NFL Pick'em Week 13: Man vs. Machine

Written by John Ferguson
November 30, 2019
147 views

NFL Picks Week 13

NFL Pick'em Week 13: Man vs. MachineWe had a solid slate of games on Thanksgiving this week and even got a nice upset with the Bills beating the Cowboys in Dallas as 6.5-point underdogs. The machine and I had pretty much all the same picks for the Thursday games with the only difference being that they took the under on the Saints/Falcons game while I took the over. The under hit, giving the machine a one-point lead as we head into the weekend. In case you missed the recap of the previous weeks from the Thursday article, the machine got the win last week ending my five-game winning streak. our head-to-head record this season has man ahead 8-4. I've also got the slight lead in combined ATS/OU picks this season at 51.5% while the machine is sitting at 50.2%.

In case this is your first time reading this column, here is a quick recap of what we are doing with our weekly pick'em coverage. We have partnered up with the folks over at Betting Antelope who will be providing "the machine" aspect of our weekly pick'em. If you're unfamiliar with their product, Betting Antelope is an impressive machine learning model powered by SportsData.io and designed to predict moneyline, against the spread, over/under, and total team wins for NFL games. The model ingests data and trains itself each week as the season goes on, optimizing profitability by using a combination of regression and decision tree models to make picks. So this season, it's my research, opinions, and instincts vs. the machine.

Now that we have recapped everything and gotten everyone up to speed, let's get to our Week 13 picks!

For more info see FantasyData's Latest NFL Odds page here.

Philadelphia Eagles (-10) at Miami Dolphins

Matchup Notes:

  • Miles Sanders has averaged 6.8 yards from scrimmage per touch since Week 5 -- tied for best of 35 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 4.9
  • The Eagles defense has hit opposing QBs on 13.0% of dropbacks since Week 5 -- best in NFL; League Avg: 8.9%
  • The Dolphins have allowed opponents to pressure their QB on 20.9% of dropbacks this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 14.3%
  • DeVante Parker has been targeted 37 times since week 9 -- fourth-most among WRs.
  • Offenses facing the Eagles have thrown deep balls on 21.3% of pass attempts since Week 9 -- highest in NFL
  • The Dolphins have averaged 3.0 yards per carry this season -- lowest in NFL.
  • The Eagles have allowed 3.7 yards per carry to RBs this season -- fifth-best in NFL.
  • The Eagles are averaging 22.1 PPG overall this season but just 13.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Dolphins have allowed 31.5 PPG this season -- most in NFL.
  • The Dolphins are averaging 14.8 PPG this season.
  • The Eagles have allowed 22.5 PPG overall this season but just 16 PPG over their last three games.

The Eagles have dropped two in a row against some tough opponents while continuing to deal with a rash of injuries. The rest of the season is a complete cakewalk outside of an extremely important divisional clash against the Cowboys in Week 16. After failing to top 10 points in each of their last two games, the Eagles have a great get-right spot this week. Their defense has also adjusted well lately after their early-season woes and hasn't let a single opponent over 17 points in their last four games.

After showing some signs of life with wins against the Jets and Colts, the Dolphins have now also lost their last two games against the Bills and Browns. They've also failed to cover the spread in their last two games after covering in five in a row before that. With the offense struggling with injuries an inefficiency and the Eagles defense suddenly more stingy, it's hard to see the Dolphins having a shot in this one and they're back to being hard to trust to cover around 10-point spreads.

My Final Prediction: Eagles win 30-17

My Pick: Eagles -10, Over 44.5

Machine Pick: Eagles -10, Under 44.5


New York Jets (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals

Matchup Notes:

