Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington. The Steelers lead the NFL in sacks per game (3.8) and have a league-high 21 takeaways despite having only played 10 games as of this writing. Their defensive unit is full of playmakers and will be able to take advantage of lower-quality offenses moving forward. Washington qualifies as one, as they have averaged 325.3 yards per game this season, good for the sixth-fewest in the NFL, and Alex Smith is no longer as mobile as he once was. The Steelers should tee off on him and may be able to force some turnovers and limit Washington to 20 or fewer points if all goes well.
Miami Dolphins vs. Bengals. Despite Joe Burrow having only missed a game and a half so far this season, the Bengals have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to D/ST units on the year at a mark of 8.5. Now, with Brandon Allen quarterbacking the team, they’ll face a tough Dolphins defense that has the second-best scoring defense (18. points per game allowed) and third-most takeaways (19) this season. Allen had two turnovers and suffered two sacks against the Giants defense, so it’s hard to imagine him moving the ball much on the Dolphins defense.
Green Bay Packers vs. Eagles. Entering his Monday night game against the Seahawks, Carson Wentz leads the league in interceptions (14), fumbles (10), and time sacked (40). The Eagles are reportedly going to give Jalen Hurts some snaps to see what the second-round rookie can do because of how much Wentz has struggled. The Packers, who just had two interceptions and a defensive TD off a strip-sack against the Eagles, are starting to play better on defense and if they can continue to generate pressure as they did against the Bears, they should have success against Wentz and the Eagles.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Broncos. The Broncos won’t likely be forced to start a practice squad receiver at quarterback this week, but the Chiefs will have a chance to post some solid numbers against them. Denver is surrendering 9.8 FPPG to D/STs this year, good for the third-most in the NFL, and their 26 total turnovers on the year are the most in the league so far this season. The Chiefs held the Broncos to 16 points, registered four turnovers, and generated a defensive and special teams TD the last time these two teams met, so they should be able to bother Drew Lock and Co. once again.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cowboys. It’s unclear what personnel the Ravens might have available to them in Week 13 because of the sheer amount of players they have on the COVID list, but if they get some of their players back, they should have a chance to take down the Cowboys. Dallas has turned the ball over 23 times this season, good for second-most in the league, and they are averaging just 14.7 points per game in six full games without Dak Prescott. Meanwhile, the Ravens rank top-eight in both scoring defense and yards allowed, so they should keep Andy Dalton’s offense in check provided that they get enough of their defensive players back before this contest.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Giants. It looks like Daniel Jones (hamstring) will be out for at least one game after suffering the injury against the Bengals. With Jones out, Colt McCoy, owner of a 29-27 career TD-INT ratio, will take over the Giants’ offense. He threw for just 30 yards on 10 passes vs. Cincinnati, so the Seahawks, a defense that has shown signs of life lately after a slow start to the season, should have a chance to corral McCoy and make life difficult for him.
Buffalo Bills @ 49ers. Though the 49ers were able to win in Week 12 against the Rams, they did allow the Rams defense to score some points. The 49ers committed three turnovers, one of which was returned for a TD, and Nick Mullens was sacked twice against the Rams’ strong front. The Bills defense just did well to contain Justin Herbert and a high-flying Chargers offense, so they should have no trouble doing the same against Mullens, especially since the 49ers have the third-most turnovers in the NFL at a mark of 20 before Sunday’s Eagles-SEahawks game.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Jaguars. Mike Glennon just helped the Jaguars offense to have one of their cleanest days of the season. They had no turnovers and no sacks allowed during the game. That doesn’t seem likely to happen against the Vikings. Minnesota limited the Panthers to just 13 offensive points in Week 12 — the Panthers had two defensive TDs — and have played better on defense in recent weeks. The Jaguars typically allow 7.6 FPPG to D/STs, tied for ninth-most in the NFL, so feel free to trust the Vikings in a favorable matchup.
