Breaking down all the Week 13 NFL matchups, with suggested picks against the spread. Follow Samantha on Twitter @previtee.
I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving filled with turkey, family and football. Week 13 is upon us, which means we are past the bye weeks and many people’s fantasy seasons are almost over. There are some great games on the slate this week, as well as some pretty lopsided ones. Good luck in Week 13 and let’s get this bread.
Please keep in mind that by the time you’re reading this, the line may have shifted depending on breaking news during the week, or money flowing through the market.
Thursday 8:20 PM EST
New Orleans at Dallas, +7.5
The 10-1 Saints will square off in Dallas now having won 10 straight games straight up and having covered nine straight against the spread. Last week, they “only” put up 31 points against their division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, and have looked strong on both offense and on defense (for a change). The 6-5 Cowboys also won on Thanksgiving, 31-23, against the Redskins and move into first place in the NFC East. Unfortunately for them, they won’t be facing off against a decimated Redskins offensive line or Colt McCoy, who threw three picks in the effort. It is my opinion that New Orleans is the best team in the NFL right now, and Drew Brees is truly having a MVP season. Additionally, Thursday night favorites are 9-2-2 against the spread this year, which is why I am taking the Saints to win and cover for the tenth straight game in a row.
Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Indianapolis at Jacksonville, +3.5
This AFC South divisional showdown will take place in Jacksonville with two teams trending in completely opposite directions. The 6-5 Colts have won 5 straight games and the 3-8 Jaguars have lost 7 straight and appear to be in complete disrepair. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was fired on Monday, and head coach Doug Marrone has named backup quarterback Cody Kessler as the starter for this game. To add to their myriad of issues, running back Leonard Fournette will sit this game out, as he serves his one game suspension in light of last week’s brawl. This line opened at +2.5, but has quickly shot up to +4/5, probably due in part to Fournette’s appeal being denied on Wednesday. I don’t know what to expect from Kessler, but he can’t be much worse than Blake Bortles. That being said, Indianapolis’ offensive line is looking stellar, as is quarterback Andrew Luck. I am rolling with the hot hand and picking the Colts to win and cover the spread on the road.
Cleveland at Houston, -4.5
The 4-6-1 Browns bested AFC North divisional opponents, the Cincinnati Bengals, last Sunday, 35-20, thanks to a palpably improved offense led by interim head coach Gregg Williams and offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens. They’ve managed to win two straight games, but will face off against a hot Houston team that has quietly won eight games in a row. The 8-3 Texans also won their Week 12 matchup against the Titans 34-17 in a game that deadline addition Demaryius Thomas was utilized heavily. This line has shot up to -6 and even -7 in some places with people flooding the market to bet on Houston. The Texans are only 5-6 this year against the spread, but I love this game at any number under a touchdown. Give me the Texans to win and cover this line easily.
Buffalo at Miami, -5.5
Ladies and gentlemen, the 4-7 Buffalo Bills have won two games in a row and are no longer even the worst team in their division. They managed to best the Jaguars at home, 24-21, and will head to Miami to face off against the 5-6 Dolphins this week. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Colts in their Week 12 loss. The Bills should be a much easier opponent, and though they’ve only been favorites twice this year, the Dolphins have covered both games and are 4-1 at home against the spread. This line opened at -7, but has gone down to -4.5 in a lot of places. At 5.5 points, you’re still getting good value, so I like the Dolphins to win and cover any number under a touchdown.
Arizona at Green Bay, -14.5
The 2-9 Cardinals came out hot and put up 10 points in the first quarter against the Chargers, but then allowed 45 unanswered points in their Week 12 loss. Meanwhile, the 4-6-1 Packers lost to NFC North divisional opponents, the Minnesota Vikings, in what was a “must win” game for them, and have fallen to 3rd place in the division. With their season likely over (due in large part to coach Mike McCarthy’s lackluster coaching prowess), they probably win this game, but I don’t like them laying over two touchdowns. I would stay away from betting this game, personally, but I would go with the Cardinals to keep it within the 14.5 points.
Carolina at Tampa Bay, +3.5
The 6-5 Panthers also lost a “must win” game against the Seahawks, 30-27, in Week 12, and have now fallen out of playoff position. Meanwhile, the 4-7 Buccaneers picked up a win against the 49ers, 27-9, and seem to be at least temporarily energized by the return of quarterback Jameis Winston. The Panthers have failed to cover their last three straight games and have a tough but not impossible path to the playoffs. With their season dangling in the balance, I think they manage to win this game. I don’t love this pick, but I am going with the Panthers to cover the 3.5 points on the road.
Baltimore at Atlanta, +1.5
The Falcons lost a big NFC South game on Thanksgiving in primetime, 31-17, and are tied for last in the division with the Buccaneers. They have fallen to 4-7, and have failed to cover their last three games in a row. On the other side of the ball, the 6-5 Ravens handled the Raiders easily in their Week 12 matchup, winning 34-17. It does not appear that Joe Flacco will return for this game, meaning they will continue to start rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson under center. Jackson attempted only 25 passes last week for 14 completions, 178 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, but he also carried the ball for 71 yards and a touchdown. I think he’s probably an upgrade from Flacco, but this line has moved from Baltimore being favored by a field goal, to Atlanta being favored by a point. I like Atlanta to bounce back in this spot – give me the Falcons to win and cover the spread.