  • Robby Anderson has gained 330 yards on 19 receptions (17.4 YPR) since Week 5 -- seventh-best of qualified WRs.
  • The Bengals have allowed 17.1 Yards Per Reception to WRs since Week 5 -- highest in NFL.
  • The Jets defense has allowed just 2.5 yards per carry since Week 9 -- best in NFL; League Avg: 4.5
  • Sam Darnold has a passer rating of just 60.3 in the red zone (36 Pass Attempts) this season -- 2nd lowest of 32 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 91.7
  • Le'Veon Bell has gained 345 yards after the catch this season -- sixth-most of RBs.
  • The Bengals have allowed 1,508 yards after the catch this season -- third-most in NFL.
  • The Bengals defense has allowed 181.6 rushing yards per game since Week 5 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 113.7
  • The Bengals have one win in their last 19 games.
  • The Jets are averaging just 18 PPG overall this season but have scored 34 points in each of their last three games.
  • The Bengals have allowed 26.5 PPG overall this season and 31.8 PPG at home.
  • The Bengals are averaging 14.3 PPG this season -- second-fewest in NFL.
  • The Jets have allowed 23.5 PPG overall this season but just 15.7 PPG over their last three games.

The Jets have suddenly found their stride over the last three weeks having scored exactly 34 points in each game. Last week's win against the Raiders was especially impressive as they blew them out 34-3 despite coming into the game as three-point underdogs. The Jets are doing exactly what they needed to do through this stretch of easy matchups to help pick up Sam Darnold's confidence and they could easily cruise to a five-game winning stretch before hitting the brick wall that is the Ravens in Week 15.

The Bengals have smartly decided to turn back to veteran Andy Dalton at QB this week, ending the Ryan Finley experiment for now. It doesn't really matter at this point in the season, but for betting purposes, it gives you a little more faith in them covering the spread. While the Jets defense has been tougher the last two weeks, they also gave up 26 and 27 points to the Dolphins and Giants respectively. If you want to take a big risk, I can see a scenario play out where the Bengals knock off the Jets, but it's not something I would bet on personally.

My Final Prediction: Jets win 23-20

My Pick: Push, Over 41

Machine Pick: Jets -3, Under 41


Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)

Matchup Notes:

  • Titans WRs have averaged 13.2 yards per target since Week 9 -- best in NFL; League Avg: 7.9
  • Ryan Tannehill has completed 71.1% of passes since Week 9 -- third-best of qualified QBs.
  • The Colts have allowed a completion rate of 68.3% since Week 9 -- eighth highest in NFL.
  • Derrick Henry has averaged 5.0 yards after contact per carry since Week 9 -- best of 33 qualified NFL RBs; 
  • Derrick Henry has averaged 3.4 yards after contact per carry this season-best of 33 qualified NFL RBs
  • Tennessee Titans defensive line have missed 13 tackles on 36 opportunities (36.1%) since Week 5 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 16.7%
  • Jonathan Williams has averaged 4.6 yards after contact per carry (20 carries) on rushes up the middle since Week 9 -- 2nd best of 37 qualified NFL RBs
  • Jacoby Brissett has a 103.1 passer rating in the red zone this season -- ninth best of qualified QBs.
  • The Titans have allowed a passer rating of 112.3 when defending in the red zone this season -- second-highest in NFL.
  • The Titans are averaging 22.3 PPG overall this season and 32.3 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Colts have allowed 20.5 PPG overall this season but just 16.3 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Colts are averaging 22.2 PPG this season.
  • The Titans have allowed 19.7 PPG overall this season and 27.3 PPG over their last three games.

The Titans have found new life with Ryan Tannehill under center as they've won four of their last five games. Their 471 total yards last week against the Jags were the most they've managed as a team this season. Now they get an incredibly important matchup against their division rival Colts. They lost 17-19 against the Colts all the way back in Week 2, but they have completely evolved since then. Despite being road dogs in this matchup, I like them to pull off an upset this week.

The Colts have been hot and cold as of late and have dropped three of their last four games as a result. Since coming off their Week 6 bye, they put up 30 points against the Texans then just 15 against the Broncos. They put up 24 against the Steelers then lost to the Dolphins putting up just 12. That was followed up by 33 points against the Jags before losing to the Texans and scoring just 17. Based on this trend, they should be scheduled to have a solid outing this week but that's completely subjective. Their recent volatility makes them impossible to trust and they'll also be without playmakers T.Y Hilton and Marlon Mack on offense.

