The stretch run to the NFL intensifies as the schedule narrows to the final five weeks of regular season competition. New Orleans continues to roll as the new favorites to win Super Bowl LIII, with +300 odds to win a championship, as per research from Canada Sports Betting.
Week 13 NFL spreads feature a rare matchup between the Vikings and Patriots, clubs which have clashed only 12 times since 1970. The Colts, Steelers, Rams and Chiefs offer superb lines for favorites, while the Cardinals could cover a large spread against the fading Packers.
Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots
Despite a solid win over the Packers last week, the Minnesota Vikings haven’t shown the ability to consistently put together multiple strong outings consecutively, especially against elite NFL clubs. Losses to the Rams, Saints and Bears fit this profile, with the defense unable to cover for Vikings turnovers on offense.
New England will enjoy a boost returning home after a pair of games in Tennessee and New York. Road teams winning in Foxborough tends to be a rare occurrence, as the Patriots have won ten consecutive matches at the stadium that shaving built. Many sounded the alarm after the Titans dismantled Brady, but New England bounced back as always by beating up the Jets.
These clubs rarely meet. Minnesota hasn’t beaten the Patriots since the year 2000. During the Brady era, New England’s swept all four meetings with the Vikings, earning an average winning margin of 16 points. Minnesota’s a solid team, but New England should be able to win by seven points or more.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Don’t look now, but the Indianapolis Colts have emerged as a serious contender in the AFC South, driven by an outstanding comeback season from pivot Andrew Luck. Indianapolis have won five in a row, including a 29-26 victory over Jacksonville in week ten. Similar to all the top franchises this season, the Colts get wins through a surprisingly effective offense which ranks fourth best.
After an outstanding year that nearly resulted in a Super Bowl appearance, Jacksonville have regressed severely due to injuries, poor QB play and questionable play calling on both sides of the ball. Relief isn’t in sight this week. Leonard Fournette will miss another game, this time due to suspension, removing the Jaguars only credible source of yards.
A five-point spread is a relatively small margin given the circumstances, allowing the Jaguars home advantage too much emphasis. Indy should be able to pull out a sixth straight win comfortably. Consider buying points, as this could turn into a blowout.
Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
A clash between two of the best clubs in the AFC will take place on a frozen Heinz Field, to the benefit of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Denver surprised Pittsburgh with an upset victory at Mile High, the first serious aberration for the Steelers since week two. Coach Tomlin won’t accept another mediocre game, especially in front of crazed Pittsburgh pigskin fanatics.
The Chargers have quietly enjoyed an outstanding regular season because Los Angeles football fans haven’t learned to love their relocated football teams like ownership expected. This hasn’t impacted the quality of play on field. Los Angeles ranks seventh in points per game and fourth in points against, tied with the Pats and the Texans with an 8-3 record.
However, a sprained knee will prevent RB Melvin Gordon from suiting up, which will make life difficult for all-pro QB Philip Rivers. Expect the Steelers to adjust their game plan accordingly, with Pittsburgh winning by a converted TD or better.
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions
The week 11 Monday night classic between the Rams and the Chiefs displayed two top tier NFL offenses throwing bombs all over the gridiron, combining for 105 points in regulation. This offensive explosion hides the fact that Los Angeles beat the Chiefs because of a superior defense. Rams defenders made one extra big play compared to the Chiefs, securing a 54-51 victory in California.
Los Angeles finally enjoyed a week off, which allows the club to heal wounds and refocus on vital defensive details over the final stretch run of the regular season. The Rams defense, lead by Donald and Suh, give up far too many points when considering their overall level of talent. Gurley and Goff won’t be stopped, but they won’t be able to outscore the Chiefs, Patriots and Saints all the time.
This analysis doesn’t consider the Lions important in the result of this matchup because Detroit’s only win over the past five weeks was due to a tactical error on behalf of Carolina. A Lions victory would be more shocking than the Bills rout of the Vikings early in the season. Los Angeles should be able to win by more than two possessions.
Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers
Arguably the most disappointing football team over the past couple of years, the Green Bay Packers will need an actual miracle to catch up to the final wild card position in the NFC. Green Bay needs to win five in a row while five of six teams ahead in the standings falter. The schedule eases up for the rest of the season, beginning with a home game against Arizona, but a closer look at the numbers reveal a deeply flawed Packers club.
Green Bay has allowed an average of 137.8 rushing yards per game, while the Packers offense has curtailed badly over the past two outings, with an average of 65 rushing yards per game. Wins over the Bears and 49ers, along with their tie against the Vikings, were direct results of incredible fourth-quarter performances from Aaron Rodgers, who looks like he’s had enough with coach McCarthy and management in general.
Don’t misunderstand – the Packers will win this game. However, a 14.5-point spread is a very large margin, even for rebuilding franchise like the Cardinals. Betting on Arizona covering the spread is a risk, but betting on Green Bay playing well doesn’t inspire confidence either. If this spread rises further to 15 or 16 points, take a second look at this matchup.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
Overthinking occasionally ruins opportunities, including this clash between the Chiefs and the Raiders. Kansas City’s the most exciting, powerful offense in the league, while Oakland doesn’t do anything right. Bet on the Chiefs before the spread rises to 16 or above.