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Scott Shapiro's Week 13 NFL Worksheet: Mixon poised to stay hot as Chargers come to town

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December 1st, 2021

With bye weeks coming later than usual this season for a number of NFL franchises, things are a bit different on the schedule after Thanksgiving.

Regardless of whether teams have four or five games left to play, we enter the final stretch of the 2021 campaign with so much left to be decided.

The AFC has three teams with eight victories and three more with seven. All six of them have legitimate chances of earning the No. 1 seed and the first-round bye as we head into Week 13.

In the NFC, the Cardinals return off their bye week with a conference-best 9-2 record. The Packers and Buccaneers come off big wins and have just three losses. Both have a significant shot of ending the regular season on top and earning the lone week off, with seven teams, not six, making the playoffs from each conference.

I cannot wait for the postseason, but there is still plenty to look forward to before we get to that point.

This week kicks off with a key NFC contest on Thursday night between the Cowboys and Saints and concludes with the first of two matchups over the next three weeks between the Bills and Patriots.

There are some major mismatches on paper on Sunday, but also a share of games between playoff contenders, as well.

Team most likely to win by 14+ points: Los Angeles Rams

Sun, December 5 2021, 9:05 PM

LA Rams

Moneyline

-625

Spread

-12.5

Total

O 47.5

JAX Jaguars

Moneyline

+425

Spread

+12.5

Total

U 47.5

Despite there being seven games on the Week 13 slate that feature point spreads of six points or higher, I do not feel great about endorsing any of the heavy favorites as three-score winners.

That being said, this looks like a get-right spot on Sunday for the Rams. Los Angeles enters its inter-conference matchup with Jacksonville on a three-game losing streak, after the Rams were outscored in a shootout in Lambeau Field.

I am not overly confident that Sean McVay’s team will post 30 or more on an underrated Jacksonville defense, but they should be able to shut down Trevor Lawrence and crew.

Underdog of 6+ points most likely to spring an outright upset:  Houston Texans

Sun, December 5 2021, 6:00 PM

HOU Texans

Moneyline

+310

Spread

+9

Total

O 45.5

IND Colts

Moneyline

-420

Spread

-9

Total

U 45.5

Indianapolis is a much better team than Houston and has been playing as well as just about anyone in the AFC of late — other than the Patriots — but they come off an excruciating home loss to the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Stealing a win as an underdog would have gotten the Colts right back into the AFC South hunt. Instead, they blew a 24-14 halftime lead, in large part due to turnovers on both offense and special teams.

Frank Reich’s group has bounced back from tough losses this year, but this is a difficult spot on the road after the last-minute loss in Lucas Oil Stadium.

RB/WR/TE most likely to score two touchdowns: Joe Mixon

Sun, December 5 2021, 6:00 PM

CIN Bengals

Moneyline

-182

Spread

-3

Total

O 50.5

LA Chargers

Moneyline

+148

Spread

+3

Total

U 50.5

Cincinnati hosts the Chargers in a huge matchup in the AFC between two teams that have a significant chance of reaching the postseason.

Regular trips to the end zone are expected in a game with a total of 50.5 at TwinSpires Sports, and there is no reason to believe that hot running back Joe Mixon will not make a couple of visits once again this week.

The second-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft has run for two touchdowns in each of his last three contests and faces the league’s worst defense against the run. Look for the Bengals to feed Mixon early and often in this one.

Quarterback most likely to throw for 400 yards: Tom Brady

Sun, December 5 2021, 6:00 PM

ATL Falcons

Moneyline

+400

Spread

+11

Total

O 50.5

TB Buccaneers

Moneyline

-560

Spread

-11

Total

U 50.5

With scoring and the number of plays run per game down significantly in 2021, it has been more difficult to correctly predict 400-yard passers this season.

In fact, the last quarterback to throw for over 400 yards was Patrick Mahomes in the Chiefs' 41-14 rout of the Raiders in Week 10.

Nothing sticks out as an obvious option this week either, but if the Falcons can find a way to keep up with Tampa Bay’s offense throughout in the NFC South clash in Atlanta, Tom Brady certainly should have plenty of success.

Brady takes on a Falcons defense that ranks 29th in the NFL in pass defense DVOA, and the Bucs rank toward the top of the league in pace of play on offense. The greatest to ever play the position is set for a huge game.

Defense most likely to pitch a shutout: Miami Dolphins

Sun, December 5 2021, 6:00 PM

MIA Dolphins

Moneyline

-200

Spread

-4

Total

O 40.5

NY Giants

Moneyline

+165

Spread

+4

Total

U 40.5

After besting the Patriots in Week 1, Miami lost seven straight games, but they have gotten back to playing defense at a high level ever since.

Their Cover Zero scheme is giving opposing offenses fits and should do so once again, as a banged-up Daniel Jones comes to town.

Look for Miami to make life miserable for the Giants offense in what is likely to be a low-scoring affair in Florida.

My Week 13 ATS Plays of the Week

  • Bucs/Falcons Over 50.5
  • Giants/Dolphins Under 40.5
  • Colts/Texans Under 45.5

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