My Final Prediction: Titans win 26-20

My Pick: Titans +2.5, Over 43.5

Machine Pick: Titans +2.5, Over 43.5


Cleveland Browns (-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Matchup Notes:

  • Baker Mayfield has completed just 41.5% of passes in the red zone this season -- lowest of 32 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 55.4%
  • Browns WRs have seven receiving touchdowns since Week 9 -- tied for most in NFL.
  • The Steelers have allowed four receiving touchdowns to WRs since Week 9 -- tied for sixth-most in NFL.
  • Browns TEs have six receiving touchdowns this season -- tied for sixth-most in NFL.
  • The Steelers have allowed six receiving touchdowns to TEs this season -- tied for fourth-most in NFL.
  • Steelers RBs have averaged 6.3 yards after the catch since Week 9 -- eighth-lowest in NFL.
  • The Browns have allowed 6.0 yards after the catch to RBs since Week 9 -- eighth-best in NFL.
  • The Steelers defense has pressured opposing QBs on 19.5% of dropbacks since Week 5 -- best in NFL; League Avg: 14.1%
  • The Browns are averaging 21.2 PPG overall this season and 27 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Steelers have allowed just 19.3 PPG overall this season and 14.3 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Steelers are averaging 19.6 PPG overall this season but just 13.3 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Browns have allowed 22.9 PPG overall this season but just 15.7 PPG over their last three games. 

After their well-documented early-season struggles, the Browns have turned their season around in a hurry with three straight wins. They get a quick rematch of the heated matchup from Week 11 against the Steelers that saw Mason Rudolph get clobbered over the head with his own helmet. While that story dominated the headlines, the Browns blew out the Steelers in that game and turned around the shred the Dolphins last week as well. The Browns are rolling right now and feel like they should be heavier favorites to me.

The Steelers have continued to find ways to win this season but their actual team performances look much worse than their 6-5 record would imply. They narrowly got a six-point win against the Bengals last week but needed a change at QB to make that happen. Devlin "Duck" Hodges is lined up for the start this week, but it honestly doesn't really matter if it's him or Rudolph under center. The offense is toast, especially with both James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster banged up. Given their schedule, this team should still find a way to finish right at .500 this season.

My Final Prediction: Browns win 24-17

My Pick: Browns -2, Over 39 

Machine Pick: Browns -2, Over 39


Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers (-10)

Matchup Notes:

  • Redskins RBs have rushed for one TD on 201 carries this season -- 2nd highest Carries Per TD rate in NFL
  • Dwayne Haskins targeted receivers at an average depth of 13.3 yards last week -- 3rd highest of 29 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 8.4
  • Opponents have run the ball 31.5 times per game against the Redskins defense this season -- 2nd highest in NFL; League Avg: 25.1
  • Christian McCaffrey has averaged 155.4 yards from scrimmage per game this season -- best among RBs.
  • Christian McCaffrey has 53.3 receiving yards per game this season -- second-best of qualified RBs.
  • The Redskins have averaged 45.6 receiving yards per game allowed to RBs this season -- eighth highest in NFL.
  • D.J. Moore has been targeted 72 times since Week 5 -- fourth-most of among WRs.
  • The Redskins are averaging 13.1 PPG this season -- fewest in NFL.
  • The Panthers have allowed 26.5 PPG this season.
  • The Panthers are averaging 23.5 PPG overall this season but just 16.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Redskins have allowed 24.5 PPG this season.

The Redskins pulled off an upset last week and got just their second win of the season against the Lions. They still only managed to score 19 points in the game and that is sadly the most they've scored since Week 2. This team is a lost cause at the moment but provides the perfect get-right matchup for a struggling Panthers team who have dropped three straight. For what it's worth, the Panthers have allowed at least 20 points to 10-of-11 teams this season, so there is a chance for the 'Skins to hit that 20 point mark.

The Panthers' playoff dreams were all but crushed last week in a devastating loss against the Saints that should have been a groundbreaking win for the team. Rookie kicker Joey Slye missed two extra points and a short field goal that should have been enough to put away the Saints if he had made them. It's hard to pin a loss on one player though and this team has also been dealing with struggles from QB Kyle Allen throughout the season. Allen had a solid game last week though throwing for three TDs and second-year wideout D.J. Moore has really come into form as of late with at least 95 receiving yards in each of his last four games. Christian McCaffrey remains the engine of this offense and he should feast this week against the Redskins. There's nothing that makes me think the 'Skins can hold their own this week.

