By Vince Ferrara / @VinceSports
Below is the game schedule with my Week 13 NFL game predictions. Winners straight-up are in bold. The line is my pick against the spread.
You’ll also see some tremendous notes on the games, teams and players provided by NFL Communications.
Listen to The NFL Report with John Wilkerson and two rotating Sports Animal hosts, including myself, every Sunday, 10am to 12:30pm ET on 99.1 The Sports Animal here in Knoxville and streaming here at 991TheSportsAnimal.com, the WNML app or on your smart speakers. We’ll break down all these games, review what’s happened, share injury news, fantasy advice and more. You can call or text the show at 865-656-9900.
2022 Week 12 Straight-Up: 11-5 (69%)
2022 Week 12 Against The Spread: 9-7 (56%)
2022 Season Straight-Up: 115-65 (64%)
2022 Season Against The Spread: 95-85 (54%)
2021 Season Straight-Up: 158-97 (62%)
2021 Season Against The Spread: 140-115 (55%)
WEEK 13 NFL SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern) BOLD = Straight-up winner / ( ) = vs. the spread winner
|Thursday, December 1||(-3.5) Buffalo at New England||Prime Video||8:15|
|Sunday, December 4||Pittsburgh at Atlanta (+1.5)||CBS||1:00|
|Denver at Baltimore (-8.5)||CBS||1:00|
|(-3) Green Bay at Chicago||FOX||1:00|
|Jacksonville at Detroit (-1)||FOX||1:00|
|(-7) Cleveland at Houston||CBS||1:00|
|New York Jets at Minnesota (-3)||CBS||1:00|
|(-2.5) Washington at New York Giants||FOX||1:00|
|(+4.5) Tennessee at Philadelphia||FOX||1:00|
|(-7.5) Seattle at Los Angeles Rams||FOX||4:05|
|Miami at San Francisco (-3.5)||FOX||4:05|
|(-2.5) Kansas City at Cincinnati||CBS||4:25|
|(-1) Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas||CBS||4:25|
|Indianapolis at Dallas (-10.5)||NBC||8:20|
|Monday, December 5||New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-3.5)||ESPN||8:15|
Bye week: Arizona, Carolina
It’s the gutsiest decision in all of sports.
With little or no time left on the fourth-quarter clock, after a touchdown cuts your deficit to one point, do you kick a game-tying point-after and play for the win in overtime? Or, do you go for two?
After JUSTIN HERBERT threw a touchdown pass to AUSTIN EKELER with 15 seconds left, pulling the Chargers to within 24-23 last week at Arizona, head coach BRANDON STALEY made the call.
And the byproduct of Staley’s faith and trust in his players was their faith and trust in him.
“It just goes to show how much he really believes in us, the courage he has,” said tight end GERALD EVERETT, who caught Herbert’s pass to convert a two-point play and give the Chargers a 25-24 victory. “We’ve been waiting so long to just have that moment, to just be aggressive. Tight games like this against good teams. What better way to finish in a tight game but to go for two and have that be the deciding factor?”
It was also the deciding factor in Jacksonville. After TREVOR LAWRENCE orchestrated a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to cut Baltimore’s lead to 27-26 with 14 seconds left, head coach DOUG PEDERSON made the same decision, and ZAY JONES caught Lawrence’s game-winning pass to edge the Ravens, 28-27.
On three occasions this year, more than any season since the NFL introduced the two-point conversion in 1994, a head coach has “gone for two” to win a game and won. Last week it happened twice on Sunday, more than any day in league annals. In Week 1, head coach BRIAN DABOLL and the Giants called a play to score the game-winning two points with just over a minute remaining in a win at Tennessee, 21-20.
Don’t call it a coincidence, either. The catalyst for those three wins is the NFL’s abundance of comebacks and close games in 2022. This season, 57 games have been won or tied by teams that trailed in the fourth quarter, and 79 have been decided by six points or less – both the most respective games through 12 weeks in any NFL season.
This week, the NEW YORK GIANTS (7-4) host the WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (7-5) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX). In games decided by six points or fewer, the Giants are 5-0 and the Commanders are 5-2. Another pair of teams who’ve excelled in those games – the NEW YORK JETS (7-4) and MINNESOTA VIKINGS (9-2) – meet at U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The Vikings are 4-0 in games decided by six points or less while the Jets are 3-1.
So don’t leave your seat, no matter the score. In the NFL, late-game drama isn’t a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.
