2017 NFL Week 13 Preview

 

NFL Week 13 starts off with an important Thursday night matchup between Washington and Dallas. Both the Redskins and the Cowboys are at 5 and 6 on the season. If either has hopes of garnering a wildcard playoff berth, they must win this battle on Nov. 30.

The other key matchup in Week 13 is another NFC game. The Minnesota Vikings travel to Atlanta to battle the Falcons. Atlanta is only a game behind Carolina and New Orleans in the NFC South. At 9 and 2, Minnesota has hopes of securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Check out a preview of every NFL Week 13 game!

2017 NFL Week 13 Preview

Thursday, Nov. 30

Washington Redskins +1.5 at Dallas Cowboys -1.5

Washington is 2 and 2 straight up in their last 4 games. The Redskins are 3 and 1 against the spread in their last 4. Washington’s an awesome 9-1 against the spread in the last 10 meetings with the Cowboys in Dallas.

That’s not the real reason 65% of NFL handicappers are all over Washington versus Dallas. The real reason handicappers are all over Washington versus Dallas is because the Boys will, again, be without LB Sean Lee. Since Lee went down, the Cowboys have lost 3 straight.

Dallas has given up 27 points, 37 points, and 28 points. Washington should have no trouble making it 4 straight losses playing against a Cowboys’ team without its best defender.

Best Pick: Washington +1.5

Sunday, Dec. 3

Kansas City Chiefs -3.5 at New York Jets +3.5

What’s up with the Kansas City Chiefs? Now that KC’s defense is playing much better than it has all season long, the offense can’t move the football. I believe a lot of it has to do with RB Kareem Hunt not having the same burst that he showed earlier in the season. I also believe that Andy Reid’s play-calling has become suspect. QB Alex Smith also appears to have lost some confidence.

The Jets have a good enough defense to punish KC’s floundering offense. More importantly, the Jets’ offense is much better at home than it is on the road. This is another best pick.

Best Pick: Jets +3.5 

Denver Broncos -1 at Miami Dolphins +1

Which teams is worse? The Denver Broncos or the Miami Dolphins? That’s a debate I’ve been having with myself ever since I started handicapping this game. Although I haven’t come to a real conclusion yet, I’ve decided to side with the Broncos.

My thinking is that Denver, at least, has a decent enough defense to control Miami’s horrific offense. The Broncos also can forget about starting anyone save for Trevor Siemian at QB. Siemian performed well in Denver’s 14 to 21 loss to the Oakland Raiders in Week 12.

Pick: Broncos -1   

New England Patriots -8 at Buffalo Bills +8

Don’t let Buffalo’s 16 to 10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs fool you. The Bills aren’t ready to beat the New England Patriots straight up. In fact, based on trends, this should be a no-brainer pick for football handicappers.

New England is 11 and 2 against the spread in their last 13 games versus the Bills in Buffalo. The Bills are 1 and 5 ATS in their last 6 games versus the AFC East. But, the Patriots are also 1 and 5 against the spread in their last 16 games in Week 13.

Buffalo shouldn’t beat New England. This might be a much closer game than any one expects. New England still has one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. I’m taking the points.

Pick: Bills +8   

Houston Texans +7 at Tennessee Titans -7

I’ve got no faith in the Tennessee Titans. I have little faith in the Houston Texans. But, I have zero faith in the Tennessee Titans. The Titans’ defense isn’t good enough to stop Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins. Also, Texans’ RB Lamar Miller has hit his stride.

Tennessee’s offense managed less than 3.3 rushing yards per carry versus the Indianapolis Colts. Unless the Titans switch things up big time on offense, Houston has a shot of beating Tennessee straight up on Sunday.

Pick: Texans +7

Minnesota Vikings +3 at Atlanta Falcons -3

This figures to be one of the most competitive games in NFL Week 13. The Minnesota Vikings travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons. Both teams are hot. The difference between both teams is that one, Minnesota, has a great defense while the other, Atlanta, has a so-so defense.

To me, that makes Minnesota the pick. Atlanta was great when beating up Tampa Bay in their last. The Falcons only managed 17 points versus Carolina’s defense on Nov. 5. I’m expecting a game sort of like that where Minnesota beats the Falcons by 3 points.

Pick: Vikings +3 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers pk at Green Bay Packers pk

What a no-brainer this is. Green Bay QB Brett Hundley almost pulled off the miraculous straight up upset over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12. Hundley didn’t throw a pick. He threw 2 TD passes, and almost threw for 250 yards. So he was terrific.

On Sunday, Hundley faces a defense that’s ranked 32nd versus the pass. Tampa Bay yields a ridiculous 284.6 passing yards per game. Green Bay should break the losing streak with ease in Week 13.