My Final Prediction: Panthers win 33-17

My Pick: Panthers -10, Over 39.5

Machine Pick: Panthers -10, Under 39.5


Green Bay Packers (-6.5) at New York Giants 

Matchup Notes:

  • Aaron Rodgers has completed 65.8% of passes since Week 5 -- eighth best of qualified QBs.
  • The Giants have allowed a completion rate of 69.6% since Week 5 -- second-highest in NFL.
  • Aaron Rodgers has one interception on 234 attempts since Week 5 -- best among NFL QBs.
  • Davante Adams has 82.9 receiving yards per game this season -- fifth-best of qualified WRs.
  • The Giants have averaged 197.1 receiving yards per game allowed to WRs this season -- second-highest in NFL.
  • The Packers defensive line has missed six tackles on 11 opportunities (54.5%) in the red zone this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 20.0%
  • Saquon Barkley has averaged just 2.8 yards per carry since Week 5 -- lowest of 35 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 4.2
  • The Giants have allowed opponents to pressure their QB on 20.6% of dropbacks since Week 5 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 14.1%
  • The Packers are averaging 23.5 PPG this season.
  • The Giants have allowed 28 PPG this season -- fourth-most in NFL.
  • The Giants are averaging 19.7 PPG this season.
  • The Packers have allowed 22 PPG this season.

The Packers are coming off an embarrassing loss in primetime to the 49ers last week where Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst games of his career. They just had no answer for the 49ers elite defense who are arguably the best in the league right now. Luckily for the Packers, they have back-to-back cupcake matchups to take out their frustrations, starting this week against the Giants then next week against the Redskins. The Packers and Giants are just on two completely different playing fields when it comes to potential performances and after last week, I expect the Packers to make a statement.

The Giants just can't get right this season as they have now dropped seven in a row. They have had some matchups that were totally winnable games against teams like the Cardinals, Lions, and Jets, but ultimately just couldn't pull it off in any of those matchups. This game at least provides a great spot for Saquon Barkley to get right and put up an epic game as the Packers have been vulnerable against the run all season. It will take more than that for the Giants to come close to a win though and even covering seems like a stretch right now.

My Final Prediction: Packers win 28-20

My Pick: Packers -6.5, Over 45

Machine Pick: Packers -6.5, Under 45


San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)

Matchup Notes:

  • The 49ers defense has sacked opposing QBs on 11.8% of pass attempts this season-best in NFL; League Avg: 6.9%
  • The Ravens have blitzed on 34.7% of plays since Week 9 -- highest in NFL.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo has a 115.3 passer rating against the blitz since Week 9 -- second-best of qualified QBs.
  • 49ers RBs have averaged 9.7 yards after the catch this season -- third best in NFL.
  • The Ravens have allowed 9.2 yards after the catch to RBs this season -- second-highest in NFL.
  • Lamar Jackson has completed 76.2% of passes since Week 9 -- best of Qualified QBs.
  • The 49ers have allowed a completion rate of 68.8% since Week 9 -- seventh-highest in NFL.
  • Mark Ingram has averaged 5.9 yards per carry since Week 9 -- fifth-best of Qualified RBs.
  • The 49ers have allowed 5.0 yards per carry since Week 9 -- tied for fifth-highest in NFL.
  • The 49ers are averaging 30.2 PPG this season -- second-most in NFL.
  • The Ravens have allowed 18.4 PPG overall this season and just 8.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Ravens are averaging 35.1 PPG this season -- most in NFL.
  • The 49ers have allowed 14.8 PPG this season -- second-fewest in NFL.

This should be an epic clash here that could very well be a preview of this season's Super Bowl teams. We have the two highest-scoring offenses in the league squaring off who also feature defenses that rank top five in fewest points allowed. The 49ers are coming off that 37-8 drumming of the Packers and made what is a legitimate playoff contender look like a bottom feeder. While this defense has been elite, they haven't been unbreakable as Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were able to give them their first loss just a few weeks back. They will have their hands full with Lamar Jackson who is probably the hottest player in the NFL right now.

