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NFL Week 13 game picks, schedule guide, fantasy football tips, odds, injuries and more

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The Week 13 NFL schedule for the 2021 season is stacked with great matchups, and we got you covered with what you need to know heading into the weekend. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the biggest keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and, of course, final score picks.

Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a big stat to know and a betting nugget for each contest, and our Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN researcher Kyle Soppe hands out helpful fantasy football intel, as well. Everything you want to know is here in one spot to help you get ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.

Let’s get into the full Week 13 slate, including Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow in a 2020 NFL draft showdown, a big AFC North matchup between the Ravens and Steelers and a Sunday night meeting between AFC West foes. It all culminates with a massive Monday Night Football matchup between the Patriots and the Bills on ESPN. (Game times are Sunday unless otherwise noted.)

Jump to a matchup:
TB-ATL | LAC-CIN | ARI-CHI
NYG-MIA | IND-HOU | MIN-DET
PHI-NYJ | JAX-LAR | WSH-LV
SF-SEA | BAL-PIT | DEN-KC
NE-BUF

Thursday: DAL 27, NO 17
Bye: CAR, CLE, GB, TEN

1 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
58.5 | Spread: TB -11 (50.5)

What to watch for: A.J. Terrell has a chance to take another step. The Falcons’ second-year cornerback has been one of the best at his position this year. Rarely targeted by opponents and beat for a completion infrequently (42.7% of passes thrown at him, according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats), he has a chance to garner attention facing one of the league’s top receiving duos in Tampa Bay with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. That matchup will be a fun one for fans to see how Tom Brady and Co. test one of NFL’s top young corners. — Michael Rothstein

Bold prediction: The Buccaneers will sack Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan four times and pick him off twice. Over the past three games, Ryan has produced a total QBR of 21.7 — the lowest in the NFL — and he was sacked four times by the Patriots last week. He has also thrown a league-leading five interceptions in that three-week span. Meanwhile, the Bucs’ 10 sacks in the past three games are second-most in the NFL, and their four interceptions are tied for fifth. — Jenna Laine

Stat to know: Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski had a season-high 123 receiving yards in his last game, which gives him 30 career games with 100-plus receiving yards. That’s one shy of tying Tony Gonzalez for the most by a tight end in NFL history. He is also one TD (90) shy of matching Isaac Bruce for 12th all-time in receiving scores.

Injuries: Buccaneers | Falcons

What to know for fantasy: Brady is QB17 on a per-game basis over the past three weeks, putting him among the big-name signal-callers who are either struggling or off this week. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Atlanta has failed to cover four of its five home games this season and is 0-3 against the spread (ATS) against teams with winning records. Read more.

Laine’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 23
Rothstein’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 20
FPI prediction: TB, 79.3% (by an average of 10.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Buccaneers WR Brown suspended 3 games for COVID-19 violationPatterson finds fit, ignites Falcons offenseFournette stars on field, in locker room as Buccaneers rally past Colts


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
57.4 | Spread: CIN -3 (50)

What to watch for: This game is a matchup of two of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL, both from the 2020 draft class. Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow is looking to lead the Bengals to a third straight win and inch Cincinnati closer to a playoff berth. Justin Herbert and the Chargers are looking to bounce back from a loss to the Broncos to keep pace in the AFC playoff race. Herbert currently leads the NFL in Total QBR (65.9). — Ben Baby

Bold prediction: Chargers running back Austin Ekeler will go for 200-plus yards from scrimmage, as the Chargers bounce back to beat the Bengals. His 1,077 scrimmage yards are seventh in the NFL. Also look for Herbert to have a 300-plus-yard game. — Shelley Smith

Stat to know: Bengals running back Joe Mixon has recorded multiple touchdowns in four straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL and longest in Bengals history. No one has done it in five straight games since Alvin Kamara across the 2019-20 seasons, and the last to do it in five straight within a season was LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 (eight straight).

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2:07

Mike Clay expects Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to have a tough time vs. the Bengals defense.