Best Pick: Green Bay pk

San Francisco 49’ers +3.5 at Chicago Bears -2.5

I’ve soured on the Chicago Bears. I thought the Bears were on the right track. The way they lost to Philadelphia in Week 12 did it for me, though. By halftime, the score was Philly 24, Chicago 0. The Bears are supposed to have an up and coming defense.

That’s not the cases at all. San Francisco is likely to start former New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday. Garoppolo completed 2 passes for 18 yards and a TD when C.J. Beathard got injured in Week 12.

If Garoppolo starts, this really is a no-brainer. Even if Garoppolo doesn’t start, I still like the 49’ers.

Pick: 49’ers +3.5 

Indianapolis Colts +9.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars -9.5

Jacksonville’s defense took a backward step in Week 12. The best pass defense in football yielded 241 passing yards and 2 TD passes to Arizona’s Blaine Gabbert. The Cardinals upset the Jags 27 to 24. Could the Jags turn it around versus the Colts on Sunday?

I believe so. Jacksonville only allows 15.3 points per game. Not only that, but the Colts are 0 and 5 against the spread in the last 5 meetings. The Jags beat the Colts 27 to 0 on Oct. 22.

Pick: Jaguars -9.5 

Detroit Lions +3 at Baltimore Ravens -3

Baltimore played well versus the Houston Texans. Well enough to beat the Texans 23 to 16. One stat from that game is the reason I can’t lay the 3 points on the Ravens, though. Baltimore allowed QB Tom Savage to complete 7 of 10 passes to WR DeAndre Hopkins.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is one of the best signal-callers in the NFL. Baltimore’s going to have a heck of a time covering underrated wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.

Pick: Lions +3   

Cleveland Browns +13.5 at L.A. Chargers -13.5

The L.A. Chargers are hot. The Bolts have gone 6 and 1 against the spread in their last 7 games overall. The Chargers dominated Dallas on the road this past Thanksgiving. Usually while handicapping a Cleveland Browns game, I’d get caught up with Cleveland’s potential.

Not this week. I’m tired of waiting for Cleveland to cover a spread. The Browns have no shot of keeping it close. The Bolts roll.

Pick: Chargers -13.5 

Carolina Panthers +4 at New Orleans Saints -4

What a game this projects to be on Dec. 3. The Saints and Panthers are tied at 8 and 3 at the top of the NFC South Division. The Saints have suffered from an injury-riddled secondary. New Orleans lost 20 to 26 to the L.A. Rams in Week 12 partly because neither of their starting cornerbacks played.

However, the Saints have dominated this series against the spread. New Orleans is 5 and 0 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Not only that, but Carolina allowed Jets’ QB Josh McCown to throw for over 300 yards against its defense.

Brees and the Saints should bounce back big time on Sunday.

Pick: Saints -4 

New York Giants +7 at Oakland Raiders -7

Most NFL handicappers, 62%, believe the Raiders trounce the New York Giants. I don’t. Oakland tried to hand the game over to the Denver Broncos in Week 12. The Raiders managed to beat the Broncos. It wasn’t an easy win, though.

The Giants’ defense has played well in NYG’s last couple of games. It hasn’t been enough for the G-Men to win straight up. That could change on Sunday. If WR Sterling Shepard plays, he suffers from debilitating migraines, the Giants should keep this within the number.

Pick: Giants +7

L.A. Rams -7 at Arizona Cardinals +7

The Arizona Cardinals’ offense finally got it together versus the best passing defense in the NFL. I don’t expect the Cards’ offense to put it together two Sundays in a row. The Rams are a good football team. They proved that by beating the Saints in Week 12.

If the Rams’ defense has come together, it sure looks like it has, L.A. could put a serious beating onto the Arizona Cardinals. I believe that’s exactly what happens.

Best Pick: Rams -7

Philadelphia Eagles -5 at Seattle Seahawks +5

The Philadelphia Eagles are 10 and 1. There’s no doubt that Philly has the best record in the NFL. I have my doubts as to whether or not the Eagles fantastic record is more about an easy schedule than it is about being the best team in the NFL.

Philadelphia has beaten one team this season with a .500 or better record. That team, Kansas City, is at 6 and 5. I write that because to me, there’s an opportunity to make some money on the Seahawks and the money line. I think Seattle brings Philadelphia back down to earth this Sunday night.

Best Pick: Seahawks +5

Monday, Dec. 4

Pittsburgh Steelers -6 at Cincinnati Bengals +6

The Steelers are 9 and 2 straight up. However, Pitt is only 6 and 5 against the spread. Cincinnati has played well recently. The Bengals rushing attack finally got back on track in Week 12. I’m with Cincinnati to at least keep this close on Monday.

Pick: Bengals +6