The Starting 11 entering Week 13…
1. CLASS OF 2020 HAS BEEN OUTSTANDING AFTER DEC. 1: Quarterbacks JUSTIN HERBERT and TUA TAGOVAILOA, products of the quarterback draft class of 2020, each have seven career wins in regular-season starts Dec. 1 and later. The No. 1 overall selection in that class, JOE BURROW, has won three straight late-season starts, while the No. 53 overall selection in 2020, JALEN HURTS, has also led his team to three consecutive wins after the change of calendar to December.
- The last time four quarterbacks from the same draft class started in the playoffs was 2005, when REX GROSSMAN, BYRON LEFTWICH, CARSON PALMER and CHRIS SIMMS – all drafted in 2003 – led their teams to the postseason.
2. NUMBER OF THE WEEK – 3: The number of games on the Week 13 docket that pair first-place teams. Two of those three – TENNESSEE (7-4) at PHILADELPHIA (10-1) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX) and MIAMI (8-3) at SAN FRANCISCO (7-4) on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, FOX) – are potential Super Bowl LVII pairings. The other – KANSAS CITY (9-2) at CINCINNATI (7-4) on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS) – involves teams that engaged in two of the most exciting games of the 2021 season, a Week 17 thriller and the AFC Championship Game, both captured by the Bengals. Cincinnati enters Week 13 tied with Baltimore atop the AFC North.
3. BOLTS, RAIDERS REKINDLE MEMORIES OF 2021 FINALE: The LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (6-5) and LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (4-7) meet on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS) at Allegiant Stadium, site of the NFL’s 2021 regular-season finale. In that classic, the Raiders earned the league’s final playoff berth with a 35-32 win, when DANIEL CARLSON hit a 47-yard field goal as time expired on the overtime clock.
- Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT has 88 career touchdown passes and 12,354 career passing yards. In NFL history over a player’s first three seasons, only Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (98) had more touchdown passes and only ANDREW LUCK (12,957) had more passing yards.
- Raiders running back JOSH JACOBS, who leads the NFL this season with 1,159 rushing yards, is bidding to become the first Raiders player to lead the league in rushing since Pro Football Hall of Famer MARCUS ALLEN in 1985. Last week, Jacobs recorded a single-game franchise record 303 scrimmage yards (229 rushing, 74 receiving) along with two rushing touchdowns, including the game-winning 86-yard touchdown run in overtime.
4. SPOTLIGHT – INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: MINNESOTA (9-2) can clinch its first division crown since 2017 with a win and a Detroit loss this week. That’s not all that will enter the conversation on Sunday, when the Vikings host the NEW YORK JETS (7-4) at U.S. Bank Stadium (1:00 PM ET, CBS). Jets rookie cornerback SAUCE GARDNER leads the NFL with 14 passes defensed. Expect Gardner to line up for several snaps across from wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON, who last week reached 4,248 career receiving yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (4,163) and ODELL BECKHAM JR. (4,122) for the most in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history.
5. SPOTLIGHT – TEAM MATCHUP: Former San Francisco offensive coordinator and Miami head coach MIKE MCDANIEL brings his Dolphins across the country to meet the 49ers on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, FOX). McDaniel’s Miami offense features the league’s leading passer, TUA TAGOVAILOA (115.7 rating), and TYREEK HILL, who leads the NFL in both receptions (87) and receiving yards (1,233). When the Dolphins have the ball, they’ll face perhaps their stiffest test of the season. Led by coordinator DEMECO RYANS, San Francisco leads the NFL in both scoring defense (15.7 points allowed per game) and total defense (281.7 yards allowed per game). The 49ers have shut out opponents over their last six quarters of play.
6. STREAK SPEAK: The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (4-8) face off with the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (5-6) on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN). New Orleans has won four straight games at Raymond James Stadium. Over the team’s last nine quarters in the stadium, the Saints have outscored the Buccaneers 54-3.
7. DID YOU KNOW?: If the season ended today, all four NFC East teams would be in the playoffs. In NFL history, an individual division has never qualified all of its teams for the postseason.
8. UNDER-THE-RADAR STORYLINE: This week, the NFL kicks off “Unboxing Week,” when players from across the league showcase the customized #MyCauseMyCleats they’ll wear to recognize the various causes they support. One of those causes will be featured on the footwear of three players at Lincoln Financial Field when TENNESSEE (7-4) visits PHILADELPHIA (10-1) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX).