Injuries: Chargers | Bengals

What to know for fantasy: Remember less than two months ago when everyone was excited to tweak the wide receiver hierarchy of the Chargers? Well, Keenan Allen has posted five straight top-20 weeks while Mike Williams has just one such performance over that stretch. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Cincinnati has failed to cover its past four home games. Read more.

Smith’s pick: Chargers 34, Bengals 27
Baby’s pick: Chargers 34, Bengals 31
FPI prediction: CIN, 54.3% (by an average of 1.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Chargers on a quest to break out of up-and-down patternBengals’ offense finding groove behind Mixon, running game


1 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
57.4 | Spread: ARI -7.5 (43.5)

What to watch for: Can the Cardinals slow down Bears edge rusher Robert Quinn? The best — and perhaps only — shot of Chicago winning on Sunday comes down to quarterback pressure and forcing turnovers. With Khalil Mack on injured reserve, Quinn has been in the zone. The veteran edge rusher is tied for fourth in the NFL with 11 sacks. Back in Week 11, Quinn had 3.5 sacks against Baltimore, making it only the third time since 1988 that a Bears player had 3.0 sacks or more in a game. If Quinn is allowed to be a game-wrecker, maybe the Bears have a chance to win. — Jeff Dickerson

Bold prediction: It’s looking like Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be back against the Bears, and they will make their presence felt with 125 yards and two touchdowns between them. The Cardinals scored 40-plus points in their past two road games against the Bears, and they’ve won all six of their road games this season by 10-plus points. — Josh Weinfuss

Stat to know: Murray’s 72.7% completion percentage leads the NFL, and it is on pace to be the third-highest rate in a season in NFL history.

Injuries: Cardinals | Bears

What to know for fantasy: Bears running back David Montgomery has accounted for over 83% of Chicago running back touches in both games following their Week 10 bye. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Chicago has failed to cover in five of its past six games and in each of its past four games against teams with winning records. It is also 0-3 ATS as a home underdog this season. Read more.

Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 34, Bears 17
Dickerson’s pick: Cardinals 26, Bears 14
FPI prediction: ARI, 76.3% (by an average of 9.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Cardinals exit their holiday bye week as Super Bowl favoritesBears hall of famer Hampton arrested on OVI chargeKingsbury tops list of NFL coaching success on fourth down


1 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
31.9 | Spread: MIA -4 (40.5)

What to watch for: The Dolphins rank second in the NFL in defensive expected points added (EPA) during their current four-game winning streak, forcing 10 turnovers (third in the NFL). In that same span, the Giants have been one of the least-efficient offensive teams in the league, ranking 31st in yards per game and 28th in offensive EPA. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Bold prediction: Miami will pressure the Giants’ quarterback — either Daniel Jones or Mike Glennon — at a rate over 50%. Considering the Giants’ offensive line struggles and Miami’s propensity to bring the zero blitz, Jones or Glennon could be in trouble. The Giants generally allow pressure on 32.2% of dropbacks, the eighth-highest rate in the league. Miami, meanwhile, pressures at a 30% clip, the sixth highest in the league. — Jordan Raanan

Stat to know: Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed at least 80% of his passes with at least 30 attempts in each of his past two games. That’s tied for the longest such streak in NFL history (Kyler Murray in 2021, Drew Brees in 2018 and Peyton Manning in 2013).

play

2:25

Field Yates and Daniel Dopp break down Saquon Barkley’s recent performances and detail the best way to use him in your fantasy lineup.

Injuries: Giants | Dolphins

What to know for fantasy: Giants running back Saquon Barkley got 81% of the running back touches last weekend and was on the field for 86.2% of the Giants’ offensive snaps. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Miami is 5-1 ATS as a home favorite under coach Brian Flores. But New York is 9-3 ATS as a road underdog under Joe Judge. Read more.

