Week 13 of the 2013 NFL season promises to be one of the most exciting ones of the year. There are three football games on tap for Thanksgiving Day, plus a full Sunday slate—as bye weeks are now over—and a marquee Monday Night Football matchup to cap it all off.
Perhaps the only way to make this holiday weekend’s action more exciting is to wager on the outcome of some of these contests.
Keep reading to check out the latest lines, my picks for the winner of each game and some advice on teams on which you are going to want to place a wager.
|Away Team||Home Team||Line||Prediction (ATS)|
|Green Bay Packers||Detroit Lions||DET -6||GB|
|Oakland Raiders||Dallas Cowboys||DAL -9.5||OAK|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Baltimore Ravens||BAL -3||BAL|
|Tennessee Titans||Indianapolis Colts||IND -4||IND|
|Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||DEN -3.5||KC|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Cleveland Browns||CLE -7||CLE|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Carolina Panthers||CAR -8||TB|
|Chicago Bears||Minnesota Vikings||MIN -1||CHI|
|Arizona Cardinals||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -3.5||PHI|
|Miami Dolphins||New York Jets||NYJ -1.5||MIA|
|Atlanta Falcons||Buffalo Bills||BUF -3.5||BUF|
|St. Louis Rams||San Francisco 49ers||SF -9.5||STL|
|New England Patriots||Houston Texans||NE -5.5||NE|
|Cincinnati Bengals||San Diego Chargers||SD -1.5||SD|
|New York Giants||Washington Redskins||WAS -1.5||NYG|
|New Orleans Saints||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -5.5||NO|
Oakland Raiders (+9.5) over Dallas Cowboys
The Raiders head to Dallas on a short week of rest, but they should be ready to hang tough with the Cowboys.
Oakland hasn’t been getting the respect it deserves in the Matt McGloin “era”—if you can call the two-game stretch the rookie has been starting an era—as the team finally seems to have a competitive quarterback.
McGloin has a win over the Houston Texans and a narrow loss to the Tennessee Titans under his belt heading into this nationally televised showdown with Big D.
Fortunately, the Cowboys secondary is very forgiving and should allow the Penn State product to put up big numbers and keep his team in the game. Dallas concedes an average of 298.5 yards per game via the air, the second-worst mark in the NFL.
As long as McGloin can continue to avoid turnovers—the quarterback has only one interception compared to four touchdowns on his 79 passing attempts—the Raiders have a great chance at not only keeping it close but also outright winning.
Which team will cover?
The Cowboys thrive on creating turnovers (23 on the season) and taking care of the ball (just 12 giveaways in 2013), as evidenced by their plus-11 differential, which is tied for the second-best mark in the league.
Ball security is the main key for Oakland in this Turkey Day matchup. If the Raiders can avoid turning it over, good things are bound to happen.
Arizona Cardinals (+3.5) over Philadelphia Eagles
The Cardinals are flying high heading into their road matchup with Philadelphia. They are winners of four-straight games and looking to make strides toward a wild-card spot in the NFC with a victory over the Eagles.
Although Philly is still very much in the running for one of those coveted postseason spots, Arizona is simply the better squad and should have no issues beating a flawed opponent.
The Red Birds just capped off one of their most convincing victories of the 2013 campaign—holding the Indianapolis Colts to a mere 11 points in a 40-11 rout.
Carson Palmer and his offense are finally firing on all cylinders, even though sacks and offensive-line play are still issues with which the team has to deal (Palmer has been dropped for a loss 10 times during their current winning streak).
Throughout the past four games, Arizona has averaged 30.3 points. That is largely due to the emergence of Michael Floyd as a legit complement to Larry Fitzgerald, a two-headed rushing attack from Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall and an opportunistic defense that is creating an average of two takeaways in each game.
Philadelphia has been inconsistent to say the least—especially at home. The Eagles just won their first game of 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field, ousting the lowly Washington Redskins in Week 11 before taking a week of rest during a bye.
Now that they are playing a real defense—a unit that allows a mere 81.3 yards per game on the ground and 235.8 yards through the air—expect the Eagles to struggle.
They simply won’t be able to put enough points on the board to make up for the scores that the defense is conceding. Remember, Philly allows opposing passers to throw for more than 300 yards per game—the worst mark in the league.
With their best offensive weapon—the ground game—reduced to a supportive role at best, the Eagles will be exposed and run over by the Cardinals.