NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 13

Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2013 NFL betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Week 13!

Green Bay Packers (5-5-1 SU, 5-6 ATS) @ Detroit Lions (6-5 SU, 5-6 ATS)
Spread: Detroit -6.5, Total: 50.5

Ford Field, Detroit, MI – Thursday, November 28th, 12:30 ET

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The Packers and the Lions really hate each other, and it is appropriate that they play against each other on Thanksgiving Day this year. This is the showcase game of the day, believe it or not, and the argument could be made that the Lions are the best team playing on Turkey Day in 2013. Detroit has really blown a great chance to run away from the rest of the pack in what would be its first division title since Neanderthal roamed the earth. That said, this is a big one, and it is one which will make all the difference in the world in the division chase. The Packers need this one, or they can probably kiss their season goodbye with just four games to go. QB Aaron Rodgers is still out though, and QB Matt Flynn will become the fourth different man to start under center in the last five weeks for Head Coach Mike McCarthy. Green Bay won 22-9 when these teams played at Lambeau Field earlier this year, but both WR Nate Burleson and WR Calvin Johnson sat that one out.

Oakland Raiders (4-7 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) @ Dallas Cowboys (6-5 SU, 8-3 ATS)
Spread: Dallas -9.5, Total: 47

Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX – Thursday, November 28th, 4:30 ET

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The Cowboys have the easiest game on Thanksgiving Day this year, and they should really take advantage of Oakland playing with QB Matt McGloin once again to take a half-game lead in the NFC East with four games left to play. Dallas has a team which is good enough to beat anyone in the league, but it has had a lot of close wins this year which have had us left scratching our heads as to just how good this team really is. Oakland, even at 4-7, is still only a game out of the AFC Wild Card chase, but it has to have this one. Losing this game and falling two back with four to go and at least a half dozen teams to hop over would be too much to overcome. Dallas has gone 4-2 ATS and 3-3 SU in this series dating back to 1992.

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) @ Baltimore Ravens (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS)
Spread: Baltimore -3, Total: 41

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD – Thursday, November 28th, 8:30 ET

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If you just look at the standings and see that these two teams are both 5-6, you would think that this isn’t a great game to showcase on Thanksgiving Day night. However, when you really look back at it and realize that this is a duel between the Steelers and the Ravens with playoff implications on the line, you’ll realize just how big of a clash this really is. Both of these teams have fought through a ton this year, and it is a miracle that the winner of this one is going to be 6-6 and in a position to control its own destiny the rest of the way to get into the playoffs, and perhaps even ultimately win the AFC North. The Steelers won a 19-16 game at the gun when these two teams met in October, and at the time, they were considered to be one of the worst teams in the league. Now though, things have turned around quite a bit, and though both of these teams still have flaws, they can both be Lombardi Trophy holders with a nice run starting on Thursday night.

New England Patriots (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) @ Houston Texans (2-9 SU, 2-9 ATS)
Spread: New England -7, Total: 47

Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX – Sunday, December 1st, 1:00 ET

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If the season was to come to a close right now, the Texans would have the #1 pick in the NFL Draft, and that’s a disappointing thing to think about if you are a Houston fan. This was a team which was trendy in terms of the Super Bowl this year, and the season has been an unmitigated disaster. The Patriots are likely only going to make that situation worse, though we will remind bettors of a few things. These Pats are coming off of that emotional win over Denver on Sunday Night Football, and this is a particularly tough road test for the offense against a defense which ranks #1 overall in the league. Still, after losing last week at home against Jacksonville, how much worse could it possibly get for the Texans? We might find out next week when the team plays the Jags again next week. Houston is only 1-4 SU and 1-3-1 ATS in this series all-time, and it seems like forever ago that the Patriots won 41-28 at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Tennessee Titans (5-6 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) @ Indianapolis Colts (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS)
Spread: Indianapolis -4, Total: 45

Lucas Oil Field, Indianapolis, IN – Sunday, December 1st, 1:00 ET

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The Colts know that there is no excuse right now. They have no competition whatsoever in terms of the AFC South, and anything less than the division title and the first home playoff game in the career for QB Andrew Luck would be catastrophic. Indy though, has been shellacked twice in the last three games against the Rams and the Cardinals, and there is definitely some thought that losing WR Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL has killed this team. Tennessee meanwhile, knows that this is its last realistic shot. Losing this game would leave it one back of the AFC Wild Card and three back in the AFC South with the tiebreaker going against it with just four games to play. It’s a dangerous game for sure, as we think the Titans are better than 5-6 suggests that they are, especially with the form the Colts are in. Indy was lucky to get away from LP Field with a 30-27 win two weeks ago when these two teams hooked up.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9 SU, 3-8 ATS) @ Cleveland Browns (4-7 SU, 5-6 ATS)
Spread: Cleveland -7, Total: 40.5

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH – Sunday, December 1st, 1:00 ET

