Each week throughout the 2023 NFL Season, coach Kevin Kelley will give a coach’s perspective and provide analysis for a few games against the spread.
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Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers Spread Prediction:
Look for the Eagles to cover the spread as 3-point home underdogs against the 49ers.
Why I like the Eagles to cover the spread vs. the 49ers in Week 13:
San Francisco and Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy (he’s not so irrelevant anymore) come into Philadelphia ready for some revenge against the Eagles for the NFC Championship game beatdown back in January.
But Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Haason Reddick, and that Eagles front may have something to say about that.
The Eagles won that game 31-7, but Purdy only threw for passes before an injury caused him to give way to Josh Johnson. I am still super disappointed that Kyle Shanahan all but gave up and didn’t even come close to running their real offense.
I am hit and miss on revenge games. I don’t think that is worth as much as some think. Also, rosters change, time passes, and other things are on players’ minds.
That said, I do think both teams can learn some things about each other. The team that benefits the most from that is the Eagles. San Francisco has a unique method with their shifts and motions and do certain things off them after they are given a look. That is very beneficial for a defense against a unique offense like the 49ers.
The 49ers come into the game No. 1 in offensive DVOA and #6 on defense. The Eagles come in ranked No. 7 on offense and No. 17 on defense. That is the reason this is the first time in NFL history that a team that is 11-1 is an underdog at home.
I really like to use yards per attempt passing and yards per carry rushing as part of my evaluation of a team. And in those areas, there is not much difference. The 49ers are No. 4 and No. 10 while the Eagles are No. 10 and No. 12 respectively.
Both quarterbacks are nearly the perfect player for their style. Purdy gets to sit there in that play-action-made pocket, survey, and throw the ball a lot in the clean pocket. Hurts has all those RPOs and borderline triple option plays to change the pocket and throw on the run sometimes, which he does well.
The receiving groups for both are very good in my opinion. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Ayuk are both extremely productive, especially when you look at yards after the catch. Brown had the longest streak of any receiver ever at over 125 yards per game. He slowed down and Smith, one of the fastest in the league, has picked up his slack. Add on top that the Eagles can make 4th and 1 anytime they want, and you have lots of weapons on both sides. I didn’t even mention George Kittle and how effective he can be if you start over paying attention.
The game will be won by the defensive and offensive lines win rate. This is where the Eagles have a huge edge. The Eagles’ D’Andre Swift has the benefit of the No. 1 offensive line in run block win rate, and Hurts has the benefit of the No. 6 pass block win rate. They will go against a 49ers defense that ranks No. 13 in rushing win rate against opponents and has a pass win rate that is No. 6.
The 49ers offensive line is where the concern is and where I think Philadelphia can really make a difference. The 49ers are just No. 16 and No. 17 in the league in that area. I would venture to say that Trent Williams has a huge impact on that, but Philadelphia is good all the way across that front line.
The Eagles are at home, have shown they can win close games and don’t panic, have a weapon on 3rd and 4th and 1 that no one else has seemed to solve, and can really dominate the trenches on both sides of the ball.
I will take Philadelphia +3.
Washington Commanders vs. Miami Dolphins Spread Prediction:
Look for the Dolphins to cover the spread as 9-point road favorites against the Commanders.
Why I like the Dolphins to cover the spread vs. the Commanders in Week 13:
Miami likes to put beatdowns on teams with less than .500 records. Washington has an extra day to prepare, but honestly, all the shifts and motions probably made them put too many different defenses in for this one. Even if it doesn’t, let’s take a look and see why the Dolphins should win this by at least two touchdowns.
The first place I am going is back to the offensive and defensive lines. It screams Dolphins. When the Commanders have the ball, their line sports the No. 15 win rate when blocking for pass plays. They will be going against a Dolphin defense that is No. 8 in pass rush win rate, and we all know that Sam Howell gets sacked more than anyone else in the NFL.
Sacks kill drives, and we saw that last week on Thanksgiving when the Dallas Cowboys got ahold of Howell.
Miami is in the top half of the NFL in YPA in the passing game and YPC in the run game. While I like Curtis Samuel and Terry McLaurin, neither are game-breakers. As a matter of fact, McLaurin is only averaging a little over 52 YPG in his last five games. Samuel is their second-leading receiver and averages 44 yards per game. I don’t think Howell has a ton of confidence in anyone particularly when he needs them the most. And they have to pass the ball because their run game is just sad most of the time.
When the Dolphins have the ball, everyone always thinks pass, pass, pass, but they make their offense off their run, much like the 49ers do. That sets up those same shifts and motions that San Francisco uses and creates big spaces behind the linebackers for a team that uses the middle of the field as well as anyone.
Tyreek Hill on deep in routes off motion and play action along with Jaylen Waddle on slants then backs those backers up and helps them run the ball.
The biggest factor is their offensive line with a block win rate in the run game that is No. 5 in the league allows them to sport the highest yards per carry in the NFL with 5.5. No one else is even in the fives. I doubt that changes with the Commanders as they come in with the No. 24 defensive line in run and pass win rate. Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane should have really nice days.
Throwing the ball, Tua Tagovailoa still gets rid of the ball faster than anyone else even though he is among the leaders in air yards on his passes. Washington is No. 31 on yards allowed per attempt. Again, this does not help them with the Dolphins.
To add to it all, Washington head coach Ron Rivera is having to fire people, trade good players, and undergo an ownership change amidst a season where he has so many needs on both sides of the ball. I think the game will be competitive early, but the Dolphins’ strengths will come through and this should be an easy win even though they are on the road.
Dolphins -9 over the Commanders.
Bonus NFL Best Bets for Week 13:
- Denver +3
- Pittsburgh -6
Throw some Chick-fil-A money on them!