Week 13 NFL Picks: Lions Go For Sweep of Packers
Week 13 of the 2015 NFL season starts and ends with two bitter division rivalry games, as the Packers take on the Lions for Thursday Night Football and then the Cowboys and Redskins square off on Monday Night Football.
Detroit and Green Bay are a fun game to get the new week started, as the last time we saw these two meet up, the Lions were putting the finishing touches on their first win in Wisconsin in 24 years. The drama won’t be so intense tonight, but it could be for the Pack, who have dropped four of their last five games (two to divisional foes).
While Aaron Rodgers and co. badly need to get back on track, the Lions have won three straight and look, well, good. To get a better idea as to which way we should lean with our week 13 NFL betting, let’s break down each contest:
(-3) Packers @ Lions
This is surprisingly a tough game to call, as Detroit did march into Green Bay three weeks ago and got a win there for the first time in 24 years. That had to feel good, and then they rattled off two more wins and in the process have looked quite good. Green Bay, meanwhile, has lost four of their last five games and is slowly starting to look like a team that could slide out of the playoff picture rather quickly. They responded with their backs against the wall in Minnesota two weeks ago, though, so I’ll give them one more chance to do the same here.
Pick: Packers 20, Lions 17
Texans @ Bills (-3)
Rex Ryan’s crew is slipping and it’s oddly because of their shaky defense. The Bills aren’t shutting anyone down with regularity, while they welcome a J.J. Watt-led Texans group that has been doing precisely that for about four weeks now. Houston has enough offense to get by on as long as their defense keeps beasting out and against a fairly one-dimensional Bills team, there’s little reason to think they can’t in week 13.
Pick: Texans 24, Bills 20
49ers @ Bears (-7)
I actually like what I’ve seen out of Blaine Gabbert and the entire 49ers team since he’s take over the starting quarterback job. The offense is balanced and actually moves the ball and it’s helped the defense turn back into a fairly strong unit. The Niners have even beaten the Falcons and pushed the Seahawks and Cardinals to the brink the past two weeks. It would be so Bears for Chicago to lose this game after winning a huge game in Green Bay, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Pick: Bears 23, 49ers 20
(-9.5) Bengals @ Browns
Austin Davis or Johnny Manziel – it doesn’t matter. It’s weird that the Browns won’t let Johnny Football play but none of their quarterbacks can torch a good Bengals defense and their defense is too bad for it to matter even if they did. Davis isn’t all that bad and could make things interesting initially, but Manziel did that last time too and it still ended up being a blowout.
Pick: Bengals 30, Browns 17
Jaguars @ Titans (-2.5)
Jacksonville got the edge when these two sides met a couple weeks ago and common logic would suggest the Titans might turn the tables with this showdown in Tennessee. The Titans have been pretty competitive all year, but part of being good is closing games – something they just don’t know how to do yet. The Jaguars aren’t much better, but they actually somehow have a shot at their division still, so I think they come out with a little more energy.
Pick: Jaguars 24, Titans 21
(-5.5) Cardinals @ Rams
Case Keenum should be back under center for the Rams this week, but that won’t save them. St. Louis has regressed across the board and is no longer in the mix for the playoffs. If they haven’t given up already, they probably will this week. The Rams did beat the Cardinals in Arizona earlier this year, but I doubt the Cards are too keen on getting swept by the Rams.
Pick: Cardinals 31, Rams 16
Ravens @ Dolphins (-4)
If Joe Flacco was still the quarterback (knee) right now, I might think a Ravens team riding two straight wins might have a shot at running the table. Matt Schaub is under center, though, so they absolutely don’t. Miami isn’t necessarily better, but they have more weapons on offense and are at home. That could be the difference.
Pick: Dolphins 29, Ravens 26
Seahawks @ Vikings (pick’em)
In what is probably the biggest game of the week, the Vikings look to keep their hold on first place in the NFC North, while the Seahawks try to distance themselves from a .500 purgatory. Seattle’s run defense is elite, which could put the one-dimensional Vikes in a tough spot. If Teddy Bridgewater is forced to try to win this game, I like Seattle’s chances.
Pick: Seahawks 24, Vikings 20
(-2) Jets @ Giants
The Jets and Giants rarely face each other but we know there is no lost love in this matchup. It’s a true toss-up, since neither team has been all that consistent and boast talented defenses that have under-performed too many times. The Giants are that team that always seem to do what they’re not supposed to do, so since they’re the underdogs and at home, I bet they win.
Pick: Giants 27, Jets 23
Falcons @ Buccaneers (-2)
The Falcons have been completely exposed over the last five weeks as a soft team that can’t handle adversity. They seemed to be just the opposite earlier in the year, but Matt Ryan keeps turning the ball over and the defense doesn’t get the job done when it matters most. That being said, they still have more talent than the Bucs and they’ll want to win this one after Tampa Bay embarrassed them in Atlanta just a few weeks ago.
Pick: Falcons 26, Bucs 17
(-3) Chiefs @ Raiders
This one is an intense AFC West clash, where the Raiders just try to remain relevant and KC eyes their sixth win in a row. I like the progress Oakland has made this year and they could be a tough out at home, but the Chiefs seem all kinds of determined right now. If their defense returns to form after a one-week hiatus, they should get the win.
Pick: Chiefs 24, Raiders 14
(-4) Broncos @ Chargers
Brock Osweiler isn’t the answer, so much as Peyton Manning wasn’t the answer. Osweiler could still be exposed down the stretch, but for now he keeps the offense balanced, which has unleashed an effective C.J. Anderson. San Diego’s awful run defense doesn’t stand a chance.
Pick: Broncos 30, Chargers 13
Eagles @ Patriots (-9.5)
Philadelphia has mailed it in after two horrific blowouts and a pissed off Tom Brady is chomping at the bit to deliver them a third. Even if Sam Bradford makes it back, the Patriots are covering.
Pick: Patriots 41, Eagles 26
(-7) Panthers @ Saints
Carolina didn’t look the part of an elite team that could go 16-0 earlier this year, but they certainly do now. They have several statement wins and simply execute better than their opponents in every facet of the game. Losing to a divisional team on the road wouldn’t be a total shock, but the Saints can’t get out of their own way. The Panthers stay unblemished.
Pick: Panthers 34, Saints 27
Colts @ Steelers (-6.5)
The AFC is loaded with killer showdowns this week and this one shouldn’t disappoint. Matt Hasselbeck takes a weird 4-0 record as a starter into this one, as he just can’t help but make all the right moves as Indy’s starting signal caller. It’s been more about a safe, balanced offense that allows their defense to stay fresh, but what he’s done is certainly impressive. That being said, he’s on the road and won’t be able to keep up with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ potent offense.
Pick: Steelers 34, Colts 24
Cowboys @ Redskins (-4.5)
This is going to be a huge statement game for Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, who has been awesome at home and get a chance to secure sole possession of first place with a big win over a hated rival. It could easily blow up in their face, but it’s somewhat unlikely considering the Cowboys are 0-7 in games where Tony Romo doesn’t start under center.
Pick: Redskins 20, Cowboys 16
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