Not only did the Minnesota Vikings lose at Denver on Sunday and see their playoff hopes dented, but they may have lost star running back Dalvin Cook for a while. Cook was carted off the field late in the third quarter after suffering a shoulder injury and was ruled out for the rest of the game. Cook was injured after catching a pass and being knocked down by Niners defensive tackle Kevin Givens. Here’s a look at the three surefire NFL underdogs in Week 13 for you to place your bets on, the three underdogs.
Bucs at Falcons (+10)
Tampa Bay got a big win Sunday at Indianapolis, 38-31. Leonard Fournette rushed 17 times for 100 yards and three touchdowns, catching 7-of-8 targets for 31 yards and one score. Fournette’s fourth touchdown iced the game with :20 seconds remaining, bursting up the middle for a 28-yard run. Tampa Bay overcame a 10-point halftime deficit. The win also evened the Buccaneers’ record at 3-3 on the road after two disappointing trips to New Orleans and Washington.
“Great win,” said Coach Bruce Arians. “Coming here, this is a hard, hard place to win and [we] beat a really good playoff team that’s playing good. It wasn’t pretty the first 30 but it was real pretty the second 30. Good team victory – getting turnovers, scoring off turnovers. One of our better halves of football in the second half.”
The Buccaneers improved to 8-3 with the win and opened up a three-game lead over both the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, who are both 5-6 after a Saints loss on Thanksgiving and the Falcons win over Jacksonville on Sunday.
The Falcons won 21-14 in Jacksonville on Sunday. Cordarrelle Patterson rushed 16 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Patterson added two catches for 27 yards on three targets. At 6.8 yards per carry, Patterson posted his most efficient and productive rushing day as a Falcon. His 108 yards were a career-high and represent his second game topping the century mark in nine years as a pro.
Tampa Bay beat Atlanta at Raymond James Stadium in Week 2 by a 48-25 score, with Tom Brady throwing five touchdown passes, including two each to Rob Gronkowski and Mike Evans. Safety Mike Edwards punctuated the blowout with two pick-sixes in the game’s final eight minutes. Atlanta’s Cordarrelle Patterson scored on a 10-yard run and a seven-yard reception to keep the Falcons within striking distance in the second half,
Jaguars at Rams (+13.5)
This looks like the mismatch of the week even though the Rams lost their third straight game Sunday, 36-28 in Green Bay. LA quarterback Matthew Stafford is reportedly playing through elbow pain and his back has a chronic issue. It’s not expected that Stafford will miss any time. Stafford completed 21-of-38 attempts for 302 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception vs. the Packers. His TDs were a 79-yard bomb to Van Jefferson in the first half and a 54-yard strike to Odell Beckham in the second half.
Stafford, battling a host of injuries that have apparently hampered him for weeks, threw yet another interception for a touchdown in this one — a back-breaking mistake in a back-and-forth affair. Stafford almost threw another pick-six in the fourth quarter with the Rams entering desperation mode. For fantasy purposes, Stafford got there on sheer volume alone, reminiscent of his Lions days. He had two highlight throws against a stiff Green Bay secondary: A 79-yard bomb to Van Jefferson in the first half and a 54-yard strike to Odell Beckham in the second half. His inconsistency and sustained struggles could cost the super-team Rams dearly in their championship run unless he gets healthier or corrects his devastating mistakes. Stafford and the Rams should dominate the Jaguars in Week 13.
Jacksonville (2-9) was beaten at home by Atlanta on Sunday, 21-14. Rookie No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence continued to struggle, completing 23-of-42 passes for 228 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Lawrence added 39 yards on five carries. He struggled to get much going beyond his dump-offs to Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones. Since the team’s Week 7 bye, the rookie has yet to hit 250 yards or score multiple times in a game.
The Jaguars took possession with 2:13 remaining trailing by the final margin. They produced one first down, but Lawrence on 4th-and-10 from the Jaguars 29 threw incomplete to wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.
“It’s frustrating,” Lawrence said. “We’ve just got to get better and go make those plays in the biggest moments. I know we can do it, but we’ve got to go do it.”
Broncos at Chiefs (-9.5)
This is the Sunday night game. Kansas City comes out of its bye week playing its best football. A month ago the Chiefs were 3-4 and seemed headed for a lost season. They’ve won four straight games, including victories over division leaders in the Cowboys and Green Bay Packers and against a divisional opponent that was in first place at the time, the Las Vegas Raiders.
“We’re going to get better and better each and every week. We lost some games close early that we probably should have won if we had found ways to finish and then we took some big lumps and had some big losses that we don’t usually have here. We kind of went back to the drawing board, went back to the fundamentals and … we’re sitting here now with everything in front of us,” QB Patrick Mahomes said.
Denver beat the LA Chargers 28-13 on Sunday. Teddy Bridgewater completed 11-of-18 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown. He added an 11-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. Bridgewater missed the whole second quarter in the locker room with a lower leg injury after taking a big hit from Derwin James, but Drew Lock was so bad in relief that Bridgewater had to gut it out and play the second half.
Rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II picked off Justin Herbert twice, returning the second one 70 yards for a touchdown. Surtain’s first interception came in the end zone on a pass intended for tight end Jared Cook early in the fourth quarter. The Broncos converted that takeaway into a touchdown when Bridgewater hit tight end Eric Saubert from 9 yards to make it 21-7. His second one came off the hands of Austin Ekeler.
It’s the first meeting of the season between the teams.