The Ravens have been unreal the last three weeks having scored over 40 points in each contest. Not only has the offense been on fire, but the defense has also held the Texans and Rams to just 11 total points combined over the last two weeks. Lamar Jackson is the easy front runner for MVP right now, but I can't help but think the 49ers defense may be strong enough to force some of his old bad habits out. This game will be a defining moment in comfortably saying who the best team in football is right now. Before last week, the 49ers did allow at least 25 points in three straight games while the Ravens haven't allowed more than 20 points in each of their last six games which makes me feel comfortable giving the Ravens a win, but I'm not banking on them covering.

My Final Prediction: Ravens win 27-23

My Pick: 49ers +5.5, Over 46.5

Machine Pick: Ravens -5.5, Under 46.5


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Matchup Notes:

  • Ronald Jones has averaged 2.7 yards after contact per carry since Week 9 -- tied for seventh-best of qualified RBs.
  • The Jaguars have allowed 4.0 yards after contact per carry to RBs since Week 9 -- highest in NFL.
  • Jameis Winston has thrown 15 interceptions in 7 games since Week 5 -- highest of 34 qualified NFL QBs
  • Jameis Winston has been sacked 36 times this season -- most among qualified QBs.
  • The Jaguars have sacked the quarterback 34 times this season -- tied for fifth-most in NFL.
  • Chris Godwin has averaged 106.0 yards from scrimmage per game on the road this season -- best of 119 qualified NFL WRs
  • The Jaguars defense has allowed 7.3 yards per carry since Week 9 -- highest in NFL
  • The Jaguars defense has allowed a Completion Pct of 100.0% (6 completions/6 attempts) in the red zone since Week 9 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 54.5%
  • Jaguars linebackers have missed 40 tackles on 146 opportunities (27.4%) this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 16.3%
  • Jaguars WRs have 190.8 receiving yards per game this season -- sixth-best in NFL.
  • The Buccaneers have averaged 206.1 receiving yards per game allowed to WRs this season -- highest in NFL.
  • The Buccaneers are averaging 28.4 PPG this season -- third-most in NFL.
  • The Jaguars have allowed 24 PPG overall this season and 33.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Jaguars are averaging 19 PPG overall this season but just 12 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Buccaneers have allowed 30.5 PPG this season -- second-most in NFL.

The Bucs are coming off a road victory against the Falcons last week and have now scored at least 30 points in three of their last four games. It's more of the same from the Bucs as Jameis Winston shows up, throws over 300 yards and multiple TDs but also turns the ball over more than once as well. The Bucs defense had a solid outing last week especially as they got Matt Ryan for six sacks and an INT and held him without a TD pass. Now they get a Jags team who has yet to find their groove since Nick Foles returned.

The Jags just dropped three games in a row against each of their division rivals that squarely puts them at the bottom of the division looking up. Nick Foles failed to throw a TD last week but was helped out by Leonard Fournette running for two TDs. That won't be quite as likely this week with the Bucs stout run defense. Foles will have to air it out if they want a chance to beat the Bucs and the Jags defense needs to find its footing after getting lit up the last two weeks. Winston will take advantage of a weak secondary if you let him.

My Final Prediction: Bucs win 28-24

My Pick: Bucs -1, Over 47.5

Machine Pick: Jaguars -1, Over 47.5


Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Arizona Cardinals

Matchup Notes:

  • Jared Goff has a 80.3 passer rating this season -- fourth-lowest of qualified QBs.
  • Jared Goff has a 108.4 passer rating in the red zone this season -- fourth-best of qualified QBs.
  • Cooper Kupp has averaged 80 receiving yards per game this season -- ninth-best of qualified WRs.
  • The Cardinals have averaged 178.4 receiving yards per game allowed to WRs this season -- sixth-highest in NFL.
  • Rams RBs have averaged 10.2 yards after the catch since Week 9 -- seventh-best in NFL.
  • The Cardinals have allowed 9.2 yards after the catch to RBs since Week 9 -- seventh-highest in NFL.
  • The Cardinals defense has allowed a passer rating of 140.3 in close and late situations (67 Pass Attempts) since Week 5 -- 2nd highest in NFL
  • Kyler Murray has one interception on 224 attempts since Week 5 of 2019 -- 2nd best among NFL QBs.
  • Kyler Murray has a 129.2 passer rating at home since Week 5 -- third-best of qualified QBs.
  • The Rams have allowed a passer rating of 117.5 on the road since Week 5 -- fourth-highest in NFL.
  • The Rams are averaging 22.6 PPG overall this season but just 11.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Cardinals have allowed 28.8 PPG this season -- third-most in NFL.
  • The Cardinals are averaging 22.5 PPG this season.
  • The Rams have allowed 22.1 PPG this season.

