NFL Specials: Will Matthew Stafford Throw Another Pick-Six in Week 13?

Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season is officially upon us. The Dallas Cowboys will take on the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football, while we have a jam-packed Sunday slate to follow just a couple of days later. We have officially reached the stretch run of the regular season, which means teams are jockeying for both playoff seeds and draft positions.

While there is still a long way to go, this has already felt like one of the wildest campaigns in recent memory. Each week seems to bring a couple of shocking upsets, while injuries have already played a major role in the proceedings.

What does Week 13 have in store?

BetOnline’s oddsmakers have posted weekly specials throughout the season, and a new batch of props is already up in anticipation of this week’s set of games.

Will Jonathan Taylor Score a TD in Week 13?

  • Yes (-225)
  • No (+185)

As of now, Jonathan Taylor has the best MVP odds of any non-quarterback in the league. Taylor is listed in the +3000 range at most NFL betting sites. He’s still a long shot, but anything is possible. The Colts’ second-year back is one of this season’s breakout stars, and he is almost single-handedly carrying Indianapolis into the AFC playoff picture.

Through 12 games, the former Wisconsin standout has racked up 1,205 yards on 209 carries and a whopping 14 rushing touchdowns. Taylor has also hauled in 36 of his 43 targets for another 336 yards with a couple more scores. He is making a laughingstock of the race for the rushing title at this point. Taylor has recorded 268 more rushing yards than any other player, with Derrick Henry still a distant second. Remember, Henry hasn’t played since sustaining a foot injury on Halloween.

Last week, Taylor finished with a meager (by his standards) 83 yards with a touchdown against Tampa Bay. The Bucs have been one of the stingiest run defenses in the league over the past few seasons, so there’s no shame in those numbers. Taylor has found paydirt in each of the Colts’ last nine games after failing to score in any of the season’s first three contests.

On Sunday, Taylor will lead the Colts into Houston for a matchup against the miserable Texans. JT totaled 145 rushing yards with a couple of scores in Indianapolis’ 31-3 shellacking of Houston the last time they met back on October 17. He did all of that on just 14 carries for an average of 10.4 yards per tote. In news that should surprise nobody that knows anything about the Texans, Houston ranks 31st in the league in rushing yards allowed per game, with 135.6. Only the Chargers have absorbed more damage on the ground so far this season.

Is there any way Taylor doesn’t score in this game?

The Texans are unabashedly trying to lose games at this point, while the Colts are still fighting for their playoff lives. There is absolutely no reason to believe Taylor won’t find the end zone at least once in this one. Honestly, I’d consider betting on minus-money odds on JT to score multiple TDs in this one. The -225 odds on Taylor to score just once are still too low.

Will Taylor Score a TD in Week 13? –Yes (-225)

Will Joe Mixon Score a TD in Week 13?

  • Yes (-165)
  • No (+135)

Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon is actually second behind Taylor in rushing yards among healthy players. The Bengals’ bell-cow back has amassed 924 yards on 208 attempts so far this season, which means he’s quite likely to post the third 1,000-yard season of his pro career. Mixon’s 11 touchdowns are already a career-high, while he has also added a couple of receiving scores to his ledger.

Mixon’s exploits have not generated nearly as many headlines as Taylor’s, and with good reason. Still, the former Oklahoma Sooner has certainly played a big role in the Bengals’ surprising 7-4 start. This week, Mixon and the gang will look to extend their winning streak to three games when they welcome the aforementioned Chargers to town.

Remember, Los Angeles is the only defense that has allowed more rushing yards on a per-game basis than the Texans so far this season. The Chargers are inexplicably allowing more than 10 more rushing yards per game than Houston, which is easily dead-last in football.

Needless to say, it’s an amazing matchup for Mixon. LA has held opposing running backs to under 100 yards rushing just twice through the season’s first 11 games. That Charger defense has allowed at least one rushing score in seven consecutive games. Interestingly enough, LA allowed just two rushing scores through the first four games of the year. Things have gone south in a hurry for this group.

I don’t feel quite as confident in Mixon’s chances of scoring this week as I do in Taylor’s, but he’s still an excellent bet. Mixon is on the field for the vast majority of the Bengals’ plays, which makes him a good bet to get the ball in scoring opportunities whenever they arise. I’ll grab the -165 odds on Mixon to score at least once this week, too.

Will Mixon Score a TD in Week 13? –Yes (-165)

Will Trey Hendrickson Record a Sack in 12 Straight Games?

  • Yes (+800)
  • No (-4000)

It takes a lot for a defensive player to become a household name in the NFL. Everyone knows guys like Aaron Donald, JJ Watt, and Myles Garrett, but individual defenders rarely garner much of the spotlight. For whatever reason, Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson isn’t exactly a superstar despite the fact that he has been one of the league’s most prestigious pass-rushers over the past couple of years.

Hendrickson spent the first four years of his career in New Orleans after being taken in the third round of the 2017 draft out of Florida International. He really exploded onto the scene last year, however, when he tallied a career-high 13.5 sacks in 15 games for the Saints. He was able to parlay that outstanding campaign into a lucrative four-year, $60 million pact with the Bengals this past offseason.

So far, that contract looks like a bargain for Cincinnati. All Hendrickson has done through his first 11 games with the Bengals is record 24 total tackles, including 10.5 sacks. He’s quietly tied with Haason Reddick for sixth in the league in sacks, trailing only Garrett, Watt, Matt Judon, Robert Quinn, and Nick Bosa. Pretty heady company for a guy that spent his first three years in the league as a rotation piece along the Saints’ D-line.

Hendrickson has recorded at least one sack in each of his last seven games dating back to the Bengals’ loss to Green Bay on October 10. In fact, he’s only been held without a sack once through Cincy’s first 11 games this year. BetOnline wants to know whether Hendrickson will total at least one sack in each of the Bengals’ next five games. Cincinnati will face the Chargers, 49ers, Broncos, Ravens, and Chiefs during that stretch.

The Chiefs’ Chris Jones Is the Current All-Time Record-Holder in This Category

He piled up sacks in 11 consecutive games for Kansas City during the 2018 season on his way to a total of 15.5 for the season. Clearly, the odds (-4000) are stacked heavily against Hendrickson setting a new record this season. That said, it’s certainly not impossible. It’s not like Hendrickson is a flash in the pan, either. Over the past two years, you can count the number of pass-rushers that have been more productive than Hendrickson on one hand.

Obviously, the safer bet is to bet against Hendrickson setting a new record for most consecutive games with a sack. But where’s the fun in that? The +800 odds on “yes” are at least worth a cheap flier, no?

Will Hendrickson Record A Sack in 12 Games? –Yes (+800)

Will the Steelers Allow 40+ Points in Week 13?

  • Yes (+325)
  • No (-550)

Over the years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had some of the most prolific defenses in the history of the NFL. However, it’s fair to say that that isn’t the case in 2021. Pittsburgh is a disappointing 5-5-1 to this point, which is good for third place in the AFC North. While the struggles of Ben Roethlisberger have garnered most of the attention, let’s not ignore how poorly the defense has played of late.

The Steelers haven’t won since a victory over the Bears four weeks ago. The stretch includes a tie against the winless Lions with back-to-back defeats to the Chargers and Bengals. Pittsburgh has allowed 41 points in each of the last two games, which is quite a fall for a defensive group that spent most of the first half of the year playing pretty well. In fact, the Week 11 loss to LA was the first time all year that Pittsburgh yielded even 30 points in a single game.

This week, the Steelers will welcome the rival Ravens to Heinz Field. Baltimore is currently atop the division, and this will be the first of two meetings between the teams this year. Baltimore’s mighty offense is centered around all-everything QB Lamar Jackson, but this has been one of the lowest-scoring rivalries in the NFL over the years. No team has cracked 30 points in a game between these teams since Pittsburgh’s thrilling 39-38 win over Baltimore almost exactly four years ago. Neither team has eclipsed 40 points in a meeting since the Steelers put 43 points on the board in a 20-point beatdown of the Ravens in October of 2014.

While Jackson is close to unstoppable when he’s right, it’s still hard to imagine the Ravens putting that many points on the board in this one. Baltimore hasn’t even scored 20 points in any of their last three games. They haven’t topped 40 all year, either.

Anything can happen, but I’d expect the Steelers’ defense to be up to the task in this one. Bet against the Ravens tallying 40 points against them in this one.

Will Steelers Allow 40+ Points in Week 13? –No (-550)

Will Matthew Stafford Throw a Pick-6 in Week 13?

  • Yes (+400)
  • No (-700)

It hasn’t taken very long for the Rams to fall from their perch atop the NFC. Many considered this to be the best team in the NFL as recently as three weeks ago, but Sean McVay’s crew has fallen on hard times of late. LA enters this week’s game at home against Jacksonville riding a three-game losing streak. They haven’t won a single game since adding Von Miller and Odell Beckham to one of the most talented rosters in the league, either.

Matthew Stafford’s recent struggles deserve some blame. There is talk that the Rams’ new QB is playing through some injuries at the moment, but the team hasn’t gone into any specifics. Stafford has thrown a pick-six in each of the last three games, which is certainly no small factor in LA’s recent skid.

As far as we know, Stafford will be good to go on Sunday when the Jags roll into SoFi Stadium. This is about a good of a get-right spot as you can ask for for the Rams. Jacksonville is just 2-9 so far this year without a single win on the road. The Jaguars have only intercepted five passes as a team all year, and they haven’t returned a single one of them for a score. Jacksonville has also recovered a grand total of one fumble, which wasn’t returned for a TD, either.

So, I feel pretty safe assuming Stafford’s pick-six woes won’t come back to haunt him for a fourth straight game this week. The Rams are 13-point favorites in this one. Once they build a big enough lead, I’d expect a heavy dosage of Darrell Henderson and the Rams’ rushing attack to carry them the rest of the way. Bet against Stafford having an interception returned for a touchdown in Week 13.

Will Stafford Throw a Pick-6 in Week 13? –No (-700)
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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