The NFL’s Week 13 schedule has some non-conference games such as Cardinals-Steelers and Falcons-Jets. The Lions and Saints will also look to regroup after losing division games last week.
We dug through the OddsTrader computer picks and found 3 of our favorite bets that you can find at the top-rated sportsbooks for Week 13.
- Falcons -3 (-104) at Unibet
- Cardinals +5.5 (-109) at BetRivers
- Lions -4 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Falcons Can Add to Jets’ Miserable Season
The Atlanta Falcons can get back to .500 if they take care of business against the Jets this week. The Falcons were able to win the first matchup with the Saints to take a lead in the NFC South. The Jets lost 34-13 to Miami in the NFL’s first Black Friday game, and they are no better off with Tim Boyle at quarterback than they were with Zach Wilson.
The Falcons are a 3-point road favorite with a total of 34 points. While that under is tempting for sure, we are going to look at why the Falcons should cover.
Sunday, December 3, 2023 – 01:00 PM ET at MetLife Stadium
Atlanta’s Solid Win vs. Saints
The Falcons had some untimely turnovers against the Saints in their 24-15 win at home on Sunday, but they were strong on defense. They kept the Saints out of the end zone the whole game and forced them to try field goals.
The Jets struggle to score touchdowns as it is, so the Falcons should be just fine on defense in this matchup. Atlanta ranks No. 6 on 3rd down and No. 3 in the red zone, so the situational play has been very strong. Win the turnover battle too and this should be an easy spread to cover.
Desmond Ridder had some ugly interceptions that kept the game close last week, but overall, he played fine. He withstood the pass rush and delivered a huge touchdown pass to Bijan Robinson to take a 2-score lead in the 4th quarter. Robinson had one of his best games of the season on Sunday against the Saints. The Jets have given up some big plays to running backs in recent weeks, so this could be another game where the Falcons lean on the run.
But Ridder needs to protect the ball. That’s literally the only way the Jets have a chance here. Then again, Tua Tagovailoa threw a pick-6 against the Jets last week, another pick before halftime, and he still won by 21 points for the Dolphins.
The Jets are just falling apart right now.
What Does Aaron Rodgers See in Nathaniel Hackett?
It’s amazing how some of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history have bonded with some of the worst head coaches.
- Tom Brady was a big fan of Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator in New England, but McDaniels on his own as a head coach was a disaster in Denver and Las Vegas.
- Peyton Manning swore by Adam Gase in Denver and helped him get a head coaching job with the Dolphins, and Gase was a mess in his seasons with Miami and the Jets.
- Aaron Rodgers won back-to-back MVP awards with Nathaniel Hackett as his offensive coordinator in Green Bay in 2020-21, but Hackett was fired before his first season ended as coach of the Broncos in 2022. Hackett’s arrival in New York this year had a lot to do with Rodgers going there in a trade.
But Hackett has been a nightmare with the Jets this year. You would think that after Rodgers tore his Achilles 4 snaps into the season, the Jets would build an offense around Zach Wilson’s mobility, leaning on play-action passes, a moving pocket, and riding the backfield with Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook.
But the Jets are grossly inconsistent at running the ball, Wilson has shown no growth and was benched for Tim Boyle last week, and the Jets are again competing for the title of worst offense in the league. That’s what Hackett coached in Denver last year too – the worst offense despite having Russell Wilson at quarterback.
You have to wonder if Rodgers likes a coach like Hackett if only because he feels like he can do what he wants and run the show since the coach isn’t the sharpest mind in the room. But that’s no help for the Jets with Rodgers out, and his talks of returning in a few weeks are outlandish with the team headed towards missing the playoffs at 4-7.
Boyle was never going to be an answer for the Jets’ problems. They barely let him throw the ball more than 5 yards down the field against Miami last week. Atlanta’s defense is plenty good enough to hold the Jets to another tiny scoring total barring any disastrous day with turnovers. Let’s take the Falcons to cover on the road.
Score Prediction: Falcons 19 – Jets 15
NFL Pick: Falcons -3 (-104) at Unibet
Steelers and Cardinals to Keep It Close?
The Pittsburgh Steelers fired Matt Canada last week and immediately the offense had its first 400-yard game since 2020. That was not a coincidence. But Pittsburgh still only scored 16 points in Cincinnati, and the Cardinals have a veteran quarterback in Kyler Murray this week. The Steelers have not played a quarterback with 10 career starts since Trevor Lawrence in Week 8.
The Steelers are a 5.5-point home favorite with a total of 39.5 points. We think Arizona has value as an underdog to cover as the Steelers love playing close games.
Sunday, December 3, 2023 – 01:00 PM ET at Acrisure Stadium
Steelers Without Canada
Pittsburgh finally had a 400-yard game, something it did zero times in Canada’s 45 games on the job since 2021. They came out and immediately let Kenny Pickett throw a play-action pass deep down the middle of the field to tight end Pat Freiermuth – something Canada would never do for this team like he should have.
Pickett passed for 278 yards, the 2nd-highest game of his career and the highest since his first start against Buffalo in 2022. But while he looked sharp early, the Steelers still made mistakes like Diontae Johnson dropping a touchdown, Mike Tomlin not challenging that he got his 3rd foot down, and then a fumble by Jaylen Warren in the red zone. Pickett’s accuracy also was not as good in the final 3 quarters as it was to start the game.