The Rams are coming off a loss of epic proportions on Monday Night Football where they let Lamar Jackson do basically whatever he wanted against them. The offense was a complete no show again as it has been the last three weeks. They haven't scored more than 17 points in their last three games and what was once a dominant threat in the league now looks like a ship without a captain. Perhaps they can try and get things on track in their first of two divisional tilts against the Cards this week whose defense has been amongst the most generous in the league.

The Cardinals are coming fresh off a late bye week and it came just at the right time as they had lost their last four games. It wasn't for a lack of trying though as their offense scored at least 25 points in each of their last three which included two games against the 49ers. That's better than the Rams performed against the Niners this season. That's about as impressive of a losing streak as you can get. They will look to take one foot out of the basement of the NFC West this week if they can knock off the struggling Rams.

My Final Prediction: Cardinals win 23-21

My Pick: Cardinals +3, Under 47.5

Machine Pick: Cardinals +3, Over 47.5


Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-10)

Matchup Notes:

  • Raiders RBs have 54.0 receiving yards per game since Week 5 -- fifth-best in NFL.
  • The Chiefs have averaged 70.0 receiving yards per game allowed to RBs since Week 5 -- highest in NFL.
  • Josh Jacobs has 4.8 yards per carry this season -- tied for fifth-best of qualified RBs.
  • The Chiefs have allowed 5.3 yards per carry this season -- second-highest in NFL.
  • Derek Carr has completed 69.2% of passes when under pressure this season -- best of 27 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 42.2%
  • Chiefs WRs have averaged 188.4 receiving yards per game this season -- seventh-best in NFL.
  • The Raiders have averaged 180.5 receiving yards per game allowed to WRs this season -- fifth-highest in NFL.
  • The Chiefs scored on 47.9% of their drives this season -- second-best in NFL.
  • The Raiders defense has allowed scores on 40.5% of opponent drives this season -- tied for sixth-highest in NFL.
  • Patrick Mahomes has averaged 8.7 yards per attempt this season-best of qualified QBs.
  • The Raiders have allowed 7.8 yards per attempt this season -- tied for fourth-highest in NFL.
  • The Raiders are averaging 20.7 PPG overall this season but just 15.3 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Chiefs have allowed 23.3 PPG this season.
  • The Chiefs are averaging 28 PPG this season -- fourth-most in NFL.
  • The Raiders have allowed 25.8 PPG this season.

Sam Darnold.jpgAfter winning three-straight games, the Raiders inexplicably got steamrolled by the Jets last week 34-3. The Raiders offense could never get going in the game and they caught Sam Darnold on a hot streak as the Jets have put up 34 points in each of their last three games now. This is the worst possible time for the Raiders to start falling apart as they get one of the most important matchups of the season this week against the Chiefs which would decide who sits on top of the AFC West. After last week, it's impossible to think that the Raiders can keep up with the Chiefs. They also had serious troubles playing on the road last season and that trend looks like it's carrying over.

The Chiefs got a desperately needed bye last week to help get Patrick Mahomes truly healthy. Wideout Tyreek Hill and RB Damien Williams also left their last game banged up. Hill sounds likely to play while Williams sounds more questionable. Hill is really the difference maker for this offense and with him on the field near full health should be quite a show against a Raiders defense that just gave up 34 points to the Jets. As long as the Chiefs don't look past this game towards next week's matchup against the Patriots, they should have no problems here.  

