NFL Week 13 Predictions: Latest Odds and Picks Against the Spread
This week in the NFL offers a full slate of games, including several key division battles and a couple more games with playoff implications.
Thanksgiving has now passed, and December is upon us. This is the time of the year when teams start to separate themselves from the pack and make a push towards the postseason.
Let's take a look at the current point spreads, and I'll make my picks against the spread for Week 13.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (+6)
The Texans were dominant at the beginning of the season, but they've cooled off lately. After barely sneaking by the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, the Texans were lucky to escape Detroit with a win on Thanksgiving.
Now, Houston will travel to Tennessee in hopes of earning their 11th win of the season. The Titans are coming off a disappointing loss to the Jaguars, so the Texans certainly look like a safe bet to win this week. In my opinion, this spread should be closer to 10.
Pick ATS: Houston
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
Green Bay is coming off its worst performance of the season against the New York Giants. The Packers have been dismantled by injuries so far in 2012, and they finally caught up with them this past Sunday night.
And this week, the Packers will play division rival Minnesota at Lambeau Field. The Vikings were dominated by the Bears in Week 12 at Soldier Field, and they could be in for another tough game this Sunday.
Even if the Packers are without Clay Matthews again, Green Bay's offense should score more than enough points to win.
Pick ATS: Green Bay
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (+7)
New England enters Week 13 fresh off an absolutely dominant win over the New York Jets. Tom Brady and the Patriots offense have been hot all season, and the defense has been much improved this season.
The Miami Dolphins have been up-and-down throughout 2012, looking like a playoff team at times and playing poorly at others. Miami's defense has been solid throughout the season, but they should be no match for Tom Brady and the Patriots' passing attack.
Pick ATS: New England
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (NL)
Seattle has been a thorn in the side of the NFC North so far this season, beating both the Packers and the Vikings at CenturyLink Field. Fortunately for the Bears, they'll host the Seahawks in Week 12 instead of traveling to Seattle.
The Bears are coming off an impressive win over the Minnesota Vikings, and they'll face a tough test against the Seattle defense. Seahawks cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman are both facing four-game suspensions, but both players will be available for this matchup. This should be a close game, but the Seahawks have struggled on the road this year.
Pick ATS: Chicago
Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills (-5.5)
Jacksonville has caused some problems for good football teams lately. The Jaguars took the Green Bay Packers down to the wire at Lambeau Field, and they almost knocked off the Houston Texans two weeks ago.
The Buffalo Bills, on the other hand, have been a disappointment for much of the 2012 season. However, the Jaguars rank towards the bottom of the league in run defense, while the Bills have one of the NFL's best two-headed monsters at running back. With that being said, it's still hard to put your faith behind the Bills to cover a 5.5-point spread.
Pick ATS: Jacksonville
Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions (-5)
The Colts currently have control of the No. 5 seed in the AFC, as quarterback Andrew Luck has been brilliant as a rookie. Reggie Wayne is second in the NFL in receiving yards, giving Indianapolis enough offensive firepower to stay competitive against most teams.
Detroit has had a very disappointing season thus far. But still, they're home favorites over the 7-4 Colts. If the Colts can protect Luck from the Lions' pass rush, he should have no problem shredding Detroit's defensive backs.
Pick ATS: Indianapolis
Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs (+3)
Carolina enters Week 13 coming off its best performance of the season, against the Philadelphia Eagles. Cam Newton has had a disappointing season up to this point, but he threw two touchdowns and ran for two more against the Eagles last week.
Kansas City has been awful this season, but Arrowhead is never an easy place to play. The Chiefs' quarterback play has been atrocious, but this game could come down to the final seconds.
Pick ATS: Kansas City
Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets (-4.5)
After winning their first four games of the season, the Arizona Cardinals have dropped seven in a row. Beanie Wells gave the running game a nice boost against the St. Louis Rams last week, but Ryan Lindley's four interceptions dug the Cardinals into a deep hole.
Both teams enter Week 13 coming off of disappointing performances. The Cardinals and Jets have good defenses, so this game could be extremely low scoring.
Pick ATS: NY Jets
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (+7)
San Francisco may be the most complete team in football right now. Colin Kaepernick has given the 49ers a breath of fresh air on offense, while Frank Gore has been his usual consistent self. San Francisco's defensive dominance is well-documented, as well.
After playing to a tie a few weeks ago, the 49ers will play the Rams for a second time this week. However, last time they played, Kaepernick wasn't the 49ers' starting quarterback. The seven-point spread seems about right, but I think the 49ers will cover.
Pick ATS: San Francisco
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos (-7)
Tampa Bay took Atlanta down to the wire last week, but the Bucs were ultimately handed their fifth loss of the season. But fortunately for Tampa, every other NFC team in contention for a wild card lost also.
This week, the Bucs will travel to Denver to face the red-hot Broncos and Peyton Manning. Denver is favored by a touchdown, and that shouldn't be hard for Manning to cover against the Bucs' leaky pass defense without Eric Wright. Something tells me Denver could be flirting with 40 points this week.
Pick ATS: Denver
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (+2.5)
The Bengals have played themselves back into the AFC wild-card race with a couple of impressive victories. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have been clicking all season, and now rookie Mohamed Sanu has started to get in on the action.
San Diego has been very consistent at giving away close games, most recently against Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens. This will be a tough test for the Bengals traveling across the country, but Cincinnati is playing better football than the Chargers right now.
Pick ATS: Cincinnati
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (NL)
The Browns forced eight turnovers in their Week 12 win over Charlie Batch and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland's defense has been consistent throughout the season, but Batch was simply atrocious last week.
This week, the Browns will face another bottom-dweller in the Oakland Raiders. Carson Palmer has been able to put up some impressive numbers lately in "garbage time," but he'll be tested by Joe Haden and the Cleveland secondary.
Pick ATS: Cleveland
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (NL)
Byron Leftwich nearly led the Steelers to a victory over the Ravens a few weeks ago, but he fell just short. When Leftwich went down with an injury, the Steelers were forced to rely on third-string veteran Charlie Batch.
The availability of Ben Roethlisberger is still in question, although he's expected to "ease" his way back into practice on Wednesday (per Jason La Canfora). If Big Ben plays, this will be a typical, hard-fought Ravens-Steelers game. If Pittsburgh relies on Batch again, Baltimore could roll.
Baltimore is 9-2 and coming off an emotional win at San Diego, while the Steelers sit at 6-5. Pittsburgh absolutely needs this game.
Pick ATS: Pittsburgh
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-8.5)
The Eagles are a flat-out poor football team right now. Nick Foles has looked like a rookie, Bryce Brown came down with a case of fumblitis on Monday night, and the defense made Cam Newton look like Aaron Rodgers.
But despite their 3-8 record, the Eagles will play a second-consecutive prime-time game this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Although Dallas has been wildly inconsistent this season, the Cowboys really should roll over the Eagles this week.
Pick ATS: Dallas
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (+3)
Here come the Giants.
After losing consecutive games before their bye week, the New York Giants absolutely demolished the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. And now it appears like the G-Men are poised for another late season run into the playoffs.
On the other hand, the Redskins also come into Week 13 with a head of steam. Robert Griffin III was nearly perfect against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and has the Redskins riding high. This is my upset pick of the week—I think Washington gets it done at home.
Pick ATS: Washington