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Billsfans Bets: NFL Week 13 Picks

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© Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

 

We head into Week 13 of the NFL season as the 2022 playoff picture begins to take shape. The Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans are each now three games ahead in their respective divisions. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills hold the same record in the AFC East, and the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens do the same in the AFC North. 

 

On the NFC side, the Philadelphia Eagles continue to storm towards a playoff berth with a 10-1 record, closely followed by the Minnesota Vikings, who are coasting in the NFC North, five games in front of both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. The Vikings can wrap up the division as early as this weekend if they win, along with a Detroit loss or tie. 

 

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© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals

Betting Lines:

Spread: Chiefs -2.5, Bengals +2.5

Total: Over/Under 52.5

Money line: Chiefs -135, Bengals +115

 

The Kansas City Chiefs make their way to Cincinnati, riding a five-game win streak and top of the AFC standings. It should be concerning for the rest of the league that Patrick Mahomes had a down game against the Rams this past weekend but still threw for 320 yards with a 65% completion rate. We've grown to hold Mahomes to such a high standard that a somewhat average performance for him would still be a top-tier performance for just about anybody else. 

 

The Chiefs rank number one in the league for points scored per game, yards per game, and passing yards per game and have looked totally unstoppable at times, with Patrick Mahomes able to hit just about anybody for a big gain or a touchdown. Travis Kelce is again unplayable this season, and the Chiefs are molding their offense around his connection with Mahomes.

 

However, the Chiefs' run game lags, which means they rely solely on Mahomes to drive the offense this season while they rotate running backs looking for an answer. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has not looked good and lost a lot of reps this year before finding himself on IR. Jerick McKinnon offers a passing threat and has made small contributions as a runner, but it's rookie Isaiah Pacheco leading the team in rushing yards. Pacheco has been a bright spark at times and averages 4.7 yards per carry at this point in the season. 

 

The Chiefs will face a Bengals team that will feel energized by the almost certain return of star wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. Chase has been out multiple weeks with a hip injury and was close to playing last weekend before the Bengals decided to give him another week to recover. 

 

Ja'Marr Chase dominated the Chiefs in 2021. Flashback to Week 17 of the regular season, when Chase caught 11 passes for 266 receiving yards and three touchdowns against Kansas City in a 34-31 win that secured the AFC North title for the Bengals. His return will provide a hefty boost for Cincinnati's offense, but they haven't exactly been struggling to score without him.

 

The Bengals have won three in a row, and wide receiver Tee Higgins has been the star of the show the last two weeks. Higgins is often underappreciated as the number two option in Cincinnati and grabbed the opportunity to shine as the number one in Chase's absence. Back-to-back weeks of 148 and 114 receiving yards show just how talented this Bengals' group of receivers is. 

 

The Bengals have had the Chiefs' number in recent matchups, and it feels blasphemous to turn my back on a high-flying Patrick Mahomes right now, but something is telling me to go with Cincinnati. A huge day for Joe Burrow and his receivers might just result in a win for the Bengals, which will significantly impact their title race with the Ravens in the AFC North. Taking the Bengals +2.5 here, and I love the over for this game between two top-five scoring teams.

 

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© Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers

Betting Lines:

  • Spread: Dolphins +4, 49ers -4
  • Total: Over/Under 46.5
  • Money line: Dolphins +170, 49ers -200

 

The Miami Dolphins travel to the west coast to face the San Francisco 49ers having five games in a row since quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's return to the lineup. The Dolphins are yet to lose this season in games where Tua has played all four quarters, and he will head into the San Francisco matchup well-rested, having come out of the game against the Texans in the third quarter with the Dolphins up 30-0. 

 

Despite only playing two quarters and a segment of the third, Tua still threw for 299 yards and a touchdown in what has become one of the most efficient offenses in the league under rookie head coach Mike McDaniels' guidance. 

 

McDaniel will face his former boss and good friend Kyle Shanahan in this game. Both know a thing or two about the operation of the Niners.

 

It's an interesting matchup, with the Miami Dolphins ranking third in the league in yards per game while the 49ers' defense ranks number one in yards allowed. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is a favorite for a future head coaching role, and the performance of his defense shows you exactly why. San Francisco allows just 79.5 rushing yards per game, the best league record, and forces games into the opposing quarterback's hands. 