My Final Prediction: Chiefs win 30-17

My Pick: Chiefs -10, Under 51

Machine Pick: Chiefs -10, Over 51


Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Denver Broncos

Matchup Notes:

  • Chargers WRs have just one touchdown on 66 receptions since Week 5 -- highest Receptions per TD rate in NFL
  • Austin Ekeler has averaged 6.8 yards from scrimmage per touch since Week 5 -- tied for best of 35 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 4.9
  • Melvin Gordon has 3.7 yards per carry this season -- tied for sixth-lowest of qualified RBs.
  • The Broncos have allowed 4.2 yards per carry this season -- tied for eighth-best in NFL.
  • Broncos WRs have caught just 18 of 41 passes (43.9% Reception Pct) since Week 9 -- 2nd lowest in NFL; League Avg: 60.2%
  • Broncos WRs have 92.0 receiving yards per game since Week 9 -- fourth-lowest in NFL.
  • The Chargers have averaged 77.0 receiving yards per game allowed to WRs since Week 9 -- best in NFL.
  • The Broncos defense has not forced any fumbles (302 carries) this season.
  • The Broncos defense has hit opposing QBs on 5.9% of dropbacks since Week 9 -- lowest in NFL; League Avg: 9.8%
  • The Chargers are averaging 20.4 PPG this season.
  • The Broncos have allowed 19.7 PPG this season.
  • The Broncos are averaging 15.9 PPG this season -- fourth-fewest in NFL.
  • The Chargers have allowed 19.8 PPG this season.

The Chargers are coming fresh off a bye and will look to keep from getting swept by each team in their division as they just lost to the Chiefs and Raiders in the weeks prior. It's hard to say exactly what's wrong with the Chargers this season. They just don't look right. Philip Rivers has looked washed after being one of the most consistent QBs in the league in years past. Their running game had broken out of its slump over the last three games at least and they'll need a win here to avoid sharing last place in the division. The Chargers already lost once to the Broncos this season back in Week 5. I don't think they'll get swept, especially with the week of rest behind them.

The Broncos have dropped four of their last five games and are easily coming off their worst performance of the season as they only managed 134 yards of total offense last week. Before last week, the Broncos looked like they had some life in them as they were on their way to a big upset over the Vikings before giving up a huge lead and letting the Vikes take home the win. This team is basically going to remain stuck in neutral until they can find their QB of the future.

My Final Prediction: Chargers win 20-17

My Pick: Push, Under 38.5

Machine Pick: Chargers -3, Push


New England Patriots (-3) at Houston Texans

Matchup Notes:

  • Patriots RBs have 74.1 receiving yards per game since Week 5 -- best in NFL.
  • The Texans have averaged 56.4 receiving yards per game allowed to RBs since Week 5 -- second-highest in NFL.
  • The Patriots defense has averaged a turnover percentage of 4.4% this season-best in NFL; League Avg: 2.2%
  • The Patriots defense has allowed a passer rating of just 50.5 this season-best in NFL; League Avg: 91.0
  • The Patriots defense has allowed opponents to catch just 199 of 359 passes (55.4% Reception Pct) this season-best in NFL; League Avg: 66.3%
  • The Patriots defense has allowed 158.0 passing yards per game this season -- 2nd best in NFL; League Avg: 235.4
  • Carlos Hyde has rushed for 20+ yards on 4 of his 44 carries since Week 9 -- best of 33 qualified NFL RBs;
  • Carlos Hyde has 6.6 yards per carry since Week 9 -- second-best of qualified RBs.
  • The Patriots have allowed 4.7 yards per carry to RBs since Week 9 -- seventh highest in NFL.
  • The Texans defense has allowed 5.8 yards per carry since Week 9 -- tied for 2nd highest in NFL; League Avg: 4.5
  • Deshaun Watson has a 105.3 passer rating since Week 5 -- fifth-best of qualified QBs.
  • The Patriots have allowed a passer rating of 57.2 since Week 5 -- best in NFL.
  • The Patriots are averaging 27.3 PPG overall this season but just 16.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Texans have allowed 22.6 PPG this season.
  • The Texans are averaging 24.1 PPG overall this season but just 17.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Patriots have allowed 10.6 PPG overall this season (fewest in NFL) and 18.7 PPG over their last three games.