Raanan’s pick: Dolphins 27, Giants 19
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Dolphins 20, Giants 10
FPI prediction: MIA, 64.0% (by an average of 4.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: Is second-year safety McKinney becoming a ‘superstar’ for Giants?How Tagovailoa’s improvement has helped fuel Dolphins’ win streakDolphins rookie Waddle establishing himself as a No. 1 receiver


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
26.1 | Spread: IND -10 (45)

What to watch for: Will Colts running back Jonathan Taylor continue his dominance? With a rushing touchdown on Sunday, Taylor would become the fifth player in NFL history with 10 straight games with a rushing touchdown in a season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Texans have allowed 17 rushing touchdowns this season and are allowing an average of 135.6 rushing yards per game, which ranks 31st in the NFL. — Sarah Barshop

Bold prediction: Indianapolis receiver T.Y. Hilton will have his first 100-yard receiving game since December 2020. Why? He’s playing the Texans, of course. Hilton’s last 100-yard receiving game was when he had eight receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Texans on Dec. 6, 2020. The veteran receiver has 52 receptions for 1,061 yards and eight touchdowns in nine career games against the Colts’ AFC South counterpart. — Mike Wells

Stat to know: Colts quarterback Carson Wentz has 21 touchdowns and five interceptions this season, the fourth-best TD-INT ratio in the NFL. Overall, the Colts are 1-5 when Wentz has a turnover and 5-1 when he doesn’t.

Injuries: Colts | Texans

What to know for fantasy: Don’t look now, but Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle has a score or at least five targets in five straight games. The tight end position isn’t pretty, and if you’re stuck, you could do worse. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Houston quarterback Tyrod Taylor is 9-2 ATS in his past 11 starts dating back to 2017, including playoffs. And he is 8-3-1 ATS in his career when getting at least six points. Read more.

Wells’ pick: Colts 35, Texans 17
Barshop’s pick: Colts 28, Texans 20
FPI prediction: IND, 75.8% (by an average of 9.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: Colts proving they’re not a playoff team — because playoff teams close out gamesTexans coach Culley says Reid to play Sunday after Week 12 benchingWhat losing to the Jets means for the Texans’ 2022 draft position


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
25.4 | Spread: MIN -7 (46.5)

What to watch for: Detroit’s defense will have to find a way to slow down Minnesota wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for November. Jefferson went off against Detroit in the Week 5 matchup between these teams, going for 124 receiving yards on seven catches. Detroit has lost eight straight games to Minnesota, dating back to 2017. — Eric Woodyard

Bold prediction: This feels like the perfect scenario for Jefferson to be a game wrecker, and he will have 160 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The Vikings are 4-0 when Jefferson has 100 receiving yards and 1-6 when he doesn’t, and Minnesota will lean into a pass-first attack with running back Dalvin Cook sidelined. — Courtney Cronin

Stat to know: Vikings receiver Adam Thielen has a receiving touchdown in two straight games and 10 total receiving touchdowns on the season — which is tied with Cooper Kupp and Mike Evans for most in the NFL.

Injuries: Vikings | Lions

play

2:13

Stephania Bell discusses Dalvin Cook’s shoulder injury, and Field Yates chooses Alexander Mattison as his top waiver-wire pickup this week at running back.

What to know for fantasy: Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins is QB3 (19.9 fantasy points per game) on a per-game basis over the past four weeks and is in a favorable spot this week for those streaming in shallow leagues or looking to save some salary in daily fantasy. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Eight of Detroit’s past nine games have gone under the total. Read more.

Cronin’s pick: Vikings 26, Lions 21
Woodyard’s pick: Vikings 24, Lions 17
FPI prediction: MIN, 67.8% (by an average of 6.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Vikings’ path to postseason is murky, but goal is still attainableLions’ Swift could miss multiple weeks with shoulder injury


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
18.8 | Spread: PHI -7 (45)

What to watch for: It’s all about Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, his balky ankle and the Jets’ ability to contain his rushing. The Jets have allowed only 96 rushing yards to quarterbacks, but they haven’t faced many dangerous runners. Hurts, who leads the Eagles with 695 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, is “almost Lamar-esque,” as Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said, comparing him to the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson. — Rich Cimini

Bold prediction: The Eagles will return a Zach Wilson interception for a touchdown. Wilson is tied for third in the NFL with 10 picks despite playing just seven games so far due to injury. The Eagles will throw some disguises Wilson’s way to confuse him, and the secondary will be licking its chops — particularly cornerback Darius Slay, who already has three defensive touchdowns this season. — Tim McManus

Stat to know: The Jets’ defense is last in the NFL in points allowed per game (30.4) and yards given up per play (6.1), and it is second-worst in opponent Total QBR (56) ahead of only the Jaguars.