 

That said, the Dolphins thrive when passing the football, and their strength is the 49ers' defense's weakest point. Miami runs a lot of play-action that has resulted in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill finding the gaps in zone coverage, and Tua is having the best year of his career in the new-look offense so far this year. 

 

Since making his return following the nasty head injury, Tua is averaging 305 passing yards per game. The focus is on getting the football out fast, and the Dolphins' drives are efficient. However, one primary concern is the loss of left tackle Terron Armstead, whose experience and ability have been pivotal to the offensive line this season. Armstead left the game against Houston on Sunday and will be sidelined for multiple weeks with a pectoral injury. His absence was immediately noticeable against the Texans on Sunday and is not ideal when Miami is about to face Nick Bosa and the rest of the 49ers' defensive front. 

 

The Niners need to slow down the Dolphins' passing game. It's evident that they're a great defense against the run, but so far this season, no team has been able to shut down Tua, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle. The fact that it's Shanahan vs. his prodigy Mike McDaniel makes for a great storyline. This game will be a must-watch on Sunday afternoon. 

 

I like San Francisco's defense, but I like the +4 being offered for the Dolphins a lot more. I think we see a brilliant game for the competing aspects between that Miami offense and the Niners' defense, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Dolphins come out on top. I'll back the +4 here, and I like the under for what will be a very strategically played game. 

 

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© Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots

Betting Lines:

  • Spread: Bills -4, Patriots +4
  • Total: Over/Under 43.5
  • Money line: Bills -210, Patriots +175

 

Buffalo will travel the short distance to Gillette Stadium after back-to-back weeks in Detroit to face the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football. This is a crucial game for the Bills considering their current 0-2 record in the AFC East division, following losses to both the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. 

 

The Dolphins currently lead the division on a head-to-head advantage over Buffalo, with both teams carrying an 8-3 record. The Bills have shown that they're a playoff team once again this season, but recent form has shown a slight dip in their play. 

 

The Bills have lost four of their last five games against the spread. They're 3-2 in those games in terms of wins and losses but are allowing opponents like the Detroit Lions and a shaky Green Bay Packers team to hang around with them for far too long. 

 

Fans are still unsure of the extent of Josh Allen's elbow injury, which the star quarterback suffered during the loss to the Jets in Week 9. There were rumors he might miss some time, but he is yet to sit out any games and seems perfectly able to make all the throws he typically makes despite the elbow issue. 

 

If Buffalo isn't careful, they could find themselves 0-3 in the division and one game behind Miami should they beat the Niners. In that scenario, they'll be tough to catch, and Buffalo will want to find themselves in striking distance to claim the division lead for themselves when Miami travels to Orchard Park in a couple of weeks. 

 

The Bills have been struggling with injuries for most of the year, especially within their defense. Safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde (out for the season), linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, and DT Ed Oliver have all missed time, while cornerback Tre'Davious White saw his first game action last week, albeit limited, after tearing his ACL in 2021. Von Miller will now be sidelined too, with a knee injury that will keep him out against the Patriots. 

 

New England played a far better game offensively in their Thanksgiving match-up with the Minnesota Vikings after weeks of struggles as a unit. Quarterback Mac Jones was benched for rookie Bailey Zappe and then called back into the lineup, and finally looked like a version of his 2021 self in the Minnesota game. 

 

Against the Vikings, Jones threw for a career-high 382 passing yards and two touchdowns, completing 72% of his passes in the process. While the Patriots came up short against Minnesota, the performance of their offense will give them momentum. They might be sitting fourth in the AFC East right now, but a win against the Bills would bring them within one game of catching their division rival, and that's a trap Buffalo can't find themselves falling into. 

 

New England will want to see a similar performance out of Mac Jones on Thursday Night as they look to take advantage of a match-up against a Buffalo team with holes across the defense. AJ Epenesa and Gregory Rousseau both missed the Thanksgiving game on the defensive line, and with Von Miller now also out, they're extremely thin at the position. 

 

I like the opportunity for the Patriots' offense to prove themselves once again, but New England's defense will be the determining factor in this game. If the Bills are going to win, it's going to be a 30+ point Josh Allen led performance that gets them there.

 

This is a closer game than it would have been just two or three weeks ago, and while I favor the Bills to win, I think it's going to come down to a game-winning drive or a field goal. The Patriots are no slouch on defense, and they should keep it close, so I'll back New England with the +4, but have the Bills to win. I'll also take the under in this one, expecting a tough, gritty game of cold December football in Foxborough.

 

 

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