NFL Week 13 Predictions: Analyzing Weekend's Most Competitive Games

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 17:  Josh McCown #12 of the Chicago Bears looks for a receiver against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field on November 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Ravens 23-20 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Although teams usually seem to separate themselves from the pack as the NFL season progresses, that hasn't been the case this year. Since there are so few dominant teams in the league, it seems as though most of them are on the same level, which means that anything can happen in any given game.

That much is to be expected in Week 13.

There are several close spreads, including three pick 'em games on tap. It may seem as though a pick 'em game is too risky to bet due to the fact that it's essentially a coin toss, but eliminating the factor of a spread can be enticing as well.

Here is a closer look at how each of the pick 'em games on the Week 13 slate figure to play out come Sunday.

Week 13 NFL Picks Against the Spread
Away TeamHome TeamSpreadPick ATS
Tennessee TitansIndianapolis ColtsIND (-3.5)TEN
Jacksonville JaguarsCleveland BrownsCLE (-7)JAC
Tampa Bay BuccaneersCarolina PanthersCAR (-7.5)CAR
Chicago BearsMinnesota VikingsPKCHI
Arizona CardinalsPhiladelphia EaglesPHI (-3.5)PHI
Miami DolphinsNew York JetsNYJ (-2)MIA
New England PatriotsHouston TexansNE (-7)NE
Atlanta FalconsBuffalo BillsBUF (-3.5)BUF
St. Louis RamsSan Francisco 49ersSF (-7.5)SF
Denver BroncosKansas City ChiefsDEN (-5.5)DEN
Cincinnati BengalsSan Diego ChargersPKSD
New York GiantsWashington RedskinsPKWAS
New Orleans SaintsSeattle SeahawksSEA (-5.5)NO
Spreads courtesy of Vegas Insider


Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings

Games between NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings are often tightly contested, so it should come as no surprise that the oddsmakers have struggled to determine a favorite. At full health, Chicago is the better, more talented team, but health is an issue right now.

Quarterback Jay Cutler will miss another game on Sunday, which means Josh McCown will start. Although he doesn't have the same recognition as Cutler, he has played fantastic football, as evidenced by this stat, courtesy of NFL on ESPN.

The Bears have been shaky in terms of their record since McCown took over, but it hasn't been his fault. Chicago's poor defense has been the main issue, and that is something worth monitoring on Sunday. The Bears are uncharacteristically last in the league against the run this season, and they just so happen to be facing the NFL's most explosive running back, Adrian Peterson.

AD makes the prospect of betting on Chicago troublesome, but the Vikings are one of the worst teams in the league against the pass. McCown has impressive weapons in the form of Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett. Add in the fact that Chicago needs a win to keep pace with the Detroit Lions in the NFC North, while Minnesota is out of it, and it stands to reason that the Bears will be the hungrier team.


Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers

The AFC playoff picture is volatile at the moment, but the result of Sunday's game between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers could sort things out to some degree.

The Bengals feel fairly secure with a 7-4 record and a one-game lead in the AFC North, but they can't afford to rest on their laurels. The Chargers, on the other hand, are caught up in the mess that is the wild-card race. Several teams could nab the final playoff spot, and the Bolts are among them at 5-6.

San Diego's record doesn't do it justice in terms of how well it has played this season. With wins over the Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys along with a hard-fought loss to the Denver Broncos, the Chargers seem like they're for real.

Offense has been their strength, thanks to the arm of Philip Rivers. With that said, he suddenly has an embarrassment of weapons. A new one emerged in Week 12 when tight end Ladarius Green came up big, and he is now being compared favorably to teammate Antonio Gates, according to Lindsay Jones of USA Today.

That comparison may be somewhat premature, but it illustrates that San Diego's offense is for real. Even if the likes of Gates, Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews aren't getting the job done, Rivers can rely on Green.

The Bengals have plenty of depth on offense in their own right; however, quarterback Andy Dalton's inconsistent play has been an issue. Cincinnati needs its defense to be dominant in order to be a top team, but that is a tall order against San Diego, so expect the Chargers to prevail.


New York Giants @ Washington Redskins

In a game that many can't believe wasn't flexed out of the Sunday night spot, the Washington Redskins will host the New York Giants.

The G-Men were making some headway in the NFC East after a 0-6 start, but a loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week dropped them to 4-7. The Redskins are even worse at 3-8, which comes as a big shock considering that they won the division last season.

It will be difficult for the Giants or Redskins to make a run in the NFC East at this point, but they'll be playing for pride regardless.

Washington opened as a 2.5-point favorite, but bettors have been hammering the Giants. Recent play suggests that New York is in better shape, although none of its four wins in a row was particularly impressive.

The Redskins, on the other hand, have been a mess, but that shouldn't detract from the talented roster. Quarterback Robert Griffin III showed what he is capable of last year, and even though Washington's record is awful this season, he believes the team is much better than the record suggests, according to Pro Football Talk:

RG3 has taken a lot of abuse from the media because of his erratic play, but much of that is unfair since he isn't even a year removed from major knee surgery. He has shown flashes of the old RG3, though, and there is reason to believe that he'll rise up for this divisional game.

The Giants quarterback has had some issues in his own right, as Eli Manning has been a turnover machine this year. Both signal-callers desperately want to turn things around, but expect Griffin to elevate his team more on Sunday night.


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