This could be a crazy week with seven road teams favored in Sunday’s games. There could be some separation in the division races and especially in the AFC, where three of the games featuring division leaders squaring off with a team pursuing them.
The Justin Herbert/Joe Burrow game within the game, featuring two of the first three quarterbacks selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, will be fun to watch when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Cincinnati Bengals..
For those who bet online, here is a look at some of the most compelling matchups.
Games of the Week Rundown: Week 13
Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Odds: Bengals -3
What to know: The Cincinnati Bengals are 4-0-1 against the Las Vegas odds in their last five games against AFC West teams.
Do you love watching young, strong-armed quarterbacks airing it out? Well, this could be the game for you.
Justin Herbert of the 6-5 Los Angeles Chargers was taken with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and already has thrown for more than 300 yards 14 times in less than two seasons. Joe Burrow of the 7-4 Cincinnati Bengals was the No. 1 overall choice in last year’s draft. He has had more of a bumpy ride than Herbert. Burrow was limited to 10 games due to injury as a rookie and has been a bit turnover-prone but, when he is on, the Bengals can be an offensive force.
2020 1st-round picks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert meet for the 1st time on Sunday
Most Pass YPG in 1st 2 Seasons
Patrick Mahomes 317
Justin Herbert 291
Dan Marino 270
Joe Burrow 263
Kurt Warner 258
Min. 15 games
— Doug Clawson (@doug_clawson) December 2, 2021
Both teams are still in the hunt for playoff berths but don’t have a ton of room for error with 12 AFC teams are sitting at .500 or better going into the weekend.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Odds: Vikings -7½
What to know: The Minnesota Vikings are 6-2 against the NFL picks against the spread in their last eight games against the Detroit Lions.
The 0-10-1 Detroit Lions playing the 5-6 Minnesota Vikings is one of the top five games of the week? Seriously? Actually, the answer is yes.
The Lions have been knocking on the door in recent weeks with a tie on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers followed by a three-point loss to Cleveland and a two-point defeat at the hands of Chicago, Detroit took the lead with 1:46 remaining only to allow a late drive by the Bears that resulted in the game-winning field goal.
It is not very often that teams head into their 12th game still looking for its first victory. Add in the fact that when the teams played back in October, it took a 54-yard field goal by Greg Joseph on the final play for the host Vikings to escape with a 19-17 win.
Detroit does have two other games left against teams with losing records, but could this be the Lions’ best chance to get that elusive first victory of 2021?
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Odds: Ravens -4½
What to know: The scores and odds total has gone under in seven of Baltimore’s last eight games on the road.
Time is running short for the 5-5-1 Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh has gone 0-2-1 in its last three games, including a tie at home against the winless Detroit Lions. Now comes the revisiting of one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL.
The Baltimore Ravens (8-3) currently hold a one-game lead over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North, one of two divisions in the NFL where every team is at .500 or better. The Ravens would love nothing better than to put the fading playoff hopes of the Steelers even more at risk. More importantly, the Ravens will have to navigate through a three-game stretch against the 9-3 Green Bay Packers, 7-4 Bengals and 7-4 Los Angeles Rams, so picking up wins this week against Pittsburgh and in the next game against Cincinnati will be crucial for Baltimore.
Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt, who is second in the NFL with 12½ sacks, has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Pittsburgh has lost its last three games against Baltimore as road underdogs, with the Ravens winning each time by three points.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Odds: Chiefs -10
What to know: The Kansas City Chiefs have won their last 10 games against the Denver Broncos.
Speaking of tightly bunched divisions, the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) overcame some shaky performances earlier in the season to move atop the AFC West thanks to a four-game winning streak. However, the Denver Broncos (6-5), Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers are just one game back.
Denver has allowed the third-fewest points in the AFC but has been held under 20 points five times. The Chiefs are only a game behind Baltimore for the best record in the AFC and starting to get a little healthier. With the next three games against division rivals, this is a time when the two-time defending AFC champions can get breathing room on the rest of the division.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Odds: Bills -2½
What to know: The New England Patriots are 6-3 against the spread in their last nine games against the Buffalo Bills.
Some of the Monday night matchups have left something to be desired but this should be a pretty good one.
New England (8-4) has the longest active winning streak in the NFL, winning six games in a row, including the last four games by 18, 38, 25 and then 23 points against a very good Tennessee Titans squad. New England joins Arizona as the only team yet to lose on the road and this will be a good test for a Patriots team that sits atop the AFC East with a one-game lead over Buffalo.
The Bills (7-4) haven’t won back-to-back games since a 4-1 start to the season. The teams will meet again on Dec. 26 so the AFC East race is just starting to heat up.
New England (-105) and Buffalo (-125) are nearly running neck and neck in the latest odds to win the AFC East title.