Chicago Bears vs. Lions. The Bears defense is coming off one of their worst efforts of the season in which they allowed 41 points to the Packers offense. They should be motivated to avoid a repeat performance of that and may have a chance to tee off on the Lions. Detroit has scored just 25 points in their last two games combined and Matthew Stafford (thumb) hasn’t looked right during that span, as he has been sacked nine times and thrown a pick in those games. Despite their recent poor performance, the Bears still rank eighth in the league in scoring defense (22.7 points per game allowed) so they should get some pressure and succeed at Stafford’s expense.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Patriots. Amazingly, the Patriots have only exceeded 23 points once in their last eight games. That came when they scored 30 points against the now 0-11 Jets. The team ranks sixth-worst in the league in scoring average (20.8 points per game) and Cam Newton has thrown four TDs compared to nine INTs this year. The Chargers defense has had their issues this season, but they just forced three turnovers and saw Joey Bosa notch three sacks against Josh Allen last week. They should get similar pressure on Newton and they can certainly force him into mistakes thanks to New England’s dearth of offensive weaponry.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Jets. It’s never fun to target a defensive unit that just surrendered 43 points to an opponent, but it’s important to note two things. First of all, the Raiders had five turnovers and allowed two defensive TDs to the Falcons, so the defense was consistently put into bad positions in that contest. Second, the Jets average the fewest points per game (13.8) and fewest yards per game (267.8) this season and allow 9.9 FPPG to defenses, good for the second-most in the NFL. The Raiders should be able to clean up their act and limit the Jets in a must-win game as they look to stay in the playoff hunt, so you can trust them as a top-level streamer this week.
Detroit Lions @ Bears. Mitchell Trubisky looked like his old self in his first start since Week 3 against the Falcons. In Week 13, Trubisky racked up some garbage-time stats, but he threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, and put the ball on the ground twice more in that contest. He also was sacked three times. The Lions have had one of the worst defenses statistically this season, but if they get healthier and play a bit harder after the firing of head coach Matt Patricia, they should be able to limit the Bears offense or at the very least, force Trubisky into some more turnovers.
Indianapolis Colts @ Texans. In recent weeks, the Colts defense has allowed a lot of points and yardage and have relied more on turnovers to keep their unit afloat. Last week, they struggled immensely against the Titans en route to a negative-5 point showing. They were without DeForest Buckner (COVID list) and the absence of the elite defensive tackle clearly made an impact on the team. If Buckner returns, the Colts can be started, but they may not be the best option this week. The Texans are on the rise and have averaged 34 points per game in their last two contests. With Deshaun Watson playing well and avoiding sacks for the most part, the Colts have a low floor.
New Orleans Saints @ Falcons. The Saints are one of the best defensive units in football. They rank top five in sacks per game (3), top five in scoring average (20.5), top five in takeaways (18), and tops overall in yards per game allowed (284.9). However, their matchup against a Falcons offense that sports a top-10 offense and is coming off a 40-point outburst against the Raiders isn’t appealing. The Saints certainly could contain their divisional rival as they did a couple of weeks ago, but there are safer options with higher floors this week.
Los Angeles Rams @ Cardinals. The Rams will always have a high sack floor, as they are averaging 3.1 per game on the season, good for the fourth-most in the NFL. However, Kyler Murray is tough to bring down consistently and the Cardinals are one of three teams to average over 400 yards of offense per game. The Rams could manage to make Murray make some mistakes, but they’re a weaker play against a very good offense this week.
Washington Football Team @ Steelers. Washington is in a similar boat to the Rams. They average 3.3 sacks per game, third-most in the NFL, but they are playing a great offense that averages nearly 30 points per game this season. They can be used as a streamer, but they are a boom-or-bust play.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Dolphins
Houston Texans vs. Colts
New England Patriots @ Chargers. The Patriots defense played well against the Cardinals and Bill Belichick tends to do well against rookie QBs. But do you really want to gamble on the Patriots given how inconsistent they’ve been? Probably not.
Tennessee Titans vs. Browns
Cleveland Browns @ Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Vikings
Arizona Cardinals vs. Rams
New York Giants @ Seahawks. The Giants have held three straight opponents to 20 or fewer points, but the quarterbacks they faced in that span were Kyle Allen and Alex Smith, Carson Wentz, and Brandon Allen. None of those three players even comes close to Russell Wilson.