Injuries: Eagles | Jets

What to know for fantasy: A hefty 100.5% of Hurts’ fantasy points over the past two weeks have come on the ground. You read that right: 100.5%. (He had negative points on the passing side of things.) The rushing ability is elite, but right now, it’s a need to have, not a nice to have. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: New York is one of two teams to not be favored in a single game this season (Detroit) and is 2-8 ATS, the worst ATS record in the NFL this season. Read more.

McManus’ pick: Eagles 26, Jets 20
Cimini’s pick: Eagles 24, Jets 14
FPI prediction: PHI, 68.7% (by an average of 6.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Reagor, after critical drop, faces pivotal moment in career with EaglesLawson leans on Jets’ teammates during long injury rehabEagles QB Hurts ‘ready to go’ despite ankle sprain


4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
47.8 | Spread: LAR -13 (48)

What to watch for: The Super Bowl hopeful Rams enter Sunday’s game amid a three-game losing streak for only the second time in Sean McVay’s five seasons as coach. Watch for the Rams and quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has committed six turnovers in the three-game skid, to course correct and re-develop a rhythm with a continually evolving offense against the 2-9 Jaguars, whose own offense has produced a league-low average of 14.6 points per game this season. — Lindsey Thiry

Bold prediction: The Rams — led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald and edge rusher Leonard Floyd — will sack quarterback Trevor Lawrence eight times. Jacksonville center Brandon Linder and left guard Andrew Norwell rank eighth and 17th, respectively, in pass block win rate at their positions, but offensive tackles Jawaan Taylor (47th) and Cam Robinson (33rd) are struggling. Add in the fact that Jaguars receivers are still running wrong routes at times and get limited separation, and Lawrence is going to have a long day. — Mike DiRocco

Stat to know: Los Angeles receiver Cooper Kupp has seven straight games with seven or more receptions, tied for the longest streak by a Rams player in franchise history, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Kupp also needs just eight more catches to reach 100, which would make him the third different Rams player with that amount in a season and the first since Torry Holt in 2005.

Injuries: Jaguars | Rams

What to know for fantasy: Not one, not two, but three Rams receivers finished last week tucked inside the top-15 at the position. Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr. and Van Jefferson all saw at least nine targets and project as viable options in this high-octane offense. See Week 13 rankings.

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1:58

Stephania Bell, Field Yates and Matthew Berry discuss Dan Arnold being placed on injured reserve and what it means for the Jaguars.

Betting nugget: Jacksonville is 2-0 ATS as a double-digit underdog this season with an outright win over Buffalo as a 15.5-point underdog. It is also 3-1 ATS when getting at least seven points. Read more.

DiRocco’s pick: Rams 35, Jaguars 7
Thiry’s pick: Rams 32, Jaguars 10
FPI prediction: LAR, 85.6% (by an average of 14.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: My Cause My Cleats: Jaguars punter Cooke and wife fund water well in KenyaShocked Ramsey, Rams ‘way too good’ to be mired in three-game skidWhy NFL star QBs Stafford is struggling and how he gets back on track


4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
38.2 | Spread: LV -2.5 (49)

What to watch for: Keep an eye on the “reunion” of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. The two were thick as thieves when Del Rio was the Raiders’ coach from 2015-2017, but an awkward social media exchange between the two occurred when Del Rio, then an analyst for ESPN, pointed out Carr’s difficulty in cold-weather games. The chess match within this game, though, will be between Carr and Del Rio, who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Del Rio, whose .521 winning percentage is the best of any Raiders coach since Tom Flores resigned in 1988, might have a chip on his shoulder for being canned in favor of Jon Gruden. — Paul Gutierrez