- Titans defensive lineman LARRELL MURCHISON as well as two Eagles, linebacker SHAUN BRADLEY and kicker JAKE ELLIOTT, are three of 10 players across the league wearing cleats to support Everytown, an organization that works to reduce gun violence (www.everytown.org).
- Philadelphia quarterback JALEN HURTS, who is wearing cleats to support both the OneMindSet Foundation and the Eagles Autism Foundation, played one of the most complete offensive games ever in last week’s win. Hurts became the first player in NFL history to reach 150 rushing yards, 150 passing yards and two touchdown passes in the same game. One of those touchdown passes went to wide receiver A.J. BROWN, who plays his former team this week. Brown is supporting Open Door Abuse Awareness & Prevention (ODAAP).
9. TREND TIME: The No. 12 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, linebacker MICAH PARSONS, and the DALLAS COWBOYS (8-3) host the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (4-7-1) on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC). Parsons, who has 12 sacks this season, owns nine career multi-sack games, tied with ALDON SMITH for the most games with two-or-more sacks through a player’s first two seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Parsons is also just the third player with 12-or-more sacks in each of his first two NFL seasons since 1982, joining Smith and Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE.
10. THIS WEEK IN NFL HISTORY: Dec. 7, 1997 (25 years ago) – KORDELL STEWART and the Steelers erase a two-touchdown deficit in a 35-24 win over Denver at Three Rivers Stadium. Stewart passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns and runs for two touchdowns in the win. Three weeks later, Denver enters the playoffs as a Wild Card team and wins three straight games, including a 24-21 triumph at Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game, en route to a Super Bowl XXXII victory over Green Bay.
11. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: The GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-8) and CHICAGO BEARS (3-9) will battle for more than pride on Sunday at Soldier Field (1:00 PM ET, FOX). Each team has 786 regular-season franchise wins, tied for the most in NFL history. The last time the Bears franchise did not lead the NFL in all-time regular-season victories was December of 1921. …Packers head coach MATT LAFLEUR has wins in each of his first seven games against Chicago.
CLINCHING TIME: For the first time this season, there are teams that can clinch a spot in the 2022 postseason.
The MINNESOTA VIKINGS (9-2) can secure their first NFC North title since 2017, while the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES can clinch a postseason berth for the second-consecutive season and the fifth time in the past six seasons. For the full Week 13 playoff scenarios for each club, click here.
— NFL —
CHIEFS KINGDOM: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-2) have won five consecutive games and are closing in on their eighth consecutive postseason berth, the longest active streak in the NFL. Since taking over as Kansas City’s head coach in 2013, ANDY REID has guided the franchise to at least nine wins in each season and their 112 regular-season wins over that span are the most in the league.
With a win at Cincinnati on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Reid can become the third head coach in NFL history to record at least 10 regular-season wins in eight consecutive seasons, joining BILL BELICHICK (17 consecutive seasons from 2003-19) and GEORGE SEIFERT (eight consecutive seasons from 1989-96).
Additionally, Reid – who also had eight 10-win seasons with Philadelphia – can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer TOM LANDRY (16 seasons) for the third-most 10-win seasons by a head coach in NFL history. Only Belichick (20 seasons) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DON SHULA (20) have more.
The head coaches with the most 10-win regular-seasons in NFL history:
|Bill Belichick||Cleveland, New England||20|
|Don ShulaHOF||Baltimore Colts, Miami||20|
|Andy Reid||Philadelphia, Kansas City||16|
Quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES enters the week leading the league with 3,585 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes this season and has eclipsed 300 passing yards in each of the past six games.
With 300 passing yards on Sunday, Mahomes will have recorded 300 passing yards in seven-or-more consecutive games for the second time in his career (2018, Weeks 2-9) and will become the first player to ever accomplish the feat within a single season twice. ANDREW LUCK (2014, Weeks 3-11) and DREW BREES (2011, Weeks 10-17) are the only other players in league history to do so once.
The players with at least 300 passing yards in the most consecutive games within a single season in NFL history:
|Patrick Mahomes||Kansas City||2018||8 (Weeks 2-9)|
|Andrew Luck||Indianapolis||2014||8 (Weeks 3-11)|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2011||7 (Weeks 10-17)|
|Patrick Mahomes||Kansas City||2022||6* (Weeks 6-12)|
— NFL —
RUSHING INTO HISTORY: Sunday’s meeting at Lincoln Financial Field between the TENNESSEE TITANS (7-4) and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-1) – two division-leaders – will feature the league’s second-leading rusher in Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY (95.3 rushing yards per game) and the NFL’s third-best rushing attack in Philadelphia (162.5 rushing yards per game).
