Taking a look at the NFL Week 13 schedule
Week 12 brought us a lot of close games, but not a whole lot of good football. Jaguars/Texans and Bills/Eagles were definitely the highlights of the day, but there were some takeaways that could help from a betting standpoint as we head into Week 13.
Six teams are on byes this week, as everybody played on Thanksgiving Week. That leaves us with 13 games to think about and it all begins on Thursday night with the Seahawks and Cowboys.
Here are some Week 13 thoughts:
(odds as of 11/26, 7:45 p.m. PT)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Both teams played on Thanksgiving, so we don’t get the traditional short-week turnaround here, but it’s still hard to feel like the Seahawks have had enough time to fix their problems. Geno Smith has not played well this season and Seattle is a lucky takeaway against Cleveland away from having lost four of the last five. Instead, the Seahawks have only lost three of the last four and barely beat the Commanders at home for that lone win. The Seahawks have three offensive touchdowns in that span and Dallas is firing on all cylinders right now. Missed opportunities against the Eagles in Week 9 are all that stands between Dallas and a six-game winning streak.
The Seahawks are at least a modest step up in class from the Commanders, Panthers, and Giants, but Dallas has won three in a row by a combined score of 127-37. DraftKings was the only book holding strong at 7 as of Sunday night, with the rest of the market at 7.5 or 8.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
The Saints lost their grip on first place in the NFC South with last week’s 24-15 loss to Atlanta that featured a Derek Carr pick-six and five failed red-zone appearances. The Lions lost to the Packers on Thanksgiving despite a bit of a comeback attempt, as they are having some issues both offensively and defensively. The Packers had seven yards per play in that one and the Lions had 5.9, though they were playing catch-up most of the game and the Packers were playing softer coverage in the second half with a lead. Still, I have to think this total could be on the rise as the week goes along.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
The biggest adjustment from the lookahead lines to the opening lines for Week 13 came in this game. The Steelers gained over 400 yards for the first time in 59 games in last week’s game against the Bengals. Coincidentally, it was the first game without OC Matt Canada. To paraphrase what was said on the broadcast, Kenny Pickett said that it was like “taking out the middle man” with Canada gone and that it was more of a joint effort with the game-plan. Well, it worked. The Steelers only scored 16 points, but they had 6.2 yards per play. They were 1-of-4 in the red zone, so they’ll have to clean that up, but between their win and good stat sheet and Arizona’s very ugly loss to the Rams, this line jumped in a big way.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Sean Payton has the Broncos playing at a really high level right now. They’ve won five in a row and now head into a big one against the Texans. As a Browns fan, I watched all of the game between Cleveland and Denver and what struck me was how physical Denver was on both sides of the ball. They’re borderline dirty on defense, but they really played smashmouth football against the Browns and ran it 39 times for 169 yards. Cleveland had very few answers for the ground game and gave up multiple chunk plays. Houston brings a top-five run defense by EPA/play and a dramatically better quarterback, but it did feel like the Broncos are being disrespected a little with this number.
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
I am not a Will Levis fan. I do not like the Titans roster in general. They are not a good football team. However, it is a bit of an adjustment here to see the Buccaneers as a six-point favorite when the Titans closed -3.5 across most of the market. Carolina made the game reasonably close and had a chance to tie. A chance that ended when Bryce Young checked to a wide receiver screen on 4th-and-6 on the final possession.
The Bucs, meanwhile, lost for the sixth time in seven games with the 27-20 defeat at the hands of the Colts. The Bucs did beat the Titans 20-6 a few weeks ago as a 2.5-point favorite, so maybe nothing has changed and this line is accurate, but it felt a little jarring on Sunday night.
Early lines I like for Week 13:
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
The Chiefs started slow, but finished with a bang against the Raiders, as they bounced back nicely from the game against the Eagles. Kansas City’s offense is still littered with question marks, but the defense has been extremely solid and very consistent throughout the year. Green Bay has not been very consistent, but Matt LaFleur is making the most of this roster and three wins in the last four games have gotten the Pack on the weak NFC playoff bubble. This is a suboptimal spot for the Chiefs as well, as they had two big games against the Dolphins and Eagles followed by a division game on the road. The Bills are on deck. I think we see this number come off of 7 market-wide, as some shops already have gone to 6.5.
Pick: Packers +7
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
The Jake Browning Experience wasn’t completely awful, as the Bengals did have 5.4 yards per play, but there were some broken plays and lucky bounces that contributed to Cincinnati’s yardage totals. Browning did get sacked four times and had a pick. The problem continues to be that the Bengals cannot run the football and their defense stinks. They had 11 rush attempts and Browning had the longest carry with six yards. The defense only allowed 16 points, but that’s because Pittsburgh got bogged down in the red zone. It was the first time that the Steelers outgained an opponent. This should be a spot for the Jaguars to dominate. They’ll be in every teaser this week, but I honestly don’t think laying the 7.5 is a bad idea either.
Pick: Jaguars -7.5