FOX Sports South walks the plank of potential embarrassment by chronicling seven bold predictions for NFL Week 13 -- an ambitious gallery that could be way off the mark come Monday night. There's no fear of failure here, though. Just educated guesses. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! (Photos: Tim Heitman/Jason Bridge/Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Stop The Madness!
BOLD PREDICTION #1: Dwayne Bowe will end the Chiefs' absurd drought of wide-receiver touchdowns ... BACKSTORY: QB Alex Smith has amazingly accounted for 2,111 yards passing and 13 TDs this season, without a single end-zone connection to a KC wideout. ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Bowe currently leads the Chiefs in catches (44), targets (67) and receiving yards (551). 2) The wideout-TD drought, which sits at 11 regular-season games, actually dates further back to Dec. 8, 2013 -- when Bowe scored his last regular-season touchdown. 3) The Broncos (the Chiefs' Week 13 foe) have surrendered 10 passing TDs in the last four weeks. 4) In the wild-card round last January, Bowe rolled for eight catches, 150 yards and one TD against the Colts. 5) Kansas City's wideout corps is long overdue for some end-zone paydirt.
You've Been Warned -- Again
BOLD PREDICTION #2: Vikings tailback Matt Asiata will tally multiple touchdowns vs. the Panthers ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Assuming he plays Sunday, Asiata (concussion symptoms) is a lock for monster fantasy numbers -- but for this week only. 2) In his three-year career, Asiata has scored all nine of his rushing TDs in a three-game home span against non-divisional, in-conference foes -- the Eagles (66 total yards, three TDs in November 2013), Falcons (100 total yards, three TDs in September 2014) and Redskins (26 total yards, three TDs for Week 9). 3) For his other 34 career outings, Asiata holds microscopic averages of 14.3 total yards and zero rushing TDs. 4) The Vikings' last non-divisional conference home game comes this weekend (Panthers). 5) We correctly predicted similarly stellar success for Asiata four weeks ago!
BOLD PREDICTION #3: The Texans will account for two defense or special-teams TDs against the Titans... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Houston currently ranks 4th in the NFL for takeaway ratio (plus-8). 2) Conversely, Tennessee ranks among the league's 10 worst teams in the same ratio (minus-3). 3) To date, all-world defensive end J.J. Watt (above) has four TDs and 9.5 sacks (7th in NFL). On Oct. 26, Watt sacked Titans QB Zach Mettenberger twice. 4) The Titans' O-line has already surrendered 30 sacks. 5) The rookie Mettenberger has tossed at least one INT in all five appearances. 6) Houston has averaged 26.1 points in its last seven meetings with Tennessee.
This Won't Be Pretty
BOLD PREDICTION #4: Oakland and St. Louis will combine for less than 28 points on Sunday ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) On the surface, this doesn't seem like a crazy-bold prognostication. However, most Vegas insiders have the over/under set at 42-43 points. 2) The Raiders and Rams have combined for 14 or fewer points 10 times this year. Putting that into greater context ... since 1999, spanning 258 NFL starts (including the postseason), Peyton Manning's teams (Colts/Broncos) posted 14 or less points only 26 times. 3) Of their 14 combined starts, QB Shaun Hill (right -- Rams) and Derek Carr (left -- Raiders) have passed for multiple TDs only four times. 4) Neither Oakland nor St. Louis has yet to produce a 500-yard rusher ... or 600-yard receiver. (Photos: Kyle Terada/Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
Kickers Are People Too
BOLD PREDICTION #5: Kickers Billy Cundiff and Adam Vinatieri will combine for at least seven field goals this weekend ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Since Week 8, Cundiff (left) and Vinatieri (right) have notched 11 made field goals apiece. 2) Cundiff has tallied multiple field goals seven times this season; Vinatieri has accomplished that same feat in 10 straight games. 3) The Browns (9th) and Colts (3rd) rank among the NFL's most proficient offenses -- in terms of red-zone scoring attempts per game. (Photos: Ken Blaze/Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports)
The Perfect Setup
BOLD PREDICTION #6: Arizona tailback Andre Ellington will amass 150-plus total yards against Atlanta ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) The Falcons (the Cards' Week 13 foe) have surrendered weekly averages of 405 total yards -- among the NFL's worst per-game tallies. 2) Among tailbacks, Ellington (1,043 total yards, five TDs) ranks 3rd in targets, receptions and receiving yards and 10th in receiving TDs. Plus, he has collected 18-plus touches nine times this season. 3) Last week, Atlanta allowed 162 rushing yards to Cleveland -- along with two TDs to rookie Isaiah Crowell. 4) For Weeks 3-9, Ellington notched 93 total yards and/or one TD each time. 5) Ellington has already posted five outings of six-plus targets.
BOLD PREDICTION #7: Saints-Steelers will be the holiday weekend's highest-scoring game ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Ben Roethlisberger (right) will attempt to become the first QB in NFL history to pass for six TDs in three consecutive home games. (Big Ben owns the two-game record.) 2) Saints QB Drew Brees (3,491 yards passing, 22 TDs), the NFL leader in completion percentage (70.3), has accounted for 297 yards passing and/or multiple TDs in six straight road outings -- including the playoffs. 3) The Saints (RB Mark Ingram, WR Kenny Stills, WR Marques Colston, TE Jimmy Graham) and Steelers (RB Le'Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown, WR Martavis Bryant, TE Heath Miller) are loaded with big-time playmakers. 4) New Orleans and Pittsburgh are tied for 8th in scoring -- at 26.2 PPG. (Photos: Chuck Cook/Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports)