Superstitious folks call 13 an unlucky number. Hotels never build the 13th floor, and that creepy dude in the hockey mask sharpens his machete when a Friday lands on the 13th. But our 13 – week 13 – is a thing of beauty featuring a variety of divisional duels. Here’s all you need to know about the NFC on this Sunday’s Slate.
We start in Detroit with the Vikings visiting the Lions. Vikes are 7 point favorites and the over/under is set at 46.5
Detroit is 7-4 overall ATS, and Minnie is 6-5. A couple notes here: the Vikings are 5-2 against closing lines of 4 or less, and while it’s subjective, almost every time you see purple jerseys on your TV it’s a 3 point game. It hardly seems to matter who is on the opposing sideline, the Vikings are going to play them close. The Lions, on the other hand, are 6-1 against closing lines of 6 or more this year. For a team boasting a 0-10-1 record, they’ve kept a dejected fan base from jumping ship entirely by being a pretty safe bet this year (when done responsibly). Something about this one feels funky… I can’t quite put a finger on it, but there is a vibe around Minnesota. A bad one. It sure feels like they’ve been dancing on the line of being good and being completely god awful for 12 weeks. The Lions may well get the monkey off their back this week. +265 on the moneyline… who’s got the huevos?
Next up is Cardinals @ Bears. Arizona -7.5, over/under is 43.5.
Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins, while still listed as questionable, are expected to return to action on Sunday. Four weeks off (including a bye), they are both expected to be at full health and ready to roll. The Cardinals, while flashy with those two involved, have proven to be truly well-rounded thus far. They have spent a third of their season without the top two offensive weapons on the roster and are still in the drivers seat of the NFC. The Bears are 1-3 against closing lines that are greater than 7 points, so when they’re dogs, they’re real dogs. There’s not all that much to read into for this one.
Tampa Bay travels —slightly— North to Atlanta, marching into a road stadium as 11 point favorites, and Vegas is calling for a doozy. Over/under is set at 50.5
This is the fifth time that Tom Brady and the Bucs are favored by double digits, and they are 4-0 to this point. However, Atlanta is an interesting opponent this week. At 5-6 overall, they are very much so in the hunt, and have much more to gain than the Buccaneers on Sunday. Their record against the spread matches their season total, and the only other time they’ve been double-digit dogs was against the Bucs in week two when a beat down took place. 25-48 in favor of Tampa. It would take a catastrophic collapse for the Bucs to cough up the division, but with the race in the NFC at its peak, keep an eye out for a sneaky upset here. If nothing else, certainly a cover from Matty Ice. Maybe.
Inter-league play with the Eagles headed to the Meadowlands as a touchdown favorite against the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. Over/under is 45.5.
The City of Brotherly Love has a lot to be excited about. The Eagles seem to have fully bought into the prospect of their greatest ability: running the football. PFF has their offensive line ranked as 8th best in the league, and although the tailback has been a revolving door with injury, the stable seems to be set. Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, and Boston Scott have been awesome as a trio, and the quarterback has proven to be pretty shifty a time or two as well. It was a question early on, and many thought Jalen Hurts may have been Mr. Right Now as opposed to Mr. Right for the Eagles. He had different plans, and has emerged as a legitimate top-tier dual-threat quarterback. Although the defense has been up and down for the birds, they are squaring off against the least efficient offense in football, and should have no trouble at all taking care of business.
Washington heads to Vegas as a 1.5 point dog and the over/under is 49.5
Fools gold is a brassy yellow mineral that can be mistaken for gold. It’s also a McConaughey romcom, and it’s also a great way to describe the Washington Football Team. Taylor Heinicke continues to squeak out these wins; throwing up miracle balls to McLaurin and leaning on versatile running backs. However, the Washington Football Team, simply put, is not good. Yes, they are currently in the playoff picture, and no, they will not stay there. This game in particular will be tough for WFT because the Raiders are right in the thick of the most competitive division in the league. The AFC West, led by Kansas City at 7-4, has a three way tie for second place with the Raiders, Broncos, and Chargers all at 6-5. Las Vegas has very little wiggle room with 3 of their last 6 games being in the division, and need to take advantage of the momentum of their Thanksgiving victory in Dallas. A steam roll over the football team would be a very positive step for them, and betting them to cover 1.5 seems very safe.
Jags +13 at Rams. Over/Under 47.5
The lame duck of the week. I just hope the Jacksonville fans that make the trip find some joy in the West coast.
San Francisco is a 3.5 point favorite against division rival Seattle with the over/under set to 45.5
It has been a minute since the Niners and Seahawks were both real bruisers at the same time, but nonetheless, it’s a classic rivalry. Seattle has the advantage in this matchup winning 29 of the 46 times they have met SF throughout history, and nabbed a W in their first meeting this year. However, the Niners have recently identified themselves as one of the most physical teams in the league, and the Seahawks, at the hands of a career bad year for Russel Wilson, have begun to rapidly decline. It’s tough to imagine that Russ is out of juice, but the national narrative around him this week has been questioning his longevity if his play continues the way it has. As a football fan you want to see a knock-down drag-out brawl between these two, but in reality, San Fran ought to live up to the hype this week and continue their pursuit of a deep playoff run.