NFL

4 Potential NFL Upsets in Week 13

Upsets seem to be as common in the NFL as individual 300-yard passing games. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there is no denying that it is rare to go an entire week in the NFL without at least one significant upset. The biggest upset in Week 12 came in the first game of the week, when the Oakland Raiders defeated the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs, 24-20, on Thursday Night Football. Here’s a look at four games with upset potential in Week 13.

All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) over Dallas Cowboys (8-3)

  • Point spread: Cowboys favored by 3.5 points

These NFC East rivals are both coming off Week 12 wins and will be playing for sole possession of first place in the division on Thanksgiving Day. On paper, this looks like a game that has the makings of an offensive shootout, but on Thanksgiving Day and a short week of rest, anything is possible. The Eagles appear to be committed to slowing down DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys’ running game, and if they are successful, it could be the difference in the matchup.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has never been at his best when he’s been forced into carrying the team — which is exactly what will happen if the Eagles are successful in shutting down Murray. The Philadelphia offense is one of the best in the league and is on a serious roll right now. If their offense is clicking and their defense can slow down the Cowboys’ rushing attack, the Eagles could very well go into Dallas and upset the Eagles on Thanksgiving Day.

Eagles key offensive statistics (league rank):

  • 412 total yards per game (4th)
  • 293 passing yards per game (4th)
  • 119 rushing yards per game (12th)
  • 31.1 points per game (3rd)

Eagles key defensive statistics (league rank):

  • 375 total yards allowed per game (26th)
  • 266 net passing yards allowed per game (30th)
  • 109 rushing yards allowed per game (16th)
  • 25 points allowed per game (21st)

Cowboys key offensive statistics (league rank):

  • 387 total yards per game (6th)
  • 237 passing yards per game (17th)
  • 150 rushing yards per game (2nd)
  • 26.5 points per game (7th)

Cowboys key defensive statistics (league rank):

  • 355 total yards allowed per game (16th)
  • 248 net passing yards allowed per game (19th)
  • 107 rushing yards allowed per game (13th)
  • 21.8 points allowed per game (14th)

2. Seattle Seahawks (7-4) over San Francisco 49ers (7-4)

  • Point spread: 49ers favored by 1.5 points

There may not currently be a more heated rivalry in the NFL than the one that exists between the Seahawks and 49ers. The last time these teams met was in the NFC Championship game a year ago, and both have had up-and-down seasons in 2014. The 49ers are coming into the game with a three-game winning streak, but all three wins have come against sub-.500 teams. The Seahawks are coming off an impressive Week 12 win over the Arizona Cardinals and seem to have regained the swagger that helped them win Super Bowl XLVIII.

If the Seahawks truly have their swagger back, it may be the difference-maker in this matchup between two of the best defenses in the NFL. Seattle has also had the more consistent offense in 2014, and its league-leading rushing attack is a clear advantage in the team’s favor. If the Seattle defense can replicate its Week 12 performance, and if its offense can get its ground game going early, the Seahawks will more than likely go into San Francisco and upset the 49ers.

Seahawks key offensive statistics (league rank):

  • 359 total yards per game (13th)
  • 190 passing yards per game (30th)
  • 170 rushing yards per game (1st)
  • 25.4 points per game (11th)

Seahawks key defensive statistics (league rank):

  • 297 total yards allowed per game (1st)
  • 209 net passing yards allowed per game (3rd)
  • 88 rushing yards allowed per game (6th)
  • 19.8 points allowed per game (7th)

49ers key offensive statistics (league rank):

  • 340 total yards per game (19th)
  • 221 passing yards per game (24th)
  • 120 rushing yards per game (10th)
  • 20.7 points per game (22nd)

49ers key defensive statistics (league rank):

  • 300 total yards allowed per game (2nd)
  • 207 net passing yards allowed per game (2nd)
  • 93 rushing yards allowed per game (7th)
  • 20.5 points allowed per game (10th)

3.  Cleveland Browns (7-4) over Buffalo Bills (6-5)

  • Point spread: Bills favored by 3 points

Billy Cundiff’s last-second field goal gave the Browns a big win on the road against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12. The Browns have another excellent opportunity to win a road game against a quality team in Week 13 when they hit the road to take on the 6-5 Buffalo Bills. Cleveland has had a stout defense all season, but the return of Josh Gordon elevates the team’s offense to a completely different level.

The Bills are coming off an impressive 38-3 win over the New York Jets in Week 12 despite missing two days of practice last week. The Buffalo defense has been stellar in 2014, but the team’s offense has been wildly inconsistent and could be the difference in the outcome of this game. If both defenses play like they have all year, Cleveland’s definite edge on the offensive side of the ball could lead the Browns to an upset win over Buffalo in Week 13.

Browns key offensive statistics (league rank):

  • 367 total yards per game (10th)
  • 251 passing yards per game (11th)
  • 116 rushing yards per game (14th)
  • 22 points per game (16th)

Browns key defensive statistics (league rank):

  • 367 total yards allowed per game (20th)
  • 232 net passing yards allowed per game (9th)
  • 135 rushing yards allowed per game (29th)
  • 19.9 points allowed per game (8th)

Bills key offensive statistics (league rank):

  • 323 total yards per game (24th)
  • 226 passing yards per game (20th)
  • 98 rushing yards per game (23rd)
  • 21.6 points per game (19th)

Bills key defensive statistics (league rank):

  • 312 total yards allowed per game (4th)
  • 214 net passing yards allowed per game (5th)
  • 4 rushing yards allowed per game (8th)
  • 18.8 points allowed per game (4th)

4.  New England Patriots (9-2) over Green Bay Packers (8-3)

  • Point spread: Packers favored by 3 points

Many people around the league are viewing the game as a possible Super Bowl preview. There isn’t a team in the NFL playing better than the Patriots, and the Packers aren’t far behind. As is the case with practically every other team in the league, the Packers simply do not have a defensive player that can match up with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Getting Gronkowski back to full strength has been game-changing for the Patriots, as the All-Pro tight end has not only been enormously productive as a receiver, but his run-blocking has been as good as a lot of offensive tackles around the league.

The Packers will be no walk in the park for the Patriots, though. Aaron Rodgers has been playing as well as any quarterback in the league, and Lambeau Field offers one of the best home-field advantages in all of professional sports. Regardless, with the way the Patriots have been playing for the last two months, the Packers will need to be at the top of their game — something that was not the case in Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings — to have a chance in this matchup. If not, the Patriots will likely go into Green Bay and leave with an upset win over the Packers.

Patriots key offensive statistics (league rank):

  • 386 total yards per game (7th)
  • 273 passing yards per game (6th)
  • 113 rushing yards per game (15th)
  • 32.5 points per game (1st)

Patriots key defensive statistics (league rank):

  • 350 total yards allowed per game (14th)
  • 242 net passing yards allowed per game (17th)
  • 108 rushing yards allowed per game (14th)
  • 20.6 points allowed per game (12th)

Packers key offensive statistics (league rank):

  • 330 total yards per game (22nd)
  • 262 passing yards per game (8th)
  • 107 rushing yards per game (18th)
  • 32.2 points per game (2nd)

Packers key defensive statistics (league rank):

  • 371 total yards allowed per game (23rd)
  • 234 net passing yards allowed per game (13th)
  • 137 rushing yards allowed per game (30th)
  • 22.4 points allowed per game (16th)