Chicago at NY Giants, +4.5
The red hot 8-3 Chicago Bears will travel to MetLife Stadium to face the 3-8 Giants this week to try to make it six games straight in which they’ve won and covered. They picked up a big NFC North divisional win against the Lions on Thanksgiving with backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who threw for 27 of 37 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Chicago starter Mitch Trubisky has been dealing with a right shoulder injury and was limited in Wednesday’s practice, suggesting that Daniel may get the start once again. Meanwhile, the Giants led for much of the game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, but managed to choke their way into a crushing 25-22 loss. This game is off the board at most books as of Wednesday night until we hear more news about Trubisky, but I like the Bears to win and cover the 4.5 points regardless.
LA Rams at Detroit, +9.5
The 10-1 Rams will be on the road in Detroit this week and will be well-rested off of their Week 12 bye. Most recently, they squared off against the Chiefs and picked up a huge win on Monday Night Football. Even with the loss of wide receiver Cooper Kupp to an ACL injury, the Rams managed to put up a whopping 54 points and are only playing for the one seed in the NFC at this point. Meanwhile, Matt Patricia’s Lions had a pretty pathetic performance on Thanksgiving day in their 23-16 loss to the Bears and remain in sole possession of last place in the NFC North at 4-7. Adding insult to injury, they were forced to place wide receiver Marvin Jones on injured reserve, meaning Matt Stafford will lose yet another weapon. Despite all the Rams’ success, neither of these teams is particularly great at covering this year. The line for this game initially opened at +7, but has shot up to +10 and even +11 in some places. These are a lot of road points, but with the Lions looking like a dumpster fire, I think it’s a lay it or don’t play it situation with the Rams.
Sunday 4:05 PM EST
NY Jets at Tennessee, -9.5
The 3-8 Jets come into this matchup having put up an average of only 11 points in their last five games. They’ll go on the road this week to face the 5-6 Titans, who have lost two straight games in what is turning out to be a very disappointing season. The Titans have only been favored once this year (and did not cover), but are 3-1 against the spread at home. The Jets, meanwhile, have not won or covered their last five straight games and at this point, can only hope for a better coach and high draft pick in 2019. Anything can happen between teams playing poorly and I personally would not bet this game; that being said, with the Jets demonstrating absolutely no offensive ability, I will take the Titans to win and cover the 9.5 point spread.
Kansas City at Oakland, +15.5
The 9-2 Chiefs come into this game off their Week 12 bye to face Jon Gruden and the Raiders as heavy favorites in Oakland. They most recently lost to the Rams in LA, but put up a whopping 51 points in the effort. On the other side of the ball, the 2-9 Raiders lost 34-17 in their Week 12 matchup against the Ravens and appear to be sprinting to 2019 when they can begin the onerous task of rebuilding this team from the ground up. Kansas City has been great against the spread this year at 8-2-1, and have not failed to cover a game on the road (one push). This is a colossal point spread which opened at +13, but it’s another lay it or don’t play it spot for me – give me the Chiefs to win and cover the 15.5 points.
Sunday 4:25 PM EST
San Francisco at Seattle, -10.5
The 6-5 Seahawks picked up a huge win on the road against the Panthers in Week 12 thanks to a big showing from Russell Wilson, who completed 22 passes on 31 attempts for 339 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Wilson spread the ball around to wide receivers Tyler Lockett and David Moore, and Seattle, who began the season at 0-2 suddenly find themselves in playoff position for the second NFC wild card spot. They have a very favorable schedule rest of season, facing the 49ers twice (including this week), the Vikings, the Chiefs, and the Cardinals in their final five games in which they could easily go 4-1. They’ll face a much easier opponent in the 2-9 49ers in Week 13, and will be home with their “12th man.” This is another huge point spread that opened at -8 and has shot up to -10/11. That said, I think Seattle has really picked up momentum and with them fighting for the last playoff spot, I will take the Seahawks to win and cover the 10.5 points.
Minnesota at New England, -6.5
The 8-3 Patriots looked back to normal form on Sunday in their 27-13 victory over the Jets after an uncharacteristic Week 10 loss to the Titans. They’ll be home at Gillette for the first time since November 4th to take on the Vikings, who find themselves poised to make the playoffs once again at 6-4-1. However, the Vikings didn’t look incredible in their Week 12 win against the Packers and haven’t really won against any good teams this year. The Patriots are 4-1 against the spread at home, and while this line opened at -4.5, I really like the New England to cover any number under a touchdown. Give me the Patriots to win by at least 7 points.
Sunday 8:20 PM EST
LA Chargers at Pittsburgh, -3.5
The 7-3-1 Steelers took a surprising 24-17 loss to the Broncos (to all except readers of my Week 12 predictions) last week after playing poorly against the Jaguars in the week prior. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a 73% completion percentage on 56 attempts and amassed 462 yards, but turnovers from he and running back James Conner ended up being their demise. The Steelers will be home this week to face the 8-3 Chargers, who eviscerated the Cardinals last week in a game in which Los Angeles was able to put up 45 unanswered points and Philip Rivers had only one incompletion on 29 attempts. The Chargers are 4-1 against the spread this year on the road, and this line suggests that it would be a push on a neutral field. I think LA is the better team overall, so I will take the Chargers with the points, and maybe to even eke out a win.
Monday 8:15 PM EST
Washington at Philadelphia, -6.5
The 6-5 Redskins will play another NFC East divisional matchup this Monday night after losing to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, 31-23. Though they now fall to second place behind Dallas, they are still very much in the hunt for a playoff spot in this relatively soft division. On the other side of the ball, the 5-6 Eagles looked anemic in their Week 12 game against the Giants, who led during much of the game and ended up blowing it in the 4th quarter. They have not been playing well either, due in large part to a secondary that is bereft of most of their starters. Washington is 6-2 against the spread as underdogs, and Philadelphia has only covered one game at home this year. This, coupled with the extra few days of rest they’ll have after playing last Thursday, and I love the Redskins to keep this game under a touchdown.