The 2018 NFL race is beginning to heat up, and we have a number of important matchups on deck in Week 13. Things kick off with the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, a game with heavy implications for both teams.
In fact, every game this week has the potential to affect the playoff race. Only three games involve two teams with losing records. Even in those, the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers have outside shots at the playoffs.
This should all make for an exciting and highly competitive schedule. For those looking to add a little extra excitement, though, we're here with our picks for Week 13. We're going to run down the latest odds and over/unders from OddsShark, make score predictions for each game and examine our favorite prop bets.
Week 13 Odds, Over/Unders and Predictions
New Orleans Saints (-7.5, 52.5 O/U) at Dallas Cowboys: Saints 33, Cowboys 20
Arizona Cardinals (+14, 44.5 O/U) at Green Bay Packers: Packers 28, Cardinals 18
Cleveland Browns (+6, 48 O/U) at Houston Texans: Texans 30, Browns 27
Baltimore Ravens (+1, 48.5 O/U) at Atlanta Falcons: Ravens 27, Falcons 25
Carolina Panthers (-3.5, 55.5 O/U) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 28
Chicago Bears (-4.5, 45 O/U) at New York Giants: Bears 22, Giants 17
Buffalo Bills (+5, 40 O/U) at Miami Dolphins: Dolphins 20, Bills 17
Denver Broncos (-5, 44 O/U) at Cincinnati Bengals: Broncos 31, Bengals 18
Los Angeles Rams (-10, 55 O/U) at Detroit Lions: Rams 30, Lions 21
Indianapolis Colts (-4, 47 O/U) at Jacksonville Jaguars: Colts 26, Jaguars 17
Kansas City Chiefs (-15, 55.5 O/U) at Oakland Raiders: Chiefs 38, Raiders 24
New York Jets (+8, 40.5 O/U) at Tennessee Titans: Titans 26, Jets 18
Minnesota Vikings (+5, 48.5 O/U) at New England Patriots: Patriots 28, Vikings 26
San Francisco 49ers (+10, 46 O/U) at Seattle Seahawks: Seahawks 33, 49ers 16
Los Angeles Chargers (+3.5, 51.5 O/U) at Pittsburgh Steelers: Chargers 22, Steelers 21
Washington Redskins (+6.5, 44 O/U) at Philadelphia Eagles: Eagles 23, Redskins 20
New Orleans Saints Over 4.5 Sacks
Our first prop involves the first game of the week and the number of times Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott goes down behind the line. There's an over/under of 4.5 sacks for the Saints, and we're going to recommend the over for two big reasons.
The first is that the Saints pass rush has come on as of late. It as produced nine sacks over the last two games, and it's going to have plenty of opportunities to get after Prescott. The Saints have Drew Brees and one of the most prolific offenses in the league, and they're going to score points and put pressure on Prescott to do the same.
"We've just got to go score," Prescott said, per Charean Williams of ProFootballTalkcom. "We've got to do what we do on offense."
Dallas is going to have to pass in order to keep pace with New Orleans on the scoreboard, and that's a problem. The Cowboys offensive line has been a liability this season—Prescott has already been sacked 38 times—and it is less than healthy.
According to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, Dallas has been working with backup left tackle Cameron Fleming at practices this week. Prescott could be in store for a long day.
Ezekiel Elliott Under 84.5 Yards Rushing
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott hasn't rushed for fewer than 120 yards in any of his last three games, so it may seem odd to pick the under of 84.5 yards rushing this week. That's what we're going to do, though, for a variety of reasons.
The first is Dallas' banged-up offensive line. With it less than 100 percent, Elliott is going to have a harder time finding open lanes. Elliott himself is less than 100 percent too.
"His hips were bothering him, so that's why we kept him out of practice yesterday," head coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week, via the team's official website.
Elliott will also be running against a Saints defensive front that allows an NFL-low 73.2 yards per game on the ground. This wouldn't be an ideal situation for Elliott as a rusher in the first place, and with the Cowboys likely having to pass early and often, Elliot may even finish with more receiving yards than rushing yards.
Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders Over 27.5 First-Half Points
We like the over in the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders game, largely because we expect the Chiefs explosive offense to go off against the Raiders. We also like the first-half over 27.5 points.
Expect the Chiefs to do most of their scoring in the first half, while going a little conservative in the second after the game is firmly in hand. Considering Kansas City averages a whopping 36.7 points per game, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Chiefs hit the over by themselves.
At minimum, we expect the Chiefs to score a trio of touchdowns before the half, which would then require Oakland to find the end zone just once. Against a defense that allows 26.7 points (28th in the NFL) and 414.7 yards (30th) per game, we think the Raiders can get the job done.
Oakland managed to put up 10 points in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens' first-ranked scoring defense (18 points per game) last week on the road.