Bold prediction: Washington will run for 150 yards. Washington has some injury concerns, so there will be questions entering this game, but assuming some of those questions are answered in the affirmative, the run game will have a day. Antonio Gibson will rush for 90 yards and a touchdown, offsetting a 60-yard touchdown catch by the Raiders’ DeSean Jackson. — John Keim

Stat to know: The Raiders are 6-0 this season when Carr throws for 300-plus yards.

Injuries: Washington | Raiders

What to know for fantasy: It’s rarely exciting, but receiver Hunter Renfrow has been a top-11 fantasy receiver (PPR) in three of Las Vegas’ past four games. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Washington is 1-5 ATS against teams with winning records this season, but it has covered three straight games after starting the year 1-7 ATS. Read more.

Keim’s pick: Washington 23, Raiders 21
Gutierrez’s pick: Raiders 27, Washington 26
FPI prediction: LV, 61.7% (by an average of 4.0 points)

Matchup must-reads: Washington ‘hasn’t arrived yet’ despite hot streak, 2020 comparisonsJackson providing spark, confidence for Raiders, CarrCarr channels Gruden advice in Raiders’ OT win over Cowboys


4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
62.7 | Spread: SF -3.5 (45.5)

What to watch for: Can quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense snap out of their slump? That group has scored only 26 points during the three-game losing streak that began when Wilson returned from finger surgery. Among all their issues, his uncharacteristic inaccuracy has been the most striking. In that span, Wilson leads the league in off-target percentage, per ESPN Stats & Information. Having 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa — who has 11 sacks in 11 games — bearing down on him Sunday won’t make things any easier. — Brady Henderson

Bold prediction: Making a bold prediction on any game involving the Seahawks is hard because nothing seems out of reach, especially when they play the 49ers. But let’s go with this: The Niners will have at least 40 minutes of time of possession. Seattle has the worst time of possession margin in the league by a substantial amount (minus-11:57) and the Niners have had 37-plus minutes time of possession in each of their past three games. If both teams stay on those trajectories, San Francisco could play the ultimate game of keep away. — Nick Wagoner

Stat to know: Niners running back Elijah Mitchell has four games with 100 or more rushing yards this season, the most by a rookie in 49ers history. The last rookie to be drafted in the sixth round or later with five such games in a season was Alfred Morris in 2012 (seven games — and under then-Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan).

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2:05

Field Yates questions if Pete Carroll will adjust the offense to a degree that’ll benefit Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

Injuries: 49ers | Seahawks

What to know for fantasy: Is it a Tyler Lockett week? In 2019, the Seattle receiver scored 11.2 more points in the second meeting with the divisional rival 49ers than he did in the first. In 2019, he spiked for a 33-point game in the second game after disappointing with just 7.3 in the first. In Week 4 this season at San Francisco, 6.4 points. Be careful in counting him out. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is 9-0 outright and 6-3 ATS as a road favorite in his career (3-1 ATS this season). Read more.

Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 30, Seahawks 20
Henderson’s pick: 49ers 22, Seahawks 20
FPI prediction: SF, 51.8% (by an average of 0.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: 49ers’ Mitchell goes from sixth-round pick to Peterson comparisonsWilson’s misfires are most striking among Seahawks’ offensive woes49ers WR Samuel, LB Warner out 1-2 weeksSeahawks sign veteran Peterson to practice squad


4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
51.3 | Spread: BAL -4.5 (44)

What to watch for: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson has just two starts against the Steelers, but he struggled mightily in each. He threw five total interceptions to three touchdowns in those games and was sacked nine times. And just a week ago, Jackson turned in a dismal performance with four interceptions against the Browns. But one of the Steelers’ biggest weaknesses is their run defense — something Jackson is more than capable of exploiting — and the unit hasn’t been great at containing mobile quarterbacks this season. Plus, edge rusher T.J. Watt is likely sidelined. — Brooke Pryor

