NFL Week 13 Picks: Predictions for Vegas Odds Before Thursday NightNovember 29, 2018
Are the New Orleans Saints ever going to slow down?
They certainly show no signs of it as they take a 10-game NFL winning streak into Thursday night's game at AT&T Stadium against the Cowboys.
The Saints have been playing explosive offense, and there has been no drop off with Drew Brees. The 39-year-old quarterback has been on point all season, completing 76.4 percent of his passes and averaging more than 285 yards per game.
He has thrown 29 touchdown passes, and he simply refuses to give the ball away as he has just two interceptions this season.
As good as Brees has been, he can thank running back Alvin Kamara for making life quite a bit easier for him. Kamara has the speed and instincts to make big plays when he runs with the ball. Kamara has rushed for 706 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, and he has 17 runs of 10 yards or more.
Kamara's talent forces opponents to pay serious attention to him, and that allows Brees to have the extra split second he needs to find open receivers.
The best of those is Michael Thomas, who ranks with Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown as one of the best at his position in the league. Thomas has caught 86 passes for 1,080 yards and eight touchdowns. He is one of the best route runners in the league and he almost never drops the ball.
The Cowboys have been playing much better in recent weeks, having moved into a tie for first place with the Washington Redskins. They have beaten the Philadelphia Eagles and Redskins in back-to-back games, and they are getting solid production from running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott.
While the Dallas offense was stalled earlier in the year, the offensive line is suddenly opening big holes in the running game and giving Prescott time in the pocket.
This is a huge test for Dallas, and they come into this game on an upswing. However, the Saints look like the best team in the NFL, and they should be able to cover the 7.5-point spread, per OddsShark.
Week 13 matchups, point spreads and predictions (All point spreads courtesy of OddsShark)
New Orleans (-7.5) at Dallas; New Orleans 32, Dallas 17
Arizona at Green Bay (-14); Green Bay 31, Arizona 10
Cleveland at Houston (-6); Houston 27, Cleveland 17
Baltimore at Atlanta (-1); Atlanta 28, Baltimore 27
Carolina (-3.5) at Tampa Bay; Carolina 31, Tampa Bay 23
Chicago (NL) at N.Y. Giants; Chicago 24, N.Y. Giants 10
Buffalo at Miami (-4.5); Buffalo 17, Miami 13
Denver (-5) at Cincinnati; Denver 20, Cincinnati 17
L.A. Rams (-10) at Detroit; L.A. Rams 33, Detroit 16
Indianapolis (-4) at Jacksonville; Jacksonville 23, Indianapolis 20
Kansas City (-15) at Oakland; Kansas City 38, Oakland 20
N.Y. Jets at Tennessee (-7.5); N.Y. Jets 20, Tennessee 14
Minnesota at New England (-5); New England 23, Minnesota 20
San Francisco at Seattle (-10); Seattle 28, San Francisco 14
L.A. Chargers at Pittsburgh (-3.5); L.A. Chargers 35, Pittsburgh 33
Washington at Philadelphia (-6.5); Philadelphia 23, Washington 20
Through the first two weeks of Pro Bowl fan voting, @Saints QB @drewbrees leads the way followed by @Chiefs QB @PatrickMahomes5 & @RamsNFL RB Todd Gurley (@TG3II). Click here for the top vote-getters at each position in the AFC & NFC: https://t.co/oRB1kVJm9D https://t.co/fwLmBXHneh
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions
The Rams should be fresh as they are coming off a bye following their epic 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Week 11 Monday night game.
Jared Goff is one of the top passers in the league, and while he may be a tick below Brees in the MVP race, he is having an excellent year.
Goff has completed 67.7 percent of his passes and he is averaging slightly more than 322 yards per game with 26 touchdown passes and six interceptions.
Just like Brees has Kamara, Goff appears to have an even better running back in Todd Gurley. Since Le'Veon Bell has not played this year, Gurley has been the league's best running back with 1,043 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. In addition to running with the ball, Gurley is a tremendous receiver out of the backfield with 43 catches for 441 yards and four more TDs.
The Rams lost wideout Cooper Kupp to injury, but they still have Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, and that gives Goff an array of weapons to choose from.
The Lions are clearly overmatched. They are a last-place team in the NFC North and they have not shown any consistency this season under first-year head coach Matt Patricia.
The former New England defensive coordinator has not been able to do much with the Detroit defense, and the offense appears to have taken a step back.
The Rams opened as seven-point favorites, and the line has moved to 10 points. We just don't see the Lions doing enough on defense to slow the Rams down, and Los Angeles covers as road favorites.
Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots
This has not been the kind of season that either team has expected.
The Vikings lost in the NFC title game a year ago and they were a favorite to reach the Super Bowl at the start of this season. That could still happen, but they are in second place in the NFC North behind the Chicago Bears.
The Patriots are once again in first place in the non-competitive AFC East, but the Pats have lost three games this year and look quite vulnerable.
Still, if the season ended today, they would be the No. 2 team in the AFC, and that means they would have a first-round bye. Additionally, if the Pats and Kansas City Chiefs end up tied for the top spot in the conference, New England would have homefield advantage based on their head-to-head victory in Week 6.
Both teams need this game, and the Vikings are coming off an important victory over the Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has a good chance to light up the New England pass defense if his offensive line can protect him.
The Patriots are getting healthier as rookie Sony Michel and tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action in the win over the Jets in Week 12, and running back Rex Burkhead is scheduled to return this week. While Burkhead is not a superstar, he is a solid runner, receiver and blocker, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels likes using him.
The Pats are five-point favorites, and while we see them winning the game, it will just be by a three-point margin.