In six road games this season, Henry has totaled 662 rushing yards (110.3 per game) with nine rushing touchdowns and has scored a rushing touchdown in each game. With a rushing touchdown in Philadelphia on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Henry will become the third player ever to record a rushing touchdown in each of his first seven road games of a season, joining DALTON HILLIARD (1989) and Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN RIGGINS (1983).
The players with a rushing touchdown in the most consecutive road games to begin a season in NFL history:
|PLAYER||TEAM||SEASON||CONSECUTIVE ROAD GAMES|
|Dalton Hilliard||New Orleans||1989||7|
Since entering the league in 2016, Henry leads all players with 75 rushing touchdowns. With a rushing touchdown on Sunday, Henry – appearing in his 98th career game – will tie PRIEST HOLMES (76 rushing touchdowns) for the sixth-most rushing touchdowns by a player in his first 100 career games in the Super Bowl era.
The players with the most rushing touchdowns in their first 100 career games in the Super Bowl era:
|LaDainian TomlinsonHOF||San Diego Chargers||102|
|Eric DickersonHOF||L.A. Rams, Indianapolis||80|
|Priest Holmes||Kansas City||76|
|*In 97 career games|
Last week, Philadelphia quarterback JALEN HURTS totaled 157 rushing yards, the fourth-most rushing yards by a quarterback in a regular-season game in NFL history. He leads all quarterbacks this season with eight rushing touchdowns and ranks third with 561 rushing yards.
Hurts, who led all quarterbacks with 10 rushing touchdowns in 2021, needs two rushing touchdowns on Sunday to join CAM NEWTON as the only quarterbacks ever with at least 10 rushing touchdowns in multiple seasons. He can become the first quarterback ever to reach the feat in consecutive seasons.
Hurts already has the most games with at least two rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in his first three seasons (seven).
As a team, the Eagles pace the league with 21 rushing touchdowns this season, led by Hurts and running back MILES SANDERS, each with eight. With two rushing touchdowns on Sunday, Philadelphia will tie the 2016 BUFFALO BILLS (23 rushing touchdowns) and 2004 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (23) for the third-most rushing touchdowns by a team its their first 12 games of a season since 2000.
The teams with the most rushing touchdowns in their first 12 games of a season since 2000:
|San Diego Chargers||2006||26|
|Kansas City Chiefs||2004||23|
|*In first 11 games|
— NFL —
STARS MEET IN VEGAS: The LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (6-5) travel to Allegiant Stadium to face the LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (4-7) in a meeting between AFC West foes. Each club has a wide receiver that can make history in the matchup.
Dating back to Week 13 of the 2021 season, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver MIKE WILLIAMS has surpassed 100 receiving yards in each of his past five road games. With 100 receiving yards at Las Vegas on Sunday, Williams will become the fourth different player to record at least 100 receiving yards in six consecutive road games in the Super Bowl era, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers MICHAEL IRVIN (1995), CALVIN JOHNSON (2012-13) and JERRY RICE (1990 and 1995-96).
The players with at least 100 receiving yards in the most consecutive road games in the Super Bowl era:
|PLAYER||TEAM||SEASON(S)||CONSECUTIVE ROAD GAMES|
|Jerry RiceHOF||San Francisco||1995-96||6|
|Jerry RiceHOF||San Francisco||1990||6|
|Mike Williams||L.A. Chargers||2021-22||5*|
Las Vegas wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS ranks second in the league with 10 touchdown receptions and fourth with 999 receiving yards this season, his first as a Raider. Adams has totaled 507 receiving yards (126.8 per game) and five touchdown receptions in four games against the AFC West this season and has surpassed 100 receiving yards in each matchup.
With 100 receiving yards against the Chargers, Adams will join GARY CLARK (1987) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (1995) as the only players ever with at least 100 receiving yards in each of their first five division games of a season.
Chargers running back AUSTIN EKELER is the only player in the league with at least five rushing touchdowns (seven) and five touchdown receptions (five) this season, while Raiders running back JOSH JACOBS leads the NFL with career highs in scrimmage yards (1,484) and rushing yards (1,159).
With a touchdown reception on Sunday, Ekeler – who tied for the league lead with 20 touchdowns (12 rushing, eight receiving) in 2021 – will become the fourth player ever with at least six rushing touchdowns and six touchdown receptions in consecutive seasons.