Bold prediction: Ravens running back Devonta Freeman will gain 100 yards rushing for the first time in four years. Freeman hasn’t cracked 100 yards rushing since December 2017, when he was with the Falcons. The Ravens, who lost their top two running backs to season-ending injuries before the start of the season, are one of just two teams to not have a running back eclipse 80 yards rushing in a game this season (Jets), but the droughts end for Freeman and Baltimore against the Steelers, who are allowing their highest yards per rush (4.8) in at least two decades. — Jamison Hensley

Stat to know: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has at least one passing TD in 25 straight games, one shy of matching the second-longest streak of his career (26 straight from 2017-18).

Injuries: Ravens | Steelers

What to know for fantasy: Steelers running back Najee Harris is a test case for the fantasy value of volume. He remains locked into lineups despite going through all of November without a touch gaining 15 yards. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Each of Baltimore’s past four road games have gone under the total. Read more.

Hensley’s pick: Ravens 23, Steelers 20
Pryor’s pick: Ravens 24, Steelers 14
FPI prediction: BAL, 56.8% (by an average of 2.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: He changed my son’s life’: How the Ravens’ Andrews inspires others with diabetesTomlin promises changes for Steelers after lopsided loss to BengalsImperfect Ravens face perfect scenario: In control of AFC No. 1 seed


8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating:
61.7 | Spread: KC -10 (47.5)

What to watch for: The Chiefs have beaten the Broncos 11 straight times, and the final margin often hasn’t been close. Three of the past four were decided by at least 20 points. So it seems a fast start by the Broncos is essential. The Chiefs haven’t been scoring a lot of points in their current four-game winning streak but have been jumping out ahead of opponents early. They had early leads of at least seven points in all four games and never trailed in the past three. — Adam Teicher

Bold prediction: Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will finish with at least 240 passing yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and one or fewer sacks. But it is dependent on the Broncos actually using play-action to push the ball down the field in the passing game and putting Bridgewater under center more. The last Broncos quarterback to have that kind of stat line when these two teams have played? Peyton Manning in September 2014. — Jeff Legwold

Stat to know: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 48 touchdown passes in 19 career prime-time starts. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s already the most since 1950 in a QB’s first 20 career prime-time starts. And his 77.8 career Total QBR in division games is the highest by any QB since 2006.

play

1:56

Field Yates and Daniel Dopp examine the Broncos’ running back situation with Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams.

Injuries: Broncos | Chiefs

What to know for fantasy: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce has gone over 19 fantasy points in each of his past five Arrowhead games against the Broncos, averaging an outrageous 130 yards and 26.4 fantasy points in the process. See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Nine of Denver’s 11 games have gone under the total this season. Read more.

Legwold’s pick: Chiefs 23, Broncos 21
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 23, Broncos 19
FPI prediction: KC, 68.3% (by an average of 6.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: With rookie Surtain leading the way, Broncos have found a defensive formulaChiefs hope to use Edwards-Helaire as a receiver, not just a runnerBroncos must wrestle history to earn division lead in Kansas CityDo the Broncos finally have a solution to their Kelce problem?


Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN
Matchup rating:
87.7 | Spread: BUF -2.5 (43)

What to watch for: While the absence of cornerback Tre’Davious White will be big for the Bills’ defense, it’s the recent trend of turning the ball over that is the key to watch when the Patriots and Bills face off. Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen has thrown seven interceptions in his past four games and lost one fumble. Thus far, Buffalo’s defense has been able to bail the team out, but New England will be a tougher task, especially considering the defense has forced a league-high 20 turnovers since Week 5. Allen maintaining his composure will be crucial, and he could be assisted by two starting offensive linemen potentially returning to the starting lineup. — Alaina Getzenberg

Bold prediction: Patriots kicker Nick Folk leads the NFL with 31 field goals (on 34 attempts) and has made 50 straight attempts from within 50 yards, stretching back to last season. But that streak — which is the second longest in NFL history behind Ryan Succop‘s 56 — will be snapped in Western New York, where the weather conditions are often unpredictable with wind and snow. In turn, Bills second-year kicker Tyler Bass, who is 20-of-23 on the season, will also be tested. — Mike Reiss

Stat to know: Tight ends Hunter Henry (Patriots) and Dawson Knox (Bills) each have seven receiving touchdowns this season, tied for the league lead among tight ends.

