NFL Week 13 was the epitome of Any Given Sunday.
Three teams did the unexpected, by different means, in three different time slots.
The now 3-10 Arizona Cardinals packed the first wallop, toying with the host Pittsburgh Steelers and dumping them 24-10 at +5.5 in the early window of Week 13.
The San Francisco 49ers followed with a stunning 42-19 thumping of the Philadelphia Eagles at -3 in the late-afternoon spot. San Francisco pounded the team which entered with the NFL’s best record at 10-1.
And then the Green Bay Packers, bet down to +5.5 amid late Sunday action, toppled the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs 27-19 on Sunday night. That made the Pack 6-6 and a viable playoff contender.
Those games launch our NFL Week 13 recap.
Green Bay Packers 27, Kansas City Chiefs 19
Spread: Chiefs -5.5
Jordan Love and Co. have won three of four, including consecutive triumphs over the Detroit Lions and the Chiefs. A major factor was the connection between Jordan Love and Christian Watson, whom we have touted all year as a coming threat.
Watson did tally twice on Sunday night but also left the game late with a hamstring injury. That could spell trouble. Green Bay is nonetheless in the playoff hunt when it visits the New York Giants next Monday night.
Contrarian bettors will enjoy the Packers’ money for at least one week. Only 11% of the DraftKings wagers were on Green Bay at +220. There was 18% of the handle on them too, meaning that some bettors went a little heavier on Green Bay.
San Francisco 49ers 42, Philadelphia Eagles 19
Spread: Niners -3
Three second-half touchdowns by Deebo Samuel and a TD from Christian McCaffrey illustrate how methodically potent the Niners are when healthy.
They scorched the Dallas Cowboys, 42-10, and the Eagles 42-19.
Forget the NFC West, where the Niners have a three-game lead before hosting the second-place Seattle Seahawks this week. They have every chance to catch Philadelphia and obtain the No. 1 playoff seed.
Arizona Cardinals 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
Spread: Steelers -6
Think of a 99-yard scoring drive over 4:36. Who gets that? The Eagles? The Chiefs? Nope. How about the 3-10 Cardinals, who converted a goal-line stand into a definitive drive to conclude the first half?
It started when Kenny Pickett was injured on a third-down scramble for Pittsburgh, trying to score and break a 3-3 tie. Not only was no penalty called on a hit to his helmet, the Steelers bungled a 4th-and-goal call from the 1.
They ran a mundane play into the line with Najee Harris. It was stuffed and launched the turning point.
Pittsburgh’s defense then sagged, allowing five third downs on the next drive. The Steelers were never a threat after that.
Only 16% of the moneyline handle was on the Cardinals at +215.
The Steelers host the New England Patriots, who were blanked for the second time at home this year, this time by the Los Angeles Chargers 6-0.
Detroit Lions 33, New Orleans Saints 28
Spread: Lions -3.5
The Lions jumped to a 21-0 lead and barely held off the feisty Saints.
Detroit solidified the grip on its imminent NFC North title, despite letting New Orleans back in the game.
At 9-3, the Lions visit the Chicago Bears, who are 3-0-1 ATS in the last month.
Miami Dolphins 45, Washington Commanders 15
Spread: Dolphins -8.5
Tyreek Hill paid dividends as the first touchdown scorer. He was the top player in that market and paid +500 at DraftKings. Hill gathered a 78-yard score from Tua Tagovailoa.
This was a Scorigami, the first time a 45-15 score has ever been notched. There have now been 1,082 of them.
Despite a change at defensive coordinator, the Commanders yielded 45 points for the second straight week.
They visit the rejuvenated Los Angeles Rams.
The Dolphins host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night.
Los Angeles Rams 36, Cleveland Browns 19
Spread: Rams -3.5
This was a lot closer than it looked. The Brown got a fourth-quarter TD to forge an apparent tie but missed the extra point.
Joe Flacco was effective enough at QB but threw a costly pick that sent the Browns downhill.
Los Angeles got two late scores from Cooper Kupp and Kyren Williams. They got four receptions for 105 yards from star rookie Puka Nacua.
The Rams have clawed their way back into Wild Card contention. It’s time to determine if they can go up one more level.
The Rams, 6-6, visit the Baltimore Ravens, who got the rocking-chair effect on Sunday.
The Ravens were on the bye and saw both Cleveland and Pittsburgh lose, hiking their AFC North lead to two games.
Indianapolis Colts 31, Tennessee Titans 28 (OT)
Spread: Colts -1.5
Gardner Minshew finally got the Colts into the end zone after several previous trips produced field goals.
The 7-5 Colts have four straight wins and covers. It has been a great first season for coach Shane Steichen. Indy visits the Cincinnati Bengals, who are playing out the string.
Los Angeles Chargers 6, New England Patriots 0
Spread: Chargers -4.5
Late New England money drove the line down a full point.
It was a good performance by both defenses. Pats bettors were shunned again when Bill Belichick passed up a field goal that would have cut the lead to 6-3 midway through the final quarter.
Had New England then gotten a borderline pass-interference call late in the game (it was not whistled), it could have been in position to tie the game.
Don’t be surprised if Belichick steps down after this year. This team needs too much of a rebuild.
Houston Texans 22, Denver Broncos 17
Spread: Texans -3.5
It took an end-zone pick to rescue the Texans from a furious fourth-quarter comeback from Russell Wilson. The interception brought Houston to 7-5 before hosting the New York Jets.
The hapless Jets lost 13-8 to the Atlanta Falcons.
Atlanta Falcons 13, New York Jets 8
Spread: Falcons -1.5
Late Jets money drove the line down from -2.5.
A punishing defense in the rain kept the Falcons atop the NFC South. At 6-6, they stand one game better than the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They host Tampa Bay in Week 14.
Tampa Bay Bucs 21, Carolina Panthers 18
Spread: Bucs -5.5
The 5-7 Bucs rewarded moneyline backers but lost the cover in a 21-18 squeaker over the Carolina Panthers at -5.5. On two occasions, the Bucs were one play from wrapping up the cover. On one, they allowed a monstrous 4th-down pass completion, setting up the covering score.
Later, when their running back broke free toward a final TD, he went down to cement the victory.