- Can the Chargers top Cincinnati in a clash of young QBs?
- Will the Washington Football team stay on a roll against the favored Raiders?
- Last week’s picks went 0-2, costing us 3 units and dragging our season total down to +8.09 (14-18 record)
It’s unlucky Week 13 which might actually be a good thing for us, since our fortunes can’t be much worse than losing all our bets last week. In fact, we’re on a 3-8 run over our last four columns, so a shift in luck would be a welcome sight.
Looking at the NFL’s Week 13 odds, there’s plenty to ponder in a season where no teams appear to be great. And while the topsy-turvy nature of 2021 makes it feel like you could give any picks out and justify it with a shrug emoji, I’ve been told that won’t cut it. So here’s some justification for this week’s picks.
NFL Week 13 Upset Picks
|Los Angeles Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals
|Washington Football Team vs Las Vegas Raiders
Bolts Beat Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are field goal favorites over Los Angeles in another pivotal AFC clash that sees two quarterbacks from the 2020 draft class square off for the first time.
The Bolts beat the Bengals last year in the only game Tyrod Taylor started for LA. Since then, it’s been the Justin Herbert show for the Chargers. He’s followed up his Rookie of the Year campaign by getting the Chargers in playoff position heading down the final stretch, and a win over first overall pick Joe Burrow will go a long way in helping that cause.
Though the narrative around this Chargers team lately has been “what is wrong with this offense?” most metrics still favor how Herbert and the Bolts are performing.
#Chargers offense rankings through Week 12
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) November 30, 2021
DVOA doesn’t love the Bengals nearly as much, despite their 7-4 record. Cincinnati ranks 21st in Offensive DVOA , partly because they’ve played an easy schedule up to this point, but also just because of the erratic nature of this team. After all, the last time we all bought into the Bengals, they decimated every survivor pool by falling to Mike White’s Jets.
Can confirm, it is Halloween. 👻
The Jets closed at +425 on the ML and +11.5 underdogs against the Bengals.
Mike White led the Jets to the 34-31 victory.
This marks the biggest upset win of the NFL season. 🤯pic.twitter.com/WtIFjH9Iqe
— Caesars Sportsbook (@CaesarsSports) October 31, 2021
It’s certainly frightening to back this Chargers’ leaky run defense against Joe Mixon. The Bengals running back has amassed over 100 yards from scrimmage in his last three games, including bulldozing the Steelers for 165 yards on the ground.
But we’ve seen the Chargers pull out games in Philly, Kansas City and against the Browns where their opponents were able to run for over 150 yards. Cincinnati’s defense has built up some clout by preying on the NFL’s worst offenses, but don’t trust them to hold up here.
How PFF has the Bengals graded as a team.
Pass Block: 22nd
Run Block: 16th
Pass Rush: 22nd
Run Def: 12th
Special Teams: 2nd
— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) November 30, 2021
The Chargers have not lost back-to-back weeks this season. Look for Herbert and company to bounce back from last week’s disappointment in Denver with a strong showing here.
Washington Win in Sin City
As it currently stands, the 6-5 Las Vegas Raiders would be the first team out of the AFC playoffs, while the 5-6 Washington Football Team would get the last seed in the NFC. Who will bolster their chances on Sunday where the Raiders are favored by 1.5 at home?
The Football Team haven’t appeared in our upset picks all season, on either side of the ledger. But with the way the team has responded after Chase Young went down with a torn ACL, suddenly the Fighting Heinickes look like an enticing team to back.
This is the first time since 2001 the WFT went undefeated in November.
— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) November 30, 2021
On this three-game win-streak, the Football Team have held a near two-to-one edge in time of possession. Antonio Gibson is running the ball well, Heinicke is making big plays in the play action game and on third down and this offensive line is mauling opponents.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) November 30, 2021
The Raiders’ offense showed out well on Thanksgiving, with Desean Jackson playing the role of deep threat that Derek Carr has missed over the last few weeks. But once again, the Raiders had to score in the 30s to pull out the win, because their defense continues to struggle. If Maxx Crosby or Yannick Ngakoue don’t get to the QB, the other team is probably scoring.
Raiders defense over last 3 games
PPG 35.3 32nd
Total YPG 413.7 32nd
Pass YPG 308.0 32nd pic.twitter.com/arMKUmBTcW
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) December 1, 2021
Homefield advantage has all but disappeared in the NFL and even new excited new audiences like Vegas aren’t immune: the Raiders are just 2-4 ATS at Allegiant Stadium this year.
Take the Football Team to keep it rolling.