But overall, the performance of the offense was encouraging. It’s just that there are some flaws in Pickett’s game, the adequacy of the offensive line in pass protection, and the maturity level and consistency of his receivers that will continue to be problems for Pittsburgh no matter who is calling the plays this year.
Arizona has allowed at least 20 points to every team this year except Dallas, which shockingly scored just 16 in an upset loss due to red-zone failures. But Arizona has gone on the road and held Houston to 21 points, Washington and Seattle to 20 points, and the Falcons had 23 points in a recent game.
Basically, the Steelers might get a boost in the first home game without Canada, but don’t go expecting them to blow the doors open with 31 points. This offense is still a work in progress.
Cardinals Swept by Rams
The Cardinals were blown out 37-14 by the Rams last week in arguably their worst performance of the season. Arizona only scored another touchdown late in the game in garbage time. The 37 points were a season high allowed.
But you have to acknowledge that was a division rematch, and Sean McVay has owned the Cardinals since he took that job in 2017. That’s just what you expect from a Rams-Cardinals game.
The Steelers are an unfamiliar opponent, and the Steelers are no strangers to playing down to the competition. They just pulled out of a 16-10 win over Jake Browning, who was making his first NFL start for Cincinnati.
It was just a week earlier that we saw the Steelers lose 13-10 in Cleveland to rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. They were stuck in a 23-19 battle with Jordan Love and the Packers before that at home. They barely got by Tennessee rookie Will Levis in a 20-16 home win as well.
Tomlin’s team lives for the close games, which is another way of saying the offense and defense are no longer great enough in Pittsburgh to blow a game open for an easy win. Pittsburgh has gone 53 straight games without winning a game by more than 14 points, which is the 2nd-longest streak in franchise history and the 16th-longest streak by any team in the Super Bowl era. Arizona fittingly has the record at 113 games in 1994-2001.
The Steelers have yet to win a game by more than 7 points this season.
Since 2021, the Steelers are 4-8-1 ATS as a home favorite, tied for the 2nd-worst record in the league in that time. The Cardinals actually have a quarterback with experience for the Steelers to run after in Murray. They have Hollywood Brown, who used to face the Steelers in Baltimore. They also have running back James Conner, who will want to show his best stuff against his former hometown team this week.
The computer score reflects the same score the Steelers beat Tennessee by earlier this year. It feels like a good pick for this game too.
Score Prediction: Steelers 20 – Cardinals 16
Is Detroit Going Downhill?
Most of the favorites won big last week, but Detroit lost as a 7.5-point favorite to rival Green Bay. The Lions continue to struggle with turnovers, but are they still a legitimate contender? They are certainly better than the Saints, who shot themselves in the foot in a 24-15 loss in Atlanta to lose control of the NFC South for the time being.
The Lions are a 4-point road favorite with a total of 45.5 points.
Sunday, December 3, 2023 – 01:00 PM ET at Caesars Superdome
Detroit’s Sloppy Play
The Lions are still 8-3 and are an underdog story a lot of people root for to finally have success in the Super Bowl era. But if we are just being honest, the Lions are in a tier below the Eagles, 49ers, and Cowboys in the NFC.
The last month shows that as we’ve seen Detroit embarrassed 38-6 in Baltimore, shredded on defense in a 41-38 escape against the Chargers where the offense was great, needed a rare 12-point comeback in the final 4 minutes against lowly Chicago, and then a wire-to-wire loss at home to Green Bay on Thanksgiving.
Outside of dominating the Raiders on a Monday night, the defense has been bad since the Baltimore game. Quarterbacks are doing what they want to this unit, which is playing more like the Lions that started 2022 with a 1-6 record.
Offensively, the Lions are moving the ball but turning it over at a high rate. Jared Goff threw 3 interceptions against Chicago and then lost 3 fumbles against Green Bay. Both games were at home too where he usually plays his best indoors.
The Lions were also 1-for-5 on 4th down against Green Bay. The Saints can defend better than Chicago and Green Bay, so Goff and the offense need to be sharp. They have too much talent with the dual backfield, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and rookie tight end Sam LaPorta to not be consistently scoring at a high level.
Derek Carr’s Struggles
This could be a good get-right game for the Detroit defense, because the Saints continue to struggle on offense behind Derek Carr. The Saints have attempted 30 field goals this year, which is double Detroit’s number of 15. Only the Seahawks and Browns have attempted more field goals than the Saints with 31 each.
The Saints are not incapable of moving the ball, but they usually get tripped up before the end zone. New Orleans ranks No. 21 on 3rd down and No. 29 in the red zone, which were issues Carr had with the Raiders where the situational offense was not good either.
Carr had a bad pick-6 against the Falcons last week that turned that game around. The Lions could use some turnovers since they have not forced more than one in any game since Week 5.
The Saints need more from Carr and the offense. They paid too much to only get mediocre results like this. They also need it because the defense is no longer playing as well as it did to start 2023. The Saints have allowed at least 24 points in 4 of their last 5 games. It was not long ago that this team enjoyed a streak of 11 straight games without allowing more than 18 points, but that streak’s been dead since Week 4.
Both teams started the season strong on defense before fading in recent weeks. But at least Detroit has an offense that can consistently move the ball. Control the turnovers and you control the game.
The Lions are better at passing and running, and they should have just enough on defense to hold the Saints under 20 assuming Goff isn’t charitable with a pick-6.
We’ll take the Lions to get back on track and win by a touchdown to cover the spread.
Score Prediction: Lions 26 – Saints 19
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