NFL Bold Predictions
Happy late Thanksgiving to you all. Of course, I’m thankful for my family, friends, and health. But in addition, I’m also thankful for my teammates at Gridiron Experts. These guys do tremendous work and put their all into giving you the best content. With all of the sappy stuff out of the way, let’s get into the recap of the bold predictions from Week 11 (I took a hiatus for Thanksgiving in Week 12) and then dive into what should be an awesome slate of games in Week 13. Let me start off by saying that Week 11 was an absolute dud for the bold predictions. Only one of them hit, barely. Justin Herbert did not have all of his weapons since Mike Williams exited the game in the first quarter, Joe Mixon got hurt and was not able to pick up where he left off, Brian Robinson Jr. did not finish inside the top 12, Courtland Sutton did not score a touchdown, and George Kittle did not finish as the TE1. The only one that even resembled a hit was that Allen Robinson II found his footing with 47 yards and a touchdown. I’m not going to dwell on the negatives. It’s a new week and another opportunity to go six-for-six on bold predictions.
Jacksonville and Detroit combine for over 55 points in a shootout
I don’t think anyone would believe that this game would be something interesting to watch before the season started, but here we are. The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Detroit Lions should put on a show in the early window of Week 13. The current total for this game is 50.5, but I think it could be a shootout.
Neither team is really in the hunt for the playoffs, but the fantasy gods might give us something to look forward to. Both defenses have been bad this season, hence the reason why they aren’t playoff teams. However, both teams have been more than competent on offense and they should be able to maximize their numbers in this one. Detroit ranks eighth in points per game while Jacksonville ranks 16th. The Lions are one of the best teams in the league in terms of scoring and seem to be matchup-proof in that regard. The Jaguars are in the middle of the pack when it comes to putting points on the board, but can become dangerous if the opposing defense is bad enough. This week, they face a defense that has allowed the most points per game so far this season. I’d say they are bad enough to maximize Trevor Lawrence and company. If this isn’t enough to convince you that this game should have fireworks, what about the fact that the game will take place in an indoor stadium in Detroit? No wind, rain, or snow. All signs point to an explosive day in Detroit with a shootout between Trevor Lawrence and Jared Goff. Fantasy points will not come at a premium in this game.
Tom Brady finds his footing against New Orleans on Monday Night Football
It would be an understatement to say that Tom Brady has not looked like himself through the first 12 weeks of the season. I mean, the guy led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns just last season at the ripe age of 44. So far this season, he’s kept pace in passing yards ranking fourth in the league, but he’s thrown just 14 touchdowns which is good for 15th. He just hasn’t been able to find his receivers in the endzone and it has cost his team some wins. But, let me remind you of one thing. This is still Tom Brady we’re talking about. Brady has redefined the word “age” in the world of sports and has dominated the sport since 2001. I think we have enough evidence to believe that he still has something left in the tank. This week, he has a primetime matchup against a division rival in what could be deemed a must-win game. Historically, New Orleans has played Tom Brady and Mike Evans very well. However, Brady and the Buccaneers are coming off a devastating loss to the Browns and should come into this game with a heightened sense of hunger. Even if Mike Evans is slowed down, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones should be able to provide enough support for Brady to do some damage against a middling Saints defense. I’m looking for the seven-time Super Bowl champion to throw for over 250 yards with at least two touchdowns. It’s time for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers to step up.
D’Andre Swift outperforms Jamaal Williams against Jacksonville
This is more of a gut feeling because the numbers are not in favor of D’Andre Swift. He has been overtaken by the ultimate touchdown vulture, Jamaal Williams. Before the season started, Swift was a breakout candidate and seemed to have no serious competition for touches. Of course, he can’t get every carry or target but he was in line for a huge season. That has simply not been the case this season. In fact, it has almost been the complete opposite. Williams is the league leader in touchdowns with 13 through Week 12 while Swift has managed to find the endzone just five times. Week 8 was the last week that Swift was the snap-count leader at running back for the Lions. However, things have been trending in the right direction for the former Georgia Bulldog. Last week, Swift logged 34% of the RB snaps for the first time in four weeks. He seems to be healthier and remains the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield. Yes, Williams has been getting most of the carries, but Swift has shown explosiveness when he has the ball in his hands and gets almost all of the receiving work. We won’t see the fantasy superstar that we thought we were gonna see this season, but we could possibly see a situation similar to what’s going on in Dallas this year with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Depending on the game script, health, and the hot hand, Swift could play his way into more touches in the last six weeks of the season. In what should be an explosive game through the air, I could see D’Andre Swift catching a lot of passes and cashing in on those opportunities. It should be a positive game script for him and I predict he takes advantage of it.