The Patriots are coming off a win against the Cowboys last week in super sloppy weather conditions. It's hard to say if the game was closely contested because of the weather or if the Pats offense has slowed down a bit, but they only beat the Cowboys by four points and also won against the Eagles by just seven points the week before that. After getting handed their only loss of the season against the Ravens, it has seemed back to business as usual for this elite defense though. 

The Texans moved into first place after knocking off the Colts last week and will look to keep that momentum at home against the Pats this week. You have to like the Texans odds of at least trying to keep this game closer not having to play in Foxborough, but it will still be one of their toughest tests to date. The last time they faced an elite opponent they got rocked by the Ravens 41-7. The Pats offense isn't quite operating on that level at the moment. This should be a great game for a primetime slate.

My Final Prediction: Patriots win 24-17

My Pick: Patriots -3, Under 45

Machine Pick: Texans +3, Under 45


Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-2.5)

Matchup Notes:

  • Kirk Cousins has one interception on 221 attempts since Week 5 -- third-best among NFL QBs
  • Dalvin Cook has averaged 13.5 yards after the catch since Week 5 -- best of 33 qualified NFL RBs
  • Vikings RBs have 6 rushing touchdowns since Week 5 -- tied for sixth-most in NFL.
  • The Seahawks have allowed 7 rushing TDs to RBs since Week 5 -- tied for fifth-most in NFL.
  • Stefon Diggs has 95.7 receiving yards per game since Week 5 -- fifth-best of qualified WRs.
  • The Seahawks have averaged 186.6 receiving yards per game allowed to WRs since Week 5 -- eighth-highest in NFL.
  • Xavier Rhodes has allowed receptions to receivers he was covering on 54 of 68 targets (79.4%) this season -- highest of 61 qualified NFL DBs; League Avg: 62.9%
  • Seahawks RBs have averaged 3.7 yards after contact per carry since Week 9 -- second-best in NFL.
  • The Vikings have allowed 2.5 yards after contact per carry to RBs since Week 9 -- seventh-highest in NFL.
  • Seahawks WRs have been targeted 4.8 times per game in the red zone since Week 5 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 2.6
  • Russell Wilson (SEA) has a 112.1 passer rating this season -- second-best of qualified QBs.
  • The Vikings are averaging 26.3 PPG this season.
  • The Seahawks have allowed 23.9 PPG overall this season and 29.2 PPG at home.
  • The Seahawks are averaging 26.5 PPG this season.
  • The Vikings have allowed 18.6 PPG overall this season and 24.3 PPG over their last three games.

The Vikings are fresh off a bye week after narrowly avoiding an embarrassing loss to the Broncos just before that. This team has felt super shakey all season but they always seem to find a way to figure it out. They've been on a tear having won six of their last seven games with their only loss being by three points against the Chiefs during that span. The Vikings and specifically Kirk Cousins has struggled against teams with winning records. The Vikes offense and defense have both been noticeably stronger at home this season versus on the road as well. Luckily for them, the Seahawks defense has actually been worse at home this season so things should level out to where we have a really entertaining back and forth battle between two of the top teams in the NFC.

The Seahawks are also hot right now having won four in a row but it hasn't come without a little help from two overtime finals. Their defense had it's best performance of the season last week as they held the Eagles to just nine points while turning the ball over five times. The offense sputtered a bit scoring just 17 points, but it was enough to get the win. The Vikings secondary has given up receptions by the fistful this season which should provide Russell Wilson a great opportunity to take advantage. I like the Hawks chances in this one.

My Final Prediction: Seahawks win 27-23

My Pick: Seahawks -2.5, Push

Machine Pick: Vikings +2.5, Over 50


John Ferguson

John Ferguson is an avid Fantasy Football fanatic with 10+ years of experience in friends and family leagues, paying public leagues, and DFS Tournaments. Ferguson specializes in draft strategies, trade negotiations (Buy Low/Sell High) and DFS value picks amongst other parts of fantasy football analysis. When Ferguson isn’t spending time skimming over stats while at the beach, he follows the Oakland Athletics closely as a diehard fan and enjoys spending quality time with his beautiful wife and three children. A native of Monterey, California, Ferguson now calls Quintana Roo, Mexico home.