Injuries: Patriots | Bills

What to know for fantasy: Did Allen crack the Patriots’ puzzle in Week 16 last season? In that game, he completed 75% of his passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns. In his four prior career games against New England, he completed 50.4% of his passes and averaged 183 pass yards with a total of three passing scores (and six interceptions). See Week 13 rankings.

Betting nugget: Buffalo has covered each of its last five games in the month of December or later, and it is 4-0-1 ATS in its past five games against AFC East opponents. Read more.

Reiss’ pick: Bills 20, Patriots 16
Getzenberg’s pick: Patriots 24, Bills 23
FPI prediction: BUF, 64.4% (by an average of 4.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Jackson keeps picking up trash, helping the PatriotsBills receiver Diggs embracing leadership role and Buffalo communityBills remove Lotulelei, Brown from COVID-19 listWhat’s next for the Bills after losing No. 1 corner White for the season?

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NFL moves to dismiss Jon Gruden lawsuit, calls ex-Las Vegas Raiders coach’s claims against league ‘baseless’

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The NFL filed a motion asking a Nevada court to dismiss former Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the league, saying accusations that the NFL leaked Gruden’s old, offensive emails are “baseless” and “should be dismissed for failure to state a single viable cause of action.”

The league responded Wednesday to the suit Gruden filed in district court in Clark County, Nevada, in November. The NFL filed a motion to dismiss the case and also asked the court to stay that motion until it first rules on whether the case should be moved to arbitration.

Gruden resigned as coach of the Raiders in October with more than six seasons remaining on his 10-year, $100 million contract.

He claimed a “malicious and orchestrated campaign” was used by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell to destroy his career by leaking the old emails that included racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language.

The emails were sent to former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen and others from 2011 to 2018 during Gruden’s time as the lead analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The emails came from a set of 650,000 obtained by the league in June during an investigation into WFT’s workplace culture.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Oct. 8 that Gruden used a racist trope to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.

Gruden apologized, and then coached two days later as a listless Raiders team lost at home to the Bears.

Then on Oct. 11, the New York Times revealed Gruden sent additional emails using misogynistic and anti-gay language over a seven-year period. He resigned that evening, apologizing again and saying he never meant to hurt anyone.

“Gruden does not, and cannot, dispute that he wrote the published emails. He does not, and cannot, dispute that he sent those emails to multiple parties,” the league’s filing said. “Nor does he claim that they were somehow altered or edited and that the repugnant views espoused in them were not in fact expressed by him. Instead, Gruden filed the instant complaint against the NFL and the commissioner, painting himself as the victim in a fictional story and seeking money through baseless claims against the NFL.”

Gruden’s lawyer had said “there was no explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season.”

The league denied leaking the emails, which had been sent to up to a half-dozen people and added that Gruden had no “expectation of privacy” for the emails.

The filing said even if the league had leaked the emails it still would not constitute “intentional interference with a contract” as claimed by Gruden because the NFL had no obligation to protect the confidentiality of the emails, had the right to disclose truthful information to the media and could have suspended or canceled Gruden’s contract because of the emails.

Raiders owner Mark Davis said in October he had reached a settlement with Gruden over the final six-plus years of his contract. Davis did not reveal the terms of the settlement.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Los Angeles Rams’ Matthew Stafford says toe feeling fine ahead of playoff game vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford doesn’t expect his injured toe to be a factor in Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Buccaneers in Tampa, Florida.

Stafford suffered the injury in the Rams’ regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers, a 27-24 overtime loss.