The players with at least six rushing touchdowns and six touchdown receptions in consecutive seasons in NFL history:
|Billy Cannon||Houston Oilers||1961-62|
|Marshall FaulkHOF||St. Louis Rams||2000-01|
|Austin Ekeler||L.A. Chargers||2021-22*|
|*Has seven rushing touchdowns and five touchdown receptions in 2022|
Last week, Jacobs recorded a single-game franchise record 303 scrimmage yards (229 rushing, 74 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns, becoming the sixth player in NFL history with at least 300 scrimmage yards and multiple scrimmage touchdowns in a single game.
With 197 scrimmage yards on Sunday, Jacobs can become the third different player ever to record at least 500 scrimmage yards over a two-game span, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers OLLIE MATSON and WALTER PAYTON.
The players with the most scrimmage yards over a two-game span in NFL history:
|PLAYER||TEAM||SEASON, WEEKS||SCRIMMAGE YARDS|
|Walter PaytonHOF||Chicago Bears||1977, Weeks 10-11||525|
|Ollie MatsonHOF||Chicago Cardinals||1954, Weeks 9-10||503|
|Walter PaytonHOF||Chicago Bears||1977, Weeks 9-10||502|
|Josh Gordon||Cleveland||2013, Weeks 12-13||498|
|Jim BrownHOF||Cleveland||1963, Weeks 1-2||494|
— NFL —
SCARY TERRY: The WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (7-5) enter Week 13 having won three consecutive games and six of their past seven. Fourth-year wide receiver TERRY MCLAURIN leads the team with 54 receptions and 840 receiving yards and has averaged 78.9 receiving yards per game over the past six games.
With 60 receiving yards at the New York Giants (7-4) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McLaurin will become the sixth player in NFL history with at least 50 receptions and 900 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons.
The players with at least 50 receptions and 900 receiving yards in the most consecutive seasons to begin a career in NFL history:
|Mike Evans||Tampa Bay||8* (2014-21)|
|A.J. Green||Cincinnati||7 (2011-17)|
|Randy MossHOF||Minnesota||6 (1998-2003)|
|Joey Galloway||Seattle||4 (1995-98)|
|Michael Thomas||New Orleans||4 (2016-19)|
|Terry McLaurin||Washington||3* (2019-21)|
— NFL —
PARSONS SACK PARTY: Dallas linebacker MICAH PARSONS recorded two sacks in Dallas’ win on Thanksgiving, his sixth game with at least two sacks this season, the most in the league. With two sacks against Indianapolis on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Parsons will become the first player to record at least two sacks in seven of his team’s first 12 games of a season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.
The players with the most games with at least two sacks in their team’s first 12 games of a season since 1982:
|PLAYER||TEAM||SEASON||GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS|
|Aaron Donald||L.A. Rams||2018||6|
|*In 11 games|
Parsons had three games with at least two sacks as a rookie last season and can also become the first player since 1982 with at least two sacks in 10 games within his first two seasons.
The players with the most games with at least two sacks in their first two seasons since 1982:
|PLAYER||TEAM||GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS|
|Aldon Smith||San Francisco||9|
|Shawne Merriman||San Diego Chargers||8|
|*In second season|
After leading all rookies with 13 sacks in 2021, Parsons’ 12 sacks this season rank second in the NFL. With a sack on Sunday, he can become the third player since 1982 with at least 13 sacks in each of his first two seasons, joining ALDON SMITH and Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE.
— NFL —
SOMETHING MUST GIVE: Since Week 8, the MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-3) and SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (7-4) are each unbeaten. The Dolphins have the league’s second-ranked scoring offense during that span (33.8 points per game) and have scored at least 30 points in each of their four games. The 49ers have the top-scoring defense (10.0 points per game allowed) since Week 8 and have allowed 16-or-fewer points in each of their four contests.
When the two clubs meet in San Francisco on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, FOX), it will mark the fourth meeting in league history between a team that has scored at least 30 points in their past four games and a team that has allowed 16-or-fewer points in their past four games.
|DATE||TEAM TO SCORE 30+ POINTS|
IN 4 STRAIGHT
|TEAM TO ALLOW 16-OR-FEWER POINTS|
IN 4 STRAIGHT
|December 4, 2022||Miami Dolphins||San Francisco 49ers||???|
|November 10, 2013||San Francisco 49ers||Carolina Panthers||CAR 10, SF 9|
|October 21, 1973||Los Angeles Rams||Green Bay Packers||LA 24, GB 7|
|November 2, 1941||Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers||GB 16, CHI 14|
— NFL —