The New Orleans Saints may not be getting the same amount of highlights or headlines as the Los Angeles Rams or Kansas City Chiefs, but it is doubtful whether head coach Sean Payton or quarterback Drew Brees cares very much.
The Saints have been the best team in the league, and they go into Thursday night's game with the Dallas Cowboys having won 10 straight games. They are rolling through the league, as they have scored 40 points or more six times this season.
Brees has been on a tremendous pace and is competing with Patrick Mahomes for the MVP award based on his 76.4 completion percentage and his 29-2 TD-interception ratio.
The 39-year-old knows Alvin Kamara can also take the pressure off of him at any time as the running back has 706 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground and has also caught 57 passes for 519 yards and four more scores.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas has played as well as any other in his position in the league this season, and he has caught 86 of 97 targets for 1,080 yards and eight touchdowns.
The defense has been solid, not allowing opponents to rally when the Saints put together one of their offensive surges. Defensive end Cameron Jordan has 8.0 sacks to lead the team.
The Cowboys have come on in recent weeks, having beaten the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins to pull into a tie for first place in the NFC East.
While the offense had stalled earlier in the year, the Dallas offensive line has been asserting itself and opening big holes in the running game for Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott has improved his play as well.
The Saints are seven-point road favorites per OddsShark for this Thursday night road game. That number seems fair, and we don't see the Saints slowing down. They win and cover against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Week 13 matchups, point spreads and predictions (All point spreads courtesy of OddsShark)
New Orleans (-7) at Dallas; New Orleans 32, Dallas 17
Arizona at Green Bay (-14); Green Bay 31, Arizona 10
Cleveland at Houston (-4.5); Houston 27, Cleveland 17
Baltimore (-3) at Atlanta; Atlanta 28, Baltimore 27
Carolina (-4) at Tampa Bay; Carolina 31, Tampa Bay 23
Chicago (-4) at New York Giants; Chicago 24, New York Giants 10
Buffalo at Miami (-7); Buffalo 17, Miami 13
Denver at Cincinnati (-1.5); Denver 20, Cincinnati 17
L.A. Rams (-7) at Detroit; L.A. Rams 33, Detroit 16
Indianapolis (-2.5) at Jacksonville; Jacksonville 23, Indianapolis 20
Kansas City (-13) at Oakland; Kansas City 38, Oakland 20
N.Y. Jets at Tennessee (-9.5); N.Y. Jets 20, Tennessee 14
Minnesota at New England (-4.5); New England 23, Minnesota 20
San Francisco at Seattle (-8); Seattle 28, San Francisco 14
L.A. Chargers at Pittsburgh (-3.5); L.A. Chargers 35, Pittsburgh 33
Washington at Philadelphia (-7); Philadelphia 23, Washington 20
Chicago Bears at New York Giants
The Bears continue to take advantage of their opportunities and have seized control of the NFC North Division. That's a huge change from the way they have played in recent years when they were a last-place team in the division.
The Bears have been making big plays on defense all season, and they continue to lean on Khalil Mack, rookie linebacker Roquan Smith and second-year free safety Eddie Jackson, who is one of the most instinctive defensive players in the league.
Mack has 8.0 sacks and five forced fumbles, Smith leads the team with 81 tackles and 4.0 sacks, while Jackson has returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns and also returned a fumbles for a score.
The Bears have been doing a solid on offense behind Mitchell Trubisky, and when the second-year quarterback couldn't play in the Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions, Chase Daniel did a workmanlike job as his replacement with two TD passes.
The Giants couldn't hold on to a 19-3 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles and dropped a 25-22 decision in Week 12. New York will try to upset the Bears behind the running of rookie Saquon Barkley and the big-play ability of wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
Eli Manning appears to have a difficult matchup on his hands against Chicago's athletic and aggressive defense. Look for the Bears to limit New York's offense and roll to an easy win on the road.
Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots
Both the Vikings and Patriots bounced back with much-needed wins in Week 12, but neither team has played up to expectations at this point in the season.
Kirk Cousins led the Vikings to a key win over the Green Bay Packers, while Tom Brady was back on point against the Jets.
This is a more difficult assignment for the Vikings as they go on the road to take on the perennial powerhouse. If Minnesota is going to win this game, it needs to dictate the pace by taking the early lead and avoid making mistakes.
The former seems possible, but the latter may be more difficult to accomplish. Playing the Patriots is all about pressure; either the pressure of going to New England and trying to play well enough for 60 minutes to secure a win, or the pressure provided by both the Patriots' offense and defense. Both are capable of coming through with the biggest plays when it matters most.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer must keep his team focused on the task at hand. It means executing on each play and not looking at the big picture.
If the Vikings can outexecute New England at the line of scrimmage consistently and let playmakers such as Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook, they will have a chance to win the game.
However, look for Brady to make more plays to Josh Gordon, Rob Gronkowski and James White. The Pats figure out a way to defend their home turf. They win the game, but the visitors cover the 4.5-point spread.