An NFC Championship Game rematch between the 49ers and Eagles looms over the entire NFL Week 13 schedule, but maybe the most interesting matchup features the red-hot Broncos and Texans in Houston. Quarterback CJ Stroud, the NFL Rookie of the Year favorite, should have top wideout Tank Dell available after he returned to practice Thursday. Houston is -3.5 on the SportsLine consensus.
Neither 6-5 team currently holds an AFC wild card spot with Houston at No. 8 and Denver at No. 9. The Texans are ahead now because they have a better winning percentage in the conference, but a head-to-head result trumps all.
Per the SportsLine Projection Model, the Texans have a 68% chance to make the playoffs with a win and 31% with a loss. The model gave them a 7.4% chance to make playoffs after going 0-2 out of the gate. DraftKings has Houston currently at -110 to make it and -120 to not. The Broncos have a 45% chance to make the playoffs with a win and 11% with a loss. The model gave them a miniscule 0.2% shot at the playoffs after a 1-5 start. Denver is +135 to reach the postseason and -175 to not.
Stroud has been historically good and is a virtual lock to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, priced a whopping -10000 at DK. The No. 2 overall pick out of Ohio State is second in the NFL with 3,266 passing yards but has played one fewer game than leader Sam Howell of Washington (3,339). Stroud's total is the second-most by a quarterback in his first 11 career games in NFL history. With 331 passing yards against Denver, Stroud would pass former Colts star Andrew Luck (3,596 passing yards) for the second-most passing yards by a player in his first 12 career games in NFL history. Only Patrick Mahomes (3,912) had more.
Stroud is the first rookie ever with four straight 300-passing yard games. He will be 22 years and 61 days old on Sunday and could become the youngest player in NFL history to do so in five consecutive games, surpassing Mahomes (23 years and 27 days old in 2018). Stroud is on pace 5,047 passing yards, which would shatter the rookie record of 4,347 set by Luck. Stroud is the +225 favorite to lead the NFL in that category. He is set at Over/Under 265.5 yards Sunday against a suddenly great Denver defense.
If not for Stroud, Dell might be getting some Offensive Rookie of the Year love (priced +7500). The third-round pick out of the University of Houston has 47 catches for 709 yards and seven TDs despite missing one game. Dell sat out practice Wednesday with a calf injury. Normally, a player not practicing on a Wednesday isn't a huge deal, but Dell wasn't at the early portion of practice today but eventually took the field. He's officially questionable but seems on track to play in the team's biggest game of the season.
Dell has at least five receptions, 50 receiving yards and one touchdown reception in each of his past four games. With another touchdown between Stroud and Dell, the two will become the fourth rookie quarterback-receiver pairing in NFL history to connect for at least eight touchdowns and the first since Cleveland's Tim Couch and Kevin Johnson did so in 1999 (eight touchdowns). Dell also could become the first rookie ever with at least five catches, 50 receiving yards and a touchdown grab in five consecutive games and the first to reach those marks in seven games overall. The sportsbooks haven't put up any individual props for Dell yet because of the injury status, but he's +125 for an anytime TD.
These are two of three teams to already have surpassed their 2022 win total along with Indianapolis. The Colts hold the AFC's final wild card spot thanks to a head-to-head win over Houston.
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