5 Bold NFL Predictions for Week 13
BOLD NFL PREDICTIONS
The NFL season is two-thirds finished, but the surprises keep coming week after week. One of the most entertaining things about being a football fan is the unpredictability. In a single game, any NFL team can beat another team, regardless of their record or “power ranking.” That’s one reason bold predictions are so fun. Although we collect data that gives us a reasonable assumption of how a player can be expected to perform, even the best projections (I humbly say that would be ours) get it wrong a lot of the time. But they give us additional insight into the direction of a given player’s outcome, should he outperform or underperform his median expectations.
Recap: Last week, I hit on two such predictions. Kyren Williams finished as a top-three running back in his first game since returning from injury. In fact, he was the top overall RB for the week. Also, Josh Allen scored over 30 fantasy points, just as I predicted. He actually scored 40 fantasy points! However, I also got a few wrong. The Ravens did beat the Chargers, but not by the 20 points I expected. And Isaiah Likely didn’t finish as a top three tight end. Not even close. But, the prediction I got most wrong, and for which I should be ashamed for even suggesting it, is that Tyreek Hill would score fewer than 12 fantasy points. He scored more than double that and was the top WR of the week. The lesson here is to never doubt Tyreek Hill!
Oh well, you live, you learn. On to this week’s my Week 13 bold predictions.
Tua-nami Alert in Washington
The Dolphins travel to Washington this week to take on the Commanders. Washington started off hot this year but has fallen to the wayside the past few weeks, losing three straight games, including a blowout loss to Dallas on Thanksgiving. You could argue that the Commander’s offense has improved from last season, but their defense has taken a huge step backward, allowing 73 more yards per game than last season. Over the last three games, they’re giving up 404 yards on average. All of this is due to the pass defense, which has been horrible, especially during their current losing streak. They gave up 246 yards and three touchdowns to Tommy DeVito! The next week, Dak Prescott put up 331 yards with four touchdowns. Imagine what Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins will do against that defense. Obviously, Tyreek Hill will have 200 yards and three touchdowns. (I learned my lesson.) This could be a really fun shootout game with both quarterbacks slinging the ball for a ton of yards. I think in the end, Tua will end the day with 400 passing yards for the first time since Week 1.
Bijan Grounds Jet-Lagged Defense
The first-place Atlanta Falcons have a winnable game on the road against the Jets this week. Desmond Ridder will have a tough time trying to find success against the Jets defense, which has the fourth-highest pressure rate in the league. Ridder struggles against pressure, barely completing 50% of his passes. His -.47 EPA against pressure is one of the worst in the league. Bottom line is, the Falcons will need to beat New York on the ground. Lucky for them, they already run the ball a lot. The last three weeks, almost 57% of their offensive plays have been rushing plays, tops in the league, by far. The Jets defense, though fourth overall in defensive DVOA, gives up 140 rushing yards per game, 31st in the league. The Falcons are set up perfectly to exploit that with one of the best backfields in the NFL. Led by rookie Bijan Robinson, who has consecutive games with 90+ rushing yards and a touchdown for the first time this year. I believe he will keep that momentum going and have his best rushing day of the year. Back in Week 2, Robinson rushed for 124 yards. I think he will beat that this week against the Jets and rush for 125 or more yards.
Lions Can’t Stop the GOAT
New Orleans is approaching “must-win” status this week. They’re tied with the Falcons for first place in the NFC South, but Atlanta holds the tie-breaker. A wild card spot is unlikely for either team, so they’ll need to win the division outright to make the postseason. The Saints are hosting the Lions, who despite an upset loss last week, are still one of the better teams in the league. New Orleans will need to pull out all the stops to get a win. Enter Taysom Hill, whom Ross Tucker famously called “one of the greatest football players ever.” That’s debatable, but I do think Hill will shine in this game. He’s the ultimate boom-or-bust player. Only Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson, and George Kittle have more 20+ fantasy points games than Hill. I think we’ll see the Saints get extra creative this week with Hill and give him a lot of touches. Those touches should translate into fantasy points. I’m expecting Hill to once again top 20 PPR fantasy points this week as the Saints throw the kitchen sink at Detroit in a desperate attempt to win this game.
Black Cloud for CJ Stroud
The hottest team in the league right now is the Denver Broncos. They’ve beaten some really good teams during their five-game win streak. One of the keys to their recent success has been the improved play of the defense. Through Week 6, the Broncos were 29th in pressure rate, allowing 286 passing yards per game, and 21.5 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Since then, they’re 7th in pressure rate, allowing just 201 passing yards per game, and 14 fantasy points to quarterbacks. Keep in mind, they’ve played against Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen during their win streak. Next up, they face Houston and rookie sensation C.J. Stroud. Stroud has been phenomenal. He’s having a season like no other rookie QB in history and he deserves all the credit he’s been given. However, Stroud did struggle a little bit last week against the Jaguars. They brought pressure on Stroud on 52% of dropbacks. As good as he’s been, Stroud has struggled against pressure, and the Broncos are sure to bring a lot of it. Even with a subpar game last week, Stroud still managed to score 30 fantasy points, so he was a star for fantasy team managers. I’m not so sure he will be this week. Denver held Mahomes to 7.6 fantasy points and held Allen to nine points below his season average. Stroud is averaging 20.6 fantasy points per game, but I think Denver will hold him to fewer than 12 fantasy points, which would be his lowest output since week 1. You have to start him if you have him, just be prepared for a below-average game from Stroud this week.
No Coach, No Problem
I guess someone had to take over for Dan Snyder as the worst owner in football. Congratulations to David Tepper on his new role. Tepper has now gone through six head coaches since he bought the team in 2018. In contrast, the Steelers have had three head coaches in the last 54 years! Tepper has shown he has no patience and I can’t imagine any established coach wanting to come in to that kind of situation. The same thing happened with Carolina last year. Head coach Matt Rhule was fired in-season and Steve Wilks took over as interim head coach. The Panthers improved after that, but Wilks was still passed over for the permanent position.
Tepper’s decision-making might be questionable, but the Panthers have a decent roster and the talent to win games. I still believe Bryce Young can develop into a quality starter in the league. Sometimes a change can be beneficial and I think it will be for at least one week. I think Carolina will come out inspired against the Buccaneers on the road. They’ve actually played better away from home this year, gaining an extra 60 yards on offense and scoring four more points per game. The Panthers have a good defense and I think they will be able to contain Baker Mayfield and the Tampa offense. I foresee a motivated Carolina offense hitting on all cylinders this week and winning this game in a huge confidence-builder for Young.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd's Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight's #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell. Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs.