Eagles at Cowboys
(3-8) Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
The Eagles are 1-4 on the road, while the Cowboys are 2-3 at home
The Eagles are -17 which is by far the worst in the NFC. Philly has 15 fumbles (only KC worse). The Cowboys are also terrible for turnover ratio at -11.
Tony Romo is 7-6 in his career vs the Eagles. He has 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Romo averages just 170 pass yards vs Philly which is his worst vs any team he has played multiple times. In their week 10 victory over the Eagles Romo had 209 pass yards.
The 'Boys hope to avoid Mike Vick as he has 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions vs Dallas.
The injury to DeMarco Murray has rendered the Cowboys a one-dimension team. They have the #3 pass offense, but the worst run offense in the NFL.
Inexplicably the Cowboys have struggled at home. Their only home win in their last 4 home games was vs a Browns team that had lost 11-straight on the road.
In their week 10 tilt TE Jason Witten was targeted 10 times, and he made eight catches. Since then Romo-to-Dez Bryant has heated up. in the past two games Romo has 26 passes to Bryant with 20 completions. Bryant had 145 receiving yards in each of those games, and caught three touchdowns. Bryant has gone for north of 100 rec yards in four straight home games.
Miles Austin is likely in, although in his career he gets just 28 yards per game vs the Eagles.
DeMarcus Ware has 16 career sacks vs Philly which is his best vs any team.
Bryce Brown had as many carries last game as he had the previous six games combined. He will be a new player for the Cowboys defense to face.
Cowboys will add to the Eagles woes by winning this game.
Giants at Redskins
(7-4) New York Giants at Washington Redskins (5-6)
The Giants are 3-2 on the road, while the Redskins are 2-3 at home.
This game should come down to the wire. The Redskins allow 10.5 points per fourth quarter (worst in NFL) so they allow teams back into games often.
The Redskins are powered by a remarkable run game. In 2011 they were in the bottom five for rushing first downs, but in 2012 they are top five for rushing first downs.
Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III are both in the top 20 for rushing yards, rushing first downs, and rushing touchdowns.
Washington is 4-1 when Pierre Garcon plays, and he seems healthy these days. RG III is also using the deep ball to connect with Aldrick Robinson. Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson are getting first downs, and Santana Moss is scoring touchdowns. The 'Skins are adding a pass game to their great run game.
The NFC East has been dominated all season by the G-Men, but a Redskins win would put the division up for grabs.
Washington is one of only five NFL teams who have not allowed their opponents to score on defense.
Eli Manning was back to being himself last week vs the Packers. He tossed three touchdowns and was not picked off. In the three games prior to that game Manning had no touchdowns and four interceptions.
Coming out of their bye week we see a re-focused Giants team that is ready to defend their Title. In this game though I will take the Redskins to continue their hot play and get into the playoff mix with a home win.