Cincinnati beats Kansas City to extend the winning streak to four games
The Chiefs have been unstoppable as of late. They’ve won five straight games and Patrick Mahomes has been doing Patrick Mahomes things even without a complete cast of wide receivers. Despite their hot streak and stellar play from the offense, they have a real weakness in the secondary. During their streak, they haven’t played a team that excels at throwing the football, allowing this deficiency to be concealed. They played a run-heavy 49ers team that just traded for Christian McCaffrey, a Titans team that threw a total of 16 times with a rookie at quarterback making his second start, a decent Jaguars passing attack that faired pretty well, a Chargers team with a hobbled receiving core, and a Rams team without Matthew Stafford or Cooper Kupp. In no way am I saying that the Chiefs are frauds, I’m simply saying that they haven’t faced a team like the Bengals during this stretch. Joe Burrow has been on a tear, even without Ja’Marr Chase. Since week 6, Burrow has thrown for 1,844 yards (2nd) and 14 touchdowns (Tied for 1st) while throwing just three interceptions. This week, he has the chance to exploit the Chief’s biggest flaw. Through 12 weeks, Kansas City has given up 2nd-most passing touchdowns per game. Combine that with a red-hot Joe Burrow and the potential return of Ja’Marr Chase, and you might have an upset on your hands. The Chiefs have been able to avoid being taken advantage of through the air, but they are about to face one of the best teams in the league at throwing the football. The Jaguars-Lions matchup will provide fireworks, but this game could provide a real firework show. I’m talking about elaborate patterns in the sky and a big grand finale. Give me the Bengals to outshine the Chiefs, led by three or more touchdowns from Joe Burrow.
Garrett Wilson continues to dominate without Zach Wilson
The Jet’s passing game has been so weird this season, making Garrett Wilson’s rookie season a rollercoaster ride. For the first three games of the season, he had Joe Flacco as his quarterback. During that stretch, he was the WR17 on a per-game basis averaging six catches for 71.3 yards per game and 0.7 touchdowns. After that, he had Zach Wilson throwing him passes for the next seven weeks. During that run, Garrett Wilson was the WR64 on a per-game basis averaging 3.7 catches for 45.6 yards per game and no touchdowns. Of course, he probably wasn’t going to sustain WR17 numbers all season, but this was a huge drop-off. Now, with the benching of Zach Wilson, Mike White is at the helm of the Jet’s offense. In his first start of the season last week, Garrett Wilson was the WR2 with five catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Garrett Wilson flashed greatness once again in his first game since Week 3 without Zach Wilson throwing him the ball. Mike White probably won’t throw for 315 yards and three touchdowns every week as he did against Chicago, but I think we can expect some decent quarterback play from him which should lead to good numbers for his favorite target. Garrett Wilson is a really talented pass-catcher who has dominated with every quarterback not named Zach Wilson. This week, he will once again be playing with a quarterback not named Zach Wilson and I think he will once again benefit from this. Look for the rookie receiver to catch five passes, eclipse 75 yards, and score a touchdown for the second game in a row.
Evan Engram scores his second touchdown of the season against Detroit
If you can’t tell by now, I’m excited about this Jacksonville-Detroit matchup. There are points to be had in this game, but the hard part is predicting who will take them. I touched on the lackluster Lions’ defense earlier, but let me dive in a little deeper with this one. They are pretty much bad all around, but they seem to be especially bad against tight ends this season. Through Week 12, they have given up the third-most touchdowns to the position and fourth-most fantasy points. Evan Engram has had an underwhelming season with his new team, scoring just one touchdown through 11 games. Trevor Lawrence has been spreading the ball around to whoever is open and doesn’t seem to favor any particular pass-catcher, including Engram. In this matchup, he might find that Engram is open often and look his way more frequently than he has been. So far this season, he’s had five games of at least four catches and 40 yards. He’s shown the ability to have big games, he just needs targets. The tight end position has been so hard to predict this season, but I’m pretty confident in Engram this week. Playing against a really bad defense in a game that is projected to produce a lot of points, I’m predicting that Evan Engram will score his second touchdown of the season in Week 13.
Will Holtz is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism. He has been playing fantasy football for 15 years and hopes to help fantasy managers become fantasy champions. When he is not writing about fantasy football, he writes about the NBA and spends time with his family and girlfriend.