“I’m feeling OK,” Stafford said Wednesday. “The toe kind of happened in that game and that was kind of a real thing, but I got a bunch of treatment on it. I’m feeling a lot better. So I don’t see anything limiting me in this game.”

Coach Sean McVay said one of the reasons he tried to put the 49ers away with their run game near the end of regulation was because Stafford was hobbled. He said Stafford had “no limitations” Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals as the Rams leaned on their run game for much of their 34-11 wild-card victory.

Stafford was 13-of-17 passing, both easily season lows, for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran for a score in the first playoff victory of his 13-year NFL career.

“He felt good,” McVay said. “Everything was up and available to be called. He was feeling great.”

The Rams are uncertain about the statuses of left tackle Andrew Whitworth and safety Taylor Rapp for Sunday’s game.

Whitworth, 40, got his right knee rolled up on during the Rams’ opening play against Arizona. He played 30 of the team’s 60 offensive snaps before Joe Noteboom replaced him for the remainder of the game.

McVay said tests results haven’t indicated that the Rams need to rule Whitworth out yet. He’d be a nonparticipant if the Rams were practicing Wednesday, per McVay.

“He’s got some swelling in that knee and that ankle,” McVay said. “It’s a miracle. He’s like Gumby with the way that he got rolled up on. It was not a good looking play when you watch it on the replay. But he’s a resilient guy. He responds quickly. He’s been a quick healer. For him to be able to play and start at tackle at the age of 40 tells you everything you need to know about how blessed he is with his genetics and the way he takes care of himself.

“But we’ll see how quickly he can turn around. Not sure whether he’ll be able to go or not this week. We’ll take it a day at a time. Fortunately his scans gave us some information where we didn’t have to rule him out.”

Whitworth ranked third during the regular season in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate among offensive tackles.

Rapp, who missed the Cardinals game, remains in concussion protocol. His absence and Jordan Fuller‘s season-ending ankle injury prompted the Rams to bring 37-year-old Eric Weddle out of his two-year retirement last week to pad their safety depth. He played 19 of 56 defensive snaps while Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess started.

“With Rapp, we’re just taking that a day at a time,” McVay said. “The concussion protocol and kind of going through those strategic steps and making sure that when you are active, you’re not having any symptoms. Those are the things we’re working through right now and I know Taylor’s going to do everything in his power to be ready if he can.”

Cornerback David Long Jr. (knee) is “doing good,” per McVay. He returned one of the Rams’ two interceptions of Kyler Murray for a touchdown Monday night. McVay said backup running back Buddy Howell (hamstring) also would have been a nonparticipant Wednesday and that “everybody else would be in good shape” if the team was practicing.

McVay expects the Rams to designate linebacker Ernest Jones to return to practice from injured reserve on Thursday, thereby starting his 21-day window to be activated to the 53-man roster.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield has shoulder surgery, eyes return to ‘my true self’

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield says he is on track to getting “back to my true self” after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, the orthopedic surgeon for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, performed the surgery on Mayfield’s left shoulder in California.

“Surgery went great. Was a complete success,” Mayfield said in a video posted to social media. “Now it’s on to the road to recovery. It’s one of those steps to get back to my true self. … This is not the end of my story.”

The Browns said the likely time period for Mayfield’s recovery is four to six months. He will start physical therapy on his shoulder next week and is expected to be cleared by training camp, if not sooner, a source told ESPN.

Mayfield, who suffered the shoulder injury in Week 2 and played through it for the rest of the season, will begin light throwing in April and should be able to participate in the off-season program on a limited basis, the team said.

After the Browns’ Week 17 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mayfield admitted that he was “pretty damn beat up.”

With Cleveland already eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield sat out the team’s season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 9.

Even though Mayfield finished 27th in the league in QBR (35.3) this season, Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry declared last week that the Browns “fully expect” the 2018 No. 1 draft pick to be their starting quarterback in 2022 and “bounce back” from his injury-plagued season.

Mayfield will be entering the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him close to $19 million in 2022 after the Browns exercised his fifth-year option last offseason.



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