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Break up the Jaguars! They have won a pair of road games in division play in their last three weeks, and they have a shot to take another one on the road in this one. The loser of this game is going to be in much better shape in the long run than the winner will be, as draft picks are going to be key for these two squads for the future. Neither team has a quarterback right now, and the combination of QB Brandon Weeden and QB Chad Henne makes us want to cringe. Worse is that there really isn’t an explosive receiver of any sort on either of these rosters too, especially with WR Justin Blackmon suspended for the rest of the year. WR Josh Gordon has 362 yards and two TDs in his last two games, though. The Browns have a 3-1 SU and ATS record in the last four meetings in this series.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8 SU, 5-6 ATS) @ Carolina Panthers (8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS)
Spread: Carolina -8, Total: 41.5

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC – Sunday, December 1st, 1:00 ET

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Speaking of teams to break up, what about the Bucs? They have three straight wins, and their most recent win on the road came against a Detroit team which is leading the NFC North. This would be a much bigger scalp right after Thanksgiving against the Panthers, who have won seven games in a row to storm to the top of the Wild Card chase in the NFC. With New Orleans likely losing this week and with two games against the Saints in the next three weeks beyond this one, Carolina has its opportunity to win the NFC South. Losing this game though, would be catastrophic, as there are still four teams that are essentially fighting for a maximum of three spots right now that are 7-4 or better. QB Cam Newton was the man a month and a half ago when these two teams met in Tampa Bay, but the Bucs seem to be a significantly better team now than they were before.

Chicago Bears (6-5 SU, 2-8-1 ATS) @ Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1 SU, 5-6 ATS)
Spread: Minnesota -1, Total: 49

Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN – Sunday, December 1st, 1:00 ET

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My, how far the Bears have fallen! They were right on the verge of taking total control of the NFC North, and now, without QB Jay Cutler still, they are underdogs against a Minnesota team which is clearly one of the worst in the league. That shows you how far the NFC North has fallen, as the Vikes were able to go into Lambeau Field and get a tie last week against the Packers, who were the definitive favorites at the outset of the season in this foursome. The Vikings were beaten 31-30 when these clubs met in September, though they were helped out quite a bit by their play on special teams in that one. This is going to be a tough game for sure, and it is one that Chicago had better win, knowing that it is getting more and more unlikely that anyone in this division is going to challenge for a Wild Card spot.

Arizona Cardinals (7-4 SU, 7-4 ATS) @ Philadelphia Eagles (6-5 SU, 6-5 ATS)
Spread: Philadelphia -3, Total: 48.5

Lincoln Financial Stadium, Philadelphia, PA – Sunday, December 1st, 1:00 ET

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It’s tough to believe that a game between QB Carson Palmer and QB Nick Foles is a game which could be one of the most important of the week, but that’s turning out to be the case. Foles is coming off of a month in which he posted the best quarterback rating ever for a passer with at least 50 throws, and he is going to look to follow that up with more success here in December. Arizona has scored at least 27 points in four straight games, and it has the look and the feel of a team which is going to get into the playoffs. If the Eagles lose this one, there is very little chance that any of the NFC East teams are going to have any say in the Wild Card chase. Arizona would still be on the wrong side of the playoffs if they started today, even at 7-4, so every win counts. Last season, as three-point underdogs, the Cardinals smashed the Eagles 27- for their third straight cover in this series.

Miami Dolphins (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) @ New York Jets (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS)
Spread: New York -2, Total: 39.5

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, December 1st, 1:00 ET

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These two teams look like and feel like they stink when you look at them. The Dolphins can’t run the ball. The Jets can’t throw the ball. Miami has a history of laying duds in games like this. New York has one touchdown in its last 31 possessions. QB Ryan Tannehill is growing for sure, but he has to play this game in the cold and the wind, something he hasn’t seen a heck of a lot of in his time in the NFL. QB Geno Smith hasn’t been benched yet, but he has turned the ball over 22 times in 11 games this year. And QB Mark Sanchez was essentially jettisoned for this? Alas, in the end, the winner of this game is going to mercifully be 6-6 and level with the winner of the Ravens/Steelers game and perhaps the Chargers for the final Wild Card slot in the AFC. And to think, there’s another meeting of these two teams in Week 17!

Atlanta Falcons (2-9 SU, 3-8 ATS) @ Buffalo Bills (4-7 SU, 6-5 ATS)
Spread: Buffalo -3, Total: 46.5

Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Sunday, December 1st, 4:05 ET

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This is a big time dog game if we ever saw one. The Falcons, for lack of better terms, have completely given up on the season, and we think we saw it happen last week against the Saints even though they did only lose that game by four to earn a cover. The Bills haven’t had as bad of a season as 4-7 suggests, especially when you consider how long QB Jeff Tuel and QB Thaddeus Lewis had to run the ship under center. QB EJ Manuel is coming off of a flat out awesome game against the Jets in which he proved that he can be one of the best young signal callers in the game. Getting the job done in this one would be a big step in the right direction, as it would also keep Buffalo alive in its quest to perhaps steal that last playoff bid. Stranger things have happened. The Falcons are 3-0 SU and 2-0-1 ATS in the only three meetings these teams have had since 2001.

St. Louis Rams (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) @ San Francisco 49ers (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS)
Spread: San Francisco -8, Total: 42

Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA – Sunday, December 1st, 4:05 ET

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When you look back at the teams the 49ers have lost to this year, those defeats don’t look all that bad. And perhaps it’s possible that these Rams are really a good team stuck in a great division, and they would be a 10-win team in the AFC South, for example. Still, this one feels eerie to us. San Fran has to have all of its games like these to get into the playoffs, and it did the job it was supposed to do on the road when these teams met at the Edward Jones Dome. Still, even without QB Sam Bradford, the Rams know that they can play here at the Stick. They managed a tie last year in the game which essentially led to QB Alex Smith being sent out of town and gave QB Colin Kaepernick the keys to the kingdom in the Bay Area.

Cincinnati Bengals (7-4 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) @ San Diego Chargers (5-6 SU, 6-4-1 ATS)
Spread: San Diego -2, Total: 48

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA – Sunday, December 1st, 4:25 ET

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The Chargers had lost three games in a row before last week’s game against the Chiefs, and the fact of the matter is that they were left for dead. Nearly 500 yards and 41 points later, and San Diego is in a tie for the last playoff spot in the AFC, and it isn’t even all that inconceivable that it could still play a role in the AFC West title race with the way that both the Broncos and the Chiefs are playing right now. The Bengals have to be happy with 7-4 through 11 games, but in the end, they are going to need to get to 10 for sure, and possibly 11 to ensure winning the AFC North. The chase is on to take four of these last five games to remove all doubts. The Bengals have three straight covers in this series and a pair of consecutive SU victories, including a 20-13 win last season here at Qualcomm Stadium in a game that is almost a year to the date ago.

Denver Broncos (9-2 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) @ Kansas City Chiefs (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS)
Spread: Denver -5.5, Total: 48.5

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO – Sunday, December 1st, 4:25 ET

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And that’s why we have all questioned the Chiefs and what they’re good for this year. They have lost back to back games in division, and there is a good chance they are going to lose this one as well. If they do, look out! The freefall could ultimately be on, and this team could do the same thing that the Broncos did a few years ago when Josh McDaniels was calling the shots. That said, we have a real concern about Denver right now. The team amassed nearly 300 rushing yards in a game and had a 24-0 lead against the Patriots before blowing it last week. Is the psyche of this team strong enough to get past all of these problems? This is one of the most intriguing games of the entire year from our standpoint, and that 27-17 win for Denver two weeks ago in this series at home definitely only whetted our appetites.

New York Giants (4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS) @ Washington Redskins (3-8 SU, 3-8 ATS)
Spread: New York -1, Total: 46

FedEx Field, Landover, MD – Sunday, December 1st, 8:30 ET

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Normally speaking, NBC would have the ability to flex this game out, and we are a bit puzzled as to why they didn’t do it here. This is a dog game between two teams that will very likely essentially be eliminated by the time the game kicks off. The Redskins are three back of the NFC East lead and will certainly be at least 3.5 back by the time this one kicks off. The Giants blew their chance last week. It’s still conceivable that either of these teams could run the table and win the NFC East, as it wouldn’t be shocking to see both the Eagles and the Cowboys fold up shop and go 1-3 in the last quarter of the season. These two teams haven’t met yet this year, but the Redskins have scored five straight covers in this series, and they should have swept the season series SU last year if not for a bomb TD pass at the end of the game from QB Eli Manning to WR Victor Cruz.

New Orleans Saints (9-2 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) @ Seattle Seahawks (10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS)
Spread: Seattle -6, Total: 47

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA – Monday, December 2nd, 8:40 ET

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After all of the games on Thursday and Sunday, this one is like eating all of the turkey and the dressings and the dessert all on Monday from Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t confuse this one for leftovers, though. The Seahawks and the Saints might be the two best teams in all of football, and they are meeting in what very well could be the game that determines home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the NFC. If Seattle holds serve here, there is no reason that it won’t be at MetLife Stadium in February, as it hasn’t lost a game at home in two calendar years. In fact, part of the mystique of CenturyLink Field came when the 7-9 Seahawks went these Saints two seasons ago 41-36 as 9.5-point home underdogs during Wild Card weekend. New Orleans has another problem that it has to deal with as well, and that’s the fact that it has two games against the Panthers coming up when this one is said and done with. With as well as Carolina has been playing, it is entirely conceivable to think that the Saints could be 10-5 going into Week 17 and not controlling even their own destiny for a playoff spot.

Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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